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If you’re in the process of buying a house or you’re looking for a new home owners insurance policy, you might be familiar with what a flood zone is. If you don’t know what they are, you might want to start reading up on them.
Zoning for Floods?
A flood zone is an area in a specific geographical space that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has determined has at least some risk of flooding. There are four primary types of zones, which correlate to the severity or category of excessive water events that can occur in that area.
- Moderate to Low Risk Areas
- High Risk Areas
- High Risk – Coastal Areas
- Undetermined Risk Areas
How to Find Your Zone
Each area’s zones are depicted on a community's Flood Insurance Rate Map, also known as FIRM, which can be found online at https://www.fema.gov/flood-insurance-rate-map-firm. You can also contact your local municipality or look on their website, most of cities will have zoning information available online. You can try searching for the term “flood elevation certificate” for faster results.
Some people may think that these zones can only be found next to a large body of water or along a river or stream, but that’s not the case. Houses that are nowhere near a body of water can experience a flood if there’s a large rain storm.
Knowing what kind of flood zone you live in can also be helpful for storage options and emergency preparedness. If you live in a high-risk zone, for example, you probably don’t want to put boxes directly on the floor, and you might want to increase the number of your emergency supplies.
If you weren’t aware that your home is potentially at risk for a flood, and a storm causes water related damage, you should contact a storm damage specialist in your area to determine your best course of action and get the damage repaired as quickly as possible.
What To Do Right After a Storm Damages Your Home
You hear the wind blowing and the rain pounding on your window panes, and you hope your home will remain untouched by the storm. Unfortunately, this is not the case. A tree falls on your roof, and water pours into your home, soaking your carpets and covering your hardwood floors. Here's how to stem the tide of storm damage in the event's immediate aftermath.
1. Document Damage Before Attempting Immediate Repairs
If you are planning to submit a claim to your insurance company for the damages, you will want to record them prior to attempting any immediate repairs. Make a list of damaged items, and take photos or video of each.
2. Make Immediate Repairs Only To Prevent Further Damage to Your Home
Take the following steps when attempting immediate repairs or cleanup:
- Cover leaking roofs with a tarp to prevent more rainfall from entering the home.
- Pull up wet carpet to prevent mold and move it to a dry location.
- Throw away all perishable food that has spoiled.
Make sure all articles being removed from the home were documented on the inventory list of damaged items.
3. Exercise Caution If You're Staying in a Damaged Home
To restore lost electricity in your home, use generators outside, away from windows and doors. Make sure your sewer system is working before flushing toilets, using water stored previously for this function if necessary. Open windows and run fans inside your home to circulate air and aid the drying process.
You may also choose to contact a company that can perform emergency restoration services in your home. If so, keep receipts for services provided, as well as for any purchases made for immediate repairs, such as a tarp for the leaking roof.
Hopefully, your home will never be subjected to storm damage. If it is, however, these storm tips can get you started on the road to recovery and get your life back to normal as quickly as possible.
Turn and Test
Great Advice from American Red Cross!
Did you know:
- Every day 7 people die in the United States due to a home fire
- You have two minutes- that 120 seconds – to escape a home fire
- On an annual average, the Ohio Buckeye Region of the Red Cross responds to over 3 home fires per day in our 45 counties!
The American Red Cross cares about your safety and encourages you to test your smoke alarms and replace your batteries as needed. This is a lifesaving action of our Home Fire Preparedness Campaign, which rallies communities across the country to protest people from these every day disasters. Don't ignore the beeping sound of batteries going dead on a fire alarm, take a few minutes and go change the batteries right away! Your safety is in your own hands!
Is Your Business Prepared?
Up to 50% of businesses never reopen following a disaster. This usually happens because the amount of damage was too large and too expensive to recover from. Your business should be prepared to minimize the damage to your business so that doors can open back for business.
There are a few things you can do make sure your establishment is ready.
Business that do reopen after a disaster most had a preparedness plan. You must identify the components of your business that are essential for it to continue running. Prepare a plan with the appropriate staff as well. Your staff must know who and what should happen in the case of an emergency.
Prepare your Emergency Plan
Have a plan in place. Letting SERVPRO prepare an Emergency Ready Plan (ERP) will help minimize the damage by having a quick response to an emergency. Knowing what and when to do will ensure that the right steps are taken. Something as simple as just knowing where the shutoff valves can save you from extensive water damage.
Review Your Insurance
Make sure you are familiar with your insurance. You need to know who to call when you need answers regarding your business. Understanding your policies will help you be able know what is not covered and reassess if your needs require more coverage.
The physical damages to your property but also internal damage to important files and data. Be sure to have all your data backed up.
How to Reduce the Chance of a Kitchen Fire
How to Reduce the Chance of a Kitchen Fire
Though fires can start in any area of the home, many fires often begin in kitchens, and kitchen fires can cause widespread damage to homes. Fortunately, there are various tips you can follow to help to reduce the chance of a kitchen fire occurring in your home.
1. Don't Leave Cooking Food Unattended
When cooking, it can be easy to become distracted. Though you may be tempted to leave your kitchen while cooking, however, this can result in a fire. Items left on a stovetop can burn and catch fire in a short period of time if high heat is used, and if you are out of the room when the fire begins, you may not be able to stop the fire from getting out of control. For these reasons, it's generally best to stay in the kitchen when cooking.
2. Clean Your Kitchen Often
When it comes to fire prevention tips, cleaning your kitchen can be beneficial. If grease has spilled on your stovetop or in your oven, or if you use a dirty, greasy pan, a fire can start quickly. A grease fire can be particularly dangerous because it can spread at an accelerated rate and cause major damage to your home. Cleaning your kitchen often, however, can reduce the likelihood of grease causing a fire.
3. Keep a Fire Extinguisher Nearby
Though a flame in a kitchen doesn't necessarily spell disaster if it is quickly extinguished, fires that aren't quickly controlled can cause devastation to homes. If a home has been affected by major fire damage, many homeowners find it helpful to contact emergency restoration services. However, the sooner you are able to extinguish a fire, the less likely that your home will sustain major damage. Having an ABC fire extinguisher (an extinguisher that can put out fires caused by trash, grease or electricity) in your kitchen can be wise.
Since kitchen fires are incredibly common, knowing tips to prevent this type of fire can be useful to homeowners. Preventative methods can include remaining in your kitchen when cooking, frequently cleaning your kitchen and keeping a fire extinguisher in your kitchen.
Choosing A Good Water Damage Restoration Company
The reality of a Floridian: tourists, beautiful beaches, seeing an alligator in our backyards almost as often as we see squirrels, questions like “Do you go to Disney like, all the time?”, and… storms. Lots and lots of storms.
So if you get water damage, no matter the cause, it’s not usually that surprising. It sure isn’t fun, though. You should know that if water damage, for even 24-48 hours, your chances of experiencing secondary damage such as mold or is very likely. By acting quickly when you experience water intrusion, you’ll not only reduce the possibilities of further damage, but you’ll also lower the potential of getting a denied insurance claim. By not taking fast action when you experience water damage, you are risking potential higher costs involved in repairs as well as health hazards for you and your family.
But with so much competition in water restoration, how do you know who does good work, who is fair, and most importantly, who will take good care of your property?
Educate Yourself on What a Good Restoration Company Should Do
After water damage, time is of the essence. By researching companies ahead of time, you are taking preventative measures to help protect your property in the event of water damage. Keep their phone number with any other emergency contacts in your cell phone. That way you are prepared. They should assess the situation at no cost to you. Other things to consider:
- Check out their reviews on Google.
Google is most used search engine on the internet. They want to stay #1. In order to stay the THE go-to search engine, Google gives the most accurate data possible when someone searches. That goes for the reviews too. When in doubt, check out the company’s Google Reviews.
- Do they offer 24/7 emergency services?
If they don’t answer when you call, and you leave a message, they should call back within just a few minutes. If they don’t answer, and they don’t call back within a few minutes, don’t use that company. Again, time is of the essence.
- Are they able to solve all the issues you might have with water and mold?
If a water damage restoration company discovers mold in your home when drying out issues with water damage, make sure that they have the qualified training, certifications, and equipment to handle it. Their technicians should all be trained and certified by the IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification). Ask to see credentials. IICRC sets the standards for the Restoration Industry. They have rigorous training and certifications processes. If the technicians are not certified by the IICRC, go somewhere else.
If you have suffered property damage due to flooding or water intrusion, call SERVPRO for immediate help, quick response, and a free estimate today.
Prevent the Spread of Mold in Your Home
Homeowners everywhere will most likely face the horror of spreading mold at some point. You probably won’t escape it, no matter how clean your home is. Black mold can be especially worrisome. If you find it, what should you do to stop it from getting worse?
How Does Mold Spread?
Mold is a type of fungus. It reproduces via microscopic airborne spores which are invisible to the naked eye until they start breeding a colony. So, mold exists wherever there is air and is attracted to moisture. It also thrives in warmer temperatures, usually between 77 and 86 degrees. Mold grows as multicellular filaments called hyphae which give it a fuzzy appearance and emit a distinct musky odor. Spreading mold can cause structural damage to your home if left unchecked. Some common types of mold are:
- Black mold — Stachybotrys chartarum
- Blue/green mold — Penicillium
- Pink mold — Aureobasidium
- Yellow mold — Serpula lacrymans
What Not To Do
If you discover mold damage in your home, do not attempt to remove it yourself. If you do so, you are more likely to contribute to its spread rather than getting rid of it. There are specific steps to follow for the removal of mold, so it’s best to leave this process in professional hands.
What You Should Do
Your home can never be completely free of mold because of its nature as a microscopic airborne particle, but growth can be stopped and removed, and appropriate spore levels can be managed. Your first step is to set up a mold damage assessment. There are many specialists that offer mold remediation processes that include containment, removal of infested materials, air filtration, cleaning of belongings and restoration of the area. These techniques all follow strict protocols and professional standards.
Mold is an especially tough obstacle to overcome for the average homeowner. To avoid accidentally spreading mold and making it worse, don’t be afraid to turn to the experts.
Should You Include Insurance Coverage for Water Damage in Your Business Policy?
Choosing appropriate coverage for your business or commercial property can be hard. There are so many things that could happen, what is most relevant to your situation? There are a few business claim constants, and one of them is water.
A Common Problem
Water damage can happen to anyone, anywhere. There are many different sources: flooding, storms, plumbing issues or sewer backups. What does this mean for an owner of commercial property?
The average water and freezing damage claim cost is $17,000.
It is the second most common insurance claim for a commercial property to make, right under burglary and theft.
It can be exacerbated by geography- certain areas are more prone to severe weather patterns than others, including harsh freezes and hurricanes.
Not Always Covered
A typical business insurance policy might not have specified coverage for water damage, although you may be able to make a business claim under an "all perils" plan. So, this means that your coverage will depend on your situation. If your water damage is a result of an issue that is easily avoided with routine maintenance, it will probably not be covered. If it is sudden and could not have been prevented, it probably will be covered. However, there are add-ons for specific situations, also known as riders, that you can ask for in your policy.
Proper care can go a long way for reducing the likelihood of water damage coming from your plumbing. Freezing is a big cause of pipe break, so be sure to insulate any exposed pipes and maintain a temperature of at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. Have your drains regularly inspected and check for leaks often. Just in case, find a reliable water damage remediation company to respond should the need arise.
When looking at the history of commercial insurance and the typical business claim of commercial properties, it becomes clear where your priorities should lie. Water is present both inside and outside almost every building, so be prepared for what it can do.
SERVPRO Storm Response
When it comes to fire & water damage, or specialty cleanup needs, it's SERVPRO brand that comes to mind. Our TEAMS work endlessly to make sure our customers are happy, and have one objective in the aftermath of disaster, to make their loss "Like it never even happened."
No matter the job size, our SERVPRO teams are ready to handle any size loss. With 1,700+ franchises nationwide, we have access to numerous highly trained personnel and thousands of pieces of equipment. Our SERVPRO Disaster Recovery teams are strategically placed throughout the country to respond when needed. Our Teams have a proven track record for success, assisting with cleanup of floods, tornadoes, wildfires, and damage caused from frigid temperatures.
Whether it’s a major storm event, or faulty appliance, we will be there with one call.