Recent Storm Damage Posts

How to Protect Your Business from Storm-Related Disruptions

1/17/2024 (Permalink)

Drying equipment on wood floors. After a storm has hit, swift action is necessary to prevent further damage.

Storms don't just disrupt the tranquility of our homes; they disrupt our businesses as well. Protecting your business against storm-related disruptions is crucial to ensure minimal downtime and protect your livelihood. At SERVPRO of Stone Oak, we're not just your go-to specialists for storm damage cleanup and restoration – we're also committed to providing you with preventive measures. Here's how you can protect your business from storm-related disruptions.

1. Establish an Emergency Plan

By developing an emergency response plan, you can ensure that your business operations can continue amid disruptions. This plan should include emergency contact numbers, evacuation routes, and business continuity procedures.

2. Secure and Backup Important Data

Digitize and back up all essential documents and data using a cloud service. This safeguard ensures that critical information isn't lost in the event of water damage or power outages.

3. Inspect Your Building Regularly

Regular property inspections, especially before the storm season arrives, can protect your building from potentially catastrophic damage. Heed particular attention to your roof, drainage systems, and exterior sealants.

4. Invest in a Commercial-Sized Generator

Persistent power outages can significantly impact your business. A generator will keep critical systems operational and prevent data loss during power outages.

5. Protect Your Assets

Safeguard valuable equipment and inventory by moving them to higher, protected areas of the building if flood risk is high. Additionally, invest in quality insurance that covers storm-related damage.

6. Maintain Clear Communication

Ensure your employees are well informed about the emergency protocol. Maintaining clear channels of communication can lead to efficient evacuation or safe shelter during a storm.

7. Install Surge Protectors

Lightning strikes during storms can cause power surges, potentially damaging vital electronics. Surge protectors can safeguard your computers, point-of-sale systems, and other critical electronic devices.

8. Hire Professional Cleanup Services

After a storm has hit, swift action is necessary to prevent further damage. Professional cleanup and restoration companies like SERVPRO of Stone Oak can mitigate damage, handle insurance claims, and get your business up and running as quickly as possible.

Taking these preemptive measures can significantly reduce downtime and protect your business during stormy weather. However, no amount of planning can make your business completely invincible to severe weather. If storm damage occurs, call on our SERVPRO® team for speedy cleanup and restoration – we work to make it "Like it never even happened."

How to Create Storm-Resilient Landscaping to Protect Your Property

9/12/2023 (Permalink)

Southern Texas boasts beautiful landscapes and a warm climate, but it's not exempt from severe weather, including tropical storms and hurricanes. To ensure the safety of your home and property, it's crucial to implement storm-resilient landscaping. In this blog, we'll explore effective strategies to fortify your property's landscaping against the challenges of Southern Texas' weather, allowing you to enjoy the beauty of your surroundings while maintaining safety and protection.

Understanding Southern Texas' Weather Challenges

Southern Texas is prone to tropical storms, hurricanes, and heavy rains. These weather events can lead to flooding, strong winds, and debris flying around your property. By designing your landscaping with these challenges in mind, you can minimize potential damage and enhance your property's resilience.

Opt for Native and Wind-Resistant Plants

Choosing native plants that are adapted to Southern Texas' climate is key to storm-resilient landscaping. Native plants are more likely to withstand extreme weather conditions, including high winds and heavy rains. Additionally, consider wind-resistant plants that have flexible stems and leaves to reduce the risk of breakage during storms.

Plan Proper Drainage

Effective drainage is essential for preventing water accumulation that can lead to flooding. Grade your landscape away from your home's foundation and create swales or berms to direct water away from critical areas. Incorporate permeable surfaces like gravel or permeable pavers to allow water to soak into the ground.

Reinforce Trees and Shrubs

Prune trees and shrubs to remove dead or weak branches that could become projectiles during storms. Proper pruning also enhances airflow through foliage, reducing the risk of wind damage. For newly planted trees, use stakes or guy wires to help them establish a strong root system.

Consider Hardscaping Elements

Integrate hardscaping elements like retaining walls, gravel paths, and raised beds into your landscaping. These features can help prevent soil erosion, which can be exacerbated by heavy rains. Hardscaping also adds structure to your landscape, reducing the risk of plant damage.

Install Windbreaks

Strategically place windbreaks, such as fences, shrubs, or low walls, to shield your property from strong winds. Windbreaks can significantly reduce the impact of wind on your home and landscaping, preventing potential damage.

Anchor Outdoor Furniture and Decor

Secure outdoor furniture, decor, and other items that could become projectiles during storms. Anchor them to the ground or store them in a safe place when severe weather is anticipated.

Regular Maintenance

Routine landscape maintenance is crucial for storm resilience. Regularly inspect and maintain trees, shrubs, and drainage systems. Replace damaged or weakened plants promptly to prevent further issues.

Creating storm-resilient landscaping for your Southern Texas property is a proactive approach to protecting your home and loved ones. Native plants, proper drainage, reinforced trees, windbreaks, and hardscaping elements all contribute to a landscape that can withstand the region's weather challenges. By implementing these strategies, you can enjoy the beauty of your outdoor space while ensuring its safety and resilience during storms.

Assessing the Need: Does Your Business Require Flood Insurance

7/6/2023 (Permalink)

Running a business involves managing various risks, and one potential threat that often goes overlooked is the risk of flooding. Flood damage can lead to significant financial losses, operational disruptions, and even business closures. To protect your business from the devastating consequences of flooding, it's important to understand whether your business needs flood insurance. In this blog, we will explore the factors to consider when determining if your business requires flood insurance coverage.

Evaluate Your Business Location

Determine if your business is located in a flood-prone area by referring to flood maps provided by government agencies such as FEMA. These maps classify areas into different flood zones based on the likelihood of flooding. Consider the proximity of your business to bodies of water, rivers, coastal areas, and regions with a history of flooding. These factors can significantly increase the risk of flooding and may necessitate flood insurance.

Examine Business Property Insurance Coverage

Evaluate your current business property insurance policy to understand the extent of coverage it provides for flood-related damages. Most standard policies do not include coverage for floods, so you may need to secure separate flood insurance. Contact your insurance provider to discuss the specifics of your policy and to determine if additional flood insurance is necessary.

Assess Potential Risks and Consequences

Evaluate the potential financial impact of flood damage on your business. This includes property damage, equipment loss, inventory destruction, and the cost of temporary relocation or business interruption. Analyze the potential disruption to your business operations caused by flooding. Consider the impact of downtime, loss of productivity, damage to critical equipment, and the ability to serve customers.

Regulatory and Lender Requirements

Familiarize yourself with local regulations and building codes regarding flood insurance requirements for businesses. Some areas may have specific mandates based on flood zone classifications or property type. If your business has a mortgage or loan secured by the property, lenders may require flood insurance as a condition for the loan. Review your loan agreement and consult with your lender to understand their specific requirements.

Evaluate Risk Management and Mitigation Strategies

Develop and implement a comprehensive flood preparedness plan for your business. This includes preventive measures such as installing flood barriers, elevating equipment and utilities, and creating emergency response protocols. Assess the potential impact of flooding on your business's ability to continue operations. Evaluate the need for backup systems, data protection, and alternative workspaces to ensure continuity in the event of a flood.

Seek Professional Advice

Engage with insurance professionals who specialize in commercial insurance or flood insurance to understand the specific needs of your business. They can provide valuable guidance tailored to your industry, location, and risk profile. Consider the cost of flood insurance premiums against the potential financial losses your business could incur from flood damage. Assess the risk and determine if the investment in flood insurance is justifiable for your specific circumstances.

Determining the need for flood insurance for your business requires careful consideration of various factors, including your business location, existing insurance coverage, potential risks and consequences, regulatory requirements, and risk management strategies. While flood insurance may not be mandatory in all cases, it is essential to assess the potential financial impact of flood damage and the feasibility of managing the associated risks.

Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Tornado Damage?

1/18/2023 (Permalink)

It's hard to know what to do when your home has been damaged by a tornado. The damage can range from minor cracks in the foundation or siding to major structural damage and loss of property. If you're wondering if your homeowner's insurance will cover tornado damage, here are some important things to consider: 

Will Homeowner's Insurance Help Replace My Lost Possessions?

Homeowner's insurance will cover damage to your home and most of your possessions in the case of a natural disaster or fire.

How much coverage do you need? That depends on what you own and how much it's worth. Some homeowners choose less coverage so that they can save money on their premiums; however, this doesn't mean you're fully protected from losses in a disaster. Instead of paying more upfront each month for cheaper premiums all year long, consider opting for increased protection against natural disasters like tornadoes or hurricanes instead—the savings over time could end up being worth more than what would have been saved by getting lesser coverage at first blush.

Is There Anything I Can Do to Make Sure My Home is Safer?

Homeowners can do a lot to make sure their homes are safer in the face of tornadoes. To start, they should make sure the roof is in good condition, the windows are in good condition, the doors are in good condition, and any siding is also up to par. The last thing you want is for a tornado to blow right through your window or door and take down half your house with it! You’d be better off finding another place to take shelter if that does happen. 

If you have an extra room or closet on your property (or even inside), install a storm shelter there instead. It could be worth looking into one for your home if you have enough space available on-site already; otherwise, look into placing one off-site near your home. 

Tips to Prepare for a Tornado Before it Strikes.

If you're living in an area that has a high chance of being hit by tornadoes, it's important to know what steps you can take to protect yourself and your home. Tornadoes are unpredictable and can strike without warning, so you should be prepared for the worst. Here are some tips for preparing for a tornado before it strikes:

  • Make sure your roof is in good shape. If it's not, have it repaired as soon as possible.
  • Clear away any debris near your house—woodpiles and other objects that could get picked up by strong winds could cause structural damage or injury if they're allowed to remain where they are during a storm.

What Should I Do If My Home or Possessions are Damaged by a Tornado?

Do not try to repair the damage yourself. You may be tempted to patch up small holes in your roof or seal cracks in your walls, but this could lead to further problems for you down the road. If you have renter's insurance and the tornado damaged someone else's home that you are renting from, contact the landlord right away so they can file a claim with their own insurer.

If it was your house that was damaged by a tornado, make sure that you get an estimate on how much it will cost to repair all the damage as soon as possible so that both parties are on equal footing when dealing with their insurers later on down the line.

What Does Homeowner's Insurance Cover?

Homeowners insurance helps cover tornado damage to your home depending on where you live, the type and amount of coverage you have and what causes the damage. Most common homeowner insurance policies offer dwelling coverage, which can help cover the cost of repairing or rebuilding your house if a tornado's wind causes damage. 

If windstorm damage is not covered by your policy, it is likely that tornado damage to your home will not be covered by the cost of repairs. Trees may fall as a result of tornadoes, harming your home, vehicle, and the property of others. Depending on the coverage of your policy, your insurer may or may not contribute to the cost of damage brought on by a fallen tree.

Hopefully, this article has given you some insight into what homeowner’s insurance will cover if your home is damaged by a tornado. Now that you know the basics of how to get coverage and what questions to ask, it’s time to start shopping around for quotes! If your home or business has suffered from tornado damage, don’t hesitate and give our SERVPRO team a call today!

3 Ways To Make Home Landscaping Flood Resistant

7/29/2022 (Permalink)

Three Home Landscaping Tips

The landscaping surrounding your home can be more than ornamental. If you reside in a flood-prone area of San Antonio, TX, you may want to pursue any or all of these three home landscaping tips for diverting outside flooding away from your home.

1. Adjust the Grade
Many homes that are located in flood-prone areas are situated on high ground or constructed on raised foundations. If water still accumulates around the foundation of your home during heavy rains or flooding, you may want to add swales. These channels dug into the landscape can redirect the course of water away from the foundation of your home during a heavy rainstorm or flood event.

2. Check the Drainage
The water that filters down from the roof of a home should also be directed away from the foundation. Gutters should connect to downspouts, and diverters can be useful for making outside flooding flow toward features such as swales, rain gardens or drainage rather than pooling around the foundation where it has the potential to damage the structure or interior of your home.

3. Cultivate Natural Barriers
Rain gardens and other natural plant barriers can be highly effective for managing water flow. The ideal location for these features is at least 10 feet away from the foundation of your home or in swales. Plant root systems slow the flow of water over the surface of the ground and absorb moisture to make rain drainage more effective. These gardens should ideally contain local plants that require a minimal amount of maintenance between rains.
Outside flooding poses major water damage risks. As heavy rainfall accumulates and bodies of surface water overflow, contaminated water may spread across flood zones in San Antonio, TX. If your home is located in or near one of these zones, flood-resistant landscaping measures may prove useful for limiting the severity of flood damage.

3 Ways To Keep Your Sump Pump Working

6/12/2022 (Permalink)

Three Simple Ways To Keep Your Sump Pump Running

If your Timberwood Park, TX, home has a damp basement or if you sometimes have heavy rain or flooding, you know it can be a challenge to keep your house dry. The possibility of water damage is always lurking around the corner.

A sump pump can help you keep water out of your house and avoid the need for water damage repair. Here are three steps to maintaining this vital piece of equipment.

1. Check for Accumulated Debris
Depending on where your pump is located, it can get blocked or clogged with things such as:

  • Dirt
  • Rocks
  • Silt
  • A ball or toy
  • A small animal

Check the vent hole and discharge pipe for debris or objects. Even if your pump isn't completely blocked, the buildup can cause the motor to work harder to drain the basin. The result can be water overflow.
Inspect the intake screen and clean off collected dirt or clogs. Look in the pit for obstructions and ensure the float component has nothing to block it.

2. Inspect the Sump Pump Connections
Make sure your pump electrical cord is in good working order. It could have frayed wires or places where an animal chewed it. After inspecting the cable, ensure it is plugged into a working GFCI outlet.
If you have a backup battery in your appliance, change it every 2-3 years or check with the manufacturer for recommendations on how often to replace it.

3. Perform a Test
It's good to conduct a test as part of a pump maintenance routine. Fill a bucket with water and pour it into the basin. The float should initiate the pump as the water level rises, causing it to drain.
A sump pump can help you keep water out of your Timberwood Park, TX, home during heavy rainfall or melting snow. Maintaining your equipment ensures it works when you need it most.

4 Main Requirements for Cleaning After a Flood

5/18/2022 (Permalink)

carpet floor removed, black hose, plastic blue trash can Water restoration in a home in Stone Oak, TX.

Cleaning Requirements After a Flood

If you have had flooding in your home in Stone Oak, TX, it is important you begin the cleanup process right away. However, if you do not do it correctly, you may have unwanted consequences such as mold growth. The following cleaning requirements are important to prevent further damage.

1. Remove Standing Water
If the flooding resulted in standing water, this needs to be removed right away. Contact a flood restoration company to extract the water, as the professionals use pumps, and they know the correct rate to remove the water to prevent structural damage.

2. Remove Contaminated Materials
Items that were submerged may have been exposed to contaminants and are ruined beyond repair. Assess the damage and ask the professionals if some of the items can be restored with professional cleanings or if they should be thrown out. Some items that should always be removed include mattresses, wood veneered furniture, stuffed animals and toys.

3. Dry the Affected Area
Once the standing water has been removed, one of the next cleaning requirements is to completely dry the area. Absorptive towels may help with initial water removal, and then large fans should be placed in multiple areas until things are dry, which may take a couple of days. A dehumidifier also helps keep the area free of excess moisture.

4. Flood Disinfectant
A major part of flood clean requirements is disinfecting the affected surfaces. It is best to use an EPA disinfectant, as these have antimicrobial properties. Disinfect all surfaces that were affected by floodwater to get rid of fungus spores, chemicals, bacteria, solid waste, heavy metals and other dangerous substances.
A flood can do a lot of short- and long-term damage. Following specific cleaning requirements will remove the water quickly, dry the area and remove contaminants that could potentially cause further damage.

What To Expect From Your Water Damage Restoration Team

1/11/2022 (Permalink)

Plastic sheet covering furniture, flood cuts performed on drywall due to flood damage. A flooded house in San Antonio, TX.

Storm Damage Restoration Team

If your home was recently involved in a serious storm or flood, you may need to call in your San Antonio, TX, storm restoration team for immediate and cost-effective assistance with water damage big and small. For example, the longer you wait to seek help, the greater the likelihood that your home develops secondary damage:

  • Mold
  • Drywall rot
  • Buckling floorboards
  • Insulation damage

Each of the above problems is much costlier to fix than primary damage and may necessitate the tear out of damaged materials and replacement with new ones. Primary damage restoration, on the other hand, simply involves drying out the affected area and maybe cleaning contaminated materials.

Restoring Secondary Water Damage

The restoration process for secondary damage begins in much the same way as the remediation process for primary damage. The storm damage restoration team will begin by drying out the affected area to ensure that the risk of moisture damage is eliminated. Once the area is dried out, the team may perform a flood cut, which requires them to tear out up to 18 inches of the bottom portion of the affected walls. This is done to remove any damaged insulation and to further dry out the interior of the wall. If necessary, the team may remove wet insulation and replace it with new insulation.

The Finishing Touches

Once the team feels that the entire area has been effectively dried, it will continue to clean damaged surfaces to remove any contaminants. Some items, such as curtains and other draperies, may need to be dry cleaned. Furniture, carpeting and other porous surfaces and items may need to be disposed of and replaced. Non-porous surfaces, such as wood and metal, may simply need to be cleaned with commercial-grade cleaners.

If your home was involved in a flood, there is a good chance that your restoration team will need to tear out portions of drywall and insulation. Your local remediation team can go over the ins and outs of storm damage restoration efforts with you in great detail and help make the process as smooth as possible.