Recent Storm Damage Posts
IMPORTANT STORM SAFETY TIPS
Where were you the last time you encountered a heavy storm? The key to storm and lightning safety is to avoid being in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you see a storm approaching on the horizon, remain indoors in case of a lightning strike. Lightning will follow the available paths to ground, including the electrical wiring, plumbing, or telephone lines. Try to avoid structures like bus shelters, outhouses, or any small non-metal structure that do not provide any lightning protection.
The fact that houses and buildings have an abundance of grounding paths makes them generally safe lightning shelters, but to ensure maximum safety during a storm:
- Don't use any wired appliance or device. Wireless appliances are safe to use.
- Stay away from water pipes and faucets. (No baths, showers, etc.)
- Don't stand on a basement floor or patio slab, or anywhere where standing water or excessive moisture is present. These areas are 'ground current' danger zones.
- Stay away from walls where electrical wiring is present.
If you find yourself on the road during a storm, you are safest in an enclosed, metal vehicle. The car should ideally have a hard top with its windows rolled up. If your car is struck by lightning, the current will flow through the metal body of the vehicle to the ground.
Keep the following safety tips in mind if you’re driving through a storm:
- If there is no shelter around and you must stay on the road, pull over, turn off your engine, and turn on your hazard lights while you wait out the storm.
- Do not touch anything metal inside of your car. This includes the radio, cell phone chargers, mobile GPS devices, door handles, and the steering wheel.
- If you’re on a motorcycle or a bicycle, do not seek shelter underneath trees. While trees may provide cover from the rain, this will greatly increase your risk of being struck by lightning.
If you experience property loss due to a storm, SERVPRO of Northeast Long Beach / Lakewood is here to help with restoration and repair. We can clear debris, help reverse water damage, and get you back on your feet. Don’t be caught off guard; call us any day, morning or night.
REMAINING SAFE DURING FLOODS AND SEVERE WEATHER
Did you know a flood can occur in any one of the 50 United States? Even California is susceptible to flooding, in addition to harsh winds and mudslides. Therefore, it is important to be prepared for these emergency situations. Here we outline important ways to prepare for flooding and encourage you to think about your plan for harsh weather conditions.
According to the National Flood Insurance Program, follow these tips to stay safe during a flood:
- Seek higher grounds and avoid all areas that are at a higher risk of flooding
- If your home starts flooding, go to your top floor of your home, attic, or roof
- Don’t try walking across flooded streams or flooded roadways
- Turn off your main power and close your main gas valve
- Turn on and listen to a battery-powered radio for updated storm and flood information
- If you’ve touched floodwaters, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water
- It’s important that you have an emergency supply kit in your home and vehicle in case of an emergency. You should also ensure you have you and your family’s medication pre-loaded with your emergency supply kit.
If your home is affected by flood water, keep the following tips in mind:
- Clear any debris from your gutters and/or downspouts
- Maintain your sump pump and install a battery backup in the case of a power outage
- Anchor fuel tanks
- Move valuables to a safe place
- Keep electrical components and appliances at least 12 inches above your house’s floor elevation
When driving through a storm, keep in mind most commuter vehicles were not designed to drive through flood water. Doing so can prevent airflow to your vehicle and lock up the engine, placing you in an even worse situation. Not only is it dangerous for you and your vehicle, but other people on the road as well.
Hopefully, with the helpful tips above, you can better prepare yourself and your home for severe weather. Even with proper planning, however, situations can go awry. SERVPRO of Northeast Long Beach/Lakewood is here to help with damage caused by a storm or flooding. We're available day or night, 24/7.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR HOME FROM SEVERE WINDS
Severe weather such as storms or hurricanes can bring strong winds traveling over 100 miles per hour. Even winds traveling 25 miles per hour have been shown to cause damage to homes and other property. Take note of the following points to learn about how you can prepare for the possibility of damaging winds.
- Secure outdoor furniture and decorations, or store in enclosed areas.
- Anchor and secure outdoor structures such as freestanding sheds or kennels to sturdy foundations.
- Inspect and repair loose roof shingles, especially if you own an older home or have older roofing materials. Wind damage begins small by prying up a corner, but each gust of wind comes closer to removing the entire shingle and increases risk to surrounding roofing materials. Additionally, anchor your home's siding firmly. As with the roof, wind can tear away large areas once a small piece has loosened.
- Remove overhanging branches by trimming and pruning your trees. This will help prevent unexpected debris from falling on your home and keep fire from spreading.
- Reinforce doors with deadbolts and don’t forget to fortify garage doors.
- Designate a safe area in your home or business to take shelter if necessary; a small, interior room with no windows is ideal.
- Store vehicles in a sheltered area and away from trees or objects that may become projectiles in a storm.
In addition to these tips, stay tuned to your local radio station, TV weather report, or internet news site for frequent weather updates. Should you experience damage from high winds or a storm, don't hesitate to call SERVPRO of Northeast Long Beach / Lakewood for complete clean up, restoration, and repair.
NO STORM IS TOO LARGE
What happens if you find your Long Beach business or home in the middle of a storm? At SERVPRO of Northeast Long Beach / Lakewood, we recognize that buildings are not always adequately constructed to handle changing weather conditions. We are here to help with damage caused by wind or water in the event of a storm.
In September of 2015, the remnants of Hurricane Linda brought localized downpours from Santa Barbara to San Diego, California. That month, Los Angeles received 2.39 inches of rain, making it one of the wettest September days since 1877. Many older homes and businesses in L.A. County found themselves overwhelmed and unprepared.
In a storm such as this, torrents of black water, sewage water containing bacteria, mold, and viruses, begin to devastate businesses by first permeating through the floors, walls, and ceiling. Here the water can infiltrate through coating breaks, between seams, and under baseboards. If combined with dirt, mold may even begin to develop. When exposed to this kind of water, complete removal and replacement of contaminated areas is recommended. If restoration is an option, it is important to note how the wooden floor boards begin to expand and warp. Cupping occurs when the edges of floorboards begin to rise and can be sanded down by our SERVPRO technicians. Unfortunately, if the floor boards begin to crown due to an oversaturation of the top layer of wood, sanding is not an option and complete removal might be the best course of action.
Strong winds can cause adjacent trees to become a hazard to your home. A single branch from a large tree could have enough weight to collapse a roof or create an opening in the side of your house. As a result, runoff of torrential rains may begin to flow into your Long Beach home. In this situation, SERVPRO technicians can use penetrating moisture meters and special equipment to recommend the best course of action based on the amount of damage incurred.
Across the nation, SERVPRO has you covered with the Commercial Large Loss Division and the Disaster Recovery Team. With the ability to mobilize local command centers, along with the resources of more than 1,700 franchises nationwide, no disaster is too big. Every large loss is supervised by a commercial operations manager to help ensure seamless communication and timely mitigation. If you find yourself in a situation too big to handle, call SERVPRO of Northeast Long Beach / Lakewood for immediate and professional service.
STORM - HURRICANE HARVEY 2017
A home in Houston ravaged by Hurricane Harvey
It has been nearly a year since SERVPRO of NE Long Beach/Lakewood packed up three trucks to make the drive from Long Beach, California to Houston, Texas to help with water damage repair cleanup from Hurricane Harvey. So, what was it like?
The drive took three full days due to the heavy equipment we carried with us. As we came closer to Houston, we had trouble fueling up our diesel truck. Driving from small town gas station to small town gas station along our route, we were met with signs over the gas nozzles announcing “Out of Fuel.” The lines were very long, with tempers flaring as locals and long-distance truck drivers competed to fill up their vehicles.
On Day 3 we made it to Houston in the afternoon. The traffic was terrible – and this is someone from Los Angeles saying this. There were many main roads that were still underwater, some looking like rivers as we passed them. We were fortunate to have a friend with a small apartment in Southeast Houston that we could stay at. It became our office, kitchen, and sleeping quarters. A hotel was rented for our technicians who flew in to help with the cleanup work.
The first couple days in Houston was spent organizing supplies, getting the layout of the city, and generally preparing to get started on the work. SERVPRO Storm Team started to send us a steady flow of work after about 4 days. Now, when you are responding to storm damaged homes, there is only so much preparation you can do beforehand. The real problem solving happens in the field once you have your boots on the ground.
The first impression I had when we started working was the great resourcefulness of Texans. Friends and neighbors came to each other’s aid to help pull out damaged furniture, remove drywall, and provide moral support and humor. Driving down neighborhoods, we saw piles of drywall, clothing, and furniture piled high in front yards. After a few days of trash not being cleared, the smell started to fill the humid air. The odor was like what you experience when you clean out a dirty fish tank. Many cars were unusable due to being flooded, so they sat with steamy windows until the towing companies could come through to take them to the junk yards. Despite all this, restaurants were open, Home Depot and Loews were open for business, and people went about their days as best they could, patching the city back together.
The worst houses we worked on were the ones that had been completely swept through with mud. Imagine a tidal wave of mud floating through the entire downstairs of your home. The water lines were taller than me on some of the homes. The mud was everywhere – caked on the floors, on the wall studs behind the drywall, on furniture and clothing. We would remove the furniture, the affected drywall, complete a pressure washing of all the surfaces while extracting the runoff, and then finish by hand wiping, vacuuming, and mopping all the affected areas at least one or more times. The final treatment would be an antimicrobial application.
The customers with the most badly affected homes were the nicest and most grateful. When they could have been angry at their circumstances, they instead showed gratitude. Our crews put in long days with a smile fueled by the good attitudes of our customers. Even the massive number of mosquitoes from all the standing water couldn’t keep us down.
After a month in Houston, we made the long ride back to Los Angeles. The home office ran smoothly in our absence, thanks to our wonderful General Manager and the crews that stayed behind. It was a great adventure. We hoped to have some much-needed downtime when we got back, but Mother Nature had other plans. We returned home to blazing wildfires in Los Angeles and Orange County. Off to help with the fire damage cleanup we went because at SERVPRO of NE Long Beach/Lakewood we are here to help with fire damage repair and water damage repair both on the road and in our own backyard.
TSUNAMI: A THREAT TO COASTAL CALIFORNIA
Tsunami preparedness is critical in Coastal California
Living in California, and especially along the coast, we’re aware that we can feel the negative impacts from natural threats such as tropical storms and Tsunamis. In fact, just off the coast of California lies the Cascadia fault – which is thought to be up to 30 times more powerful than its more famous neighbor, the San Andreas fault.
SERVPRO of NE Long Beach/Lakewood is here to assist when your home or business is affected by water, fire and storm damages. We also want to provide you information to help you avoid loss or damage to property, personal belongings or, in the worst case, people. Here are some insights about Tsunamis to keep you informed:
Ready.gov classifies a tsunami as "a series of enormous waves created by an underwater disturbance such as an earthquake, landslide, volcanic eruption, or meteorite." Tsunamis are also known as seismic sea waves and often mistaken for tidal waves. Areas within a mile of the coast and less than 25 feet about sea level have a greater risk of being hit, according to www.Ready.gov
It is important to be aware of evacuation routes close to the beach and have an emergency plan prepared in case one strikes. It is also very important to understand that the first wave often is not the last and could get larger. Once you have reached higher ground, make sure to stay away from effected sites until officials deem them safe. Flooding is the most common safety hazard but, in the aftermath of the event, landslides, floods, debris, and/or contaminated drinking water can also occur.
If you are traveling anywhere tropical, you may want to check out www.tsunami.gov in advance to determine if there are advisory warnings, threats, etc. Also, make sure you keep up-to-date on where to go during an emergency evacuation due to tsunami and who to contact once you reach a safe area.
If your property becomes damaged from a tsunami, or from any loss caused by water, fire, storm or biohazard, SERVPRO of NE Long Beach/Lakewood is here to clean up, restore and, when needed, reconstruct your home or business and get you back to the way things were. Reach us 24/7 at 562-420-0030
STORM DAMAGE: HOW TO BE PREPARED
Storm Damage to a Home in Santa Barbara
The devastation caused by storm damage can be far-reaching. The residents and business owners in the Greater Santa Barbara area were victims to the cruel effects of the wild fires, mud slides and extreme water damage occurring this year. SERVPRO of NE Long Beach/Lakewood was there to help with cleanup, restoration and reconstruction expertise.
When a wild fire has affected an area, it becomes susceptible to landslides due to destabilization of the soil or foundation. When a storm is threatening, preplanning and preparation can assist in lessening storm and water damage.
The most important thing to know is how to recognize when the storm will be approaching and the signs that come along with a landslide. Change in the landscape and sudden cracks in the pavement are major signs that a landslide may occur at your home. Indicators such as pipes bursting, and crackling of trees or light rumbling sounds are signs that the ground beneath is moving.
During a severe storm make sure to stay alert and awake. Move away from the path of a landslide or debris flow as quickly as possible. The danger from a mudflow increases near stream channels and with prolonged heavy rains. Make sure to stay clear of all rivers or open bodies of water. If escape from the landslide is not possible, authorities recommend you curl into a tight ball and cover your neck and head as much as possible.
After a landslide make sure you stay away from affected until advised otherwise. Look for and report broken utility lines and damaged roadways and railways to appropriate authorities. Reporting potential hazards will get the utilities turned off as quickly as possible, preventing further home emergencies. SERVPRO of NE Long Beach/Lakewood is here to assist you with any storm damages, as well water and fire damages, affecting your home or business. Call us ,24/7, when emergency strikes: 562-420-0030
STORM/HURRICANE SEASON WHERE YOU'RE VACATIONING? BE PREPARED!
Affects of a Hurricane
Headed for a vacation destination that’s prone to Storms and Hurricanes?!
Vacations are a time for relaxation but what if an emergency strikes? It’s storm and hurricane season in some destinations and here at SERVPRO of NE Long Beach/Lakewood we are always looking out for our customers safety and well-being. We've put together some tips for what to do if a hurricane strikes on your vacation and how to prep before you leave.
Before the trip:
While this might seem like an obvious tip it is very important to be up to date with the local weather at your vacation location. We recommend checking a week in advance to keep yourself up to date so there are no weather surprises while away!
- Get Hurricane Travel Insurance
When it comes to traveling, travel insurance is very important but specifically hurricane travel insurance during hurricane season is helpful. They’ll cover delays due to weather, accommodation cancelations, and going home early coverage, etc.
- Make paper copy of documents
It is always important to make copies of your documents before you travel just incase something happens to them, where it be theft or a storm damages them! Print and bring copies of your travel insurance, itinerary and key phone numbers as well as your passport (if necessary).
- Identify a point of contact
It can be difficult to find cell service while on vacation so it is important to know where you can go to get in contact with others.
- Identify Evacuation Routes
Once onsite at your vacation, it is important to identify what the proper evacuation routes are to get to safety. Ask your hotel, landlord, or locals what those might be.
- Avoid any electrical wiring if you are wet or if the wiring is wet.
This will keep you from being electrocuted by any faulty wiring.
SERVPRO of NE Long Beach/Lakewood wishes you a safe and hurricane free vacation! We hope these tips have provided you the proper information to being ready and handling a hurricane emergency while on vacation. If you're in need of any assistance SERVPRO of NE Long Beach/Lakewood is here to help. Call us at 562-420-0030
FLOODS CAN TAKE PLACE ANYWHERE-USE CAUTION!
Heavy rains can lead to flood conditions-use caution!
Throughout the US, floods remain one of the most widespread and common natural disasters that affect us. No matter where you’re located, in the mountains, along the coast, in the city, close to a river or out in the desert, you can still be impacted by a flood. Here are some important safety tips to keep in mind:
- Even 6 inches of quickly moving water can sweep you off your feet so steer clear of floodwaters. If you find yourself in an area where water reaches above your ankles, find another path, walk another way.
- When driving, the same rules apply: If you approach a flooded road, turn around and go another way. Most vehicles can be carried away by less than 2 feet of moving water. If caught by rising waters and the situation warrants it, get out of your car quickly and move to higher ground.
- Protect children from the dangers and disease carried by contaminated floodwaters. What might look like a fun activity to them could prove deadly.
SERVPRO of NE Long Beach / Lakewood has the experience and knowledge to assist you when a flood strikes your home or business. No matter the size, floods have the potential to cause extensive damage to property when not treated quickly and properly and the cleanup can be an overwhelming task. We’re here 24/7 to help. Contact us at 562-420-0030.