Recent Storm Damage Posts

Thunderstorm preparedness in Miami Beach

1/24/2020 (Permalink)

roof damage with sign that says storm damage We can help you make it "Like it never even happened."

Thunderstorms are beautiful, but they can also be dangerous.  They can cause severe damage to your home and property in Miami Beach. Thunderstorms include lightning and can:

  • Include winds over 50 MPH
  • Create hail
  • Cause flash floods
  • Cause tornadoes

In most places, a thunderstorm can happen at any time of the year and at any time of the day.

SERVPRO® of Miami Beach knows you cannot prevent a thunderstorm, but you can prepare:

  • Know the risk for thunderstorms in Miami Beach
  • Sign up for your community’s warning system 
  • Cut down or trim trees that may fall on your home or office
  • Install surge protectors, lightning rods, or a lightning protection system

SERVPRO of Miami Beach repeats the warning, “When thunder roars, go indoors.”  You don’t have to wait for the thunder. If there is a thunderstorm warning, go inside. Once there:

  • Unplug appliances
  • Do not use landline phones in office or home
  • Pay attention to alerts and warnings

If you can’t get inside a building:

  • If you are swimming or in a boat, get to land immediately.  Find shelter
  • If you are in a car, don’t touch anything metal
  • “Turn around. Don’t Drown. '' Avoid flooded roads. 6 inches of moving water can knock you down. One foot of moving water can sweep away your car. 

A lightning strike during a thunderstorm can leave a wake of destruction in its path. This can range from minor electrical issues to fire damage. Lightning is also a major cause of injury or death from weather-related dangers.  Most people survive being hit by lightning, but they often have long-term problems. 


SERVPRO of Miami Beach is independently owned and operated.

Be prepared for power outages from storms in Miami Beach

1/24/2020 (Permalink)

flashlight casting a beam of light Be prepared in the case of a power outage.

Managing Without Power in Miami Beach

SERVPRO of Miami Beach has seen storm damage lead to power outages.   

A power outage can:

  • Disrupt communication
  • Make transportation difficult
  • Shut down water pipes
  • Close businesses, grocery stores, gas stations, banks, ATMS, other services
  • Lead to food spoilage
  • Lead to contaminated water
  • Disable medical devices

During a power outage in Miami Beach, be sure to:

  • Keep freezer & refrigerator doors closed. It will reduce the chance of food spoilage
  • User generators only outdoors and away from windows
  • Disconnect appliances/electronics. Power surges can destroy equipment
  • Have already set up a plan to refrigerate medicines
  • For people who use power wheelchairs, have a backup battery.  You may also need a manual chair
  • The local power company should already know that someone in your home relies on medical devices
  • Do not use a gas stove or oven to heat your home or business
  • If travel is safe, go to another location for proper heating or cooling
  • Check on your neighbors.

Plan ahead for evacuation in the event of a storm for you and your pets in Miami Beach

1/24/2020 (Permalink)

cartoon person near water In case of storms in Miami Beach its important to know what to do and what to bring with you.

Storm Damage & Evacuation in Miami Beach:

SERVPRO of Miami Beach has these tips for people in our community dealing with disabilities during an evacuation. You may want to consider, during times of flooding, to pack a bag to have ready in case the worst happens.

Plan for backup if you have your own car. A storm or flood may damage your car.

Ask your healthcare provider to suggest what specific devices you might need if you need to evacuate due to an emergency: 

  • Where can I get medical supplies?
  • How I do get accessible transportation?
  • If medical help is needed, where would I go?
  • Does this facility have a disability ramp access?

Items to bring with you:

  • Written list for emergency contacts
  • List of all medications, dosages, and allergies
  • Style & serial number of medical devices
  • Supply of medical equipment  
  • Extra battery for a power wheelchair
  • Any cushions or padding
  • Wheelchairs, canes, braces, etc.  
  • Medical bracelets
  • Medical insurance cards
  • List and/or supply of prescription medications

Our service animals are also affected by storm damage. For people who have service animals in Miami Beach, consider:

  • Packing extra food, water, & other supplies for the service animal
  • Tell emergency responders that your service animal travels with you
  • Shelters and other buildings may not refuse entry to a service animal

Emergency Kit for Evacuation for the Deaf, Blind, and Service Animals in Miami Beach

1/24/2020 (Permalink)

survival kit lettered on gray Low vision or hearing loss may make a power outage more difficult in Miami Beach. Evacuation may also be more difficult.

Storm Damage & Evacuation in Miami Beach

Low vision or hearing loss may make a power outage more difficult in Miami Beach. Evacuation may also be more difficult.

SERVPRO of Miami Beach has these tips:

Have an evacuation emergency kit ready.  You can also use it at home.

For people who have low hearing or deafness in Miami Beach, consider the following:

  • Extra batteries for hearing aids
  • TTY
  • If you Sign, have a pen and paper for people who do not know Sign
  • Backup batteries for any augmentative communication devices

For people who have low vision or blindness in Miami Beach, consider the following:

  • Use large-print or Braille on labels
  • Magnifiers or other assistive devices
  • White cane (if you use one)

Storm damage makes life more difficult for service animals too.

For people who have service animals in Miami Beach, consider the following:  

  • Food, water, and other supplies
  • Tell emergency responders that your service animal travels with you
  • Shelters and other buildings may not refuse entry to a service animal

Evacuation when Medical Supplies Are Needed for your Well-being in Miami Beach

1/24/2020 (Permalink)

green background with emergency kit items Make sure yo have an emergency kit ready for any kind of storm situation.

Storm Damage & Evacuation in Miami Beach.

Some of these items can be kept in a waterproof container (your emergency kit). Medications probably cannot, but you can have them ready to bring with you.

SERVPRO of Miami Beach suggests having these items prepared in the event you would need to evacuate your home in Miami Beach. 

  • Copies of medical insurance & Medicare cards
  • Warm blankets
  • Extra clothing, especially socks & undergarments
  • Bottled water
  • Batteries for your electronic devices
  • Written contact list

Some people in Miami Beach will also need to consider the following:

  • Make sure that at least one other person can get your medications &  supplies
  • Have at least a week-long supply of prescription medicines
  • A list of all medications, dosages, and allergies
  • An extra pair of glasses or extra contact lenses 
  • Hearing-aid batteries 
  • Games & activities for children

If you have pets in Miami Beach, consider these items:

  • Pet food and toys 
  • Toys or comfort objects
  • Vet information

Some shelters will not or cannot allow pets. Ahead of an emergency, find out which ones will allow your 4-legged loved ones. All shelters allow service animals. 

What to do if you have PTSD during Thunderstorms and Lightning in Miami Beach

1/24/2020 (Permalink)

lightning on a purple sky During a thunder and lightning storm, please take care and be safe.

PTSD and Thunderstorms & Lightning in Miami Beach

Almost 7% of people in the U.S. have suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

People who have PTSD may experience panic during thunderstorms. Thunderstorms and lightning can set off a person’s alarm bells.

SERVPRO of Miami Beach offers these guides to Coping with PTSD During Storms:  

The best strategy is to be prepared.

  • Take care of your emotional health. See a therapist. Learn relaxation exercises. When you feel anxious, you can relax
  • Know when a thunderstorm is likely. Plan what you will do during a thunderstorm  
  • Take care of your physical health. Eat a healthy diet. Get enough sleep. Do not rely on alcohol or other drugs.  Do not smoke or chew tobacco 

During a Thunderstorm in Miami Beach

  • Slow down your breathing
  • Look around. Notice where you are. Notice that you are in a safe place
  • Distract yourself from the storm. Wear headphones and listen to music. Sit in a pop-up tent
  • Talk with someone you trust

Why So Much "SERVPRO Green" in Miami Beach After a Storm?

3/15/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO workers painted Miami and Miami Beach green with their trucks and equipment, following Hurricane Irma in September, 2017.

South Florida experienced its first hurricane in more than a decade, last September (2017). In the times since, many people have remarked to us, "we're seeing your trucks all over the place!"

SERVPRO does indeed have a big presence in Miami Beach, Miami and all throughout South Florida. However the SERVPRO presence was multiplied many times over thanks to our coordinated "Storm Team" efforts. 

Simply put, when a storm like the hurricane that hit South Florida becomes a threat, crews and teams from around the country jump up to converge on our market to help people out.  After Hurricane Irma, hundreds of SERVPRO workers from as far as Washington State, California and New York to help out our local neighbors.

These crews helped produce millions of dollars in work -- work that local providers were not able to produce due to the incredible demand for mitigation services.

Keep this in mind for future storms. Call our office early, and fast, to get on the SERVPRO Storm Team list. This will get you service -- either by us, your local provider, or by one of our sister franchises who have come from another area. There were many happy customers -- customers who tried to call other providers but could not receive service due to the excess demand.

SERVPRO Storm Commercial

Turning a Mold Problem Into a Good Thing in Miami

3/1/2018 (Permalink)

graphic with facts about mold The independent assessor on this project reported zero spores following SERVPRO of Miami Beach's remediation efforts.

The glass can be half full.  And there can be silver linings on a cloud floating over your Miami-area home or business.

Of course it's not the greatest circumstance to encounter mold at your home or business.  However, there is something very good that can come out of it.  It CAN be cleaned. Moreover, at the end of the process, a homeowner or business owner can quantitatively know that their property is cleaner than ever.

How can we know this? We can know this via laboratory results. As one example, see this picture -- after completing a mold job we brought in a Florida-licensed mold assessor to test the quality of the post-remediation environment.  It's hard to beat the results seen here -- the independent assessor conducted 3 air sample tests.  The laboratory that processed the samples found not a single spore in the remediated spaces.

This Miami customer breathed a sigh of relief, mostly because she has children. She simply wanted to know that her property was safe, for the kids. Customers can face all types of fear when they have a contamination problem. This is one of the most valid, as children are among the most vulnerable of the population when it comes to mold. Other groups that are particularly vulnerable are the elderly, and the immuno-compromised.

SERVPRO of Miami Beach isn't always perfect. But at least we were able to deliver a silver lining to our customer in the form of a clean, remediated Miami home.

Miami Beach Mold Customers: Learn the benefits of "Negative Air"

1/17/2018 (Permalink)

wall with containment The little room we created with support poles and heavy plastic seen here is under negative air pressure.

Hopefully you will hear your remediator in Miami discuss the topic of "negative air" when planning out your mold remediation job.

Negative air is a commonly misunderstood concept, yet critical to implement.  It refers to negative air pressurization. For our purposes, it is an important practice to implement when conducting mold remediation jobs, to prevent cross contamination. In other words, negative air pressurization is used to make sure that contaminants don't go into surrounding areas, beyond the work zone where demolition is taking place.

Take a look at the attached photo. Most noticeably you'll see a temporary room cordoned off by heavy plastic. As you can imagine, our SERVPRO team was conducting demolition in this area. The plastic of course is designed to help keep contaminants that spring free when tearing out walls. However it isn't the only tool we use. Check out how the plastic is sucking in toward the insides of the little temporary room we created. This is because we established negative air, by sending out of the little room filtered air through a HEPA-filtered air scrubber. As a result, the air pressure (air flow) is rushing from outside the barrier (the clean areas) toward the dirty work zone areas. This prevents contaminants from spreading.

Many people even in our industry don't understand the term. If you have a project ongoing and are concerned that maybe your remediator isn't altogether sure of what he or she is doing, give us a call at (305) 532-5411 for a free consultation, we'll be happy to help out. Or, you could email us at jhrbek@SERVPROmiamibeach.com

Miami Property Owners: Know the Difference Between Flood and Homeowners Insurance

6/6/2017 (Permalink)

Water that rolls into a property from the outside ground may not constitute a covered event by homeowners insurance.

Pretty much everyone we meet in Miami, Miami Beach and Surfside gets confused about one topic in particular: the differences between flood insurance and homeowners insurance.

The differences are substantial, and most definitely worth reviewing. Our first piece of advice is to consult with your insurance agent to understand the differences in your policies, so you know what covers what ... and what might NOT be covered.

Typically, flood insurance pays for damages caused by the rising of a body of water that covers normally dry land. For example, if heavy rains cause a river to overflow and the waters from this river rise up and enter your property from the ground, this would be a "flood" and you would likely tap your flood insurance policy for coverage; homeowners insurance would not apply. On the other hand, if a toilet supply line burst in your property and spread water into your home, the opposite would be true. 

These distinctions are critical for many reasons. Chief among them is the fact that many people think they are covered for both types of losses by having one type of policy, alone. This can be a costly mistake! Among the other important distinctions: In our experience at SERVPRO of Miami Beach, flood,insurance policies tend to be far less forgiving. The flood insurance programs tend to not cover many necessary elem to of a cleanup bill, and a property owner can end up being responsible for a larger portion of a cleanup bill compared to a standard homeowner loss.

These distinctions are increasingly important especially for property owners and property managers on coastal areas such as Miami Beach and Surfside, which are seeing higher incidences of flood losses.

Apologies for the cliche, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Being educated on these important distinctions is the first step toward securing that ounce of prevention.

SERVPRO Franchises Will Paint Miami Beach Green in the Event of Major Storm

6/4/2017 (Permalink)

Hurricane Andrew was a major storm that high Miami and Miami Beach in 1992. Much smaller storms could pose problems for property owners in the future.

Miami, Miami Beach and Southeast Florida have been lucky in recent years, avoiding the wrath of hurricanes. However that, of course, hasn't always been the case.  Nor will it likely be the case in the future. 

Property owners need to be aware of what exactly happens.

Take it from our experience - even lower-category hurricanes could devastate the area, and professional help might not be available.

Truth be told, every local firm like ours will be at capacity within minutes of the arrival of a major storm. There will be enough work to go around for weeks. This is exactly what happened in 2014, during a devastating cold freeze in Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee.  Homes up there flooded due to pipe breakages -- property owners called local providers for up to a week, with no response for service because all providers were at capacity.

Problem is, your property needs help now. That's where SERVPRO'S national "Storm Team" resources come into play. SERVPRO has 1,700 franchises across the country -- many of them will send trained technicians and equipment to the area to service the excess demand.  There is no other restoration company that can provide this depth of service. All you need to do is call us at SERVPRO of Miami Beach, (305) 532-5411, and your job will be put on a queue. If we are at capacity, your loss will be handled by one of the storm team crews who arrived here from Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama or Tennessee.

We've provided assistance to those states in the past, and were able to help people at a time of need. We know our brothers and sisters in those areas will be just as glad to give a helping hand when local resources are tapped out following a major storm.

Miami Beach Be Ready: Above-Average Storm Activity Predicted in '17

6/4/2017 (Permalink)

Hurricane Matthew was supposed to hit Miami Beach and Miami. However it veered off course, and made landfall further north in 2016.

Hurricane Matthew was supposed to hit us in the Miami and Miami Beach areas in 2016. But once again we threaded the needle, avoiding complications.

Only time will tell how Miami and Miami Beach will fare in 2017.  But nationally,  forecasters predict a 45 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 35 percent chance of a near-normal season, and only a 20 percent chance of a below-normal season.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, forecasters are predicting a 70 percent likelihood of 11 to 17 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 5 to 9 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 2 to 4 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher). An average season produces 12 named storms of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

Already there has been a storm -- before the 2017 season began on June 1. It was named Tropical Storm Arlene, a rare pre-season storm that formed over the eastern Atlantic in April.

Commercial property owners are urged to call us at SERVPRO of Miami Beach for help with readiness -- already SERVPROs across the country have produced tens of thousands of "Emergency Ready Plans," which is a helpful tool to guide property managers at a time of disaster. Just give us a call at (305) 532-5411 to inquire about this complimentary service.

Hopefully we're not going to need the preparation in 2017 here in Miami and Miami Beach. But we'll be glad we have it in the event of a storm!

Air Quality & Your Health

3/6/2017 (Permalink)

close up of a mold spore Streptococcus Pneumoniae

Many people are surprised to hear that typically, air quality is much worse indoors than outdoors.  This is a big concern, especially to people with respiratory health concerns who spend the majority of their time inside. Usually indoor air quality is worse because it circulates in a closed system.  We keep breathing the same air over and over again, and 'dirty' air doesn't get a chance to leave the building envelope and be replaced with cleaner air. As building technologies improve, this is ironically becoming a bigger concern -- building envelopes are built tighter than ever to save energy when cooling or heating an indoor space. 

But just because outdoor air is usually cleaner, that doesn't mean we're in the clear when heading outside.  There are concerns about outdoor air quality, as well. Researchers at the University of Leicester just revealed the results of a four-year study showing new information about how

“Our research could initiate an entirely new understanding of how air pollution affects human health," said Dr. Julie Morrissey, of the University of Leicester.  "It will lead to enhancement of research to understand how air pollution leads to severe respiratory problems and perturbs the environmental cycles essential for life.”

The key points of the study, released in March 2017:

(1.) Air pollution can change the way bacteria behave and can change their potential to cause disease.

(2.) Interdisciplinary research discovers new mechanism of how air pollution is detrimental to our health and well-being

(3.) Developing megacities with extreme levels of air pollution are major risk factors for human health in many parts of the world.

To see more on this interesting report, click here."

Will Your Homeowner's Insurance Be Able to Cover Damages if the 'Big One' Hits?

8/26/2016 (Permalink)

Some 25,000 houses were completely destroyed by Hurricane Andrew in 1992 in Miami-Dade County. Another 100,000 were severely damaged.

Below is a link to an excellent article in The Miami Herald pertaining to the viability of property insurance companies in Florida.  The industry has suffered some blows in recent times.  At the same time, Miami, Miami Beach and Southeast Florida in general up through 2017 have experienced an extended period of time without a major hurricane hitting the state, sparing the industry of a major catastrophic financial liability.  However in 2016 two storms did hit the state, the first storms to make landfall in Florida since 2015.  This has lulled many Miami and Miami Beach residents and property owners into a false sense of security. Since we haven't had a major event in awhile, many just assume that the money will be there if 'the big one' hits South Florida this year.

We know this is a high-level concern for many of our customers. Take a look to see how your insurance company is holding up:

Click Here