Recent Storm Damage Posts
Winter Prep Profile: Your Car
Graphic courtesy of clearroads.org.
It’s no secret winter driving conditions can be downright hazardous in Northeast Wisconsin. So, it’s best to play it safe if you plan on hitting the road during any storms this season.
SERVPRO of West Brown County wants you to arrive at your destination safely and that’s why our first piece of advice is to make sure your car is in good condition (if you haven’t already, of course!). That means ensuring everything is working properly from your brakes to your windshield wipers. If you’re not much of a mechanic yourself, it’s a good idea to have a professional check everything out for you, just to be on the safe side!
Now, making sure your vehicle itself is winter-ready is only the first step in seasonal car preparation. This is the time of year you should have an emergency kit in your car at all times. Unsure of what goes in an emergency kit? The American Red Cross has this handy checklist (make sure to bring enough of all of these supplies for every person you’re traveling with):
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- Rain gear and extra sets of clothing like socks, mittens and hats
- Newspapers for insulation
- Plastic bags for sanitation
- Non-perishable food items, like granola bars and nuts
- Bottled water
- A charged cell phone
- A full tank of gas
The Red Cross also advises driving during daylight hours, leaving your headlights on, leaving plenty of space between your car and the other vehicles on the road and taking your time.
If the worst happens and you become stranded during winter weather, the Red Cross asks you to be safe and smart until help arrives. Here are steps you should take:
- Call for help and stay in your car until help arrives.
- Hang a brightly colored cloth on your antenna (preferably red).
- Run the engine occasionally to keep warm. Turn on the engine for about 10 minutes every hour.
- Leave the overhead light on when you have the engine running, in order to be seen.
- Do light exercises to keep your circulation moving.
- If more than one person is in the car, take turns sleeping.
- Huddle together for warmth.
- Drink fluids to avoid dehydration.
- Avoid overexertion. Wait for help instead of shoveling snow or pushing your car.
In Northeast Wisconsin we’re not strangers to the dangers of winter weather. But, that doesn’t mean we’re always prepared for unpredictable conditions. As always, Team SERVPRO of West Brown County asks you to be safe!
Winter Prep Profile: Your Pets
Photo courtesy of the American Red Cross.
Our final Winter Prep Profile for the month deals with our four-legged friends. Yes, we’re talking about the furrier members of our families, our pets!
It’s no secret that at SERVPRO of West Brown County we consider our pets family, and we know many of you do too. So, it’s important to consider how to keep them safe and sound during the winter months.
Even though most pets like dogs and cats come equipped with their own fur coats, they can be susceptible to the cold, just like us humans. The American Red Cross says it’s important that you prepare your pets if they have to go outside, even for a little while. The Red Cross advises pet sweaters and booties for long walks to keep them warm and brining any outdoor pets inside during especially cold or snowy days. Booties are also a good idea to keep your pets paws safe from salt and other snow-melting chemicals. If your pet gets snow-melt on their paws, wipe them off before they lick their paws.
If you cannot bring an animal inside, you must ensure it has a proper shelter. According to the Red Cross, the shelter must reach these specifications:
- The enclosure must be dry and draft-free.
- The enclosure must be large enough for the animal to turn around and lie down, but small enough to hold its body heat.
- The floor must be raised a few inches off the ground.
- You should cover the floor with clean blankets, wood shavings or straw for added warmth.
- Ensure the animal has unblocked access to food and water (make sure the water does not freeze!).
- Keep the enclosure turned away from the wind.
- Cover the door with heavy plastic or burlap.
Wisconsin’s winter weather can become down-right dangerous if we’re not careful. So, SERVPRO of West Brown County asks you to please protect yourself and ALL the members of your family this time of year!
Preparedness Profile: Sound the Alarm
Smoke alarm photo courtesy of the CDC.
There is no reason to be alarmed by this week’s Preparedness Profile! We’re simply talking about some of the important alarms/detectors you should have in your home to ensure your family’s safety.
Those include: smoke, carbon monoxide and radon detectors.
At this point, it’s likely you have at least one smoke detector in your home. These are designed to sound an alarm when smoke is in the vicinity of the detector. However, one alarm is not enough to ensure your safety, especially if that device is not working.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has a few tips when it comes to installing and maintaining smoke alarms in your home:
- Install smoke alarms in each bedroom.
- Install smoke alarms outside each sleeping area.
- Install smoke alarms on each level of your home, including your basement.
- On levels without bedrooms, install alarms in living rooms or dens and/or at the bottom of staircases.
- Smoke alarms should be mounted high on walls or on ceilings.
- Smoke alarms should be at least 10 feet from any cooking appliances to prevent them being set off by cooking.
- Test your alarms once a month to ensure they’re working.
- Change batteries at least once a year. If you have ten-year battery-operated alarms, make sure to buy new ones every ten years.
- The alarms will chirp if the batteries are low.
- Keep alarms clean and follow all manufacturer’s instructions for maintenance.
According to the NFPA, about 3 out of every 5 fire-related deaths occur in homes with no working smoke alarms.
The bottom line: smoke alarms save lives. So, make them a top priority in your home.
Now we move on to carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that is known as the “invisible killer.” The NFPA says the deadly gas is created when fuels like wood, propane and gas burn incompletely.
A large amount of carbon monoxide can kill a person in a short amount of time, while a small amount of the gas can kill a person over a longer amount of time. This is why CO detectors/alarms are so important for your home.
The tips for CO alarms are similar as those for smoke alarms. The NFPA advises:
- Install CO alarms in a central location outside each sleeping area.
- Install CO alarms on every floor of the home, including basement.
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions for installations and placement.
- Test batteries once a month, replace yearly (or if the alarm chirps, signaling low battery)
- If the alarm sounds immediately move all people and pets out of the home and call for emergency responders.
Remember: because carbon monoxide is invisible to the senses you will not be able to tell if It’s in your house. That means you need an alarm to do that for you!
And finally, we are talking radon. Radon is probably the least talked about behind smoke and carbon monoxide, but it poses significant dangers too.
According to the CDC, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking, resulting in about 20,000 deaths every year.
Like CO, radon is a colorless gas that you cannot see or taste. The CDC explains that radon occurs naturally in the ground and is created when radioactive metals like uranium, thorium, or radium break down. The gas can then seep into your home through cracks and crevices.
The CDC says you should test your home for radon levels. You can do so using a kit, which you can buy online or in most home improvement stores. If your test shows high radon levels you can make changes to your home to lower those levels, like sealing up cracks. The CDC does recommend hiring a professional to make those changes, however, if you’re not an expert yourself.
These are just three easy things you can do to ensure your home is safe for you and your family. So, take the opportunity to get into the spirit of National Preparedness Month and make sure you have all the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors your home needs and do a radon test for good measure!
Remember, you’ll have a lot less cause for alarm in the future if you take the steps to prepare now!
Preparedness Profile: If Disaster Strikes, Will You Be Ready?
In our line of work we know disasters can strike at any time and they can often leave devastation behind.
So, in this week’s Preparedness Profile, we’re asking you this question: If Disaster Strikes, Will You Be Ready?”
We know it’s not always easy to answer ‘yes’ and mean it fully, but there are some easy steps you can follow to be as ready as possible:
- Sign up for local alerts – You can get often get text messages, emails or phone calls about emergencies from your city or county. You can also sign up for alerts or download smart phone apps from organizations like FEMA and the National Weather Service.
- Develop and test emergency plans – Know how your family will get out of the house in case of a fire or flood, know where your family will meet if you can’t go home, talk with neighbors about how you can work together. Run drills of all of these plans.
- Assemble emergency supplies – Have a kit ready with things like non-perishable food, water, medications and important documents.
- Know your local hazards – What are the risks where you live? How can you prepare for those specific risks? For example, in Wisconsin we experience natural disasters like blizzards, tornadoes and floods. How would you react in each of those unique situations?
- Collect and safeguard critical documents – Have copies of documents like birth certificates, passports, car titles and house deeds in a safe location, out of harm’s way. Know where they are so you can grab them and go at a moment’s notice.
- Protect your property – Take photos of your property and valuables for insurance purposes, make any necessary improvements to your property to make it safer in case of disaster and make sure you have all the insurance coverage you need.
At SERVPRO of West Brown County our business is helping people recover after disasters of all kinds from storms, to fires, to floods. We want you to stay safe and protect your family and property.
If the worst happens and you need our help in the wake of any emergency, remember we are a locally-owned business with the backing of a billion-dollar brand. There are 1,700 SERVPRO franchises and they are ready to assist us and you, should the need ever be that great.
Be safe. Be prepared.
And know you can get in touch with us, day or night, at 920-434-8224.
Hard Rain Means Hard Work
A photo from just one of the businesses our team has been working at during the rain storms.
If you live or work in Northeast Wisconsin, you’ve no doubt been affected in some way by the recent, intense rain storms we’ve been experiencing. Whether it’s a slow commute due to flooded streets, or worse, flooding in your own home or business, it’s been a difficult few weeks for everyone in the Green Bay area.
It’s no surprise that, in our line of work, the SERVPRO of East Brown County Team has been faced with a lot of hard work thanks to the extreme weather.
We have received numerous calls each day since the end of August from people across the area asking for help with flooding in homes and businesses. Our technicians have been working around the clock to help those who need it. While many enjoyed end of summer barbecues and parties over the Labor Day weekend, we had crews drying up flood waters without a day of rest.
The schedule became so hectic at times that even the office workers AND the franchise owners have been working alongside technicians to get the jobs done. At those times, the only person left in the office was our office manager who stayed behind to answer the never-ending calls and solve the maze of scheduling issues.
At one point we even had to request additional drying equipment, like fans, from out of state to keep up with the demand. This is due to the fact all of Wisconsin has been experiencing flooding, with southern parts of the state even worse off than our own.
And even with all this labor, we have a waiting list of people who still need help. Believe us, if you are on that list we have not forgotten about you. We are doing our very best to ensure we can assist as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, without sacrificing any of the quality of our work.
We know that as hard as our crews are working, the emotional and physical toll this devastation has taken on our clients is even harder to deal with. We want those who are struggling right know to know that we are here for you. We will do our very best to see you through this extremely difficult time and get your life and property back to normal again.
We are not sharing this story to complain about the job our team needs to do right now, because our team doesn’t complain. We tackle each project in front of us until it is complete, because we love the work we do. We love helping people who need it. We’re in the business of being there for you when you need us most.
Pet Evacuations: What You Need to Know
We recently wrote a blog post about keeping your pets safe in case of house fires. In this post we’re taking a look at what you need to know and how you can prepare in the event you and your pets need to evacuate your home.
There are many reasons you might need to evacuate your home including fires, floods and storms.
If you must leave and go to a shelter it’s important to understand, you most likely will not be able to bring pets with you to a public shelter. There are usually separate shelters set up for pets.
Regardless, it’s a good idea to prepare an emergency evacuation kit for your pets in case you need to leave your home quickly.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has a list of items you will want to include in your pet’s evacuation kit:
- Copies of Vaccination Records
- Medication or a List of Needed Medications
- Lists of Any Special Needs or Allergies
- Ownership Records (things like adoption paperwork, microchip paperwork registration papers, or at least photos of you with your pets)
- Leashes, Harnesses, Collars and/or Carriers
- Pet Food and Treats (enough for each pet for 3 to 7 days)
- Water (enough for each pet for 3 to 7 days)
- Cat Litter and Box
- Dog Waste Bags
- A Pet First Aid Kit (including cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape, scissors, antibiotic ointment, medical-type gloves, isopropyl alcohol and saline solution)
- Cleaning Supplies (in case your pet has an accident)
- List of Important Phone Numbers (including your veterinarian, local animal shelters, local pet-friendly hotels, local animal control, local pet boarders)
The NFPA advises keeping all of this in a large, waterproof, plastic tote in a convenient place. You’ll want a spot that stays at a stable temperature to prevent food and water from freezing or spoiling.
The NFPA says you should also keep track of any possible natural disaster predictions in your area and ensure you know where your pets are in case disaster strikes and you need to leave fast.
At SERVPRO of West Brown County, our pets are our family and we know it’s the same for many families in the Green Bay Area. Be sure to plan ahead to keep those four-legged family members safe!
Explaining the ERP: Emergency Readiness Profile
It’s estimated 50% of businesses that are hit with a disaster never reopen. And you can never predict when or where a disaster will strike. That’s why preparing for the worst can be such a valuable step to take.
One of the services our marketing team provides can help you prepare your business for the worst. That service is called an “Emergency Readiness Profile, or ERP.” It’s FREE and doesn’t take much of your time.
The goal of the ERP is to compile a long list of information that you will need following a disaster like, let’s say, a tornado that damages your business and causes flooding. The information compiled includes emergency phone numbers to call, locations in the building to turn off (or on) water and electrical supplies and steps to take to start cleaning up the damage. The profile also includes photos that go along with the information showing exact locations of things like entrances and exits, locations of water and electrical shut offs and any security codes.
SERVPRO’s marketing team members will walk through your business with you to perform the ERP free of charge. It takes just an hour or two of your time.
Once the ERP is complete, SERVPRO will be able to provide you with digital copies (via email or flash drive), as well as a hard copy. This way it will be accessible the moment you need it.
The idea behind the ERP is that it will jumpstart the cleanup and recovery process so that business downtown is at the bare minimum. (SERVPRO’s contact information will also be in there so we can get to the scene ASAP, should the damage require our services!) The goal of the ERP is to ensure YOUR business is in the 50% that DO reopen should the worst happen.
If you’re interested in an ERP, please give SERVPRO of West Brown County a call at 920-434-8224!
Putting it All Back Together Again
This photo shows the office after we removed the floorboards and before we got everything completely dry.
In Mid-April the Green Bay area was hit by a blizzard. The storm left about two feet of snow all over.
This led to many calls to SERVPRO of West Brown County for issues like broken sump pumps and water damage. However, one call was particularly interesting.
A commercial property was stuck with that wet, heavy snow on its roof. The challenge of holding that weight was too much for the roof and a section collapsed. That collapse caused a broken sprinkler head. Those combined led to water all over the building, including the office.
SERVPRO of West Brown County came in to take care of that water.
Our crews removed everything from the office: we took down cubicles and removed floorboards. Then the team brought in equipment, like our fans and dehumidifiers, and got everything dry. We also got rid of any debris from the incident.
After the drying process was done, we put everything back together again. That required rebuilding the office from, almost, the ground up. That entailed replacing the floorboards, putting the cubicles back together and moving all of the furniture and other equipment back in.
Once we were done the office was as good as new once more.
The entire process took only days. We were called in Monday morning for the water damage and everything was back in place by Friday afternoon.
This story is just one example of how SERVPRO of West Brown County works in an efficient, fast and professional manner. Our goal is to get your business, or home, back in order quickly and at the lowest cost with the best work possible.
For any type of water, fire, mold, storm, biohazard or crime scene clean up and/or restoration we are here for you. Reach us any time at 920-434-8224.
First Comes the Blizzard, Then Comes the Flood
Be sure to shovel snow away from the foundation of your property to try to keep water from getting inside as the snow melts.
As you travel around Northeast Wisconsin it’s impossible to miss the snow piles and drifts climbing several feet high. Thanks to a spring blizzard, communities across the area are dealing with the aftermath of about two feet of the pesky precipitation.
For the first few days, clearing snow from driveways and sidewalks has taken up most home and business owners’ time and concerns. However, with warmer temperatures in the forecast, the piles of snow will soon be turning into puddles, LARGE, FLOWING puddles of water.
If you’re concerned about the snow or the water damaging your property, SERVPRO has some advice to try in the coming days:
- Prevent roof collapse: use a snow rake to clear your roof or hire a professional to shovel it.
- Prevent ice dams: keep your attic cool, significantly cooler than the rest of your home, to ensure the roof stays cool.
- Clear snow: shovel snow away from your foundation, sweep snow away from doors and windows.
- Clear drains: unclog snow from drainage pipes and catch basins to ensure water can flow freely away from your property.
- Check your sump pump to be sure it’s working properly.
- Rearrange basement storage: clear areas around appliances, put anything valuable or that cannot get wet up off the ground.
SERVPRO of West Brown County has been busy this week responding to homes and businesses that have experienced damage thanks to the blizzard. Our team is ready to help you too if you experience any kind of collapse or water damage from the storm or the flood that is likely to follow. You can reach us 24 hours a day at 920-434-8224.
Getting Serious About Severe Weather
A CDC graphic with reminders about preparing for and staying safe during severe weather.
The term “severe weather” covers a whole lot of activity that can affect people across the country on any given day, at any given time.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Americans deal with thousands of these weather events yearly.
Here’s a quick look at some of NOAA’s numbers for an average year:
- 10,000 severe thunderstorms
- 5,000 floods or flash floods
- 1,300 tornadoes
- 2 land-falling, deadly hurricanes
- Approximately 98% of all Presidentially-declared disasters are weather-related
- 650 deaths
- $15 billion in damage
To be prepared for severe weather, it helps to first know the hazards that can affect you, your family and your property.
In the Green Bay area, the National Weather Service (NWS) says we’re at risk for severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, flooding and, of course, winter storms. You’ve probably experienced a few of these in your time here (we know we have!).
At SERVPRO we recommend being prepared for the worst as we head into the warmest months of the year. According to the NWS, we’re much more likely to see those severe thunderstorms, floods and tornadoes during the spring and summer (although they can strike any time!).
To prepare we advise getting a NOAA weather radio and taking a look at the FEMA app, which we discussed in a previous blog post. That way you can hear about any watches or warnings headed your way and make sure to seek safe shelter.
It’s also a good time to come up with an emergency plan for your family and your business, put together or buy an emergency kit and keep important papers and valuables in a safe place.
SERVPRO also advises that you spread the word to your friends and family once you have your own plans in place. Post on your social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter that you have plans for staying during severe weather. Your good example could lead others to do the same.
If storms or floods come your way, remember SERVPRO of West Brown County can always help you out in the aftermath. We are here for your storm and water damage recovery needs. Just pick up the phone and dial 920-434-8224.
Just please be sure to take care of yourself and your family first.
Illuminating: Lightning Safety
A photo showing a lightning strike from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Did you know lightning strikes occur in the United States about 25 million times each year?
That statistic is according to the National Weather Service, or NWS, and is especially important to think about this time of year. According to the NWS, lightning is more likely to strike during the summer months, although it can happen any time of year.
The NWS says about 47 people, on average, are killed by lightning strikes, with hundreds more being injured.
Fortunately, there are ways to keep yourself safe.
If you’re able, the first piece of advice is to find shelter, preferably inside your own home.
If you are at home, the National Weather Service has several tips to stay safe:
- Stay off corded phones (you CAN use cell phones).
- Avoid plumbing: do not take a shower or wash your hands.
- Stay away from windows and doors.
- Do not lie on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls.
- Bring your pets inside.
- Remember that typical surge protectors will NOT protect against surges caused by lightning strikes.
If you are unable to get to shelter, the NWS advises you take these steps:
- Avoid open fields and hilltops.
- Stay away from tall, isolated trees or objects
- Stay away from water.
- Try to get into a low-lying area or keep heading toward shelter.
- If you’re in a group, spread out to avoid a strike hitting multiple people.
Lightning is hotter than the surface of the sun, reaching temperatures of around 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
And that hot, hot heat CAN cause fires. About 24,600 fires are caused by lightning in the United States each year, according to the NWS. Of those, about 4,400 are house fires.
In our line of work at SERVPRO of West Brown County we know just how much damage house fires can do. They can be devastating for families.
It’s unfortunate we know the damage, but luckily, we also know how to fix a lot of that damage. Our crews have the knowledge and experience to help you recover if the unthinkable happens. Just give us a call at 920-434-8224.
And always remember, despite the old saying, lightning can and often DOES strike the same place twice.
Preparing for the Worst: the FEMA App
A photo of the app from FEMA that shows the front page and the features it offers.
Spring has officially sprung (although some days the weather doesn’t quite feel that way!) and once spring has arrived, severe weather is often just around the corner. Are you prepared?
One tool we like at SERVPRO of West Brown County is the FEMA app. The cell phone app is free for iOS and Android devices and comes with a lot of cool features to help keep you safe in any kind of disaster.
The first feature provides weather alerts. You can input up to five different locations in the app to keep track of any alerts for severe weather watches or warnings in those areas.
The app also helps you get ready in the event a disaster should strike. It provides emergency safety tips and reminders, gives a checklist for building an emergency kit and allows you to set up an emergency meeting place with your loved ones.
Under the safety tips feature there is a laundry list of different topics the app provides information for. Just a few of those examples are tornadoes, house fires, floods and even cyber security.
If you end up experiencing a disaster, the app has more features that allow you to apply for assistance online, find a shelter and talk directly to someone at an area disaster recovery center.
The app also gives you the ability to share any disaster photos you might take, connect to FEMA’s Blog and call 911. The photos you share can help first responders and emergency managers in their recovery efforts.
With spring and summer often bringing severe weather, it certainly can’t hurt to be prepared and have prior warnings.
And while we’re on the subject of warnings, what’s the difference between a storm watch and a storm warning?
According to the National Weather Service, a severe thunderstorm or tornado WATCH is put out when there is a POSSIBILITY of a severe thunderstorm or tornado in that area. The WATCH does not mean the storms will actually happen.
The National Weather Service says a severe thunderstorm or tornado WARNING is put out when severe storms are actually occurring in that area, or tornadoes are imminent.
And if a disaster should strike, affecting your property. Remember, SERVPRO of West Brown County can help in the recovery efforts. We can repair storm damage and remediate any flooding or fire damage that might result. Call us anytime day or night at 920-434-8224.
When Storms or Floods hit DePere, SERVPRO is ready!
Our highly trained crews are ready to respond 24/7 to storm or flood damage in DePere.
SERVPRO West Brown County 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 DePere and surrounding communities we can scale our resources to handle a large storm or flooding disaster. We can access equipment and personnel from a network of 1,650 Franchises across the country and elite Disaster Recovery Teams that are strategically located throughout the United States.
Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today 920-434-8224