Catastrophe Services, Inc. Blog

Storm Damage

• March 2, 2016 • No comments yet

It may feel like spring, but we’re not quite there yet.

Snow, ice, and damaging winter weather might not have the immediate impact of hurricanes, but winter can be just as damaging—so keep these tips in mind as we ride out the season.

Check your roof. Cold nights and warm days can push your roof to the breaking point. Replace buckled, broken, or missing shingles immediately, and make sure caulk is tight around chimneys, vents, skylights, etc. This is cheap and easy if you have experience working on roofs and the help to do it safely, but we recommend using a professional.

Manage your gutters. Are they clean? Do you have ice dams? (Large icicles often indicate dams.) There’s no substitute for getting up on a ladder to check, or having a professional do it for you. Watch for gutters that are leaky, dislodged, or improperly pitched, too. Downspouts should be extended 4-5 feet from the house.

Inspect the fabric. Look for cracks in foundations, driveways, window frames, and other places that get hammered by water. Unlike the problems above, they can wait to be fixed until warmer weather—but don’t forget!

Catastrophe Services is your partner for winter storm damage in South Carolina. When disaster strikes, we help you get your life back—but we prefer keeping it away entirely!

• January 22, 2016 • No comments yet

After the year we’ve had in South Carolina, basement flooding is a sore subject. So accept our apologies, please, but with spring rains coming, it’s all the more reason to revisit how to prevent and mitigate basement floods in SC.

Keep your eyes open. Are there cracks in your foundation? Are windows broken or badly insulated? Get professional help. Also make sure your gutters are clean, with runoff points far from the building. If puddles form at runoff points, your soil is probably saturated. Consult a landscaper or plumber to help with drainage.

Guard your foundation. Protecting your foundation from seepage or floods depends on the water threat, your location, and the age of your home. Many concrete waterproofing methods are available, but consult a qualified concrete, foundation, or waterproofing contractor before proceeding.

If a flood has occurred, don’t enter the basement until the electricity has been shut off and you’re sure that no open circuits are in the area. Don’t touch any electrical equipment while standing in water. Remove excess water with buckets or a wet vac where possible. Call your insurance company and call us to learn more about water damage restoration.

Repairing your flood-damaged basement requires professional help. Even minor floods can cause serious mold issues, which threaten your health, the building’s value, and its architectural integrity. After salvaging property and repairing the fabric, a disaster recovery specialist will make sure there’s no mold damage.

If you have a flood-damaged basement in South Carolina, Catastrophe Services will restore it to its previous condition, or better. Give us a call at 803-788-1800. It’s our business to help you get your life back.

• January 15, 2016 • No comments yet

We normally devote this space to practical, hands-on disaster preparation and response—things like emergency kits and flood warnings. But since storm damage repair is expensive, and South Carolina has rarely faced such severe weather as we did in 2015, we’re going to offer a few tips on saving money.

Use windfalls wisely. Get a bonus from work? An inheritance or gift? Use a third to pay debt, a third for present costs, and save a third for the future.

Try to keep a slush fund. It’s easier said than done, but try to keep a slush fund handy—a money-market savings account specifically devoted to emergencies.

Lose the debit card. A radical step? Sure. But by making tiny purchases easy—think about all those late-night pizzas and candy bars—your debit card may cost your money. Figure out a cash budget for the week and stick to it.

Invest. Again, it’s not always easy. But investing 6 percent of your monthly income will leave you a good cushion for the future.

If storm damage strikes you, Catastrophe Services will work with you and your insurance company to restore your property to its previous condition or better. We’re cost-effective, and our record across South Carolina speaks for itself; but insurance doesn’t always cover doing the job right. Financial preparedness is the first step to a smooth storm damage repair process.

Do you have questions about storm damage repair in South Carolina? Call us. We’re here to help.

• 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.

• January 1, 2016 • No comments yet

Just as South Carolina begins to heal from the historic floods of October 2015, more flooding has been reported upstate.

On December 30 the South Carolina Highway Patrol reported flooding on many roads in Greenville, Cherokee, Greenwood, Spartanburg, and Laurens counties. A full list of affected roads is here. [LINK:]

Avoid flooded roads, as cars can be swept away by water.

Greenwood County appears to be worst affected; the American Red Cross has opened a shelter at the Main Street United Methodist Church, 211 North Main Street, Greenwood.

Remember flood defenses:

  • Assemble a family emergency kit.
  • Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
  • Heed flood warnings and head to higher ground.
  • Never drive or wade in floodwaters. If necessary, abandon your car and head to high ground.
  • Keep kids out of floodwater.
  • Be especially cautious at night, when it’s hard to recognize rising water.

Catastrophe Services joins with our neighbors to repair storm damage in South Carolina. If you’ve been affected by South Carolina storm damage, give us a call—we heal homes, restore businesses, and help you get your life back on track.

• August 5, 2015 • No comments yet

Whether it’s a broken pipe or storm runoff, dealing with a water damage basement cleanup is serious business.

Significant standing water calls for immediate professional help, of course; we’ve covered what to do in an emergency. But we want to emphasize that any flooding event carries the risk for mold that you can’t see. That’s why it’s important to consult your insurance company and a disaster restoration specialist.

During water damage basement cleanup in Columbia or elsewhere, Catastrophe Services will look for mold in out-of-reach places like inside walls, ceilings, and ductwork and underneath cabinets or sub-flooring. If we suspect mold, we’ll test air quality to gauge the severity of the problem and then later to ensure it’s been eradicated.

Again, mold can grow from even minor flooding events—and quickly become a serious structural and health threat. Keep mold at bay by consulting your insurance company and a disaster restoration specialist for water damage basement cleanup.

Got questions about water damage basement cleanup in Columbia or elsewhere in South Carolina? Give us a call. We’re happy to hear from you.

• August 3, 2015 • No comments yet

As the storm approached, you did all you could to get ready.

You secured loose objects, turned off natural gas, and rehearsed a communication strategy. Your emergency kit helped keep your family safe, dry, and healthy while your home or business was in the storm’s path.  Now it’s time to assess the damage. Here’s a checklist on how to get started with storm damage repair in South Carolina:

Look closely. Are there fuel or gas leaks? Are pipes broken or foundations damaged? What about live wires? Leave the property immediately if you see any of these conditions.

Call the experts. An experienced disaster relief specialist will secure the scene quickly and safely, paying special attention to fire, air quality, and other hazards.

Help out. If the scene is safe, cover broken windows/torn roof coverings and clean drains as possible. Take damaged goods away—they may be combustible.

Catastrophe Services is one of South Carolina’s premier disaster relief specialists. As your neighbors, we understand what storm damage means to South Carolina, and it’s our mission to help you get your life back quickly and safely.  Storm damage repair is one of our specialties.  Take a look around the site for more on how we do it, or give us a call. We look forward to hearing from you.

• 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 9, 2014 • No comments yet

Before you contact a home restoration company, there are some important things you need to know. Learn the facts about storm damage in Columbia, SC.  One good place to start assessing things is to categorize the damage. “Storm damage” encompasses a lot of different kinds of damage, all of which require a different approach.  Water damage is usually a factor in storms. There the goal is to wring it out and sort it out and sometimes throw it out with a variety of techniques and equipment.  Right on the heels of that same water damage can be mold growth. Removing it can look easy—just scrape it off, many will think. But if the goal is to remove it so it won’t grow back, and to get back to a surface that can be pained without showing stains, it’s a little more complicated.  Another type of storm damage in Columbia, SC, is structural. This can be caused by water, of course, but also by falling trees and other debris that can be hurled around in high wind storms.  When storm damage hits home in Columbia, SC, assessing how much damage you are facing can be more easily done by thinking along these types outlined here: water drying, mold removal, and structural damage.  Need a hand assessing the size of what you are confronting? Give us a call; we’ll be right over.

• October 31, 2014 • No comments yet

Storm damage repair in South Carolina can involve a wide range of skills – and equipment. If you’ve done this before professionally, then you’ll know what equipment to rent -and we’ll be glad to supply it; we have it all. But if you are new to this, you’ll want to consider a few things before plunging in.

At the top of the list: who can do this safely? Usually that’s a crew with a lot of experience under their belt. They know what they have to do before they start (make sure the electricity is disconnected, for starters), and they assess what they will need to get the job done. For example, will a cherry picker truck be needed to get to that damaged tree safely?

You’ll also want to consult with your insurance agency. What is covered, what is not covered, and is there a clause that prohibits you from doing some aspects of the work yourself if you expect the insurance company to pay?

You’ll also need insured professionals—a company that won’t be going after you if an accident happens.

It’s important to look at the company’s affiliations. Are the registered with the Better Business Bureau? Do they have an affiliation with the US EPA? And so on.

Lastly, a reason why so many people find hiring experts compelling is the speed with which they can get the job done. You don’t want to live in a restoration project as it drags on and on while you juggle a busy life on top of trying to fix everything. You want to live in your restored home. We’ll help you reach that point quickly.

As restoration specialists, Catastrophe Services, has been serving the area since 1989. If you need storm damage repair or cleanup in SC, please call us at 803-788-1800.

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