Recent Storm Damage Posts
Stay safe during flooding episodes
Use extreme caution when navigating flood waters!
Flooding. Hearing that word, most people think of hurricanes pounding either the east coast or the Gulf coast states. But, repeated heavy rains cause flooding issues in our community. Here at SERVPRO of Bedford Park/Burbank, we hope you take precautions to keep yourself safe inside your home and business. But, did you know most people who lose their life due to flooding are in their cars?
According to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), there have been 78 deaths due to flooding in the US this year (through July 31), and 51 of those were people trying to drive through high flood waters. As they say, if you see water across the roadway, "Turn around, don't drown!"
Other statistics: of the 78 deaths, 52 were male victims, 46 were between the ages of 20-59, and just five were in a boat. In Illinois, there have been three deaths in 2019, and 30 since 2010, so it does happen here as well.
If flooding occurs in your neighborhood, and you suffer some water damages in your home or business, we hope you think of SERVPRO of Bedford Park/Burbank. But, if you happen to be on the road, we want you to be smart, not a statistic!
SERVPRO Bedford Park/Burbank prepared for severe weather
Severe weather damages may call for special circumstances.
When you hear severe weather is approaching, what do you think of? Hurricane? Tornado? Blizzard? Flooding?
Severe storms can be anything that far exceeds the norm. It could mean bitter cold weather, or extremely hot weather. It also could mean strong winds, hail, or ice.
Here in Illinois, we get all of the above with the exception of a hurricane. So, here at SERVPRO of Bedford Park/Burbank, we have to be prepared for a lot of different situations throughout the year.
When you have damage to your home or business, the necessities required to mitigate your property may not be available. Generators may be needed because there is no power on site. Heat may be needed because the furnace or other heat source may be down. The water source may be cut, so clean water may be needed.
SERVPRO of Bedford Park/Burbank is ready to take on any situation that may occur to your home or business due to severe weather. A call to 708-430-3600, and our friendly operators will get some general information, information that will speed up the process of getting our crews ready for your loss.
Are you ready for the next severe weather event? We are! Call us at 708-430-3600.
Sump pump maintenance
Take a few minutes now to ensure your house is protected from storm damages.
Sump pumps are a fairly reliable piece of equipment, something you don’t often think about, until the time it doesn’t work properly. Regular maintenance can help extend the life of your sump pump, plus give you piece of mind when the next storm event happens.
Sump pumps last an average of 10 years; some last longer and some don’t last that long, depending on how often and hard they have to work. If your current sump pump is older than 10 years, perhaps you should seriously think about getting a replacement.
Here are a few things you should do at least once a year to ensure your sump pump works properly.
- Check the wiring and the plug. If the wiring looks worn, or the plug has trouble staying plugged in, consider a replacement.
- Check for debris in the sump pit. Occasionally, debris can get into the pit, causing the float mechanism to be blocked, and may create an unwanted issue later on.
- Remove the sump pump from the pit and clean the bottom grate. During normal operation, strong suction from your sump may pull small stones up from the bottom and get wedged in the grate.
- Make sure the pump is sitting upright. After checking for debris and the bottom grate, place the sump pump back in the pit, sitting as upright as possible. You want to avoid the pump tipping when storm water starts to flow into the pit.
- Add water to the pit to check for normal operation. Using a five gallon bucket, add water to see if your sump pump both starts when it should, and shut off when it should. Any deviation from normal, think about replacing the pump. If you have to shake the pipe to either get the pump started or stop, replace the pump.
- Finally, check the outlet piping to make sure it is connecting properly, and not leaking anywhere.
If you have a backup sump pump, and/or back up power source, take a moment to check and make sure they are working properly as well.
If you suffer water damage from sump pump issues (sump pump not working or couldn’t keep up with extreme rain rates), call the water damage experts at SERVPRO of Bedford Park/Burbank at 708-430-3600. We can extract the water, dry contents and structure, and check for possible mold.
Lightning facts and myths
Lightning can travel far outside of the storm.
An average lightning bolt has enough power to light a 100-watt bulb for more than 3 months straight. It also has enough power to send Doc Brown and Marty McFly in a DeLorean from 1955 to 1985 (in the movie Back to the Future).
“Width of your thumb, hotter than the sun”. The actual bolt of lightning is about the width of your thumb (or about the size of a nickel). It looks larger because it’s shrouded in intense light. The heat generated from a single bolt is about five times the temperature of the surface of the sun, >30,000 degrees.
Approx. 60 people are killed each year in the US from strikes. Most of those killed and injured are participating in/attending sporting events.
There are approximately 1800 thunderstorms happening any minute of any day throughout the world, generating more than 1.4 billion lightning strikes per year.
Myth: If I crouch, I avoid getting struck by lightning. Although lightning does normally hit the tallest object in the area, it can jump to other objects, like from a tree to a fence. If you are outside, you are still in danger of being struck.
Myth: I am safe under a tall tree. A tree may protect you from some rain, but it offers zero protection from a lightning strike.
Myth: Lightning never strikes the same place twice. Lightning bolts are nature’s way of trying to even out the electrons in an area, delivering positive charges to a negatively-charged object. But, that doesn’t mean once a bolt hits it will not hit again. Buildings, mountains, and other tall objects may be struck many times in a single year.
Myth: It’s not raining, so I’m safe from lightning. A bolt can travel many miles outside of a thunderstorm, so just because it’s not raining yet does not mean you are safe from being struck.
Myth: If I remove metal (watch, jewelry, etc), I won’t get struck by lightning. Lightning is NOT attracted to metal, so having no metal around you does not make you any safer.
Myth: Rubber tires on a car protects you from lightning strikes. A car is a safe place to go if you cannot get inside before a thunderstorm, but not because of the tires. The metal body around you is the answer. It gives the bolt an avenue towards the ground that protects you. If you happened to be touching metal when a strike hits your car, you will be hit as well. Also, rubber tires will not protect motorcycle riders either; they are just as susceptible to be hit as if they were standing outside.
Myth: I saw a person get struck by lightning. I cannot touch him for fear I will be electrocuted as well. The human body cannot hold electrical charges, so a person struck is safe to touch. Help them as quickly as you safely can.
Myth: I am 100% safe inside a home. Being inside a building is the safest place to be during a thunderstorm, but there are still ways you can get hit. Being in a shower or bath is one; the bolt hitting your house can travel through the water pipes and find its way to you. If you are on a corded phone or video game, the lightning can travel through the wiring and get to you. And stay away from windows as well, as lightning going down siding may jump through a crack around the window and hit you.
Myth: I have surge protectors on all my electronics, so they are safe. Surge protectors are great for a minor sudden surge in electricity, but are no match for the power of a lightning bolt. It’s best to unplug such devices before the storm comes into your area.
Spring storms = SERVPRO's busy season?
SERVPRO of Bedford Park/Burbank gets calls year round, not just in Spring.
It’s Springtime again, and here at SERVPRO we get asked all the time if Spring is our “busy” season. While it’s true, the transition from Winter to Spring gives us many opportunities for helping people with disasters, there really isn’t a “busy” season nor a “slow” season.
When the calendar gets close to Spring, melting snow, or rain over frozen ground, threatens water damages in many homes and businesses. But we can get water damage calls just about any month of the year.
- When extreme cold weather hits the area (like a polar vortex), frozen and burst pipes could be the result.
- Freezing and thawing weather, or ice storms, can cause ice damming issues, causing water to back up your roof, under shingles and then work its way into your home.
- Repeated heavy rains can cause localized flooding in susceptible areas and could finds its way into your home.
- Sudden, extreme downpours with huge rain rates can overwhelm sump pumps and cause minor flooding issues.
- High winds may cause loose roof shingles to come off, thereby allowing precipitation to find a way inside.
On top of all that, there are many ways you can suffer non-storm related water damages, such as: bathtub or sink overflows, pipe leaks, water heater malfunctions, aquarium leaks, condensation issues, etc.
If you have suffered any type of water damages, call SERVPRO of Bedford Park/Burbank at 708-430-3600 right away to set up an inspection.
Spring storms are the norm
Don't let this happen to you. Prepare now.
Well, it’s Spring here in the Midwest. That means it can be 70’s one day, then in the 40’s the next, followed by another stretch of 70’s.
The old adage: “If you don’t like the weather in Chicago, wait ten minutes!” isn’t too far from the truth. The weather can change in a hurry here. It can be sunny and warm in the morning, cloudy with big storms in the evening, and did they mention a possibility of snow tonight?
Most people take precautions when they hear storms are approaching. They bring in their tender plants from the outside, move the patio furniture closer to the house so it won’t blow away, and reattach the downspouts that blew off from the last storm. But, did they take any precautions inside?
Heavy rain in a short period of time can overwhelm a sump pump, even when it’s running properly. That water has to go somewhere. It spreads out across the floor in your basement or lower level, causing water damage to anything susceptible it touches: drywall, carpeting, boxes, shelves, etc can all be damaged by this water.
Take time NOW to get ready for that possibility. Remove boxes and store them in a higher place where they won’t get hit with the water. Roll up throw rugs and put them in a safe place, along with any contents on the floor.
If you do get hit with water in your lower level, just call the experts at SERVPRO of Bedford Park/Burbank. We can extract the water, dry out the structure, check for hidden moisture in walls, ceilings, or flooring, and spray an antimicrobial to all affected areas.
Put this number in your phone NOW! 708-430-3600. We are available 24/7/365, and have equipment ready to do the job!
SERVPRO Bedford Park/Burbank helping Midwest flooding
The trucks are staged, and ready to roll!
In August, SERVPRO Bedford Park/Burbank made a couple of short trips, one to Iowa and another to Wisconsin. Both trips were to help businesses and residents with flooding issues, due to repeated heavy rains.
The first trip was to northern Iowa. Wave after wave of heavy rains caused widespread flooding in many areas. Within hours of the call for assistance, SERVPRO Bedford Park/Burbank was on their way.
A few days after returning from Iowa, central Wisconsin got hit with heavy downpours, with more than a foot of rain falling in about a day's time in areas just west of Madison. Again, just hours after the call came in, SERVPRO was back out on the road.
SERVPRO Bedford Park/Burbank prepares for storms, but not quite in the same manner you would do at home. Sure, we make sure nothing of value is at risk from getting storm water damage inside our building. We also prepare for the next call, be it from the Storm Team directing us to visit a hard hit community, to having the necessary equipment and tools to handle water or sewage that infiltrated your home or business.
If water has invaded your home or business, call the experts at SERVPRO Bedford Park/Burbank 24/7/365 at 708-430-3600.
Prepared for the next storm?
Equipment at the ready, awaiting your call!
It seems lately that we are having “Once-in-a-lifetime” storms just about every year. Hurricane Harvey is a prime example.
Now, no one can prepare for 50” of rain in just a few days. But, are you ready for 10” of rain? 5” of rain? Even 1” of rain?
These are just a few of the things you can do now to prepare for the next storm:
- Are your gutters clean and free of debris?
- Do you have downspouts to direct water away from your foundation?
- Did you remove any low spots along the sides of your home, so water will not pool there?
- If your home is susceptible to flooding, are your appliances and furniture in lower levels raised up on blocks?
- Did you remove all cardboard boxes from your lowest level?
- Are all your irreplaceable items stored in a safe, dry place?
If you said yes to all these questions, then you are prepared for the next storm event.
SERVPRO Bedford Park/Burbank is also prepared for the next storm event, and the one after that, and the one after that. We have machines at the ready to extract standing water, dry structure, and dehumidify inside air. We have meters and cameras to check for hidden moisture, behind walls and under floors.
If Mother Nature was an uninvited guest inside your home, call the experts at SERVPRO Bedford Park/Burbank at 708-430-3600. We’re ready for that call!
Take actions now to limit flooding's damage
Furnishings lost due to extreme flooding.
You don’t need to be near a body of water (lake, river, or stream) to experience flooding. Hurricane Harvey is a recent example of that; areas around Houston, TX received 50 inches of rain!
In this area, we can have excessive snow melt, severe storms, extensive power outages, etc., that can cause flooding. It seems lately that more and more extreme weather is the new normal.
What can you do to protect your property from the hazards of flooding?
- Know the risks. Is there any part of your property where the slope is incorrect; water slopes towards your home instead of away from your home. Try to correct that issue as soon as possible.
- Have an emergency kit already prepared. You can read more about making an emergency kit in another blog on this website, or you can go to Ready.gov for more information.
- Check your insurance policy. Most insurance policies do not cover floods, or water that doesn’t come up from the drains nor from a broken pipe. Talk it over with your insurance professional.
- Direct as much water away from your foundation as possible. Downspout extensions are a cheap and easy way to accomplish this feat. And keep your gutters clean of debris.
- Put utilities on blocks if located in lower level. Place your wash machine, dryer, water softener, etc up on blocks to keep them out of the water in case your lower level sustains flooding issues.
- Plug SERVPRO of Bedford Park/Burbank’s number into your phone. When you have discovered water damages in your home, time is critical! By having 708-430-3600 already installed on your phone means you can talk to us while the water damages are still in the early stages. Our trucks are loaded with equipment and ready to assist extracting, removing, and/or drying out your home as quick as possible!
Build an emergency kit
This time of year, the weather itself adds to the list of disasters that can befall you. Tornadoes, severe storms, lightning strikes all can hit around your home, many times with very little notice.
Be prepared at your home or business for that unexpected disaster, with an emergency kit. You should have enough supplies in your kit to last at least three days. Some of the suggested items:
- Three day supply of non-perishable foods
- Plastic utensils and plates
- Bottled water (1 gallon per person per day)
- First aid kit plus a dust mask
- Prescription medications
- Hygiene products
- Sleeping bag and/or blankets
- Extra batteries
- Phone charger
- Change of clothes
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Whistle/Glow Stix to signal for help
- Unique supplies for an infant or senior citizen (if necessary)
- Extra cash
- Tool to shut off utilities (wrench, vice grips, pliers)
- Manual can opener, if you have canned food
- Garbage bags, for sanitation and to possibly wear
Have these items (and more, if you have any specific needs) at a handy place, if you need to leave in a hurry or to shelter in place.
For more information about emergency kits, check out Ready.gov.
Tornadoes strike anywhere, even in a city!
Our cool weather this late winter/spring has kept severe weather away from the area so far. But, did you know we are in the heart of tornado season?
Illinois has had tornadoes strike every month of the year, as early as January, and as late as December 23rd (Merry Christmas!). Though the vast majority of tornadoes strike in the March, April, and May months.
The time of the day doesn't matter either, but the 3:00 - 7:00 pm time slight is slightly favored. Tornadoes after dark are the worst because you cannot see them coming.
The weather service has greatly improved getting watches and warnings out to the public. If you watch the Weather Channel, they even tell you DAYS in advance where the prime areas might be. On our Twitter page, we even keep you apprised of possible hazardous weather.
Some tornado myths have been debunked:
- Do NOT open your windows. Scientists thought that the uneven pressure caused homes to collapse, which is doesn't. Take that time to take shelter instead.
- Stay in the southwest corner of your building. The thinking was that most tornadoes move southwest to northeast, and the southwest corner would be the safest spot. Find a secure spot in your lowest level.
- A tornado will not hit the same community twice. Tell that to the people of Codell, KS, who suffered a tornado on May 20th in each year of 1916, 1917, & 1918!
The strongest tornadoes can hit wind speeds of >300 mph, be two miles wide, and travel >20 miles on the ground. The infamous Tri-state tornado, March 18, 1925, traveled >200 miles and lasted three hours!
SERVPRO of Bedford Park/Burbank traveled to Massachusetts!
Snow Storm in the Northeast area!
It wasn’t a good start of the year for many Massachusetts residents, the beginning of January of 2018 we were asked to travel to the state of MA as a lot of people had water damage due to broken pipes and Ice Daming damage in their homes due to freezing temperatures.
Some customers had no electricity or heat available, these conditions made the restoration process a little difficult, but as soon as these issues were resolved, we immediately started the demolition/drying process.
Unfortunately, after we left town a couple more snow storms hit the northeast area.
SERVPRO of Bedford Park/Bubank has the capability to travel to any part of the country, thankfully we count with professional employees and specialized equipment to assist to any size disaster in the United States
What's a Flash Flood?
Flood waters can devastate your home or business.
By definition, a flash flood is flooding within three to six hours, caused by heavy rain locally, or flooding near rivers, streams, etc with heavy rains upstream. It can also be caused by rapid snow melt.
Urban areas are prone to flash flooding, due to lack of runoff areas and/or lack of absorption areas.
The following are advisories and warnings, put out by the National Weather Service:
- Urban and Small Stream Advisory - Low-lying areas, underpasses, streets, and near rivers or streams flooding is occurring.
- Flash Flood Watch - Flooding possible in the watch area. Make sure you have an escape route accessible, so if the situation becomes worse, you have way out.
- Flash Flood Warning - Flooding is now occurring or is imminent. Seek higher ground immediately!
At home, make sure you have any valuables off the floor, particularly those in your lowest level. Move anything that is in danger of being damaged in flood waters to a higher level of your home.
Always remember, safety first! Do NOT drive through flooded streets, especially those streets that are new to you and you cannot see the pavement. It takes less than a foot of moving water to pick up a car! The majority of people killed in floods are those trying to escape in their vehicles.
Heading for Texas!
Just 1 of 3 trucks loaded for Texas!
SERVPRO Bedford Park / Burbank is proud to be a member of the SERVPRO Storm Team, traversing the United States and helping those who have been affected by large, destructive storms. Now, we are heading to the deep south, helping the flood victims of Hurricane Harvey.
In the past, we have helped those who were hit with Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Matthew, as well as large but more localized storms, like the storms that hit the Midwest (Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio) earlier in 2017. Our goal is to get them cleaned up and dried out, so those home owners can get back to living a normal life as fast as possible.
But, it is not just us; SERVPRO corporate will have hundreds of crews from all areas of the Untied States, working to help those flooding victims in Texas, Louisiana, and elsewhere.
If you wish to make a donation to help the cause, please make sure that you are donating to a legitimate entity, such as the American Red Cross, to whom SERVPRO is a proud partner! You may text the word HARVEY to 90999, and you just made a $10 donation! You can also donate to the American Red Cross at your local Walgreens pharmacy.
Prepared for the next storm!
Waiting until the last minute usually is NOT the best advice.
Preparation is the key for any task to be efficient and cost effective. Storm damage restoration is no different.
SERVPRO Bedford Park / Burbank is already prepared for the next storm to roll through the area, no matter when it decides to hit. We have meters and thermal imaging cameras charged, ready to find any hidden moisture in walls, ceilings, or flooring. Our extraction equipment is at the ready, prepared to pick up any standing water. Air movers and dehumidifiers are staged on the trucks, ready to dry out any size water damage, residential or commercial.
We have seen first hand what damages storms can produce. We were able to help those so inflicted in Louisiana, South Carolina, Virginia, New York, as well as those here in the Chicago area. Being prepared ahead of time allows us to initiate the battle plan as quickly as possible, thereby keeping secondary damages to a minimum and getting the homeowner or business owner back to normal as soon as possible.
Probably the best preparation you can do today is put our phone number into your phone or mobil device: SERVPRO Bedford Park / Burbank 708-430-3600. If you suffer any kind of storm damage, you can call us 24/7/365, and we will come out, assess the damage, and start the mitigation process.
Storm Watches vs Storm Warnings
Stay informed, and take appropriate action!
A THUNDERSTORM WATCH:
Means to “BE ALERT”; severe thunderstorms are possible in/or around the watch area. The watch area can be large, covering numerous counties or even states, and usually encompasses several hours. But that doesn’t mean not to be prepared to act in case of a severe thunderstorm warning is issued. The best thing you can do when a thunderstorm watch is being issued is to stay informed, try to get multiple ways to get weather info. Don’t just rely in one method of weather info, plan for things like power outages or poor reception. And, always keep an eye to the sky.
A THUNDERSTORM WARNING:
Means to “TAKE ACTION”; severe weather has been reported in the immediate area and requires prompt action. Warnings usually encompass a much smaller area (around the size of a city or county) and a shorter time frame, usually an hour. Be ready to take protective measures. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life/property, so take appropriate shelter immediately.
Completing a home inventory
Storms arrive quickly, so plan now to help save time, money, and heartaches.
Do you have a Home Inventory Ready?
Spring Season is storm season, and it could be the right time to start one! Being prepared ahead of time could save you thousands of dollars, time and headaches, because you will have something to give your insurance company in the event of a disaster.
In the event you suffer storm damages, SERVPRO of Bedford Park / Burbank specializes in the restoration of contents damaged by water, fire or mold. And, working together with you and your insurance company, we can help make it “Like it never even happened”.
Here a few steps that will help you create your Home/apartment/office inventory:
1- Take pictures. Make sure you take pictures of all your belongings, heirlooms, and prized possessions in every room of your house/apartment/office. Once the pictures are taken, label them with a description, including where you bought each item along with the make, model and serial numbers.
2- Video record it. Video record every room in your house/apartment/office specifying the contents/valuables you record in the video. Narrate the video as to the particulars of each item.
3- Keep and store an electronic file. Use your computer or mobile device to create and store your inventory list and keep your inventory along with receipts in your safe deposit box, on a disk or at a friend or family member’s home. You can also email the file to yourself.
Here is a website that is a great place to start: https://knowyourstuff.org/
You may also utilize this time to purge those items that are no longer needed.
The pitfalls of DIY storm damage cleaning
Water not mitigated quickly and properly has caused mold to grow.
Recently, a large complex of storms rolled through the area. Lots of rain fell. Your sump pump works fine, but it just couldn’t keep up with the rain rate; the heavy rain simply overpowered your pump. Now, you have raw sewage in your basement.
You look at your spouse, and say: “Get the buckets and the rubber gloves! Time to roll up our sleeves and get to work!” Working through the night, you get as much standing water off the floor and out of your carpet, you open the windows and set up a box fan or two to help dry the area. It was hard work, but you are satisfied at the job you both did. Until,…
Several days later, a musty smell begins to move from the basement to areas upstairs. Was there water you missed? Did the carpet always smell like this? And why is the paneling on the wall starting to buckle?
Well, even Superman had an off day!
Sewage water contains bacteria, viruses, and parasites, and that water is now trapped in your drywall, in your carpet, even in your wall framing. By not getting rid of enough moisture, you have allowed mold to grow, especially in wall cavities. A relatively simple problem of water damage in your basement has now become water AND mold damages.
NOW LET’S REPLAY THE SAME SCENERIO AGAIN
The storm is over and you go downstairs only to realize the sump couldn’t keep up with the rain rates, and now you have sewage water in your basement. You look at your spouse and say: “Call SERVPRO! They know exactly what to do!”
SERVPRO of Bedford Park / Burbank arrives on the scene. Affected areas in the walls and flooring are noted, using a thermal imaging camera and moisture meters. Trained crew members extract as much standing water as possible, then discard affected materials that can’t be cleaned (drywall, carpet, pad, cardboard boxes, etc). They spray an antimicrobial on the floors, walls, and framing to help inhibit mold growth. Then they bring in drying equipment, including fans and dehumidifiers, and set them in a pattern that best dries the basement quickly.
SERVPRO of Bedford Park / Burbank is available 24/7/365, and is as close as your phone. One simple call to 708-430-3600 gets the ball rolling, and before you know it, you’re back living a normal life again.
Trust SERVPRO Bedford Park / Burbank to be your “superhero” on your next water related damage, be it one room or an entire apartment complex. We have the knowledge, the experience, to save you time, money, and to make it “Like it never even happened.”
SERVPRO of Bedford Park / Burbank help Louisiana.
A typical street in southern Louisiana after the flooding Aug/2016.
SERVPRO of Bedford Park / Burbank recently participated in the Louisiana Flooding aftermath. It was very sad to see so many people lost literally “everything”, but we proudly can say we did everything we could to save what was left of their homes.
Prolonged rain resulted in a catastrophic flooding that ended up leaving houses/businesses under water, mostly in the southern parts of the state of Louisiana. With an estimated 146,000 homes damaged in the flooding, this disaster was characterized as the worst US natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Thousands of Louisianians were forced into shelters. To make the situation even worse, most of the affected homes were not insured for floods; what FEMA offered is not sufficient for many families to restore their homes, and many residents are not willing to wait for Federal/Fema help and they had no option than to pay out of their pockets.
For sure this was one of the worst disasters we have provided assistance. We will drive down the streets of Baton Rouge, LA and Saint Amant, LA and all you would have seen are resident’s belongings dumped in their front yard (Please refer to the attached picture).