Recent Storm Damage Posts

We don't like to talk about it but it happens.

5/16/2018 (Permalink)

Blog | SERVPRO Franchise Website Administration

It's definitely not the most pleasant problem to talk about, but sewage backups or leaks are very real and very serious issues you could face in your home or business.


Earlier we discussed how to tell if the water flooding in your property is clean or contaminated It's probably the most important to know that sewage water should be assumed to be contaminated and hazardous at all times (until one of our professionals determines otherwise). Sewage water is typically referred to as category 3 black water. This classification is due to the dangerous contaminants in it. It's important to note that sewage water has the ability to appear clean. This is an instance of top water. If sewage runoff looks clean, it's usually because the waste and contaminants have sunk to the bottom. This water is still categorized as black water; not for the color, but for the risk it carries with it. In most cases of any standing water in your home, it's crucial to understand that just because you can't particularly see the contaminants or just because the water looks clear...doesn't mean that it is safe to try to mitigate yourself. 


Our SERVPRO of Howard County crews are specifically trained to deal with hazardous water and how to clean any harmful remnants once the water is drained. Without that training, your knowledge is your most powerful tool to keep you from putting yourself at risk upon spotting standing water in your residential or commercial property.


If you experience sewage backup or sewage related flooding, let us be your first call. We make it, "Like it never even happened."

Be Ready!

5/16/2018 (Permalink)

Blog | SERVPRO Franchise Website Administration

Storms can strike any time anywhere. If a storm struck within the next 15 minutes...would you be prepared? No? Read on.

Approximately 98% of all presidentially declared disasters are related to weather events. These events can lead to about 500 deaths and cause nearly $15 billion in damages, according to the NOAA. 

So, how do you make sure you're as ready as possible when severe weather hits? Know your risk and take action.

No matter how high or low your risk level is for severe weather, it's crucial to have an emergency plan and supply kit in place, just in case.

What do you include in your emergency supply kit?

It's important to mix and match these items to suit your specific personal needs, but here are some fundamentals to include:

  • Water (1 gallon per person per day)
  • Food (non-perishable 3-day supply)
  • Manual can opener
  • Battery operated radio, preferably and NOAA Weather Radio
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help, if need be
  • Clothing
  • Dust masks or bandanas
  • Plastic sheeting, garbage bags and duct tape
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities, especially during flood or lightning risks
  • Hygiene items
  • Important documents; copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account info
  • Cash
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container

While this list is suitable for a home or business, if your business needs assistance devising an emergency plan, let us do it for you. We specialize in Emergency Ready Profiles which her minimize damage and business interruption in case of an emergency.

In any event, we are here to help after any type of loss or damage.

Am I covered for a Storm?

5/15/2018 (Permalink)

One of the most expensive things you will ever own is your home. I'm sure you try to keep up with things but there are things we just can't expect and plan on at times. Storms can be one of them.

First thing I always tell my friends is to make sure that their insurance covers all that they think it does. Did you know that water that enters your home from the bottom up(flooding ) isn’t covered by homeowners insurance? You can usually get coverage for it but it doesn't come standard usually. For people living on flood plains, adding flood insurance is common practice. Most people don't know  that neither flood insurance nor a homeowner’s policy covers sump pump failure though.

Avoid the stress associated with sewer back-ups, seepage issues or flood waters by purchasing targeted pump failure insurance coverage. I've seen people taken by complete surprise that they don't have the coverage that they thought they did.

So one the best things you can do might not be what you thought to protect your house. Having a conversation with your insurance agent is one of the Best. Know what coverage you have and don't have so your not  taken by surprise when a storm comes into your life.  

Spring , Yard work and flood prevention?

5/15/2018 (Permalink)

It's spring time and the yard work begins. Did you know this is a great time to help protect your basement form rain-induced flooding?

Something you can do now is to make sure your yard slopes away from the house and that your gutters are working properly.

It's harder to do this when it's cold outside and almost impossible to work on the yard grade when it's cold.

Also don't wait til' it's cold outside to look for cracks in your foundation. Spring time is a great time to see if you need to plug or seal any cracks.

It's always better to be prepared for a storm.

April and Spring showers can bring more than flowers. 

Summer Storms

5/7/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Summer Storms Don't seek shelter under a tree.

Summer time is when people are relaxed. They love enjoying the outdoors . But outdoors is not the place to be when a storm rolls in.

There is a saying, " If you hear a roar, get indoors."The roar is referring to thunder. There is no place outside that is safe during a storm. 

Never seek shelter under a tree or around poles. Lightening tends to strike taller objects. 

Don't lie down on the ground either; thinking it will hit something taller than you. It will travel to the ground. 

Stay away from water; even the kitchen sink or shower. 

Lightening can strike from even 10 miles away. Amazing right?

So don't wait to see lightening. Listen. If you hear thunder get indoors and waiting patiently for the storm to pass. 

Deaths happen every year from lightening strikes. Don't let it happen to you. Just remember that old saying, "when you hear the roar, get indoors!"

Should I worry about floods in the Summer?

5/7/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Should I worry about floods in the Summer? Summer Floods

It's dry, hot conditions outside. Who is thinking about flooding? Not many people.

The fact is that flooding can happen at anytime of the year. After long periods of dry weather, the ground can become hard and not able to absorb water from heavy rain fall.

Try to educate yourself about flood conditions before they happen. 

Do you know the difference between a "flood watch" and "flood warning"? A "flood watch" means that a flood is possible in your area. A "flood warning "means flooding is already occurring or will occur soon. You should be prepared to evacuate at a moments notice if needed with a warning. 

If there is a flood warning in your area, the smart thing to do is to evacuate and move to higher ground. Stay there until you know it's safe to return.

Don't try to walk through moving water. Even just 6" of water can make you fall down and only 12" can float most cars. 

Keep yourself informed and safe when there is a chance of flooding. Remember it can happen anytime of the year. 

Are You Flood Smart?

6/5/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Are You Flood Smart? Flood safety is crucial because flooding is possible year round. Flooding can occur with little to no warning.

What is the most common and widespread natural disaster in the United States? If you answered floods, then you are well on your way to being flood smart.

Floodsmart.gov reports that in the last 5 years, all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods. According to the American Red Cross, floods cause more damage in the U.S. every year than any other weather related disaster.

If you get stuck in a flooding situation be sure to stay away from flood waters. A mere six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off your feet. If you're driving, turn around and don't drown! Most cars can get swept away by less than two feet of moving water. If waters are rapidly rising whilst you're driving on a flooded road, get out of your car and move yourself to higher ground. Value your safety first! Also be sure to keep children out and away from any flooding water zones. 

Whether your home or business is near a coastline, in the city, the mountains, near a tiny river, or even in the desert...there is always potential for flood damage. Never having experienced a flood or flood damage does not mean you never will! 20% of flood insurance claims come from moderate to low risk area. On average, flooding costs $3.5 billion in annual losses for the USA.

Even minor floods have the potential to cause major damage to a structure when it isn't treated quickly and properly. The cleanup can be overwhelming, but that is what SERVPRO of Howard County is here for. Our crews are trained to handle an size disaster. When you feel like you're drowning in water damage, SERVPRO helps you stay above water!

Hurricane Season is Here!

6/1/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Hurricane Season is Here! Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June to November. Do you know how to be prepared for a hurricane watch or warning?

June 1 marked the start of Atlantic hurricane season. Hurricane season lasts until the end of November, but do you know much about these hurricanes that could possibly strike where you live?

Have no fear, SERVPRO is here!

Hurricanes can cost billions in damages. According to the NOAA, Hurricane Sandy costed $62 billion, and Hurricane Katrina caused $128 billion in damages. How do hurricanes cause that much damage? These types of storms can bring winds with forces ranging from 74 to over 155 miles per hour.

While we recommend preparing far ahead of a hurricane watch or warning, it's important to know what to do upon receiving a hurricane watch or a hurricane warning.

Per Ready.gov's hurricane fact sheet:

Hurricane watches indicate that hurricane conditions are possible within the next 48 hrs.

When a hurricane watch is issued, be sure to: 

  • Review possible evacuation route(s) & listen to local officials for information regarding your town, city, and or state
  • Review your disaster supply kit, and add items to meet the household needs for children, parents, individuals with disabilities or other access and functional needs or pets

Hurricane warnings indicate conditions are expected within 36 hrs.

When a hurricane warning is issued, be sure to:

  • If a local official gives evacuation orders be sure to follow such orders
  • Check in with family and friends
  • If you aren't evacuating be sure to prepare yourself and your home as best as you can to brace for the storm. Note: it's important to not put yourself at risk in order to protect your property!

For some more basics about how to be best prepared for hurricane season, check out some of our previous blogs. Be sure to follow us on all social media (Twitter and Facebook) as we post updates for Howard County weather and other storm readiness content.

Remember: we are faster to any size disaster. Whether it be flooding or storm collateral damage to your home/business, just call 410-465-7333 for a swift restoration response.

Be Storm Smart

5/4/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Be Storm Smart Severe weather in Howard County can vary each year, but you can be prepared no matter what!

It must feel like we constantly remind you that anything can happen at any time. That said, it probably isn't a shock to you when we apply the same reminder to storm readiness and potential storm damage

The NOAA states that each year Americans cope with an average of the following:

  • 10,000 severe thunderstorms
  • 5,000 floods or flash floods
  • 1,000 tornadoes
  • 2 landfalling deadly hurricanes

These events can be apart of the 98 percent of presidentially declared disasters that are weather-related. These incidents lead to about 500 deaths per year and almost $15 billion in damage. In these cases, it's incredibly important to know your risk, take action, and be an example. Now what do we mean when we say that?

Know your risk: Severe weather comes in many forms and it's important to know what you're at risk for because of where you live. Be sure to regularly check the weather and make sure you're enrolled in Wireless Emergency Alerts.

Take action: Create an emergency plan and put together an emergency kit. Keep your valuables in a safe place.

Be an example: Share your preparedness story anywhere and with anyone who might need an extra push to be ready when disaster strikes.

We can't predict the weather, but we can be as prepared as possible.

Always remember that when disaster strikes, we are here to help make it, 'like it never even happened.'

Back Up! It's A Sewage Incident.

5/3/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Back Up! It's A Sewage Incident. Standing water in your home can harm your belongings, but it can also harm you if it is a result of a sewage mishap

It's certainly not a pleasant topic to discuss...but sewage backups or leaks are very real and very serious issues you could face in your home or business.

Earlier in April we discussed how to tell if the water flooding in your property is clean or contaminated. It's probably the most important to know that sewage water should be assumed to be contaminated and hazardous at all times (until one of our SERVPRO IICRC trained professionals determines otherwise).

Sewage water is typically referred to as category 3 black water. This classification is due to the dangerous contaminants in it. It's important to note that sewage water has the ability to appear clean. This is an instance of top water. If sewage runoff looks clean, it's usually because the waste and contaminants have sunk to the bottom. This water is still categorized as black water; not for the color, but for the risk it carries with it. In most cases of any standing water in your home, it's crucial to understand that just because you can't particularly see the contaminants or just because the water looks clear...doesn't mean that it is safe to try to mitigate yourself. 

Our SERVPRO of Howard County crews are specifically trained to deal with hazardous water and how to clean any harmful remnants once the water is drained. Without that training, your knowledge is your most powerful tool to keep from putting yourself at risk upon spotting standing water in your residential or commercial property.

If you experience a sewage backup or sewage related flooding, etc., let us be your first call. We make it, "Like it never even happened."

SERVPRO of Howard County

410-465-7333

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It's The Warm and Stormy Season!

4/28/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage It's The Warm and Stormy Season! HoCo storms can bring a lot of unwelcome visitors into your home....

As you know, summer brings storms, and storms bring storm damage. Storm damage can come from a bunch of different sources. Whether it's fire, wind, water, or even the weather...SERVPRO is here to help!

While meteorologists do their best with the tools they have access to, it's sometimes tough to determine how much damage one storm can do to your home or business. They can be completely harmless...or they can destroy your roof and flood your home. No matter the size of the loss, SERVPRO of Howard County is specially trained to deal with the mess summer storms leave behind.

Wind is a pretty major culprit for summer storm damage. When it comes to storms with heavy winds, they can leave trees on the roof of your home, drag shingles off your roofing, or even bust out your roof to invite water damage into your home. While you should be sure to keep your roof in the best most up to date condition as you possibly can, you can never be certain when disaster will strike.

Wind isn't the only suspect to watch out for with summer storms. As you know, where there's thunder...there's lightning. If lightning strikes your home or business, it goes without saying, there is an immediate risk for fire.

And, of course, water damage can follow any of the above causes. This is because any holes in your home allow water to seep in and keep coming as the rain continues to fall.

Storm readiness is crucial to preventing severe storm damage to your residence or place of business...but if you get caught off-guard, SERVPRO of Howard County is always ready to make it, "like it never even happened."

All a-Board!

4/24/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage All a-Board! Ellicott City businesses on Main Street were sure to board up their windows before and after the flood to prevent any further damage to the storefront

You always see photos of homes and businesses boarding up before or after some kind of damaging event...but do you know why?


In the case of abandoned buildings, boarded up windows and doors are usually a measure to keep vandals or squatters out of the structure. However, in the event of damage or a loss, this process is to protect not only windows and doors from shattering, breaking, or failing in other ways, but to protect the structure itself.


Our professionally trained crews often times board up your home or business before or during mitigation and remediation to prevent any further damage.


If done incorrectly, the boarding up process could actually cause secondary damages such as additional moisture or even animal intrusion. 


Whether it's fire, storm, or another kind of structural damage, boarding up can be just as dangerous as it is important. Especially if the damage or loss has already occurred. 


The most common reasons to board up your home or business are severe rainstorms, flash flooding, severe thunderstorms, hailstorms, and of course, tornadoes. 


While SERVPRO of Howard County is known to mitigate and remediate fire and water damage, don't forget that we are trained to deal with storm damage as well. Whether it's a tree on your roof, or a flooded basement, we are here to help!


Especially with our rebuild divison emerging, SERVPRO of Howard County should be your first call when it comes to recovering and rebuilding after a major storm event. We make it, "Like it never even happened."


Also be sure to keep up with us on all social media because we will tweet or post to Facebook when our area is at risk for potential storm damage.