Understanding Flash Floods
Flash floods can occur over a short period of time, so always be aware of official alerts!
Flooding can be a major problem, even here in the Morganton area. If that seems unlikely, recall that it was just this last June that both Caldwell & Catawba Counties declared a state of emergency when many homes and roads flooded. Because these incidents don’t happen very often, we’ve discovered many aren’t aware of how destructive flooding can be, or how fast they can occur.
What is a Flash Flood?
While flooding can gradually occur over a long period of rain, it can also happen very quickly. A flash flood occurs within 6 hours of rainfall, but according to the National Weather Service, it often happens in as quickly as 3 hours. This type of natural disaster can happen anywhere—in a creek, your neighborhood, or even the main roads.
Driving & Flash Floods
Flash floods are a major problem when it comes to roadways, and they are responsible for many accidents. That’s why it’s strongly recommended that you avoid driving when a flash flood warning is issued. Because these waters are unpredictable, they should be avoided at all costs. So be sure to adhere to any warnings, and avoid driving at night, when it’s harder to see flooding.
Being Aware of Weather Events
Weather can cause a lot of damage to both you and your property. In fact, during the June floods, we received over 300 calls from customers who had damage to their home. While not all disasters can be avoided, having advance warning can help you mitigate the effects. That’s why it’s important to regularly keep up with weather news, such as on Ray’s Weather. If you do have a disaster, though, be sure to call our team here at SERVPRO of Burke County to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Upcoming CE Class on August 20
Each of our CE classes has giveaways and interesting lectures!
Each quarter, our franchise hosts free Continuing Education (CE) courses for local insurance agents and adjustors in our area. We offer these courses as a way to support the insurance professionals in our community.
We’re excited to announce that our next CE class will be on Tuesday, August 20, at the La Quinta Inn & Suites in Hickory. Our instructor will return to teach two courses: Personal Lines Potpourri and Business Exposures and the Homeowners Policy, both of which we haven’t hosted in nearly two years!
In addition to the class, we offer a free lunch and have giveaways for our attendees. If you’re an insurance professional who would like to attend these free courses, you can register and learn more here at our Eventbrite page!
What is an Air Mover?
We have hundreds of air movers, all ready to go!
If you have water damage, you know the first thing you need to do is dry the water. During the initial phone call with customers, many of them disclose they started running a dehumidifier. While it’s a great start, it’s not enough to completely dry the area—especially if you’re concerned about mold. That’s why our team uses air movers.
Air Movers—More Than a Fan
When most people see one of our air movers, they say, “Oh, that’s a cool fan!” While they’re not wrong—an air mover is a fan—it’s an oversimplification of its purpose and capabilities. These machines generate precise, high-velocity columns of air, which allows our technicians to drastically increase the evaporation process, especially when compared to your standard house fan.
There are also different types of air movers, each with a different function based on its individual features. Axial air movers, for example, are great for moving large volumes of air; centrifugal air movers, on the other hand, move smaller volumes but at a higher velocity. Depending on the extent of the damage and the affected materials, we might even use multiple types of air movers.
Accelerating the Drying Process
All of our equipment—from air movers to dehumidifiers—are aimed at accelerating the drying process. Each one serves a unique purpose, such as the air mover’s job of speeding up the evaporation rate of wet materials. When you call our team at SERVPRO of Burke County, you can rest assured we have the equipment to take care of any water damage!
Water Damage Q & A: What Do You Do When I Have Water Damage?
One of our crew chiefs checks the moisture level to ensure the area has been adequately dried!
Our staff recently responded to over 300 calls when rain flooded much of the counties in the Unifour area. While some homes had minimal damage, others had a foot or more of water. For many of our customers, this was the first time they had experienced water damage, and they had a lot of questions. Today, we’re going to answer one of the most common ones we were asked!
What Exactly Do You Do When I Have Water Damage?
If you’ve never had water damage before, you probably aren’t sure what to do next. While the process can have some variation depending on the water category and the type of materials affected, the mitigation process we use generally consists of a few different components.
- Extract Any Standing Water. One of our first priorities upon visiting a job site is to extract areas that have standing water. As long as there is standing water, we cannot begin the drying process!
- Remove Affected Flooring. Water can pose a serious threat to your flooring, depending on the material and the volume of water. Carpet, for example, is generally removed to dry the affected subfloor, which can promote mold growth if it’s left untreated. Hardwood planks, as another example, tend to buckle and separate from the subfloor because they have to accommodate for the extra moisture they absorb. If your flooring has been affected, we will likely have to remove it to prevent further damage.
- Create Flood Cuts. Drywall is a porous material, which means water is likely to be absorbed and wick up behind your walls. This hidden moisture can encourage mold growth and cause structural damage. To prevent additional damages, our technicians will cut out a foot or more from the base of affected drywall. We will then be able to dry the now-exposed areas!
- Set drying equipment. After everything else has been addressed, our team will set air movers (commercial-grade fans) and dehumidifiers to speed up the drying process. We will leave the equipment in your home until the drying goals have been met (set and measured by our technicians).
- Apply an antimicrobial spray. Mold needs moisture to grow, and it gets plenty of it when you have water damage. To help combat this, we apply a commercial-grade antimicrobial spray to affected areas to help mitigate growth!
Recovering Flood Damage
Flooding can do a lot of damage, but it’s possible to restore your home and mitigate further damage. At SERVPRO of Burke County, our technicians are experts at helping customers in the Morganton, NC area overcome water damage. If you need our help, please contact us any time!
What Happens To Your Stuff After a Fire?
Every possession is inventoried, boxed, and labeled so you can rest assured they will all be accounted for!
House fires are traumatic. Even in cases where the home isn’t completely destroyed, possessions are ruined, you’re temporarily displaced, and stress levels are high. Fortunately, you can call our team here at SERVPRO of Burke County to help you restore your home and get back on your feet. But what happens to your affected belongings? They go through our packout and cleaning processes.
Salvageable vs Unsalvageable Contents
When you have a disaster at your home, one of the first things we do is send a packout team to sort and box your belongings. Once these items have been packed, we will temporarily relocate and clean them at our warehouse. We ensure all items are scanned into our system, and every box is labeled by room—this helps us ensure your items are kept together and are returned to its original place!
Unfortunately, not all items can be saved, either because they are heavily damaged or because of the nature of the object. These unsalvageable items (known as “nonsals”) are cataloged the same as all of the other belongings, but they are not able to be cleaned and restored. But before we take any action (such as disposal), we meet with you to review the unsalvageable items so you can make a final decision!
Cleaning Your Belongings
Once we pack out your possessions, we take them back to our warehouse to be cleaned. Any textiles—including linens, clothes, and stuffed toys—will be cleaned at our on-site textiles cleaning facility. We use state-of-the-art technology to wash and remove soot and dirt, even on the most fragile items. Our textiles facility is also equipped with an ozone chamber to eliminate any lingering odors!
All other items are cleaned and deodorized by our team of expert content cleaners. We use a variety of techniques and propriety cleaning products to return your belongings in its pre-disaster state!
Recovering Your Possessions
We know that a fire can destroy items that hold a lot of sentimental value. That’s why our team takes great care in attempting to restore your belongings. We’ll even go above and beyond to make sure you are reunited with the items you want the most. So if you have a fire, call our team here at SERVPRO of Burke County today!
Get Ready During Hurricane Preparedness Week
Although hurricane season doesn’t officially start until June, the National Weather Service has dedicated May 6-12 to be Hurricane Preparedness Week. Although the number and severity of these storms vary each year, it’s always best to prepare for the worst. Last year, for example, Hurricane Florence devastated the east coast and some areas inland. In case you’re not sure where to start, we’ve prepared a few tips!
- Develop an evacuation plan. If you live in a storm surge zone or a home that is otherwise unsafe to stay in during a severe storm, you should establish an evacuation plan. You’ll need to identify a place you can temporarily relocate for the duration of the hurricane. You don’t necessarily need to travel hundreds of miles away; an alternative is to stay with a friend or relative who lives in a safe home away from danger zones. In any case, be sure to account for any pets as some places do not accept them!
- Gather emergency supplies. If at all possible, don’t wait until the last minute to buy emergency supplies. When an impending storm is announced, people tend to go shopping all at once, creating a shortage of supplies. If you start now, you can get some of the essentials, such as flashlights/candles, first aid kits, nonperishable food, and more. For a more extensive list, check out Ready.gov!
- Get an insurance check. It’s always a good idea to call your local agent and check out your insurance coverage. Do you have enough to cover home repairs or replacement? Also make sure you have flood insurance, which is separate from your homeowner's insurance. If you don’t, it’s a good idea to get coverage now because there is a 30-day waitlist before you can be covered!
It’s impossible to predict how destructive this hurricane season will be, but it’s always a good idea to expect the worst. Join us this week in preparing our homes and families for potential hurricane damage! If you do have damage and live in the Morganton, NC area, please call SERVPRO of Burke County at (828) 874-0966!
Water Damage Essentials: Equipment
This is a dehumidifier, just one of many pieces of equipment used to dry water damage!
When a home or business has water damage, time is a critical factor. The longer water is left unaddressed, the more likely mold growth and structural damage are to occur. That’s why when our technicians are called, they immediately respond and begin the drying process right away. But how do we mitigate water damage so quickly? Today we’ll review some of the tools we use to make water damage “Like it never even happened.”
Sometimes our technicians are asked how they can know when materials are fully dry—that’s where a moisture meter comes in handy. This handheld device detects the relative humidity of material, so our technicians know how wet something is before, during, and after the drying process.
Upon initial inspection, our technicians will measure and record moisture levels; this will give them a basis to work with for the rest of the drying process. As the drying continues, they will measure the materials until they reach the target goal.
One of the most critical tools in the drying process is the air mover. Although it’s often referred to as a fan by customers, it’s in a class of its own. Unlike your traditional fan, it pushes air at extremely high velocities and keeps the air in concentrated columns. With these refined characteristics, air movers are very effective at speeding up the evaporation process by increasing the number of water molecules that enter the air.
Dehumidifiers are air movers’ best friends. As air movers speed up the evaporation process, the rooms become humid. To counter this, dehumidifiers pull moisture from the air, convert it back into water, and drain the water into a designated container. Together, both air movers and dehumidifiers can lower the moisture levels of affected materials.
Drying Your Property
After a decade of experience, we have the equipment and the experience to mitigate any water damage. If your property has water damage and you need help, be sure to call our team at SERVPRO of Burke County!
3 Common Types of Commercial Damages
One of our crew chiefs extracts water from a commercial building that had a sump pump failure.
One of the most stressful moments in a business’ life is the moment it suffers from some kind of disaster. Not only does it put a strain on resources and operations, but it can also potentially force the business to close its doors. Because many businesses fail after a disaster, it’s important to identify the most common types of damage and be aware of how to prevent them.
Commercial Water Damage
Water damage tends to be one of the most common types of disasters a business can face. Still, it can be quite destructive. For one, it can lead to mold growth if it’s not immediately addressed, but it can also ruin equipment, documents, and more. Of course, depending on the severity and nature of the property, it can even temporarily halt operations.
Water damage can occur in a seemingly infinite number of ways, but here are some of the most common ways:
- Burst pipes/Pipe leaks
- Toilet overflows
- Rain intrusion
- Appliance leakage/Malfunction
Commercial Fire Damage
While commercial fires aren’t nearly as common as water damage incidents, they can be just as destructive, if not more. For example, you’ll have burnt contents, smoke damage, and most likely water damage. These damages can be expensive and time-consuming to clean up, which are two things a business prefers to avoid.
Similar to water damage, fire damages can occur in a multitude of ways:
- Unattended kitchen fires
- Electrical fires
- Heat sources close to flammable objects
- Smoking-related incidents
Commercial Mold Damage
While mold isn’t necessarily going to destroy your property, they can negatively impact productivity levels, cause long-term structural damage, and stir up some health issues. Because insurance coverage is generally minimal when it comes to mold, it’s best to treat or prevent it before it becomes a major issue.
Mold growth occurs as a result of excess moisture left alone for too long. Here are the most common causes we experience:
- Water damage that is left unaddressed
- Slow, hidden leaks
- High humidity levels
- Poor air circulation
Getting Help for Commercial Damage
No matter the type or the extent of the damage, you should be able to rely on your local disaster restoration company to get you back on your feet. Fortunately, SERVPRO of Burke County has well over 50 employees, hundreds of equipment units, and years of experience restoring commercial properties. So if you have damage at your business or other commercial property, call us today!
Why House Fires Typically Result in Water Damage
Above, water damaged the interior of a home that had a fire in the kitchen area. Water and fire damage go hand-in-hand!
House fires aren’t an uncommon occurrence in the Lenoir and Taylorsville areas; in fact, we usually get at least one or two fire-related calls a week. But in most instances, we first have to send out our water technicians before we send our fire-cleaning team.
Fire Damage Creates Water Damage
As everyone knows, one of the most common ways to extinguish a fire is to douse it with water. (Be aware that water won’t put out every kind of fire.) And of course, the amount of water needed is proportional to the size of the fire, so a large fire is going to need a lot of water.
That’s why house fires tend to have significant water damage—firefighters have to use a lot of water to put them out. In commercial fires, water damage can also occur when even a small fire triggers the sprinkler system. As a result, affected homes have two types of damages that need to be addressed.
Mitigating Your Water Damage
When we respond to a home that has both fire and water damage, we first dispatch our water mitigation team. Because unmitigated water damage can lead to mold and additional structural damage, it’s imperative that it becomes a priority. After that’s been addressed, we’ll follow up with our fire damage cleanup team.
Expecting the Unexpected
Unfortunately, disaster strikes when and where we least expect it. And in many cases, damages can be extensive, requiring multiple phases in the restoration process. While it’s not possible to prevent every disaster, it’s a good idea to plan and prepare for worst case scenarios. We recommend you put together contingency plans and talk with your local insurance to make sure you’re properly covered.
Another Successful CE Class by SERVPRO of Burke County
We had a class full of eager insurance professionals ready to learn from our certified instructor!
On February 19, we hosted another great Continuing Education (CE) class for our local insurance agents. We had a full class of over 50 attendees, offered brand-new courses, and provided a delicious lunch. It was arguably one of our best classes!
Every quarter, we host these classes so our local insurance professionals can maintain their licenses and remain current on best practices. We bring in a licensed and experienced instructor to create and teach the courses. At this event, we offered two courses: Introduction to Workers Compensation and Employers Liability and Errors and Omissions Risk Management. We also held drawings during each break period and gave away several prizes.
If you are an insurance professional in need of CE credits, join our email list to get updates on our upcoming classes: http://eepurl.com/dgbNDz. This is just one of the many ways we give back to our community!