Recent Storm Damage Posts

Can Employees Resume Work During Restoration?

11/17/2021 (Permalink)

Cleaning Up a Business After a Flood Whether you need professional cleaning to make your business shine, or emergency water restoration services, SERVPRO is here ready to help you.

Can Employees Return To Work During The Restoration Process?

Business owners may wonder when employees can safely resume work in a commercial building that has experienced damage. The answer may be sooner rather than later. Depending on whether black water, storm damage, or a fire caused the damage, employees may be able to return as soon as cleanup is complete and work through the restoration period.

Water Damage

There are several types of water damage that may affect the duration of mitigation.

• Clean Category One water from a burst supply pipe should not cause a major interruption.

• Category Two gray water is considered contaminated with chemicals or microbes but does not contain solid waste. Complete disinfection prior to resuming work is often required, and interruption might not be necessary if only a portion of the property sustained damage.

• Category Three black water in flood cleanup or from a sewer backup should be extracted, and the affected area disinfected and dried.

Keep in mind that nearly all categories of water contain salts that can cause corrosion and short-circuiting in electronics. Computers, electronic devices, or servers may or may not be able to be restored, which could cause delays.

Storm Damage

If a storm causes a roof leak or breaks windows, employers should wait until cleanup and basic mitigation is complete before calling in employees. The same guidelines for water damage apply to flood damage resulting from a storm.

Other Damage

Fire or smoke damage may call for more extensive restoration and air filtration. It may take longer for a work space to be considered safe for employees following this type of damage. Consult with a restoration service to set a timeline for resuming regular business.

Employees should not work in a structure that is undergoing mitigation for black water or flood cleanup. They may be able to return during restoration. For the best results, hire an experienced commercial restoration company in Graham, WA.

Can Hail Really Harm My Business?

11/16/2021 (Permalink)

summer rain with hail falls on the roof of slate If a hail storm has already caused roof damage or worse, you can count on SERVPRO, call us!

Is Hail Really Harmful to My Business?

Most business owners know that hail storms can cause to vehicles. But far fewer recognize the threat they can pose to your commercial building. Hail storms are held responsible for millions in dollars each year in roof damage and damage to siding and roof-mounted equipment. Just what types of damage can these balls of ice cause? Read on to learn about the unexpected dangers of hail damage to Graham, WA business owners.

What Is Hail?

Occurring in strong to severe thunderstorms, hail is a type of frozen precipitation that forms when water droplets freeze together and fall to the earth. They can vary in size from as small as a pea, or as large as a softball or even larger, and they typically include jagged edges that can inflict major damage. Other important things to know about are that:

  • Hail doesn't have to be large to be damaging
  • Hail storms can happen any time of year
  • Wind strength and speed can influence severity of hail impact
  • Dangerous hail events outpace tornadoes

Types of Hail Damage

Hail most typically causes roof damage falling into two categories. Functional damage concerns roof performance and includes damage that can diminished the roof’s integrity. These can include holes, cracks and bald spots where shingles have come off.

Cosmetic damages, meanwhile, concern appearance rather than roof function. These can include dark spots, dents and pock marks that occur when hail comes crashing onto the roof.

The roof isn’t the only part of your building at risk from hail. These icy projectiles can easily shatter windows, spraying glass inside. Once windows are broken, hail can even strike you or your staff.

Hail events can be damaging and highly expensive. Understand the risks and be prepared before hail strikes. If a hail storm has already caused roof damage or worse, call a specialist in storm cleanup to make things right.

Identifying Your Flood Water Threat Level

9/16/2021 (Permalink)

Technician cleaning up the damage done to this facility by a storm water intrusion. If you have storm damage, give us a call. SERVPRO is ready for help.

Identifying The Level Of Flood Water Threat

No flood is a good flood, but did you know that some floods are much more dangerous than others? Flood water is graded on a system, ranging from clear, safe water to “black water,” which tends to carry a wide range of dangerous contaminants. In order to keep your business and employees safe in the aftermath of a flood in Sumner, WA, it’s imperative to learn the defining qualities and natures of:

  • Clean/Clear Water
  • Gray Water
  • Black Water

Learning the differences could very well help to save a life while you wait on your preferred cleanup crew to arrive.

Clean Water

This type of flood typically results from broken water lines, rainwater, toilet tanks and snow melt – sources of water that’s typically considered clean enough to drink. While floods of this water type can be pesky and promote mold growth, they’re not considered a health threat.

Gray Water

Gray water is, simply put, water that comes from sources that may be tainted with chemicals. This can include dishwasher and washing machine overflows, aquariums and other household belongings that deal with water and any sort of cleaner. While it’s mostly harmless, this type of flood water should still be handled by a professional cleanup crew.

Black Water

This is the type of water you’ll find in the aftermath of heavy storm damage, septic tank issues, sewage backup and other issues where unclean water and fluids find a way into your business. This water is likely to carry a wide range of bacteria and diseases, and has a high likelihood of making those who come into contact with it ill. A professional team should always be consulted for cleanup.

Identifying your flood water type is only the first step, of course. You’ll need to work alongside a team of professionals to dry out your property, replace damaged flooring and perform other restoration tasks to get your business back in shape. However, learning the difference between clean water and dangerous water can go a long way towards creating a safe cleanup environment in the meantime.

Why You Should Not Clean Puffback Soot Yourself

8/12/2021 (Permalink)

Background of puffback, with the phrase Avoid Puff back Cleaning puffback damage yourself can lead to further problems.
If you walk into your business and find soot from your furnace all over the walls, you may be dealing with puffback damage. When a furnace does not ignite properly, oil can build up in the chamber. When the furnace finally ignites, a small explosion occurs, leaving the black substance you see around your building. By understanding what this soot is and the right actions to take, you can help avoid further damage to your property in Sumner, WA.

Why You Should Not Clean the Soot Yourself

Although the soot may look like a fine, powdery substance that can be easily wiped away, it is not. Instead, your oil furnace has left a greasy, sticky film that is hard to remove. If the wrong methods are used to try to remove the soot, it could cause further damage and make the restoration process more difficult. After a furnace puffback, most damage will be obvious, but some soot may lurk in places that are hard to see:

  • Inside closets
  • In drawers and on paperwork
  • Inside ductwork
  • Behind furniture

Since the soot is airborne before it settles, it can potentially reach anywhere within your building. Luckily, there are people who are experts at cleaning the sticky material off a variety of surfaces.

What To Do Instead
After assessing the extent of the puff back damage, call your insurance company and professional restoration service. The experts will take a look around your building and offer a plan of action. The cleanup crew may find that you need disinfection or odor removal services in addition to cleaning. Trained professionals have access to special tools and cleaning agents to get the job done properly.
Cleaning puffback damage yourself can lead to further problems since the wrong techniques can simply grind it into the surface more. By choosing to use a professional service instead, your building will soon look "Like it never even happened."

Three Ways To Prepare for Flooding From a Storm

8/9/2021 (Permalink)

Pile of mud inside a kitchen area due to storm damage, ceiling collapsed Storm damaged kitchen area of a home in Eatonville, WA.

Three Ways to Prepare for Storm Flooding

A severe storm can occur at any time of the year. These storms can produce heavy rains, which may lead to flooding. In Eatonville, WA, this flooding can be devastating if flood water reaches the inside of your home. Being prepared in advance is critical to ensure the least amount of devastation. Here are three things you can do to make sure your home and your valuables are protected from a flood caused by a storm.

1. Familiarize yourself with your insurance policy. Understanding what type of insurance you have and what it covers – before a storm occurs – is critical. Regular homeowner’s insurance policies may not cover water damage from floods. Coverage for flooding must often be purchased in a separate flood policy obtained from the National Flood Insurance Program. If you need flood insurance, purchase it before the storm because it can take 30 days for coverage to start.

2. Be aware of the conditions in your area. Know when a flood is possible in your area. Most communities have an emergency alert system designed to notify residents of emergency conditions. You should also be aware of whether your home is in a flood-prone area.

3. Protect your items of value and important papers. To avoid damage from floodwater, any items of value or important papers (i.e. insurance policies, birth certificates, property deeds, etc.) should be placed in containers that are watertight. If possible, these items should be placed at a level that is high enough to prevent them from floating away if you have a flooded building.

In the unfortunate event that a storm occurs and your home suffers damage from floodwater, you may need the help of an experienced professional who specializes in water damage to clean up your home. Although a flood can be a devastating and destructive event, using the tips above to prepare your home, along with the assistance of a professional experienced in the cleanup of storm damage, can make the recovery process less stressful.

FAQs About Mold Damage

6/11/2021 (Permalink)

Black spots found in the corner of a wall in Puyallup, WA Mold and moisture go hand in hand.

If a storm has caused flooding in your Puyallup, WA business, you have approximately one to two days to act if you want to prevent mold growth. Since mold can destroy your building, you want to act. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about the prevention of mold after a storm.

What Steps Can You Take To Prevent Mold and Water Damage?

When dealing with standing water after a flood, there are some basic things you need to do immediately before help arrives. This includes:

  • Turning off the water
  • Turning off the HVAC units
  • Turning off the fans
  • Pick up any irreplaceable items from the floor
  • Move furniture and equipment out of the wet areas

Can Business Owners Dry Water by Themselves?

While you may believe you can prevent mold growth by setting up fans and shop vacs to remove the water, you are not actually getting all of the moisture. Instead of attempting this on your own, you should hire a storm remediation company with the proper tools to dry your building.

Does Water Always Lead To Mold?

When your business has not been dried out within 24 hours of the disaster, mold growth is certain. Despite folk tales, mold grows without discrimination, no matter the season. In other words, unless you experienced minimal water intrusion, it is almost guaranteed that you will get mold after flooding.

Can You Remove Mold Yourself?

Although most people will attempt to kill mold with bleach, you will likely do more damage using this method. In other words, you should avoid removing mold yourself and hire a professional with the proper cleanup methods.

Can Mold Die When It Dries?

Mold does not die when it dries up. When there is no moisture, it simply goes dormant. Once dormant mold finds more moisture, it starts to grow. Unless you remove it, you will not remedy it by leaving it alone.

As a business owner, you want to protect your site from mold and other harmful bacteria. Therefore, you need to know more about flooding and mold.

Reasons To Get Interruption Insurance

4/1/2021 (Permalink)

Dessicants dehumidifiers, white big hose added to a large generator placed inside a building after storm damage in Puyallup Storms can cause major damage to your Puyallup, WA building.

Who Can Help You Keep Your Business Running After Storm Damage

A heavy storm in Puyallup, WA can cause a lot of damage. While storm damage restoration specialists can help you rebuild the structure itself, who will help you keep your business running? In addition to your property insurance, you should ask your provider about a business interruption policy.

Loss Compensation

If a storm destroys even part of your building, you already have your hands full getting it back to normal. You shouldn't have to worry about the survival of your business, too. There are many expenses that business interruption insurance may cover:

  • Temporary relocation costs
  • Lost income
  • Payroll
  • Loan payments
  • Monthly expenses such as rent and utilities
  • Taxes

It always costs money to stay in business, but you may be surprised to find that it can cost just as much to shut down for a couple of weeks. A good interruption policy can help you bridge the gap.

Partnership Protection

The compensation that an interruption policy can provide protects not only you but also the partners who depend on consistent payment while you rebuild. Your inventory suppliers, the bank that handles your loans, and delivery services all rely on your continued success to ensure their own. If you are unable to pay them, they may be unable to pay some of their partners, creating a disastrous domino effect. You need a policy to help keep these relationships in good standing.

Customer Retention

Other important relationships to consider are the connections you have with your customers. Even if they are loyal, a temporarily closed business is a risk. It doesn't take a lot of time for them to find a competitor who offers similar goods or services, and they may not return if you stay closed for too long. Interruption insurance allows you to continue offering the customer service they expect.
You can rebuild your structure after storm damage, but it may be harder to regain business lost during a temporary closure. Interruption insurance can ease some of this struggle.

4 Tips for Cleaning Sewage Backup in Your Bathtub

1/18/2021 (Permalink)

Severe flood in the bathroom. Water on the bathroom floor Sewage backup in a bathtub

These Four Steps Will Help You Clean Up The Mess

One of the last places anyone wants to see sewage is in their bathtub. Unfortunately, problems with your sewer line can result in a sewer backup in your tub.


1. Use Protective Gear
Untreated sewage can contain bacteria and other harmful contaminants, so if you are going to attempt to clean up a bathtub backup yourself, you should have the proper protective gear. Wear goggles, liquid-repellent coveralls, a protective face mask or splash-proof face shield, rubber boots, and waterproof gloves. To ensure the job is done correctly and safely, it may be best to contact a professional cleaning company in Sumner, WA, instead of doing it yourself.

2. Remove Water and Sewage
Before you can clean the tub, you need to remove the sewage and water caused by the sewer backup. The easiest way to do this is to use a wet-dry vacuum. Do not attempt to drain the water by using drain cleaners. They usually won't help and might damage your pipes.


3. Throw Out Saturated Items
If the backup caused flooding in your bathroom, throw out any porous items that came in contact with the water, such as bathroom rugs. Salvageable items should be removed from the area and placed on a plastic barrier, preferably outdoors. If the water reached the walls of your bathroom, you may need to cut out the wet drywall and replace it.


4. Sanitize
Clean hard surfaces with soap and water and then use a disinfectant to sanitize them. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for any cleaning products you use and don't mix them. Do not walk through the rest of your house with the same shoes and clothing on. This may spread contaminants around your home.
Sewage from a sewer backup in your bathtub is an unpleasant problem to have. These tips can help you get your bathroom back to normal safely and effectively.

Why Your Company Needs Business Interruption Insurance

11/12/2020 (Permalink)

Financial concept meaning Business Interruption Insurance with sign on the piece of paper. A few factors determine what you should expect to pay for business interruption insurance

When storms compromise an office building’s integrity, business must be paused while those responsible for operations rebuild. Meanwhile, anyone owed money still needs to be paid, even though earnings have been momentarily suspended. The ensuing budgetary gap can be disastrous. Prevent this financial bind from harming your venture with insurance specifically tailored to deal with this potential issue.

What Business Interruption Insurance Covers

While your company in Orting, WA, is shuttered, policies designed to bridge these monetary shortages may be used to cover:

  • Lost income
  • Loans
  • Employee payroll
  • Rental or lease payments
  • Taxes

With necessary expenses like these accounted for, other funds are freed to employ a commercial storm damage restoration company to bring your enterprise back to operational status.

How Business Interruption Insurance Works
Regardless of policy payout, the amount spent on your rebuild remains at your discretion. Carefully monitor expenditures. You will not receive reimbursement for utility damages, disasters not specified by your agreement, losses related to pandemics or undocumented income.
Determine how much coverage you require by estimating projected gross earnings. Executing this step accurately is vital, as you must cover any shortfall while your closed business is not generating income.
A few factors determine what you should expect to pay for business interruption insurance. Your type of work and how many people you employ, as well as prior claims experience, are all factors that impact the cost. Location is also a significant variable, as areas prone to severe weather events inevitably feature higher premiums.
Keep in mind that policies can be endlessly tailored. If you anticipate needing cash for other expenses, such as equipment leasing, temporary office rental or replacement of electronics, your agreement may be supplemented with additional clauses.
When storm damage halts your company’s operations as you rebuild, the resulting financial shortfall may be a major problem. Prepare for this eventuality by getting exactly the coverage you need.

How to Properly Manage Sewage Backup

10/20/2020 (Permalink)

Severe flood in the bathroom. Water on the bathroom floor Sewage backup from a bathtub in Sumner, WA

Use The Following Tips If You Are Dealing With Sewage Backup

Your bathtub is supposed to be a safe haven where you can relax, unwind and clean yourself up after a long day. Unfortunately, sewer backup can invade your tub when you least expect it, dashing your hopes for a calm evening. If your bathtub in Sumner, WA, has fallen victim to sewage back flow, just use the following steps.

1. Protect Yourself and Your Household.
Sewage floods are considered Category 3 floods, as they contain a plethora of harmful biohazards. Protect your household by removing all children and pets from the area until the mess is cleaned up. Make sure you do the correct protective gear before tackling the mess as well.

2. Turn Off the Main Water Supply.
Prevent the flood from getting any worse by immediately shutting off your main water supply. You can usually find this valve in your basement.

3. Inspect Your Vent Pipe.
It is possible that the flood causing bathtub backup is a result of a blocked vent pipe. The vent pipe is typically located on the roof of your home, just above your bathroom. Use a flashlight to check for obstructions and remove any that you discover.

4. Snake the Bathtub Drain.
If the vent pipe isn't causing the flooding, then head back to your bathroom and attempt to snake the drain for clogs. Feed the snake down the drain, carefully, and twist counterclockwise as you slowly pull it out. If this method is successful, the sewer backup should begin to drain.

5. Thoroughly Disinfect the Area.
The biohazards present in black water are hazardous, so you absolutely need to make sure that you are thoroughly clean and disinfect any surfaces that the flood water came into contact with.
Sewer backup can be messy, but the clogs are typically easy to fix, even if you don't have any prior plumbing experience. If the techniques described above did not fix the problem, then you need to contact flood remediation experts as soon as you can.

How To Prepare Your Business for Storm Season

9/10/2020 (Permalink)

Green external hard drive Back up data frequently

Tips To Help You In The Aftermath Of A Storm

As storm season in Fairfax, WA gets closer, it's important to know your business's building is protected from flooding. Despite all precautionary measures you might take, however, a heavy storm can still cause damage. The following tips can give you more control in the aftermath.

Minimize Damage
Even if floodwaters get past the sandbags at the doors and your exterior drainage system, you don't have to be resigned to utter destruction. A few extra precautions can help you prepare for storm season:

  • Back up data frequently.
  • Move equipment off the floor or to a higher level.
  • Install a sump pump in the basement.
  • Train employees with emergency procedures.

The great thing about these measures is that you can put them in place before you ever get the notification that a storm is on its way. You cannot always keep your building from flooding, but you can minimize the damage the water does.

Purchase Coverage
Make sure both your property and your business are protected in the event of a disaster. Most property policies exclude flood damage from storms, so you need to purchase an extra flood policy to cover your losses. Business interruption insurance helps to secure your income if a flood shuts you down. It can replace lost capital or maybe even cover the cost of temporary relocation of your operation.

Mitigate Quickly
If your building does sustain flood damage, don't hesitate to call flood restoration experts. The longer you put off mitigation, the more damage standing water does to your building. In as little as 24-48 hours, mold can start to grow on any surface the black water has touched. A delay in cleanup can mean a larger delay in getting your business back to normal.
You may not be able to avoid all flooding during storm season. You can, however, protect your commercial property from some of the damage by being prepared for it.

Is Your Business Prepared To Evacuate in the Event of an Emergency?

8/16/2020 (Permalink)

While an emergency in the workplace is never expected, disasters happen every day in businesses all around the country. That’s why it’s so important to implement a fire drill plan for your employees and customers. By keeping a few simple guidelines in mind when designing your evacuation procedure, you can make sure your business in Olympia, WA, is prepared for a worst-case scenario.

1. Pay attention to details.
Where is a fire most likely to break out in your building? How is the customer traffic flow designed? What are the locations of sprinklers and fire extinguishers? These are factors that will need to be considered when planning for an emergency. Map your evacuation route to bypass dangerous areas and allow for the fastest possible exit from the building.

2. Communication is key.
Even the most well designed fire drill plan is useless if you don’t ensure that every employee knows how to implement it. Keep in mind that your employees will need to guide customers to safety in the event of an emergency, so it’s imperative that they have access to a printed evacuation route and are aware of where all the building exits are located.

3. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Even the most level headed employee can panic if a fire breaks out at work. That’s why evacuation drills should be rehearsed on a regular basis to make sure that everyone knows their role in an emergency. Address any issues or confusion after each drill to develop a reliable exit strategy. Shift leaders and managers should have the contact information for a reliable fire damage restoration company to call after ensuring that all customers and employees are out of the building and first responders are on the way.

While no business owner wants to think about a life threatening emergency in their building, it’s crucial to have a fire drill plan in place to ensure the safety of your employees and customers. By remembering to prepare for the worst-case scenario, you can prevent a tragedy from occurring.

Flooding Risk Factors and Restoration

8/10/2020 (Permalink)

Ceiling collapsed in the kitchen Storm damage in a Bonney Lake, WA home

Flood damage to your Bonney Lake, WA, home can be emotionally and financially devastating. Fortunately, the Federal Emergency Management Agency's National Flood Insurance Program can help homeowners who live in communities served by FEMA NFIP secure affordable flood insurance.

Risk Factors for Flooding

There are many factors that can make an area more vulnerable to flood damage. Some big risk factors include the following:

  • Low elevation
  • Springtime
  • Recent wildfire

Water accumulates quickly in low areas, so these places are more likely to flood than higher elevations. During spring, snowmelt often leads to flooding. Additionally, if the ground is still frozen it cannot absorb water. Wildfire damage also affects an area's ability to absorb water by destroying the vegetation that typically aids in this process. When the water is not absorbed, it accumulates on the surface of the ground and causes flooding.

Restoring Flood-Damaged Property
If you have insurance through FEMA NFIP or another program, the insurance can help you financially deal with flooding damage. Whether you hire a professional contractor or do the repairs yourself, there are several steps to the process. First, document the damage. The insurance company will likely be overwhelmed with claims, and it is important to begin cleanup as soon as possible to avoid further damage, such as mold growth. Take a detailed photo or video evidence of the damage. Next, extract the standing water. You can use buckets, pumps, or specialized vacuums for this step. Then dry out the remaining water using fans or dehumidifiers. Clean all affected items. There are a variety of commercial disinfectants available. Choose one that is appropriate for the surface you are working with. Throw out everything that cannot be fully cleaned and dried. Finally, begin repairing and replacing damaged items.
It can be overwhelming to deal with flood damage on your own. Fortunately, with insurance through FEMA NFIP and help from a certified restoration service you can get your home back to pre-flood condition quickly and safely.

Hail Damage in Puyallup, WA

7/10/2020 (Permalink)

The dreaded sound of ice pellets hitting your office window tells you that the storm has become more than just wind and water. When you experience a hailstorm in Puyallup, WA, it can cause extensive damage to your commercial property. You can hire professionals to take care of roof damage so that you avoid bigger problems in the future. Here are some other problems to check for after hail.

Types of Damage Hail Can Cause

  1. Cracked or Missing Shingles.

Hail damage to the roof can break your shingles. Some shingles may even come loose or detach completely. A roofing company is generally required to fix the roof, but luckily most building insurance packages have provisions to cover at least part of the cost. 

  1. Leaks.

Roof damage can lead to leaks, which in turn can lead to a whole slew of other problems. A wet attic that goes unnoticed can foster mold growth, turning a water problem into a mold remediation problem. It can also cause insulation to get wet, which renders it ineffective. If that happens, it needs to be replaced. Flood mitigation specialists can test areas with water damage to make sure they are remediated properly. 

  1. Broken Windows.

If the hail is particularly large, it may even break the windows of your building. If that happens, the first thing you need to do after the storm is find a way to board up the space so that as little additional damage as possible occurs. You may not be able to save the windows, but you can help curtail some of the water damage underneath them.

If your business in Puyallup, WA, experiences a hailstorm, it is likely to sustain significant roof damage, leaks and window damage. Keeping track of the damages and having professionals take a second look and clean up the damage can help you in the long run. Report damages accurately to your insurance company to increase your chances of a fair settlement.