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What To Do in a Home or Office Flood Emergency

Depending on your geographical location, what the weather is typically like, and what terrain your home or office resides on, flooding may be a natural and more-common-than-you’d-like occurrence. Or you might live in an area where floods rarely to never happen and when it does…it does. Lastly, a flood can take place due to a burst pipe or another fluke accident within the four walls.

If you’ve never experienced a flood, you probably aren’t too sure about what steps to take to secure your belongings, who to contact, and what process to go through to get everything cleaned and restored. Sometimes it takes going through something dramatic to know how to react and what to do.

Thankfully, there is research, there are experts, and there are other people out there who have been through a flood and can give others sound advice.

Let’s review some of those tips:

Always practice safety first!

Obviously you are going to want to avoid going into or staying inside of an area that is not deemed safe. If there are people and pets in the flood, get them out and to safety before you do anything else.

Turn off the electricity.

If you feel comfortable doing this yourself, do it immediately; otherwise, wait for professionals or someone else to come help you. You don’t want a flood and a fire or risk someone getting electrocuted in the water.

If the flooding is coming from inside of the home, shut off the water supply.

The source of the water may not be weather-related; it may be coming from a burst pipe. Just like it is absolutely necessary to turn off the electricity, the same goes for the water source. If you neglect this step, the flooding will only continue to get worse.

Take pictures of the damage.

Do this before you move any items or have anyone come out to inspect the damage. Taking videos and pictures of affected areas will help to cover you later on when dealing with your insurance company.

Move valuables to non-flooded areas if they are accessible.

If you are able to get around in the water, try to move valuables to a higher ground or to an undamaged area of the home or office. Unless you just truly don’t care about Aunt Marge’s clown figurines, get everything of value and sentiment away from the water and begin the drying process as needed.

Contact the appropriate people.

Call for help if needed (a neighbor, a friend, 911, etc.) and call your landlord (if applicable) and your insurer. Your insurance company will be able to advise you going forward and will let you know what information they will need to process the claim and get the ball rolling.

Get the professionals out there.

To avoid even more damage from mildew, mold, and wood rot, as well as to avoid a potential health hazard from flourishing mold spores, get a water and mold restoration professional out to the scene as soon as you are able to. A flooded area needs to be dealt with ASAP.

For additional information on staying safe and what to do during and after a flood, check out the American Red Cross Flood Safety Guide.

Have you recently been through a flood or know someone who has? Do you need help from a restoration specialist? Don’t worry—Restoration Certified Specialists, Inc. will take care of you! They have been proudly serving the Santa Rosa and North Bay areas since 1975.

flood damage sonoma

Understanding Levels of Water Damage

Has your home recently been affected by flooding from rain or other water events this past year in Sonoma County? If so, now is the time to find out about the water restoration process. Repairing water damage in a home begins with a thorough inspection by a professional, and it typically involves replacement of flooring, walls, and ceilings. Understanding the different levels and categories of water damage can help you be better informed and help your restoration professional know how to best address your damage.

Categories of water damage

There are generally three categories into which water damage fits. Damage from a clean water source like toilet tanks or broken pipes that supply clean water falls into category 1. If left unattended for too long, this can worsen to category 2 or 3. Washing machine or dishwasher water, which contains detergents and is considered “gray water”, can also cause significant water damage. This falls into category 2. Damage from water that contains urine from an overflowing toilet is also included in this category. Obviously, this can result in sanitation and health issues. Completely unsanitary water from sewage, river flooding, and bacteria infested standing water can cause the worst kind of harm to you and your family. Damage from this type of water can cause disease and even death if left unaddressed. This is considered as category 3 water damage.

Classes of water damage

In addition to categorizing water damage, it is often also ranked into several different classifications. This is different from categories in that it explains what part of the home is most affected by its type. The highest classification is class 4 damage, which requires more specialized drying techniques for such surfaces as hardwood, concrete, or stone. Class 3 water damage involves that which has saturated walls and seeped through ceilings. It is considered to be the worst, as it means replacement of the affected areas. When whole rooms have sustained damage from water absorbed into carpeting and walls, the damage is considered class 2. It is generally easier to correct than when areas have been saturated to the point of sagging or buckling. Finally, class 1 damage refers to that which has only affected parts of a room and little moisture has been absorbed.

Restoring the damage

The water restoration process includes:

  • Inspection by a restoration specialist to assess the extent of the damage
  • Water removal using pumps and vacuums to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria
  • Drying of any standing water using dehumidifiers
  • Cleaning of any affected personal belongings and antimicrobial treatment of any carpeting and drapery
  • Replacement of affected materials like drywall and insulation

Final thoughts

Correcting the damage done by a water emergency like flooding or leaking can be an easier process for you if you understand the level of damage that has occurred. It can help you be better prepared when you are ready to talk to a professional about how to best address your specific case. Contact Restoration Certified Specialists for a consultation on the damage you have experienced, so we can help make the restoration experience less stressful for you.

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How To Prevent Water Damage And Mold Growth After A Flood

The recent flooding in Guerneville, CA has been described as some of the worst floodings the region has seen in decades. With the cost of home repair after flooding, you may be wondering how you can help prevent additional water damage and mold growth.

Flood waters can wreak havoc on a home. Besides water damage, flood waters have possibly harmful contaminants and can cause mold to grow inside your home. The best way to prevent these adverse effects, are to start working on your home as soon as it is safe to. Not sure where to start? Here is a list of the top 4 ways to take care of your house after a flood.

Remove and Replace Any Wet Flooring

Waterlogged hardwood floors and carpets are the perfect breeding grounds for molds and bacteria. The best way to prevent growth, and to also salvage any foundation that hasn’t yet been water damaged, it is important to remove damaged flooring as soon as possible. If it is not possible for you to remove it immediately, try using something like a water extractor to help dry up the water. This is a temporary solution but will help prevent mold growth.

Remove Humidity from the Home

Removing humidity from your home will also help prevent the growth of mold. The best way to do this is to run a dehumidifier after flooding. If you don’t have one, you can also open your windows throughout the day. Just make sure that you close them at night.

Open Flooded Walls

Even if the walls appear to have taken no damage, it is important to still open them to dry thoroughly Damaged walls that are not taken care of can have mold growth and can even decay later in time. The best way to prevent additional damage in the future is to make sure all the water has been absorbed, all contaminants like mud and debris have been removed, and the walls have been properly replaced.

Keep the House Illuminated

The best way to prevent the growth of mold in your home after a flood is to use as much light as possible, especially in naturally dark places like closets and basements. Mold thrives in damp, dark places, so try to eliminate these habitats. Try to leave your blinds open whenever and wherever possible to let in as much sunlight as you can. In places with no windows and no access to sunlight, leave a light on.

Final Thoughts

If you have suffered from water damage this year be sure to give us a call here at Restoration Certified Services. Our experts will be sure to access the damage and provide a full breakdown of the necessary steps for repair and the prevention of mold and fungi.

water damage santa rosa, ca

Preparing For, Preventing, And Recovering From A Flood

No matter where you live in Sonoma County, a house flood can be a legitimate concern (especially in the Russian River neighborhoods) for costly repairs, loss of sentimental items, and possible relocation of your family. Flood insurance is an invaluable resource to have, but what else can you do about a flood? It’s best to prepare for a flood, so you can limit the amount of damage done; take steps to prevent a flood; and know what to do to recover from unavoidable flood damage.

Prepare for a Flood

  • In the event of an environmental flood warning, you’ll have extra time to take precautions, so you should move your valuable things (like furniture and personal documents somewhere safe).
  • Pack an emergency kit: this kit should contain copies of your personal documents (in the event of total destruction of your home), flashlights with extra batteries, everyday medicine, and hopefully a cellphone (and extra chargers/batteries).
  • Also, ensure your electrical sockets are at least a foot above the estimated flood level.

Preventing a Flood

  • If possible, consider raising your home on piers or stilts. (This is easiest to do when you’re building your own home.) Also consider foundation vents which allow water to move through your home instead of around it.
  • Apply sealants, then separate any mulch from the siding of your house, grade your lawn away from your home, and point downspouts away from your house. Water pooling around your home is a recipe for flood disaster.
  • Purchase a sump pump (with a battery backup), this will allow you to pump out any water that may enter your home.

Recovering from a Flood

  • When nature decides to irreparably flood your home, then be sure to evacuate as soon as you can; it’s better to lose a house than a life.
  • Upon returning to you home, take precautions to avoid injury, like: observing structural damage that may cause a collapse, turn off the electricity, wear waders and gloves, and avoid eating any food that could have been contaminated.
  • Before making any repairs or removing water, take as many pictures as possible to document all the damage done; this ensures maximum coverage from your insurance.
  • Contact your insurance and inform them of the damage. They’ll tell you when it’s okay for you to begin removing water and wet contents which could develop mold. (Consider a flood restoration service professional.)
  • Once everything is as dry as can be, don’t forget to secure your property from further damage and document that protection for insurance purposes, then call water restoration experts to ensure an effect recovery.

The Aftermath

Preparing for a flood (or any emergency) is vital to confident living, while you should always take precautions when you can because your home is an invaluable asset that you and your family can’t afford to lost. But sometimes life happens, and when it does, you should know how to respond optimally; that requires a knowledge of what to do and who to call when you need help.

Flooded Water Leak Don't Extract Water Yourself

Flooded? Water Leak? Don’t Extract Water Yourself

Yikes! Your room, or home, is flooded. Should you extract the water yourself or should you call a professional? DIY works for many things, but water extraction isn’t one of them. This is a job best left to the professionals, and here’s why:

Floor Coverings

Depending on the type of water damage and the type of floor covering you have, your flooring might be salvaged. If you have carpeting, and it can stay, a professional extraction using a weighted extractor must be used to get all the water out of both the carpet and padding. A rug cleaner or wet/dry vac absolutely will not do the job. The same is true for wood floors; specialized equipment must be used to remove water from underneath a solid wood floor. Floating floors like Pergo must be torn out, but tile can usually stay.

Type of Water

Are you dealing with clean water, grey water, or contaminated (black) water? Industry professionals know the water types and the remediation measures required for each, so leave this job to us. Contaminated water removal requires special safety equipment and procedures so that the rest of your house does not become contaminated.

Environmental Concerns

Your flooded room may seem dry after you’ve used the wet/dry vac, but it is likely not very dry at all. Professionals have electronic sensors, air movers and dehumidifiers to help dry out your house. We use specific formulas to calculate how much equipment you will need to do the job. To do the job right, there must be air movement and dehumidification, otherwise you’ll have a mold issue in no time.

Moisture Mapping

How do you know that your house is truly dry? We bring moisture meters and thermal imaging cameras to find the wet spots in your house. We target those areas to make sure your house is dry in every spot.

Insurance Documentation

Not to be overlooked, having a professional document everything that your insurance company needs is a huge timesaver and stress reliever. We use a standard documentation package that’s over 50 pages long, and we guarantee it is what your insurance company needs. Our documents also come in handy when you sell the home and need this paperwork for the new owner.

Water remediation is a very complex business. Every step must be done right. Give us a call. We’re open 24 hours and ready to help with your water damage.

Flood Preparation Tips to Keep You Safe

Flood Preparation Tips to Keep You Safe

Even if you’re a swimming enthusiast, dealing with a flash flood is no day at the beach. In fact, the results can be catastrophic.

Floods can happen any time of year in any part of the country. However, some areas are more prone to flooding, like coastal areas during hurricane season or any low lying land next to a body of water during a long storm or heavy rain season.

Flood Preparation Tips to Keep You Safe

Regardless of where you’re located, it always pays to be prepared if a flood warning comes your way. Whether it’s expected to be a few inches or to reach above your roof, here are some ways you and your family can keep safe in the face of an impending flood:

Know Your Flood Risk

The most important part of flood safety is knowing beforehand the risk of flooding for your home or area. FEMA creates flood maps that display flood areas coded by risk, ranging from high to undetermined. Check your area on a floodmap to learn more about what to expect when a flood warning is issued in your area.

Stay Informed

If your area is prone to flooding, know which channels to monitor for weather updates so you can prepare with ample warning. Follow NOAA radio as well as your local weather station, and sign up for a community email or text alerting system. Keep a battery operated radio with some extra batteries and your cell phone fully charged so you can still receive updates in the event of a power outage.

Practice Your Flood Plan

In a high-stress natural disaster like flooding, all your careful planning could go out the window without a set practice in place. Discuss and practice details of your flood plan with your family, including your communication plan, first aid skills and emergency response actions. If you have pets, know some basic pet first aid and keep a pet emergency kit on hand.

Store Your Necessities

When it comes to floods, there’s no telling how much warning you may have before needing to evacuate. Prepare ahead of time by putting together all of your necessities so you can grab and go in case you need you get out quickly. Keep in mind the five P’s for what bring: People, Prescriptions, Papers, Personal Needs and Priceless Items.

Protect Your Property

Consider purchasing flood insurance if you don’t have it already. Most policies do not cover flood losses for areas not commonly at risk for flooding, so you may need to purchase the extra protection in a separate insurance plan. Policies take effect 30 days after purchase, so invest as soon as possible if necessary.

Take Precautions

Take measures to protect your property and valuables by elevating heating systems, water heaters, electric panels, appliances and furniture if possible. Waterproof your basement and home by using sandbags, plywood and plastic sheeting. Keep drains and gutters free of debris and install sump dumps with battery backup.

Consult With Others

Open discussion with family members and friends on what they’ve done to prepare for a flood will help you cross check your plans and share details about alerts and other ways to protect your property. Review websites like the FEMA or The American Red Cross for additional ways to stay protected and safe during floods.

Evacuate

If authorities are advising that you evacuate in the face of an impending flood, do so immediately. Have a flood evacuation route in place and be sure to grab all of the necessities you’ve stored earlier so you and your family can get on the road quickly and safely. Make the proper arrangements to travel with any pets or animals that you plan to bring along, including checking with shelters you may stay in to ensure they are pet-friendly. If you have time before evacuating, take extra precautions before leaving your home, like moving items to a higher floor, turning off gas, water and electricity and placing sandbags around your property.

Now that you know what to do in the face of an impending flood, your response time should be quick and your family should be safe. A little preparation goes a long way, so follow these tips the next time a potential flood warning pops up in your area.