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Tips To Protect Your Home From Disasters

Tips To Protect Your Home From Disasters

There’s never a good time for a disaster to strike your home. You can, however, be prepared for when the unexpected happens. Here are action steps you can take now to better protect your home from disasters.

Routine Maintenance

When it comes to fire damage, most fires are caused by electrical malfunctions. Prevent fires from ever happening by making sure all electrical cords are in excellent condition. This is one thing duct tape can’t fix.  If you have exposed wires, call an electrician to take care of the problem. Additionally, check to make sure all major appliances are plugged directly into wall outlets and not power strips or extension cords. For smaller electronics, invest in power strips that have surge protection.

Get your roof inspected regularly to insure that your roof is in excellent condition before bad weather hits. Keep your trees properly trimmed. Make sure branches are not hanging precariously over your roof.  Keep your gutters clean as they help prevent foundation issues caused by oversaturation.

Regularly check for leaks in your pipes. If there’s a leak, call a plumber to take care of it. A little leak can cause a lot of damage over time. If you will be away from your home for an extended period of time, consider shutting your water off altogether and draining the water present in the pipes. You can also invest in covers for outdoor faucets and tube pipe insulation for exposed pipes inside of the home. Both are handy for preventing pipes from bursting due to frigid conditions.

Be Prepared

No matter how well you maintain your home, disaster can strike. Here are a few supplies and strategies to have on hand when those happen:

  1. Have a water and fire-proof safe for important documents.
  2. Know where the main water valve is for your home and how to properly shut it off.  There’s nothing like coming home to water flowing from a burst pipe. It would be even worse if you didn’t know how to take care of it.
  3. Invest in a wet/dry vacuum. Having one of these on hand in the event of flooding decreases the chance of damage and mold. You’ll want to get to work right away pulling the water out of your home.

No one wants a disaster but there are ways to lessen the effects. If you keep your home properly maintained and have a few tools on hand when disaster comes knocking on your door, you’ll be prepared.

Tips for Living Without Power During An Outage

Tips for Living Without Power During An Outage

It’s bound to happen sooner or later – disaster strikes and you find yourself living without power. Whether it was caused by a natural disaster or a city-wide power grid failure, short to long-term power outages are almost an inevitable part of life.

Life without power requires some adjustment, especially in our technology-driven world. However, just because the lights go out doesn’t mean you need to stay in the dark. Here are some measures you can take to live without power.

Tips for Living Without Power During An Outage

Light

Loss of light is usually the first indicator that the power has gone out. Fortunately, there are plenty of solutions for providing light in the case of a power outage:

  • Natural Light: Keep blinds and windows open during the day to allow natural light to pour in
  • Flashlights: Keep one flashlight per person in the house at all times, and three sets of batteries for each flashlight in your emergency kit.
  • Candles: Be sure to place them somewhere safe where they won’t be at risk of falling over and place a heatproof plate underneath to catch drippings.
  • Kerosene or Oil Lamps: Brighter than candles and offering a more steady light, oil lamps can last for hours. Two liters of oil per lamp should last you about a week, so keep extra oil (along with wicks and chimneys) on hand in case of power outage.

Water

If you live in a city, the power outage may not immediately affect your water flow. However, loss of power comes with an increased chance of contaminated water, so obtaining clean water should be your primary concern. Hopefully you had enough warning of potential power outage to stock up on water jugs and to fill your bathtubs with water for cleaning.

If you find yourself without water during a power outage, make it a priority to collect as much water as you can. Try to put out buckets or jugs if it’s raining, or find a way to melt snow if you find yourself in a an ice storm. Just be sure to boil any water before consuming and treat with iodine tablets if you are able to. You could also purify water with 15 drops of plain, unscented bleach for every gallon or a ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide per gallon to eradicate bacteria for bathing and cleaning.

 Food

Take inventory of the dry, non-perishable food that you have on hand. Items like canned food, boxed macaroni, rice, beans and pasta are easy to store in case of emergency. Most canned food can be eaten cold, but if you need heat to cook you can use a gas grill, patio cooker or small turkey fryer.

Sanitation

In a short term power outage, you may be able to get by with only flushing solid waste and allowing liquids to wait until the power comes on, in order to reserve water. If you’re stuck without power longer than a day, other measures may need to be put into place. You can use grey water (rainwater) to flush the toilet, or use a camping toilet or bucket system.

Remember that power outages are almost never planned, so it pays to always be prepared. Practice your strategies of living without power so you can be comfortable when it comes time to put them to use. And rest easy knowing that people have lived without power for thousands of years – you can do this too!

Basement Flooding: What To Do

Basement Flooding: What To Do

Basement flooding, you never expect it and you can't really prepare for it. Unexpected issues happen all the time in homes, but a basement flood is not only unexpected, it can also be very dangerous.

Turn It Off

The absolute first thing that you need to do when your basement floods is to shut off any power and gas into the basement. The importance of this can not be stated strongly enough. If you do not know where your shutoffs are call an electrician before entering the basement.

Wear Protective Gear

Once you are sure the water is safe from electrical or gas dangers, you should still put on protective gear before entering the water. Wearing gloves and boots or waders is advised. The water you are walking in is likely going to be grey water but could easily be black water, depending on the source. Until you are sure what type of flooding you are dealing with, take all precautions.

Stop The Water, Fast

It is important that you identify the location of where the water is entering your home as soon as you are able. If the water is entering from a broken pipe, shut off the water. Check your drains as well to ensure they are unclogged. Determine the extent of damage to your basement with the knowledge that time is against you in the cleanup process. If the water is greywater and not black water you will have 48 hours to remove the water as well as clean and dry everything. If you are unable to do this, you need to seek out the help of a professional cleaning service for the safety of your home and family.

Clean Or Have It Cleaned

If it something you can clean yourself, read our steps on this other post. If not, look to the next paragraph.

A professional team will arrive on scene and begin removing all standing water from your home. Any and all water damaged items and furniture will be removed and dried off entirely. If the basement is carpeted, it will likely need to be removed as it can prove difficult to dry and any moisture that it could hold can promote mold growth. Additionally any wet drywall will likely need to be replaced. Often with flooding, dirt will infiltrate the basement and any contaminated dirt will need to be removed from your basement and crawlspaces.

In any case of serious flooding we strongly suggest calling in a professional team of experts to restore your home to the its pre-flood condition of safety, comfort, and appearance. Time is not your friend in a flood situation and after the first 48 hours when the water becomes black, a whole host of mold and bacteria begin to settle on the flood site. If not properly cleaned, this can become issues that can hurt your family's health for years to come.

Grey Water Damage and Clean Up

Some of you might be asking yourselves right now “What is Grey Water?” The answer to that question is any water from the overflow of household appliances like washers or dishwashers is considered to be grey water. Also, some flooding can be classified as grey water. Grey water is considered to be partially biologically contaminated waters. Given enough time grey water can become a much more dangerous black water if the appropriate action is not taken to clean it in time.

Sullage Cleanup

Grey water is also know as Sullage. Sullage is dangerous to individuals with weak immune systems. It is also not suggested anyone with asthma or allergies should not take part in the clean up of sullage. Sullage can be safely cleaned up by most adults, if you take the precautions to use rubber gloves and safety glasses. It is also a good idea to consider wearing long pants and long sleeved shirts as well as a mask when cleaning grey water. Avoid getting grey water on your skin to ensure you do not spread any microbes that may be in the water.

Black Water

As mentioned earlier, time is of the essence when cleaning greywater. If grey water contamination is not cleaned up in the first 48 hours, it becomes black water. Black water cleaning is far more intensive and often requires the removal of anything that the water could soak into and form mold. Everything from carpets to drywall needs to be replaced in black water flooding. That is why it is essential to move with haste when you have grey water flooding and clean the affected area thoroughly.

With time working against you in situations of grey water flooding, it is always wise to consider calling in professional assistance. Never underestimate the task at hand as grey water cleaning is not just removing the water and mopping up. All fabrics need to be removed, cleaned thoroughly and dried out. If you have any doubt that you were able to completely clean any fabrics, it is strongly encouraged you just opt to throw them out.

In the days following cleanup, it is recommended to continue to keep an eye on the area. At any signs of mold or excess moisture, call professional assistance. Post-flooded areas that were not properly cleaned are perfect environments for bacteria and molds to colonize and grow.