7 Steps in Preparing For a Hurricane
Even though hurricane season has just begun, it’s never too early to prepare. Unless you prefer to rush to several different stores and stand in hour long lines, within hours of the hurricane actually hitting. I know I’d rather not do that! I’ve been in that situation, and let me tell you, it is not fun.
Instead, follow these 7 steps you should take before a hurricane hits.
1. Stay Informed
Make sure you know what is going on with the hurricane. Such as, what is the category of the storm, will it be hitting your area directly, if so, what time? Make sure to know your county’s evacuation route, and customize your evacuation plan for your family specifically. The hurricane’s course is never set in stone, so be sure to establish a back-up plan for every scenario. There are great phone apps you can download and utilize while preparing your family’s hurricane plans and staying informed. Click Here to learn more about these apps.
2. Make a Hurricane Preparedness Checklist
Be sure that you create a checklist of supplies that is specific to you and your family and then more general supplies. Click Here
3. Do you have Hurricane Shutters?
Be proactive! Hurricanes are known for causing damage to houses, and the first thing that’s usually damaged is your windows. Florida Home Builder’s know this and sometimes provide hurricane shutters to new homes. Make sure to check and see if yours has or not. If not, you can purchase shutters or you can pre-cut boards for your house windows.
4. Have a Back-up Power Source
During hurricanes, it is likely that power lines get damaged or fall down, causing many people to go without power after the hurricane. It can take several days to several weeks for your local power company to repair the power line and get power up and running again. Because of this, it is a good idea to have a generator. Remember that they need gas to run and they are quite noisy.
5. Have at least 2 weeks of water and non-perishable food
FEMA recommends that each household has 2 weeks of food supplied. Hopefully you will not need to 2 weeks worth of food, but disasters do happen, and hurricanes can change on a flip of a dime. It is always best to be over prepared than under prepared.
6. Know How to Cook Without Electric
Without electric it can be hard to cook or warm up some of your food; considering this day of age, we rarely cooks without electric. But instead of trying to figure out how you are going to heat up the can foods you stocked up on, decide this issue before hand. Here are some ways you can cook without electric.
- Canned heat
- Camping stoves
- Grills- propane or charcoal
7. Remember to Relax and Stay Calm
Being relaxed and calm during disasters are much easier when your family and you are prepared for any kind of scenario a hurricane throws your way. Come up with some ideas and activities that can take your mind off of the storm or its aftermath. Pull out those dusty board games in your closet and take out the stack of books you’ve been meaning to get to. This should preoccupy you and your family, and give you some quality time together.
Wirefire: Fire Danger Index
Wildfires are rapidly taking over our state of Florida. The lack of rain this spring is fueling wildfires across Florida, making 2017 fire season the most active fire season since 2011. So far this year over 2,000 wildfires have consumed more than 150,000 Florida acres.
With wildfires being so active, staying informed and being safe is of the up most importance. The state of Florida provides its’ residents with a Fire Danger Index (FDI), which is a continuous reference scale for estimating the potential for a fire to start and require suppression action on any given day. The Fire Danger Indices are classified as Low, Moderate, High, Very High, or Extreme, and represented by a color. Below is a description of each fire warning level and the specific actions that should be taken.
(FDI: 0-11) Easy for fires to be controlled, and there is little to no risk for life or property damage. Monitor the situation for changes and know where to get additional information
(FDI: 12-24) Fires can be controlled. Expect embers to blown away, which can cause small fires around main fire. It is unlikely for loss of life, and there will be minimal property damage. Be well prepared and to defend home in case of wind speed or direction change.
(FDI: 25-49) Fires may be difficult to control. Embers will blow ahead of fire, causing tree tops to burn and spot fires that can be up to 2 km from main fire. Some home and business could be affected, but there is a low chance for loss of life or injuries. Only stay at your residents if you’re well prepared and can actively defend it.
VERY HIGH: Red
(FDI: 50-74) Fires will be uncontrollable, move quickly, and flames may exceed the tree tops. Embers will blow around and cause spot fires that can be up to 4 km from main fire. Buildings may be damaged or destroyed, and there is a chance for loss of life or injuries. For insured survival, leaving your residents early is the safest option. Only stay if you’re well prepared and you can actively defend your home.
(FDI: 75-100+) Fires will be uncontrollable, unpredictable, and fast-moving. Flames will be higher than the tree tops, and embers will be blowing by the thousands. Spot fires will be forming in all directions and fast-moving. Anything that comes in the path of the fire will be affected. Hundreds of homes and businesses will be destroyed. Leaving is the best and safest option for survival.
If you spot a forest fire, remain calm, go to the nearest telephone and dial 911 to report the fire as quickly as possible to your local fire department. Calmly tell the emergency dispatcher when and where you saw it. Stay on the telephone until the dispatcher tells you to hang up.
Tips for Spot Cleaning Carpets
Do you have those tough spots on your carpets that just will not come out? Here are some tips you may have not tried when cleaning that spot on your carpet.
ALWAYS blot or scrape up as much material as possible before it soaks into the carpet.
For scraping solid material, use a table knife or a SERVPRO scraper. Never uses a sharp instrument.
For blotting liquids, use white paper towels or tissues instead of a cloth. If a cloth is used too long, the fibers may redeposit in the carpet and spread the stain.
Never use soap. This frequently leaves a sticky residue that causes rapid resoling.
Do not allow solvent-based products to penetrate to the backing of carpets. Solvents might damage and soften the latex compounds used to strengthen the carpet backing.
Cell Phone Emergency Alerts
Who know our cell phones' could possibly send a text that could potentially save a life?
Technology has come a long way! The only way you used be able to receive Emergency information was by radio or television, but there is a better way and that is your cell phone.
Everyone has a cell phone, right? In this day and age, we couldn’t imagine anyone not owning a cell phone; it’s practically unheard of. More people own a cell phone than a car or a TV, and could you blame them. You can watch TV or catch a ride from your phone in minutes. In 2002, only 62% of U.S. adults possessed a cell phone, and that percentage increased to 95% of Americans in 2016. Today, cell phones are used for more than just to make calls. Cell phone capabilities aren’t what they were 10 or even 5 years ago. New technology has helped make our cell phone do practically anything, from GPS services to video chat, to web surfing, and to virtual reality.
Now knowing this, what is the best and quickest way to notify Americans in case of a major emergency? I’d say through our cell phones! You can be warned of upcoming dangers by emergency alerts from anywhere, while choosing how you’d like to receive them from your cell phone. The ability to be warned of oncoming dangers at a moment’s notice can provide you with a jump-start to safety. Here are 5 different ways to set up your emergency alerts from you cell phone.
- National updates
Receive updates regarding National Security from Homeland Security, the latest outbreaks from CDC, and computer threats from US-CERT. These notifications are issued through WEA- Wireless Emergency Alerts. If you have ever received an Amber Alert it’s coming from the WEA, which is a default setting in most cell phones.
- Statewide activity updates
Do a Google search for a Public Warning System for your state. This will allow you to customize your alerts specifically to your state.
- Weather apps for smart phones and tablets
You can receive custom weather alerts from your state or city while customizing the level of warning you want to receive. Apple users can download NOAA Radar Pro and android users can download the app Pro Weather Alert. These apps can range from $2- $3, and is worth every penny to keep you and your family notified of weather emergencies and dangers.
The FEMA text message program informs you of safety tips for specific disaster types, and allows you to search for open shelters and disaster recovery centers.
- Apple devices-text APPLE to 43362 (4FEMA)
- Android devices-text ANDROID to 43362 (4FEMA)
- Blackberry devices-text BLACKBERRY to 43362 (4FEMA)
- Survivehive Alert Center
For those of you that are like me and hate cluttering up your email and social media, this is the resource for you. Stay up to date with the latest disaster/emergency, terrorism, disease outbreak, significant earthquake, and severe weather alerts all from one site.
Fire Survival Tips
This house fire stared by leaving a candle unattended.
Fire preparedness is one of the most commonly overlooked aspects of disaster preparation. Preparation is key to minimize the size and speed in which a fire can grow, allowing time to escape or wait for the fire department to come to the rescue.
Did you know that if a fire starts in your home you may have as little as two minutes to escape?
Are you prepared in case a fire?
Here are safety tips that everyone sure know:
-Never leave heating appliances unattended in your home.
-Frequently check that all smoke alarms within your home are properly working.
- Take note of flammable items in and around your home.
- Remove pine needles, leaves, and broken branches from around your house.
- Pine shrubs can quickly catch on fire; so think carefully before planting them close to your house.
-During dry seasons, use your garden hose and spray the roof and side walls of your home.
-Store fuel away from your house and in approved containers.
-Learn basic firefighter skills by taking a fire course. This can prepare you to develop the necessary skills and knowledge to protect your family and home when fire disasters strike.
-Obtain a complete floor plan of your residence.
-Identify all available exits, especially basements and attics.
-If there is an upstairs exit, make sure there are emergency ladders available and all windows/doors open easily.
-Plan several exit routes in case the fire does not allow you to use a certain exit.
-Identify a meeting location after you have exited the building.
- Once the escape routes are planned, test out the routes before an emergency and make sure they work efficiently.
Resources to extinguish fires:
ABC Fire Extinguishers – A popular active fire protection device to control small fires, not intended to be used in an out-of-control situation.
Fire Extinguisher Ball – A light weight ball that can be thrown into a fire causing it to self-activate releasing chemicals to suppress the fire.
Indian Pack - A portable water pouch with a hose, which can allow you to put out small brush or wild fires around your home.
Baking Soda- Use baking soda to smother a small fire before it can spread by sprinkling over the fire. This is great to use for grease fires.
Chimfex Fire Extinguisher - Fire suppressant used for chimneys and fireplaces.
What You Should Know About Water Damage
Water damage can be a very difficult situation for any homeowner. But there are certain tips that can help save you time and money. There are also things you shouldn’t do as it can make the situation worse. Here are some tips to guide you in dealing with water damage in your home.
Do not open the windows
It may seem like instinct to immediately open up any and all windows when you first discover unexpected moisture, but that could actually make matters worse. You want to avoid any excess heat and humidity in order to not complicate the drying process. Instead, call SERVPRO immediately so that the moisture can be examined and removed right away. It is also wise to pull any wet materials or furniture away from the water so that they do not become damaged. Keeping the windows closed will allow the air system to run as it usually does and maintain a stable environment for proper drying.
Your insurance company needs to know right away
When water damage occurs, the best method of defense is calling SERVPRO immediately to schedule an inspection and begin the treatment process. It is also extremely important that the next phone call you make is to your insurance company to get more information on if and what they will cover. Your insurance agent can guide you through the process and help protect your property from further damage. This is important information that can impact the value of your property if it is not addressed immediately and correctly.
Not all water damage is covered by insurance
There are different insurance policies for flood damage and water damage, so not all water damage is created equal. These are things your insurance agent will have questions about and need as much information as possible in order to report a claim. Make sure to specify where the water came from and how much there is so that your insurance company can work with you to handle the situation the best way possible. Most policies cover things like sudden damage such as an overflowing washing machine or a storm, but situations caused by neglect or carelessness are not typically covered by insurance. It is also important to know if you have a separate policy through the National Flood Insurance Policy so that your insurance company can adjust your claim appropriately.
Where the water came from matters
Not only does where the water came from matter for repairs, it matters because the water may be polluted. Water alone can be extremely damaging if it is not dealt with immediately, and if there are any chemicals or bacteria in it can speed up the damaging process and even cause illness. There is a 24 to 48 hour window from the time that water is exposed to an area and the time that mold begins to grow. Mold multiplies quickly and can be extremely dangerous to the health of anyone around it so it is vital that it does not have the opportunity to spread within the water.
Standing water breeds bacteria so that means that any contamination the water touches is spreading germs and can worsen the contamination of your property the longer it is there. The worse the contamination becomes, the more extensive the cleaning process becomes. It is important to address the situation immediately so the water does not breed any bacteria and is removed before further damage occurs.
What not to do
Beyond keeping windows shut and calling SERVPRO and your insurance company, there are several other things you should not do in the case of water damage. Do not leave wet fabrics in the standing water or they will be ruined. Also, do not leave any books or magazines on wet carpets or floors. Avoid turning on any televisions or household appliances that may have been exposed to the standing water as a safety precaution. No matter how tempting it may be, leave the water removal process to the professionals and do not use your household vacuum to remove the water yourself.
SERVPRO can remove water and prevent damage
When unwanted moisture accumulates, the highly trained technicians at SERVPRO use advanced water damage inspection and extraction equipment to find and remove it as quickly as possible. The water damage experts will monitor and document the drying process so that you know your property is back to normal. SERVPRO is a trusted leader in the water restoration industry and is able to take on water damage incidents of all types, including storm damage, mold remediation, sewage cleanup, and commercial water damage.
Avoiding Water Damage Caused by Runoff
Whenever it rains on your home, runoff will occur. All homes are specifically designed to deal with this runoff so that it doesn’t negatively affect the home. If the water runoff from the roof is not properly handled, it can cause serious problems for the home such as putting into question the stability of the structure or causing water damage to the inside and outside of the home. These are some of the ways that water runoff is dealt with in homes.
Problems Caused by Runoff
The biggest problem that can be caused by water runoff is the structural integrity of the building. If a large amount of water collects near the building’s foundation, it can get absorbed into the soil and can put enough pressure on the foundation that it can cause it to break. Additionally, if a significant amount of water runs down the side of the building, it can wear away at the siding, walls, and the foundation.
Another problem that can occur from a large amount of runoff is that large sections of the landscaping can quickly erode. If this problem occurs, soil and plants can be stripped away and damage can be caused to adjacent aspects of the home such as driveways and sidewalks.
Gutters as a Defense
The first line of defense when it comes to water runoff from the roof are the gutters. Lining the entirety of the house, the sole purpose of the gutters is to collect the water that comes off the roof and direct it far away from the house so that it doesn’t cause any damage to the side of the house or the foundation. Due to the significant impact that gutters have on directing runoff away from the structure, properly maintaining your gutters are crucial to protecting your home from water damage. Gutters often collect leaves and other debris so regularly cleaning the gutters to ensure that there are no blockages is a simple maintenance task that will go a long way to avoiding water damage.
The sole purpose of landscape drainage is to collect the water that comes out of the gutters and redirecting this excess water away so it doesn’t damage your landscape. A very common way of setting up landscape drainage is by using gravel and underground drain pipes. Gravel is strong enough that it can hold up the ground while featuring enough space to allow water to flow through it and into the pipes below. Once the water flows down into the drain pipes, it is directed to a drain field that is located far from the house.
The purpose of a foundation drainage system is to protect your foundation if a large quantity of water accumulates near it. If installing a foundation drainage system is necessary, it will be set up right next to the foundation and will feature layers of gravel and drain pipe. Unlike landscape drainage systems, which are near the surface of the landscape, a foundation drainage system gets buried down at the bottom of the foundation walls. If large quantities of water accumulate around the foundation, the system will redirect as much water as possible away from the foundation to avoid any potential damage.
A way to keep your foundation safe from any potential runoff that may direct water toward the foundation is through foundation waterproofing. If this is the right course of action for your home, the exterior of the foundation will be coated with a waterproofing membrane which will provide extra protection from water. The process of installing this waterproofing involves excavation next to the foundation which is done to ensure that all sides of the foundation are covered by the application. The membrane then forms a seamless waterproof barrier around the entirety of the foundation.
Runoff from the roof of a house has the potential to cause significant damage to the home if it is not properly dealt with. To avoid any of these potential problems from occurring, gutters direct water away from the home and drainage systems are often installed to protect landscaping and the building’s foundation from becoming damaged. If water damage does occur to your home, call on the professionals at SERVPRO to restore the home.
Common Issues with Gutters
When water gets into the foundation of your home, it has the potential to cause structural issues to the home. The result of a wet foundation can also be windows and doors sticking to their frames. Gutters are installed on houses and connected to downspouts precisely to avoid this problem. These systems are essential in protecting the structure and integrity of your home. But, in order for these systems to work, you will need to ensure that these systems are free from clogs, holes, and sags.
The most common problem that tends to occur with gutters are clogs caused by debris. The additional weight that is caused due to the accumulation of leaves, twigs, and standing water will cause the gutters to sag and pull away from the house. To avoid such a situation, you should clean your gutters at least once each year, twice if you have trees hanging over your gutters. Once the gutters are free of debris, you should use a hose to spray the gutters to make sure that the water is flowing as it should. Another option to consider are gutter covers. These cover the gutters from above featuring mesh screens, clip-on grates, and porous foam but still require regular maintenance.
Sagging Gutters That Pull Away from the House
If your gutters are sagging or starting to pull away from the house, the problem more than likely has to do with the hangers. The gutter hangers are the metal pieces of the system that secure the gutters to the fascia. They are easily noticeable as they stretch across the inside of the gutter. Over time, normal wear and tear may have caused these hangers to deteriorate. Other issues with the hangers may be that the fasteners may be detaching from the wood or that they are spaced too far apart so that they can no longer support the full weight of the gutters.
Damage to the Gutters
If your gutters have suffered damage, they may be leaking or have holes in them. If the issue is a leaky gutter joint, the issue can be solved by sealing the joint with caulking from the inside with gutter sealant. Likewise, any holes that are very small should be able to be sealed with gutter sealant. Big holes, however, will require a patch to be fixed.
Poorly Sloped Gutters
A common problem with gutters are that the gutters are not sloped down toward the downspouts. This means that the water cannot flow freely to the downspouts and down to the ground. To ensure that your gutters are properly sloped, you should have at least a quarter inch slope for every ten feet. If you have a rainstorm and there is standing water in your gutters following the storm without clogged gutters being an issue, your gutters are not sloped correctly. The proper course of action is to ensure that the gutters are sloped correctly to the downspout to ensure that the water can properly flow down to the ground and away from the house.
Water Draining Toward Foundation
For the downspouts to be effective, they should extend several feet away from the house. If the downspouts are located too close to the house, water can collect at the foundation. If the water drains into the foundation, serious issues to the home such as structural problems or windows and doors sticking to their frames could be caused. If your downspouts are draining too close to the foundation, consider installing gutter extensions to the bottom of the downspouts. This will ensure that the water drains away from the house far enough that it doesn’t cause any damage to the foundation of the home.
Gutters are an essential part of keeping water damage from effecting your home. When rainwater collects in the gutters or runs off the roof, the gutters drain the water into the downspouts which flow the water far away from the home and its foundation. Issues such as clogged gutters or sagging gutters could cause water to build up and damage the gutters. If the downspouts do not direct the water far enough from the home, it could infiltrate the foundation causing serious and expensive damage to the home. If you suffer from water damage in your home, call on the professionals at SERVPRO.
Maintaining Home Value After Water Damage
Your home is one of the biggest investments of your lifetime. It is where you rest, play, spend time with family, it is your own retreat away from the hustle and bustle from the busy world. Protecting your home is the first step in valuing it for the importance piece of your life that it is. Prevention and repair are key to maintaining a home that will retain its worth and continue to be a haven for you and your family. That means that if any damage occurs in your home, it is crucial to address it immediately in order to conserve the value.
As a homeowner, it is of the utmost importance that damage of any form, water, fire, mold, or storm be made a top priority. Even if it appears that there is only a small amount of damage, the reality is that damage only gets worse as time goes on. Taking action and having the area inspected as quickly as possible usually results in a much simpler and more cost friendly repair than if the damage has time to grow. Repairing damage quickly also guarantees that the cost value of your home is not negatively effective and can still remain a positive investment in your life and your wallet.
When damage occurs, the first thing to do is call SERVPRO and get in touch with a 24-7 technician. SERVPRO is available all day, every day to assure that no damage goes unrepaired. Help will be on the way as soon as your call is placed and a highly trained specialist will be on the scene ready to begin the inspection process. Everything from water removal, and carpet cleaning to television repair falls under the SERVPRO cleanup and restoration umbrella and is executed by the best in the industry.
Here are just a few reasons why calling SERVPRO to repair damage immediately is so beneficial to the overall value of your home and property:
Selling Your Home in the Future
If you plan on selling your home at any point, you definitely want to get the most out of your sale. It is not possible to sell a home for the same amount or more of the purchase price if damage of any kind has occurred and was not addressed properly.
It is required that the fact any water or fire damage occurred to the home or property be disclosed before the purchase of your home is made. So if the damage was not repaired properly, it will definitely be noticed. On top of that, homes must pass inspection before the purchase is made as well. If the repaired damage does not pass the inspection, that could mean your home may not sell for the price it is listed as.
Refinancing Your Home Down the Road
When refinancing your home, it must be inspected and reported on by an appraiser. If any damage has occurred and not dealt with, your home will lose dollar value and be considered less valuable than the original price you bought it for. The whole point of refinancing is to end up spending less money on your home and that simply is not possible if damage occurs and is noticed.
Damage Only Gets Worse if Not Treated
They say everything gets better with time, but that is not the case for homes if they are not maintained. When damage occurs, it only gets stronger with time. Call SERVPRO immediately so that the damage does not increase and end up burning a hole in your pocket. SERVPRO not only helps with damage of the actual home, but also helps care for your belongings. That means that your home can quickly be restored with attention to detail of everything within the damaged area.
When big money is spent on something so important as a home for you and your family, it is absolutely worth it to respect the large investment and maintain the quality of the purchase. Repairing water, fire, or storm damage immediately with the help of SERVPRO gives you peace of mind that your home will not lose its value and continue to be the investment of a lifetime.
What Happens During a Fire Assessment?
Suffering a fire in the home is one of the most traumatic occurrences for a homeowner. You can potentially lose, not only your home, but also your treasured possessions. To ensure that as many of your possessions can be saved as possible, you need to immediately contact the professionals at SERVPRO to restore the home.
The first step in restoring any home that has suffered from fire damage will be an inspection and fire assessment. This assessment is done, often by both the insurance company and the restoration company, to determine how severe the damage is and whether or not it is safe to reenter the home. For the restoration company, it will determine what materials and equipment they will need to begin the restoration process. There are three steps that take place during the fire assessment process; an inspection of outdoor damage, an inspection of indoor damage, then the restoration of the home.
Inspecting Outside Damage
The first step that will be taken during the fire assessment process is an inspection of the outside of the home. During this inspection, the professional inspectors will be looking for any melted objects, damaged chimneys, missing roof shingles, or any other damage that has occurred to the outside of the home. Depending on the severity of the fire, they may also take a look around any surrounding yards, take a closer look at the roof, and look at any other exterior surfaces that might have incurred damage during the fire. This inspection is done to see whether or not there is any damage from the outside that is in need of repair.
Inspecting Inside Damage
Once the inspector has surveyed outside for any exterior damage, they will move inside to see what damage has been incurred inside the home, likely where the fire occurred. During this part of the inspection, the inspector will walk through the building looking for any visible damage. The main areas that are inspected are the walls, roof, floors, ceilings, ducts, vents, bathtubs, windows, and sinks. Every room of the building must be inspected to make sure that all damage has been identified before the restoration process begins.
The main point of inspecting the inside of the house is to see what parts of the house are still intact and which parts of the house are falling apart due to the damage. During the inspection, the foundation, walls, and ceilings will be paid close attention as these are the parts of the home that can require the most significant restoration. This is because these parts of the house are largely responsible for the structural stability of the building.
Restoring the Home
Once the fire assessment has finished, the SERVPRO team will know the extent of the damage and what materials and equipment they need to complete the restoration process. The quicker the restoration of the building starts, the more of your possessions and the more of the building will be able to be restored.
One of the issues regarding fire damage restoration is water damage. When water is used to put out the fire, this creates water damage around the house. If the water is not properly cleaned up by professionals, mold and mildew are just some of the problems that can arise. By immediately performing fire and water restoration, the professionals from SERVPRO will be able to salvage most of what could be lost if much more time is wasted. In the end, the goal of the process to is minimize the possibility of there being further damage.
When a fire occurs in your home, it’s important to immediately call the professionals at SERVPRO to restore the building. With the damage caused by the fire and the water damage caused by the water that puts out the fire, time is of the essence to avoid even worse damage being caused. The first step in the fire restoration process is a fire assessment, where the team will examine the inside and outside of the home to see how much damage has been caused and what materials and equipment will be needed in order to fully restore the home. So if you suffer from a fire in your home, call on the professionals at SERVPRO for a full restoration.