Recent Storm Damage Posts

What to do when a lightning storm strikes Missoula

7/1/2021 (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.”

Other resources:

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

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

In case of emergency in your Missoula neighborhood: Creating a Family Communication Plan

5/20/2021 (Permalink)

person holds a Family Communication Plan document and pen Make sure your family knows where to go in an emergency!

Chances are, you won’t always be at home or with all of your immediate family members when an emergency such as a severe storm or wildfire evacuation occurs. Having a Family Emergency Communication Plan in place prior to such events can help ensure that family members know how to reach each other, and where to meet up if communication networks are down.

An Emergency Communication Plan has three categories of information:

  • Emergency Meeting Places and an Out-of-town Contact

Because emergencies can affect your home, your whole neighborhood, or even your entire town, your communication plan should have meeting places for each of these possibilities. For instance, if an emergency is contained within your home, your family could meet at a designated neighbor’s house, or a landmark down the block. If an emergency effects your entire town, your family should have both an out-of-town meeting place, and have a designated friend or family member who lives out of town as your main contact.

  • Cell phone and/or work numbers for each household member

In today’s digital age, it’s rare to have phone numbers memorized That’s why its important to have a hard copy of contact numbers for family members. In the event of a dead cell phone battery or digital services becoming unavailable, a family member would still be able to use their contact list with the use of a landline or pay phone.

  • Other important contact information (Emergency numbers, utilities, etc.)

Head to Ready.gov/plan for a full list of contacts you should have on hand, as well as a free family/household communication plan template. Once your communication plan is complete, make copies for each household member’s purse, backpack, or wallet, and an extra one to keep in your home.

After an emergency strikes, SERVPRO of Missoula can help you get back to normal. If your home experiences water damage from a severe storm or smoke/fire damage from a wildfire, call 406-327-9500 and we’ll make it “Like it never even happened.”

Sheltering-in-place in your Missoula home

4/8/2021 (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. 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, and means only leaving your home for essential activities. 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.

Emergency Readiness at Home: Your Missoula Evacuation Plan

2/25/2021 (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

New CDC Recommendations for Emergency Supply Kits for Missoula?

2/10/2021 (Permalink)

Hand sanitizer and a stack of face masks sit on a table. Missoula residents rely on us to mitigate storm damage!

New CDC Recommendations for Emergency Kits

Did you know that the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommend emergency supply kits should include additional items to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, other viruses, and the flu? SERVPRO® of Missoula has weathered many winter storms alongside Missoula residents and we respond to many storm damage emergencies.

In addition to a basic supply kit, here are the CDC emergency kit additions:

  • Masks (for everyone ages 2 and above)
  • Soap, hand sanitizer
  • Disinfecting wipes to disinfect surfaces
  • Prescription medications

Other basic supply kit additions include:

  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
  • Prescription eyeglasses and contact lens solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, and diaper rash cream
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler's checks
  • Important documents
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels, and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles, or other activities for children

Call Us!

If you have a storm damage emergency in Missoula, SERVPRO® of Missoula is Here to Help. ® Call us at 406-327-9500.

SERVPRO of Missoula is Independently Owned and Operated.

Severe Weather Warning in Missoula?

1/17/2021 (Permalink)

A winter sky is filled with a variety of storm clouds bringing severe weather. We respond to winter storm damage emergencies 24 hours a day in Missoula.

Winter Storm Safety

Winter in Missoula brings freezing temperatures and storms. SERVPRO® of Missoula responds to storm damage emergencies often, and we offer these tips from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of things to do to prepare ahead of time for a winter storm:

  • Know your area’s risk for winter storms. Extreme winter weather can leave communities without utilities or other services for long periods of time.
  • Prepare your home to keep out the cold with insulation, caulking, and weather stripping. Learn how to keep pipes from freezing. Install and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors with battery backups.
  • Pay attention to weather reports and warnings of freezing weather and winter storms. Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
  • Gather supplies in case you need to stay home for several days without power. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Do not forget the needs of pets. Have extra batteries for radios and flashlights.
  • Create an emergency supply kit for your car. Include jumper cables, sand, a flashlight, warm clothes, blankets, bottled water, and non-perishable snacks. Keep the gas tank full.
  • Learn the signs of and basic treatments for frostbite and hypothermia.

Call Us!

If you have a storm damage emergency in Missoula, SERVPRO® of Missoula is Here to Help. ® Call us at 406-327-9500. We’ll clean and restore your storm damage “Like it never even happened.”

SERVPRO of Missoula is Independently Owned and Operated.

Missoula County Emergency Alerts

1/14/2021 (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!

Blizzards in Missoula?

1/5/2021 (Permalink)

A blizzard is creating whiteout conditions and poor visibility. SERVPRO of Missoula is Here To Help when disaster strikes.

Montana Blizzard Trivia

Montana is known for harsh winters and bad blizzards. An article by Meghan Kraft describes some of the biggest blizzards and the most snow ever recorded in Montana’s history. In her article, Kraft describes the arctic air mass that hit Montana in January and February of 1889, bringing some of the most extreme wind chills the state ever experienced. Wisdom, Montana reached -52F. In 2019 Missoula set a record by getting 1.7 inches of snow in September, breaking the 1.5 inches record set back in the 1930s. Here are some other Montana winter weather facts:

  • The coldest month in the state is February.
  • Snow has been known to fall as early as September and as late as early May.
  • The heaviest snowfall is recorded between November and May.

SERVPRO® of Missoula witnesses the damage severe weather can do to a commercial property or residence. We have the advanced training, experience, and equipment to mitigate storm damage emergencies no matter how big the job. Our technicians are on call 24 hours and day to respond to storm damage emergencies. We can also help you with the insurance process and paperwork!

Call Us!

SERVPRO® of Missoula Call us at 406-327-9500. We’ll clean and restore your storm damage in Missoula, “Like it never even happened.”

SERVPRO of Missoula is Independently Owned and Operated.

What to do during and after a winter storm in Missoula

12/3/2020 (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, 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

Hidden Storm Damage in Missoula?

11/23/2020 (Permalink)

A technician is shown using an infrared camera to detect hidden water damage from a storm. We use advanced technology to detect hidden storm damage in Missoula.

Storm Season is Coming

Last year the National Weather Service in Missoula reported an overnight snowfall in September that broke a record set in 1934 of 1.5 inches by getting 1.6 inches of snowfall. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, “Precipitation and snowfall will be above normal, with the snowiest periods in mid-to-late December, early and late January, early February, and early and late March.” SERVPRO® of Missoula has been responding to storm damage in the Missoula area for years and knows that even a brief storm can cause hidden damage. For instance, water from melting snow can seep into the cracks in a home or businesses’ foundation and cause hidden water damage.

Our restoration technicians are some of the most highly trained in the entire State of Montana, and they use advanced technology to identify moisture and the extent of moisture saturation in the walls of a structure. We can then extract the water and install air movers to evaporate the moisture more quickly.  We use industrial-grade dehumidifiers to pull the water vapor from the air.

Call Us!

Missoula residents and commercial business owners trust SERVPRO® of Missoula to restore their storm and property damage. Call us today at 406-327-9500. We’ll restore your storm damage, “Like it never even happened.”

SERVPRO® of Missoula is Independently Owned and Operated.

Winter is Coming to Missoula: Winter Storm Preparedness

10/22/2020 (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/.

Wind-Damaged Property in Missoula?

9/15/2020 (Permalink)

A fence surrounding the perimeter of a home has been knocked down by high winds in Missoula. We are storm damage restoration specialists.

High Winds and Hail Damage Properties in the U.S.  

According to a report by the Institute of Insurance Information, in the five years between 2014 and 2018, 5.6 percent of insured homes had an insurance claim. Wind and hail accounted for the largest share, with 2.3 percent of insured households having such a loss, followed closely by water damage and freezing with 2.1 percent of homes having a loss. SERVPRO® of Missoula has been helping the residents and business owners of Missoula by restoring storm damage done to their homes and properties for years and we can respond to any storm, flood, and water damage emergency immediately. Depending on the nature of your property damage, we may utilize any combination of services, including:

Commercial Large Loss Division

We have divisions strategically placed throughout the nation designed to mobilize quickly in the event of a large disaster. Clients of this division include:

  • The Hospitality Industry
  • Property Managers
  • Universities
  • Municipalities
  • The Pentagon

Call Us Today

No matter what size storm damage emergency you have, SERVPRO® of Missoula is Here to Help. ® Call us today at 406-327-9500. We’ll restore your storm damaged property in Missoula “Like it never even happened.”

SERVPRO® of Missoula is Independently Owned and Operated.

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

9/10/2020 (Permalink)

rain water on a window makes the view outside blurry. Heavy rain storms can cause flooding in your Missoula 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.

Storm Damage in Missoula?

8/24/2020 (Permalink)

A windblown pine tree is shown laying next to a mountain lake. We respond to any size storm damage emergency in the Missoula area.

Unexpected Severe Weather in Montana

Last year, Montana’s severe weather storms included severe snowstorms, storms with baseball-sized hail, 80 miles per hour wind gusts, severe thunderstorms, tornado forecasts, and significantly higher precipitation than normal. With severe weather comes the potential for property damage caused by storms. The good news is that SERVPRO® of Missoula has been restoring storm-damaged properties in the Missoula area for years, and has some of the most highly trained and certified technicians in the state, with certifications from the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, (IICRC) including:

  • Water Restoration Technician
  • Advanced Structural Drying
  • Commercial Drying Specialist
  • Fire / Smoke Technician
  • Odor Control Technician
  • Contents Science and Theory
  • Building Science
  • Applied Microbial Remediation Technician
  • Health and Safety Technician
  • Carpet Cleaning Technician
  • Upholstery and Fabric Technician
  • EPA RRP Lead Certification
  • OSHA 10 Hour
  • OSHA 40 Hour
  • Master Water Designation
  • Master Fire Designation

Call Us Today

We are locally owned and operated and have extensive experience in mitigating storm damage of all kinds. SERVPRO® of Missoula has a team of highly trained professionals that can be onsite within 60 minutes of your call to respond to storm and flooding conditions. Call us today at 406-327-9500. We’ll clean and restore your storm damage in Missoula “Like it never even happened.”

SERVPRO® of Missoula is Independently Owned and Operated.

In case of emergency in your Missoula neighborhood: Creating a Family Communication Plan

8/13/2020 (Permalink)

person holds a Family Communication Plan document and pen Make sure your family knows where to go in an emergency!

You may not always be at home or with all of your immediate family members when an emergency such as a severe storm or wildfire evacuation occurs. Having a Family Emergency Communication Plan in place prior to such events can help ensure that family members know how to reach each other, and where to meet up if communication networks are down.

An Emergency Communication Plan has three categories of information:

  • Emergency Meeting Places and an Out-of-town Contact

Because emergencies can affect your home, your whole neighborhood, or even your entire town, your communication plan should have meeting places for each of these possibilities. For instance, if an emergency is contained within your home, your family could meet at a designated neighbor’s house, or a landmark down the block. If an emergency effects your entire town, your family should have both an out-of-town meeting place, and have a designated friend or family member who lives out of town as your main contact.

  • Cell phone and/or work numbers for each household member

In today’s digital age, it’s rare to have phone numbers memorized That’s why its important to have a hard copy of contact numbers for family members. In the event of a dead cell phone battery or digital services becoming unavailable, a family member would still be able to use their contact list with the use of a landline or pay phone.

  • Other important contact information (Emergency numbers, utilities, etc.)

Head to Ready.gov/plan for a full list of contacts you should have on hand, as well as a free family/household communication plan template. Once your communication plan is complete, make copies for each household member’s purse, backpack, or wallet, and an extra one to keep in your home.

After an emergency strikes, SERVPRO of Missoula can help you get back to normal. If your home experiences water damage from a severe storm or smoke/fire damage from a wildfire, call 406-327-9500 and we’ll make it “Like it never even happened.”

Leaking Window in Missoula?

8/10/2020 (Permalink)

Raindrops collect on a window obscuring the view outside of a window. We are storm damage restoration specialists in Missoula.

Severe Thunderstorm Weather Watch vs. Severe Thunderstorm Weather Warning

Although the Missoula area only gets around fifteen inches of rain each year, it has been known to experience severe weather patterns such as heavy snowfall, flooding, and thunderstorms. SERVPRO® of Missoula has been providing emergency storm damage cleanup and restoration services for years, and has a team of highly trained and certified technicians ready to respond any time of the day or night. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, (NOAA), it is important to know the difference between a “severe thunderstorm weather watch and a severe thunderstorm weather warning:

  1. Severe Thunderstorm Watch: Be prepared as thunderstorms are possible in and near the watch area, usually a large area covering many counties and sometimes states
  2. Severe Thunderstorm Warning: Take action because severe weather has been spotted on radar and by eyewitnesses. Imminent danger to life and property so take shelter in a substantial building. Get out of mobile homes that can blow over in high winds.

Call Us Today

If your home or commercial property experiences storm damage, SERVPRO® of Missoula wants to help. We have a team of highly trained professionals that are ready to assist you. Call us today at 406-327-9500. We’ll clean and restore your storm damage in Missoula “Like it never even happened.”

SERVPRO® of Missoula is Independently Owned and Operated.