Recent Storm Damage Posts
Flood Zone Determination
The Federal Emergency Management Agency maintains official flood zone maps, which designate areas with the greatest risk of flooding. To find the designation for your home in Iowa, go to FEMA’s Map Service Center and enter your address. FEMA’s flood maps display more than a dozen category codes, but they all fall into one of three main zones:
- High-Risk Zone
This is any area with a FEMA map code beginning with the letters A or V. It’s also referred to as the “100-year floodplain.” Each year, this zone has a 1% chance of experiencing a catastrophic flood. If you’re in a high-risk flood zone, flood insurance is usually required. Unfortunately, flood insurance is most costly for homes in high-risk zones.
- Moderate-to-Low-Risk Zone
This is an area with a FEMA map code beginning with B, C, or X. It is also referred to as the “500-year floodplain.” This zone has a 0.2% chance, each year, of a destructive flood event. Flood insurance is not mandatory in this zone, but it is still strongly encouraged. Flood insurance is considerably less expensive for this zone than for high-risk zones, especially when compared to the costs of storm damage cleanup after a devastating flood.
- Undetermined-Risk Zone
These areas may have a FEMA map code beginning with the letter D, or they may have no FEMA flood code. This doesn’t mean your home won’t flood. Heavy rainfall frequently causes flash flooding in all parts of the country.
There are many reasons you might want to know your property’s official flood zone designation: You may be considering selling your house, or maybe you’ve been thinking of buying flood insurance. In any case, understanding your risk level is key to protecting your home from flood damage.
SERVPRO of Burlington is here to help if you ever experience a flood!
As the winter season is ramping up let us go over some tips that will help you distinguish the severity between watches, advisories, and warnings according to weather.gov
Winter Storm Watch: Conditions are favorable for a winter storm event, which is a threat to life or property.
Blizzard Watch: Conditions are favorable for a blizzard event (low visibility <1/4 mi. with winds at least 35 mph)
Winter Weather Advisory: Issued for one or more of the following
-Snow of 3-5" in 12 hours
-Freezing rain with sleet/snow
Freezing Rain Advisory: Ice accumulation <1/4"
Winter Storm Warning: Heavy snow of 6" in 12 hours or 8" in 24 hours, or sleet of 1/2" or more.
Ice Storm Warning: Ice accumulation 1/4" or more.
Blizzard Warning: Blizzard conditions for at least 3 hours.
Keep those weather radios nearby and stay safe this winter season!
Sump Pump Maintenance
Since we are in summer storm season it’s important to make sure your sump pump, if you have one, is working correctly by doing a little maintenance. Following are some maintenance suggestions to make sure your sump pump does its job during a storm or water event.
- Unplug the pump and empty the basin of any standing water.
- Remove any debris from the basin and make sure the sump pump inlet screen is clear and not obstructed.
- Plug the pump in and pour five gallons of water into the sump to verify that the float switch turns the pump on and off properly.
If you’re not sure how to do the above things it’s advised to hire a skilled professional. Stay safe this summer and keep an eye on that pump!
Southeast Iowa lies in tornado alley, so I’m sure we are all too familiar with the sounds of tornado sirens. Following are some safety tips you can take when storm season hits this summer:
- When thunder roars, go indoors!
- Pay attention to alerts and warnings: A weather alert radio helps with this should you lose power.
- Unplug appliances.
- Do not use landline phones.
Once a storm has passed listen to authorities and weather forecasts for information on whether it is safe to go outside and instructions regarding potential flash flooding. Also, watch for fallen power lines and trees and report them immediately. Once it is safe to do so assess your home and property. SERVPRO of Burlington is available 24/7 if you need our help. Just give us a call at 319-754-8050.
When a Storm Hits your Home
Storm damage can be a devastating and life altering experience. The first days following a major storm can leave a homeowner overwhelmed and perplexed about what to do next. Some careful and calculated planning will help you and your family return to normal as soon as possible.
Regardless of if your home was hit by torrential wind, flooded, or was the casualty of an electrical storm, the end result is still dangerous. Electricity can be conducted into standing water and mold will most certainly be an issue. Until a thorough evaluation by a qualified person can be conducted, it’s best to avoid the site altogether
Be sure to document as much as possible about the storm and the damage to your home, especially if your home owners insurance policy is more specific about the type of damage it will cover. Take as many photos as possible and note any major issues such as mold, exposed power lines, and crumbling walls. This will all come in handy when filing a claim with your insurance company.
SERVPRO of Burlington are water and storm damage specialists, we have the experience and advanced training that enables us to restore your property quickly. We use scientific drying principles and provide validation and documentation that your property is dry and the job is complete.
How Can You Mitigate Mold Growth After a Flood?
When home sustains any type of water damage, mold often appears soon after. Mold growth tends to spread quickly in homes, and it's often important to act quickly when it comes to mitigating the effects of mold in your home.
1. Stop the Flow of Water
Whether a major pipe burst or a flood that is causing water damage, it's often important to stop the flow of water as quickly as possible. Even small amounts of water can contribute to the spread of mold spores in your home. Since you may have to act quickly if water is pouring into your home.
2. Airflow in Your Home
After your home has flooded, you likely will want to dry out your home as quickly as possible. Though it can be useful to keep your home dry after a flood, the way you do this is often important. Turning on the heat or air conditioning increases the airflow in your home, which makes it easier for mold spores to spread. Instead, consider opening windows rather than using air conditioning to help minimize the spread of mold growth in your home. We have trained technicians that can dry down your home and reduce the opportunity for mold.
3. Contact a Mitigation and Restoration Company in a Timely Manner
Standing water in your home can act as a breeding ground for bacteria and creates the perfect environment for mold to spread. Though you may want to use DIY methods of mitigation or restoration, it's generally best to contact a mold damage mitigation and restoration company. Professionals with experience in mitigation and restoration can safely and quickly help to limit the effects of mold can help to prevent additional damage to your belongings and to the structure of your home, and can also assist in restoration efforts.
Mold growth is a major concern for homeowners and business owners. Preventing further mold damage is often important. You can help to mitigate the damage by stopping the flow of water, reducing the airflow and quickly contacting SERVPRO of Burlington.
You May Need a Pack Out After Water Damage
After floodwaters enter your residence, it is easy to assume most of your possessions have been damaged. However, you can save essential belongings from your flooded home by using our pack-out service. Restoring your contents is just as crucial as repairing your home. Remember that personal items can become permanently damaged if you do not restore them in a timely manner.
When a flood damages your residence, it is vital to remove the floodwater, disinfect the areas, and dry your home. The furniture, appliances, and other personal items may inhibit restoration efforts, and your belongings may not receive the personalized care they need if they remain in your property. At SERVPRO of Burlington, we offer content cleaning and pack-out services that can help you salvage your personal items that floodwater has effected A pack-out service operation consists of three steps.
With our pack-out services, you can salvage precious items like prized furniture, clothing, rugs, and electronics, even important papers or pictures. Our technicians can separate your possessions to determine which ones to clean onsite and which ones to transport to our facilities for more effective restoration.
Our technicians take a detailed inventory of your items. We take every precaution to prevent breakage and maintain a proper list of the items. Since it is time-consuming and costly to move contents out of a home, we can implement some cost-saving strategies that can help you and your insurance firm save money. This often involves moving small items out of a home and cleaning and storing appliances or large furniture items at the loss site. The onsite cleaning process is usually efficient and quick.
We then take the items that are better restored off-site to a secured facility where our trained team cleans, deodorizes, and restores them to their original state. For things like electronics, we can work with professionals who repair ruined electrical equipment. After restoring the contents, we store them until you are ready to have them back in your house.
If floodwaters have affected the contents in your home SERVPRO of Burlington can help you restore them.
Sewer Backup Related to Stormy Conditions
After heavy spring rains and snow melt runoff caused flooding throughout Iowa in 2019, the sewage systems in many cities could not handle that amount of water which caused sewers to back up in commercial and residential basements. SERVPRO of Burlington crews are trained to handle these types of backups, with cleaning and disinfecting your home to start the rebuilding process. The water that comes in through the sewer is contaminated and will fill into porous material that could corrode. Mold begins to grow in this type of material in a very short period of time and can make your home or business environment unhealthy. SERVPRO of Burlington has the specially formulated products and equipment to remove and stop the growth of mold. With our system of dehumidifiers, air scrubbers and other drying equipment to quickly dry down the area and begin the restoration process, SERVPRO of Burlington believes your air quality and safety is paramount for your home or business.
Homeowners can suffer much more than high heating bills and un shoveled sidewalks and streets after a blizzard. Conditions include high winds, ice and snow with plunging temperatures, you can find yourself in need of much more than a plowing contractor. Power lines and tree branches, heavy with ice and snow, can crush a home, allowing water and freezing winds inside. Count on SERVPRO of Burlington to help you.
When temperatures range above 32 degrees, rain and sleet can be the first round of what could turn into snow. Damage from all three can occur, this mixture of moisture weighs down trees and eventually freezes solid on power lines, frequently still above ground and supported by utility poles in the city. High winds increase the danger and probability of tree branches, light poles, and utility wires damaging your home severely if they fall.
The SERVPRO of Burlington team will respond in any conditions, even in a snow storm if possible. We arrive with our crews to help contain the loss by boarding windows, tarping holes in the roof or siding, and pumping out your basement. Our experienced team assesses the damage, creating a plan to remove the snow, ice, and melted water and dry out the spaces.
Our team of experts mitigates and remediates the water damage in the house quickly and thoroughly.
Sump Pump Failure
After all the rainy weather we had in May and June it caused some major flooding to our rivers and we got a couple hundred calls about flooded basements. Luckily, we have dried out but I thought sump pump failure and what to do when it happens would be a perfect topic. A good number of the basements that we ran into with water in the basement was sump pump failures.
Most basements sit below the water table level, and especially during a storm, as groundwater levels rise, the water is diverted to the sump pit, where a float activates a switch when it rises above a certain level. Some of the most common reasons a sump pump might fail is if it doesn’t have battery backup and you lose power during a storm, sump pump is the wrong size and can’t keep up, or maybe it was improperly installed. Another big factor is a lack of maintenance, this allows for debris to clog vents and air holes.
Should you find yourself with water in your basement and it is manageable, you can mop it up or even use a wet/dry vacuum and make sure to dump it at least 20 feet away from the house. It is important to get the water taken care of as soon as you can because the longer it stands it can lead to mold and mildew and can create a musty odor. On a side note, if flooding leaves water standing in your yard around the foundation, you will have to wait for it to recede before true cleanup can begin.
Don’t hesitate to call the professionals at SERVPRO of Burlington if your flooded basement is something that you are unable to handle. We can return your flooded basement back to normal and make it “Like it never even happened.”
Weather Alert Radios
As we start to enter the season of thunderstorms it is important to be prepared in case of an emergency. While a first-aid kit, bottled water, and non-perishable food are important to keep on hand so is a weather alert radio. A weather alert radio can be just as important as a smoke detector and when it comes to storms time is crucial so you can get your family to safety. NOAA weather alert radios range in price anywhere from $25-$100 and can be found at just about any of the major retail stores. Below are some benefits to having a weather alert radio.
- You can program it so that it only sends alerts that are specific to your area. It will immediately sound a warning once an alert for your area is issued by the National Weather Service.
- The alert is loud so you can even hear it when you are asleep.
- They can operate on battery backup so you won’t have to worry about it working if you lose power. If you are someone who tends to forget to check battery life or live in an area that experiences frequent extended power outages they also have emergency crank weather alert radios.
Preparing for a Windstorm
It is that time of year in the Midwest when we start worrying about storms and the possible damage they can do. Most people probably don’t think about windstorms but they can be just as dangerous as thunderstorms. Wind speeds during a windstorm typically exceed 34 miles per hour. Depending on the severity windstorms can down trees and power lines and even potentially wreck vehicles and homes. Following are some tips to help protect your property and prepare for this kind of storm.
Check for any old or loose shingles and repair if needed as these could come off during a windstorm.
Remove any dead trees or shrubs which are too close to your home and any power lines.
Make sure your garage door is reinforced and can withstand high winds. Should your garage door come flying off it can leave the contents vulnerable.
Watch the forecast and if it has the potential for high winds secure your backyard and patio furniture as it has the potential to not only damage property but can also injure people.
Should you need storm damage repair don’t hesitate to call SERVPRO of Burlington. Our professionals are available 24/7 to assist you in your time of need. Stay safe this storm season!
With another round of snow forecast for this coming weekend, this is the time to talk about our winter weather. Not only can several inches of snow be an inconvenience but so can the winds that come along with it. A severe snowstorm that has strong sustained winds of at least 35 mph and that last for three or more hours is considered a blizzard. Not only can this type of storm cause damage to your home but it can also bring whiteout conditions making it extremely unsafe to travel.
It is recommended to keep an emergency kit stocked for your home and your car as well. For your home kit you should include candles, flashlights, warm blankets, non-perishable food, drinking water, and a backup heat source just to name a few. In case you must travel during a blizzard, although it is not recommended, your kit should include water, jumper cables, road flares, tow rope, and non-perishable snacks. This kit comes in handy should your car break down, you get into an accident, or become stuck in the snow. It is important that you stay with your car unless you see a building nearby.
I hope everyone stays safe and keeps warm this winter!
Storm Damage Restoration
Along with fire and water damage restoration SERVPRO of Burlington also provides storm damage cleanup and restoration. Once the storm has passed we will respond quickly to assess your needs and get the restoration process started. A quick response helps prevent secondary damage and also helps to reduce restoration costs.
We are a trusted leader in the storm and water damage industry and our technicians have the advanced training and expertise to return your home back to pre-storm condition. Along with advanced training we also have a lot of hands-on experience and advanced equipment to help in the restoration process. Along with helping out locally we can also access the resources and personnel of 1,700 Franchises to handle major storms and disasters. Don't hesitate to call the professionals at SERVPRO of Burlington for all your storm damage needs. We can help make it "Like it never even happened."
This time of the year is the perfect time to talk about ice storms because our area is prime for freezing rain and they most often occur during the months of December and January. Annually we have on average 12-15 hours of freezing rain. Something you may not know about ice storms is that urban areas tend to suffer more economic and physical damage than rural areas because of the concentration of utilities and transportation systems.
According to most meteorologists, just one-quarter of an inch of ice accumulation can add about 500 pounds of weight per line span. This can cause falling branches and can also tear down power and telephone lines. If more than a half-inch of ice occurs and damage is widespread, it can take a while to remove trees and repair power lines. This can result in a loss of electricity and heat for several days. This is why it is important to make sure you have an emergency kit filled with flashlights, battery-powered radios, candles, and matches just to name a few items. Stay safe this winter season!
Iowa weather can change very quickly from day to day especially at this time of year when one day it could be blistering hot and the next day cold and rainy. This is why you should always be prepared when it comes to storms because you never know when they could pop up. On average, Iowa sees close to 50 tornadoes and hundreds of severe thunderstorms yearly. Some simple steps you can take to protect you and your family during a storm is to watch the weather, unplug any electrical equipment, stay away from water, and stay inside for at least thirty minutes after hearing the last peal of thunder. Once it is safe to do so assess your home and property and determine if you need help. SERVPRO is here 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. We will respond quickly to get the damage restoration process started. We are only a call away and can make your storm damage "Like it never even happened."
According to the Insurance Information Institute lightning strikes cost $790 million in insured losses in 2015. A majority of the time lightning strikes can land on or near residences which can wreak havoc on the home's electrical system, appliances, or electronics. Listed are several ways you can protect your house from lightning damage.
- Invest in lightning protection such as a lightning protection system which creates a pathway for lightning bolts, guiding them safely into the ground.
- Make sure you install surge protection devices. Lightning strikes on or near a power line or utility service are a frequent cause of power surges. Surge protection devices such as a point of use or service entrance don't suppress or arrest a surge but instead they divert the surge to the ground.
- Make sure you hire a professional to install this kind of system. This is not a do-it-yourself task due to all the intricacies involved in completing the job accurately.
- Make sure the person who installs your system uses only products that bear proof of UL certification. This ensures the equipment complies with national industry standards.
- If you move into a home that already has this type of system in place or you want to do structural repairs that could compromise your system you should have it checked out by a third-party independent follow-up inspector to ensure it still properly stands up to strikes.
- Last but not least make sure you safeguard yourself. During the storm, inside is the safest place to be and don't touch anything that can conduct electricity such as electrical appliances, metal surfaces, anything connected to your plumbing system, or anything severed by gas lines such as your water heater or stove.
Should you find yourself in a situation where your home is damaged by lightning during a storm call the professionals at SERVPRO of Burlington. We will make the damage "Like it never even happened."
Emergency Supply Kit
With storm season coming up it's best to be prepared in case of an emergency. One way to be prepared is to put together an emergency supply kit so that you and your family can survive on your own if need be for a few days. The following are just some recommended items that should go in your kit.
Make sure you have on gallon of water per person per day for at least three days
Battery powered or hand crank radio and NOAA Weather Radio
Flashlight and extra batteries
First Aid Kit
Whistle to signal for help
Sanitation and personal hygiene itmes
Non-perishable food and a manual can opener
Cell phone with chargers
Important family documents in a waterproof container
Any other items for unique family needs such as food and water for pets, medications, and infant formula or diapers just to list a few
Make sure you maintain this kit by keeping canned food in a cool, dry place. Replace expired items as needed. You should also re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family's needs change.
Should you find any damage after the storm has cleared call the professionals at SERVPRO of Burlington who will respond immediately to help prevent secondary damage and help reduce restoration costs.
Tips to Follow During a Winter Storm
I went over how to prepare for a winter storm and what to do afterwards. Now I am going to list some tips for when you are in the middle of a winter storm that can help keep you and your family safe.
1. Stay indoors and only drive if it is absolutely necessary. If you must go out make sure you stick to the main roads and let others know where you are headed. Should you get stuck, stay with your vehicle and wait for help.
2. If you must go outside, walk carefully on snowy and icy walkways, wear mittens and a hat, and watch for signs of hypothermia and frostbite. When shoveling snow avoid overexertion by taking breaks and pushing the snow instead of lifting it.
3. Listen to the radio or television for updates on the weather conditions.
4. You can also conserve heat by closing off some rooms and keep family close for sleeping.
After a Winter Storm
Winter storms can cause a lot of damage. Once it is safe to do so you should check your property to see if anything needs repaired before it becomes a bigger problem. Following is a list of what you should check for possible damage.
1. The Roof- Winter storms can do a lot of damage to your roof. Repair any leaks found to prevent a complete roof replacement. Also make sure that your roof has no loose or missing shingles.
2. Attic- After checking the roof you should check to attic to make sure you didn't miss any openings in the roof.
3. Gutters- Ice dams can pull gutters away from the roofline.
4. House Exterior- Cold and snow can do a number on the outside of your house and can result in peeling paint if left long enough. If paint has peeled enough it can cause moisture to begin to infiltrate which can then cause the wood to begin rotting. It's recommended to repaint your exterior in the spring to help prevent these problems.
5. Foundation- Water can collect in cracks and then when the temperature goes below freezing that water will freeze and cause the cracks to widen. Repairing this in the spring can help prevent more problems from developing.
6. Trees- Storms can knock down tree limbs which has the potential to take out power lines and damage siding.
How to Prepare for a Winter Storm
1. Protect pipes from freezing
2. Make sure your heating sources are clean and in working order
3. Make sure your home is properly insulated
4. Consider buying emergency heating equipment
5. Listen to local area radio, NOAA radio or TV stations for the latest information and updates
6. Be prepared to evacuate if you lose power or heat
7. Check emergency kit to make sure nothing is missing or in short supply
8. Bring your animals inside and make sure livestock has access to shelter, food, and non-frozen water
9. Have a three day supply of water
10. Purchase a supply of flashlights
11. Make sure you have plenty of blankets
Follow these tips and you can ensure that you and your family will remain safe if a winter storm were to hit your area.
What to do in a severe storm/tornado?
Let us help you when you are impacted by a storm!
Southeast Iowa lies in tornado alley, so I'm sure we are all too familiar with the sounds of tornado sirens. Tornadoes are caused when hot and cold temperatures meet, and Iowa's hot/humid climate is the perfect recipe for a strong storm or tornado. Like any typical Midwest summer, we have recently had several severe storms come through our area, inevitably causing some damage in its path. Heavy storms can bring dangerous winds, flash flooding, and downed power lines or trees. SERVPRO is equipped with trained technicians and proper equipment to handle these situations. If you find yourself in the midst of a storm, take the appropriate actions to ensure you and your family are safe. After the storm has passed, assess your home and property. Storm damage can be devastating, but SERVPRO is here 24 hours a day if you need help.