Recent Storm Damage Posts

Weathering the Storm: Essential Safety Tips for Derecho Windstorms

5/7/2024 (Permalink)

Derecho windstorms, characterized by intense straight-line winds, can wreak havoc on communities, causing widespread damage and posing serious threats to life and property. Being prepared and understanding how to stay safe during these powerful events is crucial. In this blog, we'll explore essential safety tips to help you weather the storm and protect yourself and your loved ones during Derecho windstorms.

Stay Informed

Knowledge is your best defense. Stay informed about weather conditions by monitoring reliable sources such as the National Weather Service (NWS) and local news channels. Pay attention to storm alerts, watches, and warnings. Having a weather app on your smartphone can provide real-time updates and notifications.

Develop a comprehensive emergency plan for your family or household. Identify safe spaces within your home, such as basements or interior rooms on the lowest floor. Establish a communication plan, including a designated meeting place and an out-of-town contact, in case family members are separated during the storm.

Secure Outdoor Items

Derecho winds can reach extremely high speeds, turning loose outdoor objects into dangerous projectiles. Before the storm hits, secure or bring indoors any outdoor furniture, toys, tools, or other items that could be lifted and carried by strong winds.

Strengthen the structural integrity of your home by reinforcing windows and doors. Consider installing storm shutters or plywood over windows to protect against flying debris. Ensure that exterior doors are secure and have strong locks.

Seek Shelter Indoors

When a Derecho is imminent, seek shelter indoors well before the storm arrives. Stay away from windows and doors, and head to the lowest level of your home, preferably a basement. If a basement is not available, find an interior room on the lowest floor away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls.

Derecho windstorms often bring heavy rain, hail, and reduced visibility. Avoid unnecessary travel during the storm to prevent accidents and road hazards. If you must drive, pull over to a safe location away from trees and power lines.

Stay Away from Windows and Mirrors

During the storm, stay away from windows and mirrors to minimize the risk of injury from flying glass. If you're in an area prone to Derecho winds, consider installing impact-resistant glass or protective shutters for added safety.

Assemble a well-stocked emergency kit that includes essential items such as non-perishable food, water, medications, first aid supplies, flashlights, batteries, and important documents. Ensure that everyone in your household knows the location of the emergency kit.

Have a Battery-Powered Weather Radio

A battery-powered weather radio is a valuable tool for receiving real-time updates and alerts, especially if power outages occur during the Derecho windstorm. Keep extra batteries on hand to ensure the radio remains operational.

Once the storm has passed, exercise caution when venturing outdoors. Watch out for downed power lines, fallen trees, and other hazards. Avoid flooded areas and report any emergency situations to local authorities.

In conclusion, Derecho windstorms demand vigilant preparation and a commitment to safety. By staying informed, creating an emergency plan, and following these safety tips, you can enhance your resilience in the face of these powerful weather events. Remember, the key to weathering a Derecho is preparedness and a proactive approach to protecting yourself, your family, and your property.

Safeguarding Your Home: The Importance of Gutter Maintenance for Storm Preparedness

1/9/2024 (Permalink)

As homeowners, we often focus on fortifying our homes against external threats, and one often overlooked yet critical aspect is gutter maintenance. Gutters play a pivotal role in protecting your home during storms, heavy rains, and adverse weather conditions. In this blog, we'll delve into why regular gutter maintenance is essential for storm preparedness.

Preventing Water Damage

One of the primary functions of gutters is to channel rainwater away from your home's foundation. When gutters are clogged with leaves, debris, or dirt, water can overflow and pool around the foundation. Over time, this can lead to water seepage, foundation cracks, and even basement flooding. By maintaining clean and clear gutters, you create a pathway for rainwater to safely drain away, reducing the risk of water damage to your home.

Protecting Your Roof

During storms, leaves, twigs, and other debris can accumulate on your roof. Without a functioning gutter system, this debris can hinder the natural flow of water, causing it to pool on the roof. This standing water can lead to roof leaks, deterioration of shingles, and even structural damage over time. Regular gutter maintenance ensures that rainwater is efficiently directed away from the roof, preserving its integrity and longevity.

Preventing Basement Flooding

Clogged gutters can contribute to basement flooding, especially during heavy storms. When water is unable to flow through the gutters and away from the house, it can pool around the foundation and seep into the basement. Basement flooding can result in extensive damage to belongings, create a breeding ground for mold, and compromise the structural integrity of your home. Routine gutter maintenance is a simple yet effective measure to mitigate this risk.

Avoiding Landscape Erosion

Properly functioning gutters protect not only your home but also your landscaping. When rainwater is directed away from the house, it prevents soil erosion around the foundation and in your garden beds. This is crucial for maintaining the stability of the soil, preserving the aesthetic appeal of your landscaping, and preventing potential damage to plants and trees.

Preventing Gutter Damage

Neglecting gutter maintenance can lead to the deterioration of the gutters themselves. Accumulated debris puts additional weight on the gutter system, causing it to sag or pull away from the roofline. This compromises the effectiveness of the gutters and may result in costly repairs or replacement. Regular cleaning and inspection help identify and address issues before they escalate, ensuring the longevity of your gutter system.

Investing time and effort in regular gutter maintenance is a proactive step toward storm preparedness. By keeping your gutters clean and functional, you safeguard your home against water damage, protect your roof and foundation, and maintain the overall well-being of your property. As storm seasons approach, take the necessary measures to ensure that your gutters are in optimal condition, providing your home with the protection it needs when the weather takes a turn for the worse.

Prepare for the Storm. Prepare your Property Before a Storm

9/20/2023 (Permalink)

Preparing your home or business for an oncoming storm can be a time-consuming and hectic process. However, taking the necessary steps to secure your property before a storm hits can help minimize damages and protect your assets. In this blog post, we will discuss essential tips for securing your property before a storm hits.

Trim Trees and Shrubs

Trimming trees and shrubs around your property can help reduce the risk of fallen branches and flying debris during high winds. Removing dead or diseased trees close to your property will also reduce the risk of damage to your surroundings. If there are any large trees located near your home that pose a risk for falling onto your property, consider hiring a professional to remove them.

During a storm, outdoor furniture and decor can quickly become hazardous, damaging your property and those around it. Securing these items before a storm with ropes, chains, or bungee cords will help prevent them from blowing away. It’s also a good idea to store these items indoors if possible.

Reinforce Windows and exterior 

High winds generated during a storm can easily break windows or doors, creating a risk of injury and property damage. Reinforce windows and glass doors with storm shutters, plywood, or impact-resistant glass. Make sure the doors have sturdy hinges and latches, and consider installing a deadbolt for added protection.

When gutters and downspouts are clogged with debris, water cannot drain from the roof, causing damages to the structure of your building. Ensure that the gutters and downspouts around your property are cleaned before the storm.

Turn off Electrical and Gas Source to Your Property

Turning off the electrical and gas sources to your property appropriately before a storm is important as this minimizes the risk of electrocution and gas leaks caused when strong winds carry debris into your property.

Turn off and unplug all major appliances to avoid an overload that can cause damage to electrical equipment or fire. If you live in an area prone to flooding or near a body of water, consider investing in a backup sump pump to avert flooding in your home or building.

Keep Important Documents and Valuables Safe

Keep important documents like insurance policies, passports, and other valuable items in a waterproof and secure location such as a safe or safety deposit box. Make sure to take advantage of cloud services to back up your digital files.

Preparing your property for an oncoming storm is a crucial step in minimizing damages and protecting your assets and safety. By trimming trees and shrubs, securing outdoor furniture and decor, just to name a few, you can be sure that your property is adequately protected. Remember, a little preparation before a storm can prevent possible disaster and bring peace of mind in the face of uncertainty.

6 Essential Steps to Take After a Tornado

6/15/2023 (Permalink)

Tornadoes are unpredictable and can cause significant damage to homes and businesses. If you have experienced a tornado in your area, it's important to take the necessary steps to ensure your safety and begin the recovery process. Here are 6 steps to take after a tornado:

Ensure Your Safety

The first and most important step after a tornado is to ensure your safety. Check yourself and your loved ones for any injuries, and seek medical attention if needed. If your home is not safe to stay in, find a safe place to go, such as a shelter or hotel.

Assess the Damage

Once you are safe, assess the damage to your property. Take photos or videos of the damage for insurance purposes, and make a list of any damaged items. This will help you file an insurance claim and get the compensation that you need to repair your property.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the damage and begin the claims process. Provide them with all of the information that they need, including photos and videos of the damage and a list of damaged items.

Call a Professional Restoration Company

It's important to call a professional restoration company like SERVPRO to begin the cleanup and restoration process as soon as possible. Tornado damage can be extensive, and it's important to have a team of experts on your side to help with the cleanup and restoration process.

Secure Your Property

If your property has sustained significant damage, it's important to secure it to prevent further damage or theft. Board up any broken windows or doors, and cover any damaged areas with tarps or plastic sheeting.

Be Patient

Finally, be patient during the recovery process. Tornado damage can take time to repair, and it's important to work with your restoration company and insurance company to ensure that everything is done correctly. Stay in communication with your restoration company and insurance company, and ask any questions that you may have.

In conclusion, if you have experienced a tornado in your area, it's important to take the necessary steps to ensure your safety and begin the recovery process. Follow these 6 steps to stay safe and get your property back to its preloss condition. Remember to ensure your safety, assess the damage, contact your insurance company, call a professional restoration company, secure your property, and be patient. If you experience tornado damage, contact SERVPRO of Affton/Webster Groves to help with the cleanup and restoration process. Stay safe!

How to Get Your House Ready for High Winds

1/10/2023 (Permalink)

Preparing Your House for High Winds

When the weather gets windy, we all know that it can be dangerous. But did you know that high winds also pose a serious risk to your home and family? In fact, according to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), nearly half of all tornado-related deaths are caused by flying debris—and 90 percent of those deaths occur in homes. That's why it's so important to take the necessary precautions ahead of time to ensure your home is ready for these potentially deadly storms. 

Clean Up the Yard

To secure your home, you’ll want to remove all loose items from your yard. This includes:

  • Trampolines
  • Decorative tree ornaments (such as lights and ornaments) that aren’t securely fastened to a tree trunk or other solid surface
  • Excessive lawn furniture (like the massive patio sets) that could be blown away by high winds

Remove any dead or dying branches and cut back any branches that are overhanging the house from all trees in your yard. Also, trim back any branches that are touching the roof of your home, as this can cause damage to your roof in high winds. If you have a tree in close proximity to power lines, it is important that you do not trim those limbs because they could come into contact with those power lines and cause an electrical hazard. Finally, make sure not to trim back a tree near a swimming pool if there are children playing around it!

Secure Windows

The best way to secure your windows is through storm shutters. If you don’t have storm shutters, you can board up your windows with plywood to prevent flying debris from damaging the window. Another alternative could be window clips. Although these are not as secure as plywood or shutters, they are a good option for a limited time. Window clips can be purchased at most hardware stores and will do wonders for preventing damage to your home when the wind kicks up. They're easy to install, so there's no reason not to do it!

To secure the plywood with nails, hammer in a nail near each corner of the window or door. Then, pull out the nail and move over 1/4 inch and hammer it back down again. Repeat this process until all four sides of the window are covered with nails. To secure plywood using screws, use a screwdriver to drive two small screws into each side of the plywood that faces inward toward your house (this could be between siding boards).

Reinforce the Doors

You can reinforce your doors with weather strips and door sweeps. Weather strips are made of rubber and stretch across the opening where the door closes, sealing out air and moisture. Door sweeps are similar but have a metal band attached around them to help keep out water and other debris.

Both products come in different sizes to accommodate any type of door, so make sure you measure your frame before purchasing new ones (you may need to look for a custom-sized model). Once they're installed on your doors, they're not that hard to clean or maintain—simply wipe them down occasionally with a damp cloth if they get dirty or dusty. And if you live in an area where hurricanes are frequent, take extra care because these two items will be exposed to high winds!

Brace your Garage Doors

You can install a 2x4 to brace the garage door. The 2x4 should be placed horizontally on top of the door and secured with rope or chain. 

To properly brace your garage door, you will need:

  • A large wooden board (a 2×4)
  • Two small wooden stakes
  • Rope (or chain)

Prepare your Roof

To prepare for high winds, you'll want to make sure that your roof is in good shape. First, remove any debris from the roof. This can include leaves and other plant particles (as well as insects) that may be caught up in the gutters or on the surface of your home's exterior walls.

Next, check over any areas where repairs have been made and ensure they're still secure by fastening them again if needed. Check for leaks around pipes or vents; these are especially common areas for water intrusion during storms.

High winds can cause extensive damage to your home. You may be able to save thousands of dollars in property damage and medical bills by taking some simple steps to protect your home from high winds.

Why is it important to protect your home from high winds?

If you follow these tips, your house will be ready for the storm! If you do experience storm damage, give SERVPRO of Affton/Webster Groves a call! We will get your Crestwood, MO home back to normal in no time. 

3 Easy Tips to Prepare for a Storm

11/1/2022 (Permalink)

Prepare For a Storm

Some storms can pass with little to no impact, while other storms may be utterly devastating. If you’re about to be hit with a storm that may flood water into your home, it’s important that you prepare for it. The more prepared you are, the less your home will be impacted by water damage and the less your flood specialist will have to deal with.

1. Protect Against Flooding

You can take on this first step before there is any sign of a storm. It’s preferred that you flood-proof your home before there is a problem with flooding. First, you can make sure that your basement and walls are sealed with a waterproofing compound to give it a defense against the flood. Second, if you know that a storm is coming, you can construct barriers to stop the flood water from getting into your home.

2. Protect Yourself and Your Belongings

If a flooded building is imminent, then it’s time to be prepared for the water. First, you need to make sure that your valuables are on higher ground. If you have an upper floor, move your valuable items there. Additionally, you should make sure that all of your utilities are turned off from their main switch and disconnect all electrical appliances. When there is a flooded building, it’s possible that water could cause an electrical situation if these items are left on.

3. Pack an Emergency Kit

If you know that there is going to be a flood, it’s possible that you will only have to deal with the pain of water removal once the storm is over. However, in more serious scenarios, you may be required to evacuate. Always have an emergency kit with extra clothes packed and kept dry away from the flood.

Flood water can strike anywhere, and it can strike anyone. You should never be underprepared when dealing with the prospect of water damage in Lakeshire, MO.

Storm Damage Versus Flood Damage

9/22/2022 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Versus Flood Damage

You might not see a huge difference between storm and flood damage, but your insurance company sure does. It's absolutely vital to make sure that your Shrewsberry, MO, business is covered for both types of damage. Getting to know the ins and outs of your specific insurance policy can help prevent you from suffering thousands of dollars in property damages.

Damage Defined
Differentiating between the two types of damages can be tricky. Insurance companies typically label the accident as storm damage if the destruction was a result of one or more of the following:

  • Heavy rainfall
  • Cyclones or tornadoes
  • Hail storms
  • Hurricanes or other tropical storms

While it is absolutely possible for the above incidents to cause flooding, your insurance company won't see it that way. Ever since the Queensland floods in 2011, the Insurance Code of Practice has defined flood damage as "the covering of normally dry land by water that has escaped or been released from the normal confines of any lake, river, creek or other natural watercourse, whether or not altered or modified, or any reservoir, canal or dam."

How to File a Claim
If your commercial building is covered, then you need to file your insurance claim as soon as possible.

Contact your insurance company to report the damage.
Separate your damaged property from your undamaged property. Don't throw anything away until your insurance agent has inspected it. Take plenty of photos of the damage as well.
Create a list of damaged items inside the building. Take photos and provide standard information, such as the items' models, serial numbers, and brand. If you still have any receipts or bills, include them in the report.
List any structural damage that you want the insurance adjuster to notice. As always, take plenty of photos.

Both severe storms and floods can cause massive amounts of water damage, but your insurance company still treats them like separate accidents. Make sure to contact remediation experts if your commercial building has recently suffered from storm or flood damage.

Top 5 FAQs About Floods

6/2/2022 (Permalink)

Common Questions Regarding Flood Risk

Floods are a relatively common natural disaster that many homeowners have to deal with at some point, especially if your home in Crestwood, MO, is located in a major flood zone. Read on to have your most common questions regarding flood risk answered.

1. What is a Flood Zone?

These are the areas that have the greatest risk of succumbing to a major flood in the event of a severe storm or natural disaster. There are multiple different levels, but it's still best to anticipate the worst, just to make sure you're adequately prepared.

2. How Do You Know Whether You're in a High-Risk Zone?

The easiest way to gauge your personal risk is to check the map provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). There are several different maps provided, and each has its own unique information to offer regarding flooding.

3. How Can You Tell When a Flood is Coming?

The best way to stay informed is to sign up for an emergency broadcast alert system. NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards is just one of the many channels you should pay attention to in order to stay up to date on an incoming flood or storm.

4. How Can You Gauge Flood Severity?

The National Weather Service (NWS) has a list of flash flood warnings, categorized in order of severity. These warnings typically pop up through your emergency alert channels within approximately 6 hours of heavy rainfall or severe weather. The three major classes are "Base," "Considerable" and "Catastrophic."

5. Can Flooding Occur Anywhere?
Flooding can occur anywhere in the United States, no matter what time of year it is. Of course, there are certain seasons when floods are significantly more likely. These seasons can vary depending on where in the country your property is.
Knowing your property's specific flood zone can help you prepare to face any imminent storms. If your property does succumb to water damage, then you need to contact flood remediation experts as soon as possible.

Sewage Backup in the Bathtub? Follow These Steps

5/25/2022 (Permalink)

Bathtub Sewage Backup

Any type of bathroom flooding is a big problem, but sewer backup in the bathroom is an even bigger headache. Naturally, your best course of action is preventing the flood from happening in the first place, but that isn't always an option. Stay calm, and follow these simple steps if your home in Grantwood Village, MO, has recently experienced sewage backup in the bathtub.

1. Assess the situation: Sewer backup is a Category 3 water contamination, and a very dangerous biohazard. In some cases, it may not be safe to even enter the room or building where the flooding is. Before attempting to tackle the mess, always make sure the electricity is switched off and you're wearing the appropriate protective gear.

2. Don't make the problem worse: It's natural to want to continuously flush the toilet when the water won't go down. Do not do this. Instead, turn off all running water in the room. If a burst pipe is to blame for the flood, then switch off the water to the building.

3. Protect belongings in the room: Remove every single item in the room that has been contaminated by the sewage. This includes furniture, carpeting, shower curtains, and anything else that has come into contact with the water. Move these items outside where they won't cause further contamination. Open the windows and doors in the bathroom to help generate airflow into the room.

4. Call for professional help: Extreme bathtub backup might require professional assistance. Contaminated water can cause a lot of damage in a very small amount of time, so it's important to act quickly. Avoid personal contact with the sewage as much as you can, as the contaminated water can cause health effects.
sewer backup is a big problem that only gets worse if it isn't handled correctly. Contact your local flood remediation experts in order to get the job done right the first time.

Is Your Home Ready for a Storm?

1/7/2022 (Permalink)

Knowing How To Prepare Yourself and Your Home for Flood Water

Torrential rains in Affton, MO, can be stressful for homeowners. They can also cause water damage in a flooded building or home. Knowing how to prepare yourself and your home for flood water can help reduce stress after a big storm.

Before a Storm

Homeowners can prepare for a flood by taking time to consider these precautionary steps before a storm arrives:

  • Research the flood risk in Affton, MO.
  • Check into insurance options available in your area.
  • Create an evacuation plan, including safe routes to shelter on higher ground away from flood water.
  • Invest in a sump pump with a backup battery and take measures to waterproof the basement.
  • Store valuables above ground level.

Keep important documents in a waterproof safe box. You should protect homeowner’s insurance documents, health insurance policies, and identification such as passports, birth records, and marriage certificates. Consider keeping important digital files along with current photographs of the contents of your home on a flash drive in the waterproof box as well. Keep the safe box in an accessible place in your home, and remember to take it in the event of an evacuation.

Pack a disaster bag. In addition to supplies such as a change of clothes and medications, be sure to include spare car keys, a radio, flashlights, and batteries. If you have family members with special needs, consider additional equipment required for their safety.

During a Storm

Protect your family and home during a storm by heeding all emergency warnings and communications. Moving water presents unseen dangers to pedestrians and drivers, and it may be deeper than it appears. Do not try to cross flooded roads or bridges.

After a Storm

Return home only if it is safe to do so. Cleaning flood water from your home is a task best managed by professionals, such as a local residential restoration service.

It is often best to be prepared well in advance of a storm. Take precautionary steps before the rainy season, and have the number of a professional cleanup crew on hand in case your home becomes a flooded building.