Recent Storm Damage Posts
Storm Gutters- How gutters work and why they are important.
Storm and Rain Gutters protect your home in many different ways. Essentially, the purpose of a gutter is to collect the water from your roof and direct it to the ground, away from the house foundation, through a downspout. During a storm, the rain water travels from the top of the roof from the slope to the gutters. The water then travels through the downspout, the metal sheet tube that runs along side of the home vertically, then out to the splash block, the fixing on the ground that further diverts water from the foundation to protect the basement from flooding and water damage.
Gutters are vital on a home. Hence, why you see them on every single home you’ve ever looked at. Without a roof slope and gutter system, rainwater would collect in your roof and cause rot, mold and deterioration of the roof and shingles. This would lead to interior ceiling, wall, and floor damage. Eventually, the entire home would be infested with microbial growth which would lead to the complete collapse and death of your home. Even with the slope on the roof, gravity will direct that water down the home and into your windows and exterior moldings. The molding around the windows will start to rot and deteriorate, without a gutter system. Water will leak into the home and into the walls which would, once again, cause mold and rot. On top of all that, gutters prevent ‘pooling’, gathering of water, from happening around the foundation of your home. If the foundation of your home suffers from pooling long enough, the ground will soften, the home can become unstable and this will weaken the foundation of the home and cause water damages in the lowest level of the home. Cracks in the walls and ceilings may also form as the foundation may shift. As you can see now, a good gutter system is vitally important to keep your home structurally sound. Please refer to the next Blog from SERVPRO of Fredericksburg titled ‘Storm / Rain Gutter Maintenance’.
Storm / Rain Gutter Maintenance
In an earlier blog titled ‘Storm Gutters- the Importance of Gutters and How they Work.’, you learned that storm and rain gutters are a vital component to a home. In this blog, we will go over the maintenance and cleaning of your gutter system.
- First, be sure you ladder is up to par. It should be extendable, sturdy and safe. Your ladder placement is also important as it should always be on a flat, sturdy surface. (rocks and landscaping items can cause your ladder to teeter.) Ladder stabilizers are highly suggested as they help with safety measures. Similarly, it is ideal to have a helper on the ground who can pass you tools and also stabilize the ladder if it starts to shift.
- As they always say in interviews, dress like you already have the job. The same goes for gutter cleaning. We suggest wearing a long sleeve t-shirt, non-slip boots, cargo pants and rubber gloves. This is a dirty job and your clothing will not come out the same way it went into this project.
- You will want to remove the gunk from the gutters. This can be done with a small scooper. If you are having a hard time finding a good scoop, you can buy them online (Amazon has literally everything) or even get it from your kids sandbox, that scoop will work fine too. Anything from a rubber kitchen spatula to a hardware store gutter scoop will do the job just fine. Be sure to use something that is not metal as you do not want to scratch your gutters.
- For easy clean-up, grab a tarp of some sort and set it under your work space. That way you can simply throw the gunk out onto the area below you. The tarp can then be washed off easily.
- After removing the gunk and debris from the gutters and downspout, grab your garden hose, turn it on, and run water along the inside of the gutter system. This does one of two things: cleans the gutters further and lets you know if you have any leaks that need repairing.
- After you finish cleaning the gutters, you can fix any hanging or sagging sections with gutter hangers. You can buy these online. Many people use zip ties and other DIY materials.
Gutter cleaning really is not that bad, once you get the hang of it. Also, it makes it easier if you do this once a year. Letting your gutters go years without any type of maintenance can result in damages to your home. If water or mold damage does happen as a result of gutters, give SERVPRO of Fredericksburg a call. We will fix up your home and make it “Like it never even happened.”
Dangers of Driving in Severe Weather
Driving During Severe Weather is Dangerous to Yourself, Your Passengers and Others!
Before driving in severe weather, ask yourself;
Is this trip really necessary?
If not, do not risk your life or anyone else’s. Do not underestimate the threat and consequences severe weather can cause, especially while on the road.
Proper readiness in the face of tornadoes, thunderstorms, and other severe weather situations can save your life along with others. Being on the road during severe weather is the most dangerous place to be at. Depending on the type of storm, your vehicle could end up rolled, flipped, slammed into another vehicle or tree, or even lifted air borne. Tornadoes for instance can lift semi-trailers and box trucks, fully loaded. Flying debris may also hit you so if you choose to lay in a ditch for refuge, stay clear of your own vehicle. Storms have been the cause of many vehicular fatal accidents. Loved ones have been lost, mothers, children, fathers... Please be careful when driving in severe weather conditions as it can have a fatal consequence.
Stay clear of roads if possible and always stay aware of where you are at and how to get to safety in emergencies. Do not test mother nature.
When in doubt, STAY HOME!
Tips for Driving During Storms and Rough Weather
Sometimes you are already on the road when sever weather hits. In this case, be prepared mentally and physically. It is vital for your safety to know what to do. The first tip of safe driving in unsafe conditions is:
DO NOT DRIVE if you are aware of the severe weather conditions you will be entering.
If you must drive:
- Monitor the weather situation by listening to the local weather radio. You must keep informed on exactly how severe the weather will be getting and need to know if you need to change course, or stop driving.
- Always stay calm. Panicking has never made a situation better.
- Know your limits, if you cannot see at least 30-50 feet in front of you clearly, pull off the road and wait out the storm.
- If you start to skid on wet roads, do not over correct the steering wheel. Stay calm and keep your eyes on the road and the steering in which direction you want to go.
- If you see a tornado, get off the road and seek sanctuary in a sturdy structure. Do not try to outrun a tornado in your vehicle.
- In any sever weather case, do not park your vehicles under trees, bridges or over passes. These are not solid structures made for safety.
- Do not ever cross over flowing or standing water. The ground beneath it is unstable. It can and will take your car with the current as the ground beneath it is unstable.
- If you have absolutely no other option to getting to a stable structure during a tornado, lay in the lowest part of the ditch on the side of the road. This is last option, worst case scenario.
In conclusion, fatalities happen due to driving in severe weather, so just don't. If you can avoid it, do avoid it. You may just save your life and others.
Prepare for a Hurricane / Tropical Storm
10 Steps to Prepare for a Hurricane
- Have a well organized plan.
- Having a well-organized plan is critical. You will want this plan to be printed, and kept in a safe place. You will want to go over this plan with all people living in your home as well. Have a plan for evacuation- for both people and pets!
- Secure the Exterior
- In preparation for a hurricane, you will want to prepare physically. This includes boarding up windows, doors and any other entry to your home. You do not want a window or door to break or bust. Also, bring all exterior items inside. This includes toys, cars, yard décor etc.…
- Secure the Interior
- This includes wall art, anything hanging, loose items- you will want to secure them down or temporarily store them so they do not get destroyed or come loose and cause damage.
- Move your vehicles
- As mentioned above, you will want to move your vehicles. If you cannot move them to high ground, move them into your garage next to the door. Do not park them under street lights or wires.
- Charge & Fill Everything
- In preparation, you will want your vehicles filled with gas, your phone charged to 100%, your computer, and any other device you may think you need.
- Unplug Appliances
- Unplug all appliances in preparation for the storm. This includes everything in the kitchen and living room especially. You do not want power to such appliances as water damage is likely to happen during a hurricane or tropical storm. Water and electricity do not mix!
- Secure Important Items
- Birth certificates, social security cards, loan information, titles… These types of documents and items need to be secured away in preferably a storm proof lock box. Also, it is a good idea to make copies of these items.
- Emergency Kit
- You will also want an emergency kit. This all depends on where you will be at during the storm and how much room you have. At minimum, you want batteries, dried/ canned food, water, flashlights, and essentials.
- Your shelter room should be a room on the first floor with no windows or breakables. You will also want to have a map/ route to the nearest storm shelter in emergency. Be ready to evacuate at any time.
- Get ready
- Prepare your family and pets. Share all plans, and keep up to date on storm news. Check the radio, TV, and any other channel so you know exactly what is going on.
Types of Storms and What to Expect
Types of Storms & What to Expect
Storms come at anytime and are one of the few things that are completely out of your control. SERVPRO of Fredericksburg will do their best in helping with the aftermath and damages. However, it is good to know what to expect from different types of storms.
- Hail Storms
- Hail storms affect the exterior of homes greatly. You can expect damage done to roofing, windows, vehicles, doors, lawn items and equipment, and any other outdoor dwelling.
- Thunderstorms happen all the time, in any area across the country. They can be minor or major. Major thunderstorms can cause power outages, fallen trees, flooding indoors and outdoor and more. See our other blog regarding Thunderstorms for more information.
- Ice Storms
- Ice storms can be very dangerous. Driving conditions can be impossible during and after ice storms. Expect fallen trees, telephone poles and wires. Expect very hazardous conditions.
- Tornadoes are devastating at times and hard to predict. The high winds damage anything and everything in its path. You can expect long term power outages, fallen trees, serious indoor and outdoor damage, and lots of debris.
- Lightning storms
- Lighting is deadly when struck. It is important to stay indoors with no water running. You can expect fallen trees, power lines, and fires during a lightning storm.
- Blizzards bring heavy snow. Do expect power outages, but also expect to be ‘snowed in’ for quite some time. You will want to be prepared with food, water, and essentials before a blizzard hits as it makes driving conditions hazardous.
- Floods cause major water damage. Homes can be destroyed by flooding and long term standing water. You can expect water damage to indoor and outdoor items along with vehicles.
- Hurricanes/ Tropical Storms
- Hurricanes and Tropical Storms can also cause major water damage to homes and vehicles. You can expect debris, water damage, long term power outages and standing water. See our other blog regarding Hurricanes and Tropical Storms for more information.
SERVPRO of Fredericksburg is equipped to help with any storm damage you may be dealing with. We are here 24/7 for your convenience.
What is a Hurricane and Who Tracks Them
Hurricane Season is officially June,1st through November 30th. Each year The National Hurricane Center, a division of The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calculates and predicts hurricanes that are expected for the year.
A tropical cyclone is a rotating low-pressure weather system that has organized thunderstorms. When the storm’s wind reached 74 miles per hour it is classified as a hurricane.
There is a scale of 1 – 5 that is assigned to hurricanes and the higher the number the more likeliness that the damage will be worse.
- Category 1: Winds of 74-95 mph (119-153 km/h)
- Category 2: Winds of 96-110 mph (154-177 km/h)
- Category 3: Winds of 111-129 mph (178-208 km/h)
- Category 4: Winds of 130-156 mph (209-251 km/h)
- Category 5: Winds exceeding 157 mph (252 km/h)
The Atlantic Basin is the origin of hurricanes, this includes the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, the Eastern North Pacific Ocean. Less often they develop in the Central Pacific Ocean.
Hurricanes are given names and there is a list that rotates in a six-year cycle. The World Meteorological Organization is responsible for maintaining and updating the list.
There is an average of 12 storms yearly.
High Wind Alerts and Preparing for Them
High Wind Alerts and Preparing for Them
The television and radio have announced that there is going to be high winds in the upcoming day or days in your area. There are things that you can do to prepare for upcoming unusually high winds. By preparing your property and contents on and around your property you can usually expect less damage from the wind.
Contents should either be taken inside or secured. Flying content can be damaged severely and cause damage to other property or even to you, family members or other friends. Secure all porch, pool and patio furniture, grills and grill covers. Bird feeders and hanging plants can easily be blown off and should also be secured.
Check your structure and repair the following things if needed, loose shingles, loose gutters and downspouts, loose shutters, gates and other fence sections, window screens, storm doors and their latches. Check any outside buildings you may have on your property for repairs needed prior to the high wind advisory.
If you have trees on your property, check them for already broken limbs and move all vehicles and anything else that can be damaged away from the trees if possible.
If you do experience damage during a wind storm and need the assistant of professionals for repairs, contact only licensed and insured companies. Referrals can be retained from other businesses, friends and neighbors.
Preventing weather and storm damage
Are you prepared for the coming cold weather? Cold weather can have a huge impact on your home or business if you are not ready for it. From heavy rain and freezing temperatures to damaging winds, sleet, or snow, all can cause serious and costly property damage. To help prevent costly damages due to weather, consider taking the following precautions to protect your property before colder weather hits.
· Check your business property for downed tree limbs and branches. Wind, heavy rain, ice, and snow can cause branches to fall, which could cause damage to the property and potentially cause personal injuries.
· Roofs, water pipes, and gutters should all be inspected to ensure they are in proper order. Leaves and other obstructions can cause a damming effect, which can lead to roof damage and interior water problems.
· Inspect property, especially walkways and parking lots, for proper drainage to alleviate flood hazard potential.
· Inspect all handrails, stairwells, and entryways to address and correct potential slippery or hazardous areas. Install mats or non-slip surfaces and post caution signs where water could be present.
· Protect water pipes from freezing by simply allowing water to drip when temperatures dip below freezing. If the building has outdoor faucets, consider shutting water off at the main valve in the basement or crawl space.
Are you prepared for power outages
Are You Prepared for Power Outages?
Are you prepared for power outages, whether it is at your home or your place of business? Do you have a designated area that has a supply bin with items that are needed in case of a power outage? This is something every business and household should have in case of a power outage. Below is a guide that we have put together to help get you started on being more prepared should a power outage event strike your area.
Remember that a business and a home will have different needs. For example, a business should have either emergency backup lights or possibly something as simple as a flashlight at each employee’s desk or work area.
Depending on the time of year that the power outage happens it may require that you find a way to stay warm or a way to cool down. Emergency blankets are a helpful way to stay warm, and you can put on extra clothing.
If it is hot and you experience a power outage cover the windows to block the sun from coming in and go to the lowest level in the building. Wear the least amount of clothes as possible and stay as hydrated as you can but remember you may have a limited supply of water.
Here are some items that should be in your emergency power outage bin.
- Phone Number for The Power Company
- Flash Lights
- Emergency Candles
- Power Bank for cell phone (Make sure it stays Charged)
- First Aid Kit
- Snacks (Please keep in mind anyone that may have allergies or may be diabetic)
- Battery powered radio
- Hand sanitizer
- The name an address of the dedicated emergency shelter for your area
- Emergency Blankets
- Have an inventory check list on the top of the bin and make sure it stays current and nothing is expired
Please remind everyone to keep the refrigerator and freezer closed, to only open when necessary. Water must be conserved as much as possible.
Designate an employee to inventory the bin, make sure nothing has expired and that all supplies are there.
Tips For Storms and Flash Flooding
Tips for storms and flash flooding
Rain is in the forecast for the end of this week and most of next week. Here are some tips on being prepared for storms and flash flooding in our area:
- Always have an emergency preparedness kit packed and ready to go with items like flashlights, first aid kit, whistle, non-perishable food, bottled water, battery powered radio, extra batteries etc.
- Make sure to have an emergency plan in place and make sure everyone is aware of that plan.
- Be sure to stay informed of the current weather, traffic, power outages etc. Visit http://www.fredericksburgalert.com/ to sign up for free for emergency alerts and notifications.
- In your home or business check the following before the heavy rain comes: Roof, Gutters, Doors, Windows, Sump Pump and Outdoor Equipment.
Flash floods can occur in a county or city, where runoff from buildings, parking lots and streets can overwhelm municipal storm water sewers. Please be on alert and be prepared for the upcoming weather! If you or someone you know has flooding in their home or business please call SERVPRO® of Fredericksburg at 540-373-7000.
Preparing For a Winter Storm
Preparing for a Winter Storm
There are many different aspects of preparation for a winter storm. There is preparing your home, preparing for the things that you will need if the roads are not passable and thinking outside of the box about the things that we take for granted in our everyday lives.
SERVPRO® of Fredericksburg has put together this list to help you get started in preparing for a winter storm. Everyone should always personalize and add to the list to accommodate their needs.
- Water – At least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day
- Food – At least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy to prepare food
- Baby food and supplies- If needed
- Pet food and supplies - If needed
- Medications – 7 Day supply along with batteries needed for any medical devices, including hearing aids.
- Sanitation and personal hygiene supplies
- Battery powered and hand cranked radio, extra batteries
- Flashlight and batteries
- Heat source
- Remember *Carbon monoxide is a silent killer* Do NOT ever use a generator, grill, gasoline, propane or charcoal burning device inside your home, garage, basement or any closed in area. These should only be used outside.
- Cell Phones – Fully Charged and portable chargers
- Check on the elderly and handicapped if you can, help them prepare for the storm and then keep in contact with them if possible. A simple phone call could make their day or save their life.
- Put your snow shovel and ice melting products inside so you do not have to go out in the elements to get them.
- If you must leave home due to the conditions make sure you know where the nearest shelter to you is located.
- Prepare your vehicle before the storm arrives. Have enough gas, windshield washer fluid and good wiper blades. Always have an emergency kit in your vehicle that contains an emergency blanket that will keep you warm if your vehicle becomes stranded.