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How to Survive a Fire

7/10/2018 (Permalink)

“The following article was contributed by James Smith, an avid prepper with a passion for self-protection at all levels”

The hazards of a fire are deadly and may even prove fatal if proper precautions are not taken. Thousands of Americans lost their lives to such life-haunting misfortunes that can strike your house anytime due to minor malfunctioning, taking you by surprise and robbing you of your most prized possessions.

However, nothing is more precious than human life. These incidents usually happen uninformed and the best way is to be prepared beforehand.

Planning for a fire

A sensible family would make it a point to keep their family members aware and educated about the possibilities of an accidental fire and the logical steps to follow. The key to surviving in such situations is not to panic and think of practical solutions rather than creating havoc.

Having you and your family learn certain skills such as those of handling, first aid kits and basic medical knowledge can save a life.

  • Devise an escape plan in advance and clearly identify the escape routes known to all family members, which they can opt for, in times of emergency.
  • Upper floor houses should preferably have hook-on escape rope ladders.
  • Allocate responsibilities to individual adults, so that the situation can be easily taken control of, in case of any such mishap, and safety of all the kids should be the top most priority.
  • Just like schools carry out safety-drills to educate the children about the plan-of-action in case of emergency, you can train your children to act quickly and get out of the building without a second thought. The disabled, if any, need to be taken care of too. These drills will not only help in times of fire, but also during natural catastrophes.
  • Act smart and quick and keep the 911 emergency numbers in hand. Furthermore, every child should know their home address and the way to complain in case there is a fire in the house.
  • Keeping an emergency first aid kit at home can do no harm. In fact, this compact kit may prove helpful in situations which are un-called for. This may even include fire-extinguishers near the kitchen and furnaces to put off small fires and not letting them aggravate into bigger ones.

React before it’s too late

Timing is of utmost importance when it comes to handling a fire. Fire spreads at an alarming rate and can make concrete things crumble to ashes in seconds. Their existence can be demolished in no time. Do not panic, just act.

  • The minute your smoke detector or fire alarm goes off and your senses detect fire try to exit the building. Remember, you may have just a few seconds to escape the clutches of the blazing fire, so without further ado escape and call out loud for help.

Seek refuge through doors during fires

  • In such situations, wooden doors offer great protection from heat and smoke and stop the fire from spreading. It is best to hide behind doors when escaping from room to room, closing each door behind you.
  • Before opening each door make sure, that there is no fire on the other side of the room. If you feel heat or smoke exuding through the cracks, or if the knob or door feels hot to touch, then do not open the door. It’s always advisable to open the door carefully, lest you are inviting more danger. If in case you encounter fire when you open the door immediately shut it back.
  • If you detect or suspect fire or smoke on the other side, then your next option is to escape through windows. For that too, ensure that the door is shut otherwise the draft from the windows can aggravate the fire in the blink of an eye.

Prevent yourself from inhaling toxic fumes

Try to keep yourself safe from breathing in smoke, if you can’t keep it off completely you can at least try to limit the exposure. You can achieve this by getting low to the floor and crouching on your hands and knees while escaping. Furthermore, placing a shirt or wet rag over your face while escaping through a fume-filled room can filter out the intoxicating products of combustion and help you escape with minimum injuries.

Clothes are highly likely to catch fire

Stay away from curtains, table cloths and bed sheets as they catch fire very easily. This gives you the obvious warning that if your clothes catch fire, stops, drop and roll. This is because rolling smothers the fire and doesn’t let it spread wildly. Keep your face covered with your hands to offer maximum protection. Fire can be lethal and destroy your facial features. Let not such a misery befall you and cause permanent damage.

You don’t necessarily have to be heroic to escape from the window

If you don’t live on the upper floors of a building and you feel you have enough stamina to escape through the window, go ahead and give it a try. Usually you can escape from a two-storey building without much hassle as it is safe and if it makes you escape a fire, then it’s worth the risk. For obvious reasons you need to have an escape ladder. The next step would be to find a ledge. Next, you can get onto it facing the building. It is a rule of thumb to always face the building structure when trying to escape from a window on an upper floor.

Do you feel trapped?

Do not panic if you feel encompassed by smoke from all four sides and are unable to escape the vicinity of your home or your room for that matter. Keep your calm and ensure your safety by keeping off the smoke from all possible miniature holes, cracks or vents. Cover them with cloth or tape to ward off the smoke and do not let it reach you for as long as you can.

Ah! Out into the open air

If you manage to escape the fire successfully, as soon as you come out contact emergency services. Make sure all your family members are out and safe too. Never re-enter a building on fire, in fact call 911 to come to your rescue.

Always remember, a house on fire is a combination of other hazardous factors posing a potential threat- the intoxicating fumes and smoke, the sweltering flames and a possible eerie blackout. It is an absolute necessity to be prepared before hand and act on quick impulse if a fire occurs.

Ref: Survivalist Prepper

Floods/Storms

7/2/2018 (Permalink)

Floods

Failing to evacuate flooded areas, entering flood waters, or remaining after a flood has passed can result in injury or death. Flooding is a temporary overflow of water onto land that is normally dry. Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States. Floods may:

  • Result from rain, snow, coastal storms, storm surges, and overflows of dams and other water systems.

  • Develop slowly or quickly – Flash floods can come with no warning.

  • Cause outages, disrupt transportation, damage buildings, and create landslides.

 IF YOU ARE UNDER A FLOOD WARNING, FIND SAFE SHELTER RIGHT AWAY

  • Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Turn Around, Don’t Drown!

    • Just six inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.

  • Stay off of bridges over fast-moving water.

  • Determine how best to protect yourself based on the type of flooding.

    • Evacuate if told to do so.

    • Move to higher ground or a higher floor.

    • Stay where you are.

HOW TO STAY SAFE WHEN A FLOOD THREATENS

WHAT TO DO NOW: Prepare

  • Know types of flood risk in your area. Visit FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center for information.

  • Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.

  • If flash flooding is a risk in your location, then monitor potential signs, such as heavy rain.

  • Learn and practice evacuation routes, shelter plans, and flash flood response.

  • Gather supplies in case you have to leave immediately, or if services are cut off. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Don’t forget the needs of pets. Obtain extra batteries and charging devices for phones and other critical equipment.

  • Purchase or renew a flood insurance policy. It typically takes up to 30 days for a policy to go into effect and can protect the life you've built. Homeowner’s policies do not cover flooding. Get flood coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

  • Keep important documents in a waterproof container. Create password-protected digital copies.

  • Protect your property. Move valuables to higher levels. Declutter drains and gutters. Install check valves. Consider a sump pump with a battery.

WHAT TO DO DURING: Survive

  • Depending on where you are, and the impact and the warning time of flooding, go to the safe location that you previously identified.
  • If told to evacuate, do so immediately. Never drive around barricades. Local responders use them to safely direct traffic out of flooded areas.
  • Listen to EAS, NOAA Weather Radio, or local alerting systems for current emergency information and instructions.
  • Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Turn Around. Don’t Drown!
  • Stay off bridges over fast-moving water. Fast-moving water can wash bridges away without warning.
  • If your vehicle is trapped in rapidly moving water, then stay inside. If water is rising inside the vehicle, then seek refuge on the roof.
  • If trapped in a building, then go to its highest level. Do not climb into a closed attic. You may become trapped by rising floodwater. Go on the roof only if necessary. Once there, signal for help.

WHAT TO DO AFTER: Be Safe

  • Listen to authorities for information and instructions. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
  • Avoid driving, except in emergencies.
  • Snakes and other animals may be in your house. Wear heavy gloves and boots during clean up.
  • Be aware of the risk of electrocution. Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If it is safe to do so, turn off the electricity to prevent electric shock.
  • Avoid wading in floodwater, which can contain dangerous debris and be contaminated. Underground or downed power lines can also electrically charge the water.
  • Use a generator or other gasoline-powered machinery ONLY outdoors and away from windows.


    Ref. sec. Ready.gov

Emergency Managagment

7/2/2018 (Permalink)

Emergency Management

WINS (Warning Information Notification System)

WINS (Warning Information Notification System) is a public service alert system that includes over 150 categories of weather, emergency and non-emergency alerts. WINS notifications are sent to your home phone, smartphone, TTY, email or text messages by county departments, townships, villages and cities within St. Clair County. YOU choose the alert types and delivery methods that are important to you and your family. A couple of helpful tips when signing up:

  1. Please ensure that you open each category using the “+” symbol to see each alert type within the category. The weather category alone includes 32 types of alerts and you can select which are important to you.
  2. When in the weather category, please ensure that you set your “do not disturb between” hours for non-emergency weather alerts. You will receive emergency weather alerts such as Tornado warnings regardless of your “do not disturb between” hours.
  3. Put in the addresses that are important to you. Because this system allows agencies to target their information in emergency situations, only people who have an address listed in the immediate area will receive emergency alerts. Please ensure you input the addresses that are important to you. You can have up to five addresses including home, work, school or other.

If you have any questions about the Warning Information Notification System, please contact the Office of St. Clair County Homeland Security and Emergency Management at (810) 989-6965.


Contact InformationOffice of Homeland Security / Emergency Management
295 Airport Drive
Kimball, MI 48074

Phone:(810) 989-6965Fax:(810) 364-4603Email:Emergency Management

Your Business and a Fire

7/2/2018 (Permalink)

What to Do If Your Business Has a Fire

Although many of us go through great efforts to fireproof our home, we rarely bring this outlook into the workplace. While there’s no replacement for a little bit of forethought and diligence, a fire at your place of business doesn’t have to mean the end of your company altogether. In fact, approximately 60 percent of all U.S.-based businesses reopen their doors after a disastrous fire. Some companies have even gone on to achieve a great amount of success and profitability after such an event.

Determine the Responsible Party

The first thing you should do in the wake of a fire at your business is determine the responsible party. This depends on a number of different factors, including whether you lease or own the building, the exact cause of the fire and even your specific amount of insurance coverage. Keep in mind that some insurance policies only cover the contents of the structure and not the materials used in the actual construction of the building.

Sometimes, you may need to wait until an investigation has been completed by your local fire department, police department or insurance company. If this is the case, make sure to maintain communications for further information and instructions.

Safeguard and Secure Your Remaining Property

If the fire has caused significant damage to the exterior walls, doors, windows or roof of your building, you’ll want to act quickly in order to safeguard and secure your remaining property. Smoldering remains should be fully extinguished and any large holes should be temporarily patched. Not only will this prevent vandalism after the fact, but a little bit of effort can go a long way towards minimizing the overall amount of damage caused.

Contact Anyone Who May Be Affected

Next comes the daunting task of contacting anyone who may have been affected as a result of the fire. This includes employees, board members, external partners and, in some cases, customers. If any activities or services need to be postponed or suspended, make sure to communicate that news, too. The last thing you want to do after a fire is to leave your valuable employees and business partners in the dark about the future of your company.

Furthermore, don’t forget to contact your insurance agent as soon as possible. A simple call or email will typically suffice, though large claims may require face-to-face consultation or even an on-site inspection of the damaged property.

Get Your Documentation in Order

Your insurance company will require proof regarding any claimed losses as a result of the fire, so be sure to have any pertinent documentation, including receipts, user manuals and credit card statements, at the ready. You may even want to take digital pictures or video of your property. Not only can this be used in determining your overall losses, it could serve as hard evidence in case any court proceedings should follow.

Repair and Restore Damage

If the structure isn’t a total loss, you might be able to rebuild, repair and restore your business back to its original state. Extensive smoke damage, for example, can typically be cleaned up through a number of different tools so you can go on with business as usual after the restoration.

Initiate the Recovery of Sensitive or Critical Data

Depending on your exact case, you may need to take steps to recover any sensitive or critical data that was lost in the occurrence. Damaged servers, hard drives and even personal computers can all hold data critical to the day-to-day operations of your business.

If the situation warrants, you may even consider hiring a third party company such as http://www.SERVPROmarinecityromeo.com/commercial-restoration-cleaning , specifically in the event of fire. Such individuals are more likely to be equipped with the right hardware and software tools than a company that offers general disaster recovery services. Most data recovery experts will also be able to work with you in order to introduce techniques in disaster recovery planning and data loss prevention.

Getting Back to Business

Once everything has been restored to order, it’s finally time to get back to business. Make sure to outline a comprehensive fire safety plan when moving forward, just in case your business experiences another fire. You might also consider increasing your insurance coverage for the future. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

  

Ref. by Sarah Landrum

Types of Water Damage

7/2/2018 (Permalink)

Types of Water Damage and Common Causes

Type depends on the source and extent to which it has affected the home. Sources can range from clean water from a burst pipe to black water from sewage backup. Cleanup ranges from $3.75 to $7.00 per square foot. Repairs range from $450 to $7,000. Again, these vary widely depending on the source and extent of damage, whether it's a flooded basement, leaky toilet, or damaged roof.Though a competent DIY homeowner may be able to clean up and repair some damage, it's important to have a professional assess it first to determine the extent and any underlying conditions. Missing even a small amount ? or its causes ? can lead to costlier repairs later. Even small quantities of moisture may result in mold growth. Plus, undiagnosed causes will lead to recurrences. For instance, fixing a damaged ceiling but not the leaky roof that caused it will only lead to another wrecked ceiling.

Ceiling and Roof - $800

Nationally, the average cost to repair a roof is about $800. Diagnosing a leaky roof is best left to professionals. Improperly repairing or installing a roof can lead to more issues. Sometimes, an insurance company may require a professional inspection. The most common causes of leaky roofs are:
  • Missing shingles ? that often come off due to high winds.
  • Damaged flashing ? around pipes, chimneys, skylights, and in valleys.
  • Ice dams ? snow melts and refreezes building dams on the roof, causing standing water.
  • Roofs with low slopes and inadequate runoff.

Basement Damage and Flooding -$1,500

Moisture damage in your basement happens for a wide range of reasons including flooding, drainage issues, clogged gutters, burst pipes, and sewage backups. Repair costs vary widely depending on the cause and extent of the destruction.For instance, it will be less expensive to restore a basement with an inch of clean water from a burst pipe than to tackle a fix caused by three feet of sewage backup. An inch of clean water would start at around $500 to $1500 to pump out and thoroughly dry it. However, the price of basement drainage repairs can increase up to $10,000 or more depending on the size of the space and the extent of the damage. Budget more when your space has been hit from contaminated sources, like a river flood.

Drywall - $500

Drywall repair cost about $500 on average with a typical range of $250 - $750, but can cost much more or less depending on the destruction. It is used in most modern homes and is found in almost all finished areas of a house, including bathrooms. When it becomes wet, it typically needs to be replaced. Not only is the drywall itself ruined, but the wet paper backer of the drywall becomes an excellent environment for mold growth. 

Floors and Hardwood -$350

Flooring repairs typically range between $200 to $500. The type of flooring and the length of time water sits affects the costs of removal and repair. Some types of flooring are more permeable than others. For example, laminates and carpet soak up liquids and degrade the subfloor quickly, whereas hardwood can sit underwater for short periods with little damage. Most tile products are either impervious to liquids or can be cleaned and dried with little or no damage, though the area may need grout work.

Broken or Leaky Bathroom Fixtures -$3,000

A leaky faucet, cracked bathtub, or failing toilet can easily become a much larger and costlier problem. A 120-square foot bathroom can cost as much as $3,000 to clean up and repair. Homeowners spend an average of about $300 when hiring a plumbers, but can save thousands in future expenses. More importantly, homeowners insurance typically does not cover damage due to ignored maintenance issues.

Burst Pipes and Leaky Plumbing - $1,000

Among the most common and most preventable causes of water damage are burst pipes. Burst pipes typically happen because of clogs and freezing. Prevent the damage by finding a family plumber to do annual inspections. Regular inspections and maintenance are a cost-effective, preventative measure. Installing new plumbing typically runs between $350 to $2,000.

Natural Causes

Hurricanes and river flooding are common natural causes, as are high water tables and improperly graded ground. Installing a sump pump and water alarm are sensible preventions in areas with high water tables. The sump pump will pump water from under the foundation to drain it away from the home and averages about $1,200 to install. The sump pump itself will cost between $50 to $400. Also, ground that slopes towards the basement of the home can lead to leakage in the basement and increased stress on sewage. 

Category and Class of Water Damage

Each incident of damage falls into a category and a class. Category determines the source and how clean it is. Classification determines the severity of the damage itself. Only a licensed professional can categorize and classify water damage. These factors primarily determine the cost of cleanup and removal of damage to a home.Even a competent Dryer should have a qualified professional assess the damage first ? making sure no part of the cleanup is missed. Before doing anything, check with your insurance company ? they may require a licensed assessment. Don't wait. As soon as you detect any damage, call a professional. With time, each class and category quickly degrades into something worse.Removing any moisture and cleaning up (not necessarily repairs) are key to keeping your budget to a minimum. Water damage remediation and repair services can save up to 40% if done quickly.

Category 1: Clean Water - $3.75 sq. ft.

This type poses no threat to health. However, it can degrade to a Category 2 if not dealt with quickly. It often comes from drinking sources, such as:
  • Leaky faucets ? also the pipes and fittings under the sink, which can go unnoticed for long periods of time.
  • Leaky toilet tanks ? without cleaning agents like bleach or bromine pucks.
  • Rain and sprinklers ? coming through an open window or leaky roof.
  • Burst pipes ? though this often leads to a higher-class due to the amount of water.
  • Water Heaters ? The average heater lasts 8 to 12 years.
You'll spend about $3.75 per square foot to dry clean water. However, this is only a starting point. Repairs will depend on the types of materials involved. For example, carpets vary from $1 to $11 per square foot. Quick cleaning can keep fixes to a minimum.

Category 2: Grey Water - $4.50 sq. ft.

This type of floodwater poses some health threat. It may contain harmful contaminants such as detergents which may cause minor illness. If not treated, it can quickly degrade to a serious threat due to the growth of mold and bacteria.Common causes of grey water flooding:
  • Overflowing dishwashers and washing machines ? Contains soaps and detergents. Special care should be taken to remove staining or bleaching detergents from carpets.
  • Toilets containing urine or cleaning agents. ? this does not include sewage backup or feces.
Grey water is only slightly more expensive to clean up averaging $4.50 per square foot. Again, this is only for cleanup; repairs will vary based on damage class.

Category 3: Black Water - $7.00 sq. ft.

This category contains contaminants that will cause serious health issues and possibly death. Only professionals should handle most large-scale black water accidents such as flooding. Some cleanup, like a backed-up toilet, can be handled by competent homeowners. This type of cleanup and repair is usually the most expensive, often requiring specialized equipment used by qualified mold and chemical remediation crews. It will often require replacement ? not cleaning ? of the affected home materials.Common causes of black water flooding:
  • Sewage backups ? from drains and septic systems.
  • Flooding ? usually from overflowing rivers or lakes, or from contaminated groundwater.
  • Storm surges ? often causing secondary flooding from streams and groundwater.
The average homeowner spends $7.00 per square foot for professional cleanup. That does not include the amounts for repairing and replacing items. Typically, anything that can absorb the contaminants in black water should be replaced, including upholstered furniture, beds, carpets, clothing, and all permeable building materials. Replacement is often more cost effective than restoration. 

Mold - $2,300

On average, it costs around $2,300 for mold removal. Mold spores are found in almost all environments and begin growing in just 24 to 48 hours when moisture is present. All types of water damage come with a risk of fungal growth. The longer moisture sits, the greater the risk and cost of removal. Only a qualified inspector should test for mold. An inspector can help determine if there is any and if professional remediation is needed.

Preventing Water Damage

There are just as many preventions as there are causes. Being proactive in preventing water damage is usually less expensive than repairing damage after it happens.Keep the basement dry as it's the most common place to find damage. Flooding, burst pipes, and even clogged gutters can cause leaks. Pitching the landscape, cleaning the gutters, and installing downspout extensions are simple outdoor fixes. From the inside, install a sump pump and water alarm. Have the basement inspected for waterproofing ? or have some installed.Cleaning a gutter and sloping the landscape can be a free, DIY activity if the necessary tools are available. Downspout extensions can cost as little as $50, depending on how many are needed. The savings are incredible considering basement cleanup and repairs can run upwards of $10,000. One of the simplest proactive steps is getting an annual plumbing inspection. These are often free or free with other services. The plumber will inspect all visible plumbing including fixtures, pipes, appliances, and drains. They diagnose and fix small problems before they become big ones. They can also tell you the best time to replace worn fixtures and appliances. InsuranceDoes insurance cover the damage? Check your policy or call the insurance company to find out. Put that smartphone to work by taking pictures and video of the damage. Properly documenting the incident will make the claims process easier. Also, be sure to check with a pro to see if they do insurance claim management.Part of a comprehensive water damage prevention plan includes knowing what insurance covers and what it doesn't. Most plans cover sudden and accidental damage like a water heater failing or a dishwasher overflowing. However, they usually don?t include flooding, sewage backups, and known maintenance issues like a continuously leaky faucet.

Flooding and Your Commercial Business

5/1/2018 (Permalink)

Your plan for disaster preparedness should include flood information and outline how to prepare for floods. Read on for information about floods and flood safety tips, and how to make them part of your emergency preparedness plan as you prepare for a flood.

Types of Flooding

Topography and weather conditions play a prominent role in the impact different types of flooding have on specific locales. The following are some examples of specific types of flooding.

  • Rising water may be the greatest risk to inland areas away from a river bed after a heavy snow pack begins to melt or after heavy rainfall.
  • Moving water is a serious risk in areas near rivers or in coastal storm surge areas because it creates significantly larger lateral forces on a building.
  • Overtopping, breaching or opening of dams, levees, and other flood control mechanisms, which are designed to divert the flow of water to provide protection, can lead to flood damage that may be more significant than if the levees were never installed. The Mississippi and Missouri River floods of 2011 included breaches of levees, as well as controlled flooding by the opening of various flood gates on levees. The result was thousands of acres of farmland, crops, livestock and fish farms being destroyed to protect urban areas.
  • Flash flooding can occur in every region as a result of slow-moving thunderstorms or excessive rainfall from any storm system.
  • Large, slow-moving tropical storms can dump excessive amounts of rain on coastal locations and then move inland to continue the devastation, resulting in widespread flood damage. Tropical Storm Allison (2001): A Case Study in Flooding Understanding Your Flood Hazard
  • There are several flood principles that should be considered to determine your facility’s exposure to flood waters and the type of protection to be deployed:
  • Often, businesses and homeowners let down their guard when a tropical weather system does not result in hurricane-force winds. Tropical Storm Allison is a good example of how rains associated with a tropical system can be equally devastating. The storm dumped approximately 32 trillion gallons of rain (enough to meet U.S. water needs for an entire year), according to the Tropical Storm Allison Recovery Project. This included 28 inches of rainfall during a 12-hour period just northeast of downtown Houston, and rainfall amounts ranging from 10, 20 and 30 inches in locations throughout the Southeast—earning Allison the infamous distinction as the costliest tropical storm in U.S. history.
  • Floods can occur anywhere, often with little or no warning, and with devastating consequences. Protecting the bottom line in order to remain open, or to re-open quickly after a flood disaster, requires taking steps now to prevent or reduce flood damage should your business be in the path of rising water. Below is a brief overview of issues that small businesses must address to reduce the likelihood of flood damage and to prepare financially and operationally should a flood occur. Many of the topics covered here involve complex issues that are best addressed by hydrological, engineering, regulatory or insurance experts; the goal here is simply to outline the basics in order to help business owners understand why they need to mitigate against flood risk and some of the challenges they may face.
  • Duration: It is important to know if flood waters are expected to recede quickly or may be trapped due to the slope of the land. The longer a facility is exposed to flood waters, the greater potential for flood-proofing failures due to a breach in the protection.
  • Depth: Flood waters greater than 3 feet create hydrostatic pressure on walls that can cause cracks in masonry and greatly increase the potential of collapse to unreinforced masonry. When estimating the potential depth of flood waters, it is always best to include a safety factor to account for inaccuracies in the estimate.
  • Velocity: As flood water velocity increases, so does the pressure exerted on flood protection. River flooding can be very fast moving water at first and then may settle down. Coastal locations may be exposed to wave action from storm surge.
  • Water Condition: Many times flood waters are dirty, brackish or contaminated with biological and chemical materials including waste water, sewage, pesticides, industrial waste, toxic and non-toxic chemicals, or oils. Debris that is churning in the water can impact buildings and flood protection systems, create breaches in the protection and cause extensive damage. Proximity to water is the number 1 risk factor for flooding, but property owners should not assume being out of the floodplain will help you entirely avoid the possibility of flooding. It is always a best practice to locate your property as far away from bodies of water as possible. Flood maps available from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) identify 100-year and 500-year flood zones throughout the United States. The flood zones also delineate participation in the NFIP, as well as permitting and other requirements that communities adopt in order to meet NFIP standards and qualify their citizens for lower flood insurance rates. By definition, the 100-year and 500-year flood zones mean there is a 1 (.20) percent chance of flooding annually in an area based on topography and historical data; it does not mean that flooding will occur only once in a century (or 500 years). There also are other important points to consider.
  • Location, Location, Location
  • Floods can and very often do occur outside the 100-year flood zone. In fact, approximately 25 percent of all flood damages occur in relatively low risk zones commonly described as being “outside the mapped flood zone.”
  • Specific boundaries on some flood maps may be arbitrary or include inaccuracies. For example, a property lying just outside the 100-year flood zone is almost equally likely to be flooded as one just within.
  • Obstructions or landfill can change the topography, storm-water drainage patterns, and flow of water over natural floodplains. Although permits are required for flood zone fill (and must be based on engineering assessments demonstrating “no impact”), it is possible that non-permitted work has occurred near your property.
  • Floods show no respect for the estimated probabilities. As Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Director Craig Fugate observed following a spate of natural disasters, “It just seemed like it was back-to-back and it came in waves. The term ‘100-year event’ really lost its meaning this year. ”When it comes to flooding, there really is no better solution than adequate elevation, aside from choosing a location well outside of a 500-year flood plain. If such a location is not possible, the best way to increase the safety margin against flood damage is to raise the elevation of your building above the 500-year flood elevation. Flood-proofing your building is another option to reduce damage. Through the NFIP, there is extensive regulation of floodplain development at the community level. For example, IBHS’s FORTIFIED for Safer Business™ Standards, a package of enhanced voluntary construction standards that greatly increase a new light commercial building’s durability and resilience to natural hazards, requires FORTIFIED buildings to be at least 3 feet above the BFE or above the 500-year flood elevation. There are also ways to retrofit your existing building so that it meets or exceeds BFEs. While only a structural engineer/design professional can determine what is right for your property, the options include raising foundation onto pilings or columns or adding landfill, as long as “no impact” floodplain requirements are met.
  • Permits are needed for a wide range of activities including construction of new buildings, additions to existing buildings, and substantial improvement to the interior of existing buildings that are within the most hazardous flood zones. Part of the permitting process involves whether your building site is higher than the base flood elevation (BFE), which is the elevation at which your property has a 1 percent chance of flooding annually, as indicated on the NFIP flood maps. Major storms and flash floods can cause waters to rise higher than the BFE—therefore, it is always a good investment to build in a safety factor several feet above the BFE. This safety zone is called “freeboarding.”
  • The Importance of Elevation
  • When elevating a building so that the walking surface of the lowest floor is at the minimum elevation, areas under the BFE can be used only for parking and limited storage—under-floor bathrooms, utilities, and ductwork are not allowed.
  • Equipment, utility connections and all interior utility systems including ductwork must be elevated above the BFE. In addition, fuel and propane tanks must be properly anchored, since they can become buoyant even in shallow water. Sealing a building so that water will not enter is called “dry flood-proofing” or “flood-proofing.” Flood-proofing protects your building by coating the exterior with a membrane to prevent flood waters from entering. NFIP regulations allow flood-proofing as an alternative to elevation above the BFE for newly constructed or substantially improved non-residential structures only—new and improved homes must be elevated above the BFE to meet NFIP requirements. It is important to determine whether dry flood-proofing will provide the protections your property needs before choosing this option. This also applies if your business is located outside the 100-year flood zone, but you want to invest in additional flood protection. Dry flood-proofing is a complex procedure that should be done by professional experts. If done incorrectly, it may not protect your property and can lead to decay, mold, or termite damage:
  • What is “Dry Flood-Proofing”?
  • As a general matter, dry flood-proofing is best suited to areas with clay soils where floods are short in duration and less than 3 feet deep.
  • Buildings in poor structural condition should not be dry flood-proofed, as the exterior walls will be under extreme pressure during a flood.
  • There are a variety of dry flood-proofing measures; a professional can help to determine whether any of them are right for your situation:
  • Applying a waterproof coating or membrane to exterior walls
  • Sealing all wall penetrations including where utilities enter the building
  • Installing waterproof shields over all openings, including windows and doors
  • Anchoring the building to resist flotation
  • Strengthening walls to withstand flood water pressures and flood debris. Even above the BFE or outside the floodplain, basements are prone to floods because water may flow down into them. They also may have an increased hydrostatic pressure exerted upon them when the surrounding ground is saturated. Recognizing that elevation is the best form of mitigation, there are a number of additional measures business owners can take to reduce the likelihood and scope of basement flood damage.
  • The Vulnerable Basement
  • Thoroughly inspect your basement and the surrounding property for evidence of water entry and sources of water flow and leakage.
  • Correct potential problems—for example, extend and redirect downspouts, re-grade sloping landscape, and caulk any interior wall cracks.
  • Basement walls should be designed to resist hydrostatic pressure.
  • Use flood-resistant materials where possible, including floor coverings, wall coverings, and wall insulation. Most flood-resistant materials can withstand direct contact with water for at least 72 hours without being significantly damaged.
  • Do not store valuable equipment, documents, or inventory in any crawlspace or basement where flooding is possible. In addition, there are steps you can take now to reduce health and environmental damage should a flood occur.
  • The “Green” Factor
  • Anchor fuel and propane tanks to prevent them from being swept away. When they break away, the contents may leak, creating fire, explosion and pollution risks that can adversely affect health and the environment.
  • Install sewer backflow valves to block drain pipes from sewage back-up, which can occur if there is flooding in your area.
  • If you are supplied by well water, protect your well from contamination. A licensed well drilling contractor can inspect your well and suggest improvements. The NFIP makes flood insurance available to commercial owners and renters. As is the case with residential property, costs vary depending on how much insurance is purchased, what it covers, and the property’s flood risk. NFIP coverage limits are up to $500,000 for a commercial building, and up to $500,000 to protect its contents. Insurance coverage also may be available from private insurance companies, depending on your business’s location, building and business characteristics, and property value.https://disastersafety.org/flood/reduce-flood-damage-to-businesses/
  • The best way to learn more about flood insurance benefits, costs, and options is to contact your insurance agent. Finally, take steps now so you can quickly resume operations should a flood or other hazard damage your property. Although flood insurance may cover losses to your structure and contents, many businesses that are severely damaged never fully recover financially due to the loss of management focus, employees, and market share. IBHS’ Open for Business® planning tool helps small- and mid-sized businesses resume their critical business operations and work processes and deliver the goods and services expected by customers or clients–consider it a vital part of your flood preparation planning and practice.
  • Financial and Operational Protections

    The NFIP makes flood insurance available to commercial owners and renters. As is the case with residential property, costs vary depending on how much insurance is purchased, what it covers, and the property’s flood risk. NFIP coverage limits are up to $500,000 for a commercial building, and up to $500,000 to protect its contents. Insurance coverage also may be available from private insurance companies, depending on your business’s location, building and business characteristics, and property value.

    The best way to learn more about flood insurance benefits, costs, and options is to contact your insurance agent. Finally, take steps now so you can quickly resume operations should a flood or other hazard damage your property. Although flood insurance may cover losses to your structure and contents, many businesses that are severely damaged never fully recover financially due to the loss of management focus, employees, and market share. IBHS’ Open for Business® planning tool helps small- and mid-sized businesses resume their critical business operations and work processes and deliver the goods and services expected by customers or clients–consider it a vital part of your flood preparation planning and practice.

    Contact: http://www.SERVPROmarinecityromeo.com/ for more information.

Black Mold Guide

2/8/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Black Mold Guide Mold in basement before clean up.

Mold In Homes

Mold in homes causes numerous problems. House mold problems go beyond an unpleasant smell or unsightly stains on carpets, walls or ceilings. No one wants those things in their home, of course, but mold also contributes to a number of health problems, some quite serious.

Health Issues Due to House Mold Problems

Health issues due to mold problems include all sorts of respiratory problems, such as asthma attacks, even the development of asthma in people that previously showed no signs of the condition, chronic sinus infections, sore throats, runny noses, watery eyes and coughing. Other common health problems related to mold include headaches, fatigue and depression. Young children, elderly people, people with respiratory problems like asthma or emphysema, and people with disorders of the immune system are more susceptible to health problems related to household mold but even healthy adults can be affected.

Some people think toxic molds cause these kinds of health problems but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that toxic molds are very rare. Some types of molds produce toxins but most do not. However, they can still cause health problems even if they are not toxic.

Testing for Mold in Homes

Chances are you know it if you have house mold problems. You’ll see and/or smell the mold. However, you can call in a specialist to test for the presence of mold. If you believe you are suffering health problems related to mold in your home, and you have a specialist come in to clean up the mold or you attempt to clean it up yourself, you should have a test for mold done after the cleanup has been completed to make sure all mold has been removed. Just because all visible mold has been removed, that does not mean your problem is gone. If even trace amounts of mold are left behind, your house mold problems will continue.

You can purchase a test for mold in homes that you can perform yourself, but we really encourage you to have a specialist come in and perform a test for you. Their tests will be much more accurate than the tests you can buy yourself, and they will be able to advise you about the best way to clean up your house mold problems. If you have home owner’s insurance, your policy may pay for a test for mold in your home.

Problems Cleaning Up Mold In Homes

Cleaning up mold in homes poses many problems. If you don’t get it all, any health problems you’re experiencing will continue or even get worse. Cleaning mold from your shower tiles may be fairly easy, but cleaning mold from porous surfaces like wooden wall studs, insulation, carpeting and drywall is much more difficult. Some surfaces cannot be cleaned and must be removed and replaced instead.

Not only is it possible to miss a bit of mold while doing the cleanup, it’s even possible to spread some mold around to other parts of the house while trying to clean mold up. For instance, if you carry contaminated carpeting or insulation through the house to throw it out, mold spores can be deposited elsewhere in the house. Mold spores can also cling to the clothing of the people cleaning up and then be deposited elsewhere in the house as they walk through the house. You can probably avoid these problems by hiring a qualified professional to clean up the mold in your home. As we said before, you should also have a test for mold after the cleanup has been completed to make sure all of it is gone.

Why We Recommend a Consultation with a Mold Removal Specialist

  • We know how to locate mold in places where many homeowners miss it, including inside walls and inside heating and air conditioning ducts.
  • We also know how to remove mold from those hard-to-access spots, and have the equipment needed to do the job.
  • We know the best techniques for treating different types of mold.

Call our office to schedule an appointment at (586)336.7373. We have experts available 24/7 to help you through any situation.

SERVPRO of MC/Romeo's Recent Community involvement

12/9/2017 (Permalink)

Recently the team here at SERVPRO of Marine City/Romeo has been actively involved in various local holiday festivities such as a fundraiser for the Algonquin High School and Marine City's Merrytime Christmas. 

For the band fundraiser we set up a holiday themed display in downtown Algonac. This afforded us a wonderful opportunity to display our creativity and teamwork as we came up with ideas for our display. Everyone pitched in a little bit of time and we were able to get a wonderful display set up along St. Clair River Drive. Not only was it rewarding to give back to the bands but we were also able to put our name out into another community. We were so glad to be able to support another local group that has impacted the lives of so many students at Algonquin High.

Another local event in the blue water area this holiday season was Marine City's Merrytime Christmas. This event celebrates not only this tight knit community but the small businesses that make it happen. Small, locally owned businesses that participate are able to sell their products and advertise to the community. There is caroling,food and much more! It's a great time for all of the businesses in the area to come together and celebrate the holidays.

Information on Flooding in a commercial Building

11/24/2017 (Permalink)

Rebuilding after a commercial building floods | Florida Flood Damage

There are all different types of commercial buildings, but they can all become victim to water damage. It’s important to keep up on maintenance to ensure your building withstands a full life. It’s better to be cautious about the elements then to have to deal with thousands of dollars in repairs from putting off a leak. A good source to find out if there’s something wrong with your building is to listen to your tenants. The complaints are a good indication that there could be some sort of a problem. If there is complaints about mustiness there could be a mold problem. Frequent problems of water in work stations could be a sign of roof or piping problems.

Rebuilding after a commercial building floods | Florida Flood Damage

There are other precautions you should take monthly to insure that your building is in top shape. Inspect plumping draining system to insure their not clogged or damaged. Test basement sump pumps to make sure its pumping out water. Directing irrigation and draining systems away from the foundation can help stop basements from flooding.  Even the most well maintained and operated buildings can experience water damage. Following these tips can help minimize the event of water damage happening to your building.

Why choose SERVPRO for your Storm damage needs

11/24/2017 (Permalink)

Highly Trained Cleaning and Restoration Specialists | SERVPRO of Marine City/Romeo

Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s Corporate Training Facility to regular IICRC industry certifications, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property. Our training program includes the following:

  • IICRC Training
  • Employee Certification Training
  • Initial Franchise Training
  • e-Learnings
  • Continuing Education Classes

IICRC Training and Certification

The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) certifies and sets the standards for the cleaning and restoration industries. Our Professionals study IICRC standards and best practices in water restoration, fire restoration, mold remediation, carpet and upholstery cleaning, and other cleaning and restoration courses.

Employee Certification Training

The Employee Certification Training is a voluntary, self-paced program designed for SERVPRO Franchise employees. Certification is awarded after successful completion of course materials and an examination. Modules include:

  • Crew Training
  • Fire Restoration
  • Water Restoration
  • Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning

Initial Franchise Training

A 15-day hands-on course at the SERVPRO Corporate Training Facility is the foundation of the SERVPRO training program. This course is primarily for new Franchise owners and covers many restoration topics:

  • Fire Restoration
  • Water Restoration
  • Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning
  • Mold Mitigation

e-Learnings

All of our staff have access to web-based training. This voluntary program is designed to be an ongoing, self-paced coaching series for a Franchise's employees. Video presentations and support materials are followed by a knowledge test at the end of each module. This keeps our technicians and office staff up to speed on industry standards and the professional quality you expect.

Continuing Education Classes

SERVPRO of Marine City/Romeo offers both credit and noncredit courses for insurance agents, insurance adjusters, real estate professionals, and Franchise staff. These programs are designed to improve knowledge of emergency mitigation. Courses include:

  • Water Damage Restoration
  • Fire Damage Restoration
  • Understanding Mold in the Restoration Industry
  • Restorative Drying for Loss Control
  • Mitigation Awareness Response Seminar (non-credit course)