Recent Storm Damage Posts
Lightening Damage Clean Up - SERVPRO here to help
This home was struck by lightening. We provided board up services to secure the structure as well as content cleaning from the small fire that started
SERVPRO of Ottumwa / Oskaloosa is here to help if you experience damage to your home or business from lightening. Lightening is very powerful and can cause odor, damaged structure, or even a fire. We are here to help you clean it up.
In honor of lightening awareness week, June 23-29, 2019, the National Weather Service has provided these common lightening myths and facts:
Lightning Myths and Facts
Myth: If you're caught outside during a thunderstorm, you should crouch down to reduce your risk of being struck.
Fact: Crouching doesn't make you any safer outdoors. Run to a substantial building or hard topped vehicle. If you are too far to run to one of these options, you have no good alternative. You are NOT safe anywhere outdoors.
Myth: Lightning never strikes the same place twice.
Fact: Lightning often strikes the same place repeatedly, especially if it's a tall, pointy, isolated object. The Empire State Building is hit an average of 23 times a year
Myth: If it’s not raining or there aren’t clouds overhead, you’re safe from lightning.
Fact: Lightning often strikes more than three miles from the center of the thunderstorm, far outside the rain or thunderstorm cloud. “Bolts from the blue” can strike 10-15 miles from the thunderstorm.
Myth: Rubber tires on a car protect you from lightning by insulating you from the ground.
Fact: Most cars are safe from lightning, but it is the metal roof and metal sides that protect you, NOT the rubber tires. Remember, convertibles, motorcycles, bicycles, open-shelled outdoor recreational vehicles and cars with fiberglass shells offer no protection from lightning. When lightning strikes a vehicle, it goes through the metal frame into the ground. Don't lean on doors during a thunderstorm.
Myth: A lightning victim is electrified. If you touch them, you’ll be electrocuted.
Fact: The human body does not store electricity. It is perfectly safe to touch a lightning victim to give them first aid. This is the most chilling of lightning Myths. Imagine if someone died because people were afraid to give CPR!
Myth: If outside in a thunderstorm, you should seek shelter under a tree to stay dry.
Fact: Being underneath a tree is the second leading cause of lightning casualties. Better to get wet than fried!
Myth: If you are in a house, you are 100% safe from lightning.
Fact: A house is a safe place to be during a thunderstorm as long as you avoid anything that conducts electricity. This means staying off corded phones, electrical appliances, wires, TV cables, computers, plumbing, metal doors and windows. Windows are hazardous for two reasons: wind generated during a thunderstorm can blow objects into the window, breaking it and causing glass to shatter and second, in older homes, in rare instances, lightning can come in cracks in the sides of windows.
Myth: If thunderstorms threaten while you are outside playing a game, it is okay to finish it before seeking shelter.
Fact: Many lightning casualties occur because people do not seek shelter soon enough. No game is worth death or life-long injuries. Seek proper shelter immediately if you hear thunder. Adults are responsible for the safety of children.
Myth: Structures with metal, or metal on the body (jewelry, cell phones, Mp3 players, watches, etc), attract lightning.
Fact: Height, pointy shape, and isolation are the dominant factors controlling where a lightning bolt will strike. The presence of metal makes absolutely no difference on where lightning strikes. Mountains are made of stone but get struck by lightning many times a year. When lightning threatens, take proper protective action immediately by seeking a safe shelter don’t waste time removing metal. While metal does not attract lightning, it does conduct it so stay away from metal fences, railing, bleachers, etc.
Myth: If trapped outside and lightning is about to strike, I should lie flat on the ground.
Fact: Lying flat increases your chance of being affected by potentially deadly ground current. If you are caught outside in a thunderstorm, you keep moving toward a safe shelter.
Visit: https://www.weather.gov/safety/ to learn more about how to stay safe during various weather events.
Check The Operation of Your Sump Pump During Storm Events
When the rain pours do you check your sump pump?
A proper working sump pump can save you considerable amounts of money after a significant rainfall event. Being a proactive owner during rain storms and checking your home or businesses sump pump will help prevent damage or reduce the damage that can occur. When damage happens SERVPRO of Ottumwa / Oskaloosa is here to help.
If you answered no to the first question here are some things to consider checking,
- Is there power to the sump pump? Check that it is plugged in and the breaker is not tripped.
- Is the float free of any debris and away from the side wall where it won’t work properly?
- Is the inlet free of any debris that could prevent it from pumping the water out?
- Does the pump work? An easy way to test this is by filling the pit with enough water to reach the float of the sump pump to trigger the pump.
- Check where the sump pump drains. Ensure that it drains far enough from the foundation that the water doesn't leak right back in.
How To Prevent Storm Damage
Tips from SERVPRO of Ottumwa / Oskaloosa on how to prevent storm damage
Clean your gutters. - An inspection of your gutter system frequently can help insure that they are not clogged or damaged. If they are clogged this can lead to roof and foundation leaks. When filled with debris it prevents the water from draining away from your house.
Check your foundation. - Look for cracks or gaps in the foundation that could allow water to infiltrate the structure. Water follows the easiest path.
Pack up all outdoor items. - Outdoor furniture is made from light weight materials and strong wind can turn the items into projectiles and can damage the home or vehicles causing significant damage.
Know how to shut off your utilities. It is good to locate all utility shut offs; electrical, gas, water before a storm hits. If something happens you may have to turn these off to prevent further damage.
Check trees for dead material- Trees can get knocked down or limbs blown down that are damaged or dead. Call a licensed arborist for help with this inspection.
SERVPRO Is Ready No Matter What the Storm
SERVPRO of Ottumwa / Oskaloosa is ready for what ever the storm may be. Our staff, equipment, and trucks are loaded and ready. When most people think of the word storm, they think about thunder, lightning, high winds and heavy rain. As SERVPRO does monitor and prepare for these situations like any other, they are contained to a few months out of the year. When monitoring and preparing for a “storm” SERVPRO has to take into consideration any occurrence that is going to affect multiple homes or businesses in an area. We are always doing inventory counts and checking our resources. You never know when the next storm might come. For example: when the temperatures drop below freezing in the winter for a period of time, homes & businesses have the risk of their water pipes freezing and busting leaving a mess. Another great example of a “storm” situation that SERVPRO prepares for is Tornado season. In any situation, SERVPRO’s goal is to be prepared and ready to respond within minutes.
Water Removal From Basement After A Storm
Cleaning Up Rain Water from A Storm In A Basement With One Type of Extraction Equipment
Heavy rain fall can infiltrate a home or business very quickly. Most of the time it is a problem in the lower level or basement of a home or in a crawl space. Water can seep in under garage doors, around improperly sealed windows or through cracks in the cement foundation or walls. Water will always travel the least path of resistance. Heavy fast rainfall can cause issues very quickly and keep sump pumps from keeping up in a storm.
If you find water where you don't want it and you don't know how to remove it we are here to help. SERVPRO has several different forms of extraction equipment and are here to help. It is very important to remove the water as soon as possible to prevent further wicking into the structure materials of the building. It can be difficult to remove with out the right equipment. This is where we come in. We will extract the standing water and then set drying equipment to remove moisture from the structure. Always remember to call right away when you see a problem for help. Water is something you want to clean up right away so further problems don't occur.
SERVPRO has storm response teams. When a large natural disaster occurs and you think how can there even begin to be enough resources to clean it up, that is where SERVPRO comes in. We have strategically placed storm teams around the country and franchises partnered with those storm response teams to be able to mobilize and get boots on the ground and equipment to assist those affected by the natural disaster quickly. SERVPRO of Ottumwa/Oskaloosa is a responding franchise. As Iowa's Large Loss Response team we have the staff and equipment to respond to any size disaster and we work with these storm teams. This allows us if a disaster happens in Iowa we are ready to call in the resources to assist very quickly if it is a very large disaster and beyond something just our franchise can handle. Such as multiple buildings affected in a large area. You can know as a home owner or business owner that we are ready to help you get your property taken care of. Give us a call and let us worry about getting the resources to you. We are an independently owned franchise with the strong backing of over 1700 additional franchises across the county, storm team franchises, and a fantastic corporate office all to assist bringing in the resources to help our friends and neighbors. You can depend on us here at SERVPRO.
SERVPRO provides Storm Damage Clean Up
The thing about a disaster is they are unexpected. Storm damage is even a larger disaster then a fire or water damage at a home or business because it is not just contained to one building. Storm damage is usually affecting multiple buildings, multiple residences, and/or multiple businesses. SERVPRO is ready to help. Our 24 hour, 7 day a week on call staff are trained and ready with equipment fully ready and waiting at our facilities to roll out the minute we get the call to help. We can secure a building after wind damage, remove debris from trees, we are able to extract water that has infiltrated areas that it is not supposed to be, or clean up a back up that has occurred from storm water. We provide services to both residential and commercial businesses and we have the resources to handle multiple calls all at once. We are here to help ease some of the stress that occurs when a disaster happens. Know that when you make the call to SERVPRO we are making it "Like it never even happened."
Emergency Preparedness Tips for before a Storm
Tornadoes and storms cause over 25 Million dollars in damage a year. It is a necessity to be prepared. Tips for being prepared for a storm, as you never know when one might hit, are below.
-Keep the gas level in your car above 1/4 of a tank.
-Record the dosages and names of medications you take and keep in a grab and go place, such as in your purse.
-Keep your purse or wallet in an easy to get to place and if you have to go to the basement in a storm take it with you.
-Test the batteries in your flash lights monthly like you do your batteries in your smoke detectors.
-Keep all emergency information in a safe place and make multiple copies.
-Have your insurance companies contact information saved in your cell phone including policy number and agents name.
-Keep electronics/phones charged at least above 20% so incase the power goes out you have a little reserve left.
These are a few items in the restoration industry we here of that people comment on that might have been helpful in a storm damage and they are the little things.
Board Up After Storm Damage
Board Up After Lightening Hit A House
When storm damage occurs we are here to help you maintain the safety of your home or business. We provide board up services. If your home or business is affected by wind damage, broken windows, tree damage, lightening damage, etc give SERVPRO of Ottumwa/Oskaloosa a call. We have the materials on hand to secure the building and prevent further damage to the structure or the contents until repairs can be made. We have staff on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We work with insurance companies and take photos before and after the board up process for documentation. It is vital to maintain the structure of a building so further damage does not occur after storm damage. We work hard every day to help our clients recover after a disaster and make it "Like it never even happened."
Disaster Preparedness for a Storm
With the fluctuations in weather, Iowa has been known to experience its fair share of severe weather and storms. Two elements that cause a thunderstorm are moisture and rapidly rising warm air, which is why severe thunderstorms occur most often in hot summer months. Thunderstorms produce lightening which can severely hurt people and damage property. Heavy rain can cause flash flooding and high winds can damage your home and blow down trees and utility poles. If you happen to get caught unprepared, storms can threaten both your property and your personal safety. Make a list of items to bring inside during a storm and ensure pets are safe and any outside housing is secured. Be sure to discuss a safety plan with your family including a safe place in your home away from windows and glass to gather during a storm. Have an emergency kit including water, non-perishable food, towels, garbage bags, and first aid kit supplies and remain indoors until after the storm has passed. After a storm you can contact your local SERVPRO 24hours a day to assist with any immediate board ups needed to protect your home.
Extreme Heat - How it can Affect You
We all know Iowa summers bring extreme heat! Extreme heat is caused by higher than normal temperature and humidity. Children, ages infant to four are at higher risk for heat related illnesses and need extra fluids compared to adults. Symptoms of heat related illness include faintness, exhaustion, nausea, muscle spasms, and fever. In the United States more than 600 people die every year due to extreme heat. During these heat waves it’s better to stay inside and stay cool if possible. Air conditioning is the highest protective measure against extreme heat illnesses. HYDRATION is also extremely important! Drink plenty of water and if you’re in prolonged heat it’s good to utilize sports drinks to replenish your body with electrolytes. If you must be outdoors you should also avoid strenuous activities, wear lightweight light colored clothing, and take breaks in the shade or a cool environment.
Weather Radio - Everyone Should Have
Everyone should have a weather radio. A weather radio keeps you informed of inclement weather. Early warning is your best plan to prevent damage or death from a storm. Storms can change direction, grow in intensity, and change people's lives in a second if they are not informed promptly. The nice thing about weather radios are that when an update comes out from the National Weather Service they immediately alert you. You only get the information that you request based off the programming of your weather radio. When purchasing a weather radio make sure you get one that runs off batteries and a/c power. Make sure you check the batteries once a month and make sure that you change them once a year. In the event of a power loss you want to be informed. Yes they are loud and will wake you up when you are sleeping but if there is a bad storm heading your direction keep your family safe by waking up to your weather radio.
Have a Safe Place
When a storm is approaching always have that safe place. Always forward think. Take the time even when you are driving down the road where is my safe place if inclement weather would approach. Have that safe place at home. Make sure everyone in your house knows where that place is. It will make the situation go smoother in the event something were to happen. Control the situation as much as you can. Does your family know where to go in the event of a disaster? Make a plan now it will help if something were to happen. If you are using a neighbors house, a place down the street or another family member across town just have a plan and make sure everyone knows what the plan is. Have a plan for a storm, have a plan for a fire, have a plan for a medical emergency.
Be Ready for A Storm
You know storms are going to happen. Rather it be snow, rain, wind, etc. They are going to happen. To be prepared is a must. The following list is what is recommended at a minimum to be ready in the event of a storm.
- Flash Light
- Extra Batteries
- First Aid Kit
- Canned Food
- Manual Can Opener
- Bottled Water
- Fire Extinguisher
- Battery Powered Weather Radio
Being prepared will help keep panic at a minimum. These items kept in a safe place where you go in the event of a storm for easy access is also necessary. Keep where you go in the basement or in possibly a bathroom closet if your home or business does not have a basement. Pick food items and bottled water that have long shelf lives. Make sure to test your batteries every month or so in your devices.
SERVPRO has its own Meterologist
SERVPRO's corporate office maintains and has on staff our very own SERVPRO Meteorologist. She helps our franchises with Storm forecasts and alerts so that we are ready and informed. Storm alerts are vital she says because she has witnessed and experienced storm chasing. She went out and chased storms and felt the power of super cells building in the Midwest. She knows the power of weather and why it is so important to be informed and ready in our industry. Her being a part of our team is a vital key as she helps us know where and when we need to activate our teams to different areas to help out those affected by the storm. Being knowledgeable about the weather which is such a key factor in our industry empowers us to be ready for you.