Recent Storm Damage Posts

Roof Damage in Missoula?

6/23/2020 (Permalink)

Roof shingles are shown blown off a roof top. Wind damage happens in Missoula.

Severe Weather and Wind Cause Property Damage

Severe weather, especially wind can cause all kinds of storm damage to your home or commercial business. As you can see in the picture, the wind has ripped off some the roof shingles, and water damage can be seen around the chimney and other areas where the roof shingles are lost, allowing water intrusion into the attic and into the interior of the structure. Water can use the chimney as a path to reach even deeper inside the structure and will begin to cause damage to the insulation and drywall if left unrepaired for too long. Even one week of water damage left untreated can increase the cost of repairs significantly. SERVPRO® of Missoula wants Missoula home owners to know that our team of professionals are some of the most highly trained technicians in Montana. We take pride in our ability to respond to any size storm emergency and we are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Call Us Today

SERVPRO® of Missoula wants you to know that when you experience storm damage, we are Here to Help. ® Our emergency response time is under 60 minutes for the Missoula area. Call us today at 406-327-9500. We’ll clean and restore your property damage so it's “Like it never even happened.”

SERVPRO® of Missoula is Independently Owned and Operated.

What to do when a lightning storm strikes Missoula

6/18/2020 (Permalink)

Lightning strikes a mountain top. When thunder roars, go indoors!

Just as snow is expected during a Montana winter, so are thunderstorms expected during a Montana summer. Here in the Missoula Valley, it is not uncommon for hundreds of lightning strikes to occur over the course of a single stormy weekend. And while lightning against the backdrop of the Bitterroot Mountains can offer some of the most stunning sights of summer, they are also cause for education and preparation.

The National Weather Service estimates that 49 people are killed by lightning in the United States each year, and thunderstorms are also often accompanied by harsh winds, hail, and even flash flooding. For these reasons, it’s important to remember the slogan “When thunder roars, go indoors!” Take refuge in a car or building for the duration of the storm, check for alerts and updates from local authorities, unplug appliances, and do not use landline phones. Once it’s safe to go outside, be on the lookout for downed power lines and trees, and report them immediately.

To better prepare your home and your family for future thunderstorms, Ready.gov recommends signing up for emergency alerts (check out our other Storm blog “Missoula County Emergency Alerts”), cutting down or trimming trees that could fall under the force of powerful winds, and buying surge protectors to protect your appliances and electronics from power surges.

And if your home suffers damage from a lightning-caused fire or a water damage from a flash-flood, call SERVPRO of Missoula to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Links:

https://www.SERVPROmissoula.com/blog/storm

https://www.ready.gov/thunderstorms-lightning

Storm Damage in East Missoula?

6/15/2020 (Permalink)

Computer equipment exposed to smoke during a fire has been professionally cleaned and is ready to be reinstalled in an office We are fire damage restoration specialists in Missoula.

Storm Damage in Missoula

Snow, flooding, thunderstorms, lightning, high winds, and hail cause property damage in Missoula. Last month there was flooding at the Clark Fork River and last year there were over 3180 home and auto claims made due to hail damage. Downed trees and powerlines can cause property damage, lightning and downed power lines can cause fire damage, and heavy winds can bring both. Missoula is no stranger to storm damage!

Amazing Response Time

SERVPRO® of Missoula wants the residents and commercial business owners in East Missoula to know that no matter what form of storm damage you experience, we are ready to respond to your emergency 24 hours a day, and our average response times are well under 60 minutes for the Missoula area, any time of the day or night.

Highly Trained

Our technicians are some of the most highly trained professionals in the region. Our technicians undergo initial intensive training when hired, and undergo employee certification and continuous training for:

  • Crew Training
  • Fire Restoration
  • Water Restoration
  • Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning

Call Us Today

If your home or commercial business experiences storm damage in East Missoula, SERVPRO® of Missoula is Here to Help. ® Call us today at 406-327-9500. We’ll cleanup and restore your storm damage “Like it never even happened.”

SERVPRO® of Missoula is Independently Owned and Operated.

Sheltering-in-place in your Missoula home

6/4/2020 (Permalink)

A SERVPRO disaster response site. SERVPRO of Missoula provides disaster response after sheltering-in-place events.

In the age of COVID-19, Americans have become experts at prolonged sheltering. And while it may at first seem more disheartening than productive to think up other scenarios where we might have to shelter, there has probably never been a better time to make sure that everyone in your family knows what to do in different sheltering situations.  

Ready.gov defines three different types of sheltering, of which Stay-at-home is the most familiar to our community at this moment in time. When the local, state, or federal government issues stay-at-home orders, this means only leaving home for essential activities (grocery shopping, medical attention, etc.) and adhering to social distancing guidelines when in public. Because it is still possible to acquire essential items throughout the duration of a stay-at-home order, you do not need to prepare for a stay-at-home order by stockpiling supplies. Instead, limit grocery trips to once per week and utilize online ordering, contactless payments, and social distancing as much as possible.

Mass Care Shelters are another type of sheltering that you may have to utilize in the event of a natural disaster (hurricane, flood, fire, etc) that affects your home. While these shelters are meant to provide essential supplies to those sheltering there, you should also bring along your own emergency kit with food and water for everyone in your family for at least three days, and any necessary medication (see the full emergency supply list at https://www.ready.gov/kit).

When a dangerous situation unfolds outside, immediate Sheltering-in-place may be necessary. While this can happen for a number of reasons—a chemical spill, an explosion, an act of violence—all of them are unpredictable. In these situations, Ready.gov says to “use common sense and available information to assess the situation and determine if there is immediate danger.” If there is, find an indoor space nearby that you can safely stay for several hours if necessary. Lock doors and windows, seal air vents and shut off air systems, and monitor local news to determine when it is safe to leave your shelter.

SERVPRO of Missoula is prepared to help in the aftermath of any sheltering-in-place event, be it a full home cleaning following quarantining, or flood or fire restoration after a natural disaster – call SERVPRO of Missoula at 406-327-9500.

How to prepare for a power outage in your Missoula neighborhood

5/7/2020 (Permalink)

Emergency supplies sitting on a counter during a power outage. If you have an emergency preparedness kit at home, you’re probably already prepared for a power outage!

Power outages are a familiar television trope—watch any sit-com long enough, and you’re likely to encounter and an episode wherein the characters battle darkness, boredom, and melting ice cream. They’re often woefully unprepared, but usually manage to scrounge up some candles and a guitar to play until the lights come back on. In reality, power outages don’t include scripted comic-relief and don’t end at the 30-minute mark, but they also don’t have to turn into a real-life drama.

Although power outages often occur without warning—as they’re most often caused by storm events or vehicle accidents damaging power lines—by preparing now, you and your family can be ready to ride out a power outage safely, and return to normal life quickly after power is restored. To start, you’ll want to create/restock your home’s emergency kit with extra batteries for any devices you’re likely to use in the event of an outage, a flashlight for every member of the household, a battery-powered radio, and non-perishable food (including bottled water). Your home should also have a carbon monoxide detector with a battery back-up, and you want to make sure you’re signed up for local emergency alerts on at least one mobile device (check out our previous blogs “Missoula County Emergency Alerts” and “Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in your Missoula home.”) Persons with electric medical equipment or refrigerated medication should consult with a physician for guidance on power outage preparation.

If a power outage does occur in your Missoula neighborhood, remember that you’re prepared and there’s no need to panic. Keep refrigerators and freezers closed to keep their internal temperatures down and protect your perishable foods. Also, disconnect appliances and electronics with power cords to protect them from damage during power surges, and remember to never operate generators, camp stoves, or grills inside, or attempt to use a gas stove to heat your home. If safe, hunker down at home until the power outage is over. However, if extreme temperatures threaten the health of your family, travel to a community center where heat or air conditioning is available.

When power is returned after an outage, relax! You weathered the storm, and hopefully, you and your family can go right back to business as usual. Just don’t celebrate with those steaks that sat at 40° for two hours or longer (or any other refrigerated foods in that case – throw them out!) And if the power outage was caused by a storm that, in turn, caused water damage in your home, Call SERVPRO of Missoula to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Emergency Readiness at Home: Your Missoula Evacuation Plan

2/13/2020 (Permalink)

Cars evacuate an area surrounded by forest fire. Disasters are scary, but having a plan makes them less so.

Disasters happen. It’s frightening to think about the possibility of having to flee your home due to a widespread emergency, but it’s even more frightening to think that you would be completely unprepared for such a situation. By making just a few considerations now, you and your family can be ready for an evacuation in the future.

If a local emergency triggers an evacuation, your family will need a place to go. That’s why the first step in your evacuation plan should be designating two or three out-of-town locations in separate directions where you could go. These locations could be hotels or houses of friends or family, and if you have pets it’s important to make sure they can shelter your pets, too. Then make sure you’re familiar with alternate routes away from your home, and means of public transportation in case driving your personal vehicle isn’t an option.

With many weather events and some natural disasters (like forest fires), there may be forewarning that you’ll need to evacuate. In these cases, make sure to keep your gas tank full and to create a “go-bag” of essentials that you can pick up and take with you at a moment’s notice. When local officials give the word to evacuate, take as few cars as possible and stick to recommended evacuation routes as shortcuts could be blocked. Before you leave, it’s also best to unplug electrical equipment (though it’s only necessary to unplug refrigerators and freezers if there’s a risk of flooding), lock all of your doors and windows, and activate your family communication plan by letting an out-of-town family member know where you’re going and when you arrive. Only return home once local officials have said it’s safe to do so.

Overall, when a local emergency that necessitates evacuation has occurred or may occur, the most important steps to take are to keep updated with local news radio, and to always follow local officials’ instructions. For more information on emergency preparedness, check out the other blogs in the “storm” category, and ready.gov/plan

Missoula County Emergency Alerts

1/30/2020 (Permalink)

A black and white photo of an emergency call box on a college campus. You have to know about an emergency before you can react to it; check out your local alert options today!

Here at SERVPRO of Missoula, we discuss emergency preparedness quite often—how to prepare for emergency situations, what to do during an emergency, steps to take after an emergency has occurred. But how do we know when to put all this preparation into action? Not all emergencies are immediately obvious to us like a kitchen fire or flooded home might be; sometimes situations develop outside our sphere of awareness which still necessitate emergency action, like evacuating or sheltering in place. That’s why it’s important to be aware of emergency alert systems and make sure each member of your household is set up to receive alerts in a way that’s best for them.

Almost all (>99%) of wireless subscribers get messages via the WEA (Wireless Emergency Alert) system, which sends location-specific messages about extreme threats. For instance, residence in an affected area may be notified about an AMBER alert, a hurricane warning, or a terror threat via a WEA message. Local law enforcement agencies often have emergency alert systems, as well. If you live in Missoula County, you can sign up for Smart911 (smart911.com) to receive information about local emergencies via text, email, and/or voice message; if you live in Ravalli County, you can sign up for Hyper-Reach (http://hyper-reach.com/mtravallisignup.html) and choose from the same notification options. FEMA and the American Red Cross also have mobile apps with customizable emergency alert options, with the latter offering a “Family Safe” feature that allows you to send alerts to family and check in with them during an emergency. Most of these apps are available in Spanish as well as English, and offer TTY/TDD compatible messaging.

The sooner you know about an emergency situation, the sooner you can put your emergency preparation into action and ensure yours and your family’s safety. Head to your city or county’s official website today and check out your options for being in the know!

What to do during and after a winter storm in Missoula

12/12/2019 (Permalink)

A hillside in a snow storm. Montana winters are unpredictable, but having an emergency plan means never being caught off guard!

With Christmas closing in so quickly, hopefully by now you’ve done all your winter prep work—your pantries are stocked with non-perishables, your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors have been recently checked, and your pipes have been winterized. But what do you do when the words “Winter Storm Warning” actually appear on the forecast?

According to the American Red Cross, a Winter Storm Warning means “life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours.” When you see one go into effect on your local broadcast, the first thing you should do is get yourself, your family, and your companion animals to a safe place and remain indoors; avoid travel unless it is absolutely necessary (and even then, use public transport whenever possible). If you have livestock, make sure they have access to shelter and non-frozen water. Then, stay updated; keep a battery-powered radio tuned to your local news broadcast or NOAA station to get live-updates on weather conditions.

Winter storms can last for several hours or even days, especially here in Missoula and throughout Western Montana, which is why it’s so important to have that emergency kit well stocked and accessible. While you and your family are hunkered down, make sure everyone keeps hydrated (this means avoiding caffeine and alcohol, which can both lead to dehydration) and eats regularly, as the body needs energy to produce heat. Storms often put a stress on power systems, so conserve energy by closing doors to unused rooms and by setting your thermostat to 65°F during the day and 55°F at night.

If you must go outside during a storm, wear layered clothing, gloves, a hat, and cover your mouth. Avoid talking and taking deep breaths to protect your lungs from frigid air, and avoid overexertion; shoveling snow is a leading cause of heart attacks in the winter, and sweating in freezing conditions can lead to hypothermia.

Even after a winter storm has ended, it’s important to stay warm and tuned-in to local news for travel conditions. Always think safety first! And for more details on what to do during and after a winter storm, check out https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies.html

Preparing for Missoula's winter storms

10/23/2019 (Permalink)

Snow covered pine tree branches are tangled in power lines. It’s important to prepare for winter storms before severe weather strikes.

Like those Christmas decorations in the department store, it may seem a bit early to think about winter storms, much less prepare your home for one. However, the middle of a blizzard is hardly the time to wonder when your heating system was last serviced. By taking action now, you can head into the holiday season comfortable in the knowledge that your home and family will be safe in the face of severe winter weather.

Before those nightly temperatures plummet, you’ll want to take preventative measures to keep your pipes from freezing (stay tuned for another post with more info), and help your home retain heat by weather-stripping doors and windowsills and replacing your heating system’s filter. Then, you might consider buying emergency heating equipment (and fuel) or a portable backup generator—but not before checking that your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector are in good working order! And in case you’re unable to leave your home for a prolonged amount of time due to weather conditions, having a stock of non-perishable food items in your pantry is always a good idea.

While you can hopefully avoid the roads entirely during a winter storm, in the event that you’re caught traveling or need to evacuate an area when a storm strikes, you also want to be sure your vehicle is winter-ready. The American Red Cross recommends having a maintenance check and tire evaluation in autumn so that any necessary maintenance can be completed before winter arrives, and having an emergency road kit with the following provisions: a windshield scraper, a small sack of sand (for generating traction), matches in a waterproof container, tire chains or traction mats, a bright red cloth to tie to your antenna, warm clothing, water and snack food, and a battery-powered radio.

It’s never too early to think about emergency preparedness—for more way to get started, check out the free SERVPRO Ready Plan App in the app store or at https://ready.SERVPRO.com/.

How SERVPRO of Missoula makes storm damage "Like it never even happened."

8/30/2019 (Permalink)

A window is obscured by raindrops. Heavy rain storms can cause flooding in your Missoula, MT home

When your home falls victim to storm damage, the hours and days immediately following can seem chaotic and even a bit hopeless. However, one of the worst things you can do in this event is to wait. The longer it takes cleanup & restoration professionals to arrive, the more mitigation and repairs may be necessary. Acting quickly and having an idea of what to expect will help ease your mind.

Our technicians here at SERVPRO of Missoula are trained in a number of storm damage cleanup and restoration services, including the most common type of property damage caused by storms: flooding. Here’s what you can expect when you call SERVPRO of Missoula after a storm has brought flood waters into your home or business:

  • If there is standing water, our technicians will remove any affected contents to prevent further damage, and then use pumps to extract the water.
  • For carpeted areas, our technicians will lift the carpet and pull the pad underneath before relaying the carpet and placing drying equipment (fans and dehumidifiers). For tile and hardwood surfaces, we use extraction mats to help pull water from the material.
  • After removing any standing water, our technicians will use a Moisture Meter to perform a moisture inspection of the affected rooms, and continue to run drying equipment and to monitor your home until everything is confirmed to be dry.
  • For unsalvageable materials (such as affected drywall or flooring), our technicians are trained to complete the repairs necessary to make the storm “Like it never even happened.”

If a storm causes damage to your home, you do not need to feel helpless. Not only do our technicians carry the knowledge and tools to restore your home, they will work directly with you and your insurance company to make the process as easy for you as possible. Call SERVPRO of Missoula, we’re here to help.