Flood Damage and Mudslides: What to Expect and How to Recover
Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto highlights the impact of a mudslide and offers seven tips on how to prepare for and protect against mudslides in Sunnyvale, CA.
After a water damage disaster resulting from severe weather, flood restoration services can prevent advanced secondary damage to the home. Floodwaters are contaminated with organic matter, raw sewage, pathogens, toxins, chemicals, and sediments. SERVPRO of Palo Alto is poised and prepared to meet the challenges presented by a natural disaster such as an earthquake, wildfire, flood, or mudslide. Contaminated muddy water and sediments can render carpeting, rugs, furniture, upholstery, and other household items unsalvageable. Items contaminated with Category Three or black water must be discarded. A quick response and rapid remediation from trained, experienced, and certified technicians can limit the extent of the damage and the overall cost of remediation.
The devastation of a mudslide can be catastrophic. Preparation and response are vital for survival and recovery. An article from a leading foundation solutions company explains the mechanics of mudslides: “Every year, mudslides and landslides cause more than $2 billion in damages to homes and businesses across the United States, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). One of the major causes of mudslides in the west is wildfires. When wildfires occur — from Colorado to Montana — they damage the trees and plants needed to keep dirt and soil conditions moist and healthy. Without its natural ability to absorb rainfall, water sits on top of the soil and hazardous mudslides can occur without warning.”
The article explains another facet of the causes of a mudslide, stating, “Similar conditions can also happen in areas experiencing extensive dry or drought conditions followed by intense rainfall or in places where vegetation has been removed for construction. Coastal cities that experience high winds and rain from hurricanes or ice storms in the winter — from Georgia to North Carolina — are also affected by mudslides. It only takes a few inches of intense rainfall to cause one.”
These risk factors highlight the importance of early preparation in advance of such a disaster. This preparedness has a wide application inclusive of most of the United States and not just the Bay Area and Palo Alto. Proper preparation can reduce costly property damage resulting from mudslides.
Protecting Homes Against property damage resulting from mudslides
While mudslides are a natural disaster beyond the control of a single homeowner, preparedness is viable for every homeowner. An emergency plan can protect homeowners in the event of a mudslide and reduce the long-term impact on their physical well-being, their property, and their financial recovery. These recommendations form a solid foundation for a basic emergency preparedness and response plan.
#1: Keep informed on storm and emergency alerts. When severe weather threatens, turn on the weather radio. Subscribe to receive local text and email alerts.
#2: Collect items for an emergency kit and keep the kit in an accessible location known to all family members.
#3: Create and practice an emergency evacuation plan with the family. Consider pets and their needs.
#4: Improve the landscape to enhance safety and provide protection. Adjustments in the landscape layout can directly affect the impact of a mudslide on a property. A competent landscape architect can make recommendations for a home in an area prone to mudslides. These recommendations may include:
- Diagnosing areas of the yard currently suffering from soil erosion
- Creating berms and swales to control water flow
- Installing erosion-control ground covers
- Planting trees that produce large root systems to hold the soil
- Improving the drainage system
- Building barrier walls
A landscape architect can identify and address storm drainage issues and landscape features on adjacent properties that may contribute to a mudslide or a micro-flood.
#5: Implement immediate, short-term prevention and protection measures when severe weather is in the forecast. These strategies include:
- Using hay bales to divert water away from the home
- Installing plastic sheeting on bare spots or on freshly-graded areas to prevent erosion
- Positioning sandbags in vulnerable places around the home
- Boarding up doors and windows
#6: Review and update insurance coverage. Create a master list of valuable items, including antiques, artwork, jewelry, electronics, tools, firearms, outdoor equipment, furniture, and appliances. Include digital photos and video. Make digital copies of important documents, and keep this digital information in the cloud for easy access.
Since flooding, mudslides, and earthquakes are not covered under most homeowners' policies, consult an insurance professional to obtain adequate coverage.
#7: Pre-qualify a property damage restoration company before a disaster strikes. A natural disaster often disrupts communication systems, making it all but impossible for a homeowner to contact a storm damage cleanup and restoration company. The best time to find a storm damage restoration professional is when life is peaceful, the earth is stable underfoot, and the sky is clear. Look for the following qualifications:
- Locally owned and operated with years of experience
- Industry-standard IICRC cleaning and restoration certifications
- References and great social media reviews
- Available 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays
- Quick response and rapid remediation
- Best equipment, the latest technology, advanced cleaning techniques, and EPA-approved cleaning products
- Provides a detailed, documented estimate
- Handles insurance claims from end-to-end
In case of a property damage disaster such as a mudslide, flood, house fire, or water intrusion in a residential or commercial setting, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year to help regain control of the situation quickly and begin the restoration process. A quick response, rapid remediation, and minimal disruption enable the homeowner or business to move forward after a disaster.