Recent Storm Damage Posts
By: Rachel W.
As soon as I see an article online about wildfires or pass a TV with flames engulfing the screen, I’ll likely be packing my bags. There’s little notice in this industry, so paying close attention to the fire season is crucial. I constantly check to see if evacuations have been lifted because as soon as we go, my life is in for dramatic changes.
Since I began my career in the restoration industry in 2016, I’ve worked on three separate storms, the last two only a few months apart. I was nervous on my first firestorm, but well-trained, so I jumped at the opportunity.
It isn’t easy. I’ve witnessed devastation on every trip and it’s just as heartbreaking as the first time, but also a good reminder of why I’m there. I’ve experienced a whirlwind of emotions, but the work is so rewarding I’ve volunteered to go on every occasion since.
By: Ryan M.
My first experience on a water storm site was in North Carolina when disaster struck. Hurricane Florence caused major flooding from storm surges and heavy rains. The Hurricane caused around 20 billion dollars in damage. It was extremely humbling to see people overcoming the hardships of not having a place to stay and little to no access to essential supplies. It was heartwarming to see the community coming together and volunteers on job sites going from house to house helping neighbors. I arrived with our disaster response team not knowing what to expect. The streets were lined with insulation, home contents, flooring, drywall and debris from fallen trees. Fema trucks were driving up and down the streets all day every day trying to keep up with collecting the debris. Our teams worked 14-18 hour days to help people get to the point where they could begin to rebuild their homes. Homes had water lines at the 4ft mark around the entire house. Most homes were completely full of several different strains of mold by the time people were able to access them. In order to bring these homes to a repairable point our crews removed all non-structural materials and dried the framing and floor joists. The Neuse River in the New Bern area where we spent most of our time had engulfed peoples homes and businesses and destroyed nearly all of their possessions. Our number one focus was to help as many families and businesses as possible as quickly and effectively as possible. It was hard work in hot temperatures of 80-90 degrees with 60-70 percent humidity and our crews worked relentlessly. I was so proud of our team and the number of people we were able to help and I will always remember the people I met and those that we served. We were driven by our founding principles, strong values and our desire to serve our community and country.
This is a House Burnt to the ground caused by a wildfire.
By: Rachel W.
I remember the first time I was driving through a neighborhood decimated by fire—street
after street of rubble, the rare glimpse of a chimney, and the occasional staircase to
nowhere. I saw entire neighborhoods with one house standing around ashy remains of
cars and driveways.
Families are on sidewalks, sifting through the remains of their homes. I had seen memorials
for first responders who had lost their lives, wildlife moving into neighborhoods, and
groups patrolling their blocks to keep out looters.
There is so much to process arriving in affected areas, yet within all of that, something
beautiful grows out of the disaster, Community. Seeing everyone come together to help
is one of the most inspiring parts of the job. Being able to stay long enough to see
things being rebuilt and growing again will remind you that even in the worst of times,
things will and can get better.
Storm Damage Preparedness
Our team of experts will be there soon, but your health and safety are our main priorities. While you wait for help to arrive, follow these tips to keep you protected while facilitating a more rapid recovery:
- Discuss preparedness with your family
- Identify an out-of-state contact in case you are separated. Long-distance calls may work when local calls do not
- Teach children how and when to call 911 post emergency contact numbers near phones in your home
- Teach children how to use a cell phone
- Determine two escape routes from each room in your home
- Pick three places to meet - One right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, pick a location in your neighborhood if your property isn't safe and a regional meeting place if you can't return home
MAKE A PLAN
- Water will keep you alive. If you have enough water, you can live on half of your normal food intake. Make sure to store at least one gallon of water per person per day and store enough water to last two weeks.
- People in hot environments, children, people who are ill and nursing mothers should store more.
- Rotate your water supply every six months
- Other sources of water in your home: water heater, ice cubes, pipes and toilet tank (not the bowl)
Unlike water, food can be rationed. Store at least a three to five day supply of non-perishable food in a dry place where the temperature is not above 70 degrees.
Select foods that require little or no preparation, water or refrigeration. Select foods that are high in calories, nutritious, compact and lightweight. Choose foods your family will eat.
Pets are an important member of your family. Plan for them as well. Remember that emergency shelters typically do not allow animals. Only service animals are allowed in shelters.
But you should know safe places to keep your pets if you have to evacuate with them. Where are hotels and motels outside of your area that accept pets? What friends or family members could keep them for you? Which boarding facilities, veterinarians or shelters could be used?
Your water heater can be a critical source of water in an emergency, but only if it’s still standing. Go to your home improvement store of choice and buy the metal straps to secure the water heater to nearby studs.
A falling water heater can break gas lines and water lines or spill your water.
If you have natural gas coming into your home, it’s easy to turn off, but not so much for turning it back on. Only qualified people should turn gas back on.
When you should shut off your gas meter:
- You smell natural gas
- You hear gas leaking
- There is a fire (unless shutting off the gas would jeopardize your safety)
- If you need to shut off the gas, use a wrench to turn the valve a quarter turn in either direction
- Take some time to become familiar with which utilities enter your home and where they can be shut off. As you practice emergency plans, locate and map the gas, water and electricity mains. During family drills, go through the movements, but do not practice shutting off gas lines.
If you are facing the aftermath of a storm or natural disaster, call us at (208) 375-0300!
Protect Your Property From Winter Damage
"Winter storms are the third-largest cause of catastrophe losses, behind only hurricanes and tornadoes" -Insurance Information Institute, Inc.
It is a known fact that winter weather trends can be unpredictable throughout the United States. Homeowners in colder climates, including the Northeast, Midwest, and mountain areas should now be weather-proofing their properties, preparing for the potential cold-weather storms ahead.
Winter storms often bring with them an array of extreme cold, snow, high winds, and icy conditions, which can cause potential outages for days or even immobilize entire regions. Basic communication services, power and heat sources can be knocked out for days until usage is safe again. The National Weather Service refers to winter storms as "deceptive killers", as statistics highlight that most deaths around this period are indirectly related to the weather.
The past five years have highlighted how towns and cities around the country can be completely shut down by the challenges of winter weather. Snow and ice dams can be large threats to the exterior structures of properties, so it is crucial to take steps to ensure your property is structurally sound.
Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing
When the weather gets colder, unprotected water pipes can often freeze, leaving you without water (and in some cases without heating, too). Without steps to protect them during the winter months, water pipes can freeze and sometimes burst. Allowing heat to circulate around your home and having sufficient insulation can help ensure the pipes remain at a constant temperature.
If you do identify a frozen pipe, you can thaw it out slowly by using a hot water bottle or towels soaked in warm water. If you have a burst water pipe, turn off the water supply immediately, by turning the valve to stop the flow of water – this will prevent any further damage until you can get it fixed.
Monitor Ice Dams on Roofs
Ice dams are formed by layers of snow and ice building up in the eaves of your roof or guttering. This build-up of snow and ice then backs up and “dams” the natural flow of water off the roof. It is this damming that causes the water to run down the interior wall surfaces.
A constant increase in the amount of snow on a roof can lead to potential structure damage, as well as leaks or water damage in your home. Sturdiness and slope are all variables and can react differently in adverse winter weather conditions. You may seek professional help if you think your roof may need modifications.
After a storm and only when safe to do so, you can use a long-handed rake to remove snow from your roof. The amount of snow that your roof and gutters can take will depend on the type, age, and condition. Ensure that downspouts and gutters are clear in an effort to prevent flooding.
One of the best long-term methods for preventing ice dams is to install a water-repellent membrane in your roof. This is installed under the shingles and acts as an extra barrier, helping to prevent water from seeping into your property.
Winterize the Interior
Making updates to your home, including using silicone foam, caulking any holes, and adding insulation to walls can have a significant impact on your home’s energy bills. Make sure that your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is regularly serviced too, as a failing system can result in wasted energy and wasted money.
Doors and window-sills are also major culprits when it comes to letting heat escape. Caulking and weather-stripping can help to reduce the likelihood of heat loss, as well as the possibility of water seeping into your home due to ice dams.
You may want to consider installing a generator for emergency outages to help when your main power sources are disturbed. This will allow you to connect lights, refrigerators, and electrical heating devices and stay warm and safe in your home.
Inspect the Exterior of Your Home and Clear any Leaves and Branches
Make sure you clear any leaves and branches from your drain pipes before the winter season arrives. Safely cut away any branches that are hanging over your house and repair any damage to your gutters and roof. These issues could pose a risk to structures, people, and vehicles. Trimming trees can be dangerous in icy weather though, so try and get this done before the cold winter period begins.
Clear Pathways and Property Entrances
After a storm, it’s vital that you remove snow and ice from walkways and parking lots if you are a business owner. Use rock salt or grit to avoid any slips or trips. Removing snow and treating icy surfaces with a safe snow melting product will allow customers safe access to your business.
By following these few basic precautions, you can ensure that the interior and exterior of your home or business is safe this winter. Remember that snow and unpredictable weather patterns can potentially threaten your property’s structure, so be sure to seek professional advice if there are signs of damage.
Natural Catastrophes: Protect Yourself Before and After a Disaster Strikes
Ensure proper coverage before a major event; know who you are dealing with after a storm hits.
Wildfires. Earthquakes. Hailstorms.
Mother Nature can be unpredictable. When it comes to natural disasters, ensuring proper coverage beforehand, and knowing whom to deal with to handle repairs in the aftermath can help protect your property and your finances from predatory and unscrupulous contractors looking to make a quick buck.
"Unexpected events such as the hailstorms in southeastern Idaho this past spring serve as reminders of the value of catastrophe insurance. When making storm repairs, be diligent and always be sure to do business with a local, licensed contractor.
Hail can quickly wreck havoc on your home and car. For autos, comprehensive coverage will safeguard your vehicle; however, a basic liability policy will not. When it comes to your home, hail damage is covered by a standard homeowner's policy, but coverage can be affected by factors such as where you live and the type of policy you have purchased.
Amy Lambrecht, a supervisor with the Department's Consumer Affairs division, says hundreds of claims have been filed as a result of the hailstorms in southeastern Idaho. She recommends the following tips to avoid becoming a victim of insurance fraud:
- Be wary of door-to-door solicitors
- Make sure contractors are licensed
- Read all documents before signing anything
- Keep copies of all documents signed
- Be leery of contractors trying to provide "advice" about insurance coverage
Insurance industry statistics estimate hail damage to exceed $1 billion annually in the U.S., mostly to roofs and cars. Understand the risks of where you reside and the types of catastrophe coverage available.
SERVPRO Assists Hurricane Victims in North Carolina
This is a photo of one of our teams in North Carolina
Hurricane Florence has caused unprecedented flooding and widespread devastation in North and South Carolina. In a four day period, many areas received up to 30 inches of rain resulting in catastrophic river flooding. Many rivers in these affected areas exceeded flood levels reached during Hurricane Matthew in 2016 by 2 feet. As of October 4th, 2 out of the 4 SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Teams remain activated in response to Hurricane Florence. Team Hughes is managing response efforts in North Carolina and Team Wilson is managing response efforts in South Carolina. SERVPRO has received over 9,300 job leads and counting. There are currently 131 Franchises involved in responding to those leads, totaling 338 crews. Supporting resources have been made available to ensure a congruent message is being sent to the public so they
hear ONE voice and experience ONE Brand.
Our owner Christian Isaacson and eight of our SERVPRO of Boise crew members have been in Hampstead and New Bern, North Carolina since the second week of September. We split our crew into two teams to allow us to help as many residents and business owners as possible. “You have entire neighborhoods, people crying out front and everything they've ever owned is essentially destroyed. Their house that they have worked their whole life for. Same thing with their business is out of business so they can't make revenue to pay the bills. So it's just a very humbling environment,” Isaacson said.
SERVPRO Assists Fire Victims in Redding, California
Redding, California neighborhood completely leveled by the Carr Fire
Wildfires are a yearly, often tragic reality in the West Coast states. While we in the Treasure Valley area have been pretty fortunate in this regard, it is easy for us to empathize with those now facing loss from the historically large fires devastating parts of California. We at SERVPRO of Boise feel just as strongly about this, and we want to help.
This is why SERVPRO of Boise has sent a crew of technicians down to California to assist in the recovery and restoration effort. Our crews possess valuable skills, training, and experience related to both fire and water damage restoration that we want to put to use in areas where local resources are overwhelmed. Areas devastated by the Carr Fire are where our efforts have taken place.
The Carr Fire, located near Redding, began on July 23 from a trailer tire that went flat and started scraping the ground, causing sparks to ignite vegetation. Now four weeks old, the fire has burned 229,651 acres and is 88 percent contained. The fire has destroyed 1,079 homes and 22 commercial structures, making it the most destructive fire in Shasta County history. Eight deaths also have been linked to the fire. We at SERVPRO are confident that our team has been able to make a difference to some of the home and business owners affected by this tragedy.
SERVPRO of Boise is always standing by locally to respond if you have a water or fire emergency. Call us at (208) 375-0300 and we’ll make it “Like it never even happened.”
Dealing With Storm Damage To Your Property
Dealing with repairs and insurance companies after severe weather hits your property can be difficult. Homeowners can use the following tips to help tackle the storm damage caused by hard rains, flooding, or storm-related issues.
If you and your family were away from home when the storm hit, do not return until it has been confirmed safe. Contact a storm damage expert like SERVPRO of Boise; we’ll help you determine if your home is safe to return to.
You will need to contact your homeowners’ insurance adjuster as soon as possible. If your neighborhood has sustained widespread damage, find out if any special teams of insurance agents, relief workers, or contractors are coming to the area. Check your policy to find out what actions you need to take or talk to your agent to make sure you are following the proper procedures. Not following these actions correctly could result in a reduced claim. Inspect your property and make a list of all damages; take photographs of all noted damage if at all possible.
RECORDING AND DOCUMENTING
Document your neighbor’s damages, as well; this can prevent the insurance provider from downgrading your claim by saying the damage is from your neglect of maintenance or other unrelated issues by giving them a way to compare. Keep a record of all the communication you have with your insurance provider, and don’t do any unnecessary repair work yourself. Hire a trusted storm damage restoration service provider such as SERVPRO of Boise to handle any repairs.
BE SCAM FREE
Always check the adjuster’s identification. If you are evacuated, ask for money from your claim upfront. If they agree, you will be given a check for an amount that will be deducted from your final settlement. Some providers will automatically offer a partial payment early on during the process. Review it carefully and decline it if you feel uncomfortable with any part of it. Never be afraid to ask questions and to expect an answer that makes sense or seems fair.
Dealing with a storm's aftermath is stressful, but reacting properly will be an immense help and can prevent problems down the road.
The SERVPRO of Boise team is ready to help 24/7. Call us for your fire or water damage issues at (208)375-0300, or visit our website: SERVPRO of Boise
How to Prepare For a Boise Flood
By: Beth Byce
Last year historic flooding cause damage to the Greenbelt, parks, bridges and Boise homes. Flooding can be unpredictable and leaves homeowners feeling like they have no control. Here is how to prepare for a flood:
- Check with City of Boise Floodplains Map to see if your home could be affected
- If you are within floodplain areas purchase flood insurance
- Have a battery operated radio with extra batteries to listen to the NOAA Weather Radio for updates
- Sand-bag doorways parallel to the direction of the flow and stagger the joints if multiple layers are needed
- Raise your furnace, electrical panel and water heater in your home to reduce potential damage
- Keep a first aid kit in your home
- Keep a three day supply of food and water (one gallon per person per day)
- Keep a seven day supply of all medical items and medication
- Take pictures of your home before and after any water damage
- Call SERVPRO of Boise if there is any water damage to your home
Building Material Saturation in Storm Events and Natural Disasters
This photo shows removed drywall and a dehumidifier drying out the affected material
By: Christian Isaacson
Natural disasters can be one of the most unpredictable and impactful weather events that a homeowner or tenant ever face. Often times natural disasters such as hurricanes, deep freezes, and flooding can strike with little to no warning. With this in mind, we must remember that people affected by these disasters typically have little to no time to plan for these events resulting in little to no preventative measures being taken. To put this into perspective, let us use a flood as an example. In a typical, non-storm event water loss you will often have smaller amounts of water affecting different building materials in your home or business. Typically when facing these smaller scale water damages you will find lower saturation levels being retained because the excess moisture has been cleaned up using a variety of methods. This is especially important to note as one of the biggest differences in standard water losses and storm water losses is the amount of time that the water is left to dwell on the building materials.
Whether you are facing a fire damage, water damage, or both, it is important to keep in mind that building materials most homes and business’ are built of are in fact porous materials. Regardless of the difference in porosity, almost all building materials can soak up a substantial amount of water especially if they are left unattended for extended periods of time as is the case with hurricane and other natural disaster evacuations.
So you may be asking yourself, what does this extended dwell time on building materials mean to the restoration of a home after the disaster has passed? Well the short answer is that more dwell time means that more dry time will be needed to restore the moisture levels back to normal. But there is still one more major step to restoring your home or business after a natural disaster and that is the removal of all of those building materials that cannot be dried efficiently. This means that some or most of the cosmetic building materials affected such as drywall will need to be removed as the structural integrity of such materials is often compromised.
When Storms or Floods Hit Boise, SERVPRO is Ready!
Flooding in Boise
SERVPRO of Boise specializes in storm and flood damage restoration. Our crews are highly trained and we use specialized equipment to restore your property to its pre-storm condition.
Since we are locally owned and operated, we are able to respond quicker with the right resources, which is extremely important. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces the restoration cost.
We're Highly Trained Storm Damage Specialists
As a leader in storm and water damage restoration, SERVPRO of Boise has the specialized training and expertise to restore your home back to its pre-storm condition. Our restoration process puts an emphasis on scientific drying techniques, progress monitoring and documentation.
- Water Damage Restoration Technician
- Applied Structural Drying Technicians
Resources to Handle Floods and Storms
When storms hit Boise, we can scale our resources to handle a large storm or flooding disaster. We can access equipment and personnel from a network of over 1,700 Franchises across the country and elite Disaster Recovery Teams that are strategically located throughout the United States.
Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today 208-375-0300
SERVPRO of Boise not only covers all of the Treasure Valley, but is also a part of all four national SERVPRO storm teams. As a storm team we organize and manage efforts in all 50 states if a wide-spread disaster were to strike. During these catastrophic events, storm teams will mobilize in the area bringing a large number of crews, equipment, and resources to customers affected. Each storm team is managed from one office, where the team receives customer information, organizes that information and responds to the customer quickly and professionally. We recruit crews starting with the closest to the affected area and move outward in concentric circles to ensure we are "faster to any size disaster." As a SERVPRO national response team we respond to disasters as large as Hurricane Harvey and Irma to local flooding or freeze events.
Most recently the United States has been hit with a few hurricanes including Harvey in the Houston, TX area and Irma hitting the Florida Keys. Northern California was also hit with severe wildfires. Unfortunately, a lot of people were affected by these natural disasters and these jobs are still being taken care of and will be for a long time to insure the homes are in preloss condition. We are thankful that SERVPRO of Boise could be of assistance during these difficult times.
Gratitude: A Story of Storm Life in California
Remains from a wildfire that swept through some of California's most prized wine regions.
By: Kati Sheldon
Upon arrival in Santa Rosa, California in October of 2017, my first thoughts were gratitude: gratitude for sunny skies and palm trees; tepid weather and the smell of eucalyptus. This quickly changed as I was immediately driven through what can only be described as devastation. Entire blocks and neighborhoods had been burned to the ground, leaving ash filled water in dingy swimming pools and still smoking cars in driveways. Sometimes, one home would be left unscathed, with all the surrounding houses sacrificed to the flames due to the ever changing winds. But as our wonderful team worked so diligently and humbly to help the families in the Santa Rosa, Sonoma, and Napa areas whose still standing homes were affected, my mind came back to gratitude. The families showed so much gratitude by allowing us into their homes and lives to provide top quality restoration and give them a new start amidst tragedy. Gratitude radiated from the people at the Rosa Center for Contemporary Art, who put their faith in our team to restore multiple buildings on their grounds, even in the midst of art installations, office hours, and musters of peacocks (the museum’s mascots). And I couldn’t walk away from the experience without feeling immense gratitude towards SERVPRO of Boise and SERVPRO Corporate itself. I am so grateful to work for a franchise and a company that gives so much and works so hard to help our fellow man. I am grateful to work for a company whose service, each passing day, goes above and beyond. This is why SERVPRO exists and this is why gratitude is given.
Boise SERVPRO Team Heads to Wisconsin to Aid in Flooding Efforts
SERVPRO has been called upon to assist in a major Storm Event in Wisconsin this week.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the flooding,” Governor Walker said in an earlier statement. “I have instructed state agencies and the Wisconsin National Guard to help those affected by the flooding and to continue to provide resources to assist with the response and recovery efforts."
"I thank the Wisconsin National Guard, Wisconsin Emergency Management, and all state agencies for their coordinated response to this emergency.”
SERVPRO sent 5 Boise based employees plus franchise owner Christian Isaacson on a plane late last week to respond and assist in disaster efforts. Our semi-trailer, containing large quantities of drying equipment was also on the road hours after getting the call. As always SERVPRO is Hero Ready!