38 Tips to Help You Prepare for a Winter Storm
When Is a Winter Storm Serious?
There are four different types of winter storm warning that you may get via the news, radio, weather channel etc. It is important to know the difference. Here are the definitions from the Red Cross:
Winter Storm Outlook – Winter storm conditions are possible in the next 2 to 5 days.
Winter Weather Advisory – Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous. When caution is used, these situations should not be life threatening.
Winter Storm Watch – Winter storm conditions are possible within the next 36 to 48 hours. People in a watch area should review their winter storm plans and stay informed about weather conditions.
Winter Storm Warning – Life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours. People in a warning area should take precautions immediately.
Right now (winter 2013), where I am at, there is a Winter Storm Warning out for the next 15 hours or so.
How to Prepare for a Winter Storm Before it happens….WAY Before
- Make sure you have a 3 day supply of water (3 gallons per person) and easy to prepare food. Here is my favorite 72 hour no-prep food kit.
- Purchase a NOAA Weather Radio so you can stay aware of the situation if your other communication sources are cut off. Make sure it is battery operated and that you have extra batteries.
- Make sure you have a good shovel. You may need to dig yourself out before help gets there. Or you simply may need to dig out your car!
- Purchase a supply of flashlights (with batteries) and candles.
- Clean and inspect your chimney if you have one. Make sure you have a supply of wood.
- Make sure you have an ample supply of blankets. If you power goes out, you will need as many as you can get!
- Clear rain gutters and repair roof leaks.
- Have an alternate way of cooking. A small “camp stove” works well for short term emergencies. You may also consider a butane stove which is safe to use indoors (with a cracked window). Make sure that whatever you choose that you have enough fuel. Cook in a well ventilated garage (like with the door open) to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Install carbon monoxide alarms in your home. The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning increasing during winter storms as people turn to alternate heat sources.
- Learn how to care for frostbite and hypothermia. Make sure you click on those links and print those out NOW in case your power goes out during a storm.
- Weather strip any drafty doors or windows.
- Purchase rock salt (or something similar) to help you keep walkways safe.
- Install good winter tires on your car and make sure the wipers work well.
- Make sure you have fire extinguishers in your home and that everyone knows how to use them. House fires are much more common during winter storms as people turn to alternate heat sources.
- Consider purchasing a good supply of heat packs.
- Consider purchasing a kerosene heater. Make sure it is legal in your area.
What to Prepare for a winter storm Before it happens….Days Before
- Fill your gas tank. This will keep the fuel line from freezing.
- Check your supplies of flashlights, lanterns etc. Make sure they are easily accessible.
- Charge your cell phones and other electronics.
- Pull out any generators / large battery backups that you have. DO NOT use a gas generator indoors.
- Check antifreeze levels in your car.
- Make sure all adults in your house know how to shut of your main water valve in case your pipes burst.
- If you will be separated from family members, make sure you know where they are before the storm and where / when you will meet up after.
- Make sure you know how to manually operate your electric garage door.
What to do During a winter storm:
- If temperatures are extremely low (below 25 Fahrenheit), turn on every faucet so that it is just barely dripping. This will cost you a bit more in your water bill, but save you an expensive and time consuming mess if your pipes freeze.
- Open kitchen and sink cabinets to allow warmer water to circulate around the pipes. You can also wrap them in newspaper to help insulate them.
- Keep your thermostat set as high during the night as you have it during the day to avoid pipes freezing.
- Avoid driving. If you must drive, make certain you have emergency supplies in your car.
- Keep your radio nearby and listen for updates.
- Stay Dry! Change your clothes immediately if you get wet.
- Use Flashlights before candles to avoid the risk of house fire.
- If your pipes freeze, warm them with a hair dryer. If you do not have power, wrap them in rags. Then, open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold.
- Use WD-40 on your snow shovel to make shoveling easier.
- If the power goes out, put towels at the bottoms of doors that have gaps and cover single paned or drafty windows with blankets. Close doors to un-needed rooms.
- Again, if your power is out, especially for an extended time, dress in layers. Put on tights and / or long underwear if you have it as the bottom layer and then add on more loose fitting, light weight clothing in lots of layers after that. Mittens are warmer than gloves. End with a tight pair of warm socks and a hoodie. Keeping your head and feet warm is essential. You can also cover your mouth with a scarf. Also, EAT! This will help your body produce more heat.
- Have your entire family get in the same bed if possible to share warmth. Grab some books and stay under the covers as much as possible! Don’t let that heat out!
- If an extended power outage is expected, put frozen food outside and refrigerated food in the garage. These will likely be colder than your fridge (without power) after a day or so.
- Unplug any important electrical equipment to avoid a surge when power is restored.
Pet safety in cold weather
Cold Weather Pet Safety
Client HandoutYou're probably already aware of the risks posed by warm weather and leaving pets in hot cars, but did you know that cold weather also poses serious threats to your pets' health?
Here are some tips to keep your pets safe during cold weather:
Winter wellness: Has your pet had his/her preventive care exam (wellness exam) yet? Cold weather may worsen some medical conditions such as arthritis. Your pet should be examined by a veterinarian at least once a year, and it's as good a time as any to get him/her checked out to make sure (s)he is ready and as healthy as possible for cold weather.
Know the limits: Just like people, pets' cold tolerance can vary from pet to pet based on their coat, body fat stores, activity level, and health. Be aware of your pet's tolerance for cold weather, and adjust accordingly. You will probably need to shorten your dog's walks in very cold weather to protect you both from weather-associated health risks. Arthritic and elderly pets may have more difficulty walking on snow and ice and may be more prone to slipping and falling. Long-haired or thick-coated dogs tend to be more cold-tolerant, but are still at risk in cold weather. Short-haired pets feel the cold faster because they have less protection, and short-legged pets may become cold faster because their bellies and bodies are more likely to come into contact with snow-covered ground. Pets with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or hormonal imbalances (such as Cushing's disease) may have a harder time regulating their body temperature, and may be more susceptible to problems from temperature extremes. The same goes for very young and very old pets. If you need help determining your pet's temperature limits, consult your veterinarian.
Provide choices: Just like you, pets prefer comfortable sleeping places and may change their location based on their need for more or less warmth. Give them some safe options to allow them to vary their sleeping place to adjust to their needs.
Stay inside. Cats and dogs should be kept inside during cold weather. It's a common belief that dogs and cats are resistant than people to cold weather because of their fur, but it's untrue. Like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia and should be kept inside. Longer-haired and thick-coated dog breeds, such as huskies and other dogs bred for colder climates, are more tolerant of cold weather; but no pet should be left outside for long periods of time in below-freezing weather.
Make some noise: A warm vehicle engine can be an appealing heat source for outdoor and feral cats, but it's deadly. Check underneath your car, bang on the hood, and honk the horn before starting the engine to encourage feline hitchhikers to abandon their roost under the hood.
Check the paws: Check your dog's paws frequently for signs of cold-weather injury or damage, such as cracked paw pads or bleeding. During a walk, a sudden lameness may be due to an injury or may be due to ice accumulation between his/her toes. You may be able to reduce the chance of iceball accumulation by clipping the hair between your dog's toes.
Play dress-up: If your dog has a short coat or seems bothered by the cold weather, consider a sweater or dog coat. Have several on hand, so you can use a dry sweater or coat each time your dog goes outside. Wet sweaters or coats can actually make your dog colder. Some pet owners also use booties to protect their dog's feet; if you choose to use them, make sure they fit properly.
Wipe down: During walks, your dog's feet, legs and belly may pick up deicers, antifreeze, or other chemicals that could be toxic. When you get back inside, wipe down (or wash) your pet's feet, legs and belly to remove these chemicals and reduce the risk that your dog will be poisoned after (s)he licks them off of his/her feet or fur. Consider using pet-safe deicers on your property to protect your pets and the others in your neighborhood.
Collar and chip: Many pets become lost in winter because snow and ice can hide recognizable scents that might normally help your pet find his/her way back home. Make sure your pet has a well-fitting collar with up-to-date identification and contact information. A microchip is a more permanent means of identification, but it's critical that you keep the registration up to date.
Stay home: Hot cars are a known threat to pets, but cold cars also pose significant risk to your pet's health. You're already familiar with how a car can rapidly cool down in cold weather; it becomes like a refrigerator, and can rapidly chill your pet. Pets that are young, old, ill, or thin are particularly susceptible to cold environments and should never be left in cold cars. Limit car travel to only that which is necessary, and don't leave your pet unattended in the vehicle.
Prevent poisoning: Clean up any antifreeze spills quickly, as even small amounts of antifreeze can be deadly. Make sure your pets don't have access to medication bottles, household chemicals, potentially toxic foods such as onions, xylitol (a sugar substitute) and chocolate.
Protect family: Odds are your pet will be spending more time inside during the winter, so it's a good time to make sure your house is properly pet-proofed. Use space heaters with caution around pets, because they can burn or they can be knocked over, potentially starting a fire. Check your furnace before the cold weather sets in to make sure it's working efficiently, and install carbon monoxide detectors to keep your entire family safe from harm. If you have a pet bird, make sure its cage is away from drafts.
Avoid ice: When walking your dog, stay away from frozen ponds, lakes and other water. You don't know if the ice will support your dog's weight, and if your dog breaks through the ice it could be deadly. And if this happens and you instinctively try to save your dog, both of your lives could be in jeopardy.
Provide shelter: We don't recommend keeping any pet outside for long periods of time, but if you are unable to keep your dog inside during cold weather, provide him/her with a warm, solid shelter against wind. Make sure that they have unlimited access to fresh, non-frozen water (by changing the water frequently or using a pet-safe, heated water bowl). The floor of the shelter should be off of the ground (to minimize heat loss into the ground) and the bedding should be thick, dry and changed regularly to provide a warm, dry environment. The door to the shelter should be positioned away from prevailing winds. Space heaters and heat lamps should be avoided because of the risk of burns or fire. Heated pet mats should also be used with caution because they are still capable of causing burns.
Recognize problems: If your pet is whining, shivering, seems anxious, slows down or stops moving, seems weak, or starts looking for warm places to burrow, get them back inside quickly because they are showing signs of hypothermia. Frostbite is harder to detect, and may not be fully recognized until a few days after the damage is done. If you suspect your pet has hypothermia or frostbite, consult your veterinarian immediately.
Be prepared: Cold weather also brings the risks of severe winter weather, blizzards and power outages. Prepare a disaster/emergency kit, and include your pet in your plans. Have enough food, water and medicine (including any prescription medications as well as heartworm and flea/tick preventives) on hand to get through at least 5 days.
Feed well: Keep your pet at a healthy weight throughout the winter. Some pet owners feel that a little extra weight gives their pet some extra protection from cold, but the health risks associated with that extra weight don't make it worth doing. Watch your pet's body condition and keep them in the healthy range. Outdoor pets will require more calories in the winter to generate enough body heat and energy to keep them warm – talk to your veterinarian about your pet's nutritional needs during cold weather.
Cold weather safety for livestock
Companion animals aren't the only animals in need of protection during the winter months. Livestock, including horses, have their own unique considerations and needs when the weather gets colder.
Recognize the importance of early veterinary care: Schedule a veterinary exam early in the season to address any concerns before the harshest conditions arrive. This is a good time to discuss vaccinations, nutritional supplementation, deworming, and other parasite treatment needs. Veterinary attention is especially important for animals that are pregnant, and very young or very old animals may require special attention.
Provide appropriate shelter from the elements: Livestock can generally tolerate cold temperatures, but wind, rain, or snow will require a greater expenditure of calories. With that in mind, be sure they have a way to get out of the elements, especially the wind. Blankets can help protect horses, but a structural shelter with proper ventilation and dry bedding is the best method of protection. If you do blanket your horses, be sure to check underneath often for signs of injury, infection, or malnutrition.
Keep ice to a minimum to prevent injury, and remember to keep driveways clear so veterinarians and farriers can access your animals. Prevent mud management issues in the winter with proper preparation, whether that's through use of material like gravel, sand, or woodchips, or through other methods.
Consider the amount and quality of feed: Besides taking shelter, livestock keep warm by expending energy, which means they need to consume enough calories to heat themselves. Consider talking with your veterinarian to develop a feed plan that meets your animals' nutritional needs. This may mean increasing the amount of feed available to your animals, and/or increasing the quality of feed. Very young, very old, or sick animals will typically have additional nutritional needs during the winter compared to healthy, middle-aged animals.
Ensure access to water: It is crucial that your herd has access to fresh and unfrozen water. Tank heaters or heated buckets can help keep water at a temperature your animals are more comfortable drinking. Livestock will not consume adequate amounts of water if it is near freezing, and consuming enough water is important to your animals' health and well-being in winter months.
6 Great Tips to Keep Pipes From Freezing
Cold temperatures can cause pipes to freeze. Many landlords are afraid they will get this call from a tenant during the winter months. There are, however, steps you can take to prevent this problem. Learn six tips to keep the pipes on your property from freezing.
The Facts About Frozen Pipes
Only A Cold Climate Problem?
This is not the case. Many mistakenly believe that frozen pipes are only an issue for those in typically cold climates.
However, the homes that are actually more vulnerable to frozen pipes are those in typically warmer climates because the pipes may not be properly insulated against such frigid temperatures.
Frozen Pipes Can Burst
Frozen pipes are a problem by themselves because they prevent water flow, but even worse, frozen pipes can eventually burst, causing damage and potential flooding. The good news is, there are six easy steps you can take to help prevent this problem from occurring when the temperatures drop.
Tip #1: Keep the Heat On
If you or your tenants are leaving for a period of time, make sure that the heat is kept on your property. It may be difficult to convince your tenants to leave their heat on when they are away, especially if they are responsible for paying their own utilities. You should inform them that the heat can help prevent pipes from freezing, and if pipes freeze and burst, it can cause a lot of water damage to the property and to their possessions.
The heat does not have to be kept as high as you normally would keep it if you were actually in the property, but keeping it set above 50 degrees Fahrenheit is a good idea. This should provide enough heat to keep the pipes warm and to prevent any water inside from freezing.
Tip #2: Allow Faucet to Drip
If you are afraid a pipe will freeze, you can allow the faucet to drip slightly.
Allowing the faucet to be open like this will relieve pressure in the system. If a pipe freezes, it is actually the pressure that is created between the blockage and the faucet that will cause the pipe to burst. Allowing the faucet to be open will prevent this pressure from building up and thus, keep the pipe from bursting.
Tip #3: Keep Interior Doors Open
Pipes are often located in cabinets. When the temperatures drop, it is a good idea to keep these cabinet doors open so that the heat from the rest of the house can keep the pipes warm as well. You should also keep all interior doors open so that the heat can flow throughout the home.
Tip #4: Seal Up Cracks and Holes
You should caulk any holes or cracks that exist near pipes. This should be done on both interior and exterior walls. Doing so can help keep the cold air out and the warm air in.
Tip #5: Apply Heating Tape
For pipes that are easily accessible, the electrical heating tape may be an option to keep them from freezing. This tape can be applied directly to the pipe.
There are two types of heating tape. One type of heating tape turns on and off by itself when it senses heat is needed. The other type of heating tape needs to be plugged in when heat is needed and unplugged when not in use.
Much like a space heater, these products can be dangerous, so you must follow the product’s direction and safety procedures exactly.
Tip #6: Add Extra Insulation
Pipes that are located in areas that do not have proper insulation, such as basements or attics, may need extra insulation to keep from freezing. Pipes in basements or attics are not the only ones that may not be properly insulated from the cold. If you have had a problem with pipes freezing anywhere in your home, extra insulation could be the cure.
Pipes can be fitted with foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves to help decrease the chances of freezing. This can be an easy solution for pipes that are exposed but can get expensive if walls, floors or ceilings have to be opened in order to properly insulate the pipe. Additional insulation can also be added to walls and ceilings to keep the pipes warm.
What happens when ground water enters your home?
There are three main ways that ground water can enter your home, Basement seepage, water intrusion and sub pump failure. Excess ground water flooding is usually caused by abnormally large amounts of water not properly draining, which causes the groundwater to spread and intrude on a home.
Basement Seepage- Groundwater can commonly find its way into your basement by going through the cellar doors, improperly sealed windows, or cracks in the foundation. It is a good idea to check your basement for cracks, holes, improper sealants, or areas where it looks like water can get through.
Water Intrusion- Ground water can find its way into a home that is not properly sealed, or has cracks.
Sump Pump Failure- It is common to find a sump pump in homes that are located in high water table areas. Sump pumps are meant to keep the area under a home dry and to prevent it from flooding. The sump pump usually sits in a specially constructed pit where groundwater flows in through drains or naturally, and the sump pump will pump the groundwater out and away from the home. Occasionally, a sump pump does fail. Whether improper insulation, maintenance, defects, clogs, or a power failure, if a sump pump fails, groundwater could end up overflowing through the sump pump and flooding your basement.
If groundwater is coming in, make sure to try to stop the water coming in the best you can and wait until the water level has stopped rising to call SERVPRO of Fall River in. If you call a professional in while the water is still coming in very heavily, there would be a lot more charges associated with the job as they would have to keep repeating efforts as the new ground water would wreck any cleanup they had done.
We Have the Resources to Handle Storms and Disasters
Major storms and flooding events can overwhelm many restoration companies. On the other hand, SERVPRO of Fall River can access resources from 1,700 Franchises across the state and country and even utilize Disaster Recovery Teams for major storms and disasters.
Have Water or Flood Damage?
Call Us Today – (508) 676-9100
A Tree Fell on Your Home During a wind storm
A common occurrence during storms is trees falling on and damaging your property. Don’t wait until it happens. Be prepared for this type of storm emergency. Here are 5 steps to take for emergency tree removal in Durham, NC.
- Trees that are old or diseased can easily succumb to flooding and windy storms. Go ahead and remove hazardous trees before a storm approaches.
- In the event a tree does fall on your property, first make sure everyone is okay. Leave your home if you feel unsafe inside the property.
- Look to see if there are any wires or power lines hanging and if they call the police and the power company.
- Call your insurance company and if you can safely do say take pictures.
- Contact your local mitigations and emergency storm cleanup provider in Durham, NC. They will place a tarp on the roof if needed. They will also carry out any board up services required and clean up any water inside the home. Boarding up parts of the home that have structural damage will help with your insurance claim and also deter any vandals while you are away from your home.
Some restoration companies advertise “mold removal” and may even guarantee to remove all mold. This is a fallacy because removing all mold from a house or business is impossible; microscopic mold spores exist almost everywhere, both indoors and outdoors. Here are the facts:
- Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
- Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
- Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
- Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
- Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
- Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.
Why Choose SERVPRO of Friendswood / Pearland?
We’re Faster to Any Size Disaster
A minor mold problem can quickly become a major infestation if left untreated. We can start the remediation process immediately after you contact us. A faster response lessens the mold damage, limits additional damage, and reduces the remediation cost.
We’re Highly Trained Mold Remediation Specialists
We specialize in water and mold damage restoration, the cornerstone of our business. We have the training and expertise to safely handle any mold situation.
- Applied Microbial Remediation Specialist
- Water Damage Restoration Technician
- Applied Structural Drying Technician
We Use Advanced Mold Remediation Techniques and Equipment
Our advanced equipment helps to detect and stop the source of water feeding the mold. We then isolate the affected area using a negative air pressure chamber.
The Mold Remediation Process
Every mold infestation is different, from the amount of mold to the types of materials affected. Each scenario requires a unique solution, but the general process stays the same. The steps listed below illustrate our process for a “typical” mold remediation infestation:
- Emergency Contact 508-676-9100
- Inspection and Mold Damage Assessment
- Mold Containment
- Air Filtration
- Removing Mold and Mold-Infested Materials
- Cleaning Contents and Belongings
Common Mold Misconceptions
It’s easy to understand why many people struggle to grasp the facts and issues surrounding indoor mold because of sensational news stories and advertising cloud and obscure the real issues. Educate yourself on the facts about mold and learn about the mold remediation process.
- What is “Black Mold”?
- “Mold Removal” versus Mold Remediation
6 ways to prepare now for hurricanes
The worst thing that people who live along coastlines can do is not to prepare for tropical storms and hurricanes.
According to the National Hurricane Center, the two key factors contributing to weather safety during hurricanes are preparing in advance for the risks and to act on those preparations when alerted by emergency officials.
1. Evacuation planning
2. Buy supplies
3. Check insurance coverage
4. Make copies of important documents
5. Protect your home
6. Back up your electronics
SERVPRO of Fall River has experience restoring homes affected by storms and flooding. We can respond immediately with highly trained technicians who employ specialized equipment and techniques to restore your home or business back to pre-storm condition.
Have Storm or Flood Damage?
Call Us Today (508) 676-9100
What causes mold?
What causes mold? Spores need three things to grow into mold nutrients - cellulose (the cell wall of green plants) is a common food for indoor spores, moisture - To begin the decaying process caused by mold time -mold growth begins from 24 hours to 10 days after the provision of growing conditions. What does it take for mold to grow? Mold spores are everywhere, and they grow on any organic surface, given the right conditions. For growth, they require organic matter for food, moisture, warmth, and oxygen. To prevent mold growth, keep all surfaces clean and dry, and provide plenty of ventilation.
When a home suffers a water damage event, a mold infestation can quickly arise and spread throughout a home in 48-72 hours. Because mold can produce allergens and irritants, you will want a professional that has training and experience to properly resolve the mold infestation.
If You See Signs of Mold,
Call Us Today – (508) 676-9100
When your home or business has been damaged by fire, water, or storm damage, the immediate concern should be temporary protective measures such as placing roof tarps to prevent additional damage, and boarding up to secure the building and remove water and debris.
After protecting and securing the structure, professionals at SERVPRO of Fall River can begin the restoration process. Your home or business may need reconstruction work to get your property back to its preloss condition.
The professionals at SERVPRO of Fall River can simplify the restoration process by handling both the initial damage mitigation and rebuilding the affected areas. Having one qualified company for the entire process can save time and keeps costs low.
SERVPRO of Fall River can provide this continuity by supervising a full range of restoration services that will bring a building back to full functionality.
- Board Up
- Carpet Repair and Installation
- Document Drying
- Dry Cleaning
- Drywall Installation
- Drywall Removal
- Electronics Restoration
- Fine Art Restoration
- Furniture Restoration
- General Contracting
- Hardwood Floor Repair
- HVAC Services
- Linoleum Floor Repair
- Marble Floor Repair
- Move Out
- Portable Power
- Roof Tarp
- Roofing Services
- Scalable Resources
- Temporary Fencing
- Temporary Warehouse Space
- Tile Floor Repair
- Tree Removal
Myth about Mold
Myth about Mold
The myth that bleach is the only thing that kills mold, has been passed on to us from generation to generation. While there are benefits to using bleach-such as disinfecting and sterilizing-the cons of using bleach definitely outweigh the pros.
Bleach Removes Mold Stains Only
So, why do homeowners believe bleach kills mold? Because the mold stain disappears after using bleach. If you can’t see it anymore then the mold must be dead, right?incorrect! You see, mold is like a plant in the sense that it grows roots and attaches itself to porous surfaces such as drywall, concrete and even fabrics.
Bleach is Toxic
Have you ever used bleach and felt like you could barely breathe? One homeowner recently told us they had to stay out of the room for days because the fumes were so pungent.
Concrobium Mold Control
There’s a safer way to eliminate and clean mold, without exposing yourself to harmful chemicals.
- Mold clean-up during remodeling projects
- Mold and mildew treatments while painting
- Mold prevention in homes and facilities
- Musty odor control in vulnerable areas
Concrobium Mold Control dries to form an invisible antimicrobial shield that encapsulates and physically crushes mold spores.
If You See Signs of Mold,
Call Us Today – (508) 676-9100