Mental and Physical Effects of a Disaster – And How the Right Restoration Company Can Help

Any natural disaster is devastating for those who must endure them. Hurricanes, floods, tornados, fires, and other disasters can wreak havoc on your health, home, and livelihood. Surviving these types of disasters are life changing and stressful enough, but what about after the event? In all the chaos and confusion that happens after a loss, what are the smaller things you need to look out for? What kind of mental and physical risks are there for you and your family? And how can you best get your life back on track?

According to Tulane University, “mental health problems rank among the most widespread long-term effects of natural disasters.” Yet, mental health is easy to overlook in the face of losing your property and working to have it restored. Many people suffer from grief, shock, anxiety, or depression after a disaster. The disruption of a daily routine and the loss of cherished possessions can be hard to deal with on top of the chaos and confusion that accompanies a disaster. Some common feelings associated with experiencing a traumatic event are shock, disbelief, fear, sadness, helplessness, guilt, anger, and shame. These types of feelings are normal, but lasting psychological effects can occur if there isn’t a return to normalcy.

These types of mental trauma can also express themselves in a physical way. Physical responses are completely normal and can include trembling, pounding heart, rapid breathing, lump in throat. So, it’s important to get the restoration help you need right away.

In addition to these mental problems, there are significant risks to physical health after a disaster. Your home can be compromised by unsanitary and potentially hazardous conditions. Ruptured gas lines, mold growth, vermin infestation, and stagnant water containing bacteria are just a few of the safety hazards that can affect your home. Take a look at this list of the side effects of mold exposure.

  • Foggy thoughts and temporary memory loss, loss of focus, headaches
  • Exhaustion and Muscle Weakness
  • Joint pain, constant nerve pain, random muscle pains
  • Tingling and numbness in the body
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Coughing or shortness of breath
  • Slight body tremors
  • Change in appetite, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain
  • Metallic taste in the mouth
  • Dehydration, decreased urination

Even if the damages to your home do not seem significant, it is important to use a qualified restoration company to bring your home back to pre-loss condition. Trying to fix damages to your home on your own is not only generally ineffective, it can also be dangerous. Any cleaning a homeowner does is usually only at the surface level, leaving potentially harmful mold and bacteria beneath your floors or in your walls. This can lead to bigger and more costly damages down the line.

Those who have suffered a loss might not understand the whirling emotions, frustrations, and feelings of hopelessness that are common during the restoration process. The knowledge, equipment, and manpower that comes with a restoration company can restore your property to its pre-loss condition much quicker and more effectively than any homeowner.

Safety is one of the major advantages to hiring a restoration company. Even minor issues can turn into large ones; things that don’t seem important, like a little mold or soot, can become health hazards for you and your family. With their expertise, restoration companies can get your life back to normal. Using a professional company means things can move along quickly and still be done to the highest standard of care.

In addition to this, restoration companies can help you to fully understand your insurance coverage. Insurance policies are often difficult to understand and interpret, especially in the wake of disaster. A professional disaster restoration company works with insurance companies every day, so they are best equipped to help you through the process of dealing with insurance agents and claims adjusters.

Regency DRT is the Company for All Your Restoration Needs

  • We Do It All
    • Regency DRT specializes in full-service disaster restoration, providing a one-stop-shop for our clients.
  • There When You Need Us
    • Disasters don’t rest, and neither do we. Regency offers 24-hour emergency response. No matter the time of day or night, a team is prepared to immediately respond to your property emergency.
  • We Work with All Insurance Companies
    • Regency has extensive experience working with insurance companies and claims adjusters on property insurance claims. We will work directly with your insurance company and coordinate everything from our initial response until your property is restored to pre-loss condition. Our objective is to make this process as smooth as possible for you.
  • We Provide the Highest Quality of Service
    • Regency DRT was founded on the belief that a restoration company should provide superior quality of service to their customers while maintaining the industry’s highest standards. We pride ourselves in our extensive training and knowledge of restoration services. When choosing Regency DRT, you can rest assured knowing you will be receiving the best restoration services available.
  • We Can Handle Losses of All Sizes
    • We can quickly respond to any disaster with the necessary amount of equipment, resources, and staff for the unique needs of your job, whether it’s a single residential loss, large loss, or area-wide disaster
  • We Are Committed to Customer Satisfaction
    • Regency DRT is confident that we can meet and even exceed customer expectations. To guarantee the highest level of service, we constantly monitor our work and immediately correct any area that does not meet our strict set of standards. In addition to this, we encourage customer communication and use your input to continuously improve our level of services provided to you. Our ultimate mission is to leave a smile on your face, happy and satisfied about the work performed in your home. 

 

After the Disaster

Insurance companies play an important role in pro- tecting individuals from a total loss when catastrophe strikes. However, in the chaos following a fire or water disaster, insurance policies can be confusing and easily misinterpreted. Despite all the turmoil and confusion, it is critical to make wise and educated decisions becuase you will be living with the results long after the confu- sion has passed and the disaster has been resolved. Your insurance policy entitles you to certain rights and certain obligations. As professional restoration contrac- tors, we believe that it is in your best interest to under- stand tha rights and options available to you. The Restoration Industry Association (RIA) has com- pleted a list of 12 questions frequently asked by policy- holders.

What action does my insurance policy require after a loss?
In addition to notifying your insurance carrier, most policies require that you take reasonable ac- tion to protect your property from further damage. If you fail to do so, your insurance may not cover any additional loss caused by your failure to pro- vide such protection.

Am I required to use the restoration company with the lowest price?
You are not required to accept the lowest bidder. Repair rates should correspond to prevailing stan- dards in your area for work of professional quality, amd you may not be forced to use the “cheapest” or “lowest price” bid.

If I have obtained adequate coverage, what should my insurance pay for? After a covered loss you are entitled to be paid the fair cost of restoring your home to its pre-dam- aged condition, minus your deductible. However, you should not expect to be paid for the repair of unrelated problems such as deterioration, pre-ex- isting damage, or code deficiencies.
Can my insurance company hire a repair firm to work on my house? Only the owner of the property can authorize a company to perform work on that property. The repair contract is between the owner and the contractor. Your insurer does not have the right to directly contract for your repairs or insist that you employ a particular restoration firm.

Must I hire a restoration company recom- mended by my insurance company?
Your insurance policy does not state that you must retain a restoration company that is referred or ap- proved by the insurance company. You are entitled to employ the services of a reputable, full licensed, and insured repair firm.

What quality of materials and workmanship am I entitled to receive?
Your insurance policy should pay for materials and workmanship that are equal to the kind and quality of your existing ones. After repairs, the proper-
ty should suffer no loss in value as a result of the damage. However, the insurance company is not obligated to improve your existing installation.

NOTE: This information is distributed for educational purposes only and is not intended to and should not be construed as providing legal advice.

How do disclosure rules affect my repairs?
Under current laws you may have to disclose past damage to any future buyers, making it essential that all evidence of damage be completely elimi- nated. Damage that has been covered up may be discovered later and raise serious problems for the prior owner.

How can I evaluate a restoration contractor?
First, ask for references to three jobs the contractor is currently working on or has recently completed. Call them. Second, check with your local Better Business Bureau for any unresolved complaints. Third, ask the contractor for credentials and associ- ation memberships that idicate professional train- ing and status in insurance repair and restoration, since this differs from ordinary home improvement or maintenance.

What should my contract include?
You are entitled to receive a detailed listing of repairs, as well as the quantities and types of materials to be used before work begins. The specifications should be a part of your contract. Don’t accept thumbnail or “repair as necessary” specifications. The possibility of hidden damage or additional charges should be fully described at the outset.

What if the insurance company and I cannot agree on the amount of the loss?
If disagreement arises between you and the insur- ance company over the amount of the loss, you are entitled to request arbitration (“appraisal”) as de- scribed in your policy. The standard homeowner’s policy spells out the procedures for appraisal with- out resorting to a lawsuit. The insurance company may also request appraisal.

Is a special license required for insurance re- pairs?
States have differing licensing requirements for home repairs. There are also local regulations and home improvement laws to be considered. Federal regulations also may apply to home repairs, such as recission notices and special requirements for asbestos, lead, and bloodborne pathogens. You are entitled to reject any contractor not in compliance with all federal, state, and local requirements for residential construction.

How long must I wait for my insurance pay- ment?
You are entitled to receive payment from the insurance company within the time specified by the policy and your state insurance regulations. Usually this is 30 to 60 days after submittal of the signed proof of loss. However, the policy also has time requirements for the policyholder. Check your policy or ask your adjuster or agent about them so that you will know what to expect.

Checklist of things to do immediately following a fire or flood:

  • Get your family some place safe and secure.
  • Contact the American Red Cross – www.redcross.org or your local chapter – they can supply temporary housing, clothing, food, medications, etc.
  • Do not re-enter the building until declared safe by an emergency management official.
  • When able to enter the premises, remove valuables such as jewelry, medication (for replacement purposes only), clothing, and important papers. Do not remove food or cosmetics.
  • Secure the building to prevent further damage from weather or vandalism – e.g., screw plywood over windows, place tarps over open roof areas.
  • Contact your insurance company.
  • Select a service provider. Be sure to check references.
  • Get a notebook to record dates and times of conversations and individuals you speak with concerning your claim.
  • Save all receipts for meals, hotels, toiletries, replacement clothing, etc.

Protecting Important Documents

 

It’s natural. It’s human nature. You don’t really think about this very often.

What are we talking about? Water, fire and smoke damage.

When you do think about what may happen to your home, and then take action to prepare, what you do is usually minor and easy to do… such as turning off your outside water supply when winter approaches and testing smoke alarms and replacing fire extinguishers on a regular basis.

Yet there is one very important action you should take right now in preparation for the unthinkable. That’s right, protecting your important documents, such as your birth certificates, marriage license, financial papers, insurance policies and si

Most homeowners keep all their important papers and documents in what they consider a safe place, such as in an organized folder in a home office or secure location where they know exactly where everything is. Unfortunately, that’s not really very safe when there is flooding or fire and
smoke. Others might utilize a water and fire proof safe, which is a great idea.

Yet there is something additional you can do to 100% guarantee your important documents are safe no matter what happens.

Scan them and put them on the “cloud.”

You may already do this, and if so, congratulations. No matter what happens to your home, your documents are safe and can be accessed from any device connected to the internet.

But if you don’t, get a cloud-based storage account that has plenty of storage space for your needs and start scanning those documents. Keep them organized in online folders, and make sure those in your family who should have access to them have username and passwords they can use in an emergency. You should still keep the originals as safe as you can, of course.

And when the unthinkable happens, when you do have a fire, flood or mold damage, don’t forget there is professional assistance for you: Call your disaster restoration pro for help.

Continue reading “Protecting Important Documents”

Prepping For Urban Survival

If a disaster strikes in an urban setting, there are certain precautions one may need to take in order to survive comfortably. With limited space and security, creating a well-strategized plan is key in order to survive whatever hurricane-swine-flu-economic-collapse-zombie-ridden-disaster one may encounter in an urban location.

People Planning

In the event a disaster does strike your city or neighborhood, security weakens and your home or apartment may be potentially in danger. To be successfully prepared for any disaster, plan to prepare with friends, family and/or neighbors. Continue reading “Prepping For Urban Survival”