If you’re in the process of buying a house or you’re looking for a new home owners insurance policy, you might be familiar with what a flood zone is. If you don’t know what they are, you might want to start reading up on them.
Zoning for Floods?
A flood zone is an area in a specific geographical space that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has determined has at least some risk of flooding. There are four primary types of zones, which correlate to the severity or category of excessive water events that can occur in that area.
- Moderate to Low Risk Areas
- High Risk Areas
- High Risk – Coastal Areas
- Undetermined Risk Areas
How to Find Your Zone
Each area’s zones are depicted on a community's Flood Insurance Rate Map, also known as FIRM, which can be found online at https://www.fema.gov/flood-insurance-rate-map-firm. You can also contact your local municipality or look on their website, most of cities will have zoning information available online. You can try searching for the term “flood elevation certificate” for faster results.
Some people may think that these zones can only be found next to a large body of water or along a river or stream, but that’s not the case. Houses that are nowhere near a body of water can experience a flood if there’s a large rain storm.
Knowing what kind of flood zone you live in can also be helpful for storage options and emergency preparedness. If you live in a high-risk zone, for example, you probably don’t want to put boxes directly on the floor, and you might want to increase the number of your emergency supplies.
If you weren’t aware that your home is potentially at risk for a flood, and a storm causes water related damage, you should contact a storm damage specialist in your area to determine your best course of action and get the damage repaired as quickly as possible.
What To Do Right After a Storm Damages Your Home
You hear the wind blowing and the rain pounding on your window panes, and you hope your home will remain untouched by the storm. Unfortunately, this is not the case. A tree falls on your roof, and water pours into your home, soaking your carpets and covering your hardwood floors. Here's how to stem the tide of storm damage in the event's immediate aftermath.
1. Document Damage Before Attempting Immediate Repairs
If you are planning to submit a claim to your insurance company for the damages, you will want to record them prior to attempting any immediate repairs. Make a list of damaged items, and take photos or video of each.
2. Make Immediate Repairs Only To Prevent Further Damage to Your Home
Take the following steps when attempting immediate repairs or cleanup:
- Cover leaking roofs with a tarp to prevent more rainfall from entering the home.
- Pull up wet carpet to prevent mold and move it to a dry location.
- Throw away all perishable food that has spoiled.
Make sure all articles being removed from the home were documented on the inventory list of damaged items.
3. Exercise Caution If You're Staying in a Damaged Home
To restore lost electricity in your home, use generators outside, away from windows and doors. Make sure your sewer system is working before flushing toilets, using water stored previously for this function if necessary. Open windows and run fans inside your home to circulate air and aid the drying process.
You may also choose to contact a company that can perform emergency restoration services in your home. If so, keep receipts for services provided, as well as for any purchases made for immediate repairs, such as a tarp for the leaking roof.
Hopefully, your home will never be subjected to storm damage. If it is, however, these storm tips can get you started on the road to recovery and get your life back to normal as quickly as possible.
A holiday weekend like the Fourth of July brings much fun, but can also lead to disaster if the right precautions are not taken. Here a few quick and helpful tips to stay safe and enjoy your holiday.
- Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands
- Never light fireworks indoors
- Keep fireworks away from houses and flammable material
- Never point or throw fireworks toward another person
- Only light one device at a time
- Maintain a safe distance after lighting a firework
Although sparklers are a simple and fun firework for kids to use, they can still be quite dangerous if not handled properly. Sparkles can quickly ignite clothing, and children have received severe burns from dropping sparklers on their feet. Sparkles are not advised to children under the age of five, unless accompanied by and adult. Consider using safer alternatives, such as glow sticks, confetti poppers, or colored streamers for children when trying to celebrate safely this Fourth of July!
Checking For Mold
Mold is not only detected visibly, but also through air sampling. Air sampling is used when mold may be in hidden spots. An industrial hygienist helps to get the most effective results when testing for mold. They are trained to know the ins and outs of how mold shows up in the air in your home. To get rid of mold, you must first recognize it. This involves air and surface samples. Industrial hygienists collect these samples to determine if mold is one of three kinds; allergenic, pathogenic, toxigenic, or even a mixture of all three. It is crucial in understanding the type of mold and level of infestations when mounting a good mold cleaning effort.
You may try to cut costs by using a home kit, but in the long run this may be a costly mistake. There are several ways those kits can be misleading. They often lack the sensitivity to detect specific concentrations of mold to determine where infestation is heaviest. If an area is too secluded, the kit may not detect airborne spores at all - or worse, may indicate a mold problem where none exists. This can result in mold remediation bills for an issue you never even had! If you suspect mold or have frank mold damage, tackle it the right way by contacting a mold cleaning company to check your home’s air and surfaces and get the mold out fast.
How To Reduce the Chance of a Kitchen Fire
Though fires can start in any area of the home, many fires often begin in kitchens, and kitchen fires can cause widespread damage to homes. Fortunately, there are various tips you can follow to help to reduce the chance of a kitchen fire occurring in your home.
1. Don't Leave Cooking Food Unattended
When cooking, it can be easy to become distracted. Though you may be tempted to leave your kitchen while cooking, however, this can result in a fire. Items left on a stovetop can burn and catch fire in a short period of time if high heat is used, and if you are out of the room when the fire begins, you may not be able to stop the fire from getting out of control. For these reasons, it's generally best to stay in the kitchen when cooking.
2. Clean Your Kitchen Often
When it comes to fire prevention tips, cleaning your kitchen can be beneficial. If grease has spilled on your stovetop or in your oven, or if you use a dirty, greasy pan, a fire can start quickly. A grease fire can be particularly dangerous because it can spread at an accelerated rate and cause major damage to your home. Cleaning your kitchen often, however, can reduce the likelihood of grease causing a fire.
3. Keep a Fire Extinguisher Nearby
Though a flame in a kitchen doesn't necessarily spell disaster if it is quickly extinguished, fires that aren't quickly controlled can cause devastation to homes. If a home has been affected by major fire damage, many homeowners find it helpful to contact emergency restoration services. However, the sooner you are able to extinguish a fire, the less likely that your home will sustain major damage. Having an ABC fire extinguisher (an extinguisher that can put out fires caused by trash, grease or electricity) in your kitchen can be wise.
Since kitchen fires are incredibly common, knowing tips to prevent this type of fire can be useful to homeowners. Preventative methods can include remaining in your kitchen when cooking, frequently cleaning your kitchen and keeping a fire extinguisher in your kitchen.
The 3 Essentials of Water-Damage Protection for Your Business
Understanding the Three Essentials of Storm Preparedness
The right amount of water in the right place is life-sustaining. When too much water makes its way to the wrong place, it can endanger lives and property. Weather conditions that cause flooding are a primary contributor to commercial property damage. Understanding the three essentials of storm preparedness may help you avoid costly water damage restoration, due to a severe weather event.
Preparing your coworkers may prove essential if rising water becomes a reality. Consider the following measures.
Registering with an emergency notification service
Providing your staff with emergency preparedness training by a water emergency specialist
Posting building evacuation routes
Preparing an emergency kit with first aid, water, non-perishable food, flashlights, batteries, towels and blankets
Choosing an emergency preparedness team leader
With your staff now prepared, you may want to bring your building into compliance with flood-safe practices.
A few precautions can help you avoid costly water damage to your facility. Winterizing your irrigation backflow preventer in cold winters can prevent broken pipes. It may be useful to equip your sump pump with a battery backup that can allow the pump to run, even in a power outage. Regular cleaning of gutters and storm drains can prevent flood-favorable conditions from developing near your structure. With your staff and facility prepared, the third area to address is your financial protection.
Because water-related damage can result in destruction of irreplaceable items, insurance coverage is recommended. If your business is located in a high-risk area, you may have been required to purchase a separate flood insurance policy when you purchased the property. Even if your flood risk is low, you may still benefit from a policy that includes coverage for other common types of water damage, such as roof or pipe leaks.
Because water cleanup is generally a disruptive and costly process, you may ultimately be glad you devoted some time to preparation. Taking care of a few preventive measures could prove well worth the trouble by minimizing the impact on your valuable property and your bottom line.
How a Mitigation Company Can Help Rebuild Your Business
When you’re facing fire damage in your business, it can be overwhelming to think about how to begin the rebuilding process. However, consulting a professional fire mitigation company can help to alleviate the destruction caused by the fire incident. If you’re ready to call for help and begin restoring your business, this guide gives you an overview of the mitigation process.
Assessing the Situation
When mitigation professionals arrive at your business, they assess the damage that your building has sustained in the aftermath of the fire. Some of the forms of damage that they inspect may include:
- Smoke damage
- Soot damage
- Water damage (from firefighting efforts)
These types of harm may be present in addition to fire damage caused by direct contact with flames. Professionals can help you determine what the degree of destruction is in your business.
Protecting Against Additional Harm
Examining the extent of damage to your commercial building allows mitigation specialists to prevent further harm from taking place. If your building has any missing walls or windows, professionals can board up these surfaces. They may also place tarps on the roof if it has been damaged as well. Moreover, having your business protected from additional damage can help when an insurance adjuster visits to inspect the state of your building.
Cleaning and Restoration
Finally, fire mitigation professionals clean any damaged items in your building and work on restoring your business. The steps in this process depend on the extent of damage that you are experiencing. If there are any signs of water damage, restoration specialists can remove and dry excess water. Likewise, they may clean any surfaces in your building that contain traces of soot or smoke.
Whether the restoration process involves minor repairs or a full reconstruction, mitigation professionals can improve the condition of your business. Be sure to call a specialist immediately to help you rebuild, no matter what type of fire damage you’re facing.
Forgotten Causes of Commercial Water Damage
Business owners usually think commercial water damage is caused by floods, massive rains, and storms. That’s often true. Weather events, storms, and flooding do shut down businesses and create major water damage in commercial buildings. Unfortunately, many business owners, commercial space renters, and entrepreneurs don’t think about and try to prevent other typical causes of water damage.
1. Sprinkler systems
Some older office and retail buildings have outdated sprinkler systems that work in conjunction with fire protection systems. While sprinklers can come in handy during a fire emergency, they can also cause commercial flood damage if they are faulty, not well maintained, or in need of replacement. Many a time a poor sprinkler system has damaged commercial inventory and business assets and shut down business. Check your system to make sure that it’s not faulty or in need of repair or replacement.
2. Appliances and equipment
Restaurants and catering businesses sometimes suffer water damage from their appliances or equipment. But any business that has appliances or equipment that use water could suffer water damage. If an appliance fails and spews water across your commercial building, especially during late hours when no one is around, you may come back to work and face a water damage emergency.
3. Pipes and plumbing
Just like in a residential home, the plumbing system in a commercial business can fail. A broken pipe or faulty plumbing can result in major water damage in just a few hours.
4. Sewer lines
Sewer backups are another cause of commercial water damage that often catches business owners by surprise. Should the sewer line to your building back up or become damaged, realize the potential dangers of contaminated black water which can cause health issues and ruin products and office furnishings.
5. Water Heaters
Water heaters in commercial buildings can crack or lose their seal because of high pressure. You want to make sure and follow the manufacturers guidelines and flush your water heater regularly to make sure it is working properly.
One of the more obvious ways commercial buildings suffer water damage is through an old or leaky roof. Inspect the roof frequently (at least every six months) to make sure it does not need to be reseal and to be sure it drains properly. Even small leaks should be fixed immediately.
Mold in the Building? Take These Steps Immediately
You go about your business each day at work focused on the tasks at hand. You probably give little thought to issues such as mold cleanup and fungal growth. However, if you come across this concern, it could cause great alarm for you and everyone in your workplace. On the bright side, there are some effective actions you can take when you discover this nasty substance.
The second you discover mold spores in your building, take appropriate action. Don’t shrug it off or procrastinate. This could only make matters worse and result in bigger concerns. Here are some essential steps:
- Get in touch with the building manager.
- Take some pictures.
- Call a professional mold cleanup company.
- Contact your commercial building insurance company.
Inform the Property Manager
It’s important that you speak with the building manager about the situation so he or she can take necessary steps to prevent further mold contamination. The building manager will apprise other tenants of the situation.
This is an important step when you speak with a cleanup team and with your insurance agent. You want to document the extent of the damage and what type of mold is present in your office.
Call the Pros
This might be the most crucial step in the process. Mold cleanup isn’t something you should handle on your own. There are trained, capable professionals who have the equipment to thoroughly dispose of the mold in your building. The team will also clean and sanitize the area so you can rest easy knowing all the mold is gone.
Speak With the Insurance Provider
Your insurance plan may have provisions where it covers mold and all cleanup and restoration efforts. Discuss your concerns with your insurance agent and ensure that you understand your policy completely.
Quick action and mold cleanup is essential when you find mold at work. Get a professional crew on the job, and you should be in good shape.
SERVPRO Storm Response
When it comes to fire & water damage, or specialty cleanup needs, it's SERVPRO brand that comes to mind. Our TEAMS work endlessly to make sure our customers are happy, and have one objective in the aftermath of disaster, to make their loss "Like it never even happened."
No matter the job size, our SERVPRO teams are ready to handle any size loss. With 1,700+ franchises nationwide, we have access to numerous highly trained personnel and thousands of pieces of equipment. Our SERVPRO Disaster Recovery teams are strategically placed throughout the country to respond when needed. Our Teams have a proven track record for success, assisting with cleanup of floods, tornadoes, wildfires, and damage caused from frigid temperatures.
Whether it’s a major storm event, or faulty appliance, we will be there with one call.