Recent Storm Damage Posts

The STEP Program: Students and Teachers Towards Emergency Preparedness

6/21/2019 (Permalink)

Disasters impact children and youth across the United States. We know this from a first-hand experience and have seen families (and children) displaced from their homes due to flooding and fire issues. This is a tough reality to face; interruption in children’s lives can cause distraction in school and emotional distress. This is one of the many reasons SERVPRO of Bellevue West works hard to make sure families and their children can get back into their homes as quickly as possible following a disaster.

When children prepare and practice for an emergency, it improves their ability to take immediate action and feel more comfortable, less shock, in an emergency situation. With training, they can actively take part in preparedness in their communities, from home to school. But students, teachers, and parents know that between classes, testing, and extracurricular activities, making the time can be challenging. A new program in place helps teachers be proactive about implementing emergency preparedness training. Many schools nationwide have begun using Student Tools for Emergency Planning (STEP). FEMA piloted STEP in 2008 for fourth and fifth grade classrooms. STEP’s basic lessons are only an hour long. Students learn skills to build an emergency kit and a family communications plan. These basic lessons taught together build the foundation for the program, or can stand alone. Children are able to bring home what they have learned and share with their families.   Teachers can add lessons and customize situations about disasters that might happen in their area- for example tsunamis for coastal cities and hurricanes in the mid-west. STEP includes lessons about fires, severe weather (including extreme heat and cold, tornadoes, and hurricanes), and earthquakes. There are also lessons to include geography, science, English, art, and math. Throughout, instructors can use STEP’s Disaster Dodgers” video series, handouts, homework assignments, and classroom activities to bring the lessons to life. These features make it adaptable on every level and help create real life situations that children can relate to. Practice makes perfect and this si certainly something worth practicing in school and at home.

SERVPRO of Bellevue West is passionate about emergency preparedness in schools and our local communities. If you are a teacher and would like emergency preparedness coloring books or emergency kit flyers for your classrooms please contact us at 425-454-3900.

An Emergency Supply Checklist for Bellevue Residents

1/29/2019 (Permalink)

Most storm, fire, and water damage happens unexpectedly and emergencies can catch Bellevue residents unprepared.

It is very smart to have an emergency supply bag or container already stocked with the basics you need should an emergency happen. When the New Yorker published an article in 2015 called ‘The Really Big One” many people began re-evaluating their personal preparedness. Our SERVPRO team recommends the following items for personal preparedness;

Emergency survival kit

  • Store a kit at home, at work and at each child’s school or daycare facility.
  • Dry or canned food and drinking water for each person
  • Can opener
  • First aid supplies and first aid book
  • Copies of important documents such as birth certificates, licenses, and insurance policies
  • "Special needs" items for family members such as infant formula, eyeglasses and medications
  • A change of clothing
  • Sleeping bag or blanket
  • Battery powered radio or television
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Whistle
  • Waterproof matches
  • Toys, books, puzzles, games
  • Extra house keys and car keys
  • List of contact names and phone numbers
  • Food, water and supplies for pets

Additional items you can store at home for emergency use:

  • Cooking supplies
  • Barbecue, camp stove
  • Fuel for cooking, such as charcoal or camp stove fuel
  • Plastic knives, forks, spoons
  • Paper plates and cups
  • Paper towels
  • Heavy-duty aluminum foil

Sanitation/Personal supplies

  • Large plastic trash bags for trash, water protection
  • Large trash cans
  • Bar soap and liquid detergent
  • Shampoo
  • Toothpaste and toothbrushes
  • Feminine and infant supplies
  • Toilet paper
  • Household bleach with no additives, and eyedropper (for purifying drinking water)
  • Newspaper — to wrap garbage and waste


  • Sturdy shoes
  • Gloves for clearing debris
  • Tent


  • Ax, shovel, broom
  • Crescent wrench for turning off gas
  • Screwdriver, pliers, hammer
  • Coil of one-half inch rope
  • Plastic tape and sheeting
  • Knife or razor blades
  • Garden hose for siphoning and fire fighting

In Washington flood recovery, earthquake recovery, and recovery from other natural disasters will be much easier if you’re prepared with emergency survival tools and supplies like these. Call SERVPRO of Bellevue West for more information regarding how you can appropriately prepare for an emergency: 425-454-3900.

Essential Things to Know About Black Water

1/17/2018 (Permalink)

Immediately after experiencing life-altering flooding in Bellevue, WA the first thing you probably want to do is start dealing with the water damage from the flood. Before doing that, though, you must know about the associated dangers of black water.

What Is This Water, and Why Is It Dangerous?

Black water is liquid presumed to house multiple contaminants. It’s a very common danger after floods. It could contain:

• Fecal matter
• Urine
• Used toilet paper

Sewage systems frequently become compromised and leak after water damage. Then, they pose health threats to those who encounter the dirty liquid.

It’s also important to be aware of gray water. That type often comes from washing machines, dishwashers, sinks and showers and is not immediately as dangerous as the black variety, but can become more hazardous after 48 hours of contact with building surfaces.

How Can You Stay Safe From Contaminated Water?

The best way to limit your exposure to hazardous water from flooding is to limit your exposure to it. Instead of trying to handle the cleanup process for your home or helping your neighbors in Bellevue, WA depend on a flood cleanup company to assess the damage and tackle the steps necessary for a thorough restoration of your home.

Black water is a likely contaminant after a flood, and it’s a primary reason why you should not deal with the water damage on your own. Contacting a professional team to assist with damage from flooding gives you greater protection from possible risks and increases the likelihood of positive outcomes.
Visit for more information on storm damage.

How to Come Back After a Flood

12/2/2017 (Permalink)

How to Come Back After a Flood

As the storm settles, the battle to restore homes and businesses begins. After a flood, the damage can be extensive and beginning the cleanup can be daunting. Where do you start? Commercial property owners in Bellevue, WA struggle with this question every year, but by removing water, throwing away ruined items, and content cleaning, your business will soon be back to normal.

1. Eliminating Standing Water

Before you can determine what can be cleaned, there can’t be any water left in the building. If the standing water doesn’t flow out naturally, then it may need to be professionally removed. Given the bacteria and mold that is often found after major flooding, it’s important that you don’t come in contact with the water itself. It can make you and your employees incredibly sick. In addition, it’s easier for you do a full cleanup if there isn’t any water to contend with.

2. Removing Loose Items

Unfortunately, not all items can be saved. This is especially true for porous surfaces. Porous materials include certain types of tile, laminate and granite. These permeable materials don’t have a smooth surface and because of this, content cleaning is more difficult and complex. Certain pieces of furniture or appliances may have to be removed from the property entirely to properly disinfect the building. If you’re ever confused about what to keep or throw out, a professional can help.

3. Cleaning Content

For hard surfaces, it is recommended that you use a mixture of water and detergent. While most non-porous surfaces are safe to clean, if the mold has spread over 10 square feet, then professional help is strongly encouraged. Keep in mind that black water is the best breeding ground for dangerous molds, so if you suspect or know there was waste water involved, be sure to get expert help.

It may seem like a long road to restoration, but it’s easier to consider if you break it up into simple stages. Clearing out the water, removing the items, and proper content cleaning should have your business back on track in no time. Visit for more information on flood damage.

Professional Storm Damage Restoration

11/5/2017 (Permalink)

Professional Storm Damage Restoration

Most people live for decades without ever thinking of storm damage restoration. Others mull over it every two, three years. A house might suffer storm damage for years without anyone's notice. In some other extreme cases, the storm damage is devastatingly visible. In case of a storm, a wise first step would be to avoid any live wires and any pools of water. Flooded and damaged houses should be vacated. Storm damage should later be assessed and records and photos of the house made.

Wind damage makes up for a lot of devastation both in cost and frequency. Roofs, doors, and windows must be checked for cracks and holes. Care should be taken to avoid cuts from glass shards. Wind damage is easily noticeable sometimes. Winds of 50 mph easily topple power lines and trees. It can be very severe when a tree falls on a roof: roof repair is needed almost immediately. Sometimes it just causes chipping and cracking of tiles and slate in roofs, quite manageable roof damage. Contractors have to be hired in cases of severe damage. For roof repair, licensed roofers may be needed for roof damage if it goes beyond roof leaks into structural damage.

Pieces of slate, tile, and metal around the chimney as well as leaking roofs and dents on gutters are also signs of wind damage.

Hurricanes have some of the most devastating effects on houses. Hurricane damage usually includes flooding, wind damage, and hailstorms. Most homeowners have insurance against most of these disasters associated with hurricane damage. Insurance agents check the extent and type hurricane damage after being informed, sometimes on the very next day. The hurricane damage repairs can then be done accordingly.

Damage also comes in the form of floods, especially for people who live close to rivers. River flooding causes a lot of home damage. During river flooding, contact with flood waters should be avoided during storms. Every time river flooding occurs the floodwater mixes with ground water to create a nightmare for homeowners around it. With river flooding, the ground water and river flood water may raise several inches above the ground sometimes. After securing his health, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the homeowner should check for visible structural damage in the house such as warping and loosed foundation elements. He then should contact his insurance company. Most home insurance plans, however, do not offer flood insurance. Homeowners in hurricane-prone zones also ought to get flood insurance. This is because hurricane damage also includes flooding.

Flood insurance is valid only after 30 days and must be purchased before a storm. A go-ahead from the insurance agent should help facilitate the pumping of flood water from your home. Flood pumps are most commonly employed to remove the floodwater. Property salvaged should also be secured.

Aftermaths of a storm may include thinking about home restoration. Everything in the house would then need to be restored, including flooring, cabinets, wall finishes and plumbing and electrical systems. Home is done after consulting one's insurer since it can be very costly. This is because it might involve house remediation and water restoration.

Water restoration is done in the house after it gets flooded. The longer the building is exposed to water the more damaged it gets. Toilet overflow and sewerage backups coupled with ground water and flood water are also quite a nuisance with the odor and filth. Competent home restoration professionals should be contacted. The source of trouble should be identified by the storm restoration professionals to stop the flooding, whether roof leak or crack. They then rid the house of the excessive water using flood pumps and clean the place up. In some cases, the floor might be affected by the water, and the storm restoration experts ought to sanitize the area to avoid molding. This is renown of storm remediation.

House remediation always should come after water restoration. This is because house remediation cannot happen unless all sources of extra moisture in the house such as roof leaks are addressed. Otherwise, the mold might recur, leaving home musty and the homeowner uncomfortable. The image can also be quite a huge health issue. Most storm restoration companies offer both water restoration and house remediation services too. Some house remediation companies also offer a warranty as long as humidity does not rise. Storm restoration professionals advise homeowners to keep the attic and basement dry and ventilated.

Blinding snowstorms and freezing temperatures can also cause extensive damage to a house in myriad ways. Homeowners in areas in which temperatures prone to fall to zero and beyond are supposed to consider the weather issues and take necessary measures as responsibility dictates. Storm and ice may damage the roof with the combined weight by collapsing it. With ice damage, ice accumulating on tree branches break them on roofs and vehicles.

Frozen pipes storm remediation.
Pipes cracking because of ice damage is also a standard issue. Frozen pipes may also cause water to back up and seep into the house walls and flooring, causing structural damage. The flooding caused by cracked frozen pipes plus ground water might require the services of a home restoration expert. Melting of snow and ice is a must after snowing. Flood pumps can be used to deal with flood water in the basements of such buildings. Experts recommend the use of strong and durable pipes which can withstand frozen pipes pressure. At times, pipes with bigger radius help solve the issue of frozen pipes.

Ice dam or ice damming storm remediation.
Ice damming can also contribute to the damage of a house, especially a roof damage. Ice dam prevents snow from draining off the roof leak. They are formed when a ridge of ice acts as a barrier on the roof's edge. This is ice damming. Signs of ice dam include damaged walls and leaking ceilings. Thick snow accumulations cause ice dam scenario. Gutter systems are damaged every year by the ice dam or ice damming, and the ice damage can sometimes take a week to repair. Roof repair and gutter replacement can be costly.

Hailstorms can take place anywhere and can be either be light and sporadic or devastatingly damaging. Hails the size of golf balls cause considerable roof damage. Insurance is offered to alleviate the burden of hail damage. Small hailstorms can also cause both roof and window damage hail damage. Patio furniture, air conditioners, and doors should also be inspected for cracks, dents or breaks since hail damage can be subtle. Regardless of damage levels, the homeowner should report immediately to his or her insurance company for roof repairs, among others, and possibly involving an expert in storm remediation. or home restoration. Hail damage might also leave behind standing water that may require the use of a flood pump too.
Visit for more information on storm damage.

Tips on How to Deal With Storm Damage

9/18/2017 (Permalink)

Tips on How to Deal With Storm Damage

Sometimes, Mother Nature is in a bad mood, and when that happens, the aftermath is an awful lot of storm damage to homes and property. Severe storms such as tornadoes and hurricanes can cause massive losses in the areas that they affect causing home flooding, river flooding, roof damage, hail damage, roof leak, flood water, and ground water. Just look at the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Texas or Irma in the Caribbean islands such as Barbuda, very sad indeed. Dealing with water or wind damage in the event of a tornado or a hurricane is both dangerous and difficult. You need a professional water restoration or home restoration company to do the storm remediation.

Damages resulting from a storm can be in many forms depending on the nature and magnitude of the storm. There could be flood water from river flooding — if you live in a place located close to a river — or from the ground water. There could be ice damage, hail damage, wind damage, frozen pipes, ice damming, et cetera. The best thing to do is always to be prepared to deal with such through storm restoration and storm remediation. This is particularly important for people who live in storm prone areas. But how exactly does one do that? Here a few tips on how to deal with storm damage after a hurricane damage or river flooding.

Stay Safe from Storm Damage

In the event of a storm, most of the losses occur from wind damage, i.e., falling trees, blown off roofs, etc. and flood water, river flooding, ground water, and home flooding. While it's not possible to prevent high-speed winds from knocking down trees, there's a lot that can be done to prevent flood water from finding its way into the house. Homeowners should ensure that any roof leak is mitigated through roof repair to prevent roof damage and flooding within the house. Hail damage can also result in massive property destruction like shattered windscreens and frozen pipes. Only a qualified water restoration and home restoration company can effectively mitigate hail damage and hurricane damage with their specialized equipment like flood pump.

If there is a roof leak, make sure that it is sealed before the storm hits. Ground water can also find its way to the house via the basement, so there should be a flood pump in there to pump it outside and prevent water level rising down there. As soon as the storm subsides, homeowners should call storm restoration professionals immediately before the damage spreads to carry out storm remediation. The water restoration or home restoration company should act swiftly after a hurricane damage to clear off the water using a flood pump.

Dealing with Ice Dams

Ice damming is the formation of a ridge of ice at the roof of a house. An ice dam keeps water from melting snow from draining off the roof, the water is held behind the ice dam and can easily find its way into the house leading to flooding and frozen pipes. If the water seeps through the shingles into the house, it could lead to damage on the walls, ceiling, and other parts of the structure.

Ice dams or ice damming can be dealt with by breaking them into small pieces with a blunt mallet. Using a sharp tool can damage the shingles and lead to further roof leak — its best to let a professional ice damage company do the work of removing ice damming before you carry out roof repair. Ice dams can also lead to ice damage on the roof and rather than dealing with them after a storm, homeowners should seal air spaces beneath the roof and prevent the format of these ice ridges in the first place. Frozen pipes are another cause of ice damage during storms.

Dealing with Roof Damage

Roof damage can be caused by falling objects or the roof itself getting blown away by the strong winds. If the roof of a house is destroyed as a result of a hurricane damage, homeowners are advised not to climb to the unstable roof in an attempt to carry out roof repair. They should call professionals to do the roof repair for them.

The first thing homeowners should do after storm damage or wind damage is getting in touch with a storm restoration, water restoration, or home restoration company. They are experts in matters to do with storm remediation. Additionally, they are probably better equipped to do that since they have powerful tools like a flood pump. For a typical homeowner, trying to undertake the storm restoration process without professional help can even be dangerous.
Visit for more information on storm damage.