Education Corner

Preparing for Thunderstorms and Tornadoes

  • 05/15/2019
  • 8:04:29

Preparing for Thunderstorms and Tornadoes

Most property owners are no strangers to severe weather, but when it occurs we encourage people to prepare for the worst. Every year, severe weather causes costly damages from flooding, hail, and strong winds. Understanding the most common forms of severe weather where you live can help you prepare. Once you know your risks, create an emergency plan and practice it before disaster strikes.

What to know about thunderstorms and tornadoes

Thunderstorms develop year round. When classified as severe they may produce strong winds over 50 mph, hail, and torrential rains increasing the risk for flash flooding. Lightning strikes may damage trees or power lines. These elements increase the chances of experiencing property damage to structures such as roofs, siding, and windows.  Severe thunderstorms may also produce tornadoes.

Tornadoes are common during spring and summer but can hit any time conditions are favorable. They can create enough strength to topple trees, power lines, vehicles, and pull building structures out from their foundations. A tornado is a funnel cloud that moves on the ground in a violent rotation. They can throw debris miles away and make loud noises that sound like a rushing train. Local communities may use a blow horn or special tornado siren to warn people when a tornado is sighted so they can take cover.

How to be safe and protect your property

When experiencing either a severe thunderstorm or tornado threat, here are things you can do to prepare before the storm:

  • Download a weather app to used to track severe weather in your area. Local news apps may provide additional information about breaking weather news in your area.
  • Sign up to receive weather alerts from trusted sources such as NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather radio, National Weather Service (NWS), and the Emergency Alert System (EAS).
  • Know the difference between a weather watch and a warning. A severe thunderstorm watch means conditions are favorable for severe weather.  A tornado warning means a tornado has been sighted on the ground or by weather radar and may be in your vicinity.
  • Know where to go to take cover such as a closet, basement, or strong structure to reduce risk of injury. Consider where you can go if flooding occurs.
  • Trim tree branches or cut down trees to reduce property damage risk. To minimize damage risk from electrical wiring, invest in a lightning protection system, surge protectors, or lightning rods to protect electronics and appliances.
  • Learn warning signs of a tornado. Things to be aware of include low-lying or a funnel-shaped cloud, flying debris or debris cloud, dark greenish sky, and loud sounds like a freight train.

Conduct practice drills with your family, so everyone knows what to do during severe weather. Create a safety plan with important phone numbers and any directions for action to take after the storm passes. Make a safety kit with items such as non-perishable foods, flashlights, batteries, medications, and essentials for anyone with special needs. Talk to your children about severe weather situations and make sure they understand where safe shelters are when at home or at school.

Additional tips, advice, and resources to know

Be on alert when weather watches or warnings are issued for your area. Pay attention to local news broadcastings for updates. Heed warnings issued by local law enforcement when severe weather is imminent. Let people you trust know about your weather preparedness plan. Check with your insurance carrier to learn additional tips on keeping your property safe. You should also review your policy details to understand what damages are covered.

People may not expect to be a victim of storm damage, but it is important to know who you can call for immediate assistance with property damage. Working with an experienced restoration company puts your mind at ease. Such experts know how to get your home or business repaired so things can get back to normal.

Flood Safety at Home

  • 04/10/2019
  • 3:48:03

Flood Safety at Home

There are several hidden dangers that could be overlooked when your home is flooded.

     •First, to prevent further damage:

     •Get pets and children onto higher ground.

     •Move valuables up from the basement.

     •Raise appliances on blocks.

Electricity is a major safety factor during a flood.

  1.      1.The electricity needs to be turned off.

  2.      2.Do not touch a circuit breaker if you are standing in water or have wet hands.  We recommend calling an electrician to shut off your power.

  3.      3.If there is a wire on the ground, assume that it is electrically charged no matter what type of wire it is.

  4.      4.All electronic devices need to be professionally clean to remove sediments and toxins. 


Another danger is contamination.

Once the water is out, you need to consider that there could be possible contamination by mud, bacteria from sewage and chemical toxins.

These can all leave a residue that you can’t see with the human eye. Even though porous material has dried, they can still contain contaminants that could create serious health threats.

You should throw away all items that are porous once you inventory them and the insurance company gives the go-ahead. 


Mold is a danger that needs to be considered also.

Make sure everything is thoroughly dried out.

After a flood, the following could indicate mold issues: 

     •Musty or earthy smells

     •Textured growth of any color

     •Discoloration on your walls or ceilings

If you suspect you have a mold issue, the area will need to be tested for mold. 


What can a restoration company do to help you if you have had a flood?

     •Damage assessment

     •Clean-up, removal, and repair

     •Carpet Drying

     •Mold abatement and eradication 

     •Reconstruction and rebuild

Even if you do not think you live in a flood-prone area, it is important to think through what steps you need to take in case a flood happens.

After the Fire: What Do You Do?

  • 10/23/2018
  • 10:00:00

You have had a fire/smoke event at your home or business. The fire department has left, and it is time for you to go back in and assess the damage. When you go back inside you may see black, heavy soot covering everything, with part of your home destroyed by fire; or you may be pleasantly surprised to see very little soot and just have a very strong smell throughout your building. In either scenario, it is what you cannot see that is most dangerous.

The soot and smoke left behind may contain many dangerous substances that can affect your health quickly or a little at a time over many years. Toxic volatile organic compounds (VOC's) go through an off-gassing process after the fire is extinguished that can last for years if left alone. Dioxins are also very dangerous, they "are formed when products containing carbon and chlorine are burned, such as plastics containing PVC. Even in picograms (parts per trillion), dioxins are associated with severe health damage that can shorten the lives of people exposed to it, and potentially that of their offspring and future generations. The genetic effects may skip a generation and reappear in subsequent generations...according to researcher Joe Thornton,...'There is no safe level of dioxin exposure.'" (Sean Scott, Toxic Exposure; Restoration and Remediation Magazine)

Gases and particulates in the air can be poisonous and exposure to particles leads to nearly 20,000 premature deaths in America every year. Soot particles are ultrafine, less than half of the size of a red blood cell, so they can pass directly into the bloodstream when inhaled.

These dangers as well as countless other gases, chemicals and dusts are caused by the wide variety of products found in your home or business. Plastics, chemicals, electronics, fabrics, fiberglass, wood, adhesives, alloys, food, medicines and all the other things you come into contact with every day pose different health risks when burned, melted or heated.

For these reasons it is very important to have your home or business professionally cleaned and restored by a qualified fire remediation company. While our crews use specials techniques and chemicals to clean up your property, our equipment is running around the clock, cleaning the air in your home to make sure that it is safe for you and your family, or co-workers to return when we are done.

If you ever need our services after a smoke or fire event; from emergency board-up immediately after, through the cleaning and restoration process; call Master Clean at 715-748-3121.