Recent Storm Damage Posts
Top 5 Tips for Winter Pet Safety
As winter approaches here in the Poconos, we can't forget to keep our pets safe during the cold weather. Winter storms can pose a real hassle for us, as well as our little friends.
Here are the Top 5 tips for winter pet safety:
1) If possible, bring your pets inside during cold winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas and make sure they have access to non-frozen drinking water.
2) If the animals are outside, make sure their access to food and water is not blocked by snow drifts, ice or other obstacles.
3) If pets cannot come indoors, make sure they are protected by a dry, draft-free enclosure large enough to allow them to sit and lie down, but small enough to hold in the pet’s body heat. Raise the floor a few inches off the ground and cover it with cedar shavings or straw. Turn the enclosure away from the wind and cover the doorway with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.
4) Salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate a pet’s paws. Wipe their paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates their mouth.
5) Antifreeze is a deadly poison. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze out of reach.
Source: Red Cross
Emergency Car Kit
We're in the second half of October, which means that winter is right around the corner. If you are one of the many people that may occasionally need to drive during inclement winter weather, it is a good idea to keep a fully stocked Emergency Car Kit in your vehicle at all times.
Nothing is safer than not traveling during inclement weather, but if it is necessary, having these items can save your life in the case of an emergency:
- Portable cellphone charger
- Items to stay warm such as extra hats, coats, mittens, and blankets
- Windshield scraper
- Battery-powered radio with extra batteries
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Water and snack food
- First aid kit with any necessary medications and a pocket knife
- Tow chains or rope
- Tire chains
- Canned compressed air with sealant for emergency tire repair
- Cat litter or sand to help tires get traction, or road salt to melt ice
- Booster cables with fully charged battery or jumper cables
- Hazard or other reflectors
- Bright colored flag or help signs, emergency distress flag, and/or emergency flares
- Road maps
- Waterproof matches and a can to melt snow for water
Preparing Your Car for Winter Weather
With winter right around the corner, now is the best time to make sure your vehicle is prepared for the winter weather. Have maintenance service on your vehicle as often as the manufacturer recommends. In addition, every fall, do the following:
- Have the radiator system serviced or check the antifreeze level yourself with an antifreeze tester. Add antifreeze as needed.
- Replace windshield-wiper fluid with a wintertime mixture.
- Make sure the tires on your car have adequate tread and air pressure. Replace any worn tires and fill low tires with air to the proper pressure recommended for your car (typically between 30-35 psi).
- Keep the gas tank near full to help avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
- Keep your car in good working order. Be sure to check the following: heater, defroster, brakes, brake fluid, ignition, emergency flashers, exhaust, oil, and battery.
In addition you should keep an Emergency Car Kit in your vehicle at all times.
With the cold weather approaching, the thought of curling up in front of the fireplace seems more and more inviting. If this is something you plan on doing this winter, please make sure your are prepared.
Have your chimney or flue inspected each year.
If you plan to use a fireplace or wood stove for emergency heating, have your chimney or flue inspected each year. Ask your local fire department to recommend an inspector or find one online.
Smoke Detector / Carbon Monoxide Detector
- If you’ll be using a fireplace, wood stove, or kerosene heater, install a smoke detector and a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector near the area to be heated. Test them monthly and replace batteries twice a year.
- Keep a multipurpose, dry-chemical fire extinguisher nearby.
- All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside.
- Each winter season have your furnace system and vent checked by a qualified technician to ensure they are functioning properly.
Power Strips vs. Surge Protectors
Not All Power Strips Are Surge Protectors
"Power strips and surge protectors, also called surge suppressors, are different.
Typically, power strips are cheap, multi-outlet products that are merely an expansion of a wall outlet. These usually have a circuit breaker (on/off switch) of some sort, but most don't offer any real "protection" from electrical issues. Some might have the barest level of protection, but they're all pretty much just like plugging into the wall direct.
Surge protectors are relatively cheap too, but unlike power strips they offer some level of protection against power spikes. How much and how well varies considerably."
How To Tell
When shopping for a surge protector, make sure you are getting a surge protector, and not just a power strip. The easiest way to be sure your are going to be protecting your electronics is to check the Joule rating of the product. A power strip will not have a Joule rating, as it does not offer any protection. When looking at actual surge protectors, the higher the Joule rating, the more protection you have against power surges.
What To Do With Food After A Flood
What To Do With Food That Has Come Into Contact With Flood Water
When in doubt, throw it out! Throw away food that may have come in contact with floodwater – like:
- Home-canned foods.
- All foods in cardboard boxes, paper, foil, cellophane (plastic wrap) or cloth.
- Meat, poultry, eggs or fish.
- Spices, seasonings, extracts, flour, sugar, grain, coffee and other staples in canisters.
- Unopened jars with waxed cardboard seals, such as mayonnaise and salad dressing. Also, throw away preserves sealed with paraffin wax.
- Throw away any fruits and vegetables that have been in contact with floodwaters – including those that have not been harvested from gardens.
- Wooden cutting boards, plastic utensils, baby bottle nipples and pacifiers.
You do NOT need to throw away the following items if they have been in contact with floodwater:
- Commercially canned foods that came into contact with floodwater and have been properly cleaned by: labeling cans with the name of food in permanent marker; removing labels; washing cans in water containing detergent; soaking cans for at least one minute in chlorine solution; rinsing in clean, cool water; placing on sides to dry (do not stack cans).
- Dishes and glassware if they are sanitized by boiling in clean water or by immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of one teaspoon of chlorine bleach per quart of water.
- If electricity at your home has been off for long periods of time, throw away perishable foods (like meat, poultry, fish, eggs, leftovers, etc.) that have been above 40 degrees for two hours or more.
Source: PA DEP
SERVPRO can sort and dispose of any non-salvageable items after a flood and even create an inventory list for you and your insurance company.
How To Prepare for a Winter Storm - Part 1
Protecting your family
- Talk with your family about what to do if a winter storm watch or warning is issued. Discussing winter storms ahead of time helps reduce fear, particularly for young children.
- Have your vehicle winterized before the winter storm season to decrease your chance of being stranded in cold weather.
- Have a mechanic check your battery, antifreeze, wipers and windshield washer fluid, ignition system, thermostat, lights, flashing hazard lights, exhaust system, heater, brakes, defroster, and oil.
- Install good winter tires with adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate but some jurisdictions require vehicles to be equipped with chains or snow tires with studs.
- Keep in your vehicle: - A windshield scraper and small broom - A small sack of sand for generating traction under wheels and a set of tire chains or traction mats - Matches in a waterproof container - A brightly colored (preferably red) cloth to tie to the antenna - An emergency supply kit, including warm clothing.
- Keep your vehicle’s gas tank full so you can leave right away in an emergency and to keep the fuel line from freezing.
- Keep a supply of non-clumping kitty litter to make walkways and steps less slippery.
- Service snow removal equipment before the winter storm season and maintain it in good working order.
- Keep handy a warm coat, gloves or mittens, hat, water-resistant boots, and extra blankets and warm clothing for each member of the household.
How To Prepare for a Winter Storm - Part 2
Protecting your pets & animals
- Bring your companion animals indoors. - Ensure that you have supplies for clean up for your companion animals, particularly if they are used to eliminating outdoors (large plastic bags, paper towels, and extra cat litter).
- Create a place where your other animals can be comfortable in severe winter weather: - Horses and livestock should have a shelter where they can be protected from wind, snow, ice, and rain. - Grazing animals should have access to a protected supply of food and non-frozen water.
- Be aware of the potential for flooding when snow and ice melt and be sure that your animals have access to high ground that is not impeded by fencing or other barriers. You may not be able to get to them in time to relocate them in the event of flooding. - Ensure that any outbuildings that house or shelter animals can withstand wind and heavy snow and ice- Install snow fences in rural areas to reduce drifting snow on roads and paths, which could block access to homes, barns, and animals' feed and water.
Winter Storm Preparedness http://fw.to/WJPjQt
How To Prepare for a Winter Storm - Part 3
Protecting your home
- Learn how to protect pipes from freezing
- Make sure your home heating sources are installed according to local codes and permit requirements and are clean and in working order.
- Make sure your home is properly insulated. Caulk and weather-strip doors and windowsills to keep cold air out.
- Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside to provide an extra layer of insulation to keep cold air out.
- Consider buying emergency heating equipment, such as a wood- or coal-burning stove or an electric or kerosene heater. - Stoves must be properly vented and in good working order. Dispose of ashes safely. Keep a supply of wood or coal on hand. - Electric space heaters, either portable or fixed, must be certified by an independent testing laboratory. Plug a heater directly into the wall socket rather than using an extension cord and unplug it when it is not in use. - Use a kerosene heater only if permitted by law in your area; check with your local fire department. Use only the correct fuel for your unit. Properly ventilate the area. Refuel the unit outdoors only, and only when the unit is cool. Follow all of the manufacturer's instructions.
- Consider storing sufficient heating fuel. Regular fuel sources may be cut off. Be cautious of fire hazards when storing any type of fuel.
- If you have a fireplace, consider keeping a supply of firewood or coal. Be sure the fireplace is properly vented and in good working order and that you dispose of ashes safely.
- Consider installing a portable generator, following our safety tips to avoid home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning
- Consider purchasing flood insurance, if you live in a flood-prone area, to cover possible flood damage that may occur during the spring thaw. Homeowners' policies do not cover damage from floods. Ask your insurance agent about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) if you are at risk. More information on NFIP is available at www.fema.gov/nfip.
Winter Storm Preparedness http://fw.to/WJPjQt
How To Prepare for a Winter Storm - Part 4
Right before a blizzard / winter storm
If you do nothing else:
- Listen to local area radio, NOAA radio or TV stations for the latest information and updates.
- Be prepared to evacuate if you lose power or heat and know your routes and destinations. Find a local emergency shelter.
- Check emergency kit and replenish any items missing or in short supply, especially medications and medical supplies. Keep it nearby.
- Be sure you have ample heating fuel.
- If you have alternative heating sources, such as fireplaces, wood- or coal-burning stoves, or space heaters, be sure they are clean and in working order.
- Bring your companion animals inside and ensure that your horses and livestock have blankets if appropriate and unimpeded access to shelter, food, and non-frozen water.
Winter Storm Preparedness http://fw.to/WJPjQt
Blizzard of 2015
A blizzard is a severe snow storm with winds in excess of 35 mph and visibility of less than a 1/4 mile for more than 3 hours.
Traveling by car or foot is highly discouraged during blizzard conditions. It increases the chance of hypothermia, accident and death.
If you must travel by car during a blizzard, it is vital to have an emergency aid kit (water, jumper cables, road flares, tow rope, non-perishable snacks) in case your car breaks down, you get into an accident, or become stuck in the snow.
To avoid hypothermia if caught outdoors during a blizzard, stay hydrated and nourished. Keep blood flowing by moving around. Also build a snow cave to block winds, which reduce your body temperature. And don't eat snow, it will make you colder! While keeping yourself safe, also think about the well-being of your animals by creating an emergency plan for your pets!
Traveling by car or foot is highly discouraged during blizzard conditions. It increases the chance of hypothermia, accident and death.
When a blizzard is in the forecast, you may receive a “Winter Storm Watch," which means there is a possibility of a storm taking effect. You could also receive a “Winter Storm Warning," which means a storm is on the way or already taking place.
As soon as you receive a storm warning, get prepared. You could lose electricity (this includes hot water and heat), so stock up on non-perishable foods, blankets, flashlights, extra batteries, and candles beforehand.
How to Spot Roof Damage
Thunderstorms, tornadoes, hailstorms and hurricanes can tear shingles from your roof and give your roof a beating with tree branches. Follow these steps to check for storm damage to your roof:
• Inspect your attic for leaks or water damage. Also, if any water stains appear on your ceiling or walls, you likely need repairs or a roof replacement.
• Look for signs of storm damage from the ground. Check for missing shingles or missing pieces of metal fascia, including any metal pieces displaced from around your chimney. Also, assess the condition of exhaust pipes, valleys, outer edges or angles where the roof meets the walls.
• Obviously, you’ll notice if a tree fell on your roof. If so, stay out of your home until a professional can determine whether any structural damage occurred. Consider hiring a general contractor or roofer with a general contractor’s license if your home suffered structural damage, as you’ll need more than roof repairs.
• If the storm produced hail, check for roof damage, as well as siding damage. Hail damage commonly comes in the forms of dimples, made by smaller chunks of hail that pound the outer layer of shingles.
• Stay safe — avoid going on the roof to check for damage yourself and instead contact a professional roofer.
Source: Angie's List
Mother Nature fights back
Mother Nature must be going through "The Change" because she has brought the stormy weather to North East Pennsylvania, storm season is in full swing here at SERVPRO of Southern Monroe. The team has been running none stop with this rain that feels like it may never end. Storm damage can do devastating amounts of damage to your home or business. In a matter of minutes, the damage can go from a little rain coming in from the window to whole basements flooding out. The team at SERVPRO is trained to react and adapt to any situation. When the storm hits Call SERVPRO! 570-424-2290.
To follow National Weather Service reports in the Triangle, go to www.weather.gov/rah or follow your local weather service office on social media. For the National Hurricane Center, go to www.nhc.noaa.gov or find the center on social media.
Nor Easter part 1.
North East Pennsylvania has been getting hammered with snow lately causing a lot of damage to homes and businesses alike. Over the last week and a half over 75k ppl and other electric provider users have lost power, now for some of them the power went right back on and everyone was happy. But for 80% of those who lost power are still without power. The devastation is tremendous, down power lines everywhere, trees laying on power lines and spanning across roads. This has put a lot of people in a very tight position. Some trapped in their cars for over 30 hours on the side of the road. To the gentleman, we met in Milford who had over 6 trees fall on his property. Putting holes in his houseboat and RV. Crushing his new pickup truck and ripping a high tension line right off of the house. Luckily teams of arborist and electricians have come up to help us out in our time of need.
SERVPRO jumps to help with Storm relief
Ann dropping off supplies in the Dingmans Ferry area.
As seen in the last blog post-North East Pa has been getting slammed with winter weather from all angles. The team came together (In the dark of a powerless office) and came up with a way to give back to those helping with the rebuild but also those who to this day are still without their everyday necessitates. The team began gathering pallets of water and nonperishable food items to begin the distribution process. Donating the goods to fire departments, community buildings and also the occasional house drop off. The team is making waves in the community by showing their overwhelming support for those affected. In the last 8 days, the team at SERVPRO of Southern Monroe County has delivered over 1000 gallons of water and over 500 lbs. of food other beverages for those working to fix the issues as well as helping out all of the innocent people with nowhere to go in a time of need.
How to Protect your home from storm damage
Severe storms can happen throughout the year in areas all around the country. Whether it’s a hurricane, tornado, hailstorm, or another form of extreme weather, your home could experience significant water damage, flooding or destruction both inside and out. While you can’t control the weather, there are measures you can take to help minimize the potential damage storms could cause to your home. Some preparations, such as roof and tree inspections, are helpful not only when it comes to storms but are also good for general maintenance and upkeep. If you do experience significant damage and need help with storm cleanup, a restoration contractor can help repair your home, from water removal to rebuilding a wall that a tree knocked down.
Interior Areas of a Home
There are a number of places in a home that is more susceptible to storm damage than others, such as the roof, windows, and doors (including garage doors). Once you identify these areas, you can take measures to help protect and reinforce them, which will most likely reduce the damage and make the storm cleanup process easier. Consider hiring a professional to inspect these specific parts of your home, which will ensure that they are stable and in good shape, and most importantly can withstand the elements of most storms. While taking these precautions doesn’t guarantee your home and yard won’t endure some storm and water damage, they can certainly help minimalize the degree of damage.
Protecting your home’s openings is one of the most important steps you can take to defend against strong winds and heavy rain that can potentially compromise these entryways. Check doors for missing screws/bolts or loose hinges. Keep your windows intact with upgrades such as shutters, high-impact glass, and double-paned models to protect against storms. As an added bonus, these improvements can also reduce your energy costs because they’re environmentally friendly and help insulate your home.
Taping windows with masking or duct tape is more or less ineffective; however, applying a durable clear plastic film can help prevent glass shards from blowing into your home, in the event the window is broken by strong winds. If you have advance notice of a major storm system that’s approaching your area and you have time to take precautions, boarding up your doors and windows with plywood is an inexpensive and effective way to protect your home. In addition to plywood, panels are available in aluminum, steel, plastic and composite materials.
Consider pre-installing anchors around doors and windows to speed up the installation process, if you know your area experiences frequent storms and extreme weather. Installing a permanent shutter system—such as roll-up or accordion shutters—is an effective way to shield your windows from wind and debris. Plus, you can close them quickly before a storm arrives. There are even models for skylights, sliding glass doors and garage doors.
Have your roof inspected by a professional to identify any problem areas or leaks that could lead to water damage in the event of a storm? You can reinforce your roof by having it retrofitted with certain types of brackets, bracing, clips or straps that can help make it stronger. Make your roof more wind-resistant by securing any loose shingles with a heavy-duty adhesive; if you have a roof made with tiles, fasten them with screws and wires instead of nails.
If you’re in the market for a brand new roof, consider purchasing an impact-resistant material that will stand up to extreme weather, reduce stormwater runoff, and require fewer repairs than other types of roofs that are easily affected by hail, wind and water damage.
SERVPRO Helps out with storm damage
When it comes to dealing with Storm there can seem that there is no way out. The overwhelming feeling of your property being damaged is something that can turn anyone's stomach. That's where we here at SERVPRO come in ! We are here to help no matter of big or small the job is , SERVPRO is ready to come in ans save the day. We here at SERVPRO have all the tools and employees to get in get the job done before any more bad can happen. Our highly trained techs and crew chiefs are working tirelessly to keep up with the new and improve practices of storm damage remediation. We make it our priority to make sure when you call SERVPRO we come out and deliver a product or service that the customer is happy with.
Protecting Your Home from Storm Water Damage
A heavy rain storm just swept your town, the winter seasons are finally over, either way there is a chance that you have occurred some storm damage. We here at SERVPRO have some helpful tips to make sure you are prepared for the next storm or harsh season.
1. ALWAYS CLEAN OUT YOUR GUTTERS!
One of the most common mistakes that people make is that they neglect to clean out there gutter. It is a easy way to make sure that rain or snow runoff goes down the drain to the earth vs. going into your walls and causing damage. By just taking a few minutes a week to make sure they are clean you will set yourself up for success down the road.
2. IF IT SNOWS HAVE A PROFESSIONAL SHOVEL OFF THE ROOF!
The the wait of the roof can cause damage to your shingles and plywood underneath.
Tips on weatherproofing your home
To solve the problem of a drafty door, choose vinyl or rubber weather stripping. Fasten it to the sides and top of the door casing with nails or staples about every 6 inches.
A vinyl gasket will also do the trick. It's durable, inexpensive, and at the end of the winter, it can be torn off.
There's one other part of the door that can be a cause for concern, and that's the bottom where it meets the threshold, and very often, that's where the biggest draft comes from. The cure is a sweep that's applied to the bottom of the door. Sweeps are great for an irregular floor. Buy either the kind that nails onto the door or has an adhesive that holds it in place. Either kind will seal up the door nicely.
Houses with old windows probably have leaky windows. To fix those leaks, use sealant foam at the top, bottom and middle of each window. The foam will compress, so the windows can still be locked.
A low-tech way to stop drafts is sometimes called snakes. They're just long fabric tubes filled with sand. They can be decorative or humorous, but they do a great job of stopping air from leaking under the door or window.
Putting film up over the window is more complicated but it's very effective. Use double-sided tape to hold the film in place while stretching it across the window. Use a hair dryer to heat up the film and shrink it so it's tight across the window.
A draft-stopper that has been used since the Middle Ages is heavy drapes. Closing heavy drapes over windows will result in a noticeable difference right away. For even better results, look for drapes with insulating lining, or add one to existing drapes.