Recent Storm Damage Posts

Spring is nice, but best to be prepared!

4/9/2021 (Permalink)

Lightning Lightning can cause severe damage to property. Be prepared!

Ahhh! Spring… Balmy weather one day; frigid to near-freeze temperature overnight. To wear a sweater or not. To bring in the plants or not…

Spring weather can be unpredictable, as many of us here in the Washington, D.C. region have experienced a time or two. Remember the heavy April snowfall over a decade ago? And the wind gusts of 20-30+ mph every now and then?

While we can’t predict when severe weather hits, we can always plan for those unexpected storms to minimize injury to ourselves and damages to our properties. A viable plan of action for storms, floods, tornadoes, even fires, can save lives and costly repairs in the aftermath of severe weather that can occur, even within the same day.

Mark Twain said it best: “In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours.”

Preparing an emergency kit to keep on hand is a great start to advance planning for storms. Some items to include, as suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are:

  • A battery-operated flashlight, a battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio, and extra batteries for both
  • An emergency evacuation or shelter plan, including a map of your home and routes to safety from each room
  • A list of important personal information, including:
    • telephone numbers of neighbors, family and friends
    • insurance and property information
    • telephone numbers of utility companies
    • medical information
  • A 3–5 day supply of bottled water and nonperishable food
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • A first-aid kit, which may include:
    • non-latex gloves
    • assortment of adhesive bandages
    • antibiotic ointment
    • sterile gauze pads in assorted sizes
    • absorbent compress dressings
    • tweezers
    • scissors
    • adhesive cloth tape
    • aspirin packets

Being prepared & proactive for storms and severe weather can save lives and minimize costly repairs to damaged property. Oftentimes we have little if any time to prepare for an approaching storm. For families with young children, a mock emergency drill may be a fun yet helpful activity. Show them where to go; where emergency supplies are stored; and make sure everyone in the family knows where & how to turn off the water, gas and electricity in your home.

Preparedness and swift response may save a life or two!

When all’s settled and you find your damaged properties needing cleanup & restoration, call us – SERVPRO of Rockville-Olney and Silver Spring North – 24/7 at 301-340-1313.

We are the area’s water & storm damage experts and are always “Faster to any size disaster.” Large or small, we will restore your water-damaged property, residential or commercial, with efficiency and detail.

SERVPRO of Rockville-Olney rolls out to Texas to help with restoration efforts

2/23/2021 (Permalink)

Crew members go over the day's work projects SERVPRO of Rockville Storm Team members go over the day's jobs in Plano, Texas

Unprecedented disasters call for unprecedented response.

Which is exactly what SERVPRO of Rockville-Olney and SERVPRO of Silver Spring North did -- crews from the Maryland franchises swiftly prepared, packed up and departed for Dallas, Texas to lend a hand to the massive cleanup and restoration efforts in the wake of the historic snow storms that devastated hundreds of lives and damaged thousands and thousands of homes and businesses throughout numerous southern U.S. states. Our local teams left for Plano, a suburb of Dallas, on Wednesday (2/17/21) mid-morning and arrived well over the estimated 24-hour trip due to treacherous road conditions in many stretches of highways. As of 2/23/21, SERVPRO corporate's urgent call for more help from other franchises continues, as officials project 35,000 lead referrals. SERVPRO has received more than 22,000 lead referrals in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri and other surrounding locations. Home and business owners in Texas and a host of other states including Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Louisiana are crying for help to clean up and restore their structures.  Extreme cold weather, especially in states that aren't usually prepared for such conditions, commonly cause frozen pipes that result in water damage. In Texas, for example, the temperatures in many cities dipped below 20 degrees F the weekend of Feb. 13, when many celebrated Lunar New Year and Valentine's Day. Both indoor & outdoor pipes in thousands of homes froze due to improper insulation. The water damage can be extensive, as most homes in the south have attics and not basements, causing water to trickle down from the top and wreak havoc to ceilings and walls in addition to floorings, furniture and other household items. Other areas in the homes where pipes are unheated or partially heated that are also at risk of freezing include crawl spaces and garages. State of emergency has been declared in the affected southern states, making it easier for residents to apply for federal aid to help pay for losses, repairs and other areas including salary loss due to inability to get to work. Insurance companies also are making it easier for policy holders to file claims, and restoration companies like SERVPRO also are doing what they can to make it easier for customers to file insurance claims, by making electronic claim forms easily available as part of their response process. 

Another potential hazard to consider as the snow/ice begins to melt is damage to your roof and ice dams. An ice dam is formed when snow melts unevenly on a roof and refreezes into a dam at the edge of the roof, near the eaves. This dam prevents any further snowmelt from draining off of the roof. This standing water can back up under shingles, leak into a home, and cause significant water damage to ceilings, walls, and other areas. Ice dams can also tear off gutters and loosen shingles.

Snow and ice can cause significant damage to your gutters and roof. The additional weight of snow and ice can even cause a roof to collapse. When there’s a cold snap, water can get into cracks and small spaces and expand when it freezes, causing larger cracks and more damage. The repetition of freezing and thawing cycles can cause small cracks to get larger. 

Our SERVPRO corporate experts offer these suggestions for affected residents: 

What you can do until help arrives

After any water damage situation, your primary focus should be safety.

  • Is it safe to stay in the house?
  • Electrical and "slip and fall" hazards are some of the most prevalent concerns.
  • Only do activities that are safe for you to perform.
  • Wet materials can be VERY heavy. Be careful!

What To Do After Flooding

  • Remove excess water by mopping and blotting.
  • Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
  • Remove and prop wet upholstery and cushions.
  • Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
  • Turn air conditioning on for maximum drying in summer.
  • Remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
  • Remove art objects to a safe, dry place.
  • Gather loose items from floors.

What Not To Do After Flooding

  • Don't leave wet fabrics in place. Hang furs and leather goods.
  • Don't leave books, magazines, or other colored items on wet carpet or floors.
  • Don't use your household vacuum to remove water.
  • Don't use television or other household appliances.
  • Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet, and keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging.

What You Need to Know Before a Winter Storm!

1/22/2021 (Permalink)

Snow falling Follow these tips to help protect your property this winter!

Winter storms can cause a lot of damage! Not only is your home or business at risk, but also your health, the roads, and your vehicle. Unlike storms occurring during the warmer seasons, winter storms can bring freezing rain, snow, ice, and intense, cold winds.

                It’s important to make sure your home or office is properly insulated. Caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows will keep cold air from seeping into your property. Also consider installing a storm door. That will provide an extra layer of insulation and protection.

                Also remember your pipes! To keep them from freezing, insulate them by wrapping them in old newspaper, for example. Then, cover the newspaper with plastic to keep any moisture out. It’s also a good idea to allow your faucets a bit to avoid freezing. One of the last things you want to happen is have a pipe freeze, which can then break it, ultimately resulting in an outpour of water. You do not want to deal with a house or building flood in the midst of a midst of a snowstorm.

                One of the most important things to keep in mind, especially during the coldest time of the year, is carbon monoxide. During a snowstorm in particular, it’s safe to assume your windows and doors are tightly shut. It’s great that snow and frigid air can’t make their way into your home, yet carbon monoxide can begin poisoning your air by quickly filling up the confined air. Carbon monoxide can be released from the gas of generators, stoves, and other equipment. Furthermore, having your car run, to warm up for example, or sitting in it for heat purposes, will result in the release of carbon monoxide. If the vehicle is in an enclosed or poorly ventilated area, the buildup can be deadly. It’s odorless, silent and quick to poison. This is why it’s extremely important to be educated on this topic.

                Of course snowstorms also have a direct impact on the structure of your home. Heavy snow can cause your roof to weaken, possibly resulting in its collapse. Snowstorms can also cause windows to break. Be careful of falling trees. Before cold temperatures set in, check your property for any dying trees or breaking branches. It’s a good idea to call a professional company if anything seems questionable. You will want to get any trees or branches removed that might put your property at risk. Once the snow begins falling, its weight can easily snap a branch or even an entire tree that can land on your home or office, which in turn would create an opening for snow, rain, or ice to fall directly in your home.

Snowstorms can also affect the health of you and those around you, including neighbors, homeless members of your community, and animals, including pets. Health risks include hypothermia, heart attacks from overexertion, and frostbite. A common result of a winter storm is losing heat and communication services. Especially for the elderly and young children, losing heat can be life-threatening. Additionally, if communication services are temporarily out and an emergency occurs, there is basically no way of getting help. As winter is quickly approaching, we encourage you to purchase a mobile phone from a reliable and trusted carrier if you currently only have a landline. We also encourage you to check on anyone you might see as at-risk. If you know a winter storm is approaching, make sure to warn members of your community, such as an elderly neighbor, who may have not heard, or notify a local homeless shelter if you see someone you think would benefit from their services.

Lastly, make sure you are dressed warmly, covering yourself in winter gear from head to toe. Warm gloves and socks are essential as frostbite is most common on fingers and toes. You should stay indoors as much as possible and be sure to stay off the road. The road is an extremely dangerous place to be during a snowstorm. These weather conditions can make it nearly impossible to drive, and the last place you want to be is sitting on the side of a road as the snow on the ground grows higher.

Feel free to share this blog on your social media page, to send it via email or to text it to your friends, family, or community page! Let’s keep everyone safe and warm this winter!

Preparing For Winter Weather in Maryland

12/4/2020 (Permalink)

House in the snow Make sure your home is winter-ready this season!

Winter weather is coming... are you prepared?

Most of us would probably rather hibernate for the winter than deal with any of the home maintenance tasks that come along with owning property during the wintry months. 

We at SERVPRO of Rockville-Olney and of Silver Spring North would like to remind you that your winter will be much better if you take steps now to prevent any winter weather-related disasters or accidents happening in your home!

Here are some helpful tips for winter preparedness in the coming weeks...

  • Keep cabinet doors open during cold spells. This allows warm air to circulate around pipes that could freeze.
  • Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets, especially if the pipes for faucets run through unheated or uninsulated areas of your home.
  • Consider shutting off outdoor faucets. Find the shut-off valve in the basement or crawl space and turn it to "off."
  • If you follow the previous step, then open the outdoor faucet to help ensure it drains completely and the inner valve is shut off.
  • Ensure gutters are clean and secure. Leaves and debris accumulate, causing a damming effect on gutters, which could lead to roof problems and water damage.
  • Proper maintenance of your furnace can help reduce the risk of puffbacks.

Don't overlook these tips this year as you head into the winter months and holiday season. Keep your home safe and secure so that you can focus staying warm and having a merry time with your loved ones this winter! 

How to Keep Your Pet Safe During a Storm

10/30/2020 (Permalink)

Sleeping cat It's important to make sure your pets are safe and comfortable during inclement weather!

Pets can face a lot of anxiety amidst a storm.

If you know a storm is approaching, or see the first sign of one, immediately bring your pet indoors. Animals can become disoriented and panicky when witnessing intense conditions, and it’s not uncommon for them to wander away under these circumstances. Also, if a veterinarian has prescribed your pet any anxiety medication, administer the medication to them as soon as possible.

This brings us to our next point. It’s important your pets wear ID tags, or better yet, are microchipped. If they do get lost, they will be much easier to identify and more quickly returned to you.

It’s very common for your pet to become frightened when they hear thunder or feel the house shake due to high winds. In case of emergency, in an instance where you have to pick them up and flee your home, be sure to remember their favorite hiding spaces. This way, you won’t waste time wandering around your home in search of them.

If you are leaving your home, it’s best to bring your pet with you. Create a list of surrounding lodging choices that are pet-friendly. See if you could drop off your furry friend at a friend or relative’s home, or call to see if any boarding kennels have space.

If you are staying home, keep your pets away from windows as much as possible. In a state of panic, your pet could either try jumping out (however, your windows should definitely be shut), or something may cause your window to shatter, sending pieces of broken glass everywhere.

In the instance of heavy rains beginning to come inside your home, and it begins to flood, move yourself and your pet to the highest location inside your home. Your pet can take shelter in cabinets or shelving.

A few tips include moving your pet inside a room with no carpeting, in case of bathroom emergency, and having a fresh supply of water readily available, as you do not want your pet to dehydrate. Taking them to a veterinarian would be nearly impossible in the case of a serious weather crisis.

Additionally, make sure there are no poisonous substances or baits your pet can get ahold of. When taking shelter, your pet might either be in an unfamiliar room which you are not used to them being in, or they might get bored and begin getting into boxes, bins, or shelves. Again, if they consume something that will cause them to fall ill, it would be nearly impossible for you to bring them to the veterinarian.

Lastly, consider creating a first-aid kit for your pet. ASPCA has created a list of items you should include in your own kit. Check out their link! https://www.aspcapro.org/resource/saving-lives-shelter-health-poison-control/how-make-pet-first-aid-kit

How to Recover Items After Flooding

10/30/2020 (Permalink)

High waters and house Follow these tips if you have recently experienced flood damage in your home or office

If you’ve ever experienced a house flooding, you might have lost a few items, or maybe you lost most of your possessions depending on the extent of the waters and how long you waited to dry your furnishings, accessories, and trinkets.

If you want to salvage your goods after experiencing a flooding, it’s essential you dry items within a 48 hour timeframe.

Below are a list of tips and suggestions on how to save your items:

  • Improve air circulation! Don’t contain the moisture. Instead, open windows and doors. If there are no windows or doors leading outside in the particular room, open closet and cabinet doors.
  • Turn on a fan! It can either be a ceiling fan, a floor fan, or both. However, please do not plug a fan into an outlet attached to a wall that is wet or has water behind it. That’s an easy way to get electrocuted.
  • Use a dehumidifier. These remove water vapor from the air. To be effective, it must be used in a contained area. Be sure to shut all doors and windows during use to prohibit more humidity from entering.
  • Use a sump pump. These remove water out of house or office through a hose or pipe. They’re useful when the floodwater level is more than a couple inches deep. (Check out our other blog to learn more about sump pumps: https://www.SERVPROrockvillesilverspringnorth.com/blog/post/247318/water-damage-restoration/sump-pump-failure-in-your-montgomery-county-home
  • Got soaked items? Quick! Take them out of your house. Allow them to try off in the sun. Keeping them indoors will ensure nothing ever dries up as their excessive moisture will travel to surrounding objects.
  • Try a wet-dry shop vacuum. Never use a regular vacuum cleaner. A shop vac is specifically made for wet conditions.

At SERVPRO of Rockville-Olney and SERVPRO of Silver Spring North, we are water damage restoration experts. With the latest, state-of-the-art equipment, you can trust us to clean up and restore your property back to how it used to be!

You can review our water damage restoration process here:

https://www.SERVPROrockvillesilverspringnorth.com/water-damage-restoration

Give us a call today at (301) 340-1313 if you have any questions about or needs for water damage restoration.

As We Enter the Fall Season in Maryland

10/9/2020 (Permalink)

Leaves on water With the change in season comes change in weather. Make sure your property is prepared!

As the summer heat dissipates in Maryland, we are now feeling the cool, dry fall air move in. On its way out, the humidity mixes with the drier air that’s on its way in. The encounter results in an increase of thunderstorms.

Gusty winds, heavy rainfall, and lightening are among the most common characteristics of a thunderstorm. When a thunderstorm updraft has enough strength to carry water to an area with below-freezing temperatures, hailstones begin to form. When the hailstones become too heavy for the updraft to hold, they are released, and that is when hail falls to the ground.

Damages caused by the winds, rainfall, lightening, and hail can have devastating effects on your property.

Post-storm damages are not limited to, but can certainly include water, fire, and even mold damages.

If you have experienced any problems, either residential or commercial, SERVPRO of Rockville-Olney and Silver Spring North will get you back on your feet fast with our extensive knowledge and quick action guarantee.

If you want to ensure you don’t face any stormy issues this season, give us a call at (301) 340-1313, and we will help prepare and protect your property this fall!

Learn More About Summer Storms in Maryland

7/29/2020 (Permalink)

Lightning bolts in sky Keep yourself, your family & your pets safe from any storms this summer!

While our summer season here in Maryland brings us pleasant warm weather and sunshine, it also gives us a fair share of summer storms. Recently, the area has experienced thunderstorms which brought about heavy rains and strong winds, causing trees and powerlines to fall. Lightning, thunder, flying debris and hail can also occur during these storms.

Just last week our emergency services team responded to a residential loss pertaining to a tree that fell on the side of a townhome during a thunderstorm. Our team tarped the affected area to prevent further damage to the home. This emergency tarping prevented other elements, such as rain and dust, from entering inside the cracks and openings of the siding, which the fallen tree caused.

Here are a few tips to make your property more secure during a storm:

  • Get your roof and foundation checked out! Are there any cracks in your roof? If so, call a professional to have it repaired ASAP.
  • Remove any tree branches that pose risk to breaking a window, for example. Getting a tree trimming before the summer storm season begins is a wise idea.
  • Invest in storm windows.
  • Bring all patio furniture, grills, etc. indoors before the storm hits.
  • Tightly secure outdoor items you cannot bring indoors.
  • Have a favorite potted plant? You will want to bring that inside until the storm passes over too.
  • If you have a garage, park your vehicle inside it before the storm hits.
  • If you must evacuate due to the storm, secure and board up windows.

We hope you find these tips helpful and wish you an enjoyable and safe summer!

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How to Prevent Ice Dams

1/29/2020 (Permalink)

Ice It's important to act immediately after spotting an ice dam on your property to prevent further damage!

You can take numerous actions to prevent an ice dam from forming on your property both before and after a snowfall. Whether you are concerned about a dam forming on your home or one forming on your building, you can follow these useful tips in order to prevent a catastrophe!

To stop an ice dam:

Keep your attic insulated

Improve ventilation, especially in the eaves and ridge

Prevent air leaks- caulk any gaps or openings

Install an extra barrier under the shingles to prevent water from seeping into home or building

Seal and insulate ducts

Cold temperatures can sometimes have their way of forming a dam on your property despite following these tips. Be sure to:

Clear snow from roof after every snow shower

Clear gutters of any leaves, snow, or debris

Clear around downspouts, too

However, your safety is your first priority! Snowy and icy conditions make everything more slippery and dangerous. Do not use a ladder or attempt climbing, as you could slide off the surface or the ladder. If you find it unsafe to remove an ice dam you spot on your property, for example, call a professional immediately!

Give us a call at SERVPRO of Rockville-Olney and of Silver Spring North today if you have any questions or needs! Our number is (301)340-1313.

The Latest Tropical Storms: Karen and Lorenzo

9/26/2019 (Permalink)

Just yesterday, tropical storm Karen was headed north. It had drenched Puerto Rico and left 29,000 people without power. Now Karen is moving towards Bermuda. However, it’s expected to travel in a loop-de-loop maneuver, swinging west towards Florida, meaning the island won’t be disturbed.

When meteorologists first noticed that Karen was circling back over its route, it was noted the Bahamas could be further impacted. The country was already devastated by Hurricane Dorian earlier this month.

Yet meteorologists have now discovered Karen is weakening and is “barely a tropical storm” that will not affect the Bahamas in any way. They expect Karen will continue to weaken over the next four days due to the high wind shear and dry air of the climate on her approaching path.

Additionally, Florida residents had been warned to keep a close eye on this storm as Karen is expected to make its way over to Florida over this weekend. However, Karen is presumably no danger to the state either.

Yet as soon as Karen became one less problem, Hurricane Lorenzo began strengthening rapidly and became a concern on the radar. Lorenzo morphed into a Category 3 storm this morning and by this afternoon, Category 4.

However, Lorenzo has been projected to head north-northeast. It is expected to weaken within the next few days. It’s also projected to stay in the water and never reach land. The only presumed effects of both tropical storms on land is some rainfall in northeastern Mexico.

September is National Preparedness Month

9/5/2019 (Permalink)

September is National Preparedness Month. This year, ready.gov calls us to be “Prepared, Not Scared.”

Did you know you can:

  • Download applications on your phone for weather alerts and updates?
  • Create a financial plan with consideration of a potential storm or other act of nature?
  • Check to see your insurance’s coverage for damages caused by an act of nature?
  • Learn more about how to protect your assets, potentially by investing in flood insurance?
  • Take a course or independently research about how to ensure safety during a storm or other event?

The list could go on as there are endless precautions one can take, in addition to the rapid increase of technology. With that being said, SERVPRO of Rockville-Olney and of Silver Spring North make it easy for clients to be “Prepared, Not Scared,” as we stay up-to-date with the latest procedures and techniques to ensure your home or office is ready to face the potential natural force in its path.  

Waiting for a storm to pass through before asking for help can have disastrous effects on your property and can leave you and your family overwhelmed.

It is important to know that creating a plan and taking preventative measures will impact your safety and your wallet for the better, but sometimes, these emergencies cannot be foreseen. 

Luckily, SERVPRO of Rockville-Olney and of Silver Spring North offers 24-hour Emergency Service provided by highly trained weather-related damage specialists who are equipped with stellar knowledge and skill. You can rest assure knowing SERVPRO of Rockville-Olney and of Silver Spring North will demonstrate their mastery over acts of nature. You can remain confident as they restore any damages on your property. See our website below for more details.

https://www.SERVPROrockvillesilverspringnorth.com/storm-flooding-restoration

Please call (301) 340-1313 if you want to plan for an emergency or if you have damage from an emergency that needs to be fixed.  

Summer Storm Planning

7/10/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO® of Rockville/Olney and of Silver Spring North want you to be ready for summer storms. While we hope that summer just consists of vacations and sunny days that is not always the case. A summer storm happens quite often in Maryland. There are many possibilities of damage from summer storms whether that is…wind, heavy rain, and lightning. Wind causes constructional damage to your home, heavy rain can lead to flooding and if lightning strikes on your home or business it is at risk of a fire.  

If you know a storm is coming, take these initiatives to ensure safety. Think ahead!

  • Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
  • Shutter windows and secure outside doors.
  • Unplug any electronic equipment.

During the storm, remain calm and be aware.

  • Use your battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio for updates from local officials.
  • Avoid contact with cords.
  • Stay away from windows and doors.

After the Storm, BE SAFE! It may not be storming anymore but the damage can still affect you.

  • Never drive through a flooded roadway.
  • Stay away from storm-damaged areas to keep from putting yourself at risk.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately to 911.

If you are caught off guard to a dangerous storm during the night, don’t stress we are a 24 Hour Emergency Service and we will make your home look “Like it never even happened”. Our team is specially trained to deal with the mess of a storm. Let us be the experts that you need in your time of crisis.