If you’re in the process of buying a house or you’re looking for a new homeowners insurance policy, you might be familiar with what a flood zone is. If you don’t know what they are, you might want to start reading up on them.
Zoning for Floods?
A flood zone is an area in a specific geographical space that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has determined has at least some risk of flooding. There are four primary types of zones, which correlate to the severity or category of excessive water events that can occur in that area.
- Moderate to Low-Risk Areas
- High-Risk Areas
- High Risk – Coastal Areas
- Undetermined Risk Areas
How to Find Your Zone
Each area’s zones are depicted on a community's Flood Insurance Rate Map, also known as FIRM, which can be found online at https://www.fema.gov/flood-insurance-rate-map-firm. You can also contact your local municipality or look on their website, most cities will have zoning information available online. You can try searching for the term “flood elevation certificate” for faster results.
Some people may think that these zones can only be found next to a large body of water or along a river or stream, but that’s not the case. Houses that are nowhere near a body of water can experience a flood if there’s a large rain storm.
Knowing what kind of flood zone you live in can also be helpful for storage options and emergency preparedness. If you live in a high-risk zone, for example, you probably don’t want to put boxes directly on the floor, and you might want to increase the number of your emergency supplies.
If you weren’t aware that your home is potentially at risk for a flood, and a storm causes water-related damage, you should contact a storm damage specialist in your area to determine your best course of action and get the damage repaired as quickly as possible.
When Storms or Floods hit, SERVPRO is ready!
When Storms or Floods hit, SERVPRO is ready!
SERVPRO specializes in storm and flood damage restoration. Our crews are highly trained and we use specialized equipment to restore your property to its pre-storm condition.
Since we are locally owned and operated, we are able to respond quicker with the right resources, which is extremely important. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces the restoration cost.
Resources to Handle Floods and Storms
When storms hit, we can scale our resources to handle a large storm or flooding disaster. We can access equipment and personnel from a network of 1,800 franchises across the country and elite Disaster Recovery Teams that are strategically located throughout the United States.
Cleaning requirements After a Home Flood
There are certain cleaning requirements you need to follow when sanitizing your home after a flood. You need the right flood disinfectant, and you must take steps to prevent the buildup of mold.
A flood clean is lengthy and complicated. It can also be dangerous if you are not properly protected. Before you start washing and drying everything, you need the proper safety gear. This includes:
- Long sleeves
- Elastic gloves
- Face masks
You also need to know how to clean the various rooms of your home. Different items need to be cared for in different ways. Below are the basic cleaning requirements and techniques for restoring your flood-damaged house.
To prevent the spread of bacteria throughout your home, you need to disinfect any surfaces. Start by scrubbing these surfaces with hot water and a powerful cleaner. Then apply a disinfectant. You can create your own by combining a gallon of water with a quarter-cup of chlorine bleach.
Cleaning the Kitchen
Metal items such as pots, utensils, and pans should not be cleaned with bleach. Instead, disinfect them by boiling them in water for 10 minutes. A bleach solution can be used on china, glass, porcelain, and enamel items, however. Be sure to disinfect your counters and cupboards before putting dishes away.
Saving Your Valuables
Some items, such as mattresses, stuffed animals, and toys, may have to be thrown away after a flood. However, you may be able to freeze books and photographs after wiping off excess mud. You can then thaw them and take them to an expert for cleaning.
Most floods cause complex damage that one person cannot handle by himself. If you do start the process alone, be sure to follow the above cleaning requirements. However, your best bet is to contact a company that provides emergency restoration services. Professionals can safely clean up your home and dry your belongings.
Leading Causes of Fires - How to Avoid
Cooking is the leading cause of home fires & injuries in the U.S. Cooking fires often result from unattended cooking and human error, rather than mechanical failure of stoves or ovens. Although it is important to make sure your appliances are functioning properly and kept up to date, it is equally important to cook with caution and never get too comfortable in the kitchen.
Heating is the second leading cause of residential fires. However, heating fires are a larger problem in single-family homes than in apartments. Unlike apartments, the heating systems in single-family homes are often not professionally maintained. Make sure your heating systems are being professionally regulated during the colder seasons.
Although accidents happen, it is important to be prepared and alert in order to minimize these changes before they occur. Here are a few simple safety precautions to take to decrease the possibility of a fire.
- Keep flammables away from ignition sources.
- Utilize flammable storage cabinets.
- Know your chemical properties.
- Do not block fire extinguishers with equipment.
- Utilize those with electrical expertise/installations/assistance.
- Do not overload outlets - use a track plug.
- Practice good housekeeping techniques in the lab/office/work area.
- Inspect wires for possible damage and replace them as needed.
Fire Extinguisher Safety
An in-home fire can be devastating, especially if the fire is not quickly put out. It is critical that homeowners understand the value of having and knowing how to use a fire extinguisher.
There are numerous types of fire extinguishers and it is important to make sure you are using the correct one to prevent major damage. When deciding which kind to use, you may consider what types of fires are most likely to occur in that area. For example, to extinguish a kitchen fire caused by grease, you may want to have a Type B extinguisher. It can also be helpful to have extinguishers that can put out various types of fires.
It is appropriate to place extinguishers in areas that are prone to fires. Common locations to place a fire extinguisher can include garages, where gasoline could catch fire, kitchens, where grease may cause a fire, and near electrical equipment that could spark a fire. Not placing it in certain locations could result in major damage that necessitates help from fire damage restoration.
It is important to act fast when extinguishing a fire. The acronym P.A.S.S. can be helpful to remember when learning how to use an extinguisher. P.A.S.S. stands for pull, aim, squeeze and sweep; when using an extinguisher, a person should pull the pin in order to break the seal, aim toward the lowest part of the fire, squeeze the extinguisher’s handle, and then sweep back and forth to fully extinguish the fire.
Knowing how to use extinguishers can help you feel more prepared to handle a fire in your home. It’s often wise to know what type of fire extinguisher to use in different situations, how many extinguishers you should have in your home, and how to use an extinguisher.
SERVPRO Using New Sanitizing Practices
Our industrial hygienists are out on the front lines battling COVID-19. Our team, led by John Carter, is working with existing clients and public health officials to develop cleaning protocols to decontaminate buildings impacted by the virus. They are dedicated to working with other front-line workers and personnel fighting this pandemic. We want to thank everyone currently working hard to make our communities safe for all of us again.
SERVPRO of Haines City/Polk City is a Florida State licensed Certified Building Contractor, Mold, and Mold Assessor. We are IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) certified in Fire/Water/Mold clean-up & restoration. Call us at 863-236-3553, we are always here to help.
Commercial Clean Services
If you are a business owner or run a particular business that receives a lot of visitors and foot traffic, you know how important it is to keep your business looking clean and in good shape. A lot of times, you don't have the time to worry about the common wear and tear that gradually soils your office.
When grime, odor, and moisture challenges go beyond the scope of your regular janitorial staff, you should call SERVPRO for prompt service. Whether it’s removing an odor problem or deep cleaning flooring or carpets, you can rely on us to make your workspace look its very best.
SERVPRO of Haines City/ Polk City offers cleaning services ranging from cleaning restaurant hoods to removing biohazard contaminants. We have the specialized training and products to get your property back to business. Our cleaning services include the following:
- Air Ducts and HVAC
- Biohazard and Sewage
- Trauma and Crime Scene
- Carpet and Upholstery
- Drapes and Blinds
- Ceilings, Walls, and Hard Floors
- Odor Removal and Deodorization
How to Keep Mold and Moisture Out of Your HVAC System
Tips and Tricks From SERVPRO to Keeping Mold and Moisture Out Of Your HVAC System
In the warm summer heat, it's easy to build up moisture; especially when it gets sticky, muggy and humid. When this happens, you naturally crank the A.C., reach for something cold, and kick back in your lazy chair. The problem is, when you're relaxing and enjoying the nice cold breeze, mold is spreading through your ducts, vents, and HVAC system, leaving a nasty haze of mold that you can smell all over the house. If you're running a business, your customers could smell it too- which is why you should always call our service professionals to deal with the problem as soon as possible.
How Does Mold Get in The HVAC System?
Mold damage is no laughing matter. Mold, fungus, and other bacteria are in their perfect environment when they're trapped in your HVAC system. It's dark, warm, moist, closed in, and humid, meaning that spores can grow practically unabated. You'll notice more and more scent as heat and humidity is generated from outside and pulled through your ducts.
When this moist air gets in your air system, it collects within and above your HVAC units. At this point, the spores of mold and other fungi easily rise through the air, setting up colonies as your condenser forces them up through the duct system. These aren't the only cases of mold that we've seen at SERVPRO; we've seen mold stick to people's clothes or shoes, and it's all brought inside by excess humidity caused by rainfall.
Here Are a Few Tips on How to Remove Mold From Your HVAC System
- Continue to clean and maintain your HVAC system, even when you aren't using it. Check the ducts for wet spots, and regularly check and maintain your HVAC filter.
- Double check the drainage systems on your HVAC for mold. Allow for "dry-out" areas where the drainage comes out to prevent excess moisture.
- Get dehumidifiers for your home. They are ideal for collecting excess humidity, and they help with the temperature inside your house, too.
- Always insulate your pipes, walls, and ceilings. Use caulking for cracks to control cracks and leaks.
- Contrary to common beliefs, keep your windows closed when it's hot outside. Humidity, dust, and dampness easily travel inside.
A holiday weekend like the Fourth of July brings much fun, but can also lead to disaster if the right precautions are not taken. Here are a few quick and helpful tips to stay safe and enjoy your holiday.
- Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands
- Never light fireworks indoors
- Keep fireworks away from houses and flammable material
- Never point or throw fireworks toward another person
- Only light one device at a time
- Maintain a safe distance after lighting a firework
Although sparklers are a simple and fun firework for kids to use, they can still be quite dangerous if not handled properly. Sparklers can quickly ignite clothing, and children have received severe burns from dropping sparklers on their feet. Sparkles are not advised to children under the age of five unless accompanied by an adult. Consider using safer alternatives, such as glow sticks, confetti poppers, or colored streamers for children when trying to celebrate safely this Fourth of July!
SERVPRO: Your Experts in Commercial Water Damage
If you have recently become a victim of commercial water damage in Florida, you may be wondering what you can do to mitigate your damages. There is a critical period in which certain actions must be taken to preserve as much of your property as possible and to decrease any risks when water damage has occurred in a commercial space.
Preparing a Space for Water Damage Restoration
Before you enter your commercial space or any flooded building, you will need to make sure the electrical power to the structure is shut off. You should also be aware that during a flooding event, small animals or reptiles tend to seek shelter inside buildings. Be prepared to deal with the discovery of wild animals in your space.
Protect yourself from entering any flooded building by wearing an organic vapor respirator. You can purchase these at any local paint and building supply stores. You also want to have rubber gloves, protective clothing, and eye protection. The first thing you should do is ventilate the affected areas by opening the windows and placing fans where possible.
Unfortunately, there likely will be items that you need to throw away. Any items that are porous and have absorbed contaminated floodwater cannot be restored. If your commercial space has drywall, mattresses, pillows, box springs, particle board, carpets, or carpet pads, these will need to be discarded if they have become saturated. However, there is good news: If you have clothing or household fabrics that can be machine-washed, you may be able to salvage them. Use your washing machine to clean these items with a 10-minute soak at the minimum in hot water with detergent. The soap and normal wash should remove most of the contamination and any staining that is present.
Be aware that your commercial space will need a thorough professional inspection, cleaning, and possibly restructuring. Water-damaged walls and installations must be removed and repaired, and pockets of saturation should be exposed for drying and sanitizing. Always remember that mold growth could take a few days to appear as it thrives in a moist environment with organic-type materials such as paper or particle board and in temperatures that range between 60 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep good airflow throughout the interior environment, and maintain moderate temperatures to decrease the risk of any mold growth. It is also important that you let your space dry out before any rebuilding occurs.
Services You Can Count On in Florida
You can depend on SERVPRO to provide reasonable prices for commercial damages and other services in the Orlando area. Our restoration services include cleanup after water damage, fire damage, and storm damage. We also assist with mold remediation, and we're qualified to provide cleaning and building services. Our trained and certified IICRC technicians are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to begin your restoration.