How To Prepare Your Home For Hurricane Hillary
Stay Informed: Monitor reliable sources of weather information, such as the National Hurricane Center (NHC) or your local meteorological agencies. They will provide updates and forecasts on the storm's track, intensity, and potential impacts.
Emergency Kit: Create an emergency kit that includes essential supplies such as non-perishable food, water, medications, first aid supplies, flashlight, batteries, a battery-operated radio, and personal hygiene items. Plan for at least three days' worth of supplies.
Evacuation Plan: Know your evacuation routes and have a plan in place for where you'll go if you need to evacuate. Stay informed about evacuation orders from local authorities.
Secure Your Property: Trim trees and shrubs around your property to minimize the risk of flying debris. Secure loose outdoor items that could become projectiles in strong winds.
Protect Windows and Doors: If you're in an area prone to hurricanes, consider installing storm shutters or boarding up windows and doors with plywood to protect against flying debris.
Important Documents: Keep important documents, such as identification, insurance policies, medical records, and financial documents, in a waterproof container.
Communication Plan: Ensure that you have a way to communicate with family members in case you get separated. Have a designated point of contact outside the affected area who everyone can check in with.
Fuel and Transportation: Keep your vehicles fueled up and in good condition. Gas stations might be closed or busy during an emergency.
Medication and Medical Supplies: If you have prescription medications or medical equipment, ensure you have a sufficient supply on hand. Keep a list of your medications and dosages.
Pets and Livestock: If you have pets or livestock, make sure you have a plan for their care, including food, water, and shelter.
Secure Important Items: Move valuable or sentimental items to higher ground or a safer location in case of flooding.
Stay Put if Safe: If you're not in a designated evacuation zone and your home is well-built and sturdy, it might be safer to stay put. But always follow local authorities' advice.
Why Clean Up That Water?
Excess moisture in your home can lead to a range of problems, both structural and health-related. It's important to manage moisture levels to maintain a healthy and safe living environment. Here are some of the potential issues that moisture can cause in your home:
Mold and Mildew Growth: High moisture levels provide an ideal environment for mold and mildew to thrive. Mold growth can damage surfaces, produce unpleasant odors, and pose health risks, especially to individuals with allergies, asthma, or respiratory issues.
Structural Damage: Moisture can weaken the structural integrity of your home over time. It can cause wood to rot, weaken foundations, corrode metal components, and deteriorate materials like drywall and insulation.
Dampness and Discomfort: Excess moisture can lead to a feeling of dampness and discomfort within your living spaces. This can make your home less inviting and affect your overall quality of life.
Peeling Paint and Wallpaper: Moisture can cause paint and wallpaper to peel or blister, leading to unsightly and deteriorating surfaces.
Water Stains: Water stains on ceilings, walls, and floors are not only unsightly but can also indicate ongoing leaks or moisture issues.
Pest Infestations: Moist environments attract pests such as cockroaches, termites, and silverfish. These pests can cause additional damage to your home and pose health risks.
Allergens and Health Risks: Mold spores and dust mites, both commonly found in moist environments, can trigger allergies and worsen respiratory conditions like asthma.
Foul Odors: Moisture can create musty and unpleasant odors that linger in your home, making it less comfortable for occupants and visitors.
Electrical Hazards: Moisture can damage electrical systems, leading to short circuits, power outages, and potential electrical hazards.
Decreased Energy Efficiency: Moisture can affect the insulation properties of materials, leading to decreased energy efficiency as heating and cooling systems work harder to maintain desired temperatures.
Worried about flooding during heavy rains? Sandbag! Sandbag! Sandbag!
Sandbagging is a technique used to create barriers and protect buildings from flooding. If you're facing a potential flood threat and want to sandbag your house, here's how you can do it:
Materials You'll Need:
- Sandbags (available at hardware stores or you can make your own with sand and suitable bags)
- Sand (for filling the bags)
- Plastic sheeting (to help waterproof the sandbags)
- Work gloves
- Stakes or weights (to hold the sandbags in place)
Get Sandbags: Purchase sandbags from a hardware store or contact your local emergency management agency for information on obtaining sandbags. If you can't find pre-filled bags, you can buy bags and fill them with sand.
Fill Sandbags: Fill the sandbags about half to two-thirds full with sand. Overfilled bags will be difficult to manage and won't stack properly.
Seal and Stack: Fold the open end of the sandbag and place it on the ground with the folded end facing up and the sealed end down. When stacking the bags, stagger the layers like you would in bricklaying. This creates a more stable barrier.
Form a Barrier: Place the sandbags to form a barrier around the areas vulnerable to flooding, such as doorways, windows, and low-lying parts of your property. If you're building a wall, make sure it's at least two bags wide to provide stability.
Tamp and Mold: Gently tamp down the bags in each layer to create a firm and stable barrier. Use the weight of the bags to create a tight seal.
Anchor the Barrier: Depending on the situation, you might need to anchor the sandbag barrier with stakes or other weights to prevent shifting.
Create a Slope: If the water is approaching your house, create a gentle slope with the sandbags to redirect the water away from your home.
Protect Doorways: If you're protecting doorways, consider using plastic sheeting in addition to sandbags to create a waterproof seal. Attach the plastic sheeting to the doorframe and drape it over the sandbags.
Monitor and Maintain: Regularly check the sandbags for signs of wear or displacement. Replace damaged bags promptly and adjust the barrier as needed.
How Storms Can Affect Your Residential Property in Southern California
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) describes a storm surge as a rise in seawater level that's caused by a storm. It occurs when powerful winds from a hurricane, tropical storm or even a winter storm push ocean water ashore. This creates a rise in seawater level that's greater than the predicted tide.
A storm surge can create a dangerous situation for you and your family, so it's important to be prepared. Consider creating an evacuation plan and packing an emergency "go bag" ahead of time so you can quickly depart if a storm surge forces you to evacuate.
Regardless of what's predicted, it's important not to underestimate the potential danger of a storm surge. The NHC says storm surges can cause water levels to rise in a matter of minutes, leaving you little time to seek higher ground. Extreme flooding stemming from a storm surge can force major evacuations and may leave behind damage at your home. This damage may include foundation cracks, punctured gas lines, flooded appliances and electrical issues, says Ready.gov.
Early in the season, the high-pressure air in the Great Basin starts out warmer, so the addition of compressional heating can make for winds that feel hot like a hair dryer. Later in the season — late fall and winter — the jet stream comes farther down out of Canada and feeds much colder Arctic air into the interior West. That colder, denser air can generate stronger winds, even though they may not be as oven-hot as in the early fall. These later-season winds are more likely to have upper-level support — meaning winds higher in the troposphere may influence the winds at the surface through a sort of chain reaction. The cooler, denser air helps drive those winds aloft to the surface because of subsidence or sinking, Miller adds.
Downslope Winds?occur when warm/dry air descends rapidly down a mountain side. These are common on the east side of the Rocky Mountains, called Chinook Winds. These winds can blow over 40 mph, and can occur in sudden gusts that are even stronger, which can make driving hazardous. In addition, their dry conditions increase the risk of wildfires in the area.
Downslope Winds occur when warm/dry air descends rapidly down a mountain side. These are common on the east side of the Rocky Mountains, called Chinook Winds. These winds can blow over 40 mph, and can occur in sudden gusts that are even stronger, which can make driving hazardous. In addition, their dry conditions increase the risk of wildfires in the area.
For the first time since October, drought-plagued California was doused with heavy rain and snowfall from Dec. 12-15. Even Southern California got to join in the party, with Santa Barbara and the rest of the South Coast averaging 2 inches of rain at the water’s edge and upwards of 5 inches in the mountains. San Marcos Pass, traversed by Highway 154, received more than 8 inches of rain from the storm.
A vigorous storm system moved into the Southland on Monday, delivering much-needed rain and high-elevation snow to the drought-stricken region — along with lightning, flash floods and road hazards — but it wasn’t enough to make more than a dent in the ongoing drought.
These bands occur globally and are responsible for moving much of the water vapor that flows outside of the tropics, especially on the west coast of the U.S. and in northern Europe. When they come into contact with a landmass, atmospheric rivers will often release their vapor, resulting in rainfall and snowfall at higher elevations.
What to do when you get a warning about a storm.
Practice Your Plan: Conduct a family severe thunderstorm drill regularly so everyone knows what to do if a damaging wind or large hail is approaching. Make sure all members of your family know to go there when severe thunderstorm warnings are issued. Don't forget pets if time allows.
A storm warning indicates that meteorologists have already observed severe conditions. If you hear that a storm warning has been issued, it means potentially dangerous weather is imminent in or near your location. Depending on the type of weather warning, take appropriate action as quickly and safely as possible.
Also check your furnace and change your filter. While this won’t mitigate storm damage, it can make weathering the storm more comfortable. Also take this opportunity to service your garage door opener by lubricating the chain or screw drive and checking the tension on the chain. Change the batteries in the electronic opener, too, to minimize the chances that your loved ones will have to operate the door manually during a storm.
What to do if a storm hits.
Start by discussing what could happen and what you should do at home, at school or at work if a severe storm strikes. To be prepared, make a list of what needs to be done ahead of time. Store important family documents, such as birth certificates, passports, wills, financial documents, insurance policies, etc. in waterproof container(s). Identify an appropriate out-of-town contact that can act as a central point of contact in an emergency.
When a winter storm hits, stay indoors. If you must go outside, dress for the weather. Outer clothing should be tightly woven and water-repellent. The jacket should have a hood. Wear mittens – they are warmer than gloves – and a hat, as significant body heat is lost through the head.
After the Storm
1. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
2. Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded and watch out for debris. Floodwaters often erode roads and walkways.
3. Do not attempt to drive through areas that are still flooded.
4. Avoid standing water as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
5. Photograph damage to your property for insurance purposes.
What to Know Before Water Damage Strikes
Evaluate the risk of potential water damage.
Homeowners undoubtedly have a responsibility to try and protect against the next loss. More carriers are seeing similar trends regarding water damage recidivism. As a result, some are not renewing homes with multiple water losses, or are requiring the installation of mitigation devices. In a study by the California Department of Insurance, 25% of the companies (surveyed) refused to renew the policies of customers who made one or two non-water damage claims in the past three years. And 32% refused to renew policies for people who made one or two water-loss claims in the past three years2.
Understand your insurance policy. Does it include a flood rider? Most policies need this to be specifically added by the policy holder. If it does, know your coverage. Oftentimes, flood and water damage are not a “total restore” under the policy, meaning that the loss may be covered only up to a percentage. If this is the case, it may be worth speaking with your provider about extending your coverage.
Between hour 2 and the end of the first week, the damage will compound. Your home will experience growth and spread of mold and mildew. The doors, windows, and wood flooring may swell and warp, and metal may begin to rust and corrode. At the same time, there is a possibility of serious biohazard contamination.
What to Know About Gas Leaks
It is everyone’s worst nightmare to have a fire ignite in their home. But with all of the technology stored and used in our homes, the event has a notable chance of occurring. One cause of fire that many people often do not notice are gas leaks. Gas cannot be seen and sometimes the leak cannot be heard. Here are some signs of a gas leak to help you identify if you are faced with the problem or not:
If the aroma in your home has changed to a gas-like smell or sulfur egg-like smell, that is one big sign something is up with your gas line.
If your gas line is leaking, the content of it in the air will wither and kill your plants. Keep note of how your plants are doing!
Hiked Gas Bill
The excessive leaking of gas will cause your bill to rise, so if the price is out of the norm check the line.
Dust Cloud Around Gas Line
The leaking of gas will cause dust and dirt to possibly be thrown in the air around the affected area.
If the gas is leaking from a small hole in the line, it will make a hissing sound as it escapes the small area.
After noting all of these signs and you come to the decision you have a gas leak, evacuate your home and call 911 or SoCal Gas at 1-800-427-2200. Do not light any matches or flip any switches, as this will spark a fire. If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to call us at our 24 hour service line. SERVPRO is here to help!
Why SERVPRO Will Meet all of your Damage Remediation Needs
SERVPRO is one of the most experienced damage restoration companies in the areaWhen you’re ready to schedule restoration service from SERVPRO, its customer service team is available 24/7. Once you find a location near you, call to request an inspection. Then, a technician will arrive to assess the damage and give you an estimate for restoration services.
Each of SERVPRO’s over 1,500 nationwide franchises is independently owned and operated by trained professionals committed to providing the highest level of emergency cleanup and restoration services and customer satisfaction. What this means to you, the commercial property owner or manager, is that should fire, water or mold damage occur in local facilities or a facility across the country, a SERVPRO professional will provide quality professional services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
When a homeowner needs help dealing with severe water damage, they should contact a water damage restoration service like SERVPRO with experienced, certified technicians. It’s also advisable to ask if the company ensures the work it completes. Most companies will guarantee the work for a specified period so that a homeowner can have peace of mind knowing that if there are any problems with the work, the water damage restoration service should handle it. A homeowner should make sure to get it in writing to guarantee that they are covered in the event of any problems. Here at SERVPRO, we make sure all of these bases are covered to provide our clients with smooth and speedy restoration process.
What They Don't Tell You About Water Damage!
Water damage is a common problem that homeowners face.
Water damage, though not well-understood, is certainly not uncommon. According to statistics from the attorneys at Arguello Hope & Associates, PLLC, 4 in 10 homeowners have experienced some sort of loss from this issue. The same source reported that more than 90% of it is preventable, however.
Yes. Water damage can be one of the most common and most serious emergencies your property can experience. Whether your home has been affected by a storm, flood, roof leak, HVAC leak, busted pipes, overflowing appliances or sewage backup, a water problem can easily distress and threaten you and your home’s safety as well as your property value.
Common costs associated with water damage include replacing flooring and furniture, mold repair and removal, and installing new drywall. Wood beams and other structural elements will often need to be replaced. If the home must be gutted and re-done, the costs can be astronomical — which is why having a comprehensive homeowner’s insurance plan is a good idea.
Water damage can cause extensive damage to property.
The damage may be imperceptibly slow and minor such as water spots that could eventually mar a surface, or it may be instantaneous and catastrophic such as burst pipes and flooding. However fast it occurs, water damage is a major contributor to loss of property.
Water damage can ruin your electrical system. We all know water and electricity don’t play well together. Water damage left unattended too long can cause electrical shorts and damage to your circuits. Can you say fire hazard? The less damage the better, so staying on top of water damage cleanup is a must.
Water damage affects buildings on so many levels. When water creeps into areas of your property where it shouldn’t be, your floor could warp. Water damage also discolors beautifully painted walls. All that moisture can also lead not only to the formation of mold inside the building but also to a vermin infestation. Worst of all, water damage that isn’t immediately addressed through water damage restoration could eventually weaken the foundation of any building.
Water damage can be disastrous and costly.
The fact of the matter is that the longer you leave water damage, the more it’s going to cost to repair. Fixing the problem right away could be relatively quick and easy, but if you leave it, it could just get worse and worse. When you do finally take care of it, you could end up paying much more than you should have.
Call us at SERVPRO of South Lake Forest/ Laguna Woods to schedule an inspection of your property today.
General Tips to Protect Your Commercial Business Property
Protect your commercial business property from natural disaster damage.
If you find yourself in the tricky situation of cleaning up commercial water damage, follow these simple guidelines. By using a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the area and stop mold and bacteria growth, you’ll be able to speed up the cleanup process considerably.
The components of a commercial building envelope are as varied as its occupants and uses. Brick and glass, bitumen and composite panels, marble and stone, all can be used. And all respond differently to the forces of wind, rain, snow, and ice. Ideally, the envelope ensures that the weather stays on the outside, where it belongs, and that the people and property inside are protected. One of the best ways to minimize a building’s risk of water damage is to develop, maintain, and follow a systematic operations and maintenance inspection routine that includes all elements of the building envelope.
Make periodic inspections of your commercial property. Inspect your property and make any necessary repairs to ensure that it can resist an unexpected event. Ensure that signs, awnings, equipment on the roof, and other accessories on the exterior of your property are firmly attached to the structure. Keep drains, rain gutters, and roof areas clean. Prune any trees that might cause damage to the structure or to electric cables.
Prepare the property when an emergency is imminent. Remove antennas, signs, awnings, and any other accessory that is not firmly attached to the structure. Cover windows and doors with storm shutters or sheets of plywood. Check door and window frames to ensure that they are tight and well installed. Take objects indoors that may be picked up by the force of the wind and become projectiles. Raise elevators to the top floor and turn off the system. Be sure that the machine room is well protected from water leaks or other types of damage. Water tanks should be fully filled, and their covers should be sealed. Protect electrical equipment from water; cover equipment with plastic sheeting and raise it off the floor.
Outside your business space, you should trim trees and remove exterior debris that might become a hazard during strong winds. Have a professional logging team remove dangerous trees and anchor outdoor items such as benches to the ground. If you’re located in a flood zone, consider installing flood gates to prevent water from coming into the business space.
Protect your commercial business property from theft.
Protect your business’s documents. Keep duplicate files of your business’s and your customers’ records. Keep copies on a server, in the cloud, or in a physical location that you can access from other locations in case your property is destroyed or inaccessible. Some of the documents you should protect are financial information; employee, customer, and supplier databases; municipal, state, and federal licenses and certifications; tax receipts; and insurance policies.
Good lighting - Lighting can be an effective deterrent against crime, both inside your business and outside the building . Make sure the light fixtures are in good working order. Use light cages to prevent bulb breakage. Replace burned-out bulbs as quickly as possible.
One final area of protection are your windows. Perforated vinyl graphics – usually available from your local signage provider – can provide added privacy to your windows, preventing criminals from easily seeing the contents inside, but still allowing daylight in for the occupants. Windows can also be covered in burglar-resistant glazing for reinforced security.
The Potentialities of Water Damage
Although not well-discerned, water damage is certainly not uncommon. Generally, this issue can be defined as water that dismantles the interior of your home or business. It can be a result of the following:? A hailstorm shatters your windows and gets your floors wet.? An overflowing bathroom that damages your floors.? Rain penetrates your roof and destroys the ceiling and walls.? A cracked pipe that saturates your ceiling.
If your home or business has this kind of damage, the first thing to do is review your homeowner’s insurance. Also, consider re-evaluating the individual policy for the specifics of your circumstance. Note that accidental events will be catered for, but any destruction caused by negligence will be neglected as well. There is also a distinction between flood damage and water damage. While the overall root of the two issues is similar, they are monumentally distinct. For instance, flood often meets conditions such as rapid accumulation of surface waters from any source, mudflow, and an overflow of inland or tidal waters. Water damage, on the other hand, happens before the water comes in contact with the ground.
Even in grave cases, water can grow into something more deleterious if not handled promptly. SERVPRO recommends that you avoid risking addressing experts when it is too late. The restoration process is not all that complicated, and we do everything in our power to make it as perfect as possible. Get in touch today!