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Extreme Heat

9/5/2018 (Permalink)

Did you know? On average, heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States (www.noaa.gov).

As summer approaches, it is time to consider safety precautions for extreme heat in the coming months. Heat affects all people, but especially, the young, the elderly, sick, and overweight. Urban area residents also have a greater chance of being affected than those who live in rural areas due to the heat island effect.

According to the EPA, "the sun can heat dry, exposed urban surfaces such as roofs and pavement, to temperatures 50-90 degrees hotter than the air, while shaded or moist surfaces - often in more rural surroundings - remain close to air temperatures." These surface heat islands are strongest during the day when the sun is shining, while the atmospheric heat islands are more likely after sunset "due to the slow release of heat from urban infrastructure." 

Safety Tips for You and your Family

    • Stay indoors in air conditioning
    • Be sure to check on your pets who may outdoors and bring them inside
    • Stay hydrated and limit alcohol and caffeine intake
    • If you must go outside, wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing, and be sure to apply sunscreen often.
    • Pay attention to signs of heat exhaustion, which are heavy sweating; weakness; cold, pale, and clammy skin; nausea or vomiting; and fainting, according to the CDC.

The Dangers of Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, which is life-threatening. Signs of heat stroke are a high body temperature, rapid or strong pulse, and possible unconsciousness. If you think someone has heat stroke, call 911 immediately and move the person somewhere cool. Reduce body temperature with cool, wet cloths or a bath. Do not give person with heat stroke fluids, and treat the situation as a serious medical emergency (CDC). 

Adams County Residents:

Living in a humid environment means paying attention to the heat index. The heat index factors in the humidity which can make the temperature feel 15 degrees hotter.

Safety Tips for your Home

    • Install window air conditioners snugly and insulate if necessary
    • Check air-conditioning ducts for proper installation
    • Install temporary window reflectors
    • Weather-strip doors and sills to keep the cool air in
    • Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun
    • Keep storm windows up all year

Safety Tips for your Community

    • Check on elderly at risk neighbors twice a day
    • Encourage elderly to increase their fluid intake based on their doctor's recommendations
    • Take elderly to air-conditioned areas if they have transportation problems 

Extreme Heat is a serious danger. For more information on preparation and prevention, visit ready.gov or cdc.gov

Weather Alerts: What They Mean

9/5/2018 (Permalink)

  1. The National Weather Service defines a severe thunderstorm as any storm that produces one or more of the following elements:
  • A tornado.
  • Damaging winds or speeds of 58 mph (50 knots) or greater.
  • Hail 1 inch in diameter or larger.

Know these definitions so you are prepared for any storm:

  • Hurricane Watch
    Winds greater than 74 mph may hit the area within 36 hours.
  • Hurricane Warning
    Winds greater than 74 mph probably will to hit the area within 24 hours.
  • Tropical Storm Watch
    Winds from 39 to 73 mph may hit the area within 36 hours.
  • Tropical Storm Warning
    Winds from 39 to 73 mph probably will to hit the area within 24 hours. Usually issued for areas to either side of the Hurricane Warning area.
  • Tornado Watch
    Conditions are ripe for tornadoes within the watch area. Tornadoes associated with hurricanes and tropical storms are typically a very significant cause of death and damage.
  • Tornado Warning
    A tornado has actually been spotted visually or on radar. Usually issued for a county. If a tornado WARNING is issued where you live, GET TO THE MIDDLE OF THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A STRONG BUILDING IMMEDIATELY!!! 
  • Severe Thunderstorm Watch
    Conditions are ripe for severe thunderstorms within the watch area.
  • Severe Thunderstorm Warning
    There is a severe thunderstorm in or heading for the warned area. Treat this like a tornado warning!!
  • Flash Flood Watch
    Flash floods are likely to occur in the near future. Be alert for rising water and be prepared to have to move to high ground.
  • Flash Flood Warning
    Flash floods are occurring or expected to occur in the near future. If this happens, get to high ground immediately, and GET AWAY FROM VEHICLES... it only takes 18 inches of water to sweep a car or truck away!
  • High Wind Advisory
    Windy conditions may occur in the advisory area. This usually makes for unsafe conditions while driving, especially in (but not limited to) large vehicles. Also, avoid boating anywhere in the advisory area.
  • High Wind Warning
    Very strong winds are expected or already are occurring that present a significant danger while driving, boating and other outdoor activities. Often issued near tropical storms and hurricanes.
  • Special Marine Warning
    Warnings of interest to boaters, usually because of rough conditions, squall lines, waterspouts,
  • Hurricane or Tropical Storm Statement
    Statements issued periodically by the National Hurricane Center with an overview of the current situation.

Prepare for 2018 Hurricane Season

9/5/2018 (Permalink)

In 2017, the US saw damage from 3 major hurricanes and 4 storms.

Extreme hurricanes and wildfires made 2017 the most costly U.S. disaster year on record. Each year, weather events cause catastrophic damage in the US. In 2017 alone, "the disasters caused $306 billion in total damage in 2017, with 16 events that caused more than $1 billion in damage each. The bulk of the damage, at $265 billion, came from hurricanes."

According to many researchers, the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season is expected to be above average as well. One of the costliest aspects of hurricane season is not just the wind, but the widespread flooding. In addition to storm surge, slow moving systems cause the accumulation of rain in creeks and rivers to back up even in areas which may be "low risk". 

How can you be prepared?

Speak with your insurance agent regarding your coverage. Flood insurance and Hurricane/Wind insurance may not be included in your Homeowners policy. 

Speak with your insurance agent regarding what amount will allow you the ability to rebuild your home. A lower premium is not always best if it does not cover the costs to rebuild. It's important to have enough coverage!

Review your policies before Hurricane season (reminder: it starts June 1st!) with your insurance agent. There is a 30-day waiting period before flood insurance goes into effect. Some  times, insurers will not adjust your coverage after a storm is forecast. 

Seven Fall Home Maintenance Must

9/5/2018 (Permalink)

1.  Check for Peeling Paint:

Inspect exterior walls to see if any paint is peeling or blistering on the house or outbuildings. According to Carl Minchew, Director, Benjamin Moore Paints, "Peeling paint is a sign that the existing paint film is failing and can no longer protect the siding of the building. Left uncorrected, the siding itself will deteriorate, leading to expensive repairs in the future."

2. Clean the Gutters

 After leaves have fallen, clean out the gutters and downspouts, flush them with water, inspect joints, and tighten brackets if necessary 3. Seal Windows Up If you feel any drafts around windows or doors, address them now to help keep your energy costs down. And, check your attic insulation, too. 4. Check Your Smoke and Carbon-Monoxide Detectors Even ones that are powered through your home’s electrical system typically have a backup battery that might need replacing. 5. Check Your Roof Remove moss from sloped areas and clear any debris from gutters and downspouts. Additionally, look for signs of damage/wear and make repairs as soon as possible. Use binoculars if you need to. Fall is no time for a leaky roof! 6. Fall Cleaning Clean and tune your furnace, boiler and/or water heater, along with your oven and range. 7. Review Your Fire Escape Plan Every bedroom, including basement bedrooms, should have two exit paths. Make sure windows aren't blocked by furniture or other items. Ideally, each upper-floor bedroom should have a rope ladder near the window for emergency exits. Review what to do in case of fire, and arrange a safe meeting place for everyone away from the house.

Air Quality

9/5/2018 (Permalink)

Many of us are exposed to toxins everyday and we do not realize it. Toxins can cause short term allergies, illnesses, and they even cause us to age. Over time, exposure to toxins can have even more disastrous consequences. If you answer yes to any of the following, consider making a change to improve your home's air quality and lessen your exposure to toxins.

Healthy Home Checklist

  • Do you smoke in your home?
  • Do your kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room have adequate ventilation and exhaust fans?
  • Do you change your air filters once a month?
  • When cleaning or doing laundry, do you use bleach, ammonia or aerosol spray cans?
  • Is your gas fireplace and/or gas stove checked yearly for emissions?
  • Was your home built before 1978? If so, has it been checked for lead-based paint?
  • Do your bathrooms have carpet?

Causes of Indoor Air Pollution

  • Asbestos building products when dislodged (no longer intact)
  • Biological contaminants such as mold, dust, mites, viruses, and pet dander
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Formaldehyde found in pressure treated wood
  • Lead (pre-1978 house paint)
  • Nitrogen dioxide
  • Particulates found in dust, pollen, cleaning sprays and poorly ventilated areas
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Volatile organic compounds including household cleaning products, pesticides, and aerosol propellants

Flooding Can Happen Anywhere

9/5/2018 (Permalink)

Flooding can happen anywhere.

There is often a misconception that if you are not 'in a flood zone,' or more accurately, if you are in a low risk community that your home or business will not flood. While your home or business may be in a low risk area, just because you haven't experienced a flood doesn't mean you won't in the future. The NFIP released that 20% of all paid claims were for low-risk policies. We frequently find that because of this misconception many home and business owners do not carry flood insurance. If you do not have flood insurance, the out of pocket costs associated with flood damage can be substantial.

Flood water is considered category 3 or black water. Black water is typically caused by sewage damage, flooding, or any type of natural disaster. This water is highly contaminated and filled with fungi, bacteria, chemicals and more. The restoration should only be handled by professionals. 

According to the National Weather Service (NOAA), the following are the most common flood hazards in the United States:

  • Flash flooding
  • River flooding
  • Storm surge and coastal inundation from tropical and non-tropical systems
  • Burn scars/debris flows (caused by wildfires)
  • Ice/debris jams
  • Snowmelt
  • Dry wash (caused by heavy rainfall in dry areas)
  • Dam breaks/levee failure

NOAA also said that, "Approximately seventy-five percent of all Presidential disaster declarations are associated with flooding." 

With every catastrophic storm, you can rest assured that there will be a catastrophic storm response. The SERVPRO System has a network of strategically positioned storm teams on standby should a disaster strike near you. Available 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.

Water Intrusions and Mold

9/5/2018 (Permalink)

What Causes Mold?

Water intrusions in residential and commercial properties that are not properly mitigated contribute to mold. These water intrusions can include, but are not limited to storm damage (wind-driven rain or flooding), plumbing leaks, sprinkler system failure or even properly working following smoke/fire, water heater leaks, washing machine overflows and lack of humidity control (improperly working HVAC unit or improper manual use). Not surprisingly, we often see these issues in unoccupied or secondary homes. Since Natchez has a vast amount of second homes, we see this often. When vacation is over, many property owners adjust the HVAC unit to save electricity costs while they are away. Often, the biggest damages occur when there is a combination of these items - poor humidity control and no one checking on the property regularly.

Mold and microbial growth are the resulting damage from improper mitigation or lack of mitigation. Mold not only negatively affects the materials it grows on, but it is also can gravely affect the air quality. Some amounts of mold spores are normally present in most environments. Dark and warm moist areas provide the environment, and organic materials provide the food source for mold to flourish. These materials are commonly found in buildings and homes - they include but are not limited to the following: wood (framework, trim, flooring), drywall, paper, and insulation. By delaying mitigation following a water damage, mold spores may increase significantly. All environments, even healthy environments, contain some degree of mold or microbial growth, but when the damage becomes excessive, health threats increase dramatically.

Do you have mold?

At SERVPRO of Natchez, our team of experts have been trained by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC); in regards to mold, our team members have received IICRC's specific designation for Applied Microbial Growth Technician (AMRT). Mold is no match for us. Our professionals use advanced water detection equipment to locate the source of the problem and remediate any mold or water damage. 

If you have concerns regarding mold growth following a water damage, reach out to our team of experts: SERVPRO of Natchez at 601.304.5554 We are always here to help.

Detecting Water Damage

9/5/2018 (Permalink)

Water damage can happen when you least expect it. Standing water is one thing, but, what happens with the water that you don't see? And, what happens if there is too much water to clean up?

Detecting Water Damage

With water damage, it's the water you don't see that causes the most damage. It is no surprise that water damage that has not been properly mitigated can lead to microbial growth and mold. After a water damage, it is important to have the entire area checked for moisture in order to prevent more extensive damage, and ultimately, more expensive repairs. If you've noticed water damage, call your local SERVPRO professional. We will be able to determine if the moisture levels in the home are normal. If they are not, we will show you where the moisture is found, develop a scope of how the site should be properly mitigated, and update you daily with drying progress. 

Call SERVPRO

There is no such thing as a small disaster. A small leak now can turn into a large damage if not properly remediated. By using a quality restoration team like SERVPRO of Natchez, that unexpected water damage will stay a thing of the past. If you have a water damage, call the team that is faster to any size disaster.

At SERVPRO of Natchez, we understand the need to be faster to any size disaster. Call us and we will make your water or fire damage "Like it never even happened." 601.304.5554

Vacation Safety Trips

9/5/2018 (Permalink)

SAFETY TIPS

There is nothing more frightening than the thought of going on a vacation, returning home, and finding that your home has been robbed, vandalized. Whether it’s a flooded basement, or even a faulty water heater, there is nothing more devastating than the thought of this unexpected property damage.

There are some ways to minimize the risk. A few Safety Tips to make sure everyone is doing whatever is possible to stay safe!

TIPS

Don’t make it obvious you are out of town or on vacation

  • Try to arrange for a trusted neighbor to bring in your trash, mail and newspaper.
  • Suspend your mail and newspaper until you return home.

Automatic timers

  • Your lights can help lend the impression that someone is home
  • Leave a car parked in the driveway.

Of course, an A/C Leak - leading to a flooded attic - ceiling collapse - is another big threat.            

  • Avoid it by simply turning off your water before you leave.
  • You may also drain your hot water heater to ensure no damage done from it.
  • Leave an extra key with your neighbor—which will come in handy if, in the worst case scenario, there is a fire, flood, or some other issue that needs to be attended to before you return home. 

Simply follow these safety precautions and you’ll be doing all you can do to avert a crisis!

It Is the Water You Don't See [Part 1]

8/23/2018 (Permalink)

Even small water damages have the potential to cause serious structural and indoor air quality issues over time. The key to avoiding costly future restoration is to handle every water problem as a real threat to your property. SERVPRO of Natchez has the equipment, training and experience to find and dry unseen water before secondary damages occur. The proper equipment makes a measurable difference in reducing the damage expense during a fire or water loss. When time matters, technology and equipment must be counted on to perform. SERVPRO of Natchez will answer your call with fast action and a full arsenal of drying equipment. Here are a few of the tools used by SERVPRO of Natchez:

Moisture Sensors are used to detect moisture in carpets, baseboards and walls.

Moisture Meters are used to determine the actual moisture content of various materials. The moisture tester provides accurate readings, allowing SERVPRO of Natchez to monitor the drying process.