Recent Storm Damage Posts

Summer Storms in New England

7/26/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Summer Storms in New England Trees who had a dry summer and suddenly become saturated have nothing to hold them in place

In New England we tend to think of storms being something that we need to worry about during our harsh winters. The storms that swept through Upton, Douglas and other western MA we are reminded we are not 100 % safe from the raging storms of the summer.

There are some key things that you can do to protect your home that will last through out the year.

Insurance Coverage

If you are the homeowner or a renter. it is important to start with your insurance coverage. Renters you need to have renters coverage because a home owner is not responsible for your stuff. Home owners make sure you have the right coverage for your property based on the area. This will be the catalyst for what will be covered and what will not be covered. For example, if you are in an area prone to flood but not an official flood zone it may make sense to get flood coverage for example and want to reach out to your agent and review your policy. Coverage options for the structure and contents is also two different things. That too may be something worth looking into. If you have any valuables that would be over and above a specific value such as jewelry check your policy. They have the limits on these types of items unless there is a stipulation otherwise. Having proper documentation along with proper coverage is essential for getting you back to normal as fast as possible.

Air Conditioners

Not that many of us needed to be told this but according to the National Weather Service, there is a 50 percent to 60 percent chance New England could experience higher-than-normal temperatures this summer. A lot of us have bought air conditioners that have never used them before. Maybe even added one to another part of the house. Check which outlets are connected as older wiring that is found throughout New England may have more units connected than you think. Having more than one large draining device can cause fires.

Check your Gutters

The run off water from your roof has to be directed away from your home. If it is safe to do so check your gutters or hire a professional to keep them clean and free from debris. There are covers that can be put over the top to aid in the long term. Again while you are out walking around check out your roof look for any warped or have any holes. Use a garden hose and empty water to the gutter system to see if you have any leaks in the seams or corners of your gutters. Make sure you check all of the elbows and down spouts for any large items or accumulation of debris. These clogs can cause the water to back up into your home. Using extenders on the bottom of the down spouts to direct the water away you’re your home and route it safely to a place where it will not collect.

Look at those trees

Are any branches touching the house? Does it look like the trees have leaned more towards your home than they were before. Trees can twist in the wind look up where large branches diverge from the stem. Inspect them from the ground and if you are questioning them at all call a specialist and put the wheels in motion. Due diligence is an imperative part of being a home owner.

Use generators safely

Here in New England we should be familiar with the use of generators. Yet we feel the need to remind those using them for a power outage in the summer is no different than using them in the winter. They need to out in the open. Away from the house out of garages. Do not put them on porches or near any open vents, doors or windows. It is also important to keep the fuel that you use to power it away from it unless it is off and being refueled. Depending on how it is fueled or its type will determine if it needs to be professionally installed and grounded or just plugged in. Be in the know before you need it so it is ready when you do.

Protect against Lightening

Did you know that you can get a surge protector (yes like the ones you have all your electronics plugged into) for your house. It is a whole home surge protector. It is installed by an electrician directly to your electrical panel. Each outlet can have its own surge protector those are the strips as well depending on what the home size is and what your goals and budget are.

Developing a plan now for the storms and unsettled season that we seem to be having is going to be pivotal to how well you get through any difficulties that arise. Preparedness is something we strive to achieve and help our clients achieve as well.

Roofs, Gutters, Snow and Rain do not mix......

1/11/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Roofs, Gutters, Snow and Rain do not mix...... Clearing the snow off the roof and shoveling out the down spouts to your gutters and sewer drains is going to help with all the rain coming to Boston

Having a hard time shoveling/Walking/ driving with all the ice and snow in and around Boston???? Yes we know you are we see the posts..

It is heavy.. Hard to move. .Frozen solid.. Sidewalks not shoveled///

OK so it is warming we are all looking forward to it... We are in the clear.. Its going to rain and be almost 50 right..... Ummmm No not even close..GET THOSE ROOFS SHOVELED OFF BEFORE IT RAINS and clean out those down spouts so the water has somewhere to go. This is very important because behind this rain will be another blast of cold air which means more freezing. Even measurable icing event behind the rain.

Did you know.

Total accumulated weight: 2 feet of old snow and 2 feet of new snow could weigh as much as 60 lb per square foot of roof space, which is beyond the typical snow load capacity of most roofs. Ice: 1 inch of ice equals 1 foot of fresh snow.

Do you have icicles hanging from your roof?

Do you have snow on your roof?

Do you have gutters?

Are the downspouts blocked by snow?

If you answered yes to any one of these questions you have a major problem on your hands.

Ice causes melting snow to stop up and back up onto your roof and possibly into your home. If not it will stay and create more ice. If it gets under a shingle , breaks your gutter off or even cracks a corner of your home you will have a major water problem in your home most likely between the walls. Icicles also mean heavier water on your roof.

If you still have measurable snow with the temperatures warming up you will most likely see some rapid melting provided you have a good drainage system with no ice. ( but hey we have only had -25 wind chills I am sure you don't have ice hahah) You will be fine.

We have a major rain event set for Friday.. with excess of 2.5 inches of rain on the way. Couple that with the snow already on roofs with little or any place to go. You are at risk for a roof collapse

Got Gutters?????

We talked about roof shoveling and it’s importance. Did you get it done? Hope so because now you have more work to do. Snow on roofs..sidewalks and streets are frozen and making a mess of walking and getting around. We know we have seen all the issues online...

We all have to look out for one another as well as ourselves from time to time. Relying on the city, a business or a landlord to do something does not always work law or otherwise.. As we have seen. Let’s all help out this was a bad storm with another on the way.

Find your gutters ... the down spouts are buried by all the snow that we got or got put out of the way. GUESS WHAT....Its in the way.

We are getting 2-3 inches of rain it needs a place to go.

Storm drains are blocked by snow..

Gutters are totally covered.

Sidewalks and streets have solid bricks of snow encased in ice.

Open up a drain If it is in front of your house

Shovel out the down spouts ALL of them

If you don’t that water is going to flood into homes

If you do not have flood insurance this will not be a covered event. A little bit of shoveling is worth it trust me. Even if you do it is very limited so just get it done. Landlords are tapped out. City’s are over extended. Complaining will not stop the water from coming Friday let’s just get this done.

Nor'Easter

1/2/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Nor'Easter Boston looks picturesque at this height during this time of the year. However the bitter cold sets in and a Nor'Easter this view changes quickly

Did you know that MA has a website that can provide you with emergency information and assistance on how to find help. I know right who knew? 

http://mass211.org/

From here you can get a lot of information fast and accurate. Should you need help during this intense record breaking winter season here in New England.

Record breaking cold rounded out our 2017 year bring it all into the start of 2018. Creating havoc. Our aging water systems pipes cannot handle the frigid temperatures and have had more water main breaks than we care to talk about. There have been gas line fires, house fires started from people trying to keep warm and improperly using space heaters. There have been some unintelligent uses of blow torches, as well as pipes bursting. We know there are a lot of ice dams on peoples roofs we can see them, but no one has called us for damage yet because they are not melting very fast due to the cold but they will.

Being prepared and knowing what the forecasts are saying is your only way to stay ahead of everything this season. There are numerous ways to stay informed and up to date. Below is a link for choosing the right way for you to receive your information. There are even apps that you can download to your phone.

https://www.weather.gov/subscribe

Did you know that preparing for a Nor’Easter is almost the same as preparing for a hurricane. Yes it can be that serious. Having   a weather app on your phone to listen for updates is the first step to being in the know. Ensuring your car has plenty of gas so that if you lose heat or power you can at least be warm until you make other arrangements. . Making sure your phone is charged before you lose power is key, and having a car charger will help keep you in the loop while you search out your options.

Know where the warming stations in your town are and being prepared to leave with your family to go to them if necessary. Many town buildings like libraries have opened their doors to those who need it . There are a number of local churches and shelters that have extended capacity to make sure everyone that needs it will have a place to go. So do your research on that now.

Alternative and additional heat sources. Yes we know that it is cold and the house may be drafty so what do you do. Crank up a wood stove or fire place if you have it. Great but please be safe, clean and empty the ashes into fireproof tins and outside on a non flammable surface (NOT YOUR PORCH). So you have a space heater, wonderful, are you following the 3ft rule? Not sure what that is keep everything 3ft away yes everything clothes, furniture, curtains, kids, pets, rugs everything. Oh and for the sake of good sense only directly plug them into wall units.

Food preparedness: With the cold of the winter we have a bit of a reprieve than what we do in the summer. If you are out for more than 4 hours get your refrigerator cleaned out and put it all outside on the porch in containers this will ensure you do not lose any of that food. The freezer would be a good idea to but if you get the power on before the 8 hour mark that stuff should be ok. Also make sure you have some foods that are non-perishable and that you have extra food on hand for your pets. It could be a while until you get to a store. Keep an eye on things but remember animals are looking for food this time of the year so make sure the food is in a container and covered.

So you have food taken care of, you have found places to go if necessary, you are getting ready to leave your home for what could be a few days depending on when you get your heat back on. You need to get your home ready. Turn every faucet in the house on and let it run while you are going to be gone. Open all of your cabinets and doors this will let the air circulate and help to try and keep the pipes from freezing.( Hopefully)

Is your Car prepared? There are a few things you should always keep in your car, Shovel, cat litter or sand, extra chargers, blankets as well. Flashlights, knife, jumper cables road maps (yes the paper ones), an extra set of clothes and some drinking water and food. These are just the basic suggestions depending on how many people, or animals you are going to be with will determine how much you actually need.

Being prepared will help you survive and stay safe during emergency situations. Knowing where to go to get and getting there safely may just save your life. Be in the know and be prepared.

Watch/Warning/Advisory .. What do you know??

12/28/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Watch/Warning/Advisory .. What do you know?? Winters in Boston can get pretty intense if you are not prepared you could be in for some trouble. Know the warnings and be ready

WE are in the thick of winter here in New England. With all the weather we have already had we thought it would be a good idea to keep you up to date with all the watches, warnings, and advisories that can be issued. They can be confusing and if you do not know which one is worse you could be in some trouble.

Hazardous Weather Outlook

The Hazardous Weather Outlook will describe potential hazardous weather and hydrologic information of concern in Days 1 through 7.

The outlook contains two segments: One segment for the marine zones and adjacent land-based (i.e., coastal) zones and the other segment for the rest of the land-based zones. Each segment of the HWO will contain 3 sections: short term through Day 1, long term for Days 2-7, and spotter information.

Winter Storm Watch

A Winter Storm Watch is issued when there is the potential for significant and hazardous winter weather within 48 hours. It does not mean that significant and hazardous winter weather will occur...it only means it is possible.

Significant and hazardous winter weather is defined as a combination of: 1)  5 inches or more of snow/sleet within a 12-hour period or 7 inches or more of snow/sleet within a 24-hour period AND/OR 2)  Enough ice accumulation to cause damage to trees or powerlines. AND/OR 3)  a life threatening or damaging combination of snow and/or ice accumulation with wind.

The snow/sleet criteria for a Winter Storm Watch for the five westernmost counties (Allegany, Mineral, Grant, Pendleton, and Highland) is higher (6 inches or more within a 12-hour period; 8 inches or more within a 24-hour period).

Blizzard Warning

A Blizzard Warning means that the following conditions are occurring or expected within the next 12 to 18 hours. 1) Snow and/or blowing snow reducing visibility to 1/4 mile or less for 3 hours or longer AND 2)  Sustained winds of 35 mph or greater or frequent gusts to 35 mph or greater. There is no temperature requirement that must be met to achieve blizzard conditions.

Winter Storm Warning

A Winter Storm Warning is issued when a significant combination of hazardous winter weather is occurring or imminent.

Significant and hazardous winter weather is defined as a combination of: 1)  5 inches or more of snow/sleet within a 12-hour period or 7 inches or more of snow/sleet within a 24-hour period AND/OR 2)  Enough ice accumulation to cause damage to trees or powerlines. AND/OR 3)  a life threatening or damaging combination of snow and/or ice accumulation with wind.

The snow/sleet criteria for a Winter Storm Warning for the five westernmost counties (Allegany, Mineral, Grant, Pendleton, and Highland) is higher (6 inches or more within a 12-hour period; 8 inches or more within a 24-hour period).

Ice Storm Warning

¼ inch or more of ice accumulation.

Winter Weather Advisory

A Winter Weather Advisory will be issued for any amount of freezing rain, or when 2 to 4 inches of snow (alone or in combination with sleet and freezing rain), is expected to cause a significant inconvenience, but not serious enough to warrant a warning.

If the event is expected to impact the Baltimore/Washington metro areas during rush hours (4-9 am or 2-7 pm on weekdays) forecasted snow totals of one inch will necessitate the issuance of a winter weather advisory. The snow/sleet criteria for a Winter Weather Advisory for the five westernmost counties (Allegany, Mineral, Grant, Pendleton, and Highland) is higher (3-5 inches).  

Freeze Watch

A Freeze Watch is issued when there is a potential for significant, widespread freezing temperatures within the next 24-36 hours.

A Freeze Watch is issued in the autumn until the end of the growing season (marked by the occurrence of first widespread freeze). The normal end of the growing season is mid to late October west of the Blue Ridge and early November east of the Blue Ridge. However, during anomalously warm autumns, the growing season may be extended past the normal end of the growing season.

A Freeze Watch is issued in the spring at the start of the growing season (when it is late enough to cause damage to new plants and crops).

Freeze Warning

A Freeze Warning is issued when significant, widespread freezing temperatures are expected.

A Freeze Warning is issued in the autumn until the end of the growing season (marked by the occurrence of first widespread freeze). The normal end of the growing season is mid to late October west of the Blue Ridge and early November east of the Blue Ridge. However, during anomalously warm autumns, the growing season may be extended past the normal end of the growing season.

A Freeze Warning is issued in the spring at the start of the growing season (when it is late enough to cause damage to new plants and crops).

Frost Advisory

A Frost Advisory is issued when the minimum temperature is forecast to be 33 to 36 degrees on clear and calm nights during the growing season.

A Frost Advisory is issued in the autumn until the end of the growing season (marked by the occurrence of first widespread freeze). The normal end of the growing season is mid to late October west of the Blue Ridge and early November east of the Blue Ridge. However, during anomalously warm autumns, the growing season may be extended past the normal end of the growing season.

A Frost Advisory is issued in the spring at the start of the growing season (when it is late enough to cause damage to new plants and crops).

Wind Chill Advisory

A Wind Chill Advisory is issued when wind chills of -5F to -19F are expected east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and when wind chills of -10 to -24F are expected along and west of the Blue Ridge Mountains and in Frederick and Carroll Counties in Maryland.

Wind Chill Warning

A Wind Chill Warning is issued when wind chills of -20F or lower are expected east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and when wind chills of -25F or lower are expected along and west of the Blue Ridge Mountains and in Frederick and Carroll Counties in Maryland.

Courtesy of our friends over at the National weather service. You can visit their website at

www.weather.gov for more information and to stay up to date on the latest weather for your area.

Increase in Storms and Water events in Massachusetts

7/24/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Increase in Storms and Water events in Massachusetts Having a plan and enacting that plan are two different things. Practice and know how to react follow the advice.

Storms and their frequency are on the rise. In addition so too is the intensity of each event. In the United states there has been a 74% increase in the top tier precipitation events since 1958. Flood events have risen along with this severely altering the environment, wildlife, and financial obligations of cities, towns, and individual residents. With flooding of sewer systems there comes an increase of pollution to fresh drinking water access. Being prepared for these types of events is pivotal.

The areas impacted the most from these rain events has actually been the northern costal and mountainous regions of the country. Areas in Eastern Massachusetts have seen an uptick in rain event days that have more than 2 inches of rain per event.  The average rainfall has also seen a 1 to 2 inch increase since the 1970’s. The major Connecticut river basin alone has seen double the heavy rain events over the last 60 years. Most of this rain has occurred from May to September.

This shift has also changed the frequency of coastal storms. The rising sea levels are changing the shape of the coast and what is actually considered the coast. We must all be prepared. These storms are what are known as hurricanes and Nor’Easters. Those alone are not the only threats.  Increased intensity of Thunderstorms, tornado frequency and even damaging hail events are on the rise. The structural damage that is caused to homes, cars and the natural environment around you can be catastrophic.  

What scientist call the 100 Year flood is now being seen every 60 years or so. By the year 2050 these flood level events will be every 10-20 years. In Boston alone these 100 year flooding events are projected to recur every 1-2 years. For many subsets of Boston such as East Boston which are built up and used to be the harbor flooding is a serious concern. Costal Massachusetts is at high risk due to the rising rain fall and sea levels. We are already seeing an uptick in claims and severity of the claims. If you are not currently in a sanctioned flood zone yet, get flood insurance now. This will grandfather you into the policy. Should your area reclassified you will not have to pay new premiums on rates for the new requirements.

Please be aware and be prepared for these events. Check out our preparedness plans for what to have ready and on hand now so you can be safe later.

https://climateactiontool.org/content/storms-and-floods

Prepare Now...Weather through later.....

3/8/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Prepare Now...Weather through later..... Preparing for a disaster is the best way to make it through the disaster. Plan Prepare Persevere

IPAWS…. No it is not a fancy term for a program for pet lovers… it is an Integrated Public Alert and Warning System ( IPAWS)


Created by FEMA, to provide an effective way to get information quickly and accurately out to the public in times of emergencies. It is able to tap into all the major emergency networks such as Emergency Alert System (EAS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for any weather related problems, Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) It is also used to send Presidential, AMBER and imminent threat alerts out. These messages can be sent through one or all of these channels to ensure that everyone that needs to be reached can be.


 


So what is NOAA.. It is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting forecasts, warnings, and emergency information 24 hours a day. It is a comprehensive weather and emergency information service available to the public. All Hazards messages include weather events, technological incidents such a chemical spills, AMBER alerts, and national emergencies. NWR also broadcasts EAS notices. A special radio receiver is required to receive NWR broadcasts. You can buy these receivers at many retail electronic stores, department stores, big box stores or even online. Make sure you are looking for the Public alert or NWR logo to ensure the radio meets the requirements. Models that identify as SAME ( Specific Area Message Encoding) will allow users to select alerts for specific geographic areas. For information on NOAA Weather radio All Hazards visit.


www.nws.noaa.gov 


Local Jurisdiction Emergency Notification System:


Many local jurisdictions have an opt-in public alert and warning system. The opt-in systems requires you to sign up in order to receive the alert. Once you have signed up officials in your area can send you a text or email messages about local emergencies. Most opt-in systems all subscribers to choose the devices that receive alerts as well as the type of alerts. You may not be near a television or a radio when something happens a local text or email can be an extremely useful source for critical information. Small costs may be associated with receipt of the text message from your mobile carrier.


To find out what alerts are available in your area you can do a search online with your town, city, or county name and the word “Alerts”: You can go to the website for your local emergency management or public safety office, on contact these officials by phone.


 


Enhanced Telephone Notification (ETN) Systems;


In the event of an emergency local officials in many communities can send warning messages and instructions to individuals in an at risk areas through the ETN system. Such as a reverse 911 call. Most of these systems involve a land line phone system. At times they will allow a VOIP, and mobile through an opt-in process. So incase you do not have a land line check with local emergency management for information on this feature and its availability.


Out Door Sirens & or Voice Alert Systems


These systems are used to alert people outdoors of an immediate danger so they can take cover. It is not designed to be heard inside buildings or go through walls. Some communities while they have the siren in place it is no longer working. Please check with local officials to see if it is provided in your area.


Local School or Organization Notification Systems:


Many work places, schools, and community & Faith based organizations have systems in place to warn individuals of emergencies and provide tailored notifications to members. They are similar to the systems used but local emergency officials so check with the heads of these organizations and opt-in where you can.


Mobile APPS with Local alert functions.


FEMA APP ( Federal Emergency Management Association)


This will keep you updated on a vast array of emergency updates for up to 5 areas of the United States. There will be tips on how to stay safe, before, during and after over 20 various types of hazardous situations. You can customized it and save information for your families emergency plan. Receive and find driving directions to open shelters for disaster recovery. Submitting photos on the areas affected will help rescures find those most in need and keep tabs on everyone that needs assistance. This can be done through the disaster reporter feature. The app is available in English and Spanish and can be found through ITUNES or Google Play to learn more visit


www.fema.gov/mobile-app


American Red Cross APP


This app contains over 35 different types of severe weather and emergency alerts. You can choose the alerts you want to receive and that are important to you based on your location or that of your loved ones. There is a “Family Safe” feature that allows you to notify others if an alert has been issued in the area as well letting you check to see if they are safe. It also has tips on what to do before a disaster strikes, how to keep yourself safe during and what to do after. It will also keep you update on were Red Cross Shelters will be should you need help. This again is in English and Spanish and be found in either ITUNES or Google Play. To learn more visit…


www.redcross.org/prepare/mobile-apps


 


The Weather Channel App


This app tracks you guessed it weather and provides local forecasts. It will push out alerts of severe weathers to your mobile device as soon as they happen. This is free on ITUNES or Google Play. It can also be downloaded is APP world for black berry and windows phones at www.weather.com/apps


 


Recap of actions you can take to be prepared.


Confirm your mobile device can receive Wireless Emergency Alerts


Sign up for text or email alerts from your local jurisdiction


Consider purchasing a NOAA weather Radio All Hazards


If you do not have a land line check to see of your local community has operations set up for VOIP and or mobile phones to be connected to the ETN systems such as reverse 911.


Sign up for listservs and alerts for the workplace, schools, houses of worship or other community organizations you may want to hear from during an emergency


Download all relevant apps for appropriate alerts, hazards or warnings.


Create a list of all the alert systems available to you for your area. Make sure everyone in the household receives the alerts as part of your household communication system.


 


Organizations:


Test all of your emergency systems regularly to ensure proper working order. Also making sure everyone within the organization can be contacted.


Designate specific individuals to be responsible for distributing alerts from an official source.


Consider getting some NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards.


Develop a list of all the alert systems available for the communities surrounding the areas you service. This is especially important with multiple locations.


Encourage all of your employees to sign up for alerts and warnings. Assist them with finding the necessary information.


 


America’s PrepareAthon! Is a grassroots campaign for action to get more people prepared for emergencies. Make your actions count.


www.ready.gov/prepare

Storms hit hard are you covered???

12/27/2016 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Storms hit hard are you covered??? New England Storms vary from Water, Ice, Snow, Fire, and occasional tornado are you ready? Who do you call and are you covered

Storm damage to homes can vary greatly. The kind of storm, where you are located, and what is going on around your home can all impact what goes on.

For example if you live near the coast and there is a storm surge coupled with some high tide serious flooding can be a major concern. This can be amplified if you are on the edge and beach erosion occurs. Many home owners have the bare minimum coverage levels of insurance and if you are not in a flood zone many do not have flood insurance. Guess what this would be classified as a flood and you would not get any assistance with the process of getting back to normal.

Should you live further inland and be surrounded by nature. A strong storm with a lot of wind can be your down fall. A dry winter coupled with some rain will loosen the roots of those large trees that provide you shade in the summer. With nothing solid to hold onto these trees can be easily uprooted and topple over. Should your home be in the way there is a lot of trouble to be had. Many do not have storm damage coverage for such events and will have no assistance getting back to normal .

Storms can also bring heavy wet snow. This snow can sit on a roof or melt. Should it sit a little too long it will become heavy and possibly cause a crack or gap in the roof or foundation that is not able to support the weight. When this happens and then the snow eventually melts which it will a lot of damage can occur. This water will find the path of wet to dry and many time during that search it leads to the inside of your ho me.

If you live in an area of open fields and wide open view of flat land or have a farm. The storms that ravage through could include a tornado. We have all seen the destruction and devastation of those. When a home is flattened or a roof has been ripped off from the wind what is left to protect you from the onslaught of rain damaging your belongings inside. Many time this secondary damage has very limited coverage and will be dependent on the speed in which you called someone about the first part of the damage and their response time. Make sure you are calling a professional that can arrive quickly. Mitigating your response time is doing your part of the insurance process.

Drought while not an actual storm event can lead to devastation and destruction. Many times this dry debris on the ground can be ignited and cause a literal fire storm. Once a fire has started if your home is affected there is a lot to be done. Also an investigation will be conducted to find the cause of the fire. Should that lead to anything malicious it is important to know what is and is not covered. Subsequently if there is a fire in your area but not in your home it does not mean you will not be affected. The odor from a nearby fire can infiltrate your home and cause quite a bit of damage. Ensure you are ready and know if your policy will cover such an event.

Many times if an insurance policy does not say it, It is not covered. That can turn into a major disaster if you are left to fend for yourself during a significant loss beyond your control. It is always wise to review your policy and make sure you have coverage for as much as you can. No one has insurance because they want to and certainly not because they expect to need to use it. Yet finding out you do not have the right coverage when you need it most is not the time to find that out. Call your agent or broker today and make sure that any unforeseen issues are addressed before it is too late

Preparing your home for winter in New England

11/30/2016 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Preparing your home for winter in New England In and around Boston in the winter can be a beautiful. Ensuring your home does not suffer from any storm damage will help you enjoy the season

It is that time of the year again here in New England. Winter storm season. This 2016-2017 season is predicted to be much colder due to a weakened La Nina. NOAAs’ prediction is that the northern states will see a lot more snow than last year. Which was one of the warmest winters in 121 years. This year is predicted to be riddled with frequent storms and cold temperatures.

These colder temperatures and increased chance or more storms mean there could be more storm damage. This damage could be from the cold getting into your homes and freezing your pipes to heavy snow collapsing roofs. Now is the time to prepare and take steps to reduce the chances of damage to your home. Freezing pipe, ice dams and fires are the most common forms of damage during the  winter season. Here are some key tips for helping to prevent major problems.

Insulate pipes..

                We have said it before and we will say it again get some cheap foam from a home improvement store that rated for the type of water pipes you have. Put them on as many as you can find. Make sure you leave room when you get close to the heating units so that there is no risk of fire.

Open Cabinet doors

                When the really deep cold sets in make sure you open cabinet doors. Ensuring under sinks, in bathrooms, cabinets and hutches that have piping running from one level to another are all open will help keep your pipes more warm

Run the water

                Yes run the water. A slow moving water drip will help prevent freezing because moving water takes more time to freeze. This is not a full on high running water it is a slow stead stream. Know the difference. Remember that it is one and if you can collect the water and place in front of your heat source so that you can introduce moisture back into your home and conserve a little water in the process.

Search for Gaps

                Look at pipes, vents  especially dryer vents and electrical outlets that come in from the outside. If there are drafts fill the edges with caulking or spray foam. This will help keep the cold out.

Properly setting your thermostat           

                Many of you looking to escape the dull gray skies will go on vacation. In an effort to save money so many turn their heat way down or off.  ***DO NOT DO THIS*** Keep your thermostat at a minimum of 55 degrees we like 60 or better,  and open any and all cabinet doors. The last thing you want at the end of your vacation is to come home to a soaking wet house that has been running for days.

Knowing your home:

                Where is your water shut of valve. Sure most of us know how to turn off the water if something happens to the toilet or the washing machine it is the valve right next to it. What about a pipe on the 2nd floor to mitigate your damages. Do you know where the main shut off valve is for the house?  How about how to turn off your water heater?  Learn where these things are and show everyone who is old enough how to do it as well. The sooner the water is shut off the less damage it can cause.

Ok so your home should be ok now we did not forget about your garden. We love the pops of color in the spring. The Home grown vegetables from the summer and the atmosphere of the leaves in the fall create a home outside for you and your family. It is important to take care of it during the winter months. Sure it will get covered in snow and there is not much you can do but before that happens here are few tips.

  • Before the first Frost:
    • Any attempt to protect plants should be done before the first frost. You can usually find some information online about  your area and when that typically happens.
  • Cultivation Protection:
    • You can do a variety of things with the plants and their placement to aid in the winterization. Choosing sheltered spots will protect from wind damage and the sudden onset of cold weather. Know the North, South facing spots as well as how much sun these spots get this will aid in placement.
  • Mulching
    •  I know mulching in the winter? It acts as a great insulator and holds a lot of soil from being washed away as the rain and snow move and. 
  • Planters and containers
    • Create a portable garden that you can place anywhere based on the season.
  • Special wrapping & Structures
    •  Insulating wrapping can be obtained to protect susceptible plants to keep the more warm during the freezing temperatures of the winter. Structures can also be built to protect from the heavy weight of the snow and any that could fall off of a roof onto plants near the house.  “A” Frames are the easiest and most effective.  Creating a windbreak or barrier can aid many plants as well. This can be achieved from other plants such as dense bushes or hedges. You can make one with some netting and posts staked into the ground
  • Drainage
    • It is important that you do not have pooling water in any areas of your yard. Extra wet soil just like extra dry soil will prevent the roots from holding firm and could have trees uproot. Ensure that your lawn is level and pooling does not occur.

Keeping these things in mind will help you have a worry free winter. Filled with family, friends, and fun. When spring comes you will ready to go with a lot less fuss. Have a wonderful holiday season and enjoy the winter.

Understanding Storms and How to prepare

7/14/2016 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Understanding Storms and How to prepare Storms can be very beautiful but dangerous, deadly and powerful,, Understand them respect them and know how to stay safe when they strike

Storm Basics

 A thunderstorm is a rain shower during which you hear thunder. Since thunder comes from lightning, all thunderstorms have lightning. It is classified as “severe” when itcontains one or more of the following:

 Hail (one inch or greater)

Winds in excess of 58 mph

Structural wind damage

Tornado:

Tornadoes are arguably nature’s most violent storms. Generated from powerful thunderstorms, and generally appear as rotating, funnel-shaped clouds extending from the cloud base to the ground. With winds that can reach up to 300 miles per hour, tornadoes can cause massive destruction within seconds. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and fifty miles long. The average tornado moves southwest to northeast, but tornadoes have been known to move in any direction. The average forward speed of a tornado is 30 miles per hour, but may vary from stationary to 70 miles per hour. Tornadoes can accompany tropical storms and hurricanes as they move onto land. Tornadoes are most frequently reported east of the Rocky Mountains during spring and summer months. Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m.

 Tornado Facts and Storm Tips (above) are provided by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency).

Watch vs. Warning

A severe thunderstorm watch: means that the potential exists for the development of thunderstorms which may produce large hail or damaging winds. A watch is issued by the SPC (Storm Prediction Center).

A severe thunderstorm warning: means that a severe thunderstorm is occurring or is imminent based on Doppler radar information or a reliable spotter report. A warning is issued by the local National Weather Service office.

 Watch vs. Warning and Storm Basics are provided by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). For more information visit their website: www.noaa.gov  

Be prepared!! Emergency Supply Kit 

Recommended items to include in a basic emergency supply kit:

Water (one gallon per person per day)

Food (non-perishable 3-day supply)

Manual can opener

Battery operated radio, preferably a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries

Flashlight and extra batteries

First aid kit

Whistle to signal for help

Clothing

Dust masks or bandanas

Plastic sheeting, garbage bags and duct tape

Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities

Local maps

Hygiene items

Important documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account information

Cash

Fire extinguisher

Matches in a waterproof container

Before the storm 

To begin preparing, you should build an emergency supply kit and make a family communication plan.

Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage during a severe thunderstorm.

Postpone outdoor activities.

Remember the 30/30 Lightning Safety Rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.

Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.

Get inside a home, building, or hard top automobile (not a convertible). Although you may be injured if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside.

Remember, rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning. However, the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal.

Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades or curtains.

Unplug any electronic equipment well before the storm arrives.

Use your battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio for updates from local officials.

Avoid contact with corded phones. Use a corded telephone only for emergencies. Cordless and cellular telephones are safe to use.

Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords.

Unplug appliances and other electrical items such as computers and turn off air conditioners. Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.

Avoid contact with plumbing. Do not wash your hands, do not take a shower, do not wash dishes, and do not do laundry. Plumbing and bathroom fixture can conduct electricity.

Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.

Do not lie on concrete floors and do not lean against concrete walls.

Avoid natural lightning rods such as a tall, isolated tree in an open area.

Avoid hilltops, open fields, the beach or a boat on the water.

Take shelter in a sturdy building.

Avoid isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas.

Avoid contact with anything metal—tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs, and bicycles.

If you are driving, try to safely exit the roadway and park. Stay in the vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends.

Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside the vehicle.

After the storm

Never drive through a flooded roadway.

Stay away from storm-damaged areas to keep from putting yourself at risk from the effects of severe thunderstorms.

Continue to listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or to local radio and television stations for updated information or instructions, as access to roads or some parts of the community may be blocked.

Help people who may require special assistance, such as infants, children and the elderly or those with access or functional needs.

Stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately.

Watch your animals closely. Keep them under your direct control.

If you have storm damage to your home or property call your local professional immediately. Timely mitigation is key to minimize secondary damages caused by severe storms.

-SERVPRO 1-800-SERVPRO

When the severe storm rolls out ...

we roll in.

Storm Damage .....now what????????

1/14/2016 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Storm Damage .....now what???????? Storm Damage can happen anywhere and be large or small

You have storm damage now what?

Recovery after a storm:

Just because the storm has passed does not mean that the danger is over or that all the damage that is to be done has been done.  Continued exposure to the elements can cause further damage and problems. There are some key steps you must take to get back to normal as soon as possible.

Did you know that many insurance companies have time limits on how long you can wait to file a claim? These are very specific time tables and some vary based on the type of policy or even the type of damage that has occurred. Check your policy and know your time frames and make sure when you have a loss that you call the insurance company immediately. When calling the insurance company make sure you are contacting the Claims department directly.

Another good reason to call and get the process started as soon as possible is that the longer your home & Valuables are exposed to the elements the more damage can occur.

 We here many people say that they do not call their insurance company because they are worried they will receive a rate increase. This is not the case you cannot be singled out for rate increases due to storm damage when filing an insurance claim. Remember most state laws prohibit insurance companies from cancelling policies for filing claims in an Act of God storm damage situation. In most states insurance company cannot single you out for a rate increase. If the insurance company is going to raise rates, they have to raise everyone's rates in your area. So, if you don’t file a claim, your personal rate increase will pay for everyone else's claim except for yours.

Get a restoration contractor because they have the knowledge with the your specific type of damage but they are also very adept with dealing with insurance companies and will be your best advocate. They will make sure the insurance companies pay for all damage both visible and hidden so that you do not have any major problems down the line.  

When you are hiring a contractor there are several tips we suggest. Always get more than one estimate you are not familiar with this sort of work and having multiple estimates will give you a better idea of the true scope of the work that needs to be done. Make sure you are also not basing your decision solely on price. There are many factors to take into account and since most storm damage tends to be insurance work make sure you are picking the best contractor to handle the job. Be aware of any contractor whose pricing is far below as they could be taking short cuts or using inferior products. This can lead to major repairs that may not be covered down the line.  Get a minimum of 3 estimates and make sure your entire property was inspected. This inspection should include the roof, windows, siding, AC units, screen, concrete and all exterior surfaces.

Be sure you are documenting the date of the storm itself as well as any time tables as you move through this process this will help to show you are taking proper action. Take pictures of the damage if you can do so safely. If you have any before images of how the property or items looked prior to being damaged these will help not only your contractor but proof of necessary work for the insurance company. Another good idea is to find some news articles about the storm hitting your area set aside in a folder you may need them later.

Make sure you are requesting and insurance adjuster to inspect the property. When scheduling a time for the adjuster to come out make sure you have whomever you have selected at the contractor be present for inspection. The contractor will make sure that the adjuster is noting all of the damage and that they are playing fair when giving you an estimate for the damages. Insurance adjusters work for the insurance companies and if they can find a way to deny your claim they will.

So your claim was denied!!!!!!!!! Breathe it is alright you are entitled to meet with 3 adjusters. Call and request another one. Even small damage should result in some sort of claim approval. Accepting a denial can lead to big problems down the road may be denied for improper action on the initial claim. Just like when you are selecting a contractor the rule of 3 is a good idea.

Once you have gained approval for the claim you will be issued multiple checks one of which will be in your name for the materials make sure the materials are ordered in your name as you will use this check to pay for them and then the contractor can get to work getting you back to normal.

Once the project has been started please make sure that any adjustment changes or deviations made by you or the contractor are submitted in writing and be approved by all involved.

Getting you back to like it never happened is important for you and your family; Make sure there are no headaches along the way make sure you are following the steps above. We hope this helps and remember stay safe out there.