The Dangers of Florida Flooding
No one wants to deal with flood damage to your home or business, but major storms make it unavoidable at times.
Summer in Florida means constant rains, unpredictable thunderstorms, and the inevitable hurricanes. While every rainy season is a little bit different, one thing is for certain: Florida summers are very wet. The propensity for flooding varies depending upon your exact location South Florida. Since Florida is a peninsula state, surrounding waters make it particularly vulnerable to flooding. However, flooding is a concern for people across the country and even all around the globe.
Recent research points to the fact that rising seas levels over the next 100 years will put close to 4 million homes in the United States at risk of flooding. This means that it is now more important than ever to take the risk of flooding seriously, especially for those residents living in South Florida. With more than a thousand miles of coastline and a subtropical climate, this region is extra susceptible to floods.
Looking back in history can help to offer some perspective on flooding and its inherent risk. Some of the most well-known over the last 100 years include:
- 2012: Tropical Storm Debby
- 2008: Tropical Storm Fay
- 1964: Hurricane Dora
- 1947: Cape Sable Hurricane
- 1928: Okeechobee Hurricane
Remembering how real the threat of flooding can be is helpful to take the aftermath of rainstorms and hurricanes seriously. All Floridians, but particularly those who live near the coastline, need to understand dangers of flooding. Listening to NOAA Weather Radio is a great first step. Pay careful attention to their recommendations both before and after any storm. People who live in Tampa, Miami, Fort Meyers, and Sarasota should take extra precaution following adverse weather.
No one wants to deal with flood damage to your home or business, but major storms make it unavoidable at times. At SERVPRO, we have decades of experience in dealing with flood damage, water damage, and storm damage. Our flood damage team goes the extra mile to ensure that our customers are safe and happy with our work. Together, we can make it “Like it never even happened.”
A Family Business Dedicated to Customer Service
Whether it is a small residential leak or a huge commercial disaster, we follow the family motto of customer satisfaction and appreciation.
When it comes to water damage repair and restoration, our team has experience that runs the gamut. Whether it is a small residential leak or a huge commercial disaster, SERVPRO of East Dave / Cooper City follows the family motto of customer satisfaction and appreciation. Owned by the father son duo of Alan and Adam Greenstein, our business is all heart. We pour ourselves into each and every job, making sure that our team treats our customers like family too.
Having serviced all areas of Broward, Palm Beach, and Dade counties, we understand what it takes to handle large loss. In fact, our storm team has traveled all the way up to Pensacola to serve in the aftermath of a major hurricane. We pride ourselves on doing whatever it takes to be there for those in need. Water and storm damage has the potential to completely uproot a person’s life. This means that it is absolutely critical to be there when it matters most.
From commercial jobs to residential projects, we approach damage repair and restoration with one goal in mind: to make it “Like it never even happened.” This approach incorporates the importance of rejuvenating a home or business to exactly how it was prior to the damage. Our specialties include:
- Water damage
- Fire damage
- Storm damage
- Mold remediation
- Commercial restoration
We offer 24-hour emergency service and use the most state-of-the-art equipment when we respond to cleaning or restoration needs. Plus, our team is built with highly trained technicians who are constantly striving to improve upon their craft through practice, training sessions, and special certifications. In doing so, our SERVPRO team ensures that when we respond to a disaster our customer is getting the best service possible.
While our residential and commercial restoration and cleaning services are prominent in South Florida, what we are most proud of is our involvement in the local community. We understand how essential community is in building one another up and keeping our country strong. Together, we can grow as a community and with this in mind we jump at the opportunity to volunteer to help those less fortunate. Our family-owned and operated business is thrilled to stand for togetherness, community, and family.
Teaching Your Children Fire Safety Tips
A crucial part of fire safety for kids is preventing them from starting a fire in the first place.
Tragically, children are most at risk during a household fire. Many of these fires are started by children playing with flammable items found in the home, such as lighters and matches. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, an estimated 300 people are killed and $280 million in property is destroyed each year as the result of children playing with fire. Teaching your children basic fire safety tips can ultimately save their lives.
Preventing Your Child from Starting a Fire
A crucial part of fire safety for kids is preventing them from starting a fire in the first place. The easiest way to do this is to keep lighters, matches, candles, and any other flammable objects out of the potential reach of your children. When it comes to candles in the home, it's a good idea to invest in flameless candles to diminish the probability that your child knocks over an ignited flame.
Fire Safety Tips for Kids
Teach Kids About Smoke Detectors
Children should know what a smoke detector sector is, what they look like, how they sound, and what to do if they ever hear one in your home. It is essential for children to associate the sound of a smoke detector with a fire. You should ensure that smoke detectors are installed on every level of your home. Also, you should replace the batteries in your smoke detectors at least once a year.
Plan Escape Routes
When planning how to escape in event of a fire, you and your children should be aware of at least two possible exits from each room, usually a door and a window. You should also have a designated meeting space outside of your home, and far away from any flames, that all family members are aware of.
Practice Exiting Your Home
You should practice opening windows and using escape ladders with your children so they are prepared in case of an emergency. Teach your kids how to touch the doorknob to check for heat and, if needed, find another way out. When exiting a burning home, it is important to use your hands and not your eyes. You can practice this with your children by turning it into a game and having them try to exit the house blindfolded.
Stop, Drop, and Roll
Kids should know that if any of their clothing catches on fire they need to stop, drop, and roll. It is also a good idea to act this out and practice with them. If children understand that they need to stop drop and roll to reduce flames, many fire related injuries can usually be avoided.
Get Out, Stay Out
It is vital for children to understand that once they exit a burning building, they should never return under any circumstances. If a family member or pet is stuck inside the home, let a firefighter know instead of running back into the building yourself. Once at the designated meeting area, you and your children should remain there.
Ideally, you should practice this escape plan with your children at least twice a year to make sure that they feel calm didn't in what to do in case of a fire.
Keeping Sales Up in South Florida During Summer Months
While the summer in Florida may be the slow season for businesses, there are many ways to keep your customers involved and prepare for their return in
Although snowbird season in Florida may come with its drawbacks for local residents, there is no doubt that business is booming during the South Florida winter months. For many small business’ owners, they generate 80% of their revenue during the months of November, December, January, February, when many northerners seek to escape the winter and settle into the Florida sun.
While this major increase in revenue doing the winter months is great, it is usually not enough to sustain a business year-round. It is crucial for small business owners in South Florida to have a game plain to deal with how to keep up sales in the summer months and use this time to their advantage.
Here are some tips to keep your business busy in the off season:
Improve Your Business Models
Is there any task that you’ve been putting off? Maybe a new website or HR organization? The off season can be a great time to accomplish any duties that have been sitting on your to do list. The slower months during the summer is the perfect time to make any changes without disrupting your busy workflow.
Additionally, you can take advantage of the time off to analyze the strength and weakness of your business in order to evaluate what you could be doing better. You can critically look at your performance during the busier months to see if there is any friction or roadblocks that could improve company performance. Use your slow summers to try and implement any new strategies.
Try Different Marketing Tactics
A potential off-season strategy can be to try and focus on how to target and new customers. During this time, you have nothing to lose by experimenting with a new marketing strategy! The summer is a great opportunity to focus on low cost marketing methods, such as developing a new email campaign or building up a new social media channel. This help you stay on your customers radar during the summer months.
Develop a loyalty program
To reward repeat customers, a loyalty program can be a great tactic to keep people coming back. Your loyal customers should receive special treatment, helping them to stay loyal. Even better, these customers can serve as free word of mouth marketing if they share their products with friends and family. Statistics have constantly proven that it is easier to sell to a returning customer than acquire a new one. Develop a program that provides your customer real value while also showing how much you value them.
Create and Promote a Blog
Blogs can be enjoyed from anywhere, regardless of the on or off season. With a blog, you should provide your consumers useful information that is relevant to your product or industry. This can be a very beneficial way to educate your consumers and keep them engaged during the summer months.
While the summer in Florida may be the slow season for businesses, there are many ways to keep your customers involved and prepare for their return in the winter!
What Items Should I Keep in My House for Hurricane Season?
The earlier you can secure these hurricane prep items the better off you will be and can avoid a chaotic situation.
With hurricane season approaching in Florida, it is crucial to be prepared for any potential storms. Due to the high levels of panic that often ensue with the announcement of a hurricane brewing, many people rush out and buy as many supplies as possible, leaving the grocery store shelves wiped clean. Because of this, the earlier you can secure these items the better off you will be and can avoid a chaotic situation.
Additionally, a hurricane kit is important if you need to evacuate and need to grab essential items fast or if you’re unable to leave your house in the middle of the storm and lose power.
According to the National Hurricane Center, here are some of the most common items to keep in your house for hurricane season:
- Bottled Water (as a general rule of thumb, you should have one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for both drinking and sanitation)
- Non-perishable food items (enough for at least three days)
- Cell phone with charges and extra battery
- First-aid kit
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
- Personal hygiene items
- Moist towelettes and garbage bags for personal sanitation
- Water-proof container for valuables, cash, and important documents
- Lighter or matches
- Cooler and ice packs
- Can opener for non-perishable food items
- Whistle to signal for help
- Pet food and extra water (if applicable)
- Infant formula and extra diapers (if applicable)
Additional Recommended Items:
After all of the essentials are covered, it is recommended by experts at FEMA to also have these additional items on hand.
- Prescription medications and glasses
- Wrench or plies to turn off utilities
- Extra cash or checks
- Fire extinguisher
- Sleeping bags and/or a warm blanket for each person
- A complete change of clothes for each person
- Paper cups, plates, paper towels, and plastic utensils
- Games, books, puzzles, or other activities for children and entertainment
Maintaining and Storing Your Hurricane Kit
Once you have your hurricane preparedness kit in order, it is important to maintain it and update it each year as hurricane season approaches so it is ready as soon as you need it. To do this you should:
- Store any boxed food in tightly sealed metal or plastic containers
- Keep any canned food in a dry place
- Replace any expired items when necessary
- Keep your kit up to date and replace or update items as your family’s needs change
- Assign a designated place in your home for the kit and make sure all family members are aware of this spot and can easily grab it in case of an emergency.
Garage Water Damage Issues
If left unattended, garage water damage can result in some really costly repairs.
South Florida homeowners who are lucky enough to have a garage can relate to the importance of having one. When summer storms start rolling in, the ability to park inside of a garage is an important luxury. As such, keeping your garage is tiptop shape is critical for many who take pride in a clutter-free garage that has enough room for a car or two. When people think of home water damage, they rarely think about their garage. However, garage water damage is something that should not be ignored.
Residential water damage can be costly and inconvenient, so when it takes place in the garage that is certainly a preference. Nevertheless, flooding in the garage can potentially cause ruined walls and flooring. As such, making an effort to avoid garage water damage is important. In fact, garage water damage restoration is often more expensive than many would imagine. So, keep these tips in mind to prevent garage water damage in your home:
- Check your garage roof for leaks
- If weather stripping is worn down it must be replaced
- Check the roof gutters near the garage to remove any clogs
- Do not leave the garage door open during bad weather
- Regularly check the water heater for leaks
- Replace garage door panels when necessary
Some of these tips may seem obvious, but the garage is often one of the most ignored areas of the home. If left unattended, garage water damage can result in some really costly repairs. In some situations, structural damage and mold growth can occur as well. For this reason, we urge you to be diligent and proactive in preventing water damage in your garage.
Getting Ready for Florida's 2021 Hurricane Season
Here are some tips in order to be best prepared for Florida’s 2021 Hurricane Season.
The 2021 Hurricane season officially starts on June 1st 2021 and lasts all the way through November 30th. According to The Climate Adaptation Center (CAC), they are “predicting a very active season with 20 named storms—less than last year—10 of which may be hurricanes.” Of these storms, 5 of them are predicted to be major hurricanes that could be Category 3-5 strength. A normal hurricane season is usually defined as 3 major hurricanes.
Unfortunately, it does not look like Florida is going to be able to escape hurricane season this year. There is an increased risk of hurricanes this year due to the weakening of the Bermuda high. This Bermuda high is a high pressure zone located in the Atlantic Ocean that was responsible for steering many hurricanes in 2020 away from a direct hit of the mainland in Florida.
According to AccuWeather lead hurricane forecaster Dan Kottlowski, “The pattern that’s setting up is that we could see more of these early-curving storms. That could threaten the east coast a little more this year than previous years.” In order to prepare for this years hurricane season in Florida, it is important to get started early.
Here are some tips in order to be best prepared for Florida’s 2021 Hurricane Season:
Creating a Hurricane Kit
It is very important to have a hurricane kit on hand in case you need to evacuate quickly or need to shelter in place. When people realize a hurricane is coming, many people are filled with a state of panic and run to the grocery store to get supplies to prepare. In this situation, grocery stores are in chaos and can run out of items very quickly. To avoid this situation, prepare a hurricane kit ahead of time with necessary supplies. Some of the most common and recommended items include:
- Bottled water and non-perishable food items (recommended to have enough for at least 3 days)
- First-aid kit
- Extra batteries
- Personal hygiene items
- Water-proof container for valuables, cash, and important documents
- Lighter or matches
- Cooler and ice packs
- Pet and/or baby supplies if applicable
Securing Your Home
In the event of an hurricane, you will want to know the best ways to prepare you home against high pressure winds, heavy rain, and flooding.
- Use hurricane shutters or wood to cover windows
- Make sure roof is well maintained and, if possible, secure straps or clips to securely fasten it.
- Bring any outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage bins, etc. inside.
- Stay away from windows and doors.
Preparing for a Power Outage
During a storm it is very likely to lose power. In case this happens, there are other things you should do to remain prepared.
- Make sure your car has a full tank of gas instead of waiting until the last minute and having to deal with long lines and gas stations running out.
- Have extra cash on hand in ATMs shut down.
- Charge your cell phone and limit use or use airplane mode.
- Fill the bathtub with water for the purpose of washing and flushing.
Fire Hazards to Consider While Cooking
The most common place for a fire to start in the home is on a stove top in the kitchen, not in the oven.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking fires are actually the number one cause of home fires and injuries. Between 2014-2018, 49% of home fires are a cause of cooking equipment, which resulted in 21% of the home fire deaths and 44% of the injuries. Tragically, holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, Easter, and Christmas Eve are some of the peak days for home fires, when more cooking than usual takes place in the home.
Fire Hazards in the Kitchen
- The most common place for a fire to start in the home is on a stove top in the kitchen, not in the oven. When cooking on the stove top, always be sure to stay alert and do not leave any food unattended.
- Make sure there are no curtains, towel racks, or even paper towel dispensers too close to any burners that could be potential fire hazards and spread any flames.
- If the microwave in your home is not built in, make sure there is no clutter nearby and the vents are not obstructed.
How to Avoid Home Cooking Fires
- Buy a fire extinguisher to keep in your kitchen within easy reach if a fire starts while cooking.
- You should never walk away from a stove top for more than a few minutes at a time. A good rule of thumb is to set a timer for every five minutes to remind you to check your stove top and to make sure your food is not burnt.
- You should not operate any appliances or potential fire hazards if you are not alert. Being too tired or under the influence while cooking can lead to dangerous situations.
- Keep anything that could catch fire such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains, a safe distance away from the stove.
- Maintain your smoke alarms to ensure they are working properly and in good condition.
- Properly clean and take care of all of the vent, stovetops, counter tops and oven interiors to prevent any house fires.
What to Do If a Kitchen Fire Occurs
- You should NOT toss water on a grease fire. If you do not have an extinguisher and a fire starts in a pan, put a lid on top of the pan to extinguish the flames.
- In an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the oven door closed.
- Get out as soon as possible! Close any doors behind you to contain the fire.
- Call 911 as soon as you can get out safely.
Keeping Your Employees and Customers Safe
The safety of employees and customers is extremely important, during COVID-19 and beyond.
As a small business owner, it is very important to keep the safety of your employees and customers a top priority. Some of the most common workplace incidents include slip-and-fall accidents, premise liabilities, equipment accidents, or an employee or visitor injuring another person. While is it always possible that accidents can happen, mitigating potential risks beforehand can greatly reduce the chances of an incident occurring.
Here are some tips to make sure everyone on your property is safe and sound.
Constantly inspect your premises and be on the lookout for hazards
The best way to prevent any injuries or accidents from occurring is minimizing any hazards in the workspace. To do this, inspections should be conducted regularly, on either a weekly or monthly basis. It is also a good idea to preform random inspections to see how the workplace runs on the day to day.
Maintain all tools and equipment
Any faulty or poorly maintained equipment can be a potential risk in the workplace. If a piece of equipment breaks down, it can put many people in harm’s way. All tools and equipment should be cleaned and tested regularly to ensure they are functioning property and can be replaced if need be.
Keep record of inspections and repairs
It is very important to document all inspections, repairs, and incident investigations. If there is a repeated incident, you will be able to dig to the root of the problem and correct it. Also, if an accident does occur, it is important to have all of your records in order.
Post warning signs
If there happens to be any unsafe conditions in the workplace, there should be signage to indicate this to employees and customers. A simple example of this is placing a “wet floor sign” to an area that was recently mopped to prevent anyone tripping.
Safety during the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the way business function. Here are some of the most common ways to keep your employees and customers safe:
- Keep a clean environment and perform routine sanitization. All frequently touches surfaces such as workstations, countertops, handrails, and doorknobs should be frequently cleaned and disinfected. If possible, reduce the need for shared equipment.
- Promote practices sanitary practices like frequent handwashing and provide either soap and water or hand sanitizer for all employees and customers.
- Require everyone to wear a mask or face covering over their mouth and nose.
- Encourage workers to stay at home if they are sick and ensure that sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidelines.
- Create a plan to minimize face-to-face contact between both employees and customers. Actively encourage flexible work arrangements such as teleworking or staggered shifts.
- Develop policies and procedures for employees to report when they are sick or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
The safety of employees and customers is extremely important, during COVID-19 and beyond.
Protecting Your Home After a Flood
By knowing the best steps to protect your home after a flood, you and your loved ones can stay safe as you return to normal living conditions.
Even though cleaning up after a flood may seem like a formidable task, it is important to have a plan in place to tackle this undertaking. By knowing the best steps to protect your home after a flood, you and your loved ones can stay safe as you return to normal living conditions.
Prioritize Your Safety
Before you can start cleaning, it is important to first mitigate any safety hazards. There is a high chance that the water is contaminated, and the structure is unstable. To help prioritize your safety:
- Shut off gas and electricity before to the flooded area before entering the house.
- Examine the building’s structure by checking the foundation for any cracking and/or undermining in addition to the walls, floors, and windows.
- Have an electrician look over the electrical system.
- Wear appropriate clothing protection including rubber boots, waterproof gloves, and a safety mask, or googles.
- Have on hand a first aid kit for any minor injuries that occur.
Dealing with Insurance Claims
Before the cleaning process begins, there are steps you should take to make sure the insurance process can go as smooth as possible.
- Take pictures or videos of everything before you start cleaning! This is crucial for insurance claims and tax deductions.
- Record all of your expenses.
- Check in with your insurance company to see what their requirements are for a claim.
- Freeze any flooded books and papers before you have time to work with them. For the best chance of preservation, place waxed paper between the layers and place them inside plastic bags before going into a freezer.
The Cleanup Process
During the cleanup process, it is important to both cleaning and disinfect household items.
Step by Step Clean Up:
- Remove any standing water. While obvious, no cleaning can get done with standing water in the way. You can use pails or pumps to remove, and then use a wet/dry shop vacuum cleaner.
- Remove soaking wet and/or contaminated materials. Try to place things in large garbage bags and bring them outside the home. Depending on local regulations, something may need to be thrown out if it is contaminated with sewer water. Some larger furniture items may also be damaged beyond repair and need to be thrown out.
- Shovel out mud before it dries. While it may be treacherous, it is important to remove all of the mud and silt inside the house. A house may be used for this removal process.
- Clean and dry the walls. It is important to be fast, thorough, and safe in this process. Walls dry from the inside out and the interior parts of the walls must be thoroughly dried.
- Remove interior wall finishes to release water and mud from the cavities. Wall finishes that reach up to the high-water line should be thrown away.
- Remove all wall insulation that has been wet as it is contaminated.
- To remove mud, hose down the walls before they fully dry and disinfect them using some method of chlorine bleach.
- A moisture meter can be used to check the condition of the walls and when they are ready to re-insulate.
- Clean the floors and woodwork. Floors and other woodwork should be cleaned within 48 hours of the flood. It is very important to avoid any products that contain ammonia.
- For the cleaning process: Use plenty of hot water and scrub the floors with alkali solution (like washing soda). To disinfect, use a bleach solution such as a solution of 1/2 cup chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of water.
- Dry all of the surfaces. Heat and air should be used to surface dry materials within 24 to 48 hours. The continuous circulation of heat should reduce trying time and prevent the growth of any bacteria.
Experts recommend waiting about 6 months before the re-modeling process can begin. If your home has suffered flood damage, we are here to help. Contact our flood damage repair team today!