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Thousands of North Carolina residents have been impacted by the effects of Hurricane Matthew. Between severe flooding and damage caused by high winds and rain, there are many ways that water damage may have affected your property. Reports are calling this the worst flooding in over 17 years, with an estimated 10 billion dollars worth of damage done in the U.S. alone. Only about half of that is insured. Though the hurricane passed through relatively quickly, flood waters continued to cause damage all over the eastern portion of the state. Local businesses have been destroyed, schools closed, roads flooded. The Tar River, responsible for much of this disastrous flooding, is expected to crest around 25 feet—even higher than previously estimated. Flood conditions continue in Fayetteville, and the Neuse River in Kinston is also on the rise as of the time of this writing.
State of Emergency Declared
President Barack Obama declared a new state of emergency for 31 counties in the eastern half of the state. According to NBC News, “The full extent of the damage in North Carolina was unclear, but it appeared that thousands of homes were damaged. Many likened Matthew to Hurricane Floyd, which did $3 billion in damage and destroyed 7,000 homes in North Carolina as it skirted the state’s coast in 1999.” Many bridges have been closed, and authorities have been urging people in the affected counties to evacuate before they lose the option. As this deadly flood continues, uncertainties mount for those still wondering what will be left behind, and what has been destroyed.
While many people have been relocated to emergency shelters, there are still more who are waiting on rescue teams. Emergency teams have been working since Hurricane Matthew to locate those individuals who need help and take them to safer areas. These efforts have even extended to household pets. Several drowning deaths have occurred as the waters engulfed more of North Carolina, and authorities would like to emphasize that personal safety should be paramount. Only once everyone has been safely rescued and relocated can North Carolina begin to rebuild, and only once the flood waters recede can the state proceed with tallying the damage caused by the flood waters.
Advice to Homeowners Affected by the Flood
It is an unfortunate reality that some homeowners will not be able to reclaim their homes and possessions after the flood waters drain. The silver lining is that many of these homeowners will be able to apply for FEMA assistance, allowing them to relocate to a new home in a safer area. The determination between salvageable and unsalvageable materials can sometimes be difficult to make. Hiring a professional with experience in the water damage restoration industry is a good way to get an honest appraisal, whether you have insurance or not.
If the level of flooding has not been entirely floor to ceiling, there’s a chance that the home and even some of the items within may be salvageable. If this is the case, it is imperative that swift action is taken to counteract the effects of the water damage. Most of the time, once flood waters have been reduced to ground level, there are actions that can be taken to lessen progressive damage and begin remediation procedures. Unfortunately, homes and businesses that are allowed to sit around after extreme water damage will still continue to accrue damage. The only way to halt water damage and begin its reversal is a professional-level dry out of the property, and reduction of moisture levels below that which mold can easily form. In other words, flood water restoration needs to begin as early as possible.
In order to restore a home to a safe and habitable state, it is necessary to undergo proper drying procedures and thorough mold detection. Just because you can’t see water in your house doesn’t mean that all of the water is actually gone. Water can occupy many spaces in a dwelling, including basements, attics, the space between the walls, and under the floorboards—none of these areas are particularly visible but can contribute a great deal of moisture to your interior atmosphere. If moisture becomes trapped in the walls and sub-flooring, serious complications may arise in the form of mold, mildew, and even structural damage that can lead to a total collapse of your home if left unchecked.
Working with FEMA & Your Insurance Company
While North Carolina is prone to hurricane-related weather issues, not everyone has flood insurance as it is not a standard feature in most homeowner insurance packages. Instead, flood insurance is covered by the National Flood Insurance program (source). If you are a homeowner that has been affected by the Hurricane Matthew flooding and possess an insurance policy, you should know that your insurance company is probably already waiting to hear from you. As this flooding is a national emergency, flood insurance companies are already getting ready to handle the influx of attention. If you are uninsured for flood damage, don’t panic! This means that you will have to work with FEMA to restore your home or re-establish elsewhere. Funds will be allocated to homeowners in need, due to the fact that President Obama has declared a state of emergency. While you can’t count on FEMA to be able to cover your total restoration costs, partial assistance or partial reimbursement may still be an option for most home and small business owners.
To find out if you qualify, you can visit www.disasterassistance.gov and fill out a form. According to FEMA:
“If you have damage or loss from this disaster, you may complete a FEMA application now even if your county has not been federally declared for Individual Assistance. This will help speed up the process if counties are added to a declaration. Your application will be processed if your county is added to a declaration and FEMA determines you are eligible.”
Restoring Your Property
The best thing you can do for your property is to call for professional assistance as soon as possible. A water damage restoration expert can help you tabulate your total costs while keeping them as low as possible. They can also provide an expert opinion on the state of your property and its contents. The longer you let your home or business sit before taking action, the less likely it is that you will be able to completely restore your home—or salvage anything at all. Once water damage has begun, it often leads quickly to mold damage, rot, and bacteria that even a water damage restoration specialist will be unable to save.
This is a devastating time for the citizens of North Carolina, and we know that the emotional toll that this loss will take on our community will be difficult to heal. Call us as soon as possible, so that we can take immediate action against the water damage done to your property. We will send a water damage restoration expert to your location, and they will be able to provide you with a free estimate. You will be able to work together to file the emergency assistance claim or file with your insurance company. Remember, the longer you let a water damaged property sit, the less likely it is that anything will be able to be saved. To give your property its best chance, call Restoration Local 24/7 at 1-888-443-3110 for a free estimate!
Due to overflow at a levee located in Ascension Parish, upwards of 40,000 homes located in the southeast region of Louisiana and a portion of Mississippi’s south have experienced devastating flooding. With extensive flooding in 30 parishes deemed to be declared in a disaster state, this has serious implications for homeowners located in the affected region.
The overflow of the Amite River showed significant consequence for individuals living in Ascension Parish, where an estimated 66% of homeowners took the brunt of the flooding. According to an official in Livingston Parish, close to 75% of homes in the area experienced extreme levels of flooding and face a bleak prognosis. 80% of all homes in the Baton Rouge area are at a critical level of crisis.
Federal Declaration of Emergency
In some areas, flooding has reached record levels. Magnolia, for example, has exceeded its previous record by over six feet. Due to the extent of the damage, the government has declared at least 30 parishes to be in a state of emergency. According to Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, upwards of 30,000 individuals were rescued by a variety of response teams, with a third of those individuals being relocated to emergency shelters.
The first priority of these rescue teams is to locate individuals in crisis and place them in a safe environment. When possible, these teams have also made efforts to rescue household pets. These floods have been fatal, and numerous drownings have occurred as a direct result of unmanageably high water levels permeating the state. While many individuals have been rescued, officials are currently unable to estimate how many may be missing.
As it should be, the first priority of officials is to ascertain the personal safety of as many citizens as humanly possible. Once all of the proper safety measures have been taken, the state will proceed with ameliorating compounding damage from the flood waters.
Draining the State of Louisiana
After floodwater management infrastructure had failed in the devastation of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, civil engineers updated and replaced levees that were not built to a standard that offered the necessary durability and longevity Louisiana needed for protection.
As external water levels decline, civil engineers will be able to activate a large number of drainage pumps in heavily flooded areas. After a great number of crucial pumps failed during Katrina, they were replaced with newer pumps designed to withstand being submerged in floodwaters for longer periods of time. These pumps were put to the test in 2008 during Hurricane Gustav, and found to be effective.
Because of the extent of the flooding, it’s likely that more emergency pumps will be brought it to siphon water from heavily submerged areas in the 30 parishes that received the brunt of the flood. As soon as it’s safe to do so, pumps will be activated so that they may slowly but surely begin to reduce the dangerously high levels of water. As this is happening, some of the water will naturally evaporate at a steady pace.
Advice Homeowners in Affected Parishes
It is a deeply unfortunate reality that some homeowners, especially those whose properties have experienced floor-to-ceiling flooding, may not be able to reclaim their homes after the drainage has been completed. Many of these homeowners will be able to apply for assistance through FEMA, who will be able to help them re-establish themselves in safe homes.
Some homes that have experienced lower levels of flooding may be salvageable, as long as the homeowners act as soon as they possibly can. Typically, once the water has been reduced to ground level, active measures can be taken to save and restore a flood damaged home. Homes allowed to sit unrepaired after drainage will continue to compound damage. The very moment the waters have reached manageable levels, home restoration needs to begin.
Proper structural drying and mold detection are mandatory to restore a home to a safe state. Don’t assume that all the water is gone just because you cannot visibly see sitting water throughout your home. Walls and subflooring will naturally absorb this water, trapping it within the interior of your home and causing serious complications that will potentially lead to the total collapse of your home over time.
Working With Your Insurance Company and FEMA
Louisiana is prone to devastating flooding, yet only 1 in 8 Louisiana homeowners has a current flood insurance policy. If you are one of the 7 homeowners currently victimized by the floods, consider purchasing a policy that will protect you should you experience a flood in the future. If you are a policy holder, your insurance company is already waiting to hear from you. Since this is a national emergency, companies that offer flood insurance are already gearing up to tackle the issue.
The majority of homeowners need to work with FEMA to restore their homes. Since President Obama has declared a federal state of emergency, this means that funds will be allocated to homeowners in need. FEMA may not be able to cover your total costs for restoration, but many home and small business owners are eligible for partial assistance or partial reimbursement.
Restoring Your Property to its Former State
Call for help as soon as you possibly can. In order to tabulate your total costs, keep them as low as possible, and get your normal life back, you need the immediate assistance of a water damage restoration expert. The longer your home sits without meaningful action being taken, it becomes increasingly less likely that a restoration specialist will be able to manage the damage your home has taken.
This is a truly devastating time for citizens of Louisiana. Restoration Local knows the emotional toll that loss and catastrophe can take on affected homeowners. Call us as soon as you can, and we’ll be able to send a water damage restoration expert out to your home. This expert will be able to provide you with a free estimate. Together, you’ll be able to file an insurance or emergency assistance claim to fix your home. The longer you allow damage to compound, greater the cost of damage restoration will be. By calling immediately, you’re more likely to stop the damage before it’s too late.
If you have water damage, call Restoration Local 24/7 at 1-888-443-3110 for a free estimate!Tweet
Using a wet vacuum and mopping up the puddles are only the beginning of the water removal process. The longer the water sat, the more likely it was to be absorbed by your home. Drywall and most types of flooring love soaking up water. They’re very porous materials, and they’ll take on as much water as they can hold. The result is that trapped water will travel, and never have a way to exit your home.
This is why proper the proper drying and dehumidifying processes will make all the difference in the world when it comes to keeping your home safe. After the water damage, there’s tons of water hiding in places you can’t see, and it’s waiting to take over.
The Necessity of Proper Structural Drying
Without proper structural drying, you’re placing your home in a significant amount of danger. The area that’s been exposed to water has undoubtedly absorbed water it was exposed to. There could be water hiding inside of your walls, beneath your floors, or in your ceiling. It may not be apparent at first, and is sometimes hard to detect.
The result of improper drying or failing to dry the structure can be devastating. This water has no way to exit your home, and it will continue to spread inside of it. This can turn a damaged bathroom into damaged kitchens, bedrooms, and closets simply because your walls are connected. After a while, walls will begin to subtly swell or warp. This swelling may fluctuate with the temperature, and may be too subtle to notice.
After a while, this water will start to break down the structure of your home. As the materials that comprise your home begin to swell and warp, they’ll exponentially decrease in their integrity. Walls or ceilings may collapse. Hardwood flooring can buckle, requiring an entire replacement. This water can even travel too close to your electrical system, putting you at an increased risk for an electrical fire.
You may not be able to see the water, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Home restoration specialists utilize several methods to check your home, as well as tools that measure moisture levels. They’ll be able to spot this absorbed water and adequately dry affected areas, before the problem worsens.
The Risks of Mold
Mold only needs one day to form. It loves dark, damp areas. If there is water in the structure of your home, mold will love to set up camp there. With little exposure to light and nothing to disrupt its growing process, it can quickly take over. You may not know you have mold in your walls or under your floor until it starts to come through the surface.
Mold isn’t just unsightly – it can be fatal to some people. Mold allergies are very severe, and even if no one in your household is allergic, they can still experience breathing complications or symptoms of illness from mold particles floating around your home. If you give mold the right breeding ground, it can infest your whole property. Without proper drying, it’s nearly a guarantee that mold will run rampant.
What Dehumidifying Does
Think about the water cycle. Water is evaporated from the surface, rises into the air, forms into clouds, and rains back down. Clouds can’t form in your house, so any water that evaporates will simply settle elsewhere. It doesn’t have anywhere to go, and that’s where dehumidifiers come in handy. Without a dehumidifier, you won’t be able to remove any of the moisture from the air. The wet air will simply cycle back through your home, remoistening the structure. Structural drying and dehumidifying go hand in hand – neither is effective without the other. It’s a balancing act, and home restoration specialists are familiar with the proper balance for a variety of damage repair situations.
How the Drying and Dehumidifying Processes Work
When a specialists detects moisture that can’t be absorbed from a surface, he or she will set the stage for proper drying and dehumidifying. The first step is locating the area and moving any obstacles out of the way. If upholstered furniture or linens exist in this area, they will have to be removed and properly dried to prevent mold growth and the reintroduction of moisture into the home.
When the space is ready, the specialist will strategically place industrial grade air moving machines around the area. These are big, loud fans with a narrow focus that will concentrate the air on the parts of your home that are retaining water. These fans expedite the evaporation process, coaxing the water out of the structure.
As your home is being dried, the water that’s being removed from the structure will enter the air. The dehumidifier removes the water from the air with a special fan, drawing in the moisture with its cooled coils that are designed to attract water. The water drops from the coils into a reservoir, where it is stored until it’s full and the operator empties the reservoir. Some high-tech dehumidifiers come with attachments that funnel the water directly out of your home, allowing them to be run continuously without having to be emptied.
A specialist will periodically use moisture detection tools to measure the levels of water. If adjustments need to be made to promote better drying, the strategy will be adjusted. Once your home is completely dry and the damage has been handled, dry furniture and personal possessions can be moved back to their original locations.
Getting Your Home Dry
Restoration Local has expert water damage restoration specialists who will be able to properly dry your home. Give us a call any time at 1-888-443-3110 disaster strikes, and we can send someone out to assess the damage and provide you with a free estimate. Your restoration specialists may be able to work with your insurance company to help you file a claim, and they’ll be able to get started right away. The longer you wait, the more severe the damage is likely to become.Tweet
Upon arrival, a professional water damage restoration specialist will immediately tend to a checklist. In order for your damage to be fixed, your specialist will have to do a little detective work. He or she will need to know the source of the damage, the details about the water, what was affected, and discover anything that may contribute to further problems before your home can be restored.
If you are unfamiliar with the complexities of water damage, you may not know what to look for. A trained professional can spot hidden water and looming dangers before they take over your home, creating a problem that will be far more costly to resolve further down the line. Armed with moisture detectors and a keen eye, and investigative water damage specialist will be able to quickly see the full scope of the problem.
Preventing More Water from Entering Your Home
The first thing your specialist will do is figure out where the water is coming from. In some cases, such as an apparent dishwasher or toilet overflow, the water will have already stopped. If the cause of the water damage is not apparent on sight, you may have an ongoing leak. The source of the water has to be determined, and the water needs to be stopped. If there is a dedicated valve in the area, the specialist will shut it off. If there isn’t and the water is still flowing, all water to your home may need to be disconnected.
Determining What Kind of Water Caused the Damage
Water is divided into three categories: White, gray, and black. The type of water involved sets the tone for how the specialist will approach your damage. White water is water that came straight from a pipe, gray water is drainage from any pipes that don’t handle sewage, and black water is water that has potentially or definitely come into contact with sewage.
White water is the safest to come into contact with and doesn’t generally pose any threat to safety. Gray water contains microbes and human bacteria, but is not always dangerous. This is the water that drains away from sinks, bathtubs, and most household appliances. It’s also the most common category of water in most water damage scenarios. Black water is very dangerous, as it contains live bacteria that can spread disease.
Black water makes for a unique circumstance. If the source is determined to be black water, specialists will need to use industrial grade decontamination suits to work inside your home. Your family will need to vacate the affected area, and porous items affected by black water may not be salvageable. If it is discovered that black water is the culprit, your home restoration specialist will immediately make arrangements to sterilize the affected area. Removing sewage from a home is a top priority.
Surveying the Damage
After the causes have been identified, the specialist will examine the extent of the damage. This involves inspecting cabinetry and looking for any vulnerable electrical outlets that may have been affected by the water. Once the inspector knows the extent of the damage, a plan to solve the issue can be drawn up. The inspector will then know how long it will take to restore your home and what the total cost will be. The inspector can help you file a claim with your insurance if the damage falls under your coverage.
During this process, the specialist will examine the structure of your home with moisture detection equipment. This will allow the specialist to see how much water has been absorbed beneath your floor, within your walls, or in your ceiling. Structural drying and dehumidification are crucial steps in water damage restoration, as they prevent the damage from spreading and remove the potential for mold cultivation.
Looking for Any Other Concerns
Can the same issue happen again? Does anything else need to be fixed to prevent future water damage? That’s what your specialist will attempt to find out. For example, if a pipe bursts due to rust and old age, are the surrounding pipes just as likely to burst in the near future? Are there issues with the electrical in your home that create a looming threat for an electrical fire? Your specialist wants to get the job done right, and they only want to do it once. If anything else needs to be fixed immediately, your specialist will want to fix these issues as they’re spotted.
There’s no sense in putting a bandage on a wound that requires stitches, and that’s why it’s so important to thoroughly check the whole home for the potential of compounded damage, or damage that can recur.
Preparing the Area for Restoration
After all the bases have been covered, it’s time to get the area ready for restoration. Furniture may need to be moved out of the way to keep the area open for restoration equipment. Any furniture that has absorbed water will need to be thoroughly dried before it’s returned to your home. The specialist will move the equipment in, and get to work on fixing the damage
If flooring needs to be removed or pieces of a wall need to be cut away for replacement, the specialist will do so at this time. After the area has been thoroughly dried, new flooring can be installed and walls will be patched. During the drying process, things may be upside down. Once the restoration is complete, your home will be as good as new.
Finding a Specialist for Your Home
Attempting to assess and repair the damage yourself is difficult, and making mistakes can create a whole new world of problems that are far more expensive to repair. Restoration Local is available 24 hours a day. At the first site of damage, give us a call at 1-888-443-3110. One of our water damage restoration experts will be able to provide you with a free estimate during your inspection, and get to work immediately.Tweet
It’s three in the morning, and you’re awoken by a loud banging noise from downstairs. A pipe has burst, and your home is filling up with water. Being jolted awake from a sound sleep to handle a surprising emergency is not an ideal situation, but you’ll still need to spring into action. You don’t have time to put on a pot of coffee – you need to get the ball rolling right away.
What to Do Immediately
Emergency water damage has a lot more implications than you may think. A flood can quickly become dangerous if the water levels rise to reach your electrical outlets, or if water seeps into a wall full of wiring. If the water contains sewage, a whole lot of seriously dangerous bacteria that threatens the health of your family is filling your home. This issue can become out of control very quickly, and it’s better to prepare for a full scale emergency rather than taking your chances and hoping things don’t turn out that way.
If you can safely turn the water off, do so immediately. If you can’t, you may need to reorder your priorities to insure maximum safety. If you have a lockbox full of important documents or a safe nearby, you may be able to quickly retrieve the contents along the way. This is especially important if these documents are located in an area that may be exposed to water.
Alert Your Family
Get your family out of the house immediately. If it’s the middle of the night, wake them up. You may have no way of knowing how quickly an electrical fire can start, making their exit even more difficult. Get them out of their beds before they’ll have to make the dangerous wade out of the house. If the water may contain sewage, take careful precautions when escorting children or the elderly out to the front lawn.
Gather Your Pets
Get your dogs out in the back yard where they’ll be safe. Smaller pets can be carried out in their cages, and cats who aren’t allowed outdoors can be carried out in crates. In an emergency situation, pets without cages who aren’t allowed outside can safely be placed in sheds or held by other family members.
Call for Emergency Help
Start by calling your electric company and have them send out an emergency technician to disconnect your electricity. This will prevent an electrical fire. It may be too dangerous to attempt to disconnect the electricity yourself, especially if your fuse box is near the affected area. Explain your situation to the power company. They may be able to let you know whether or not it’s safe for you to shut the water off, if you were previously unsure. If it isn’t safe for you to turn your water off or you don’t know how, contact the water company and have them handle it.
It’s important that you do not attempt to re-enter your home until professionals have given you the okay to do so. Doing so may pose a great risk to your personal safety. No material possession is worth risking severe injury.
When It’s Safe to Enter
After the electricity has been shut off and the water has been stopped, professionals may give you the green light to enter. If the flood contains sewage, it’s never safe to enter these areas. You’ll need more than rain boots and household gloves to safely enter areas affected by the flood. If this is the case, it’s best to avoid these areas completely.
If this was a clean water flood, the professional may give you the okay to unplug and move electronics, such as home computers, that were not affected by the flood waters. You may be able to salvage most of these things. If you have other material possessions you’d like to gather, now would be the time to do so. You may also want to have each family member pack an overnight bag, and consider sleeping somewhere else for the evening. The next step, which is one of the most important steps, may be a bit noisy.
Stopping the Damage
Once all the safety threats have been removed, you’ll need to call a water damage restoration specialist. The longer water sits, the greater the damage will become. As the water is absorbed by the structure of your home, the damage will continue to spiral. Walls are very absorbent, as are ceilings and most types of flooring. The water will collect within them, and travel to other areas of your home.
The longer this water sits, the greater the potential for mold growth becomes. It only takes a day for mold to start growing, and mold can cause catastrophic damage within the structure of your home. Once the water hits the ground, every minute counts. Damage repair will become increasingly expensive and more complex the longer the water is allowed to remain in your home.
Our 24 Hour Emergency Assistance
Restoration Local provides 24 hour emergency assistance to homeowners who are in need of a damage restoration specialist. If the damage is tended to immediately, your home will be back to normal as soon as possible. We understand that emergencies can and do occur outside of normal business hours, and we know how quickly untreated water damage can turn into a much larger issue.
Emergency water damage is stressful, but there’s always a qualified professional willing to help you protect the home your family lives in. Give us a call at 1-888-443-3110 any time, and we’ll be able to help you get your home dry and safe again.Tweet