Call now!

1-866-571- 9211 OR VISIT WWW.911FLOOD.COM

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Residents Finding it Difficult to Fend off Waters

IT WAS MORE THAN just deja vu for Brian and Chalice Bell when Hurricane Irene hit in August.

They'd definitely lived through the rising water, the damaging winds and the uncertainty of just how much their two-story Inland Colony home in Chesapeake could take during the nor'easter of November 2009.

Except when Irene hit, they were more prepared.

"We all live by The Weather Channel in this neighborhood," said Brian Bell.

So, as he watched the storm approach, Bell, with help from brawny neighbors, rolled up carpets, moved dear items to higher ground and filled up a 36-foot truck with expensive items from his garage workshop and other places, then hauled them away to safety.

By necessity, like other Hampton Roads' residents whose homes have been ravaged by nor'easters, hurricanes or tropical storms, Bell learned all he could about safeguarding his house from future flooding, making sure his insurance worked for him, and protecting his assets and family.

Still, there are no guarantees, especially when you live in a neighborhood prone to flooding, or, like Hampton Roads, in an area that can be hit by a devastating storm at some point.

"Elevate or relocate" is what the Federal Emergency Management Agency suggests for people living in flood-zone areas, said Joseph Anderson, FEMA's hazard mitigation branch director.

"Relocating is the greatest solution, to get completely out of the flood zone," Anderson said, but "it's hard to tell people you have to move. Everybody can't up and move."

In Bell's neighborhood, which was developed in the 1950s, several people have elevated their homes.

But that's not a feasible option for him as a two-story homeowner, he said.

What Bell has chosen to do, as have many homeowners caught in the deluge, is move up hot-water heaters, air-conditioning and heating units, and raise duct work out of the water's path.

They've chosen to seal leaks and move important papers and photographs to higher ground, attics or upstairs bedrooms. Some have their houses on electric generators in case the lights go out, and have ways to pump water when storms threaten.

For self-proclaimed "storm warriors" Greg and Kim Peterman, Hurricane Irene got them where they lived in August, but it didn't drive them from their Larchmont home in Norfolk like the 2009 nor'easter.

Instead of having to live in a one-bedroom apartment for nine months while their one-story house was remediated, renovated and updated, this time the Petermans fought back with sandbags, tarps, sump pumps, dehumidifiers, fans and a generator. While the flood waters arrived as anticipated, and washed several inches of water in their home, the couple began the clean-up process immediately.

The Petermans pulled out the carpet by 1 a.m. that Sunday, Greg Peterman said, and eventually bleached the floors and walls to keep bacteria and mold from growing.

"We're living with concrete floors now," Greg Peterman said six weeks after Irene, as the couple waited for the insurance money from the $65,000 in damage they had this go-around. "We cleaned it as much as we could."

While the Petermans used the expertise they gained from dealing with flood damage in the past, experts say that cleaning up a property after a flood is often a dangerous job that requires a professional.

"The thing you have to remember, anytime it's ground water, anything that's porous needs to be disposed, carpet, padding and drywall," said Allen Alewine, president of ServePro in Chesapeake. "You cannot sanitize anything groundwater" has come into contact with, he said. "It will hold bacteria."

No comments:

Post a Comment