Steps to Reduce the Risk of Tornado Damage in Blue Valley
Tornado damage mitigation tips from Disastersafety.org.
About 1,000 tornadoes occur each year in the United States, causing an average of $1.1 billion in property damage and 80 deaths. These storms vary in intensity and the accompanying damage can result in everything from minor repairs to complete destruction with little warning. Most tornadoes are relatively weak, and therefore, primarily damage roofs, windows and trees. While only two percent of tornadoes achieve the most violent and damaging classification, one quarter of tornadoes are powerful enough to cause 90 percent of the damage and two-thirds of the deaths.
In an effort to gain a better understanding of who is most at risk from these destructive forces, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) conducted a regional analysis of tornadoes of F2 or greater strength that were reported during the 50-year period beginning in 1957 through 2006. This analysis, coupled with the construction guidance included below, is intended to better define which areas are most likely to be affected by tornadoes and to suggest methods for mitigating property risks.
The analysis used tornado records from a period of time when the older Fujita Scale classification F0 through F5 was being used. Since 2006, tornadoes have been classified by the Enhanced Fujita Scale using EF0 through EF5. Both scale classifications are based on damage observed after a tornado strikes. The EF scale, which provides a larger number of damage indicators for different types of buildings, attempts to recognize the difference between poorly constructed and well constructed buildings and results in lower estimates of wind speeds for the most intense storms, which are classified using the highest number on the F or EF scales. Efforts to re-classify the older F-Scale tornadoes using the EF-Scale are very labor intensive and subject to judgment because it requires a review of old damage reports, many of which will not have pictures of the damage. The simple approach, which is reasonable and probably slightly conservative, is to simply use the new wind speed estimates with the older classifications.
In creating the map below, IBHS used a grid of 100 square mile cells in the analysis. This is a smaller cell size than used by most other analyses. The advantage is a finer resolution of tornado risks at the expense of greater variability between adjacent cells. The effects of this potential limitation were reduced by employing a process to smooth out differences in tornado frequencies between nearby cells.
Tornadoes have a unique destructive power among wind-related natural disasters because they concentrate a massive amount of energy in a relatively small area. The strongest category of tornadoes can generate maximum wind speeds of greater than 250 mph, which is enough to destroy most buildings and structures in their path. These maximum wind speeds generate forces that are about twice as large as those generated by the strongest hurricanes.
Only a few specialty buildings are designed to withstand the direct impact of a severe tornado. However, well engineered, large and tall commercial structures are not likely to suffer structural collapse. For smaller commercial structures, good construction choices can give added protection and increase the likelihood that at least part of the structure will remain standing to provide shelter. Buildings that have been strengthened in critical areas and particularly at connection points, such as between the roof and walls and walls and foundation, would have a good chance of surviving intact or with minor cosmetic damage if subjected to the outer edges of a tornado.
Despite the annual tornado exposure, many walls and roofs of businesses in inland areas of the United States are typically built to resist gravity loads and have little resistance to uplift and lateral loads. Construction where all parts of the building are well connected is more common in hurricane-prone areas, but should also be considered by anyone who wants to increase their property’s protection from other severe windstorms, according to the building science experts at IBHS.
A CHECKLIST FOR MITIGATING TORNADO RISKS
While there is no way to eliminate all the damage of a direct hit from a violent tornado, businesses in tornado-prone areas can implement a variety of affordable measures which, for the majority of tornadoes, will effectively minimize damages to facilities, injuries to employees and the losses associated with business disruptions.
While the measures below focus specifically on tornado risks, many also will help protect businesses from other types of high wind and thunderstorm-related weather risks outside of tornado-prone regions.
ASSESS THE LIKELIHOOD OF A TORNADO STRIKING YOUR BUSINESS
Is the area where you live and work prone to tornadoes? Look at the map in this report to identify areas with the highest risk of tornadoes. Knowing what tornado risks are present is essential for choosing the appropriate mix of measures to protect your business. Businesses located in areas with a heightened tornado risk should take the following steps to minimize their risk of tornado damage:
PROTECT YOUR EMPLOYEES
- Prepare and disseminate an emergency plan describing what supervisors and employees should to do as a tornado threatens. Practice these procedures through tornado drills.
- Purchase a weather radio with local discrimination capability. Monitor weather conditions so employees can be moved to secure locations when necessary:
- Have an adequate source of weather information, such as a tone alert weather radio, to keep abreast of weather conditions.
- Have someone monitor local radar and warning information during a tornado watch and especially if a tornado warning has been issued for the area.
Watches and Warnings:
- A tornado watch is a caution indicating a high probability of tornadoes within an area approximately 250 miles long and 120 miles wide.
- A tornado warning means that a tornado has been spotted on the ground in your county or moving toward your county, or that weather radar indicates a high probability of a tornado existing.
- Keep exterior doors and windows closed to minimize rain and flying debris. Closing interior doors will also help to compartmentalize the building and provide more barriers between your employees and the storm.
- Select the best protective area for employees to seek shelter if there is a tornado:
- Basements are usually considered a good area, as are corridors and small interior rooms on the first floor of a structure.
- Never shelter employees in rooms where there is an outside wall, particularly those with glass windows, or where the ceiling or roof has a span between supports of more than 40 feet.
- If your building does not provide adequate protection and you are located in a tornado prone area, work with a contractor to harden a section of your facility or build a safe room.
- Safe Rooms: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and International Code Council (ICC) offer shelter guidelines.
- If you have 10 or fewer employees, a small size room designed according to the requirements and guidance published in FEMA 320 or ICC 500 for residential shelters may be sufficient.
- For larger safe rooms, use FEMA 361 or ICC 500 guidance for community shelters.
Make provisions to shelter employees working in portable out buildings and those operating trucks and other vehicles.
PROTECT YOUR PROPERTY
Wind-resistant construction can be cost effective and minimize the risk of structural damage for the majority of tornadoes, particularly damage from weak to moderate tornadoes, hail and wind associated with thunderstorms, and even to buildings on the edge of strong or violent tornadoes:
For new construction in a tornado prone area:
- Work with an architect or contractor to incorporate wind mitigation techniques and high wind-rated products when constructing your building, including safe areas for personnel.
- These techniques provide state-of-the art solutions to minimize structural risks by withstanding pressures created by specified high winds, strengthening roof and wall connections, roof systems, walls and wall covering, windows, doors, and skylights.
- It is less costly and more effective to harden buildings during design and construction rather than later.
For an existing structure, not built to wind mitigation standards:
- Consider retrofitting, especially when remodeling or replacing building components.
- Retrofitting may include:
- Bracing and strapping the roof.
- Adding recommended fasteners, ties, reinforcements, roof covering and anchors as building components are modified and maintained.
- Making entry doors and overhead doors more wind-resistant.
- Building a safe room to protect against tornadoes.
- For additional information on protection for existing buildings, see “Protecting Commercial Property” in the Tornado section of our website www.DisasterSafety.org.
MINIMIZE THE THREATS FROM WIND-BORNE DEBRIS
- Identify and remove trees and branches that could fall on the building walls or roof, or on power lines.
- Inspect and repair loose or damaged building components such as siding, soffit and fascia, shingles and roofing, brickwork, and brick chimneys.
- Avoid using built -up roofs with aggregate or pavers on the surface.
Visit www.DisasterSafety.org/tornado to find additional details and how-to instruction for many of these projects.
COMMON CAUSES OF COMMERCIAL WATER DAMAGES
Water loss in a storage facility.
Usually when companies think about water damage in their building, they think the cause will be from a huge storm. Most of the time, that is the truth but there are other factors that cause water damage in commercial buildings.
Damaged Appliances - This problem is more common in restaurants where they have many different appliances that could cause a problem. If you have any equipment or appliance that involves water, you could have this type of water emergency.
Water Heaters - It is possible for water heaters to crack or lose their seal because of high pressure. You want to make sure and follow the manufacturers guidelines and flush your heater regularly to make sure it is working properly.
Roofing - One of the more obvious ways that you can tell that your building has water damage is seeing water leaking from your roof. Your roof might need to be resealed or it does not drain properly. If you notice a leak, even a small one, get it fixed ASAP.
Malfunctioning Sprinkler Systems - If you have an older building, sometimes the sprinkler systems work with the fire protection systems. You need to check the system to make sure that it is not faulty or in need of replacement to prevent unnecessary water damage.
Broken Pipes/Plumbing - During colder weather, it is more possible for pipes to break if you don’t continually run water through them. You need to take care of all pipes to make sure none of them burst.
Backed up Sewer Lines - This water emergency might be the most disgusting and one of the most dangerous. You will have contaminated black water flowing on the floors which can cause serious health effects.
If you experience any water damage to your commercial building, SERVPRO of Blue Valley will get your building cleaned and up and running in no time.
Restoring Your SERVPRO of Blue Valley Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event
Flooded conference room in Blue Valley
Flooding and water damage events at SERVPRO of Blue Valley commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.
Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges
Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.
About SERVPRO of Blue Valley
SERVPRO of Blue Valley specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.
Faster To Any Size Disaster
Flooded Office Building
Flooding and water emergencies don’t wait for regular business hours and neither do we. SERVPRO of Blue Valley provides emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including all holidays.
Faster To Any Size Disaster
Flooding and water damage is very invasive. Water quickly spreads throughout your home and gets absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, and more. SERVPRO of Blue Valley arrives quickly and starts the water extraction process almost immediately. This immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.
Need Emergency Service? Call Us 24/7 – 913-825-2000
Water Damage Timeline
- Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.
- Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.
- Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.
- Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.
Hours 1 - 24:
- Drywall begins to swell and break down.
- Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
- Furniture begins to swell and crack.
- Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
- A musty odor appears.
48 Hours to 1 Week:
- Mold and mildew may grow and spread.
- Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.
- Metal begins to rust and corrode.
- Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.
- Paint begins to blister.
- Wood flooring swells and warps.
- Serious biohazard contamination is possible.
More Than 1 Week:
- Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
- Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants pose serious risks to occupants.
About SERVPRO of Blue Valley
SERVPRO of Blue Valley specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.
April Showers Bring May Flowers and More to Blue Valley...
April showers bring May flowers and more...
April showers help to bring us the most vibrant May flowers and we are so happy with this change of season. However, when April showers are more like torrential, relentless downpours we could face a flooded basement and other water damage causing costly repairs. Flooding generally occurs in the springtime as the result of heavy rains that cannot be adequately absorbed by the still thawing earth. Particularly formidable are the flash floods resulting from thunderstorms, swiftly melting snow and ice jams in creeks. Consider if more than one of these circumstances happens at the same time, you have the potential for a catastrophe with flooding waters and raging mudslides.
Homeowners you can take some simple precautions to secure your property and keep your possessions safe.
Elevate: Keep your furnace, water heater, electrical panels above predicted water levels to protect yourself from costly home replacements.
Install check valves: These valves close to prevent the backward flow of liquid and prevent water from backing up into the drains in your home.
Build barriers: Use sandbags to create flood walls to prevent or reduce flow of water into your home.
Waterproof the basement: Use a waterproofing compound to seal the walls of your basement.
Clean: Clean gutters, drains and downspouts for proper water flow.
Purchase flood insurance: Most standard homeowners' and business insurance policies unfortunately do no cover flood damage. In the event of a flood, you would be responsible for covering the full cost of repairs and replacing items damaged.
There is help close by should you experience an unfortunate event with your home or business. Contact SERVPRO of Blue Valley at 913.825.2000. We are trained storm specialists who will come in and quickly get your home or business back to a safe and healthy environment. We have the specific training and certifications to handle your restoration needs provided by an Applied Microbial Remediation Specialist, a Water Damage Restoration Technician, and an Applied Structural Drying Technician. We provide emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including all holidays. You can expect an immediate response time, day or night.
The top 5 most common causes of house fires
From 2007-2011, the NFPA says there were an average of 10,630 fires in the U.S. that were started by candles, causing 115 deaths, 903 injuries and approximately $418 million in property damage. That is an average of 29 candle fires per day.
- Never leave a candle burning near flammable items.
- Never leave a candle burning in a child’s room or an unoccupied room.
- Make sure candles fit securing into candle holders so they won’t tip over.
- Blow out any candles before leaving a room or going to sleep
While the number of fires caused by smoking is trending downward, the NFPA found that there were still an average of 17,600 related fires per year resulting in 490 deaths and more than $516 million in property damage.
- If you smoke, consider smoking outside.
- Use wide, sturdy ashtrays to catch butts and ashes.
- Look for cigarette butts under furniture and between seat cushions to make sure no lit butts have fallen someplace where they can’t be seen.
- Don’t smoke in bed, when you’re tired or around medical oxygen.
- Electrical & Lighting
According to the NFPA, in 2011 approximately 47,700 home structure fires were caused by some sort of electrical failure or malfunction. These resulted in 418 deaths, 1,570 injuries and $1.4 billion in property damage.
- Don’t overload outlets or electrical cords.
- Make sure you have the right cord for the job – inside cords for inside, heavy duty/outside cords for outdoor use.
- Don’t leave Christmas lights, Christmas trees, or halogen lights on overnight or when not at home.
- Consider having an electrician perform an annual checkup of your home’s wiring.
- Dryers & Washing Machines
Clothes dryer fires happen more often than one might think, accounting for 16,800 home structure fires in 2010 and doing more than $236 million in property damage.
- Clean the lint screen frequently and don’t run the dryer without it.
- For gas and propane dryers, make sure there aren’t any leaks in the lines.
- Vent the dryer to the outside of the house and ensure nothing blocks the vent pipe.
- Clean the vent pipe and the area where the screen is housed.
- Keep the area around the dryer free of combustible materials.
From 2007-2011, NFPA says there were an average of 22,600 fires per year caused by lightning strikes.
- Stay away from doors and windows during an electrical storm.
- Do not use corded phones, computers, TVs or other electrical equipment during storms.
- Unplug major electronics – TVs, stereo equipment, computers and microwaves to minimize damage if there is a lightning strike close by.
- Avoid plumbing such as sinks, baths and faucets during a thunderstorm.
The Mold Mitigation and Remediation Process
When there’s a water intrusion, like a roof leak or leaking water line, mold can quickly become a problem in your home or business. Mold can affect your health and can also cause significant damage to your property. Fortunately, SERVPRO of Blue Valley has the training, protective gear, and specialized equipment necessary to handle your mold problem. Although every mold damage scenario is different, requiring a unique solution, the general mold remediation process stays the same. The following steps illustrate a “typical” mold removal process.
Call SERVPRO of Blue Valley
The mold cleanup and restoration process begins when you call SERVPRO of Blue Valley. A representative will ask a series of questions to help determine the necessary equipment, resources, and personnel needed.
Inspection & Damage Assessment
Your property will be carefully inspected for signs of mold using technology designed to detect mold and hidden water sources. Mold feeds on cellulose and water which can be hidden from plain view.
Various containment procedures will be placed to prevent the spread of mold and isolate the contaminated area with physical barriers and negative air pressure to keep the mold spores from spreading during the cleanup process.
Specialized filtration equipment captures microscopic mold spores out of the air. SERVPRO of Blue Valley utilizes powerful air scrubbers and HEPA vacuums to prevent the spread of these mold spores while the mold remediation is in progress.
Removing Mold & Mold-Infested Materials
The mold remediation process depends on the amount of mold growth and the types of surfaces on which the mold appears. Antifungal and antimicrobial treatments will be used to eliminate mold colonies and help prevent new colonies from forming. Removing and disposing of mold-infested porous materials, like drywall and flooring, may be necessary to remediate heavy mold growth.
Cleaning Contents & Belongings
SERVPRO of Blue Valley cleans your furniture, decorative items, and other restorable items affected by mold. They use a variety of cleaning techniques to clean and sanitize your belongings. They are also trained to remove odors and deodorize using fogging equipment.
Depending on the level of mold damage, drywall, subfloors, and other building materials may be removed. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new carpet, or it may entail major repairs such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business.
SERVPRO of Blue Valley understands mold and mold growth and has the training and equipment to remediate mold in your home or business.
Home Contents Inventory - Why it’s Needed in Case of a Fire
Imagine having a total loss of your home due to a fire and having to recall every item that was damaged… could you do it? Would you trust yourself to remember each individual item that was in your home, especially the rarely used ones? Without a photographic memory most of us would find some difficulty with this task in an already stressful time.
In the event of a fire, your insurance company will expect you to provide a list of all your personal property that was damaged. By having a pre-assembled Home Contents Inventory you can have piece-of-mind knowing that all of your contents are documented and can then be properly replaced according to your insurance policy. There are several methods to complete your Home Contents Inventory whether on paper or digitally (you can contact SERVPRO of Blue Valley for a blank copy of either).
You will want to make sure to list each item, its value, and include any receipts and photographs along with it. It’s a good idea to update your Home Contents Inventory list annually to include any new items you have added to the home and remove items you no longer have. Make sure to keep a copy safe in a fireproof container or safe deposit box and you can always file a copy with your insurance agent as well.
Cleaning Up After a Flood in a Commercial Building
Dealing with the aftermath of a flood in Blue Valley can be devastating. In addition to water damage that can take a long time to repair, a flood can damage the contents of a business. When you are cleaning contents, you need to categorize each item into one of two material types to know if your belongings can be saved.
Anything in your commercial property that could possibly absorb water may have to be thrown away, particularly if your building was flooded with black water. Porous materials can include anything from carpets to upholstered furniture and drywall. Because these contents can absorb filthy water, they cannot be cleaned thoroughly enough to prevent health hazards. When you begin the process of content cleaning, know that any item made of porous material that possibly came in contact with the contaminated water will likely need to be disposed of.
Any item that will not absorb water is made of non-porous material. These contents should be safe after a flood. Items may include metal desks or cabinets, waterproof safes, or even plastic furniture. Thorough cleansing with clean water and disinfectant will likely save any belongings made of non-porous materials and keep them useful after restoration. Because these contents did not absorb the dirty water, they do not pose a significant risk if they are kept.
Losing critical business information may be one of the most devastating parts of surviving a flood. Content cleaning can be challenging because you may have to throw away many items, but if you have the right knowledge of porous and non-porous materials, you may be able to save some items. When dealing with black water, knowing which items pose a health hazard is critical to the restoration process. Separating belongings into one of these two categories can help make the cleaning process faster and easier.
Storm Damage: What Does It Look Like?
Tree limb that fell on a house after a storm
What Damage Can A STORM Cause?
- Storms deposit a large amount of rain, which, if your home isn't prepared for, can cause serious flooding.
- If your home does flood, or after the storm has passed begins to smell musty, mold may have grown because of the moisture.
- Lightning can strike a home or yard and cause heat damage, or even start a fire.
- Winds can knock down trees creating damage to homes and cars, break off chunks of housing, roof-tiles, hurl debris around, and shatter windows.
SERVPRO specializes in remediating storm-battered and damaged properties. We know that while the storm is happening, it seems like all you can do is rely on the preparation you've done, and stay as safe as possible. Focus on those crucial things, and when it's all over, let SERVPRO of Blue Valley help you put your property back "Like it never even happened."