If you live or work in a state like Texas, Florida, Louisiana, North or South Carolina, or New York, among others, you know exactly how dangerous and damaging hurricanes and tropical storms can be.
These states are prone to severe weather, and often see severe Atlantic hurricane weather between May and November each year.
Here at ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba, our team specializes in hurricane and storm disaster restoration.
If your home or business was impacted by severe weather, we have a team that can mobilize at a moment’s notice to help. In recent years, we’ve helped people recover from the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew, Harvey, and – most recently – Hurricane Ida.
We care about your safety, and about helping you preserve and restore your property once the storm is over.
With that in mind, we’ve gathered our top severe weather safety tips for both homeowners and commercial property owners below:
For Homeowners: What to do Before a Tropical Storm
Make a Disaster Plan
- Collect emergency phone numbers (for doctors, emergency contacts, family members, and more) and keep them near the phone. Program these emergency contacts into your cell phone, as well.
- Create a disaster response kit, which includes disinfectant wipes, a first-aid kit, non-perishable food items, fresh water, dry, warm clothing, emergency blankets, batteries, a crank-powered radio, any necessary medications, flashlights, important documents, including passports, personal identification, and wills, and anything else you may need to keep your family safe for up to a week.
- Pre-identify pet shelters, pet hotels, or friends or relatives who can watch your pets in the event that you must evacuate.
Understand Tropical Storm Terminology
There are two kinds of weather alerts that you may hear during a tropical storm event:
- Hurricane warnings are the most severe of the two weather alerts. This means hurricane-force winds are expected to affect your area. Experts generally issue these warnings at least 36 hours before the winds are expected to hit.
- Hurricane watches mean hurricane conditions (sustained winds of at least 74 miles per hour) are possible in your area. Weather experts announce hurricane watches at least 48 hours before they expect dangerous weather to begin.
For more information about hurricane watches and warnings, check out the National Weather Service’s Hurricane Center.
Prepare Your Home
- Move grills, outdoor furniture, toys, and other items inside or under cover.
- Place storm shutters on outdoor windows, or nail pieces of plywood over the window frames to reduce the chance of your windows breaking.
- Fill clean water containers with drinking water. If needed, you can also fill up your sinks and bathtubs with clean water.
- Identify the main power switch to your home, and be prepared to turn it off if you sese flooding or downed power lines.
- Check the batteries in your home’s carbon monoxide detectors to prevent CO poisoning.
Prepare to Evacuate
Before severe weather hits your area, get your car ready for a possible evacuation. Make sure your vehicle has a full gas tank and is equipped with an emergency kit.
If you or a loved one has a disability or is injured and will not be able to evacuate, contact your local hospital or public health department for guidance.
If you must evacuate, turn off the gas, electricity, and water to your home. Follow all recommended escape routes and avoid driving through flooded areas.
For Homeowners: What to do After a Tropical Storm
- Floodwater may look safe, but it can cover hidden dangers.
- Never drive in flooded areas or stand in flood waters.
- If you cannot avoid floodwater, wear a life jacket – especially if the water is rising or flowing.
- If you have touched floodwater, use alcohol-based wipes or sanitizer to clean your hands and other affected body areas.
Avoid Electrical Appliances
- Turn the power off at the main breaker of your home and avoid all electrical appliances, even if they seem dry.
- Avoid downed power lines, even if there is a power outage.
Consume Safe Food and Water
- Throw away any food items that have come into contact with flood or storm water, even if it looks and smells normal.
- Do not use water you suspect is contaminated to brush your teeth, wash, or prepare food.
- Only drink bottled, boiled, or treated water for cooking, cleaning, and drinking.
Contact ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba
In case of a disaster, ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba is here for you. Our team provides flood and storm damage restoration services, including flood water cleanup, demolition and contaminated item removal, structural drying, and mold removal and remediation. Our team can help you resolve storm damage and get life back to normal. Contact us for immediate help: 773-647-1985
For Businesses: What to do Before a Hurricane
Protect Your Property
- Place storm shutters or plywood on the external frames of your doors and windows to protect the glass from wind-borne debris.
- Remove branches or trees adjacent to your building.
- Place sandbags in any area that’s prone to flooding.
- Anchor, brace, or remove large furniture both indoors and outdoors.
- Secure all utilities, including water heaters and gas tanks, and shut off utilities in the event of worsening weather.
Protect Your Important Documents
- Collect the numbers of important contacts that are critical to the operation of your business, including banks, lawyers, suppliers, and accountants. Program these into your cell phone and keep physical copies in a safe location.
- Backup documents that you cannot easily reproduce.
- Save onsite documents in waterproof containers and place them on shelves that are up off the floor.
Create an Emergency Plan
- Generate an evacuation plan for employees and workers.
- Create an emergency kit and keep it on-site at your business location. The emergency kit should include disinfectant wipes, a first-aid kit, non-perishable food items, fresh water, emergency blankets, batteries, a crank-powered radio, a basic tool kit, tarps, duct tape, and plastic bags, and anything else you deem necessary for your business.
For Businesses: What to do After a Hurricane
Hire a Disaster Recovery Team
- Do not attempt to remediate dangerous mold, mildew, or stormwater on your own. Instead, hire a disaster recovery team to do it for you.
- Keep ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba in mind when you need disaster recovery services. Our team can mobilize in minutes to help you reclaim your building.
- Hiring a professional team will allow you to restore your business without putting yourself or your employees at risk.
Stay Away From Floodwaters
- If your building is flooded, avoid entering or touching floodwaters until a professional arrives to help.
- Floodwaters can contain hidden threats, like downed power lines and contaminants that could make you sick.
- If your building is flooded, turn off all utilities, including electrical, gas, and water.
Clean Up Safely
- Once you’ve gotten the go-ahead to begin cleaning up your commercial property, take steps to do it safely.
- Be careful lifting and moving heavy items, and be sure to wear appropriate clothing and footwear to work in affected areas.
- Do not enter any area that could be unstable or structurally compromised.
Reach out to ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba
If your building has been affected by flooding or storm damage, we’re here for you.
ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba is here to provide flood damage restoration services, including building stabilization, interior renovation, content salvage and restoration, and more.
Contact us today to learn more about our commercial disaster recovery services or to call our techs to your business now: 773-647-1985
After a Storm, Professional Assistance is Key
Even if you take careful steps to prepare for a hurricane or tropical storm, that doesn’t guarantee that your home or business will avoid damage. Once the storm has passed, contact ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba for the caring, compassionate, efficient storm cleanup and disaster recovery services you need.
Our experienced team will deploy quickly and help you get your home or commercial property back to normal as quickly as possible.