Recent Storm Damage Posts

Protecting Your Vacation Home from Extreme Weather: Top 7 Tips from SERVPRO®

1/15/2024 (Permalink)

Standing water in a kitchen. If you face any weather-related damage, SERVPRO of Portland is at your service with our skilled restoration services.

Owning a vacation home is akin to having a personal paradise. But extreme weather can chew through paradise rather quickly if you're not prepared. Managing and protecting your vacation home can seem daunting—but don't fret. We provide this comprehensive guide to protect your beloved vacation home from harsh weather, making sure it stays the cherished getaway for countless unforgettable memories.

1. Weather-Proof Your Property

Weather-proofing your vacation home is a vital first step. Inspect your windows and doors and seal any cracks or gaps; these make your home vulnerable to moist air, wind, and water leaks. Storm shutters can provide an excellent shield against high-speed winds and flying debris. Also, a well-maintained roof can significantly reduce the risk of leaks and water damage. Another crucial element is your landscaping—avoid planting brittle trees near your home that can break off during a storm and cause damage. Instead, opt for strong, hardy plants that can withstand extreme weather.

2. Insulate to Regulate

Proper insulation is not only about comfort—it’s a key tool in preventing weather-related damage. Insulating your home’s pipes mitigates the risk of them freezing and then bursting, potentially causing significant water damage. Insulation isn't just for pipes, though. Adding insulation to walls, attics, and basements is critical to help regulate the home's internal temperature during hot and cold extremes.

3. Invest in a Generator

Power outages are a common sidekick to extreme weather. Investing in a generator ensures critical systems in your home continue operating, guarding against issues like frozen pipes and basement flooding. A mid-sized portable generator can power essential appliances like your refrigerator, sump pump, and furnace during outages.

4. Install a Smart Thermostat

Smart thermostats are a great advancement in home technology—especially for vacation homes. You can control them remotely, adjusting the temperature based on changing weather conditions to prevent potential damage like frozen pipes. Some models even alert you if indoor temperatures drop below or rise above a set threshold.

5. Secure Outdoor Furniture and Loose Objects

Your lovely porch swing or patio set can become dangerous projectiles in high-wind weather events. To safeguard your property, store away outdoor furniture and loose objects when heading back to your primary residence. Encourage this habit in your household to minimize potential storm-damage scenarios.

6. Engage a Property Manager or Neighbor’s Help

If your vacation home is vacant for long periods, enlist a local property manager's services or a trustworthy neighbor's assistance. Regular property check-ins can help spot potential issues before they escalate—especially crucial during or just after severe weather.

7. Review Your Insurance

Insurance is the financial shield against costly damage. Make it a habit to review your home insurance policy annually. Check for coverage against wind and flood damages and take time to understand your policy's ins and outs, ensuring it aligns with your property's needs.

Taking care of a vacation home against extreme weather requires foresight and proactive measures. It can be a significant responsibility, but remember, you're not alone. If you face any weather-related damage, SERVPRO of Portland is at your service with our skilled restoration services. We make it our mission to ensure your home feels "Like it never even happened."

Storm Preparedness for Pet Owners: Keeping Your Pets Safe

9/5/2023 (Permalink)

rain and storm water Having a plan in place for your pets to ensure they are safe incase of a storm.

Storms and severe weather events can be unsettling, particularly for our furry friends. If you're a pet owner living in the Northeast, it's crucial to be prepared for potential severe weather conditions and to know how to keep your pets safe during these events. In this blog post, we will discuss Northeast storm preparedness for pet owners and top strategies to keep your pets safe during severe weather events.

Keep Identification and Medical Records Handy

In the event of a severe storm, it is crucial to have current identification and medical records for your pets. Make sure all identification tags or microchips are up to date and secured on your pet's collar. Keep a copy of your pet's medical records in a waterproof bag, and don't forget to pack any necessary medications or supplies that your pet may need.

Have an Emergency Kit for Your Pet

Assemble an emergency kit for your pet that includes food, water, and any necessary medications. Pack a few days' worth of food and water in a waterproof container and bring any feeding or water dishes your pet may need. Additionally, include a leash, a crate or carrier, waste bags, and any other essential items, such as a favorite toy or blanket to keep your pet calm during the storm.

Plan for Potential Evacuation

In the event of an evacuation, it's important to have a plan for your pet's safety. Make sure all identification tags or microchips are up to date and secured on your pet's collar. Research pet-friendly locations and have a list of potential shelters or hotels where you can take your pet in the event of an evacuation. Contact them ahead of time to confirm they accept pets and to determine any specific requirements.

Prepare for Power Outages

Severe storms can often result in power outages. It's essential to have a plan for your pet's safety during these events. Keep a supply of battery-operated fans, blankets, or other items to keep your pet comfortable during a power outage. If your pet is on any necessary medications that require refrigeration, plan accordingly to keep them safe and secure.

Stay Informed

Finally, staying informed about weather conditions is crucial to ensuring your pet's safety during severe weather events. Monitor local weather conditions and keep up-to-date with any potential storm warnings or mandatory evacuations. Additionally, make sure you understand any specific risks associated with your geographic location and take the necessary precautions to keep your pet safe.

As a pet owner, it's essential to have a plan in place for your pet's safety during severe weather events. To keep your pet safe during a storm, make sure to update their identification and medical records, have an emergency kit prepared, plan for potential evacuation, prepare for power outages, and stay informed about weather conditions. With a little bit of planning, you can help ensure the safety and well-being of your furry friend during Northeastern storm seasons.

Why Waiting for an Adjuster After Storm Damage Can Cost You More in the Long Run

6/29/2023 (Permalink)

gutter and rain Don't wait. It is essential to have storm damage assessed after a storm.

When a storm hits, it can cause significant damage to your home or property. From flooding to wind damage, storm damage can be devastating, and it's natural to want to wait for an adjuster to assess the damage before taking any action. However, waiting for an adjuster to arrive may not always be the best course of action. In this blog, we'll explore why you shouldn't wait for an adjuster after storm damage.

Safety Concerns

First and foremost, your safety is paramount. If your home or property has suffered storm damage, it's essential to ensure that it's safe to enter and assess the damage. Waiting for an adjuster to arrive may delay necessary repairs or cleanup, putting you and your family at risk. If there's a risk of further damage or collapse, it's best to take immediate action to mitigate the damage and ensure everyone's safety.

Additional Damage

Storm damage can worsen quickly, especially if left unattended. Waiting for an adjuster to assess the damage may result in further damage to your home or property, leading to additional costs and headaches. Acting quickly to mitigate damage, such as covering broken windows or tarping damaged roofs, can help prevent further damage and save you money in the long run.

Insurance Coverage

While it's essential to have your insurance adjuster assess the damage to your home or property, waiting for their assessment before taking any action may not be necessary. Your insurance policy likely requires you to take steps to mitigate damage and prevent further loss, regardless of whether an adjuster has assessed the damage. By waiting for an adjuster to arrive, you may be neglecting your duty to mitigate damage, which could affect your insurance coverage.

Time Constraints

After a storm, adjusters are often inundated with claims and may not be able to assess the damage to your home or property for several days or even weeks. Waiting for an adjuster to arrive can be frustrating, especially if you're eager to get your home or property back to its pre-storm condition. Taking action to mitigate damage and begin repairs can help expedite the process and get you back to normal as soon as possible.

Contractor Availability

After a storm, contractors are often in high demand, and waiting for an adjuster to arrive before calling a contractor may result in further delays. By taking action to mitigate damage and contacting a contractor as soon as possible, you can ensure that your repairs are completed in a timely and efficient manner.

In conclusion, while it's essential to have your insurance adjuster assess the damage to your home or property after a storm, waiting for their assessment before taking any action may not be necessary. By acting quickly to mitigate damage, prevent further loss, and contact a contractor, you can ensure that your home or property is repaired and back to its pre-storm condition as soon as possible. Remember, your safety and the safety of your family should always come first, and taking immediate action to mitigate damage is crucial to preventing further damage and keeping everyone safe.

Handling a Flood in Your Home

1/23/2023 (Permalink)

Close up shot of black water. If your home has been exposed to floodwater, you'll want to get rid of the excess moisture as soon as possible.

Flooding in your home can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. It is important to take immediate action to minimize damage and protect your family's safety. The following steps will guide you on how to handle a flood in your home, including emergency measures to take immediately, how to safely evacuate your home, and steps to take to begin the cleanup and restoration process. Here are some tips for handling this situation:

Turn Off the Source

If you have a water leak, turn off the main water valve. To do this, shut off the lever on top of your meter box or find the main water valve in your house. If you don't know where it is, call a professional to help.

Determine the Category of Water

When water damage occurs, it’s important to determine the category of water that is causing the problem. This will help you know what action steps to take and will also ensure that you receive a proper insurance claim. 

There are three main categories of water, each with different characteristics and potential risks. 

?     Category 1: "Clean Water" refers to water that is from a sanitary source such as a broken pipe or faucet. 

?     Category 2: "Gray Water" refers to water that is contaminated with chemicals, microorganisms, or other physical or chemical contaminants. 

?     Category 3: "Black Water" refers to water that is highly contaminated and poses a significant risk. Examples include water from floods, sewage backups, and toilet overflow with feces.

Unplug

Electrical appliances such as TVs and computer monitors are likely to have circuits damaged by water, so it is important to unplug them immediately or turn them off if they do not have a power switch. If you have the ability to turn the power off to a certain area, that might also be a good idea.

Remove the Standing Water

If water is standing in your home, use a wet/dry vacuum to remove it. If you don't have a wet/dry vacuum or don't want to use one, you can pump the standing water out of your home.

Mop up the remaining standing water on floors, countertops, and other surfaces with towels and mops. Remove all loose items from these areas first so that they do not become damaged by the mop or towel.

This portion of the job is best left to the experts at SERVPRO of Portland, South Portland, and The Sebago Lake Region. We are the experts and can get your Portland home dried out efficiently and effectively.

Use a Dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers are a great way to remove moisture from your home. They’re ideal for removing water that has been brought into your residence from either flooding or from a broken pipe or sink.

Dehumidifiers work by taking in air and expelling it through a filter that extracts the moisture from it. This process releases warm air and can make you feel more comfortable during cold weather months.

Dehumidifiers are also useful against mold growth, which can be caused by high humidity levels in your home such as those found after flood damage or rain leaks through roofs, windows, and doors (source). So if you’ve been affected by flooding, using one of these devices will help you deal with the aftermath quickly and effectively! 

Use Fans

If your home has been exposed to floodwater, you'll want to get rid of the excess moisture as soon as possible. The fastest way to do this is by using fans. Fans can be used to dry out your home, circulate air, and prevent mold growth after you experience water damage.

If you ever get water damage in your home, it is important to stop the source, assess the damage, and document it. SERVPRO can help you the moment you notice water entering your home or business. Give us a call at the first sign of water damage, and we will be Here to Help.

4 Tips for Cleaning Sewer Problems

7/25/2022 (Permalink)

Flooded basement Flooded basement in Westbrook, ME

Four Important Things To Do When You Are Dealing With Dirty Water 

A flooded basement is one of the biggest problems a homeowner or renter can ever face. If the incoming water is contaminated with sewage, the situation is even more distressing. If you are faced with this situation, there are a number of things you can do to increase your own personal safety and limit the damage to your home. Here are four important things you can do when you are dealing with dirty water in Westbrook, ME.

1. Stay Safe. If you notice your plumbing is backing up, your first priority should be the safety of your family and your pets. Any water that comes from a sewage line is going to carry contaminated water. This should only be handled by experienced workers wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment. In many circumstances, your best option will be to vacate the premises and seek help.

2. Call in the Professionals. A flooded basement is definitely a situation that calls for trained workers. A certified flood mitigation franchise can arrive quickly on the scene and begin the restoration process. An experienced team will know how to deal with sewer issues. The company will make sure the scene is safe for everyone.

3. Look Into Insurance. Early on in the process, it is a good idea to call your insurance agent. They can tell you what will be covered and how to document any damages. More than likely, an insurance adjuster will be out to visit your property. As long as you are working with a reputable mitigation company, it's better to start with the cleanup process than to wait.

4. Make Sure the Work Is Complete. When dealing with a flooded basement, half measures will not be enough. It's important to make sure all moisture is removed and all surfaces are cleaned and scrubbed according to the highest standards. This will keep your home free of mold growth and unpleasant odors.

6 Ways To Get Your Home Ready For a Storm

6/26/2022 (Permalink)

Man on top of a roof To prepare for a storm, it is critical to give maintenance to your roof in Westbrook, ME.

How to Prepare Your Home for a Storm in 6 Easy Steps

Preparing for a storm may prevent damage and promote safety at a residence in Westbrook, ME. Homeowners should maintain the exterior of a residence and take a few important measures to avoid wind damage and keep out flood water.

1. Maintain Roofing

It is important to maintain the roof on a residence. Leaks or wind damage may be more likely if shingles or roofing materials are damaged or missing at the start of a storm.

2. Trim Trees

Have overhanging or large trees trimmed on a regular basis. Fallen limbs and flying branches are common causes of storm damage.

3. Consider Storm Windows and Flood Barriers

Residents of regions prone to storms with high wind speeds may want to have storm windows installed. Reusable sandbag alternatives can also be helpful for keeping out flood water and avoiding a flooded building.

4. Acquire a Generator and Fuel

If storm conditions interrupt the supply of electricity, homeowners can rely on a generator that runs on gasoline, diesel, propane or natural gas. Generators should only be operated outside. It may be worthwhile to invest in a way to protect or anchor down a generator.

5. Make Emergency Plans and Assemble Kits

Assemble a home kit with enough non-perishable food for three days, a gallon of water per person per day, first aid supplies, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, flashlights, and batteries. Homeowners should also prepare a mobile kit in case of evacuation.

6. Stow Away Outdoor Items

Patio furniture, grills, and other items that are typically kept outside may sustain damage or become flying debris. Any loose items should be stowed indoors in the days or hours before a storm.

All of these steps can help homeowners prepare for a storm in Westbrook, ME. If a residence suffers damage from flood water or wind, homeowners should contact insurance providers and a storm and water damage restoration service.

Why Do Fires Often Lead To Floods?

6/25/2022 (Permalink)

Hands holding an insurances form, Large Font letters saying " ARE YOU COVERED" If a fire has caused damage at your residence, you should document and report damage to a homeowners insurance provider.

Why Do Fires Frequently Cause Floods?

Fire damage often leads to or coincides with flood damage. If you reside in a region that has recently experienced wildfire damage, you may want to obtain flood insurance coverage. The Federal Emergency Management Association is partnered with the National Flood Insurance Program. Learn more about the connections between fire and flooding damage and the coverage offered by FEMA NFIP to offset mitigation and restoration expenses.

Exterior Fires and Floods

Wildfires char the ground and eliminate vegetation. A fire near a residence can have several effects that combine to increase flooding risks:

• Charred becomes resistant to absorbing rainfall
• Runoff increases and may result in mudflows
• Flash flooding risks increase

Flood risks may remain elevated for up to five years following a wildfire. Nearby homeowners should consider obtaining insurance coverage through FEMA NFIP or a private flood insurance provider.

Interior Combined Damage

Localized fires that affect a single residence or a limited area can also result in a combination of fire and water damage. This type of flooding usually results from suppression attempts and can exacerbate fire damage in a few ways:

• Thousands of gallons of water may be present in a structure
Water damage must be mitigated before fire damage
• Combined damage increases risks of superficial and structural damage

If a fire has caused damage at your residence, you should document and report damage to a homeowners insurance provider. Standard policies usually cover fire damage and water damage due to fire suppression efforts. Flood insurance is only necessary for external water damage caused by heavy rains or rising bodies of water.

If wildfire damage has recently affected your area in or near Falmouth, ME, you may want to investigate flood insurance coverage through FEMA NFIP. For combined fire and flooding damage resulting from fire suppression, notify your homeowner's insurance provider and arrange to have damage assessed by mitigation and restoration professionals.

3 Reasons You Need a Flood Insurance Policy

3/14/2022 (Permalink)

Flood insurance form on a table with a book Whether you experience flood damage from nature or from some other source, a flood insurance policy will help you to recover more quickly.

Three Reasons You Need Flood Insurance

Your business in Falmouth, ME, isn't in a flood zone. In fact, you don't live in an area where flooding has historically been an issue. Although your commercial insurance agent is encouraging you to consider a policy, you're skeptical about the additional cost. Here are three reasons that you need a flood insurance policy even though you don't live in a flood zone.

1. Floods Aren't Always Natural

When you think of floods, you are probably thinking about naturally occurring ones that make news headlines. However, floods aren't always caused by nature. Your business could flood because of a burst water main line in the street or a leaking pipe in the basement.

2. Flood Damage Is Costly

Many commercial insurance policies have exclusions for floods, so you could find yourself on the financial hook for a lot of damage restoration without a separate policy for floods. A flood policy covers what your primary insurance does not in the event of an incident, including product that might be damaged or destroyed.

3. Flood Insurance Is Affordable

Don't let cost stand in the way of full coverage for your business. FEMA offers a National Flood Insurance Program that is affordable for business owners like you. Additionally, the NFIP supports communities as they plan flood mitigation efforts. Whether you experience flood damage from nature or from some other source, a flood insurance policy will help you to recover more quickly.

When you need restoration help after a flood, your commercial insurance provider will be able to suggest a water damage restoration team that will work with you from the initial damage assessment to the end of your project.

The way that this works best for you is if you have a flood policy that ensures there are no gaps in coverage with your general insurance plan.
Prevent financial strain on your bottom line by choosing a policy like NFIP from FEMA to keep your business safe.

How to Develop a Business Continuity Plan After a Storm

3/9/2022 (Permalink)

Paper with words BCP Business Continuity Plan With an established continuity plan and good insurance, you can survive the storm and get back to business quickly.

How To Create A Business Continuity Plan Following A Storm

Storms and flooding can strike very suddenly in Portland, ME. While some predictions can be made about widescale storms, others come without warning, and the results can be a disaster for a community – and spell bankruptcy for a business.

Fortunately, you can act proactively and prepare for problems. There are three critical steps to build resiliency in your business:

  • Get a commercial insurance policy.
  • Develop a continuity plan.
  • Keep key personnel informed.

Know Your Insurance Coverage – and Its Exemptions

Insurance policies can be confusing. Make sure you ask your agent about what is and isn’t covered. If you want flood coverage, you’ll need a separate flood policy.

Establish a Business Continuity Plan

The U.S. Government maintains a website to help citizens and businesses prepare for disasters. They have a detailed description of how to develop your plan, beginning with the business impact analysis. This starts with a risk assessment to determine what’s high risk for your location and type of business. Are you in a high-risk flood zone? Do you rely on digital information or is everything local? Which natural disasters are most likely?

Which Disaster Is Most Likely – or Most Harmful?

Aim for the most probable disasters based on your BIA. For disasters unlikely in Portland, ME, it may not be worth detailed planning, but general disaster planning can have wide-reaching benefits, even in unforeseen situations.

Key Personnel Should Be in the Loop

The key to resiliency after getting storm damage is to get reopened as soon as possible. Most small businesses will fail within two years if they’ve been closed for more than a couple of days after a disaster. Immediately after the storm, every essential person should be contacted and information shared.

You need to discuss what resources you need to reopen as fast as possible after the storm passes. Calling a commercial restoration specialist immediately after a storm can also be the difference between surviving the disaster and never reopening. Speed is essential, so your restoration company will work with you to get reopened as soon as possible.

With an established continuity plan and good insurance, you can survive the storm and get back to business quickly. Every day you’re closed increases your risk of staying that way.