Need to Know: Wireless Emergency Alerts
Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are free notifications delivered to your mobile device as part of a public safety system provided by authorized government-alerting authorities. The alerts are designed to inform you of imminent threats to safety or missing persons alerts in your area (e.g., AMBER Alerts). Government partners include local and state public safety agencies, FEMA, the FCC, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Weather Service. A WEA can be sent to your mobile device when you may be in harm’s way, without downloading an app or subscribing to a service. WEAs may be used to share extreme weather warnings, local emergencies requiring evacuation or immediate action, AMBER Alerts, and Presidential Alerts during a national emergency.
A WEA will look like a text message. The WEA message will typically show the type and time of the alert, any action you should take, and the agency issuing the alert. The message will be no more than 90 characters. Visit www.ctia.org/wea to learn more about Wireless Emergency Alerts.
YOU CAN BE RUINED, OR YOU CAN BE READY with the Help of Technology
Technology can now be a vital tool in preparing for emergencies or disasters, as well as during or after to stay informed of the situation and in communication with others. From common technology you already use on a day-to-day basis to taking a few extra steps to prepare, the following will help you be ready in the event of an emergency or disaster.
Store Information Online
There are many places to store important information securely online. Services like Google Drive and Dropbox offer free way to store different types of files, from a Word document to images of important documents. Ready.gov suggests saving an electronic version of insurance policies, identification documents, medical records, and information on your pets, if necessary.
Follow the News
Stay informed by following agencies such as FEMA, local news channels, and local government on Twitter for the most up-to-date information in a disaster situation. You can also alert first responders if a rescue is needed through Twitter.
Mark Yourself Safe
The American Red Cross offers a Safe & Well check-in site to list yourself as safe or find family and friends in situations where communication is difficult to establish. Facebook also has a feature called Safety Check that is activated after natural disasters or a crisis. You will receive a notification from Facebook if you’re located in the affected area at that time.
Get in Touch
Make sure your contact information is up-to-date in your phone and e-mail for communication with family, friends, business contacts, and others whom you may need to get in contact with before, during, or after a disaster.
Keep a portable charger in your car and home in case of an emergency. You may need to recharge this from time to time, but you can also buy solar-powered chargers as well.
Get an Emergency READY Profile
SERVPRO of North Morris County is proud to offer Emergency READY Profiles (ERP) for free at ready.SERVPRO.com to help prepare you, your property, or your business for an emergency. By developing a SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile for your property or business, you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your property or business. Put help in the palm of your hand with the Ready Plan App. Get in touch with SERVPRO of North Morris County today for more information on developing an ERP for your property or business, and we will be there to help make it “Like it never even happened.”
Build an Emergency Kit
Be prepared at your home or business with an Emergency Kit. Ready.gov suggests you have enough supplies to last for at least three days. Below are some suggested items to include in your kit:
-3-day supply of nonperishable foods n Water (one+ gallon per person per day)
-Sleeping bag or blankets
-Cell phone charger
-Change of clothes
-Matches in waterproof container
-Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
-Whistle to signal for help
-Infant formula and diapers
-Important documents such as insurance policies, IDs, and bank records in a plastic container You can also keep a condensed emergency kit in your vehicle as well.
For a more extensive list, check out Ready.gov.
In a disaster, SERVPRO is "Ready for whatever happens."
When a storm or disaster strikes, SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Team is poised and “Ready for whatever happens.” With a network of more than 1,700 Franchises, the SERVPRO System strives to be faster to any size disaster. Strategically located throughout the United States, SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Team is trained and equipped to handle the largest storms and highest flood waters. Providing experience, manpower, equipment, and other resources, the Disaster Recovery Team assists SERVPRO of North Morris County. SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Team has responded to hundreds of disaster events. In the aftermath of a disaster, there is only one objective, to help you make it “Like it never even happened.”
2017 Hurricane Harvey: Category 4 Hurricane Harvey hit Texas on August 26 with winds of 130 mph. The hurricane made a second landfall just hours later and lingered over Southeast Texas for about two days, dropping more than 40 inches of rain. On August 29, Harvey made a third landfall in Louisiana. Following the storm, an estimated 550 storm crews were deployed, representing more than 240 SERVPRO Franchises. Those numbers, in addition to area Franchises, placed more than 1,000 crews in storm-affected areas. Crews traveled from as far away as California, Washington, Wisconsin, and New York.
2016 Houston, TX, Flooding: In April, a nearly stationary mesoscale convective system developed over Houston, resulting in widespread rainfall rates of 2-4 inches per hour. This was a historic flooding event for Harris County, which saw a total of nearly 18 inches of accumulated rainfall. The Storm Team dispatched 81 crews to over 360 jobs, mitigating over $3 million in damages.
2015 Siberian Express: Record sub-zero temperatures caused major problems for a large portion of the country stretching from Florida to Maine. The Midwest also experienced record-breaking low temperatures, resulting in frozen pipes and ice dams causing major problems for residents. The Storm Team dispatched a total of 257 crews from 108 Franchises to assist local SERVPRO Franchises, completing nearly 2,000 jobs.
2014 Mid-Atlantic Flooding: Rainfall rates up to 2 inches per hour caused major flash flooding stretching from Northeast Ohio all the way up to Portland, Maine. Eastern Michigan and Baltimore, Maryland, were also impacted, creating over 1,381 jobs for the Storm Team to produce. A total of 82 SERVPRO Franchises and 173 crews mitigated over $4.3 million in damages while assisting the local Franchises.
2014 Polar Vortex: Record low temperatures caused by a break in the North Pole’s polar vortex resulted in an unprecedented freezing event, spanning from east of the Rocky Mountains to as far south as Central Florida, affecting all or part of 39 states and 70 percent of the SERVPRO Franchise System.
Carbon Monoxide: A Silent Cold-Weather Killer
Carbon monoxide is a gas you cannot see, taste, or smell. According to ready.gov, an average of 430 Americans die each year from unintentional carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Oftentimes, it is the result of faulty, improperly used, or vented consumer products like furnaces, ranges, water heaters, room heaters, and engine-powered equipment, such as portable generators. However, there are precautions you can take to help protect yourself, your family, and your employees from deadly CO fumes. Reduce the chance of CO exposure in your workplace by performing regular maintenance on equipment and appliances that can produce CO. Install carbon monoxide detectors on every level of the home, including outside of all bedrooms. Consider having all fuel-burning heating equipment and chimneys serviced annually by a professional. Use portable generators only in well-ventilated areas away from doors, windows, vents, and any other openings to prevent fumes from entering the home.
For additional CO safety information, visit usfa.fema.gov or osha.gov.
The Science of Drying
Did you know there is actually a science behind the process of drying? The knowledge of psychrometrics is essential to restoring a water damaged structure to its preloss condition. While your initial reaction may be to grab a few towels to mop up the mess and place a fan or two around the damaged area, our team is trained in the science of drying and will follow strict industry-approved standards to help lower the chances of any secondary damages. If your business suffers a water damage, SERVPRO of North Morris County will:
- Inspect the building to detect every component that is wet, to help prevent secondary damage from happening.
- Measure how much moisture is in wet materials and monitor whether the materials are drying properly.
-Speed up Mother Nature by using professional drying equipment.
What exactly does “speed up Mother Nature” mean? A wet building can often dry naturally because the environment always seeks equilibrium. When materials are wet, moisture will naturally move to drier air at the surface of the material–but only if the air is, indeed, drier. The only problem is, nature often takes too long and secondary damages may occur while the building is drying out. For this reason, our team has been trained to use top-of-the-line equipment to help Mother Nature along, including equipment to help dry hardwood floors, tough-to-reach spaces inside walls, and much more. We also use state-of-the-art monitoring equipment and a proven scientific process to help speed the drying of your home or business. The bottom line? SERVPRO of North Morris County has the training and equipment to help make it “Like it never even happened.”
Worries of WINTER WEATHER
Winter weather can bring about more issues than just slippery roads and a sidewalk to shovel. If you live where temperatures sink below freezing level, you are also at risk for frozen pipes and ice dams, which can create a major disaster at your home or property.
Frozen pipes are often those exposed to the cold weather, such as those outside your house, or in cold areas such as basements, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. A frozen pipe can burst at the point where the ice blockage inside the pipe is located, but typically the rupture is caused by the backflow pressure between the water source and the blockage. A burst pipe can cause considerable damage to your property if not addressed quickly. To prevent pipes from freezing, here are a few steps you can take, according to The American Red Cross:
- Be sure to completely drain water from swimming pool and sprinkler lines, as well as outside hoses.
-Open kitchen cabinets to let warm air near the plumbing.
- When the weather is extremely cold, let water drip from faucets that may come from exposed pipes.
- Keep your heat set to the same temperature both day and night.
Ice dams can be a little-known, but major problem during the snowy season. They form when heated air melts roof snow downward into water dammed behind still-frozen ice. When the trapped water cannot safely flow or run into the gutter system, it can backflow under the roof ’s shingles and into the structure’s interior areas, as well as causing gutters and shingles to move or fall. Icicles can be an initial sign of an ice dam, according to Travelers.com. To spot ice dams inside, “check for water stains or moisture in your attic or along the ceiling of exterior walls of your house. Water stains or moisture may be an indication that an ice dam has formed and water has penetrated the roof membrane.” Removing an ice dam as soon as it is found is vital to helping prevent damage to your property and can be done using heated cables, a roof shovel, or calcium chloride ice melter. If winter weather causes water damage to you or your insured’s property, SERVPRO of North Morris County is only a call away, 24/7, ready to restore to preloss condition.
Are You Winter Weather Ready?
Are you prepared for the coming cold weather? Cold weather can have a huge impact on your home or business if you are not ready for it. From heavy rain and freezing temperatures to damaging winds, sleet, or snow, all can cause serious and costly property damage. While you cannot control the weather, you can take steps to be prepared and help take the sting out of winter weather.
To help prevent costly damages due to weather, consider taking the followingsix precautions to protect your property before colder weather hits:
1.Check your business property for downed tree limbs and branches. Wind, heavy rain, ice, and snow can cause branches to fall, which could cause damage to the property and potentially cause personal injuries.
2.Roofs, water pipes, and gutters should all be inspected to ensure they are in proper order. Gutter downspouts should be directed away from your building. Clear gutters of debris that may have gathered during the fall. Leaves and other obstructions can cause a damming effect, which can lead to roof damage and interior water problems.
3.Inspect property, especially walkways and parking lots, for proper drainage to alleviate flood hazard potential.
4.Inspect all handrails, stairwells, and entryways to address and correct potential slippery or hazardous areas. Install mats or non-slip surfaces and post caution signs where water could be present.
5.Protect water pipes from freezing by simply allowing water to drip when temperatures dip below freezing. If pipes are under a cabinet, leave the cabinet doors open, allowing warm inside air to circulate around the pipes. If the building has outdoor faucets, consider shutting water off at the main valve in the basement or crawl space. Once the valve is off, open the outdoor faucet to ensure it drains, preventing any remaining water from freezing in the pipe.
6.Ask SERVPRO of North Morris County about completing an Emergency READY Profile (ERP) for your business. The ERP is a no-cost assessment to your facility and provides you with a plan to get back in business fast following a disaster.
Light The Night Safely
Pretty lights, candles, and decorations are just a few of the items bringing charm and cheer to the holiday season—however, if they are not used carefully your holidays may go from festive to frightening.
The American Red Cross offers the following safety tips to help greatly reduce the fire risk in your home or business this holiday season:
1.Place Christmas trees, candles, and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, and heat vents.
2.Make sure that light strings and other holiday decorations are in good condition. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
3.Always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving the property or going to bed.
4.Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed.
The team at SERVPRO of North Morris County wishes you a safe and happy holiday season!
Stories From The Storm: Hurricane Harvey
Hurricane Harvey was an extremely destructive Atlantic hurricane, which became the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Wilma in 2005. In a four-day period, many areas received more than 40 inches of rain as the system meandered over eastern Texas.
Harvey by the numbers:
-With peak accumulations of 51.88 inches, Harvey is the wettest tropical hurricane on record in the contiguous United States.
-Economic losses are preliminarily estimated at between $81 to $108 billion, with a large portion of the losses sustained by uninsured homeowners.
-Following the storm, an estimated 550 storm crews were deployed, representing more than 240 SERVPRO Franchises. Those numbers, in addition to area Franchises, placed more than 1,000 crews in storm-affected areas. Crews travelled from as far away as California, Washington, Wisconsin, and New York.
SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Teams® deployed to assist in the cleanup and recovery efforts, responding to losses across Southeast Texas including Houston, Port Arthur, Beaumont, Corpus Christi, Port Aransas, Victoria, and Bryan/College Station.
The SERVPRO family not only responded to restoration needs, but also helped secure critical donations to help provide residents with access to neccesary items like diapers and toiletries.