Recent Storm Damage Posts

Summer Storm Safety Tips

7/21/2020 (Permalink)

Every year, hail and thunderstorms result in billions of dollars in property damages, especially in spring and summer months. Here are 10 quick tips to ensure that your home is prepared for the storm season ahead.

1. Keep an emergency kit in an accessible location in your home with the following items: a flashlight, extra batteries, extra chargers, non-perishable foods, bottles of water, first aid kits, blankets, sturdy/waterproof boots, a whistle, and important paper documents.

2. Get routine maintenance on your home, including your roof and the foundation of the house.

3. Become more familiar with your insurance policy. Know what is covered and what is not.

4. Invest in storm windows.

5. Bring all patio furniture and outdoor appliances indoors before a storm hits.

6. Keep all important or expensive belongings away from the floor in case of flooding.

7. Before a storm hits, park your car in the garage to prevent car damage.

8. Identify spots in your house away from windows and house siding to go to during a severe storm.

9. Cut down any trees or branches that could fall on your house or cars during a storm.

10. Take storm watches and warnings seriously. They can be the difference between life and death of you or a loved one.

Understanding Storm Warnings

3/9/2020 (Permalink)

With the help of technology, there are now several ways to receive storm warning alerts. The television, your cell phone, the internet, and radio are some of these sources where you can discover this information. The real question is if we truly understand what these warnings mean? You will find that knowing these definitions will be very useful knowledge in preparation for a storm:

  • Severe Thunderstorm Watch – Conditions are ripe for severe thunderstorms within the watch area.
  • Severe Thunderstorm Warning – There is a severe thunderstorm in or heading for the warned area. Treat this like a tornado warning.
  • Flash Flood Watch – Flash floods are likely to occur soon. Be aware that water levels could rise at any point in time. Anticipate moving to a higher ground level.
  • Flash Flood Warning – Flash floods are occurring or expected to occur soon. If this happens, get to a high ground level immediately, and stay away from vehicles. It only takes 18 inches of water to sweep a car of truck away.
  • High Wind Advisory – Windy conditions may occur in the advisory area. This can make for unsafe driving conditions. Especially in (but not limited to) large vehicles. In addition, avoid boating anywhere in the advisory area.
  • High Wind Warning – Very strong winds are expected or already occurring that present a significant danger while driving, boating, or any outdoor activities. Often issued near tropical storms and hurricanes.
  • Tornado Watch – Conditions are suitable for tornadoes within the watch area. Tornadoes associated with hurricanes and tropical storms are typically a very significant cause of death and damage.
  • Tornado Warning – A tornado has been spotted visually or on radar. Usually issued for a county. If a tornado warning is issued where you live, then proceed to the middle of the lowest floor of a strong building immediately.

Three Pro-Tips for Preparing Your Business During a Flood Event

2/17/2020 (Permalink)

flooded restaurant Flood damage, water damage and mold can hurt your business. Call SERVPRO of Lake Charles so we can help.

When flooding affects your business may be at risk. If flood waters are powerful enough, they can force their way into your building and cause damage to floors, walls and your inventory. However, if you know that a flood is imminent, there are a few ways you can protect your business and minimize the destruction that a natural disaster like this might cause.

1. Make Backup Copies of Important Data

If you know your building might suffer storm damage, it is important to make data backup a high priority. Shipping records, customer data and inventory records may not be retrievable if your computer system is damaged by water, so having multiple files of this information can save you time and money in the aftermath of the flood. Consider cloud storage for real-time data retrieval. 

2. Rent a Sump Pump 

If your building sits on low ground and your basement or crawl space is prone to flooding, then you may want to invest in a sump pump. This machine, which is often used by flood damage and restoration service technicians, drains away excess water from the area where it located. Portable and underwater pumps can reduce the amount of standing you might encounter after the flood. 

3. Do Not Hesitate To Act 

Flood damage can happen quickly, especially in the case of flash floods. If you suspect this might happen, evacuate your business quickly and ensure that customers and employees are safe. Heavy rains can cause this type of flood, so it is wise to be vigilant and watch your local weather to be aware of any watches or warnings. If you realize a flood is imminent, shut down vital systems and try to seal off doors and windows after the building is empty. 

When flooding impacts, you may be concerned about the best way to protect your business. However, knowing how to take action and prepare yourself for a flood can reduce the damage and give you peace of mind both before and after the event. 

Protect Your Home Against Flooding

2/14/2020 (Permalink)

flooded home with water damage Call SERVPRO of Lake Charles for more information on how to deal with flooding in your home or business.

Keep Your Home Secure Against Flood Damage

Flooding of your Lake Charles, LA., home can cause major problems. Fortunately, there are ways to protect your home from heavy rains.
Maintain Existing Flood Prevention Structures
Many homes have common flood prevention features, such as gutters and sump pumps, already installed. It is important to maintain this equipment. The following are some routine maintenance activities that will help keep your home secure against flood damage:

  • Clean and inspect gutters (fall and spring)
  • Clean storm drains (at least once a year)
  • Test sump pump and clean screen (every season)
  • Inspect roof (every year)

When completing the above tasks, be sure to check for damage such as loose gutters or missing shingles. The suggested frequency for each task will vary depending on your specific situation. For example, if you have trees near your home, you will likely need to clean your gutters more often. If you suspect that you will be unable to do any of these jobs, you may wish to hire a professional contractor for some or all of your home's routine maintenance tasks.

Consider Home Improvement Projects

In addition to maintaining whatever flood-proofing systems your home already has, you may decide to do some home improvement projects to further protect your home from flooding. The following are some common improvements that you can make to keep your house safe in heavy rains:

  • Install any of the above items (gutters, storm drain, sump pump) that you do not already have
  • Grade your lawn so that it slopes away from house
  • Upgrade seals around windows and doors

Employ Temporary Solutions

Even well-prepared homes may need additional protection during very heavy rains. If a severe storm is headed your way, you may want to install sandbags or other flood protection devices such as inflatable dams.
The above suggestions will help protect your home from flooding. However, even the most well-prepared homes can suffer storm damage. You may need to enlist the help of experienced restoration professionals to get your home back to normal quickly and safely.

Flood Damage In Lake Charles

12/16/2019 (Permalink)

phone and clock graphic Contamination can pose a serious health risk, contact SERVPRO of Lake Charles at (337) 478-1133 for emergency assistance.

Emergency services, like our rapid response units, cover properties that without immediate attention, are at risk of permanent harm. Common scenarios that are covered by our emergency services include the flooding of your home, which might be the result of internal or external issues. Road overflow from heavy rainfall could result in significant quantities of contaminated water entering the ground levels of your property. We offer experienced technicians, on-call, to assist you and your property in an emergency.

Our call-lines are operated round the clock to assist you with flood damage in Lake Charles. Since contaminated materials are involved, our technicians may require you to evacuate affected areas of the home, or even the whole property itself, while work is carried out. SERVPRO technicians are trained to spot the presence of contaminants in water and may need to cordon off certain zones as well as designate clean rooms on-site for decontamination.

Containment of the emergency is essential to avoiding cross-contamination. Cross-contamination is hard to stop and can be spread on clothing, footwear, or through airborne particles. SERVPRO deploy plastic barriers to cordon off the affected area and can apply negative air pressure when necessary. After establishing a quarantine zone, entering the affected area can only be permitted wearing the correct personal protective equipment (PPE.) This is to ensure that potentially harmful pathogens do not come into contact with you or the restorer.

In a blackwater situation, there are significantly more items that need disposal than in a clean water emergency. Pathogens can remain harmful and odorous even in microscopic quantities. Porous structural materials like insulation, sheetrock, or some woods must be removed for demolition from at least 2 inches above the standing water level. These items must be sealed into disposal bags and be dealt with in line with state and federal guidelines. Once the area is thoroughly disinfected, the disposed of materials can be replaced.

Contamination can pose a serious health risk, contact SERVPRO of Lake Charles at (337) 478-1133 for emergency assistance.

Facts About Winter Storms

11/6/2019 (Permalink)

Van covered in ice Water damage and fire damage from winter storms can cause major issues to your home or business.

Winter storms can be a disaster for your home or business. To help avoid water damage or fire damage SERVPRO of Lake Charles is here to educate the community of best practices.

A major winter storm can be lethal. Preparing for cold weather conditions and responding to them effectively can reduce the dangers caused by winter storms.

BEFORE

Be familiar with winter storm warning messages.
(See Winter Storm Watches and Warnings.)

Service snow removal equipment and have rock salt on hand to melt ice on walkways and kitty litter to generate temporary traction.

Make sure you have sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be cut off.

Winterize your home.
  • Insulate walls and attic
  • Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows 
  • Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside.
Have safe emergency heating equipment available.
  • Fireplace with ample supply of wood 
  • Small, well-vented, wood, coal, or camp stove with fuel
  • Portable space heaters or kerosene heaters (See Kerosene Heaters.)
Install and check smoke detectors.

Contact your Parish Emergency Management Office or American Red Cross chapter for more information on winter storms.

Keep pipes from freezing.
  • Wrap pipes in insulation or layers of old newspapers
  • Cover the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture
  • Let faucets drip a little to avoid freezing
  • Know how to shut off water valves.
Have disaster supplies on hand, in case the power goes out.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries 
  • Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries. 
  • First aid kit 
  • One-week supply of food (include items that do not require refrigeration or cooking in case the power is shut off) 
  • Nonelectric can opener
  • One-week supply of essential prescription medications
  • Extra blankets and sleeping bags 
  • Fire extinguisher (A-B-C type) 
Develop an emergency communication plan.
In case family members are separated from one another during a winter storm (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), have a plan for getting back together.

Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the "family contact." After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.

Make sure that all family members know how to respond after a severe winter storm.
Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1, police, or fire department, and which radio station to tune to for emergency information.

Kerosene Heaters:
Check with your local fire department on the legality of using kerosene heaters in your community. Use only the correct fuel for your unit and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Refuel outdoors only, and only when cool. Keep your kerosene heater at least 3 feet away from furniture and other flammable objects.

Hurricane Preparedness

7/23/2019 (Permalink)

Storm damage, flood damage or just a busted pipe, SERVPRO of Lake Charles is here for you.

SERVPRO of Lake Charles understands flooding. Make sure you do as well. When a Hurricane is 36 hours out here what you do:

  • Turn on your TV or radio in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
  • Restock your emergency preparedness kit. Include food and water sufficient for at least three days, medications, a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
  • Plan how to communicate with family members if you lose power. For example, you can call, text, email or use social media. Remember that during disasters, sending text messages is usually reliable and faster than making phone calls because phone lines are often overloaded.
  • Review your evacuation zone, evacuation route and shelter locations. Plan with your family. You may have to leave quickly so plan ahead.
  • Keep your car in good working condition, and keep the gas tank full; stock your vehicle with emergency supplies and a change of clothes.
  • If you have NFIP flood insurance, your policy may cover up to $1000 in loss avoidance measures, like sandbags and water pumps, to protect your insured property. You should keep copies of all receipts and a record of the time spent performing the work. They should be submitted to your insurance adjuster when you file a claim to be reimbursed. Visit www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/137860 to learn more.

If you have any questions or concerns please call us immediately.

Inspect Your Commercial Building and Keep It Weatherproof

3/4/2019 (Permalink)

Water damage restoration specialists at SERVPRO of Lake Charles are ready to come to your aid.

Inspect Your Commercial Building and Keep It Weatherproof

Is your Lake Charles, LA,, business in a building that is comfortable, dry and weatherproof? If so, thank the heroes responsible for exterior maintenance. It is their job to keep your building maintained. Proper maintenance ensures that the weather stays outside where it belongs. 

Damage to the exterior lets in the weather. Some, like broken windows, is obvious and demands immediate attention. Other damage starts tiny and grows into serious maintenance problems.

Examples of minor damage are:

  • Small holes in siding
  • Loose or cracked windows
  • Gaps around vents, pipes and other exterior features
  • Damaged masonry

Routine Inspections Are the Key to Preventive Maintenance

Every building has problems that are easy to overlook. They don’t interfere with the business operation, so they go unreported. The first step in fixing them is finding them. The best way to identify them is through a complete building inspection. Think of this as a close inspection of the building with the help of a checklist. Here are some of the tasks that an exterior maintenance inspection might include:

1. Inspect the roof. Look for areas where the roofing material needs repair. Check the vents, air conditioner and other features attached to the roof to make sure they won’t leak. Check the gutters and downspouts. Make sure that rain water will flow down and away from the building. 
2. Inspect the walls. Look for openings that might let water in. A structural engineer can help you determine if there is water damage.
3. Inspect the masonry. Areas that are failing might provide a path for water to get inside. Bring in a professional to check the situation.
4. Inspect the doors and windows. Make sure that they stop the flow of air and water.
Some exterior maintenance problems can’t wait.

One of these is water damage. There are local water damage restoration specialists ready to come to your aid. They are just a phone call away. 

Avoid these 3 Things When Flooding Occurs

2/4/2019 (Permalink)

Flooded Home

Avoid These Three Things

What you don't do after a flood can be as critical for your safety as the actions you take. It is important to remove flood water to limit water damage, but you should also avoid doing these three things after a flood.

  1. Risk Exposure to Tainted Water

    Standing water resulting from a flood is considered Category 3, or black water. It may contain contaminants such as chemicals, heavy metals, microbes, or solid waste. Keep unprotected skin from making contact with this infected water, and do not allow humans or animals to drink it.

    If you attempt to mitigate damage in a flooded home, be sure to wear personal protective equipment, such as waterproof boots, hip waders, and heavy work gloves. If mold may be present, you should also wear a respirator.

    2. Turn the Electricity Off or On

    You may risk electrocution if you attempt to cross flood water to shut off a circuit breaker. There is no guarantee that water-damaged electrical components will function normally. Furthermore, neighbors may be running a generator improperly and back-feeding electricity into the grid. 

    A utility company technician or a licensed electrician can disconnect the electrical meter to ensure that there is no electrocution risk. You should also exercise caution when dealing with flood-damaged electronics, which are likely to short-circuit.

    3. Delay Cleanup

    The longer water is left standing or moisture lingers, the more likely mold growth will appear. Mold can begin to grow in a flooded home in 24 to 72 hours.

    Avoid unprotected exposure to flood water, the risk of electrocution, and the dangers of secondary damage. The best way to handle flood damage is to hire water damage mitigation specialists to clean, disinfect, and to dry the flooded portion of your residence 
  • Call SERVPRO of Lake Charles @ 337-478-1133.

SERVPRO Does Save Homes in Lake Charles from Extensive Storm Damage

2/1/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Stands Ready to Help Lake Charles Properties After Flooding

We Can Reduce Flood Damage in Your Lake Charles Home

You were not expecting your Lake Charles home to flood from last night’s thunderstorm, but it did, and water is everywhere. Flood waters contain contaminants like chemicals, raw sewage, and dead animals, which is why you should never hesitate to call in the professionals. Our techs set goals to make your home clean and safe after storm waters enter your house. Whenever it is possible, our crews can restore your home to its pre-storm condition. Plus, they strive to preserve many of the contents inside your home. 
 
SERVPRO flood damage teams in Lake Charles are highly trained and come ready to get to work when they arrive. The first step the team takes on is stopping the flow of water from entering your home. Hopefully, that has already occurred. Next, they start extracting the water with various pieces of equipment such as a truck-mounted or portable extractor, wands and pumps that can remove water from the structure fast. The type of machinery we employ depends on the amount of water inside affected areas. 
 
Many flooding situations may require the need for our teams to remove items from the house. When we do remove contents, our technicians keep an inventory of every item during the pack-out stage. Typically, clothing, furniture, and paper documents are sitting in several inches of contaminated water. Our crew can remove and clean all salvageable items with industrial cleaning products. Plus, they can use EPA-registered antimicrobial sprays to sanitize your items before bringing back inside your home. Ultrasonic cleaning can also restore possessions that our customers believed were lost.
 
Drying the area is also an essential process during restoration. Our team can use air scrubbers to clean the air. Plus, they can utilize air movers and axial fans to enhance drying. In all cases, we use dehumidifiers to absorb water vapor. Heaters may also be put in place to target specific areas. 
 
SERVPRO of Lake Charles flood damage restoration services are fast and ready to help. We are available 24/7 to assist you in your time of need. If a flood ever occurs in your home, call us at (337) 478-1133 right away.