During a Ice Storm, many households lose power for long periods of time, in recent years longer than ever before. Hundreds were out of power for a week or more in the freeze of 2021 in the Willamette Valley. Generators became scarce, and people tried their best to start cleaning up their properties on their own.
What were the calls SERVPRO got more than any other you may ask? It was the calls from the homeowners with a flooded basement or trees falling onto their homes and structures. Flooded basements were largely due to the power outage and substantial moisture over the course of the storm. Many homes in the valley area have basements, and therefor have sump-pumps to keep that basement dry, but when the power goes out…electricity does not feed the sump pump and it becomes useless.
We saw home after home with finished basements buried in feet of storm water, we saw homeowners that carried the water out in buckets, that sucked up what they could with a shop vac, that went out as soon as the power flickered and bought a generator! It was the homeowners that took mitigation into their own hands that had the least amount of damage once SERVPRO arrived onsite. The homeowners that saw the water sitting in their basements for a week, were not so fortunate.
Insurance also came into play as an obstacle for many homeowners. So many policies only had a small amount of damage covered under sewer and drain. This caused some of our customers thousands of dollars and some large losses tens of thousands of dollars worth of uncovered damages.
We learned how to respond to dozens of jobs at once due to ice storms, and each home we encountered that had damages from the freeze we gained a whole new perspective on how unique and substantial the event was. It was a hectic and heart pounding time here at SERVPRO, but we got to help a lot of people through one of the most unexpected events of their lives, and we all learned a lot along the way.