Catastrophe Services, Inc. Blog

Disaster Planning

• April 13, 2016 • No comments yet

March saw Severe Weather & Flood Safety Awareness Week in South Carolina.

We don’t need to tell you why its lessons are so important this year. The commemoration has passed, but as summer approaches, take a moment to get reacquainted with severe weather and flood safety awareness in South Carolina.

Get ready. Prepare an emergency kit and develop an emergency plan with your family.

Watch & listen. Pay attention to media reports. A severe weather watch means a weather event is possible or likely in your area. A warning means severe weather is imminent or occurring. It requires immediate action.

Act quickly. When faced with heavy rain or flooding events, move to higher ground and stay there. Always heed evacuation orders. Never wade or drive into floodwater.

Your family’s wellbeing is our first priority. But if a storm damages your home or business, Catastrophe Service will restore your property quickly and safely.

Our specialty is South Carolina storm damage repair and restoration. From wind and water damage to mold, biohazards, and other dangers caused by severe weather, Catastrophe Services will restore your property to its previous condition or better.

Do you have questions about storm damage repair in SC or Augusta, GA? Give us a call at 800-952-6106. And, in the meantime, stay safe.

• January 1, 2016 • No comments yet

You are used to us sharing tips on coping with major disasters like fires, floods, and hurricanes. But are you prepared for the most common weather event of all?

Thunderstorms can cause catastrophic damage to life and property. Use these tips, adapted from the American Red Cross, to make sure you don’t become one of the countless people who deal with storm damage in South Carolina.

  • Understand warnings. A Severe Thunderstorm Watch means that storms are possible, while warnings mean they are in progress and imminent.
  • Stay indoors. Most lightning strikes occur in areas without rain. If you can hear thunder, you’re in danger from lightning.
  • Avoid electrical equipment as much as possible. Don’t take baths or showers during storms.
  • If you’re outside and can’t take shelter, avoid high ground, trees, and metal objects.
  • Keep trees and shrubs trimmed.
  • Install lightning rods only after consulting with your local fire department.
  • Assemble at emergency preparedness kit and keep it current in case evacuation is necessary.
  • Never drive through flooded areas.
  • Call 911 to report downed power lines or the smell of natural gas.

2015 saw severe storm damage across South Carolina. If it touched you, give Catastrophe Services a call—we heal homes, restore businesses, and help you get your life back on track.

• November 25, 2015 • No comments yet

Last month, South Carolina experienced historic flooding that disrupted lives for several weeks and interrupted the basic fabric of life across the state. Homes, businesses, and loved ones were lost leaving a record number of people desperate for access to flood relief information and services.

On October 22, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which coordinates disaster relief, published this flood relief tip sheet for South Carolinians affected by flooding to get legal, financial, and mental health assistance.

Here’s a summary:

Unemployment Assistance

Flood survivors who lost jobs or businesses in federally-designated disaster areas are eligible to apply for unemployment assistance. Deadlines vary by county, but all occur during November; click through above for a full breakdown. Apply by using mybenefits.dew.sc.gov or call (866) 831-1724.

Call (888) 834-5890 for general information on flood-related unemployment assistance.

Free Legal Assistance

If you have flood-related legal issues but cannot afford a lawyer, call (877) 797-2227 ext. 120 or (803) 576-3815 between 9 am-5 pm Monday through Friday.

The service is provided through a partnership between the American Bar Association, the South Carolina Bar, and other state legal associations.

Free Crisis Counseling

Mental health professionals are available to help you cope at crisis centers across South Carolina. Call (800) 621-3362 or go to fema.gov/disaster-recovery-centers.

Disaster Recovery Assistance

Flood survivors who sustained losses in federally-designated disaster areas are eligible to apply for assistance. Click here for a list of counties; call (800) 621-3362 or go to DisasterAssistance.gov to apply.

Again, this is only a summary; click through to FEMA’s website for full information on flood recovery in South Carolina.

The recent floods are one of the worst disasters South Carolina has faced in decades. Catastrophe Services looks forward to working with you, our insurance partners, and federal, state, and local agencies to help you get your life back on track.

• June 17, 2015 • No comments yet

Hurricane season has officially begun, leading home and business owners across South Carolina to step up their emergency preparations. If you’ve yet to set forth a plan for minimizing storm damage or begun stocking your home and car with essential items in case of road shutdowns or evacuations, the team at Catastrophe Services encourages you to make this a priority. Because when facing severe weather, hoping for the best only works if you’re prepared for the worst.

As disaster restoration specialists in South Carolina, we cover storm damage, fire damage, water damage, mold damage, biohazard cleanup, reconstruction, and everything you need to restore your life and property.

When you contract us, we work with you and your insurance company to restore your damaged property to its previous condition or better. Though we’re licensed general contractors, restoration is all we do. Our experience delivering fair estimates and safe, on-time work has settled insurance claims across South Carolina and helped countless families and businesses return to normal after storms, fires, and other catastrophes.

Though our ultimate responsibility is to customers with damaged property, the insurance company usually determines the specifications and scope of work. Most insurance policies don’t quantify the adjuster’s role, and it varies based on the circumstances.

But since we’re South Carolina fire damage, mold damage, storm damage, and water damage specialists, Catastrophe Services works with you and your adjuster to implement fair, rapid, and cost-effective restoration solutions that get your life back on track.

A family business, we’re backed by the Restoration Industry Association (RIA), the oldest and largest nonprofit industry group dedicated to providing impartial, science-based restoration best practices.

If you’re affected by a disaster in South Carolina, get in touch with Catastrophe Services. We look forward to helping you regain your peace of mind.

• June 3, 2015 • No comments yet

We’re not just your South Carolina storm damage repair specialists; we understand that restoration and reconstruction starts with your family. If you’re not safe and happy, nothing else matters. So this hurricane season, re-examine your emergency kit.

You do have one, right? Because with a storm on the horizon, packing the kids and pets in the car and heading for high ground doesn’t count as a plan. A few fresh, common sense supplies can make all the difference in your health and peace of mind, so read on for our tips on a strong emergency kit, adapted from the American Red Cross.

  • Cash
  • Vital documents: passports, birth certificates, Social Security cards, etc.
  • At least two battery-operated flashlights
  • A battery-operated radio tuned to your local news/weather station
  • One gallon of bottled water per day per adult. Try to budget for a week.
  • Canned goods, crackers, peanut butter, pet food, and other non-perishables
  • Clothing & blankets
  • Prescription drugs and other medicines
  • Sanitation: soap, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, etc.
  • Basic tools: hammer, duct tape, screwdrivers, pliers, knife, etc.
  • Entertainment: books, cards, board games, etc.

Select two places for your family to meet if separated; one in or near your home, the other a landmark like a school or church. Make sure each family member knows your plan, and ask neighbors to help your kids and pets along if necessary.

Remember that after a storm phones, ATMs, internet, and other electronic resources often won’t work for days or weeks, so your emergency kit should be enough to sustain your family until you can return home or relief efforts begin.

Storm damage cleanup in South Carolina a long and often complicated process. We hope you don’t need your hurricane emergency kit, but if so make it strong enough to lean on while we help restore your property and reconstruct your life.

Got hurricane or other disaster restoration questions in South Carolina? Give us a call at 1 (800) 952-6106. We look forward to hearing from you.

• March 14, 2015 • No comments yet

You know spring has sprung in Charleston when… you have water damage in your basement that needs to be cleaned up, right? And if you don’t have water damage yet, here are some tips for getting your home ready for spring.

Start with doing all the things that direct water away from the house. The big one here is to clean the gutters and make sure everything is oriented to pushing water away from the house. One part of this is to inspect the house from the outside – look for roof and siding areas that need attention.

Schedule that maintenance. Need painting? Figure out everything from color to contractor. The summer can disappear fast – especially if you are booking people to work on the house. Call them now before their schedules get filled up.

Hack back those tree limbs that are too close to the house. Or get a professional to do the arbor work. Leaves that can fall on the roof can lead to build up and problems, not to mention serving as the perfect ladder for squirrels. Trees should be well back from the house.

Lastly, be prepared for water damage in your basement needing a cleanup if it does occur. That can mean calling us. We offer advice, equipment rentals, and trained personnel to get you back to the high and dry.

• February 18, 2015 • No comments yet

In our never-ending quest to avert the need for water damage repair in Greenville, SC, we want to focus on winterizing your roof as we head into spring. If you think it’s too early to start planning, think again. If you’re going to get substantial work done on your roof before next winter, start planning now and schedule it as soon as possible. Many roofers are booking into the fall already and you may have to act quickly to get work done before next winter. Here are some tips to consider.

As the weather clears, it’s a great time to inspect your home because you can jump on any new damage you find. The easiest place to start, of course, is inside. Look for stains and drips that might signal a leaking roof. Look outside for dislodged bricks or siding. As you check the roof, look carefully around any penetrations such as skylights, pitch pockets, vent pipes, etc.

Remove any loose material that’s on the roof. This will make it easier to see the repairs that are needed.

Clean out the gutters. Clogged gutters can add strain to your roof.

Test out any HVAC or other systems that have components on the rooftop. Make sure the equipment is not rusting and is secured to the roof. Check any flashings surrounding the machinery.

If you have to clean snow and ice from the roof, follow sensible safety precautions. Don’t do it in the dark. Aim to do it around midday when it’s warmest. And work with a buddy. It’s terribly important to have help if you need it.

Lastly, as with so many maintenance issues, the sooner you get a roof fixed the smaller the costs will be. Water damage repair in Greenville, SC occurs with alarming frequency, and those who wait longest spend the most.

• February 18, 2015 • No comments yet

Wait.  When hurricane season is months away, why read an article in the wintertime about disaster services in Columbia, SC?  We’re taking a look now because how fast a company or family can bounce back from a hurricane depends on how much planning they’ve done in advance. The earlier you start, the better off you’ll be.

Let’s start with IT prep. You might think this only applies to companies, but what if your computer and backup drive are in the same place and both get destroyed? A residence may not have millions of records on which thousands of customers depend, but your work in progress, your memorabilia, and your plans need protection. Where can you store a backup offsite? And what’s the plan if you do lose computer hardware? It’s worth having that thought through ahead of time.

Second, how long can you go without power? What’s the plan when an outage exceeds that limit? Do you need a generator? If you already have one, is it in working order? Do you have gas stored securely in case the local gas stations are out of power or out of gas? In short, how fast can you get that generator up and running? Fixing one in the dark is not a good plan.

Third, think protection. How will you protect your home and what supplies do you need ahead of time? Running to the hardware store in the middle of a hurricane warning is something to avoid – if you can.

Fourth, practice. Spend an hour running through prep for a hurricane and what you will be doing when the wind blows and in the aftermath. This will uncover gaps in the planning. More important, practice as a family or company together, so everyone knows the plan, knows where to meet, etc. Getting feedback from participants not only improves the plan, it creates engagement – people are invested in doing this well. Repeat this periodically to ingrain the plan in everyone’s memory.

Lastly, as the Ghostbusters movie put it, who you gonna call? Have a list of emergency numbers and friends in your cell phone and a plan to call friends if you need a place to stay and professionals to handle insurance and storm damage. And for disaster services in Columbia specifically, make sure Catastrophe Services are on your list: 800-952-6106.

• December 29, 2014 • No comments yet

Forecasts are predicting El Nino could impact Columbia this winter with above average precipitation. Homeowners should be prepared in the case for water damage repair. That’s because as the sea surface temperature (SST) warms up, storms grow bigger.

There’s a silver lining to being under constant threat of flooding, as is the case now in Columbia: you don’t have to wait for the next storm event and then hurriedly get inadequately prepared in the hours before it hits. Instead, you need to be prepared around the clock, throughout the year. That means you can prepare some now, get more prepared every month, escalating your preparedness far beyond what is possible if you were only starting to prepare for a storm when the warning was sounded.

Consider your ongoing preparedness, from developing a simple plan of how you would escape the flooding ahead of time to making sure things are stored in ways they won’t be destroyed by flooding. The more prepared you are, the freer you might be to take a leadership position and help others less fortunate when disaster hits.

Will you go so far as using sandbags? If so will you have them in advance?

How about learning what to do once the storm has passed? Who will you call to help clean up? Friends and relatives pitching in can be critical. If you need professional assistance—assessing structural damage, mold, doing major repairs, or just some advice—give us a call. We’ve worked on floods for decades and we have a passion for what we do: water damage repair in Columbia.

• December 29, 2014 • No comments yet

Columbia homeowners should think of safety first this holiday season. Review these easy and helpful tips from Catastrophe Services, Inc for avoiding fire damage repair in Coumbia this holiday.

Start with a state of mind. You hear the holiday fire tragedies every year. Someone left a wood stove unattended after stoking it too hot. Or electrical wires were left exposed and a fire starts. Or someone falls asleep smoking. And we feel a sense of sadness, perhaps incorrectly tinged with the self-confident sense that it just wouldn’t happen to me.

Being less confident could save your life. With 5 minutes of forethought you might be able to identify 5 or 10 things that could make the difference between life and death if a fire ever got started. Here are a few tips. How about extra smoke detectors? If you’re reaction is, “what do you mean ‘extra’, get out there quick and get some tonight!

If a fire did start, what’s your plan? Make sure you have one, everyone in the family knows it, and create a drill to practice. In a fire, there’s lots of distraction. By practicing a fire drill, you can eliminate a big one, the question, “What do I do now?” Consider asking your fire department for help in creating a drill.

Think about your wiring. Does it need inspecting? How about wires you can see—do you have any extension cords that have…more extension cords? That’s a hazard.

Do you heat with space heaters? Can they fall over? What happens if they do? They should be built to shut off immediately. If they don’t, replace them  Place some fire extinguishers near where fires might start, like the kitchen, the fireplace, etc. And replace extinguishers that are too old.

Holidays and candles go together. Set some simple rules: don’t leave a candle burning in a room alone. Keep them in candleholders, and the big squat ones on plates. And before you light one, answer this question: what are you doing with the match after it’s blown out? Make sure it’s really out by wetting it.

Be mindful of the odd tragedies that should never have happened as a way to keep your guard up. A few years ago, someone emptied a wood stove and left the bucket of ashes, with embers, close to the house. The house caught fire from wind blowing the embers and several family members who were asleep that night lost their lives in the fire.

The point is, if you keep asking, how can I prevent even unlikely fires from starting, you’ll have a safer holiday season.

It’s strange to say given that we are in the business of fire damage repair in Columbia, we are here for you, but we hope you never need to call us. Have a safe season.

 

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