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How to Respond to Water Damage Like a Pro

Although water is essential for life, too much of it in the wrong places can be devastating. We at Regency DRT know how water damage can be both financially and emotionally draining, especially when not taken care of properly. Since most homeowners don’t deal with water damage on a regular basis, they don’t have a good grasp on how to respond. Follow the guide below to learn how to begin water damage restoration in your Panama City home.

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    1. Act quickly. If the stress of water damage doesn’t motivate you to act quickly, the possibility of mold might. Mold can begin to develop within 24-48 hours of exposure to moisture. Say hello to airborne spores and harmful particles! Since mold has been linked to serious illness, be sure to act quickly whenever water damage is suspected. 
    2. Stop the flow of water. Assuming it’s safe to proceed, shut off the water supply leading to the damaged area. If you can’t tell where the water is coming from, get in touch with an expert immediately. 
    3. Turn off the power. For small cases of water damage, this step can be skipped. However, when water has saturated walls and floors, it’s better to be cautious. Don’t unplug or switch off electrical appliances when in contact with water. Some homeowners have fallen into the “It won’t happen to me” trap and gotten injured. Stay safe and smart. 
    4. Assess the damage. Before you or a professional water damage restoration company begins remediation, take stock of the damage. Write down exactly what looks damaged and the source of the damage. Use your phone to snap pictures of visible signs of the damage. This photographic evidence can help you in filing an insurance claim and can offer your restoration company more guidance on the source of the problem. 
    5. Salvage your most valuable possessions. Again, this step should only be done if the area is safe to enter. If you can, locate and remove your most important items from the damaged area. If your items are severely damaged, many restoration companies offer content restoration services. Content restoration is a process of individualized restoration to specific items and is ideal for homeowners with a wide variety of possessions that have been damaged. Contact our team for more information on this service.
    6. Prepare the area. To prepare the affected area for full restoration, dry up visible water. Place old towels on the ground and sop up as much water as possible. Standing water is devastating to a home’s structural integrity and can compound water damage into more costly restoration projects. 
    7. Contact a professional. Unfortunately, many do-it-yourself restoration projects fall flat. With limited knowledge and equipment on the process of water damage restoration, homeowners usually only scratch the surface of remediation. Warped flooring returns and moldy smells become more apparent. Panama Beach is no stranger to water damage. Whether you’ve experienced major flooding or just a subtle leak, contact Regency DRT for your restoration needs. 

 

 

 

 

A graphic showing hurricane season probability and numbers of named storms.

2019 Hurricane Outlook

As of May 23, the NOAA is predicting a “near-normal” Atlantic hurricane season this year, with a total of 9-15 named storms and 2-4 major hurricanes. A storm is named once it reaches sustained speeds of 39 -73 mph. Their outlook forecasts a 40% chance of a near-normal season, a 30% chance of an above-normal season, and a 30% chance of a below-normal season. The official findings below are provided by the NOAA with a 70% confidence.

 

(Image: NOAA)

This prediction is developed as a reflection of competing climate factors, such as the ongoing El Niño: which is expected to persist and suppress the intensity of any storms this hurricane season. Climate patterns that are expected to counter the effects of El Niño are the expected warmer-than-average sea-surface temperatures in the Atlantic and an enhanced African Monsoon. Both climate patterns favor increased hurricane activity.

In a report issued by CSU on June 4, researchers stated a slight increase in their forecast from early April. They estimate that “2019 will have about 6 hurricanes (average is 6.4), 14 named storms (average is 12.1), 55 named storm days (average is 59.4), 20 hurricane days (average is 24.2), 2 major (Category 3,4, or 5) hurricanes (average is 2.7) and 5 major hurricane days (average is 6.2). These numbers also include Subtropical Strom Andrea, which formed in May.

A graphic showing 2019 Atlantic tropical cyclone names selected by the World Meteorological Organization.

(Image: NOAA)

Keep in mind that it is impossible to predict hurricane activity with 100% accuracy. No matter what is predicted, you should always properly prepare for hurricane season. Having a plan that everyone in your family knows is the best way to prepare and stay safe during hurricane season. Ready.gov has an easy-to-follow guide to help you set up an emergency plan, as well as a list of supplies you should have in an emergency kit. FEMA recommends having these supplies in your kit:

  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Portable, battery-operated weather radio and extra batteries
  • First aid kit and manual
  • Emergency food and water
  • Nonelectric can opener
  • Essential medicines
  • Cash and credit cards
  • Sturdy shoes

If you have any pets, make sure you have an emergency plan for them as well. You should include current vaccination records, a week’s worth of food, water, leash, and photos in your emergency kit in case the pet is lost during the storm. Make sure they have a current identification tag on their color with your phone number and, if possible, an out-of-state contact’s phone number.

If possible, having a good insurance plan is the easiest way protect you home and belongings in the event of a catastrophe. In the case of flood insurance, there is generally a 30-day waiting period, so check into it early. Ready.gov recommends these tips for making your home hurricane ready:

  • Trim or remove damaged trees and limbs to keep them from damaging your house
  • Secure loose gutters and clear any debris/clogged areas to prevent any water damage
  • Retrofit the property to secure and reinforce the roof, windows, doors, and garage doors
  • Purchase a portable generator or install a generator for use during power outages and make sure to keep it at least 20 feet away from the house and protected from moisture

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About Regency DRT/DKI

Regency DRT/DKI is a nation-wide leader in emergency services and property restoration services with 7 offices in Florida and Michigan, including West Palm Beach, Orlando, Sunrise, Port St Lucie, Panama City, Fort Walton/Pensacola and Detroit. Regency DRT/DKI was founded on the belief that a restoration company should provide exceptional quality of services to their customers while maintaining the industry’s highest standards.

Regency DRT/DKI offers 24 Hour Emergency Response and has extensive experience in working with insurance companies and claims adjusters on property insurance claims, coordinating everything from initial response until the property is restored to pre-loss conditions. With our extensive training and knowledge of restoration services, we are able to quickly respond with the necessary amount of equipment, resources and staff for the unique needs of the job, whether it’s a single residential loss, large loss or area-wide disaster.

Regency DRT/DKI is also a proud Member of Disaster KleenUp International (DKI), North America’s largest disaster restoration contracting organization. Being a DKI member also provides us with nationwide affiliates and partners to provide nationwide coverage to our clients. Call us at 1 (888) 354-2447 or visit our website at Regencydrt.com.

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.
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Mold Growth 101: How To Keep Your Home Safe

mold damage martin, mold removal martinMold is a disgusting, fast-growing villain that can spread within just 48 hours of water damage. In walls, under sheetrock, in cupboards, on ceilings, and all sorts of other places, mold can be found just about anywhere if it is in the right conditions. However, you might not know what these conditions are, how to recognize mold, or what to do about it if you find it. Below, we have compiled a simple mold crash course to keep you informed and at the ready in case of mold damage in your home.

THE PERFECT ENVIRONMENT

Have you ever noticed something white or blue and fuzzy growing on a loaf of bread? This is because the inside of a bread bag is the perfect breeding ground for mold. Mold needs organic matter, moisture, warmth, and oxygen to grow and spread. This is why mold thrives off of water damage affecting your home. 

HOW TO SPOT MOLD

Mold can appear white, blue, black, or even not visible at all! It can appear as fuzzy blobs growing on the surface of your home like the mold found on bread, or it can look like a black, patchy discoloration in your walls. If the mold is growing due to water damage, there is also a high chance that you will find discolored and strange-textured walls, cracking or bubbling paint, warping, etc. However, mold can also be airborne and thus undetectable save the cold-like symptoms it can cause upon inhalation.

Because it can often be virtually invisible to the naked eye, it is important to be able to predict the highest-risk areas in your home. Does your basement seem to have a new sort of funk? Does it have a strong, musty odor? If so, you probably have mold growing there. A basement is a common place for mold growth because it is often the most water-damaged part of the home, and the conditions are often just right. Mold can also grow in bathrooms, behind walls under leaky pipes, or anywhere you might find water damage. 

THE SCARY TRUTH

Mold may seem like not much more than a cosmetic problem, however, if left undetected and unmanaged, mold growth can pose a serious health threat to everyone that enters your home. Especially for those with allergies, respiratory issues, or compromised immune systems, mold spores can cause serious respiratory malfunctions and can even land more sensitive cases in the hospital. It is best to handle mold growth before it grows too late.

WHAT NOW


If you find mold in your home, or think you might have mold growing but can’t find it, you can call your local restoration service. If you live in the Martin area, you can call Regency DRT any time of day or night for fast, emergency response. When they get there, they will conduct a complete evaluation of the home and remove any mold found, and can even take care of problem areas to prevent further mold growth in the future. Companies like Regency DRT are experienced experts in mold removal and will ensure that your home is safe and mold-free without hassle.

Important Things to Keep in Mind While Decorating for the Holidays.

“Tis the Holiday season to decorate and be merry ” during this time of the year Regency DRT wanted to give some quick tidbits for a safe and merry holiday….  

holidayWatch out for frayed wires, broken sockets, or loose connections on holiday lights. A couple of sparks on a dry tree and you could have an out of control fire before you know it—make sure to purchase a fresh tree with green, sturdy, and pliable needles and keep the stand filled with water. 

Hang decorations away from heat sources, like fireplaces and heating vents. Don’t overload circuits. And while the warm glow looks pretty through the window, don’t leave candles burning in the house when you go to sleep……

Keep in mind accidents can happen if it does contact Regency DRT and we will help you and your family to regain normalcy during the holiday season. 

Regency DRT teams up with Wonder Makers Environmental to help Restore Kindness

Restoring Kindness

Shortly after a much anticipated and deserved retirement, John N. was dismayed to learn that he would undergo triple bypass heart surgery. His wife, Bonnie, would be his caretaker at home after the open heart surgery, however, a cause of concern was her ongoing struggle with a Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection, which could complicate John’s recovery.

When Wonder Makers Environmental, Inc. and Regency DRT learned of their circumstances, they joined forces to disinfect John and Bonnie’s home. Regency DRT sanitized the home utilizing SteraMistTM by TOMI and Wonder Makers Environmental conducted testing to confirm that the sanitation was effective.