Helpful Tips for Preventing Spring Thaw Damage

Spring is notorious for its unpredictable weather. To ensure that you and your home are protected during the rainy season, we are providing five tips on how to prepare for the spring thaw and prevent water damage. 

  1. Check your home’s drainage – to prevent flooding you must keep water away from the foundation of your home. This is best done with the assistance of a sump pump. A sump pump protects your basement from flooding by transporting excess water around your home’s foundation safely outside. If you already have a sump pump, make sure it is clean, the intake valve is clear, and the system is properly working. 
  2. Maintain gutters and downspouts – ensure that they are not filled with debris. Remove leaves, ice, and snow so water can move freely away from your home. Backed up gutters and downspouts are likely to cause overflows and flooding.
  3. Install water alarm and flood sensors. These devices are designed to send an alert when unwanted water is detected in the home. This can be extremely helpful to secondary Cape homeowners that may not live in their homes full-time.
  4. Rearrange items in the basement. Relocate sensitive, important items to upper levels of your home or move them onto shelves or pallets. By elevating your valuable items, you lower the risk of them getting damaged in unexpected floods.
  5. Reevaluate your homeowner’s insurance policy. Most homeowners’ policies do not include flood damage, so make sure you have adequate coverage. It is important to purchase this protection separately, if necessary. 

Most importantly, if you do experience any water damage or flooding, be sure to contact Whalen Restorations as soon as possible. For more information on our water damage restoration services, click here.

The Flu and Other Cold Viruses

Helping to stop the spread of the Flu and other cold viruses

Flu

The recent Coronavirus outbreak is certainly testing our preparedness and response to possible pandemics. It’s a serious reminder to how quickly things can escalate when it comes to viruses that can be spread person-to-person. Flu season comes every year with reminders on good practices to help prevent the potentially fatal illness, but it seems the cautions have heightened with the news of the new danger that’s traveling the globe. Even if you’re not quite ready to start stocking up to prepare for the possibility of a mandatory 2-week quarantine, you should at least start really working on improving your day-to-day practices to help prevent the spread of many illnesses. Here are some ideas to help you that.

Are you washing your hands for a full 20 seconds?

Set a timer on your phone for 20 seconds and while it runs see how many times you can hum happy birthday before the alarm goes off. Use that a measure to how long you should be washing your hands every time.

To work or not to work?

If you wake up and you’re obviously suffering from some illness like a cold or the flu then please do everyone a favor and unless you’re leaving to seek treatment, stay home. Rest up. Keep up on the fluids. Your co-workers should even thank you for considering their health too by you not wanting to risk sharing your illness with them.

When was the last time you cleaned your keys?

I’d bet if there’s two things you touch throughout the entire day it’s your phone and your keys. That includes touching them after or while visiting public places that are known to be breeding grounds for bacteria and that have surfaces to share viruses. Don’t just wash your hands after visiting these places, but also clean your phone and your keys that you probably touched in the meantime.

Clean, clean, clean…

Hopefully you all have at least that one person at your workplace that as soon as a sniffle is heard they are all around the place with the disinfectant spray or wipes. Why not make a schedule where someone is assigned to the beginning and end of every day to wipe all of the common surfaces? Each individual should wipe down their own pens, pencils, phones, staplers, etc. Wipe down common surfaces at home too.

Air purifiers & humidifiers for the win.

You can disinfect surfaces, but how do you clean the air? Air purifiers can be great at reducing harmful airborne germs and allergens, and studies have shown that keeping a relative humidity of more than 40% can reduce the flu virus survival rate. Between those two units and keeping up on changing your air filters you are making a significant increase in air quality.

A week of hurricane preparation: Crucial steps to take

Hurricanes are a risk that all southern and eastern coastal communities are in danger of. The storms can form and can strengthen rapidly leaving little time for proper preparation. This list details things you can do within a week to help get your family and your home ready for the impact.

Waves_Storm

INSURANCE:

  • Pull out your insurance documents. Make note of your coverage limits and your deductibles. Consider how much you’d need to cover the cost to replace your home’s structure, your personal belongings and your automobile. Call your agent(s) to confirm that you understand everything correctly.
  • Make a video inventory of your entire house including inside drawers, closets, etc. For higher priced and valuable items make sure to get the make/model, serial number and any other information that would be required to prove the value. Upload the video(s) to the cloud.

Extra Tip: Anyone with a child renting their own place should make sure that they have an active renter’s insurance policy and that they follow these same steps.
EVACUATION:

  • Much like an emergency kit but not in place of, pack everyone in your household a bag or suitcase with everything they would need for 2-3 days such as outfits, chargers, weather gear, etc. Critical medicine, food and water should be in every bag in case one gets lost. Don’t forget to pack one for your animals!
  • Make sure everyone has a phone list of emergency contacts (at least each other, a local contact and a contact that is out of the area). These should be programmed into phones and a printed copy should be in every bag with instructions on where to go if you get split up. You should have a safe place planned locally and another safe place to meet should you have to evacuate.

Extra Tip: When cell service is bad a text message may go through when a phone call won’t. Plan basic, short text messages to be shared among your emergency contacts such as “Safe. At Mimi’s”.
PROPERTY:

  • Take any movable items outside your home and move them inside. For items that are too heavy or large to move in, use cables or chains to secure them down so they can’t be blown around.
  • Consider purchasing a heavy-duty gasoline container to be filled and stored it in a cool, well-ventilated area. You don’t want to wait for an evacuation order to start running vehicles and gas cans to the station. Not only could the station run out of fuel before you get there, waiting would take precious time from other preparations and delay your departure.
  • Prepare to board up. Measure all window and glass door openings (include the framing). Purchase plywood pieces and pre-cut them to fit your measurements. Some lumber stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s may even have a panel saw and can cut them for you. Grab a box of screws and a drill if you don’t have one.

Extra Tip: Consider purchasing a generator. If you do purchase one, first test all your carbon monoxide detectors, then pick a safe place that you’ll be able to run it. The running place should be outside in a well ventilated are (no garages or basements!), that is dry and where you can quickly connect to it. Watch this video by Lowe’s for some other important generator tips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaLamTvTQc0
Questions? Concerns? Recommendations? Give us a call or send us an e-mail. We’re happy to help!

Cleaning up after Cape Cod’s tornadoes

South Dennis, MA Tornado Weather 7/23/19

When you think of Cape Cod, Massachusetts what sort of weather dangers come to mind? Hurricanes and Nor’easters are common answers, but “tornado” isn’t common at all. Seeing the aftermath of this week’s high grade EF1s that impacted Yarmouth, Dennis, Harwich, Chatham and surrounding areas, that may change. Although Cape Cod wasn’t specifically prepared for the sudden impact of the rare weather event, the response of the towns and first responders was fantastic and thankfully no serious injuries have been reported.

Once the storm had passed the sun came out for a moment allowing us a quick peek of blue sky. Although that tempted people to want to walk about and survey the aftereffects, local authorities urged everyone to stay inside. The hours after a natural disaster are the most crucial for restoration efforts. Immediate dangers need to be assessed, unsafe/impassible roads need to be blocked off and detour points need to be established, medial emergency responders need to be able to safely navigate the labyrinth of streets, utility emergency responders need the limited routes as clear as possible as they work to assess services, and as the tree blockades are found they need to be accessed quickly by fellers (because no one in need of an ambulance wants them stuck in a labyrinth of downed trees!). In addition to all that, downed wires are deadly and until they’ve been identified and secured it’s simply not safe.

Cape Cod Tornado Damage Willow Tree Uproots in Brewster, MA

With any natural disaster first you assess and secure, then clean-up and restore. Any serious wind event brings a surge of calls to professional restoration companies from property owners who’ve had trees fall on their home or business. The first thing to do is remove the tree from the structure. Once that is safely done and the tree is on the ground it’s important to immediately board-up any openings it created. After the property has been secured then it’s time to assess the interior damage.

When it comes to insurance coverage this is where things can vary significantly from owner to owner. The deductible on a policy is the portion you are personally responsible for paying out of pocket on a claim. Some policies have a special wind deductible that is different than the standard policy deductible (and often quite larger). If you have a wind deductible on your policy and the wind of the storm toppled a tree on your home then that’s the deductible you’ll be looking at paying with your claim. Other policies may narrow the criteria of the special deductible to hurricanes and named storms, not all wind events. An interesting exclusion we’ve run into on some calls is that although some insurance companies may include the cost to remove the tree from the structure in the claim, removing the tree from the property may not be included and then it’s up to the homeowner to get it chopped up and moved away (or stacked to season for cozy winter fires). These variables and this week’s storm are reasons why our monthly maintenance checklist schedule has you review the different deductibles of your policies with your agent at least once a year.

Cape Cod Tornado Wind downs Brewster Tree at Farm

The support and acts of kindness seen and heard around the community have our hearts overflowing. Let’s keep that strength showing. If you see a first responder, thank them. If you’re still without power, be patient. Crews are still working around the clock to get you back up and running. A smile and snack will help them do that more than any complaint ever will. If you’ve offered a helping hand, even something as simple as checking in on your elderly or ill neighbors, thank you!

Have any questions about emergency board-up services or natural disaster response? Send us a message or give us a call! Sharing and supporting the #CapeStrong spirit? Show us on Facebook or Twitter! @whalenrestoration @whalenservices

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