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How to Prepare Your Home for a Storm

10/14/2019 (Permalink)

Stock a basic emergency kit

A true emergency can leave you without basic services, including electricity, water, gas or sewage, for a few hours or a few days. Stock your family’s emergency kit with enough food, water and supplies to carry all of you through at least three days—and restock your kit once the emergency has passed. Be sure to include:

  • Water: One gallon per person per day to cover drinking and sanitation
  • Food: At least a three-day supply of food per person
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • Hand-crank flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Cell phone with charger
  • Local maps

Create a family emergency plan

Staying connected is of the utmost importance during an emergency. Designate an out-of-town family member or friend to be your check-in person in case local phone lines are down. Make sure every member of your family knows that contact’s number and has a way to reach him or her—ideally a cell phone and charger or a prepaid calling card.

Choose a local place where your family members should meet if they are separated when an emergency strikes and your home is unsafe. This might be a landmark or even a parent’s workplace.

Know your policy

It’s critical to read and understand your insurance policy. Then, examine your property to ensure there are no physical or liability hazards.

https://blog.nationwide.com/news/storm-preparation-tips-for-home/

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Prepare for storms

10/14/2019 (Permalink)

You can't stop April showers, but you can prepare your home and surroundings for thunderstorms, severe winds and more.

Spring is known for its rapidly changing weather — and that can mean severe storms. Help get your home and family ready with these tips.

Let it flow. Remove winter's debris from your gutters, drains, and downspouts so that heavy rains can flow freely off your roof. Be sure that downspouts are secure and that water is draining well away from your home and not toward your foundation — add extensions if necessary.

Trim the trees. Prune lanky limbs and branches so they don't snap off in a windstorm and land on your home or a power line.

Check the pump. If your home has a sump pump, test it to make sure it's clean and operable and that the outflow is draining properly. Consider adding a battery-powered backup sump pump to keep the system working if the power goes out. Furthermore, an automatic standby generator can ensure your sump pump and other electrical systems continue to run during power outages.

https://www.statefarm.com/simple-insights/residence/prepare-your-home-for-spring-storms

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if you know you live in a Hurricane zone

10/14/2019 (Permalink)

If you know that you live in a hurricane prone area, you should make a hurricane evacuation plan ASAP as a precaution. Hurricanes are very unpredictable and you don’t want to be scrambling last minute to put together an evacuation plan if a hurricane is heading your way. Kathy Phillips, a Senior Underwriter at USAA, recommends creating a family evacuation plan that includes figuring out more than one escape route to your destination and calling ahead to shelters to make sure they can take your entire family, including pets. Part of your evacuation plan should also include telling family and friends where you’re heading, ensuring the cars are full of gas, and having extra cash on hand. You should have an emergency kit or two no matter where you live, but they are an absolute must if you live in an area frequented by hurricanes. “Don’t wait until the hurricane is at your door to figure out what you do,” Phillips says. You can either purchase a pre-made emergency kit (Phillips recommends the American Red Cross kits), but if you can also make your own. According to Phillips, your kit should include enough water for three days (one gallon per person per day), three days’ worth of non-perishable food items, necessary medications, important documents and paperwork, a regular first aid kit, flashlight, and either a weather radio or regular radio (make sure you have batteries for it, too!).

https://www.rd.com/home/improvement/how-to-prepare-house-for-hurricane/

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MOLD PREVENTION TIPS

10/11/2019 (Permalink)

MOLD PREVENTION TIPS

  • Keep humidity levels as low as you can—no higher than 50%–all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. Bear in mind that humidity levels change over the course of a day with changes in the moisture in the air and the air temperature, so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day.
  • Be sure your home has enough ventilation. Use exhaust fans which vent outside your home in the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home.
  • Fix any leaks in your home’s roof, walls, or plumbing so mold does not have moisture to grow.
  • Clean up and dry out your home thoroughly and quickly (within 24–48 hours) after flooding.
  • Add mold inhibitors to paints before painting.
  • Clean bathrooms with mold-killing products.
  • Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried promptly. Consider not using carpet in rooms or areas like bathrooms or basements that may have a lot of moisture.
  • To learn more about preventing mold in your home, see the Environmental Protection Agency’s publication 

https://www.cdc.gov/mold/dampness_facts.htm

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How do I know when it's finished?

10/11/2019 (Permalink)

How do I know when the remediation or cleanup is finished? You must have completely fixed the water or moisture problem before the cleanup or remediation can be considered finished. ¦ ­You should have completed mold removal. Visible mold and moldy odors should not be present. Please note that mold may cause staining and cosmetic damage. ¦ ­You should have revisited the site(s) shortly after cleanup and it should show no signs of water damage or mold growth. ¦ ­People should have been able to occupy or re-occupy the area without health complaints or physical symptoms. ¦ ­Ultimately, this is a judgment call; there is no easy answer. When water leaks or spills occur indoors - ACT QUICKLY. If wet or damp materials or areas are dried 24-48 hours after a leak or spill happens, in most cases mold will not grow. Clean and repair roof gutters regularly. ¦ Make sure the ground slopes away from the building foundation, so that water does not enter or collect around the foundation

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-10/documents/moldguide12.pdf

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When there’s Water in your office

10/10/2019 (Permalink)

Save Anything That You Can 

Once the building is secure and the water is switched off, you should try to save anything that isn’t yet damaged. Just remember to do this safely and leave any electrical equipment though. Things like furniture, any documents that you have around the office, and any paintings or pictures on the walls can be removed before they sustain any water damage. Bring these items outside and see if you can start drying them out. It’s likely that a lot of the items in the office will be damaged beyond repair but anything that you can rescue will save you a little bit of money when you’re refurbishing the office again. 

Call A Liquid Disposal Company 

For now, you’ve done everything that you can to limit the damage and start saving some items, now you need to start fixing the office up again. The first step is to get rid of all of that excess water so you need to call a company that deals with liquid waste removal from stormwater damage or burst pipes. They will be able to come in and start pumping all of that water out before it does any more damage to the building. The sooner you call them in to get rid of the water, the less damage will be done and the quicker you can start repairing the office and getting the business up and running again. 

https://www.extremeuncertainty.com/7-steps-to-take-if-your-office-is-flooded/

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Sewage backup

10/10/2019 (Permalink)

What if sewage has backed-up? Sewage contains infectious micro-organisms. Workers should not be allowed into areas that have been impacted by either sewage or flood water unless they have been provided special training and personal protective equipment (PPE). If asked to work in an area that has been impacted by sewage or to handle materials which have not been cleaned & disinfected, request an alternative work space to perform work activities.

How does flooding affect the rest of the building? Building electrical and heating ventilation & air conditioning (HVAC) systems can be adversely affected by flood water depending on the severity of the incident. Building electrical systems can be damaged by water that can lead to a fire; tripped breakers & internal power interruptions are a sign of an electrical problem. Electrical equipment near pooled water must be de-energized and locked-out prior to working in the area. The HVAC systems can be clogged with debris, fans shorted out, mold growth on filters & inside ducts. These problems should be brought to management’s attention immediately, and the affected system should be isolated & dealt with by trained personnel only

https://cseany.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Working-in-and-Cleaning-Up-Flooded-Buildings.pdf

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Cleaning up and removing smoke odor

10/8/2019 (Permalink)

Cleaning up and removing smoke odor

  • Pots, pans, flatware, etc., should be washed with soapy water, rinsed and then polished.
  • Wipe leather goods with a damp cloth, then a dry cloth. Stuff purses and shoes with newspaper to retain shape. Leave suitcases open. Leather goods should be dried away from heat and sun. When leather goods are dry, clean with saddle soap. Rinse leather and suede jackets in cold water and dry away from heat and sun.
  • Wear protective clothing, including leather gloves and heavy soled shoes.
  • Learn more about how to clean up after a home fire, including the supplies you’ll need, how to deal with contaminated food and water, and how to repair smoke and water damage.
  • Follow public health guidance on safe cleanup of fire ash and safe use of masks.
  • Wet debris down to minimize breathing dust particles.

https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/fire/cleaning-up-after-fire.html

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The First days of recovery

10/8/2019 (Permalink)

The First days of recovery

The fire department will make sure the utility services (water, electricity and gas) are safe to use. If they are not safe, firefighters will have your utilities turned off or disconnected before they leave. Do not try to turn them back on by yourself. Contact your police department to let them know you will be away from your home. In some cases, you may need to board up windows and doors so no one can get in. Finances Get in touch with your landlord or mortgage lender. Contact your credit card company to report credit cards that were lost in the fire. Save all of your receipts for any money you spend. The receipts may be needed later by the insurance company, and you will need them to prove losses claimed on your tax return. The first days of recovery ? | The value of your home and personal belongings Talk with your insurance company about how to learn the value of your home and property. ? | Replacing valuable documents and records You may want to replace many of the following documents if they were destroyed or lost in the fire: Driver’s license. Auto registration. Titles and deeds. Insurance policies. Military discharge papers. Passports. Birth, death and marriage certificates.  Divorce papers. Social security or Medicare cards.  Credit cards.  Stocks and bonds. Wills.  Medical records.  Warranties.  Income tax records. Citizenship papers.

https://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/fa_46.pdf

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Biological Safety Levels

9/30/2019 (Permalink)

Biohazard levels, more commonly known as “biological safety levels” or “biosafety levels” are classifications of safety precautions necessary to be applied in the clinical microbiology laboratory depending on specific pathogens handled when performing laboratory procedures. Developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this principle provides a way for medical laboratory scientists and other lab personnel to identify and limit any biological hazards and further reducing the risk in the laboratory. Biohazard levels, on the other hand, also support the principle of biosecurity, which is aimed at preventing the use of microorganisms as harmful biological agents.

Four classifications of biosafety levels (BSLs) exist. Each level contains specific recommendations for a clinical microbiology laboratory with a focus on laboratory practices, safety equipment, and facility construction. As each level progresses, additional biosafety considerations are included in the previous level. For example, BSL-2 has kept the components of BSL-1 with further requirements, and the same applies to BSL-3 (BSL-2 with additional requirements) and BSL-4 (BSL-3 with additional requirements). The complexity of each level is aligned with infectivity, disease severity, the microorganisms’ ability for transmission (including exposure routes), and the nature of the laboratory work to be performed.

Implementation of biosafety and biosecurity in the laboratory can initially present as an additional burden to laboratory staff and managers. However, the relevance of applying biosafety principles at the workplace should not be ignored.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK535351/

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