Types of Disasters and Catastrophes

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When it comes to catastrophes and disasters, no home or business is safe. While planning and preparation can help mitigate property damage and loss from a financial and personal perspective, at the end of the day, surviving a disaster is only part of the equation – recovering in the aftermath is just as important and, sometimes, more difficult.

Types of Disasters and Catastrophes

There are a large number of disasters and catastrophes – both natural and otherwise – that can affect a homeowner or commercial business. Some of these events are preventable – such as a fire or basement flooding due to a burst or frozen pipe – while others can be unavoidable. Tornadoes, hurricanes, tropical storms, earthquakes, and severe weather all fall under this latter category.

At the end of the day, however, each disaster comes with its own set of challenges and obstacles, from both a survival standpoint and a disaster restoration and cleanup perspective.

Tornado Disaster Restoration and Cleanup

Tornadoes are spinning cyclones that are spawned when two weather fronts collide and severe weather occurs. They range in speed from 40mph through 318mph in their most severe rating. Their size is measured in length and width and they can exceed a mile wide and 50 miles long, spreading damage in a huge path.

There are several types of tornadoes, but no matter what type, they are capable of causing massive amounts of property damage in the form of: fire damage, water damage, wind damage, structural damage, mold and mildew, electrical fires, flooding, and content damage.

For more information on tornado preparedness, visit our Tornado Preparation Tips resource section.

Hurricane Disaster Restoration and Cleanup

Hurricanes, like tornadoes, are spawned from severe weather and can cause a wide breadth of residential and commercial property damage. While a homeowner or company can prepare for a hurricane or tropical storm, they can still be devastating and cause the loss of a home or the loss of significant revenue.

Tropical weather comes in several forms, including the weakest – tropical depressions – the middle level tropical storms, and the most deadly – hurricanes. Associated hazards of a hurricane include: fire damage, electrical fires, water damage, flooding, structural damage, mild and mildew, and content damage.

For more information on hurricane preparedness for homeowners and businesses, visit our Hurricane Preparedness Tips resource section.

Residential and Commercial Fire Damage Restoration and Cleanup

A fire can break out in a home for many reasons. It can start from something as simple as an unattended frying pan or from poor electrical work and overloading of power strips. Fires can also happen during a hurricane or tornado as a result of fallen power lines, power surges, and lightning strikes. Wildfires are another devastating concern for certain areas as well.

No matter the cause, fires cause millions of dollars in residential and commercial property damage each year. While there are methods to help prevent fire damage, at the end of the day it is impossible to prevent every type of disaster.

Fires cause fire damage, soot damage, smoke damage, and resulting odors to carpet and upholstery. During the fire rescue efforts, water damage can occur, leading to the need for water extraction, carpet cleaning, dryer service, content restoration, and mild and mildew mitigation.

For more information on fire safety, view our Fire Prevention and Fire Safety resource section.

Basement Flooding, Frozen Pipes, and Burst Pipes

While not as nefarious as fires, tornadoes, or hurricanes, another real threat to homeowners is floods. Caused by something as simple as a frozen pipe or something as dangerous as a tsunami, floods are capable of costing enormous property damage and, in some instances, loss of life. No matter what the source, homeowners and business owners must act quickly in the aftermath of any type of flood to prevent further water damage from occurring.

When a flood does happen, you may find yourself in need of a dryer service and water extraction. Upholstery and carpet damage are also a concern, as are mold and mildew, which only get worse as time progresses.

One area we often do not associate with flooding or basement floods is fire damage. Electrical fires are not uncommon in such a situation, and as such, it is always important to shut off all electricity at the electrical panel in the event that a flood does occur.

Looking for more information on flooding basements and home floods? Check out our resource forPreventing Frozen Pipes and Burst Pipes.

What To Do In the Aftermath of a Disaster

Once you and your family members (or co-workers in the case of a commercial business disaster) are safe and rescue efforts are finished, a safety professional should tell you whether or not it is safe to enter your property. Your first step at this point should be to call your insurance company and a disaster restoration service. You will want to take photos of any damage and inventory any items that suffered during the catastrophe. Call friends and family to alert them of the situation and let them know that you are okay.

When the disaster remediation specialist arrives on the scene, he will quickly assess the situation and come up with a Disaster Recovery Plan, which will include temporary board-ups for damaged windows and doors, strengthening any walls that suffered damage, and preparing your residence or building for cleanup efforts, which may include content pack out of furniture and valuables for cleaning, water extraction, mold and mildew mitigation, smoke and soot removal, and fire damage restoration.

The disaster recovery service will also work with your insurance company and help guide you through the claims process to make sure it is as stress-free as possible.

Disaster Restoration and Catastrophe Cleanup Resources

Below you can find resources for disaster recovery and cleanup, as well as disaster prevention and preparation tips for many types of catastrophes.

Fire Prevention and Safety Education and Advice

Disaster.com is an excellent resource for Disaster-related information, including information on wildfires, home fires, severe storms, and more. Includes a comprehensive forum where users can ask questions and seek advice for preventing and recovering from catastrophic events.

Fire Safety and Wildfire Preparation Tips from Disaster.com

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) page for Fire Safety Tip Sheets


American Red Cross Home Fire Safety guide

Home Fire Preparedness

Safe Kids Fire Safety Tips for Children

Fire Damage and Fire Disaster Recovery Services

ServiceMaster Cleaning and Restoration

Cartersville, GA 770-882-2723

Chattanooga, TN 423-954-7154

Ormond Beach, FL 386-277-1189

Fire Departments by State

Georgia: http://www.firedepartment.net/directory/georgia

Tennessee: http://www.firedepartment.net/directory/tennessee

Hurricane Preparation Tips and Resources

Are you looking for more hurricane preparation tips and resources? If so, you may find the links below useful.

Redcross.org | Hurricane Preparedness Resources

Ready.gov | Information on Hurricane Safety

NHCH | National Hurricane Center Hurricane Preparation Guide

CDC | Emergency Preparedness for Tropical Storms and Hurricanes

Disaster.com | The Essentials of Hurricane Preparedness

Disaster.com | Forum for Hurricane Survivors and Advice

Fema.gov | Disaster Survivor Assistance Page

Hurricane, Tropical Storm, and Tornado Storm Damage Recovery Services

ServiceMaster Cleaning and Restoration

Cartersville, GA 770-882-2723

Chattanooga, TN 423-954-7154

Ormond Beach, FL 386-277-1189

Resources for Frozen Pipes and Flooded Basements

Below are some additional resources for homeowners experiencing frozen pipes, burst pipes, home flooding, or basement floods in Georgia and Tennessee

Education and Tips

Redcross Advice for Frozen Pipes

University of Georgia discussion on burst pipes

Georgia.gov tips for preventing pipe freezing

Plumbing Services from the Better Business Bureau

Note: For other areas, simply change your location and click the “Search” button

BBB List of Plumbers in Metro Atlanta, Athens, and NE Georgia

BBB List of Plumbers for Tennessee

Water Damage and Disaster Water Recovery Services

Servicemaster Cleaning and Restoration

Cartersville, GA 770-882-2723

Chattanooga, TN 423-954-7154

Ormond Beach, FL 386-277-1189

Pipe Freezing Resources from Insurance Companies

Allstate article on Pipe Freezes

Liberty Mutual tools for preventing frozen pipes

Nationwide Pipe Freeze Tips

Farmers how to prevent frozen pipe toolkit

Miscellaneous Water Damage and Home Flood Resources

List of Fire Departments by State

Georgia: http://www.firedepartment.net/directory/georgia

Tennessee: http://www.firedepartment.net/directory/tennessee