Recent Storm Damage Posts

Emergency Services During a Storm

2/9/2019 (Permalink)

You can’t plan when a storm strike. Whether it is a weekend, a holiday, or overnight, there is a company that is there to help. SERVPRO of South Albany County has an experienced crew that is there to go whenever you call.

We understand at SERVPRO that the most crucial time to start remediation on water is immediately. So, using the most advanced equipment, we begin water removal and treatment of space to quickly restore your home back to preloss condition.

We are here for you 24/7, large or small. Make sure to have these answers on hand:

Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Your insurance information (if applicable)
  • The street address of the water-damaged home or business
  • When did the flooding or water damage occur?
  • What caused the water damage (if known)?
  • Is there electricity available (on-site)?

SERVPRO of South Albany County specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after damaging event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility for regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property. SERVPRO wants our team to be part of your team! 

When Storms Bring Water Inside Your Home

2/9/2019 (Permalink)

Whenever a violent storm makes its way, your property is at risk for damage. Every year, flood removal is a significant portion of all insurance claims. Severe thunderstorms and other extreme weather can cause problems with your home in several ways. When rain pours down the ground outside can get saturated causing the groundwater underneath your home to make its way into your dwelling. Water can also build up outdoors and find its way into your house through your lower door seals, forcing you to call in a professional flood removal company such as SERVPRO to remove moisture from your contents and building materials.

Rainwater can also enter your house if excessive winds blow objects into your walls or windows. Any time moisture gets into the inside of your dwelling it is wise to call in SERVPRO to conduct flood removal. We know that removing water when it is in its liquid form is much easier than pulling it out of your building materials and contents or out of the air. To accomplish this, we utilize heavy-duty extraction equipment to vacuum up moisture. If there is any standing water we remove that first and if it is more than two inches deep we use a submersible pump that puts the water into a sewage drain.  

Once all of the standing water inside your house gets removed, we begin vacuuming moisture out of your carpet and upholstered furniture. To do this, we usually use our powerful truck-mounted extractors. We hook up the vacuum motor to different types of extraction tools depending on what materials with which we are working.  Sometimes we use small handheld units that work well for removing moisture from chairs and couches.  Other scenarios require more advanced equipment is.  

When carpets get saturated, we use tools like Water Claws that use the weight of the operator to compress materials to pull out as much moisture as possible. If you ever get water entering your home after a storm, call us.

Why Unseen Storm Damages Cause the Most Damage

12/20/2018 (Permalink)

There's always cause for concern whether you come home to a small water leak or a large water leak. Why should someone worry about a small leak? It is the water you can't see that actually causes the most damage! Your SERVPRO professionals understand how disruptive unseen water damage is. The water can contain bacteria, within a few days cause mold, and stopping the source can be very difficult if you can not easily see the water. That is where we come in! Do not risk secondary damages trying to cleanup the mess yourself. Call your SERVPRO professionals to ensure the source of the leak is stopped, the structure is completely dry so that mold will not spread, and to give you a peace of mind!

Here are a few tips to prevent leaks and a headache when they do happen:

1. Always keep your roof inspected and up- to- date on all repairs.

2. Document your possessions.

3. Keep your trees trimmed to prevent them from falling onto your roof.

4. Keep all gutters and spouts cleared out to make sure they are draining properly.

5. Guard your foundation and basement.

6. Keep up with your HVAC equipment and appliances.

What to Do When a Storm Damages Your Home

12/20/2018 (Permalink)

If you have storm damage, we can clean it up. We are here to help and have 24/7 staff and equipment. If you have water damage from flash flooding, structural damage from high winds, or smoke damage from a lightening fire. We are here to help. Our trained staff are here to assess the situation and stabilize your structure for you.  We can help you find the resources you need to quickly clean up any situation weather you have a large tree that has come down or a roof that needs repaired. We have business relationships with contractors and vendors that we partner with that are here to assist even with things we are not able to do ourselves. We are able to bring in large equipment if needed to solve any problem that you have.  We are here to help be that resource for you in that time of need when a disaster happens. You can turn to SERVPRO and know that we are here to help.  We know that your family and/or business are important to you and it is important to get things back to normal quickly.  We work hard to help make it "Like it never even happened."

Preparing Your Home for a Storm

12/20/2018 (Permalink)

Being in the path of a severe storm in Albany can be overwhelming. Not only do you have to think about your safety, but you also have to consider the damage that your home might sustain from flood water. Thankfully, there are a few simple steps you can take to help minimize the chances of flooding or other issues.


1. Check Your Gutters

Your gutters are one of your home’s main ways of preventing water from leaking into your home. However, they likely won’t work properly if they aren’t clean. Leaves, sticks and other debris can get stuck in the gutters, which can lead to water damage in your home. Double check that they are clear before it starts raining. Additionally, check for damage to your gutters so you have time to repair them before the storm hits. This will reduce the chances of a flooded building.

2. Inspect Trees Around Your Home

Flood water isn’t the only thing you need to look out for when preparing for a storm. If you live in an area surrounded by trees, then you should consider having your trees trimmed before the storm arrives. Trees that still have a lot of leaves on them or have particularly heavy branches are more likely to fall due to heavy wind and rain. Furthermore, you might see branches that already look like they are about to detach and fall, which should be removed immediately.

3. Do Your Homework

Sometimes, even when you do everything right, there is nothing you can do to prevent flood water from entering your home. Finding a storm damage restoration company beforehand can help relieve stress if your home winds up needing repair. It’s also a good idea to keep important phone numbers in a safe location. If you do not evacuate, have an emergency kit and be prepared for an extended time without power.

It can be helpful to take these steps when you know a storm is headed your way. Ensure your gutters are clear, your trees are trimmed, and you are prepared with emergency items. These things can reduce water damage, stress and danger during a storm.

Why You Shouldn't Wait for a Storm Adjuster

12/20/2018 (Permalink)

After a severe storm or flood in Albany NY many residents are likely to report damage. Regardless of whether you need to file a storm or flood damage claim, you should immediately document damage and take measures toward mitigation as soon as possible. Here are three reasons why you should not wait for a flood insurance adjuster.

1. Adjusters Are Busy

If the storm was severe or affected a large area, adjusters will have their work cut out for them. Even if you notify your insurance company of damage in a timely manner, you may still be a on a long waiting list. In the meantime, the damage in your home will intensify.

2. The Damage Will Get Worse

If you wait so that an adjuster can witness the full extent of the damage firsthand, primary storm or flood damage will worsen and secondary issues, such as mold damage, may arise. Most homeowner's and flood insurance policies require that policyholders take reasonable steps to mitigate damage. You may be able to obtain an advance on your policy to cover some of the cost of mitigation.

3. You Just Need Documentation

Extensive photographic and video evidence are all you need to support a claim. You may be able to make an even stronger case if you have relatively recent footage from before the flood or storm. It is a good idea to capture the condition of every part of your home once or twice a year and back these files up in remote and secure cloud storage.

As long as you gather evidence of the damage and losses your property has suffered, you should be able to file a homeowner's or flood insurance claim. Contact a residential mitigation and restoration service as soon as your residence sustains flood or storm damage or if you suspect that mold damage may be present.

What Homeowners Should Know About Sewage

1/28/2018 (Permalink)

Sewage is one of the most dangerous substances to enter homes or buildings. It contains fungi, bacteria and viruses, many of which are disease causing. Unfortunately, many people fail to understand the hazards that sewage presents, particularly for the very young or very old, or for those with compromised immune systems or respiratory problems.

The IICRC complied guidelines for professional sewage cleanup called the Standard for Water Damage Restoration (S500).

Here are the key principles homeowners should know about sewage back-ups:

  • Sewage contains a variety of pathogenic – disease causing – fungi, bacteria, viruses and parasites. Anyone who works on sewage losses must have updated vaccinations, including one for Hepatitis B.
  • Sewage exposure is particularly dangerous for people with weakened immune systems, including anyone under two or over 60, those who are pregnant, ill, recovering from surgery, on prescription drugs or chemotherapy, or are AIDS victims.
  • It is not safe to stay in a building that’s flooded with sewage unless the contaminated area can be completely sealed off and placed under controlled air flow so that there will be no cross contamination of unaffected areas.
  • Highly absorbent sewage-saturated materials, such as carpet, pad, upholstery, bedding, wicker, paper or even fabrics that can’t be washed in hot water (130°F/54°C) for at least 10 minutes, must be contained and disposed of properly.  This goes for sewage-saturated drywall, insulation and several other structural materials too.  There’s simply too great a health risk involved if any of these materials are dried in place and cleaned only.
  • Only the most highly trained professionals should attempt sewage remediation work. Then, a “third party” indoor environmental professional can provide post-remediation verification or “clearance testing” to ensure that the home or building is safe to re-occupy. 

If you have any sewage issues, call SERVPRO of South Albany County.

Protecting Your Home from Storms

1/28/2018 (Permalink)

Flooding in your home can happen at any time, but your home can be even more exposed to water damage when it rains. As we move into the late fall and winter months, storm damage becomes more of a threat to your property. Follow these tips to help protect your home from water damage during the next rain storm.

  1. Modify your homes water valves. If the city's main sewer line gets backed up during a heavy rain storm, you could find yourself standing in a a puddle of you-know-what. You may want to consider installing a interior or exterior backflow valve. Backflow valves prevent your water system from being contaminated from water flowing backwards into your supply lines. 
  2. Clear gutter, drains, and downspouts. Clogged gutters and downspouts can end up in a messy flood. Take the time to clean them and clear them of any and all debris before the rain comes.
  3. Cover air vents. One of the most common ways water fins its way into a home is through the home's air vents. If you know that heavy rain is in the forecast and that you are at risk of flooding, cover your air vents with thick plastic sheeting from both the outside and the inside. 
  4. Check your sealant surrounding doors and windows. Make sure that any gaps or holes in the sealant surrounding the doors and windows are filled in. This will help stop rain water from finding its way into your home. 

Emergency Planning for a Storm

12/19/2017 (Permalink)

How quickly your company can get back to business after a tornado, fire, or flood often depends on the emergency planning done today. The regular occurrence of natural disasters demonstrates the importance of being prepared for any emergency. While each situation is unique, your organization can be better prepared if you plan carefully, put emergency procedures in place, and practice for all kinds of emergencies.

The following are basic measures business owners and managers can take to begin preparing.  A commitment to begin planning today will help support your employees, customers, the community, local economy, and even the country.  It also protects your business investment and gives your company a better chance for survival.

Develop a Business Continuity Plan.

Your organization’s risk needs will vary depending on the specific industry, size, scope and location. Begin by reviewing your business process flowchart, if one exists, to identify operations critical to survival and recovery. Carefully assess your internal and external functions to determine which staff, materials, procedures and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating. You should also establish procedures for succession of management.

Review Insurance Coverage.

Inadequate insurance coverage can lead to major financial loss if your business is damaged, destroyed or simply interrupted for a period of time. Insurance policies vary; check with your agent or provider about things such as physical losses, flood coverage and business interruption.  Understand what your policy does and does not cover.

Prepare your Emergency Plan.

Your employees and co-workers are your business’ most valuable asset. Communication is central before, during and after a disaster. Include emergency information in newsletters, on your company intranet, in periodic employee e-mails and/or other communication tools.

Practice the Emergency Plan.

Some disasters will require employees to leave the workplace quickly. The ability to evacuate workers, customers and visitors effectively can save lives. If your business operates out of more than one location, establish evacuation procedures for each individual building. If your company is in a high-rise building, an industrial park, or even a small strip mall, it is important to coordinate and practice with other tenants or businesses to avoid confusion and potential gridlock.

Secure Your Facility and Equipment.

Install fire extinguishers, smoke alarms and detectors in appropriate places. Secure all entry and exit points and plan for mail safety. Plan what you will do if your building, plant or store is not usable. Secure valuable equipment.

Improve Cyber Security.

Protecting your data and information systems may require specialized expertise, but even the smallest business can be better prepared. Use anti-virus software and keep it up-to-date. Don’t open e-mails from unknown sources. Use hard-to-guess passwords. Protect your computer from intruders by using firewalls. Back up your computer data and download security protection updates known as patches regularly.

How to Handle Flood Damage from a Storm

12/19/2017 (Permalink)

It is tragic when a flood brings devastation and water damage to your home. But rapid water removal, clean up and repairs certainly must get under way for you home to get back to normal with minimal losses.
 
Safety is a top priority. After the flood damage, evaluation of the home's safety issues must be completed before you dare to enter your home again. 
 
You do need to call your insurance agent to ascertain if you are covered under your standard home owners policy or if you do possess flood insurance. An insurance adjuster will be dispatched to your property to inspect the damage and eventually offer a settlement. Ask for help in retaining a competent water damage restoration company.  We can assess and document all water damaged items, help you with your claims and paperwork, and expedite the water removal and restoration. We can check your home for structural damage and any possible electrical issues since water and electricity are a dangerous duo. This inspection will indicate to you the severity of the water damage that your home has suffered and any potential health issues you may have to address during the process of getting the flood damage repairs done on your home. 
 
When these concerns have been addressed, and if you have been given permission to enter your home, you should also document all the flood causing water damage for insurance purposes. Be sure that you do take pictures of the flooded areas of your home and any damaged belongings, including damaged furniture. This, along with the input from SERVPRO,  will help you to be fairly compensated by the insurance company. 
 
Once you have done the documentation and the adjuster had done his inspection, then the clean up starts to get under way. The home needs to be made dry and needs to be cleaned up as soon as possible to prevent any other damage from occurring. This will also lessen the likelihood of mold and mildew growth. Contamination is a given if the flooding is the result of groundwater intrusion, whether from rain, bodies of water, or a sewage blockage. Do not attempt to clean and sanitize on your own. The potential for future illness is too great.
 
It is wise to call the professionals from SERVPRO; because they can immediately begin to pump out the water and mitigate on-going water damage. And they have the skill and knowledge, along with the professional equipment required to start and complete the entire restoration process for you. 
 
After the water removal and clean up are in operation, then repairs need to be done. They could be extensive, depending on how much structural damage has occurred and the condition of the contents of your property. SERVPRO can start with water removal and finish your project with complete water damage restoration "Like it never even happened."

SERVPRO are the Storm Damage Experts

12/19/2017 (Permalink)

Quick Response and High Standards Will Leave you Satisfied after Remediation

When heavy rains and high winds hit hard, property destruction and loss can be devastating to you as a homeowner. Structural damage to the exterior of your home is followed by interior devastation from water and winds. Storm damage is rarely isolated to just a few buildings in an area adding the challenge of finding a restoration company that can respond swiftly to your needs to an already anxiety provoking situation. SERVPRO delivers the help you need swiftly even when a local disaster is widespread as we are able to call upon a network of over 1,650 franchises nationwide to respond if the need is great. 
 
Storm damage can feel overwhelming, but your fear and panic will disappear when our team of professionals responds to your water, wind and flooding repair and restoration needs. Your particular situation is of paramount importance to us, and you need not worry that your repairs and restoration will take a back seat even when many in your area are struggling to recover from the same issues you face. Choosing our company puts in motion a vast support system, but our local ownership means you will receive a personalized approach to your particular situation, efficiently returning your home back to its pre-storm condition just “Like it never even happened.” 
 
Placing your trust in SERVPRO for your storm damage needs will reap you benefits that less qualified companies simply cannot deliver. We use state of the art equipment to clean, repair and restore your home and in the process, we also restore your and your family’s peace of mind. Our technicians are highly trained and qualified, current in Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IIICRC) for any procedure needed to bring your home back to the comfortable and comforting refuge you deserve. We also work closely with your insurance company, ensuring that all the work necessary is approved and compensated according to the terms of your policy. Our high standards and relentless drive to do the job on time while meeting local specifications means you and your family will quickly return to the quiet enjoyment of your house and neighborhood. We are not satisfied until you are happily back in your restored dwelling. 
 
Once you make sure that your family is safe after a major storm, your first call should be to SERVPRO.

How to Prepare for Rainy Days

12/19/2017 (Permalink)

Your home is your most valuable asset so don’t get caught in the rain.  Take steps now to secure your property before April showers dampen your mood.  

Storms can happen in the blink of an eye with little to no warning.  The aftermath of not being prepared can be stressful and costly.  Taking the time to address a few key areas of concern can make a huge difference between staying high and dry or up to your knees in water.  One of the best things you can do to get prepared is to pretend there is a storm coming right now and take action.  

1. Go out and purchase any supplies you may need should you lose power or water supply for a period of time; batteries, a backup generator, bottled water, canned foods and gas just to name a few.  By having these items ahead of time, you can avoid standing in line for hours and risking supplies running out.  

2. Make sure that you have the proper insurance plan in place. Check on your policy so that you are familiar with what is and what is not covered and to make sure that everything is current.

3. Do what you can to secure your property. Seal up any cracks or gaps around windows and doors and check your roof for any broken or loose shingles. Installing items such as window shutters, garage door braces, and roof clips can all help to protect your home as well.  These resources can be costly but they can save you money in the long run!  

4. Take care of the trees surrounding your home.  Make sure to keep trees pruned and healthy.  Remove any dead branches and trim back any limbs that could become a danger to your house.  Overhanging limbs can scrape the roof and damage shingles or can bust through windows.  Properly maintaining your landscaping is an easy and necessary task in being proactive against storm damage.  So, keep your yard picked up and clear of debris.  

5. Also, secure patio furniture and pick up any items such as sporting equipment or lawn items and put them in an appropriate storage space.  

Storms are truly unpredictable and sometimes damage is unavoidable. Taking proactive measures can help but also be sure to have the contact information for your local service company handy should you need help with the aftermath!

Protecting Your Home or Business from Storm Damage

12/19/2017 (Permalink)

Snow isn’t the only thing leaving its mark on our homes this time of year. It may not be springtime yet, but storms are still whipping through cities causing power outages and home damage. According to the National Storm Damage Center (NSDC), damage caused by trees during severe weather, account for over $1 billion in property damage. Broken limbs or trees can cause mass amounts of damage to your property if they make contact. Such damage can be done to roofing, siding, windows and even structure to the home, causing lots of expensive repairs. Unfortunately there is no way to stop the unpredictable weather, but there are ways to prevent damage from happening to your home. 

Assessing your tree

The National Storm Damage Center insists on trying to keep trees healthy and surviving as long as they’re not posing an immediate threat, but how do we know if the tree is ready to be taken down or not? There are different ways that a tree can be assessed to give you a better answer to that question.

·      Broken limbs – the larger amount of large limbs that are broken on a tree, the less likely it is to survive or recover from storm damage. This tree is unfortunately probably ready to be taken down.

·      Amount of limbs broken – A tree showing more than 50% of it’s limbs broken or damaged means that it will most likely have a difficult time producing leaves in the upcoming season, therefor making it harder for it to survive.

·      Leader branch – Is the upward-trending branch at the top of the tree broken? Without this branch being intact, it is likely that the tree’s growth will be stunted, making it less likely to survive.

·      Location – Last, but not least is location. Saving trees is important for our environment, but keeping lives safe is obviously more important to us. The biggest decision on whether to keep a tree in your yard or not is purely the location of the tree. Is it in a location that could cause damage or injury to your home, car or family if it were to break? If so, it is better to be safe than sorry and get it removed before a storm comes through. 

Storm Flood Tips

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

Flood Tips and Action Steps

After a Flood

Safety First (For businesses and home owners)

  • Account that all employees or family members are safe by establishing evacuation plans in advance, identifying areas outside the building that are designated meeting places. Assign select individuals to keep a list of their assigned team's names and contact numbers in order to account for their whereabouts. 
  • If water enters the building and evacuation becomes impossible, move to an upper floor, and wait for rescuers. 
  • While evacuating, avoid attempting to drive through floods or rising water, nearly half of all flash flood fatalities are auto-related. 
  • Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water. 
  • Do not walk through moving water. Even six inches of moving water can make you fall. 
  • Use no open flames (there may be gas escaping from ruptured mains.)
  • Avoid floodwaters. Water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged. If the water has entered the structure through the flooding of a creek, stream or river, or if it has filtered through insulation during its intrusion, it is considered to be black water and could be hazardous to your health. Avoid contact with contaminated items as much as possible. 
  • Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters. 
  • Listen for news reports to learn if the community's water supply is safe to drink.
  • Return only when authorities indicate it is safe.

Secure the Property

  • Contact local emergency officials. 
  • Secure main entrances to building. 
  • Alert security company and Alarm company of the situation. 

Stabilize the Property

  • Open basement or low-level windows to equalize water pressure on the building's foundation and walls. 
  • Begin water damage mitigation steps only if local emergency officials deem the structure safe to enter. 
  • Notify your insurance agent or Risk Manager to determine insurance policy guidelines and steps to take.  

Mitigation Tips:

  • Take the greatest caution while entering your home, and wear sturdy shoes and protective clothing when dealing with flooded areas. Wear protective clothing at all times. 
  • Take photos or video to record conditions of collections and structure. Make sure images clearly record damage. 
  • Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting. 
  • Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items. 
  • Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions for even drying. 
  • Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting. 
  • Remove any paintings, art objects, documents and other sensitive materials to a safe, dry place. 
  • Place fans at 45-degree angles to walls and move large furniture away from walls to create the best air circulation. 
  • Appoint a media liaison to report conditions and need for help/volunteers. You may have to limit access to collections. 
  • Do not enter rooms with standing water where electrical shock hazards may exist. 
  • Do not attempt to operate any electrical equipment while standing in wet or damp locations. 
  • Do not leave books, newspapers, magazines or other colored items on wet carpets or floors to cause staining. 
  • Do not leave oriental rugs or other colored rugs on wet wall-to-wall carpets to cause staining. 
  • Do no use TVs or other appliances while standing on wet carpets or floors, especially not on wet concrete floors. 
  • Do no turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet or enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water. 
  • Do not turn on heat unless required for human comfort. 
  • Do not move objects or collections without documenting their condition. 
  • Throw away all foods - even canned goods - that have come into contact with flood waters. 
  • If your home has a crawlspace, be aware excess moisture in this area can often foster mold growth.