Prepare for 2018 Hurricane Season
In 2017, we traveled to areas affected by named storms & hurricane along the US coast. This photo shows mitigation efforts on a residential project.
In 2017, the US saw damage from 3 major hurricanes and 4 storms.
Extreme hurricanes and wildfires made 2017 the most costly U.S. disaster year on record. Each year, weather events cause catastrophic damage in the US. In 2017 alone, "the disasters caused $306 billion in total damage in 2017, with 16 events that caused more than $1 billion in damage each. The bulk of the damage, at $265 billion, came from hurricanes." (source)
According to many researchers, the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season is expected to be above average as well. One of the costliest aspects of hurricane season is not just the wind, but the widespread flooding. In addition to storm surge, slow moving systems cause the accumulation of rain in creeks and rivers to back up even in areas which may be "low risk".
How can you be prepared?
Speak with your insurance agent regarding your coverage. Flood insurance and Hurricane/Wind insurance may not be included in your Homeowners policy.
Speak with your insurance agent regarding what amount will allow you the ability to rebuild your home. A lower premium is not always best if it does not cover the costs to rebuild. It's important to have enough coverage!
Review your policies before Hurricane season (reminder: it starts June 1st!) with your insurance agent. There is a 30-day waiting period before flood insurance goes into effect. Some times, insurers will not adjust your coverage after a storm is forecast.
See this post for information on how you can prepare your family in case of evacuation due to flooding.
IICRC Applied Microbial Growth Remediation Technician
Last week team members attended IICRC AMRT training at SERVPRO Industries in Gallatin, TN.
Our team members just returned from SERVPRO Industries in Gallatin, TN where they had the opportunity to obtain their IICRC AMRT certification.
The IICRC is the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification.
What is the purpose of the IICRC?
The Mission of the IICRC is to establish and advance globally recognized standards and certifications for the inspection, cleaning, restoration and installation industries. (source)
The IICRC serves as an independent, certification body, that sets and promotes high standards and ethics, and advances communication and technical proficiency within the inspection, cleaning and restoration industries. The IICRC also ensures that when consumers hire a Certified Firm or technician, they have hired experts who will provide reasonable assurance that work will be completed in accordance with the industry’s “standard of care.” (source)
Applied Microbial Growth Remediation Technician (AMRT)
Applied Microbial Growth Remediation Technician is just one of the many certifications offered by the IICRC. The IICRC is an organizational body that sets the standards for the Cleaning and Restoration community. The AMRT course teaches course takers the content in the ANSI/IICRC's S520 (Standard for Professional Mold Remediation) with both academic and hands-on lessons set up to emulate actual mold remediation projects.
From their website (source):
"The ANSI/IICRC S520 is a procedural standard and reference guide for the remediation of mold damaged structures and contents. The ANSI/IICRC S520 is based on reliable remediation and restoration principles, research and practical experience and attempts to combine essential academic principles with practical elements of water damage restoration for technicians facing “real-life” mold remediation challenges. The S520 and R520 are written for use by those involved in the mold remediation industry, and is the result of collaboration among microbiologists and other scientists, public health professionals, industrial hygienists, remediation contractors, restoration service companies, cleaning and restoration training schools and trade associations that service the professional restoration industry, allied trade-persons and others with related professional and practical experience."
Trained Professionals at SERVPRO of Baldwin County
From on the job training to IICRC certifications and training at our Corporate headquarters, SERVPRO of Baldwin County's trained professionals utilize the latest techniques and technology on every job. If you experience a microbial growth or mold problem, contact SERVPRO of Baldwin County today!
Emergency Preparedness from SERVPRO of Baldwin County
SERVPRO of Baldwin County is a 24/7 Emergency Service Provider. We are READY and available to respond to your damage at all times.
Did you know?
"Forty percent of businesses do not reopen after a disaster and another 25 percent fail within one year according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Similar statistics from the United States Small Business Administration indicate that over 90 percent of businesses fail within two years after being struck by a disaster." (source)
SERVPRO of Baldwin County is dedicated to reducing this risk. One of the ways we can do this is by setting up your free Emergency Ready Profile. A fast recovery is possible after disaster strikes - whether that be catastrophic to Baldwin County such as hurricanes, tornadoes, or flooding or affecting just your business (fire, pipe leak, etc.)
We are Here To Help® minimize your loss of revenue caused by the loss of operations.
Call us at (251)928-9625 or (251)943-6244 to set yours up today!
Water Intrusions and Mold
This photo shows a current remediation project.
What Causes Mold?
Water intrusions in residential and commercial properties that are not properly mitigated contribute to mold. These water intrusions can include, but are not limited to storm damage (wind-driven rain or flooding), plumbing leaks, sprinkler system failure or even properly working following smoke/fire, water heater leaks, washing machine overflows and lack of humidity control (improperly working HVAC unit or improper manual use). Not surprisingly, we often see these issues in unoccupied or secondary homes. Since Baldwin County has a vast amount of second homes, we see this often. When vacation is over, many property owners adjust the HVAC unit to save electricity costs while they are away. Often, the biggest damages occur when there is a combination of these items - poor humidity control and no one checking on the property regularly.
Mold and microbial growth are the resulting damage from improper mitigation or lack of mitigation. Mold not only negatively affects the materials it grows on, but it is also can gravely affect the air quality. Some amounts of mold spores are normally present in most environments. Dark and warm moist areas provide the environment, and organic materials provide the food source for mold to flourish. These materials are commonly found in buildings and homes - they include but are not limited to the following: wood (framework, trim, flooring), drywall, paper, and insulation. By delaying mitigation following a water damage, mold spores may increase significantly. All environments, even healthy environments, contain some degree of mold or microbial growth, but when the damage becomes excessive, health threats increase dramatically.
Do you have mold?
At SERVPRO of Baldwin County, our team of experts have been trained by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC); in regards to mold, our team members have received IICRC's specific designation for Applied Microbial Growth Technician (AMRT). Mold is no match for us. Our professionals use advanced water detection equipment to locate the source of the problem and remediate any mold or water damage.
If you have concerns regarding mold growth following a water damage, reach out to our team of experts: 251-928-9625 / 251-943-6244. We are always here to help.
Mold Damage in Orange Beach, AL
We recently completed a mold remediation project inside a condo caused by high humidity in the unit due to an improperly working HVAC unit. This problem is quite common along Gulf Coast, and we see this several times each year. The relative humidity was so high inside the unit that water droplets could be seen on the ceiling, floor, counters and appliances. Our remediation project manager developed a specific scope to be followed in order to correct the source of the problem, proper remediation of mold and water issues, and the reconstruction required as a result.
Every mold damage scenario is different, and requires a unique solution, but the general mold remediation process stays the same. For more information regarding this, please click here. For a further look into our remediation process, see this previous blog post.
If you discover mold in your Baldwin County home or business. Contact SERVPRO of Baldwin County by phone (251-928-9625) or email office@SERVPRObaldwincounty.com. It is important to contact a professional to address mold and microbial growth when you see it. Often times, the growth is associated with a water intrusion that may still be active. By contacting SERVPRO of Baldwin County, both the water mitigation and mold remediation can be addressed to prevent further problems.
Preparing for a Flood
SERVPRO of Baldwin County teams provided relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Flooding can happen fast and in many environments. Hurricanes are not the only weather event that bring widespread flooding, but they are certainly the costliest. Additionally, according to this article, "2017 was the costliest year ever for weather and climate disasters in the United States, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday, totaling $306 billion. The previous record year, 2005, saw $215 billion in disasters." (source)
With modern technology, we can receive early warnings that a hurricane is tracking towards our area; however, we cannot determine the flooding that may come as result. As we near 2018 hurricane season, it is prudent to be prepared for potential flooding. The American Red Cross recommends having the following list of items packed and ready to go in the event of an evacuation due to flooding:
- Water - 3+ day supply; one gallon per person per day
- Food - 3+ day supply of non-perishable, easy to prepare food
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio if possible)
- Extra Batteries
- First Aid Kit
- Medications (7 day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)
- Multi-purpose tool
- Sanitation/personal hygiene items
- Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, deed/lease to home, birth certificates, insurance policies)
- Cell phone with chargers
- Family and emergency contact information
- Extra cash
- Emergency blanket
- Map(s) of the aea
- Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
- Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
- Tools/supplies for securing your home
- Extra set of car keys and house keys
- Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
- Rain gear
- Insect repellent and sunscreeen
- Camera for photos of damage
Remember: when catastrophic water damage happens to you, SERVPRO of Baldwin County is here to help. We can help you prepare ahead of time with an Emergency Ready Profile or respond to any size damage to begin cleanup and restoration. In the event of a storm, call the cleanup team that is FASTER TO ANY SIZE DISASTER. When the storms roll out, we roll in.
Flooding Can Happen Anywhere
This photo shows drying being completed at a residential loss in Florida caused by flooding due to Hurricane Irma.
Flooding can happen anywhere.
There is often a misconception that if you are not 'in a flood zone,' or more accurately, if you are in a low risk community that your home or business will not flood. While your home or business may be in a low risk area, just because you haven't experienced a flood doesn't mean you won't in the future. The NFIP released that 20% of all paid claims were for low-risk policies. We frequently find that because of this misconception many home and business owners do not carry flood insurance. If you do not have flood insurance, the out of pocket costs associated with flood damage can be substantial.
Flood water is considered category 3 or black water. Black water is typically caused by sewage damage, flooding, or any type of natural disaster. This water is highly contaminated and filled with fungi, bacteria, chemicals and more. The restoration should only be handled by professionals.
According to the National Weather Service (NOAA), the following are the most common flood hazards in the United States:
- Flash flooding
- River flooding
- Storm surge and coastal inundation from tropical and non-tropical systems
- Burn scars/debris flows (caused by wildfires)
- Ice/debris jams
- Dry wash (caused by heavy rainfall in dry areas)
- Dam breaks/levee failure
NOAA also said that, "Approximately seventy-five percent of all Presidential disaster declarations are associated with flooding."
With every catastrophic storm, you can rest assured that there will be a catastrophic storm response. The SERVPRO System has a network of strategically positioned storm teams on standby should a disaster strike near you. Available 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, SERVPRO of Baldwin County is prepared for the unpredictable.
Mold in Second Homes
This picture shows the wall where bathroom vanity has been detached following a water damage.
One of the unique aspects of living and working along the Eastern Shore and the Gulf Coast is the amount of second homes and investment properties. Many of the more complex calls we receive are due to water losses that go unnoticed for weeks or even months. Most of the time, these calls come from owners of properties that are self-managed or do not have someone checking on the condo/home regularly. After a period of time, a small damage can turn into a costly and often uncovered event rather quickly.
What's so expensive?
Many understand that mold appears after a water damage that has not been properly mitigated. But, did you know that industry standards recognize that mold can start growing as quickly as 24-48 hours after a water damage?
Secondary damage results when mitigation is not performed promptly. This means that items that could have been restored following a properly mitigated water damage must now be replaced. Often times, mold affects furniture and content. Depending on the material and degree of damage, these items now must be restored or replaced.
This particular loss was the result of a pipe leak that went unnoticed after one month. Unfortunately, while the water restoration was covered by the insurance carrier, the mold remediation was not. Luckily, most of the costs were able considered as water damage by the carrier; but, even so, this resulted in significant out of pocket costs to the insured.
Our recommendation is to check the home or condo unit frequently by way of a rental agency, housekeeper, or neighbor. Also, in the warmer months, it is recommended to leave the air conditioner on between 73-77 degrees.
SERVPRO of Baldwin County Storm Response
This photo was taken during mitigation. This Houston facility was flooded during Hurricane Harvey. This building received 2-3 feet of flood water.
SERVPRO of Baldwin County is a dedicated member of SERVPRO's National Storm Team. The SERVPRO National Storm Team mobilizes to areas affected by catastrophic flooding, tornadoes, and other disasters. This helps the local franchises service their customers by providing a fast response. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces cost. Furthermore, it is essential in reducing costs due to secondary damage and time out of the home or business. No matter the size of the catastrophe, you can rest assured that SERVPRO is here to help.
SERVPRO of Baldwin County
Our team traveled to multiple storms last year. In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey caused catastrophic damage to the Gulf Coast and parts of inland Texas. Our team mobilized 8 crews and 2 project managers to help the local franchises during the months of August and September. We were very grateful for the opportunity to help the fantastic Houston area franchises, Team Stone, and their residential and commercial customers.
This photo was taken during mitigation at a commercial facility in Florida following Hurricane Irma. This building was flooded with 4 ft of water.
Shortly following Hurricane Harvey's devastation in Texas, Hurricane Irma swept through Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas.
Damage from Hurricanes
The damage that results from hurricanes is often multi-faceted. Flooding generally follows a hurricane due to both heavy rains and storm surge. Additionally, hurricane force winds and tornadoes cause significant wind damage.
Per ABC News, "Hurricanes Harvey and Irma caused between $150 billion and $200 billion in damage to Texas and Florida, comparable to the costs from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005, according to a preliminary estimate from Moody's Analytics on Monday."
Hurricane Irma Commercial Loss
SERVPRO of Baldwin County serviced a commercial client whose facility was affected by 4 ft of flood water due to Hurricane Irma. Due to lack of power for the first few days, multiple generators had to be brought in so that drying equipment could be placed. Servicing commercial clients can some times bring unique challenges because there are usually multiple parties involved. We were hired by both the tenant and the facility owner to handle the contents and structure. Due to separate parties, the claims had to be treated separately. We devoted one team to handle to the contents and another to handle the structure. The contents were inventoried; restorable items were moved into storage containers for the client while non-restorable items were disposed. In regards to the structure, mitigation was performed thoroughly and quickly to prevent loss of business interruption for both the tenant and facility owner.