Recent Storm Damage Posts
Flood Hazards for First Responders
If suffering from storm damage follow these tips to stay safe
When a flood hits Cookeville, TN, a first responder is the hero of the day as he or she works to protect lives, property and the environment. It is important for these trained professionals to look after themselves as well, and this work comes with its own set of potential risks. Rather than put yourself or others at risk, follow these simple steps to stay safe.
3 Steps You Should Follow to Stay Safe.
Flood response has its own set of hazards. Prior to heading out to help others, take time to review personal safety procedures.
- Immunizations for Hepatitis B and tetanus must be up-to-date.
- Protective clothing should include chemical-resistant outer clothing, goggles, boots and plastic or rubber gloves.
- Layer latex gloves over puncture-resistant gloves and discard them after use.
After cleaning, don’t wear contaminated clothes in your personal vehicle. Remember to shower and change into uncontaminated clothes when your shift as a first responder ends. Wear a disposable N95 mask to protect yourself from inhaling mold. Clean wet surfaces with clean water and disinfectant. Properly vent portable generators and avoid the risk of electrocution.
Be aware of your surroundings, especially when working near traffic. Watch for sinkholes and areas where the terrain has sustained damage. Seek medical care if you are exposed to raw sewage or chemicals. Frequently wash your hands in soap and clean water or with alcohol-based gel, especially before meals and after handling potentially contaminated materials.
The major cause of loss of life in floods is being trapped in a vehicle. It takes only a foot of water to float many cars and trucks, and once the wheels are off the road, rolling, flipping, or colliding with anything downstream can happen quickly.
A first responder is a welcome sight to flood victims and is the person who will lead the way to recovery and damage remediation. Though staying dry may be impossible, staying safe doesn’t have to be.
What Types of Assistance Can You Expect From FEMA?
Federal Emergency Management Agency
What Types of Assistance Can You Expect From FEMA?
When you're affected by heavy storm damage, you can get emergency help from the government through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Financial assistance can be used to help you get back on your feet. Before getting into the services FEMA provides, take a look at who qualifies:
- Was your home damage a direct result of the storm?
- Is your home uninhabitable?
- Did you need to stay in a hotel because of power or water loss?
- Have you checked with your insurance provider?
- Do you live within a mandatory evacuation zone?
If your insurance company covers your losses, the agency won't pay for any covered costs for repairs or hotel bills.
Structural Repairs to Your Home
The grants from FEMA are intended to pay for minimal repairs that make it safe for you to live in your home. The financial assistance should go to the structural repairs your home needs. These repairs may include the foundation, walls, doors, cabinetry, and roof of your home, for example. If you aren't sure how much money you'll need, get an estimate from flood damage repair and recovery experts.
Sometimes, such as during Hurricane Harvey, it's not safe to remain in your home. Whether the dangers are related to power and water outages or structural damages, you may get help paying for a hotel room. If your insurance provides this type of cover during the flood, the agency won't cover the costs. If you do qualify, you'll need to find a hotel participating in the government's transitional housing program.
When you require a generator for medical devices, the government agency may reimburse you for the cost. To get this reimbursement, you must save your receipt and get a letter from your doctor. With this information, follow the registration process and wait to be contacted.
FEMA offers several services to help you out when flooding and other emergencies have made it impossible to remain in your Algood, TN, home. Determine whether you qualify and then take the appropriate registration steps for financial assistance, loans, and reimbursement.
Is All Flood Water Contaminated Black Water?
Flooding and water emergencies don't wait for regular business hours
Restoration professionals classify flood water as Category Three water damage. The categories used to describe damage are based on the level of contamination present in water. Learn more about the conditions that tend to cause black water to accumulate during a flood.
The cause of a flood determines the initial level of contamination. There are several common sources of flood water:
- Heavy rains
- Rising bodies of surface water
- Storm surges
- Sewer backups
Even if this flooding starts as Category Two gray water that does not contain solid waste, contamination can occur as soon as the water travels over land or stands for hours or days. Damage caused by contaminated water must be cleaned, disinfected and dried.
Courses or Paths
Water may accumulate contaminants as it travels through an area. In addition to solid waste, which may be introduced from an overflowing municipal main, this water could also carry other substances that can pose health or safety risks:
- Heavy metals
Depending on where flooding originates and where standing water accumulates, different types of contamination may or may not be present. It is advisable to disinfect any areas exposed to flooding.
Regardless of the initial level of contamination in water, standing water will degrade and become more contaminated over time. Within a matter of days, clean, treated Category One water from a pipe break can degrade into Category Two and eventually Category Three water damage. Damage mitigation and restoration experts recommend timely extraction, cleaning, disinfection and drying.
There are a number of ways in which flood water may become contaminated. If there is a reasonable possibility that water may contain solid waste, any damage it causes will be classified as Category Three damage. If flooding has damaged a commercial building in Cookeville, TN, the property owner or manager should arrange for storm damage mitigation and restoration.
Bathub Sewage 101
A sewer backup can be quite unpleasant - especially when it occurs in your bathtub, you will need to take care of this issue as soon as possible.
A sewer backup can be quite unpleasant - especially when it occurs in your bathtub. If you are suffering from this type of sewage, you probably want to take care of the issue as soon as possible. However, there are times that it makes sense to fix the backup yourself and times when expert help is needed. Here’s how to figure out which situation you are dealing with.
If the bathtub backup is small and did not cause extensive damage - and you have the proper protective gear and equipment - you can attempt to begin cleanup yourself. Here are some tips to remember during the process:
- If you are dealing with flooding, do not run your air conditioner or heating system.
- Throw away any non-essential items ruined by the sewer backup and keep them away from clean areas.
- Move clean items into a clean space as soon as possible.
- Open your doors and windows if it is sunny and dry outside.
- Try to learn techniques to prevent future backups, with or without professional assistance.
If you run into a bigger issue at any point during cleanup, remember to call a plumber, cleanup service or other professional for help.
Expert Help Scenarios
There are certain cases that call for professional assistance no matter what. If you are facing a huge flood, extensive damage or a massive backup, a professional water damage restoration company in Baxter, TN, should be called to help with cleanup tasks. You may also need to talk to other experts to handle specific issues that arise.
When it comes to a sewer backup, you want to use all of the resources available to you to get your bathroom back in clean, usable shape as soon as possible. It can be hard to ask for help, but assistance and investment are both worth the end result of a safe and secure home.
Black Water 101: 4 Situations in Which You Need To Treat Flood Waters as a Health Hazard
Contact SERVPRO when dealing with black water.
Flood Waters often Considered Black Water
If your business in Cookeville, TN, has recently experienced any flooding, you are likely already worried about the damage the water has caused to your building. However, you also need to be concerned about the safety of the water itself since flood water is often considered black water. This label is used to categorize contaminated water that poses a serious health hazard to anyone who comes into contact with it. If the flood was caused by any of the four following situations, get help immediately.
1. Sewage Leak
Sewage leaks due to issues with a septic tank or a burst sewer main can quickly lead to a flooding and needs to be addressed immediately by a storm damage restoration specialist. It is important that the building is immediately evacuated and that any items contaminated by the water are not touched.
2. Toilet Backup
A toilet that is clogged or experiencing a backup can overflow and flood the bathroom before anyone is aware of what happened. Although you likely will be fine cleaning a small overflow yourself, a large-scale backup can post a health hazard. It is important to keep all customers and staff outside of the affected area.
3. Flooding From Outside
If flood water from outside, including water from overflowing rivers or streams, enter your building, you need to assume it is contaminated water. This is true even if you don’t know the source of the water or don’t identify any visible sewage.
4. Stagnant Water
If flooding occurs with your business, it can become black water if not quickly addressed. Water that stands in one place for an extended period of time can harbor harmful bacteria and become a serious health threat.
Although you might be eager to retrieve your items or enter your building to examine the damage, you will need to wait if you suspect the flood water might be contaminated. Remember to always leave the area and contact a professional when dealing with black water!
Understanding Fungus: Mold and Mildew After a Storm
Avoid mold damage in your Cookeville, TN home
The Difference Between Mold And Mildew
Mold damage may be one of the greatest fears for any homeowner. An infestation can cause thousands in damage, and if a result of lingering issues, homeowners’ insurance may not cover the costs. While it is a fear, most don’t understand the difference between mold and mildew. One is hard to remedy, possibly requiring a specialist, and the other is a simple fix, likely resolved with a store-bought cleaner.
Mildew growth can be subtle, often manifesting in small areas and only on the surface. Mold, on the other hand, is more predominant, and when it appears on the surface of a wall, you likely have a more significant issue in the wall cavity.
When you encounter actual mold growth and mold damage, the color can be a dead giveaway as to whether it is mildew or mold. Mold is typically black and green. However, it may even be shades of blue and yellow, depending on the surfaces it has invaded. Mildew generally is only one of two colors, either gray or white.
The most apparent difference between mold and mildew is the texture. Mold is overall more textured and is likely fuzzy in appearance. Mildew is flat and appears as more of a stain than a growth.
While both mold and mildew spread quickly, mildew, as a surface fungus, tends to be a little more manageable. Mold, because of its nature, often develops in areas that are not easily visible, meaning that when it is discovered, it is more of an infestation. If you find mold, there is likely more lurking behind drywall and under floorboards. In most cases, you may need a mold remediation specialist in the Cookeville, TN, area to asses the damage.
Mold damage is no laughing matter, and it can lead to many problems if not handled properly. However, not every fungal growth is mold. Mildew is a manageable growth that can be resolved with basic household cleaners.
After a Flood: What Not To Do
Equipment ready for any storm damage in Carthage, TN
If your home in Carthage, TN, is plagued by flood water, you will undoubtedly get a lot of advice about what to do to make the recovery process smoother. Avoiding unnecessary or harmful behavior, however, is just as important, if not more so, than taking positive steps. Here are five actions to avoid so that you don't make a situation that's potentially dangerous worse for you and your family.
1. Don't Stay.
Step one of dealing with a flooded home is getting out of it. Don't try to stay in your house, especially if you have significant damage or if evacuation is recommended or mandated. You could be putting your family's safety at risk.
2. Don't Wade.
A number of problems could arise from standing flood water. It could be charged with electricity, hiding sharp or dangerous items or filled with bacteria. At any rate, you don't want this water to touch your skin or be anywhere near you.
3. Don't Play.
If you are waiting to be rescued or waiting on an adjuster to arrive, you may feel bored. Fight the urge to play games on your phone or use it in any way that depletes the charge. You may need it for emergency reasons, and you may not have any place to recharge it.
4. Don't Buy.
Purchasing new furniture or replacing destroyed items is the very last item on the restoration to-do list. Buying these things before you have a clean, restored place to put them is inadvisable.
5. Don't Hesitate.
You may see widespread water damage all around you, but don't assume that your insurance company and flood restoration specialists won't have time to come and assess your property. Go ahead and give them a call to report the damage to your home. The sooner you call, the sooner they can help.
Flood water in your home is a situation that calls for smart action. Take the steps you need to take, and avoid the things that work against you.
How To Train Employees on Evacuation Protocol
Storm equipment in Smithville, TN
As a business owner in Smithville, TN, your goal is usually to keep your employees at work, not to teach them to get out. However, in the event of a real emergency, or planned fire drill, getting out is exactly what you need them to do. Review the tips below to put a preparedness plan into place to keep you and your staff safe in a disaster.
What To Do Before an Evacuation Drill
Prior to tripping the smoke alarm and expecting an efficient fire drill to occur, you must plan and train your staff accordingly.
- Create an emergency action plan. Include primary and secondary escape routes and assign responsibilities, such as shutting down hazardous materials equipment or calling 911. Specific roles and responsibilities vary by the type of business and building.
- Train staff on how to recognize the alarm, and ensure that it can be seen, heard and/or felt by all personnel. Plan for employees with disabilities.
- Communicate both verbally and in writing a clear policy and procedure related to evacuation. Provide each person a copy or post throughout the building.
What To Do After a Drill
Your employees are out of the building safely. Now what?
- Even in a drill, account for all employees. Set a specific meeting place for each employee and assign someone to check all names against a predetermined list. In an actual disaster, knowing if someone is still inside the building is critical.
- Repeat the drill often so that your staff can easily perform the steps quickly under pressure. Practicing is especially important at onset, when new employees join and when changes are made to the business or the plan.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of each drill, so continual improvements can be made.
Whether you are conducting a fire drill, or experiencing a real emergency at your business in Smithville, TN, the goal is to get your employees out safely. If a disaster should occur, once everyone is safe, conduct a visual damage check of your commercial property. If damage is present, contact a storm restoration specialist and your insurance agent as soon as possible.
How Do I Plan an Emergency Escape Drill for My Business?
Trigger your fire or disaster alert system’s test or drill programs at random intervals.
Having an emergency escape plan in place for your business is a critical part of workplace safety. Not only does it protect your employees, but it protects your customers. But how do you create an effective escape drill or fire drill for your Cookeville, TN, business?
Know Your Escape Points
You should map out every safe escape point in your building. This can include:
• Exterior doors
• Employee exits
Every floor should have its own accessible escape points. Make sure your escape plan includes these access points. Educate employees on their locations and proximity to various areas, so that no matter where employees are they can reach the closest safe exit – and shepherd customers as needed. Employees should also be able to quickly remember alternative safe exit points in the event their closest exit is blocked off or dangerous.
Hold Safety Seminars
Employees need to know the routine for a fire drill or evacuation before they can practice it. Hold safety seminars teaching them the important details and safe pathways, and do multiple practice runs during these seminars. Answer any questions that may arise to help your employees understand.
Designate Evacuation Leaders
Multiple employees per shift should be designated and trained to act as evacuation leaders, guiding others in the event of a crisis. During your drills, activate your evacuation leaders to test their responses and their knowledge of safe escape routes.
Use Random Testing
Trigger your fire or disaster alert system’s test or drill programs at random intervals. You should also have planned, scheduled fire drills to help employees practice, but random drills will help them memorize exactly how they should be responding in the event of a real crisis. Make sure not to actively trigger a real alert, though, as sometimes this can initiate a response by emergency services. If you’re not sure how to conduct a test/drill run, speak with your fire and emergency system installer to gain more insight. For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROcookevillecarthagesmithvillewoodbury.com/.