Recent Storm Damage Posts
If Disaster Strikes, Will You Be Ready?
Wireless Emergency Alerts are designed to inform you of imminent threats to safety or missing persons alerts in your area.
It is important to prepare before a disaster occurs. Consider the following steps to help you better prepare for an emergency situation.
- Sign up for local alerts and warnings, download apps and/or check access for wireless emergency alerts (see below for suggestions).
- Develop and test emergency communication plans.
- Assemble or update emergency supplies.
- Learn about local hazards and conduct a drill to practice emergency response actions.
- Participate in a preparedness discussion, training or class.
- Collect and safeguard critical documents.
- Plan with neighbors to help each other and share resources.
- Document property and obtain appropriate insurance for relevant hazards.
- Make property improvements to reduce potential injury and property damage.
Wireless Emergency Alerts
Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are free notifications delivered to your mobile device as part of a public safety system provided by authorized government-alerting authorities. The alerts are designed to inform you of imminent threats to safety or missing persons alerts in your area (e.g., AMBER Alerts). Government partners include local and state public safety agencies, FEMA, the FCC, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Weather Service. A WEA can be sent to your mobile device when you may be in harm’s way, without downloading an app or subscribing to a service. WEAs may be used to share extreme weather warnings, local emergencies requiring evacuation or immediate action, AMBER Alerts, and Presidential Alerts during a national emergency.
A WEA will look like a text message. The WEA message will typically show the type and time of the alert, any action you should take, and the agency issuing the alert. The message will be no more than 90 characters.
The FEMA App
This app allows you to get National Weather Service alerts for up to five locations to keep you informed on-the-go. It also has information on what to do before, during, and after different disasters. In the midst of an emergency, the app can give you directions to open shelters nearby, help you locate someone to talk to at a Disaster Recovery Center, and let you share images of damage and recovery efforts to help first responders and emergency managers.
This app is available to download for free for iOS and Android at the Apple Store and on Google Play.
Emergencies can happen anytime to anyone. Make sure to take action now to protect yourself, your family and your property. If disaster does strike your property, make sure to give SERVPRO of North Everett/Lake Stevens/Monroe a call at 360-243-8313. We can help make the damage "Like it never even happened."
Are You Ready for Winter Weather?
While you cannot control the weather, you can prepare for colder winter weather.
Are you prepared for the coming cold weather? Cold weather can have a huge impact on your home or business if you are not ready for it. From heavy rain and freezing temperatures to damaging winds, sleet, or snow, all can cause serious and costly property damage. While you cannot control the weather, you can take steps to be prepared and help take the sting out of winter weather.
To help prevent costly damages due to weather, consider taking the following precautions to protect your property before colder weather hits.
- Check your property for downed tree limbs and branches. Wind, heavy rain, ice, and snow can cause branches to fall, which could cause damage to the property and potentially cause personal injuries.
- Roofs, water pipes, and gutters should all be inspected to ensure they are in proper order. Gutter downspouts should be directed away from your building. Clear gutters of debris that may have gathered during the fall. Leaves and other obstructions can cause a damming effect, which can lead to roof damage and interior water problems.
- Inspect property, especially walkways and parking lots, for proper drainage to alleviate flood hazard potential.
- Inspect all handrails, stairwells, and entryways to address and correct potential slippery or hazardous areas. Install mats or non-slip surfaces and post caution signs where water could be present.
- Protect water pipes from freezing by simply allowing water to drip when temperatures dip below freezing. If pipes are under a cabinet, leave the cabinet doors open, allowing warm inside air to circulate around the pipes. If the building has outdoor faucets, consider shutting water off at the main valve in the basement or crawl space. Once the valve is off, open the outdoor faucet to ensure it drains, preventing any remaining water from freezing in the pipe.
- Ask us about completing an Emergency READY Profile (ERP) for your business. The ERP is a no-cost assessment to your facility and provides you with a plan to get back to business fast following a disaster.
When winter weather strikes, call SERVPRO of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe to strike back. With our 24/7 emergency service, we’re there when you need us most. Call us at 360-243-8313.
Leave the Hassle of Board-Ups to the Professionals
SERVPRO of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe can take care of boarding up your property.
Whether after a fire, storm, or other structural disaster, boarding up damaged property is a burden that no one should ever have to go through— especially if it's your property that has been damaged.
Boarding up damaged property incorrectly could cause secondary damages such as moisture or animal intrusion, making the situation even worse. The process of boarding up after an unexpected damage can also be as dangerous as the damage itself.
SERVPRO of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe can board up your damaged property and mitigate and remediate the original damage, providing you with peace of mind while helping make it “Like it never even happened.”
We have the skills and knowledge to board up broken windows, damaged roofs, burned drywall or any other damaged entrance to your property. Whether the damage is from fire, flooding, or debris during windstorms, we have the experience to board up your home and secure it from further damage. And we are available 24/7, so we can get there before the damage gets even worse.
If your property is in need of any board-up services, give SERVPRO of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe a call at 360-243-8313.
Be Ready for Whatever Happens
Are you ready for emergencies? Make sure you have an emergency kit for you and your family.
National Preparedness Month is just around the corner and it’s a great time to make sure you and your family is prepared for potential disasters. National Preparedness Month, which takes place in September, strives to increase the overall number of individuals, families, and communities that engage in preparedness actions at home and work.
Join in the effort to get your home ready for potential disasters. Only 51.5% of U.S. homes have an emergency kit ready. By creating an Emergency Kit you can be “Ready for whatever happens.”
Ready.gov suggests you have enough supplies to last for at least three days. Below is a quick list of suggested items to include in your kit:
- 3-day supply of nonperishable foods
- Water (one+ gallon per person per day)
- First-aid kit
- Prescription medication
- Sleeping bag or blankets
- Fire extinguisher
- Hygiene products
- Extra batteries
- Cell phone charger
- Change of clothes
- Matches in waterproof container
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Whistle to signal for help
- Pet supplies
- Infant formula and diapers
- Important documents such as insurance policies, IDs, and bank records in a plastic container
Also, keeping a small emergency kit in your vehicle can be useful during an emergency. For more detailed instructions on creating an emergency kit check out our other blog post here and check out Ready.gov for a more extensive list.
Tsunamis and How to Prepare
Tsunamis are most likely to hit the Pacific coastline or in the Caribbean, so it is good to know what to do if one occurs.
Did you know tsunamis could hit any U.S. coast? Though the risk for tsunamis is low, they are more likely to hit states on the Pacific coastline or in the Caribbean, so it is good to know what to do if a tsunami does strike here, or where you may vacation.
Ready.gov says, “Tsunamis, also known as seismic sea waves (mistakenly called “tidal waves”), are a series of enormous waves created by an underwater disturbance such as an earthquake, landslide, volcanic eruption, or meteorite.” Areas within a mile of the coast and less than 25 feet above sea level have a greater risk of being hit.
As with any emergency, be sure you have a plan. Create a 72-hour kit ahead of time so you can be ready to leave quickly. Know the evacuation plan and move inland or to higher ground and avoid the beach. “The first wave may not be the last or the largest,” according to the National Weather Service.
After a tsunami, do not return to the affected area until officials deem it safe. While drowning is the most common hazard, there are many aftereffects such as flooding and contaminated drinking water.
For more information on preparing for a tsunami, visit ready.gov/tsunamis.
Flooding Can Happen Anywhere
Just because your property hasn’t experienced a flood in the past does not mean it won’t in the future.
Floods are one of the most common and widespread natural disasters in the United States. And we’ve had our fair share here in Snohomish County. Whether your home or business is near the coastline, along city streets, in the mountains or near a river—there is always potential for flood damage. Fema.gov reports, in the last 5 years, all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods.
According to the National Weather Service (NOAA), “Approximately seventy-five percent of all Presidential disaster declarations are associated with flooding.” NOAA lists the most common flood hazards in the United States as:
- Flash Flooding
- River Flooding
- Storm Surge and Coastal Inundation from Tropical and Non-Tropical Systems
- Burn Scars/Debris Flows (Caused by Wildfires)
- Ice/Debris Jams
- Dry Wash (Caused by heavy rainfall in dry areas)
- Dam Breaks/Levee Failure
Just because your property hasn’t experienced a flood in the past does not mean it won’t in the future. In fact, nearly 20% of all flood insurance claims come from moderate-to-low risk areas, and even just one inch of flood damage in an average home can cost you up to $27,000*. On average, floods cost $3.5 billion in annual losses in the U.S., and commercial flood claims average more than $75,000 (NFIP).
According to the American Red Cross, floods cause more damage in the U.S. every year than any other weather related disaster. The American Red Cross offers the following flood safety tips.
- Stay away from floodwaters. If you come up on a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around, and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.
- If you approach a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
- Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.
For more flood safety tips check out this great article from The Everett Herald. Also, take a look at Snohomish Country’s Real-Time Flood Information System to see what the current river level and rainfall depth data is in our area.
When catastrophic water damage happens to you, SERVPRO of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe can help. We can help you prepare ahead of time with an Emergency Ready Profile (ERP), or respond to any size disaster to begin cleanup and restoration to get your property back to normal as soon as possible.
At SERVPRO of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe we are ready to help make it “Like it never even happened.” Give us a call at 360-243-8313.
*Facts and figures provided by fema.gov and the National Weather Service (NOAA)
When Disaster Strikes, SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Team is Here to Help
As a member of SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Team, SERVPRO of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe is “Ready for whatever happens.”
Severe weather can happen any time, anywhere. Each year, Americans experience an average of*:
- 10,000 severe thunderstorms
- 5,000 floods or flash floods
- 1,300 tornadoes
- 2 land-falling deadly hurricanes
As a member of SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Team, SERVPRO of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe is “Ready for whatever happens.” When a storm or disaster strikes, SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Team is poised for any storm that may happen. With a network of more than 1,700 Franchises, the SERVPRO System strives to be faster to any size disaster. Strategically located throughout the United States, SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Team is trained and equipped to handle the largest storms and highest flood waters. Providing experience, manpower, equipment, and other resources, the Disaster Recovery Team is there when large storms hit our area. SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Team has responded to hundreds of disaster events. In the aftermath of a disaster, there is only one objective: to help you make it “Like it never even happened.”
With the ability to mobilize local command centers, along with the resources of more than 1,700 Franchises nationwide, no disaster is too big. Recent mobilizations of the Catastrophic Storm Response Teams included:
- 2017 Hurricane Harvey
- 2016 East Tennessee Wildfires
- 2016 Hurricane Matthew
- 2016 Louisiana Flooding
- 2016 Houston, TX Flooding
- 2015 Siberian Express
- 2014 Mid-Atlantic Flooding
- 2014 Polar Vortex
- 2013 Colorado Floods
- 2012 Hurricane Sandy
No matter the size of the disaster, SERVPRO of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe is Here to Help. With the help of SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Team, we can handle any size weather event. If disaster strikes your home or business, give us a call at 360-243-8313.
*Facts and figures provided by noaa.gov
5 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Windstorms
There’s not always a lot of warning before a large windstorm hits, so it’s important to prepare your home well beforehand.
Windstorms cause millions of dollars of damage across the Pacific Northwest every year. There’s not always a lot of warning before a large windstorm hits, so it’s important to prepare your home well beforehand. Small fixes now can prevent more costly repairs after a storm.
Trim Your Trees
Check your property for any tree branches that hang over your roof, cars, power lines, or shed. Overhanging branches can cause significant damage to your property if they fall, which you can easily prevent by cutting them down before a storm hits.
If you have dead trees or branches on your property, get them professionally removed.
Inspect the Roof and Garage
Any loose roofing material will be particularly susceptible during a windstorm. Further damage can occur when a windstorm rips loose material off the roof. Before the windstorm hits, check your roof for loose shingles, flashing, gutters, edging strips, etc. Make sure any problems you find are fixed ASAP.
Your garage door, if it is not in top shape, can be a liability as well. If you haven’t had it professionally inspected in a while, consider doing so.
Protect Your Windows
Strong winds and flying debris can damage windows, so make sure they are prepared before the storm comes in. If you don’t have stormproof windows installed, you can use aluminum or steel shutters or plywood to protect your windows from damage.
Secure Items Around Your Property
While wind can cause a lot of damage on its own, loose items around the yard can severely increase the damage potential. If you received a report of an impending windstorm, secure or safely store items like:
- Patio Furniture
- Garbage and recycling bins
- Container plants
- Wind chimes and other decor
- Swing sets and toys
Make sure to store cleaning chemicals, motor fuels, and pesticides in safe places as well. You don’t want chemicals to mix together or spread throughout your yard or home
Put Together an Emergency Kit
If the windstorm takes out the power, in some cases you may have to go without electricity for a few days until it gets fixed. Prepare emergency kits with food, water, and anything else your family might need to get through three days without power.
Even the most prepared home can sustain damage during a bad windstorm. Fortunately, at SERVPRO® of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe, we’re prepared to restore your home “Like it never even happened.”
We offer a wide range of services (like board-ups, water damage restoration, tree removal, tarp-ups, and other roofing services) to help repair your property after a storm. We’re there when you need us with our 24/7 emergency service, so give us a call at 360-243-8313.
Be Prepared: Gear Up with a 72-Hour Emergency Kit
If disaster occurs, it is important to be able to take care of yourself and your family. Be prepared to meet your family’s needs for at least 3 days.
Unfortunately, storms and natural disasters don’t wait until we’re ready before they strike—they’re on their own timetable. Earthquakes, windstorms, and floods, if severe enough, can even prevent emergency services from reaching all affected areas for days. Until they arrive, you’ll need to be able to take care of yourself. Don’t delay preparing an emergency preparedness kit for your family.
Picking a Pack
You should be prepared to meet your family’s needs for at least three days. Prepare a 72-hour emergency kit for each member of your family.
If a storm or other disaster is destructive enough, you may have to leave your home. These kits should be packed in something portable, like a suitcase or backpack. Back-to-school sales are a perfect opportunity to buy backpacks for your kits.
Make sure to store your kits somewhere easily accessible in an emergency, like a coat closet near the front door.
Food & Water
The first rule of food in an emergency kit is packing nonperishable items your family will actually eat. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Trail mix
- Granola Bars
- Canned vegetables and fruit
- Canned stews and other meals
- Baby formula (in at least two kits in case your family gets separated) if needed
- Pet food and supplies if needed
Remember—you must be able to open your food. If you pack cans, make sure you have a can opener. Scissors are great for opening plastic packaging. It’s a good idea to bring along a set of dishes as well.
Plan for about a gallon of water per person per day. Water bottles are an easy way to store and carry water. You can also consider buying portable water filtration systems. Filtration systems should not be considered a substitution for bottled water because you can’t depend on water, contaminated or not, being available everywhere.
Take note of expiration dates. As a general rule, check your emergency food storage every six months. A good trick is to check your storage when daylight savings begins and ends. You should check on your water every 6-12 months.
Medicine & Hygiene
All 72-hour kits should include a first aid kit. You can either buy one or put one together yourself. You can start to build a first aid kit with the following items:
- Various sizes of bandages and gauze
- Antibiotic and hydrocortisone ointments
- Antiseptic wipes
- Oral thermometers
- Scissors and tweezers
- Cold compress
- Matches in a waterproof container
Don’t forget to include your personal medication as well along with children’s versions of medication if necessary. If your medication needs to be refrigerated, buy an insulated container to carry in your kit. Make sure you rotate medication according to expiration dates.
You’ll also want to pack hygienic and personal items. This will vary family to family. You can start with items on this list, if applicable:
- Toothpaste, toothbrushes, and floss
- Feminine hygiene products
- Glasses, contacts, contact cases and solution
- Baby wipes and diapers
- Soap bars
- Toilet paper
Clothing & Comfort
While it’s possible to wear the same clothes for three days, your family will be a lot more comfortable if they have a fresh pair of clothes to change into each day. If your clothing gets wet, it can even be a safety hazard if it’s cold out.
Along with clothes, bring along a sleeping bag or blanket (foil blankets can easily fit in these packs and sleeping bags can attach to bags with straps).
Tools & Electronics
A small tool kit can be very useful in an emergency. At least in adult kits, include a wrench, screwdriver, and Swiss Army knife.
Make sure every member of the family has a flashlight (with extra batteries), along with a battery or crank-powered radio. Include extra cell phone chargers in your packs as well, in case you end up somewhere with electricity.
Personal Documents & Cash
In an emergency, you may not have the chance to gather your personal items. Keep copies of important documents in your emergency kit. Include items such as:
- Birth and marriage certificates
- Social security cards
- Drivers Licenses or State IDs
- Pictures of your family members
You’ll also want to have cash in each kit because credit/debit cards may not work if electricity is out. It’s important to carry both bills and coins. Add money to your kits weekly to build up your reserve.
Three days is a long time without any kind of entertainment, especially if you are used to using electronics. Pack a few items to help the time pass for both you and any children. Some ideas include:
- Coloring and activity books
- Small puzzles
- Books to read
- Decks of cards
Anything small and easily portable that doesn’t require electricity will do.
If a disaster hits your home, it’s important to be prepared to act quickly. Preparing now can help keep you and your family safe in the future.
If your home sustains damage from a storm or natural disaster, we can help restore it “Like it never even happened.” Call SERVPRO® of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe at 360-243-8313 for 24-hour service.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark: How to Prepare for Power Outages
Be prepared for when the power goes out so you don't have to be afraid of the dark.
Power outages can range from mildly inconvenient to a crisis depending on the severity of the cause and the amount of time an area goes without power. However, when it comes to preparation, you are anything but powerless.
Keep Alternative Sources of Light
Invest in flashlights for every major room in the house, and keep them in accessible areas such as:
- Kitchen drawers
- Bathroom cabinets
- Entertainment centers
Make sure you have the appropriate back-up batteries for each flashlight. For rooms where you’ll want to be more hands-free, like the bathroom, choose flashlights with a hook.
If you choose to use candles, keep a supply of matches in a cool, dry place. Place candles away from flammable materials like curtains and furniture. Keep all candles and matches out of reach of young children and pets.
Protect Your Electronics
After a power outage is fixed, your home may experience a surge of electricity, which can harm your electrical appliances. If the power goes out, unplug all your valuable electronics—especially TVs, laptops, phones, microwaves, etc.
Check your devices and outlets for scorch marks before turning them on after a power outage.
Store Food and Water
You’ll need at least two quarts of water stored for each person every day. However, it’s better to have a gallon. Remember to rotate your water storage as needed.
Include a couple of buckets in your emergency supply. You can fill your bathtubs full of water from the tap immediately as the power goes out and use buckets to flush toilets, depending on your type of pump, without using your drinking water supply.
Maintain a supply of non-perishable foods that don’t require a lot of cooking. Try to have at least a three-to-five-day supply of food your family will actually want to eat. Make sure you have manual can and bottle openers.
Avoid eating any potentially spoiled food. Your refrigerator, if full, should stay cool for around 24 hours if you keep it closed. A full freezer may last up to 48 hours.
Keep your pets in mind while gathering supplies. Make sure you have food and water for them as well.
Prepare First Aid Kits and Medicine
If you have any medications you need to keep cool, invest in an ice cooler. Make sure you have ice on hand to keep it cold. You can use coolers to keep some of your perishable food cold as well.
Either buy or put together first aid kits. The Red Cross provides a good guide on what to include. Don’t forget any medications specific to your family’s needs.
Charge Your Communication Devices
Your cell phone can be your connection to valuable information during an outage, but it’s useless if it runs out of battery. Invest in a car charger as well as a solar or crank-powered charger. You won’t regret having a few options.
You may also want to invest in a battery-, solar-, or crank-powered radio in case you don’t have cell service during an emergency. Don’t forget to keep extra batteries around.
Follow Snohomish County Public Utility District (PUD) for up-to-date information on power outages. Their website provides information on how to report power outages as well as more tips for what to do to stay safe. Keep a list of utility numbers to contact during an emergency.
Power outages can be stressful, but proper preparation can help keep you safer and more comfortable. If your home or property is damaged during a storm or outage, call SERVPRO® of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe to make your home “Like it never even happened.”
With our 24/7 emergency service, we’re there when you need us most. Call us at 360-243-8313.
What to Do If a Tree Falls on Your House
If a tree falls on your home, don’t hesitate to give us a call any time, day or night—we offer 24/7 services.
Many things can cause a tree to fall on your home—windstorms, tree decay, soil erosion, rain, and more. Unfortunately, fallen trees can cause a lot of damage and lead to dangerous situations. It’s important to act quickly in order to be safe and prevent as much damage as possible.
Powerful storms can blow down even well-rooted trees; however, there are steps you can take to help prevent trees and branches from falling on your house during a storm.
- Watch for and remove dead branches/trees
- Keep an eye out for tree diseases and decay
- Prune stray or weak branches properly
- Strengthen forked trunks with cables or braces
- Look out for leaning trees
- Examine trees for cracks
- Check out the roots for signs of fungi or decay
Evacuate the House
Until a professional can fully assess the situation, it’s important to leave the home. The tree could have fallen on a powerline, damaged wiring with the house, or caused structural damage to your home. Even if you don’t suspect the damage was too significant, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Do not attempt to remove fallen branches or trees from your property—especially during a storm. You could easily slip and fall off your roof, get blown off by a strong gust of wind, or even get hit by lightning.
Check Your Property for Electrocution Risks
When you leave the house, take a look at your property. Examine the fallen tree from a safe distance. Did it take a powerline down with it? Are there trees that have fallen against powerline poles? Have any powerlines fallen on your property? If the answer to any of these questions is yes—call 911.
Do not approach any fallen trees, poles, or wires.
Call SERVPRO® of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe
Once you’re safely out of the house, and (if necessary) have called 911, give us a call.
Safety and weather permitting, we’ll get the tree removed, assess the damage, and tarp up the roof to prevent further damage. If the storm is still going on, we’ll patch up the problem as much as we can and more fully assess the damage as soon as it is safe for our technicians to do so.
We offer a variety of services including water extraction and drying, small construction, window board up, and more. We work with homeowners to determine precisely what you want done. If you’d like, we’ll even call your insurance company on your behalf.
If a tree falls on your home, don’t hesitate to give us a call any time day or night—we offer 24/7 services. At SERVPRO® of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe we can make your home “Like it never even happened.” Call us at 360-243-8313.
Understanding Weather and Flood Reports
Learn how to understand weather and flood warnings so you can be prepared before storms hit.
How many times have you watched the weather and expected a huge storm and ended up with a slight drizzle? Have you ever wondered when you should be worried about flooding in your area? Weather reports can be confusing if you don’t understand the terms used to describe storms and floods.
Learning the Weather Lingo
Meteorologists use different terms to represent the severity and imminence of a weather event. Once you crack the code, it’s easy to know generally what to expect. These terms are used to describe the status of anything from a wind storm to a blizzard.
- Advisory: Advisories mean a weather condition is expected, but it’s often used for less severe kinds of weather. Advisories often indicate a weather condition that will happen within the next 24 hours or so. Meteorologists might refer to a wind advisory for relatively low-magnitude winds. Extreme winds, because of their potential for danger, would be indicated with a warning, not an advisory.
- Outlook: Outlooks mean that a hazardous weather condition is possible in a few days. This is often your first notice that the potential for bad weather is on the horizon. You may hear a meteorologist refer to a weekend storm outlook.
- Watch: Watches mean that a hazardous weather condition is possible or likely. This term is often used for weather conditions that could happen over the next few days across a large area. You might hear terms like “winter storm watch” while watching the news.
- Warning: Warnings mean a hazardous weather condition is expected to happen or is already happening. This term is used for imminent weather conditions. Warnings are used for weather events that will likely be significant enough to cause damage to property or physical harm. Meteorologists might issue a heavy snow warning to indicate significant and imminent snowfall.
The terms watch and warning also apply to floods. If you hear about a flood watch, conditions are such that a flood could be possible, and you can start planning and paying more attention to weather reports. If you hear about a flood warning, a flood is either imminent or already occurring; you’ll want to watch for details about what areas the flood will likely impact and make the necessary preparations.
If you have questions about terms used for specific weather conditions, the National Weather Service provides a comprehensive glossary online.
Understanding Flood Phases
A large storm or consistent, heavy rain can cause a flood at any point in the year, but the winter months, November through February, bear the greatest flood risk.
Snohomish County breaks down floods into four phases, which each indicate a rising level of risk.
- Phase 1: Phase 1 warnings are brought to the county staff’s attention. Although actual flooding is rare at this level, the county will prepare to open the Emergency Operations Center if necessary.
- Phase 2: In Phase 2 and above, the Emergency Operations Center opens, and warnings will go out to emergency personnel such as the police and fire department. The news and schools will be alerted as well. The area may experience minor flooding with some road closures. Staff will monitor and report river gauge/level information hourly.
- Phase 3: Levees, also known as dikes, are at risk of breaches/overtopping at Phase 3. Investigation crews will monitor levees and other flood control facilities. You can anticipate several road closures because of moderate to severe flooding.
- Phase 4: This is the highest phase used to describe flooding conditions. Phase 4 warnings indicate major flooding and the potential for significant damage to occur.
Understanding weather and flood warnings can help you prepare before a storm or disaster hits. However, even the most prepared home can sustain significant damage during a severe weather event. If your home is damaged during a flood or storm, don’t hesitate to call SERVPRO® of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe.
Flood waters can be toxic, and water damage can create unseen damage within your home. We have the experience and training to safely handle any disaster. Call us anytime at 360-243-8313, and we’ll fix your home so it’s “Like it never even happened.”
What to Do When Walking Through Your Home After a Disaster
Be cautious when walking through your home after a disaster. It may not be safe to enter.
Walking through your home after a large-scale disaster such as a flood, fire, or storm can be a difficult experience. Unfortunately, if your home was significantly damaged, it can also be dangerous.
General Safety Tips
- Floods can uproot a lot of wildlife. When sorting through debris, make sure to use a stick to move things around. Snakes and other animals might be stuck beneath piles of debris.
- Do not attempt to touch or remove wild animals that may have taken residence in your home during a storm or flood. Do not try to remove any dead animal carcasses, as they can carry diseases. When possible, contact animal control for removal.
- Don’t allow small children to accompany you as you first walk through your home.
- If negative conditions are widespread, use a battery-operated radio to listen for emergency updates and instructions.
- Do not touch any exposed or fallen wiring.
- Never use fire as a source of light until you are certain there are no gas leaks.
For information on how to prepare for and recover from specific disasters, visit the Red Cross Emergency Resource Library.
Before Entering Your Home
If you had to evacuate your home, or if you were simply gone when disaster struck, it’s important to determine if it is safe to enter the building. First, you’ll want to carefully walk around your home while it is still bright outside and look for signs of danger. Do not enter your home if:
- You find fallen or loose powerlines
- Authorities have not declared it safe after a fire (even if you think the fire is out)
- You see or smell any evidence of gas leaks
- There are indications of structural damage in your foundation, stairs, roof, chimney, etc.
- Trees have fallen and damaged structurally important areas of your home
If you find any of these signs of danger, wait for the appropriate authorities to inspect your home first.
Inspecting Your Home
Once you decide it is safe to enter your home to examine the damage, make sure to dress appropriately. Wear heavy, waterproof boots as well as gloves, especially after a flood. Walk through the home carefully. If anything you see, hear, or smell violates the previous signs of danger list, leave immediately.
As you walk through your home, exercise the following cautions to ensure safety:
- If you can reach the fuse box safely, turn off the electricity at the main fuse if you find wet or damaged appliances. Do not attempt to use any electricity until you know it is safe.
- Watch for loose or frayed wiring as well as sparks or other signs of electrical danger.
- Do not walk through any flood water, even if it blocks you from inspecting part of your house. Flood water often contains toxins that can harm you. Additionally, water conducts electricity. If you touch any flood waters that cover outlets, you could get electrocuted.
- Watch for any broken boards, holes in the floor, chemical spills, exposed nails, wet or falling plaster/sheetrock, or compromised foundations.
- If there was a flood, throw away food, water, cosmetics, or medicine that may have been exposed to the flood water. Do not drink water from the tap until a professional has verified its safety. If your home went without electricity for more than 24 hours, do not eat any of your perishable food.
As you walk through your home, you may want to take pictures for your insurance company if it is safe to do so.
If your home was damaged in a storm, fire, flood, or another natural disaster, you may find several safety roadblocks along your road to recovery. Fortunately, we have the necessary knowledge and training to take care of it for you. At SERVPRO® of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe, we know how to safely assess the damage, work with insurance companies, and repair your home so it’s “Like it never even happened.”
We offer 24/7 emergency service, so give us a call at 360-243-8313, and we can start making your house feel like a home again.