Recent Storm Damage Posts

Kentucky Floods

8/4/2022 (Permalink)

Kentucky Flooding Flash floods have torn through Kentucky

Recent flooding in Kentucky has left the state in shambles, as the rain continues to come down and people are left scrambling. There have been a number of deaths and the water is not showing any signs of receding yet. The National Weather Service warned of the possibility of slow moving showers that could trigger even more flash flooding throughout the area. Hundreds of people have been displaced after losing their homes, leaving them without shelter, electricity or cell phone service. Over 1,300 people have been rescued already, with crews still searching the area for more people. There are still many people that are unaccounted for, but the hope is that once cell phone service is restored that they will be able to make contact and confirm their safety. Another obstacle being added to this already difficult time is the heat wave that is expected to hit Kentucky. Officials have set up cooling stations in buildings that were not affected by the flood and have been bringing in water by the truckloads.

June 1st - Hurricane Season

6/1/2022 (Permalink)

Hurricane Graph The graph displays the typical activity during hurricane season.

Today, June 1st, signals the start of the six month long Atlantic hurricane season. The Atlantic hurricane season starts June 1st and ends November 30th. According to forecasters, there are already two potential storms brewing. How is that for a hot start to hurricane season? However, one storm only has a 10% chance of forming according to the National Hurricane Center, while the other one is predicted to form near southeastern Mexico and western Cuba.

It is expected that his hurricane season will be very active, with as many as ten hurricanes possibly forming, building off an above average 2021. An average hurricane season sees about seven hurricanes. If the predictions made are accurate, this would be an astounding seven years in a row with above average hurricane activity. If you live in an area where hurricane activity is possible, it is important to be prepared, the earlier the better. Figure out evacuation areas as well as what supplies you will need to avoid panic and scrambling at the last minute. 

National Hurricane Preparedness Week

5/2/2022 (Permalink)

2022 Hurricane names These are the 21 storm names for the 2022 Hurricane Season.

May 1st, 2022 signified the start of National Hurricane Preparedness Week. Even though in our area of the country this is not something we have to worry about directly, the rainfall from hurricanes can travel hundreds of miles inland so it is still important to be informed and prepared. This blog is going to highlight important steps to take to prepare for a hurricane as well as its aftermath.

1. Determine Your Risk - Assess your area to determine possible wind and water damage and develop a plan of how you would handle them.

2. Develop an Evacuation Plan - If you live in a hurricane evacuation zone or a flood prone area you will need to leave that area. Having a plan of where you will go can save you time and stress. Make sure to account for pets in your plan. 

3. Assemble Disaster Supplies - It is recommended that you have enough supplies to last each member of your family for at least 3 days. This includes food, water, medicine, and it is also recommended you have a battery powered radio and flashlights with you. 

4. Check on Your Insurance - Call your insurance agent to ensure that your coverage is enough to repair or replace your home and belongings.

5. Strengthen Your Home - Boarding up your windows and doors with plywood or aluminum panels will save them from breaking or being damaged. 

The time to prepare for a hurricane is not when it is at your doorstep. Starting your preparations early and having a plan can save you a lot of stress. Allowing yourself time to think out your plan will prevent you from having to make any rash decisions. 

Hurricanes and Their Names

5/2/2022 (Permalink)

Hurricane names This image shows the 6 lists of 21 names that are rotated every 6 years.

Do you ever wonder how hurricanes get there names? Well if the answer to that question is yes, then you're in the right spot. When it comes to determining the names of hurricanes, that is the responsibility of The World Meteorological Organization, or WMO, located in Geneva, Switzerland.  The names are split into six lists that rotate every six years. So there is a possibility that some names may sound familiar due to them being repeated. However, if the storm was greatly destructive or deadly, they remove those names from the list such as Katrina, Irma or Dorian.

The names on the list are chosen from Spanish, French and English origins, since those are the languages spoken in the countries that are impacted the most by hurricanes. Each list consists of 21 names, and sometimes there are more than 21 named storms, there is an alternate list that they can turn to. In the past, they would use Greek letter names, but have since gone away with that because it was too difficult and confusing.

Tornadoes Hit Texas, Oklahoma

3/22/2022 (Permalink)

Tornado Tornadoes touched down in central and northern Texas as well as southern Oklahoma.

Just last week we highlighted tornado season and some ways that you can be prepared in the event of a tornado. Well right on que, tornadoes touched down in both Texas and Oklahoma. A total of 20 tornadoes were reported on Monday night, 19 of them being in central and northern Texas. A number of businesses and homes suffered severe damage resulting in roofing and siding being ripped off. To go along with the strong gusts of wind, hail the size of golf balls was reported causing significant damage. Additional tornado warnings have been declared for parts of Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas as the same storm makes its way east. An event like this that can span multiple days shows just how important it is to be prepared in case the worst case scenario happens. There is no doubt that SERVPRO will be there to help when they are called upon.

Tornado Preparedness

3/14/2022 (Permalink)

Tornado This tornado left these homes with severe damage. This shows how important it is to be in a safe location.

As we find ourselves in the middle of March, this usually means two things, warm weather is coming and so is tornado season. In the Midwest, tornado season typically runs from March to early June. Just last year, we had a tornado hit only a couple miles from where our office is located. When something like that happens right in your backyard it makes you realize how important it is to be prepared for the situation. Here are some tips to help you prepare in the event of a tornado;

It is important to identify the safest location in your house, this is usually a basement, storm cellar, or an interior room on the lowest level of the home with no windows. If you live in a mobile home, make your way to the nearest tornado shelter or permanent structure. 

Putting together an emergency kit will go a long way in helping you through the event. The kit should contain things such as food, water, flashlights, batteries, and any medications your family may need. A radio is good to keep on hand so you can receive updates in the event that your phone dies or has no service.

Ensure your family knows how to get in touch with each other in the event someone gets separated. Develop a plan, whether that be meeting at a specific location, contacting a neighbor, etc. Relying on a phone call is risky due to the volume of calls and the possibility of the lines getting jammed.

Being prepared will go a long way in providing you and your family with safety and security in the event of a tornado. 

Storm Season

6/2/2021 (Permalink)

Hurricane A hurricane forming in the Gulf of Mexico

This storm season follows up one of the most active storm seasons in recent memory. Last year we saw 30 named storms, and although this year doesn't project to be as active, we will still see a healthy amount of storms. We are expected to have between 13 and 20 storms. They officially become storms once winds reach over 39 mph. According to the NOAA, the average storm season brings about 14 named storms, which means the predictions for this year could be spot on or we could see a couple more. Obviously it is very hard to predict these storms so it is good to always be prepared, especially if you live in areas near the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. 

Hurricane Season

5/24/2021 (Permalink)

Hurricane A hurricane forming in the Atlantic Ocean

The official start of Hurricane Season is June 1st and runs all the way through November 30th. Here at SERVPRO, this can be a very busy time of year for us. Last year, a record breaking 30 storms developed in the Atlantic, with 13 becoming hurricanes and then 6 becoming major hurricanes, according to the NOAA. 

These storms can bring a large amount of damage and devastation. Peoples homes will flood and their belongings will be destroyed, that is where we come in. We travel to these places along with dozens of other SERVPRO franchises to help out and take some of the workload off of the local franchises.

This year the NOAA is predicting 13-20 storms, 6-10 of which could become hurricanes. So if things go according to their predictions, this could be another very busy summer and fall for SERVPRO's all over the country. 

Summer Storm Prep

5/21/2021 (Permalink)

Summer storms can do some damage! Tornado in Illinois

As we get ready to enter into summer, we want to make sure our community is well prepared and informed of what to do in case the storms get way out of hand. To ensure you and your loved ones are safe during this upcoming storm season, read along for these tips on what to do to be storm safe:

  1. Know Your Risks: One the most important things you can do is understand how susceptible your area is to bad weather. Being informed of the likelihood of how a storm, can affect your area by keeping up to date with weather announcement and local and governments 
  2. Build an Emergency Kit: This one sounds simple, but it is often overlooked. Keeping an emergency kit that is stocked with water, canned foods, non perishables, and comfort items such as blankets and toys could be the difference between a disaster and an inconvenience. 
  3. Review And Gather Documents: Review your policies ahead of time to see what is covered and if flood insurance is available to you. Gather important documents such as insurance policies, IDs, birth certificates, deeds, or even sentimental documents and keep them in a fireproof and waterproof safe. 
  4. Be Informed: Knowing where to go and who to call is key to staying safe. Having an evacuation plan in place in the event of a disaster ensures members of your household know what to do in case home isn’t the safest place to be. Have a planned route and an alternate route to get to a safe place away from the storm.
  5. Strengthen Your Home: Taking a look around your property to see if you are vulnerable in the event of a hurricane is a key factor in minimizing your risk of damage. By looking for vulnerable areas, you’ll be able to address them and fortify and susceptible areas around the home or property.

Implementing these tips will help you face this storm season and minimize the risk of your property being a victim of the elements. Keep SERVPRO of Evanston in mind for all your storm damage restoration needs. 

How to Handle Storm Damage to Your Property

5/21/2021 (Permalink)

Storms can lead to a multitude of damage to your home or business.

Our team at SERVPRO of Evanston is prepared for the storms that will hit the Chicagoland area this summer. There is potential for severe weather and with this comes overwhelming precipitation, wind speeds, and debris that can expose weak points in construction like gutters and downspouts. You may find it necessary to clean up water damage in your home. Fortunately, there are many professionals who can help. Dealing with repairs and insurance companies after severe weather hits your property can be difficult. Homeowners can use the following tips to help tackle the storm damage caused by hard rains, flooding, or storm-related issues. Here are a few helpful storm tips you may wish to know before you begin the cleanup process 

1. Follow Safety Procedures - It's important to follow safety procedures before you proceed with storm cleanup. For example, turn off any electricity before entering a flooded area, and only use properly rated equipment when removing water.

 2. Contact Your Insurance - You may also wish to contact your insurance about the damage to your property. Repairs can begin before your agent arrives on the scene, but you may find your insurance company has a couple of recommendations for local storm damage restoration companies, like SERVPRO of Evanston, you can work with.

 3. Contact a Professional Quickly - Another among many commonly recommended storm tips, is to contact a professional for any repairs that need to be made. This will help ensure that the restoration is conducted properly, and in some cases can help your insurance claim as well. 

4. Wear Safety Gear - It's also important to wear the proper safety gear when entering the space. This may include work gloves, a face mask, clothing that covers the skin, proper shoes, and depending on the damage type a work helmet. 

5. Cover Over Damaged Areas - Another step many professionals recommend is to cover over any damages until repairs can be made. This will help prevent further damage and help keep animals out of your home.

Remember to follow these helpful storm tips when restoring your home. Always follow safety procedures such as turning off any electricity and wearing the proper safety equipment. It's also wise to contact a professional to perform any repairs, as well as your insurance company for any recommendations they may have. You should also cover over any damaged space until the repairs can begin in the area. Our team at SERVPRO of Evanston is part of the larger, national Brand of SERVPRO Industries. In the event of damage from this storm, our teams have the ability to call in reinforcements. Know that you can trust SERVPRO of Evanston to put your home or business back together, “Like it never even happened.”

When Storms or Floods Hit, Evanston SERVPRO is ready!

9/4/2020 (Permalink)

Storm Flooding Our highly trained crews are ready to respond 24/7 to storm or flood damage in Evanston, IL!

SERVPRO of Evanston specializes in storm and flood damage restoration.  Our crews are highly trained and we use specialized equipment to restore your property to its pre-storm condition.

Faster Response

Since we are locally owned and operated, we are able to respond quicker with the right resources, which is extremely important. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces the restoration cost.

Resources to Handle Floods and Storms

When storms hit Evanston IL, we can scale our resources to handle a large storm or flooding disaster. We can access equipment and personnel from a network of 1,650 Franchises across the country and elite Disaster Recovery Teams that are strategically located throughout the United States.

Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today 847.763.7010

Tornado Season

5/27/2020 (Permalink)

Tornado It is important to be ready for a tornado.

Living in the Midwest, we are at an increased risk for tornadoes already. On top of that, according to the AccuWeather forecast for 2020 the United States should experience about 1,350 to 1,450 tornadoes this season -- more than the normal average. The U.S. tornado season typically runs from March through November, and as May is coming to a  close, we are right in the heart of it. 2020 has already been the deadliest tornado season since 2011 and it is nowhere near over yet. While we cannot control the weather, it is important to make sure we are prepared for when the worst comes. There are a number of ways you can be ready for a tornado if it comes. 

Being Ready Ahead of Time

  • Know when the area you live in is at risk. 
  • Know the signs of a tornado (rotating funnel-shaped cloud, an approaching cloud of debris, a loud roar). 
  • Sign up for your community's warning system. 
  • Pay attention to weather reports. 
  • Identify a safe shelter. 

Safety During a Tornado 

  • Immediately go to your safe location. 
  • Shield your head and neck with your arms or by putting furniture or blankets around you. 
  • Listen to local weather stations for emergency information and instructions. 
  • Do not try to outrun a tornado in your vehicle. 

Staying Safe After a Tornado

  • Keep listening to the weather channel for updated information. 
  • If trapped, cover your mouth with a cloth of mask to avoid breathing in dust. Send a text, bang something on a wall, or whistle instead of shouting for help. 
  • Stay away from fallen power lines or broken utility lines. 
  • Do not enter a damaged building until you are told they are safe. 

And remember that in the event of a tornado, SERVPRO of Evanston is always ready to help with the cleanup. 

Standing Water Precautions

5/18/2020 (Permalink)

Storm flooding Standing water due to recent storms in Bolingbrook, IL.

When flood water intrudes into your home or commercial business it can cause what is called "standing water". This can be very dangerous if proper precautions are not taken. These are some important precautionary measures to take into consideration when dealing with standing water that  SERVPRO of Evanston took some time to compile.

Don’t drive through standing water -- turn around, don’t drown. 

  • Always follow warnings signs about flooded roads and take detours to avoid driving through standing water 

Floodwaters may contain many things that are harmful to your health. Be cautious of this. 

  • Downed power lines 
  • Human and livestock waste 
  • Household, medical, and industrial hazardous waste (chemical, biological, radiological, etc.) 
  • Lumbar, vehicles, debris 
  • Wild or stray animals (rodents or snakes) 

Protect infection of open wounds or rashes.

  • Avoid exposure to flood water if you have an open wound
  • Cover clean open wounds with a waterproof bandage 
  • Wash wound with thoroughly with soap and water 
  • Seek medical attention if signs of infection develop (swelling, redness, discharge) 

Avoid electrical hazards inside or outside your home. 

  • Shut off electrical power and natural gas or propane tanks in your home to avoid fire, electrocution, or explosions
  • NEVER touch a fallen power line. Call the power company to report fallen power lines
  • Avoid contact with overhead power lines during cleanup and other activities
  • Do not drive through standing water if downed power lines are in the water
  • If you believe someone has been electrocuted, call 911

In the event of standing water or flood water in your home or business, SERVPRO of Evanston is happy to help make it "Like it never even happened." 

The Do's and Don'ts of Storms

5/15/2020 (Permalink)

Storm damage in home. Damage to home due to recent storm in Woodridge, IL.

These photos show damage to a home after torrential rains came down in full force in a Woodridge, IL neighborhood.  We were onsite to assist with the clean up.  

It is important to know what to do and what not to do in the event of flood damage.

After any water damage situation, your primary focus should be safety first:

  • Is it safe to stay in the house?
  • Electrical and "slip and fall" hazards are some of the most prevalent concerns.
  • Only do activities that are safe for you to perform.
  • Wet materials can be VERY heavy. Be careful!

Have A  Water Damage Emergency? Call (847)-763-7010

What To Do After Flooding

  • Remove excess water by mopping and blotting.
  • Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
  • Remove and prop wet upholstery and cushions.
  • Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
  • Turn air conditioning on for maximum drying in summer.
  • Remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
  • Remove art objects to a safe, dry place.
  • Gather loose items from floors.

What NOT To Do After Flooding

  • Don't leave wet fabrics in place. Hang furs and leather goods.
  • Don't leave books, magazines or other colored items on wet carpet or floors.
  • Don't use your household vacuum to remove water.
  • Don't use television or other household appliances.
  • Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet, and keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging.

Ready for the Storm?

5/15/2020 (Permalink)

Summer rains Summer storm season.

Summer in Illinois can bring rain and thunderstorms. It is important that you are prepared and have a plan in the event of disaster. 

Here at SERVPRO of Evanston we are always prepared and ready to help you. When you don't have a plan, we do. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals will arrive on sight promptly, ready to help. 

In case you find yourself in severe weather, here are some tips on what you can do: 

  • Get in: if you are outside, get inside. 
  • Get down: get underground if possible, or at least to the lowest floor of the building. 
  • Cover up: cover yourself or others with pillows, blankets, helmets, etc. to help protect from flying or falling debris.
  • Plan: have a plan in place with your family of what to do in a storm or disaster. 

What To Do in Event of a Storm

5/15/2020 (Permalink)

Thunderstorm Damaged church due to bad thunderstorm.

About Thunderstorms

A thunderstorm is considered severe if it produces hail at least 1 inch in diameter or has wind gusts of at least 58 miles per hour. Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people each year than tornadoes or hurricanes. Heavy rain from thunderstorms can cause flash flooding, and high winds can damage homes and blow down trees and utility poles, causing widespread power outages.

Know the Difference

 Severe Thunderstorm Watch - Severe thunderstorms are possible in and near the watch area. Stay informed and be ready to act if a severe thunderstorm warning is issued.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning - Severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. 

Every year people are killed or seriously injured by severe thunderstorms despite advance warning. While some did not hear the warning, others heard the warning and did not pay attention to it. The information in this section, combined with timely watches and warnings about severe weather, may help save lives.

How to Prepare for Thunderstorms
  • Learn about your local community’s emergency warning system for severe thunderstorms
  • Discuss thunderstorm safety and lightning safety with all members of your household
  • Pick a safe place in your home for household members to gather during a thunderstorm This should be away from windows, skylights and glass doors that could be broken by strong winds or hail
  • Make a list of items to bring inside in the event of a severe thunderstorm
  • Make trees and shrubbery more wind resistant by keeping them trimmed and removing damaged branches
  • Protect your animals by ensuring that any outside buildings that house them are protected in the same way as your home
  • Consult your local fire department if you are considering installing lightning rods
  • Get trained in first aid and learn how to respond to emergencies
  • Put together an emergency preparedness kit
  • Review the Be Red Cross Ready - Thunderstorm Safety Checklist

Responding Appropriately During a Thunderstorm

  • Listen to local news or NOAA Weather Radio for emergency updates. Watch for signs of a storm, like darkening skies, lightning flashes or increasing wind.
  • Postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are likely to occur. Many people struck by lightning are not in the area where rain is occurring.
  • If a severe thunderstorm warning is issued, take shelter in a substantial building or in a vehicle with the windows closed. Get out of mobile homes that can blow over in high winds.
  • If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger from lightning. If thunder roars, go indoors! The National Weather Service recommends staying inside for at least 30 minutes after the last thunderclap.
  • Avoid electrical equipment and telephones. Use battery-powered TVs and radios instead.
  • Shutter windows and close outside doors securely. Keep away from windows.
  • Do not take a bath, shower or use plumbing.
  • If you are driving, try to safely exit the roadway and park. Stay in the vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside the vehicle.
  • If you are outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground; water; tall, isolated trees; and metal objects such as fences or bleachers. Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are NOT safe.
Take the Appropriate Steps to Stay Safe
  • Never drive through a flooded roadway. You cannot predict how deep the water may be.
  • Stay away from storm-damaged areas to keep from putting yourself at risk from the effects of severe thunderstorms.
  • Continue to listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or to local radio and television stations for updated information or instructions, as access to roads or some parts of the community may be blocked.
  • Help people who may require special assistance, such as infants, children and the elderly or disabled.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately.
  • Watch your animals closely. Keep them under your direct control.
If Lightning Strikes

Follow these steps if someone has been struck by lightning:

  • Call for help. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number. Anyone who has sustained a lightning strike requires professional medical care.
  • Check the person for burns and other injuries. If the person has stopped breathing, call 9-1-1 and begin CPR. If the person is breathing normally, look for other possible injuries and care for them as necessary. People who have been struck by lightning do not retain an electrical charge and can be handled safely.
Let Your Family Know You're Safe

If your community has experienced a disaster, register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well website to let your family and friends know you are safe. You may also call 1-866-GET-INFO to register yourself and your family.

SERVPRO Will Weather the Storm for You

5/12/2020 (Permalink)

Storm Damaged Basement This basement has water damage from a recent storm.

This residential basement was filled with water after a storm in Evanston, IL. This image shows part of the drying process that SERVPRO Franchise Professionals are trained to manage. Using proper equipment and moisture measuring devices, SERVPRO can ensure that your building is thoroughly and properly dried to help prevent further water damage in the future. Remember, the faster the water is removed and the area is dried, the less likely it is that there will be serious damage to your home or facility.

SERVPRO of Evanston is here to help you make it "Like it never even happened." 


Are you ready?

8/12/2019 (Permalink)

Ready or not...

Summer weather in Illinois can be pretty unpredictable. Today's forecast calls for heavy wind and rains. Are you prepared to weather the storm?

Here at SERVPRO of Evanston we are always prepared to help.

Should you fall victim to flood  or storm damage, don't hesitate to call our team of professionals at (630)771-1720. We offer 24/7 emergency response to help mitigate the damage caused by water intrusion into your home. Our team of professionals can provide on site estimates or work directly with any insurance carrier to ensure that your home is restored to its preloss condition.

Our goal is to minimize the damage and frustration of storm loss to your property.

We hope to make it "Like it never even happened."

Always Here to Help

8/12/2019 (Permalink)

Don't Find Yourself Under Water

Illinois is fortunate enough to experience all four seasons.

Some of our seasons are a little bit milder than others. Summertime generally seems to bring harsher weather and storms.

When disasters such as roof leaks and flooded basements should occur due to storms make sure to call the team that has 13 years of experience helping customers walk through confusion and frustration.

We are here to help make it “Like it never even happened.”

SERVPRO of Evanston is here 24/7 365 to help you, call us at 630-771-1720

When Storms or Floods Hit Evanston, SERVPRO is Ready!

8/28/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Evanston specializes in storm and flood damage restoration.  Our crews are highly trained and we use specialized equipment to restore your property to its pre-storm condition.

Faster Response

Since we are locally owned and operated, we are able to respond quicker with the right resources, which is extremely important. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces the restoration cost.

Resources to Handle Floods and Storms

When storms hit Evanston, we can scale our resources to handle a large storm or flooding disaster. We can access equipment and personnel from a network of 1,650 Franchises across the country and elite Disaster Recovery Teams that are strategically located throughout the United States.

Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today 847-763-7010

Flood Damage Restoration Recommendations for Uninsured Losses

8/28/2017 (Permalink)

As we are still watching Houston residents escaping the floodwaters of Hurricane Harvey, it is never too soon to start to consider what steps need to be taken especially when you don’t have adequate insurance for water damage.

The following recommendations assume a flooding situation with horizontally traveling Category 3 (unsanitary) water containing silt and other contaminants have infiltrated into homes and businesses to a depth of a few inches or feet and remained for multiple days.  When structures are completely submerged or remain substantially flooded for several weeks, more elaborate procedures may be required.

  1. Foremost, consider safety:
    1. Evacuate potentially respiratory or immune-compromised, or non-essential persons (e.g., children, the elderly, pregnant women; those recovering from extended illness or surgery, or those on regimens of prescription drugs or chemotherapy). When medical questions arise, consult with public health professionals.
    2. Before entering a heavily flood-damaged structure, open windows and doors and air it out thoroughly. Ventilation must be maintained during and following the restoration effort.  This reduces but does not eliminate, the potential for inhaling pathogenic (disease causing) microorganisms.  Also, allow as much sunlight into the structure as practical, since fresh air and ultraviolet light help inhibit microorganism growth.
    3. Consider the structural integrity of a damaged building before entering. Wear protective clothing, boots with steel or fiberglass shanks, and a hard hat.  Have the building checked by a qualified builder or structural engineer when in doubt.
    4. Ensure that electrical shock hazards have been eliminated. Consult a licensed and qualified electrician when questions arise.
    5. Protect yourself from pathogenic microorganisms. Wear protective gloves before handling contaminated materials.  Splash goggles should be worn to protect and prevent microorganism entry through the eyes.  A vapor respirator (paint respirator) should be worn to prevent inhalation of most microorganisms or spores.
  2. Remove quantities of debris (silt, vegetation, floating objects) with shovels, rakes or any safe means practical. Clean and sanitize all tools when complete.
  3. Remove and dispose of drywall (Sheetrock®), paneling or other wall materials up to a point 15-24″ inches above the visible water line. If practical, stay within four feet of the floor to salvage as much wall material as practical since drywall is usually installed horizontally in 4’x8’ or 4’x12’ panels.
  4. Remove and dispose of insulation materials exposed during wall removal. Look for evidence of moisture wicking up insulation materials.  Leave only materials that are durable, dry and minimally porous, and which can be cleaned and decontaminated with relative ease.
  5. Remove and dispose of carpet, cushion, pad, felt and sheet vinyl, or laminate flooring materials. Porous materials may absorb considerable quantities of water and contaminant, and non-porous materials may trap moisture to prolong drying.  The inevitable result will be rapid microbial growth, along with associated odor and potential health hazards.  Solid wood flooring should be removed since contaminants and moisture collect underneath in hollow areas between the wood and subfloor. The following procedures may require the assistance of a professional water-damage restorer, who has specialized biocides, and application and extraction equipment, if available.
  6. While maintaining ventilation and respiratory protection, liberally spray durable salvageable materials (e.g., studs, decking, joists) with appropriate biocides. Household chlorine bleach (e.g., Clorox®) mixed 1 part bleach to 11 parts water (½%) may be used on durable, colorfast surfaces.  Never mix chlorine bleach with ammonia or strong acids!
  7. Following application of properly diluted biocides, brush agitate all areas to remove visible soils and to encourage biocide penetration into cracks and crevices. Professional restorers use pressurized spraying to accomplish this step.
  8. When fresh water is restored within the structure, flush contaminants from salvageable surfaces with a water hose or pressure washer. Work from top to bottom and from walls to flooring.
  9. Wet vacuum or mop up excess rinse water from flooring materials immediately. Thoroughly flush all contamination from wall frames.  Pressure washing, if available, is specifically recommended to flush contaminants from hard-to-access areas, following contaminated water removal with industrial wet vacuuming equipment.
  10. Repeat steps 6-9 as necessary, until all surfaces are clean and contamination is physically removed.
  11. Lightly spray a final application of an approved non-chlorinated disinfectant to all salvageable surfaces.
  12. Dry structural components with plenty of air circulation, while maintaining constant ventilation (weather conditions permitting). If practical, take advantage of low outside humidity (check local weather reports).  Use oscillating or box fans, moving them around the structure every few hours.  Avoid temperature extremes that might slow drying or promote microorganism growth (68-86oF/20-30oC is ideal for growth).  Rent high-volume professional drying equipment (airmovers and dehumidifiers) if available, especially in areas where ventilation is not possible (sealed buildings, security issues).  All electrical components that were below the water line should be checked for operational safety by a qualified contractor.
  13. Leave cleaned structural surfaces exposed for several days or even weeks, or until you are sure that they have returned to within four percentage points of normal moisture content (generally the normal moisture content of structural wood is around 10%). Otherwise, subsequent structural damage and health hazards can result after wall and flooring materials have been replaced or painted.
  14. Durable, colorfast contents (e.g., washable clothing, dishes, glassware, furniture) might be salvageable if washed in warm detergent solutions. Common sense and caution should be used in determining contents salvageability.

Where financial resources permit, comprehensive restoration should be accomplished by trained, Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) Water Damage Restoration Technicians.  They may be located by calling the IICRC referral line at 844.464.4272 (  To prevent mold growth on structural materials, property owners should consider hiring a professional restorer to evaluate moisture levels in structural materials before reconstruction.