Recent Storm Damage Posts
National Preparedness Month is officially here!
September Is National Preparedness Month: What Are You Doing To Be Prepared?
September Is National Preparedness Month: What Are You Doing To Be Prepared?
National Preparedness Month
National Preparedness Month (NPM), recognized each September, provides an opportunity to remind us that we all must prepare ourselves and our families now and throughout the year. This NPM will focus on planning, with an overarching theme: Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How.
Take time to learn lifesaving skills − such as CPR and first aid, check your insurance policies and coverage for the hazards you may face, such as flood, earthquakes, and tornadoes. Make sure to consider the costs associated with disasters and save for an emergency. Also, know how to take practical safety steps like shutting off water and gas.
The devastating hurricanes and wildfires of 2017 reminded the nation of the importance of preparing for disasters. Often, we will be the first ones in our communities to take action after a disaster strikes and before first responders arrive, so it is important to prepare in advance to help yourself and your community.
2018 Weekly Themes
- Week 1: Sept 1-8 Make and Practice Your Plan
- Week 2: Sept 9-15* Learn Life Saving Skills
- Week 3: Sept 16-22 Check Your Insurance Coverage
- Week 4: Sept 23-29 Save For an Emergency
- September 15 is a National Day of Action
Graphics, Videos, and Related links
Check out tips and ideas to promote preparedness. For more engaging messages, attach appropriately sized graphics for specific social media platforms (e.g. Twitter, Facebook) and add emoji’s.
Social Media Content
Week 1: September 1-8- Make and Practice Your Plan
Social Media Content
- Disasters don’t plan ahead. You can. Make an emergency plan today & practice it: www.ready.gov/plan#PrepareNow #NatlPrep
- Preparing your family for an emergency is as simple as a conversation over dinner. Get started with tips from www.ready.gov #PrepareNow #NatlPrep
- Does your family have a fire escape plan? Make one today & practice two ways out of every room. #PrepareNow #NatlPrep
- Practice your fire escape plan by having a home fire drill at least twice a year with everyone in the home. #PrepareNow #NatlPrep
- Download a group texting app so your entire crew can keep in touch before, during & after an emergency. #NatlPrep #PrepareNow
- Practice evacuating in the car with your animals, so they’re more comfortable if you need to evacuate in an emergency. #NatlPrep #PrepareNow
- Disasters don't plan ahead, but you can #PrepareNow. Get the @fema app with weather alerts for up to 5 locations: www.fema.gov/mobile-app #NatlPrep
- Sign up for local emergency alerts in your area by searching online. #NatlPrep
- Contact your water and power companies to get on a “priority reconnection service” list of power-dependent customers if you rely on electrical medical equipment. #PrepareNow
- #PrepareNow. Find out if laws in your state permit pharmacists to dispense a 30-day refill of medications in an emergency.
Week 2: September 9-15-Learn Life Saving Skills
- Know basic home maintenance to protect your family and home. Learn how to mitigate your home against flood damage, or protect against the impacts of earthquakes.
- Learn how to turn off utilities like natural gas in your home.
- Put smoke alarms on every level of your home, test them monthly, and replace them when they are 10 years old.
- Know the ways to keep your home safe from cooking, heating & electrical fires.
- On National Day of Action, Saturday, September, 15, hold a preparedness event. Some examples of events might be hosting a CPR class or Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training at your business, school, or house of worship; or volunteering with a local disaster response or recovery agency.
Social Media Content
- Keep your family safe. Install natural gas detectors throughout your house.#PrepareNow #NatlPrep
- Commit to learning and sharing life-saving emergency skills with the #UntilHelpArrives training http://go.usa.gov/x5Xcm #PrepareNow
- What’s deadly, colorless, and odorless? Carbon monoxide. Protect your family by installing a carbon monoxide detector. #PrepareNow #NatlPrep
- Do you know how to turn off the gas in your home? Learn how to in case you ever have a gas emergency in your home. #NatlPrep
- Be prepared for a power outage by having enough food, water, & meds to last for at least 72 hours: www.ready.gov/kit #PrepareNow
- Whether you need batteries for your remote or flashlight, always make sure you have spare batteries handy in an emergency: www.ready.gov/kit #PrepareNow #NatlPrep
- Never use candles for emergency lighting. Use flashlights and stock up on extra batteries. #PrepareNow #NatlPrep
- Do you have emergency supplies? Get ahead of the next storm or wildfire by making sure you’re ready in case you are asked to leave your home: www.ready.gov/kit #PrepareNow
- Replace all home smoke alarms when they are 10 years old. #PrepareNow #NatlPrep
- Put smoke alarms on every level of your home and test them monthly. #PrepareNow #NatlPrep
- Keep anything that can catch fire away from your stovetop. #PrepareNow #NatlPrep
- Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet from your furnace, water heater, and other heat-generating equipment. #PrepareNow #NatlPrep
- Have chimneys and vents cleaned and inspected by a qualified professional at least once a year to prevent home fires. #PrepareNow #NatlPrep
- Practice how to “Drop down onto your hands and knees. Cover your head and neck with your arms. Hold on to any sturdy covering until the shaking stops. More info at www.ready.gov/earthquake#PrepareNow
- Do you know what to do when an emergency happens? Learn actions to save a life #UntilHelpArrives: https://community.fema.gov/until-help-arrives #PrepareNow
- Giving CPR to a person struck by lightning can save their life. Learn how to perform Hands-Only and how to use an AED to prepare for a health emergency. #PrepareNow
Week 3: Sept 16-22-Check Your Insurance Coverage
- Insurance is the first line of defense; check your insurance coverage and review the Document and Insure Property guide.
- Flood Insurance allows communities and families to recover more quickly and more fully. Visit Floodsmart.gov to learn more about flood insurance and how to protect your home or business.
Insured Survivor Video Testimonials
- US Army Sgt. Boggs almost lost everything during Hurricane #Irma. Flood insurance gave him the financial protection he needed after the storm. Learn more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrEP2H_Lnf0 #FloodSmart #NatlPrep
- Jeff’s daughter was just one week old when Hurricane #Harvey hit. Flood insurance helped his young family get back in their home and back to their life. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTB30uqgPNo#FloodSmart #NatlPrep
- “Having flood insurance meant having one thing less to worry about.” Rupi Prasad lost almost everything in Hurricane #Harvey. Flood insurance is helping her get back to her home and get back to retirement. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmE4GQkfd0w #NatlPrep
- With flood insurance, John and Michelle Tipton are rebuilding their home safer and stronger after Hurricane Matthew. Flood insurance is worth the investment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmE4GQkfd0w #FloodSmart #NatlPrep
Social Media Content
- Flooding can be an emotionally and financially devastating event. Just one inch of water can cause $25,000 in damage to your home. #PrepareNow #Floodsmart
- Approximately 80% of households impacted by Hurricane Harvey last year did not have flood insurance. Don’t become a statistic. Learn more about your flood risk: www.floodsmart.gov #NatlPrep #FloodSmart
- Most homeowners’ and renters’ insurance does not cover flood damage. Learn more about flood insurance at www.floodsmart.gov #PrepareNow #FloodSmart
- #PrepareNow. Snap photos of important documents and personal belongings to help you quickly file a claim after a flood: https://youtu.be/i3MfRpND5gk #NatlPrep
- Hurricanes bring heavy rains that may cause flooding. Think about buying flood insurance before the storm. www.floodsmart.gov #NatlPrep #FloodSmart
- Floods are the most common and costly natural disaster in the U.S. Are you protected? Check your insurance policy today #NatlPrep #FloodSmart
- 30 Days: The number of days it takes for most flood insurance policies to go into effect. Don’t wait until it’s too late! www.floodsmart.gov #PrepareNow #FloodSmart
- Anywhere it rains, it can flood. Learn more about how flood insurance can help protect the life you’ve built. #NatlPrep #FloodSmart
- Find out if you live in a flood prone area and how flood insurance can lessen the cost to your family by visiting: www.floodsmart.gov. #NatlPrep #FloodSmart
- At least 25% of small businesses never reopen following a disaster. Purchase flood insurance to protect your business. #NatlPrep #FloodSmart
Week 4: Sept 23-30-Save For an Emergency
Social Media Content
- What important documents should you have for an emergency? The Emergency Financial First Aid Kit explains them all: https://go.usa.gov/xNhp6 #PrepareNow
- How will you pay your bills if a disaster strikes? Disasters don’t plan ahead, #PrepareNow: www.ready.gov/financial-preparedness #NatlPrep
- Over 40 percent of all Americans don’t have $400 in savings according to the Federal Reserve. What will you do if there is a disaster? Learn how you become more prepared:www.ready.gov/financial-prepaaredness #PrepareNow
- Keep some cash on hand in case of emergencies. #NatlPrep
- You will have expenses like lodging, food, and gas, after a disaster. Are you prepared? #PrepareNow www.ready.gov/financial-preparedness #NatlPrep
- Are you prepared for a flood? Floods are the nation’s most common and costly natural disaster, causing billions of dollars in damage each year. #PrepareNow. Get tips: www.floodsmart.gov #FloodSmart
- The Emergency Financial First Aid Kit is a tool to help you and your family collect and secure the documents you would need if there was a disaster. www.ready.gov/financial-preparedness#PrepareNow #NatlPrep
- Set aside a small amount from each paycheck to go into your savings account.Find more tips to help you manage your money to be prepared for the unexpected: https://www.usa.gov/flec #NatlPrep
- Only about half of all Americans have an emergency fund. This gives them the money needed to help with increased expenses after a disaster. Get tips about creating a fund: https://www.usa.gov/flec#PrepareNow
- Do you know the help your community provides if there is a disaster? Search online today. #NatlPrep #PrepareNow
- Make digital copies of important documents and save them on the cloud or a secure cell phone app in case disaster strikes. #NatlPrep
- Flooding can be an emotionally and financially devastating event. Just one inch of water can cause $25,000 in damage to your home. To learn more visit www.FloodSmart.gov #FloodSmart #PrepareNow
Insurance tips for storm damage
Insurance tips for storm damage
If your home or business has experienced storm damage and you are unsure on how to actually seek help in this sort of process or you are unsure if you are even covered for such loss, please remain calm. We understand this process may be frightening at first, but there are several professionals that can and will assist you during this process. If you need immediate help, please contact SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County, by calling 847-516-1600. We are willing to help you through this process, but for general tips and best practices, please follow the outline below provided by United Policy Holders and what they tell their clients during the process of storm aftermath.
What to do before and during a severe storm:
- If you live on or at the foot of a hillside, place sandbags around the perimeter of your home.
- Place rolled up towels along the inside of exterior doors to prevent water from getting in.
- Do your best to keep your gutters clear but stay safe throughout the storm.
- Move valuables and items up from lower levels and away from doors and windows.
- Find a copy of your insurance policy. Check the wording on water damage and the amount of your deductible
- Use the free UPHelp Home Inventory App to photo document key features of your home that could be damaged (windows, siding, roof and interior) and your possessions.
What to do after the storm:
- If your home was damaged, focus on creating a scope of everything that was damaged and what it will cost to repair or replace.
- To keep a clean record and avoid premium increases, don't file a claim until you review your policy and you think your loss will exceed your deductible and be covered. Read: To claim or not to claim...
- If the damage was sudden and accidental and triggered by the storm, don't accept a claim denial argument from your insurer or agent that it was due to faulty construction or maintenance. The insurer cashed your premium checks and insured your property "as is".
- If you file a claim and your insurer rejects it, make sure you get a clear and detailed explanation of their position. Read: www.uphelp.org/speakUP. Claim and coverage disputes are rarely as clear cut as your insurer makes them out to be.
- The answer to whether your town or city will pay to repair flooding damage to your home is..."it depends."
United Policy Holders
Prepare for Spring Storms
Tornadoes can occur during spring storms.
Tornadoes can occur during spring storms.
Spring is the time of year when many things change—including the weather. Temperatures can swing back and forth between balmy and frigid. Sunny days may be followed by a week of stormy weather. Sometimes extreme weather changes can occur even within the same day.
Thunderstorms cause most of the severe spring weather. They can bring lightning, tornadoes, and flooding. Whenever warm, moist air collides with cool, dry air, thunderstorms can occur. For much of the world, this happens in spring and summer.
Because spring weather is so unpredictable, you may be unprepared when severe weather hits—particularly if you live in a region that does not often experience thunderstorms, tornadoes, or flooding. And when severe weather hits unexpectedly, the risk of injury and death increases. So planning ahead makes sense; prepare for storms, floods, and tornadoes as if you know in advance they are coming, because in the spring, they very likely will.
Advance planning for thunderstorms, lightning, tornadoes, and floods requires specific safety precautions.
Keep an emergency kit on hand. Some items to include are:
- A battery-operated flashlight, a battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio, and extra batteries for both
- An emergency evacuation or shelter plan, including a map of your home and, for every type of severe weather emergency, routes to safety from each room
- A list of important personal information, including:
- telephone numbers of neighbors, family, and friends
- insurance and property information
- telephone numbers of utility companies
- medical information
- According to the American Red Cross a first aid kit may include:
- non-latex gloves
- assortment of adhesive bandages
- antibiotic ointment
- sterile gauze pads in assorted sizes
- absorbent compress dressings
- adhesive cloth tape
- aspirin packets (81 mg each)
- first aid instruction booklet
(NOTE: Customize your first aid kit to meet your individual and family needs.)
- A 3–5 day supply of bottled water and nonperishable food
- Personal hygiene items
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- An emergency kit[1.08 MB] in your car
American Red Cross
Emergency Survival Kit
SERVPRO survival kits in preparation for spring.
With spring approaching, Illinois weather can be extreme. Between major thunderstorms and wind storms it's important to have an emergency survival kit ready for when the power does go out! These kits can also be stored in cars, for when that thunderstorm or tornado approaches and requires you to take cover.
Keep in mind, doubling up on essentials like flashlights and radios is a smart move in case something malfunctions.
- Clean water is a great start
- Blankets, Sleeping Bag
- Additional clothes
- Non-perishable food that can be eaten warmed up or cold (if you pack anything that's perishable, make sure to regularly cycle it through to keep it fresh)
- 1-2 Flashlights with extra batteries
- Matches and small candles. Check to make sure there is a metal or some sort of containment for the wax!
- Any necessary medicines (check expiration dates).
- Medical supplies such as band-aides, gauze, Neosporin and rubbing alcohol.
- Lightweight tent
- Personal hygiene items
- Paper goods (napkins, plates, paper towels)
- Manual can opener
- AM/FM radio.
There's always more a person can add to their survival kit. This is a great starting point. If you do lose power during a thunderstorm, tornado, high winds or other damage can occur throughout your home. If that is the case, keep SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County in mind to help you through!
How to be ready for a thunderstorm
How to be ready for a thunderstorm
The American Red Cross created a great outline of how to prepare for severe thunderstorms. In the case of an emergency it always helps to be prepared.
- Learn about your local community’s emergency warning system for severe thunderstorms
- Discuss thunderstorm safety and lightning safety with all members of your household
- Pick a safe place in your home for household members to gather during a thunderstorm This should be away from windows, skylights and glass doors that could be broken by strong winds or hail
- Make a list of items to bring inside in the event of a severe thunderstorm
- Make trees and shrubbery more wind resistant by keeping them trimmed and removing damaged branches
- Protect your animals by ensuring that any outside buildings that house them are protected in the same way as your home
- Consult your local fire department if you are considering installing lightning rods
- Get trained in first aid and learn how to respond to emergencies
- Put together an emergency preparedness kit
- Review the Be Red Cross Ready - Thunderstorm Safety Checklist
Please contact SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County if you have any questions or need emergency service at 847-516-1600.
-Source: American Red Cross
To Claim or Not to Claim: THAT is the Question!
When faced with a water damage situation, either at home or commercially, one of the first questions to ask yourself is “Should I file a claim?” There are a number of reasons why this is an important factor to consider once you have the mitigation (cleanup) portion under control.
Of course, the first step with any water loss is to get help immediately to stop the source of the leak, BEFORE you mitigate the loss (get it cleaned up)!
By not acting fast, secondary damage can result in mold issues which may or may not be covered by your insurance policy. In Illinois, there are restrictions as to how much coverage will be offered for mold remediation. So regardless as to whether or not you decide to file a claim, it’s still of vital importance that you act fast. In fact, your insurance company might even try to use your lack of action against you and try to deny the claim because you waited too long & inadvertently caused more damage than otherwise would have been the case. So always pick up the phone and call a team like SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County right away.
Once the leak is stopped, it’s time to mitigate the loss and then evaluate the situation to determine if it’s actually worth it to file a claim with your insurance carrier. In many cases, smaller water damage losses can and should be paid out of pocket to save you money in the long run. Unless it’s very obvious that the claim is going to be a huge bill due to extensive damage, always take the time to weigh the pros & cons before you commit to filing a claim.
Don’t worry about having the work done before you call your carrier—they were going to tell you to get the work done ASAP anyway, and it’s YOUR CHOICE as the insured as to which vendor you choose to do the work.
First, request an estimate from the mitigation team—they should be able to give you some kind of ballpark dollar amount which you can use to weigh against your deductible as well as your total annual premium cost. Then, you’ll want to consider how much your premium cost stands to rise based on this new claim—you’ll want to contact your insurance agent who sold you the policy to discuss this with him/her. (Don’t bother trying to discuss this with an insurance adjuster, because they won’t be able to discuss premium rates with you).
In a nutshell, you need to try & calculate the cost for the loss to be cleaned up and repaired, versus your deductible and current/projected insurance premium. If it’s going to cost you less in the long run to just pay out of pocket, you’re better off not filing a claim. This is where the conversation with your agent comes into play—they can tell you how much your rates could be affected if you file a claim and show you on paper just how much money you stand to save over the course of time. This is largely dependent on the magnitude of the loss—if it’s obviously a huge water loss with extensive damage to the property, then filing a claim is the obvious choice. It’s the smaller incidents that might not prove worthy of filing a claim, because in the long run you might end up paying more in increased premiums than if you had just paid for the mitigation & repairs yourself. You’d be surprised how many people don’t stop for a moment & consider all these factors before picking up the phone and filing a claim.
Water damage losses, particularly in Illinois, are the most common type of claim filed by homeowners. They can get quite expensive depending on the severity of the loss. Insurance carriers have reacted to this trend by implementing new policies & lobbying for new laws by which YOU as the insured, carry a higher burden than you might expect: the claim can not only raise your rates for as long as you own the property, but depending on the insurance company, the claim could follow you even if/when you sell the property and buy a different property. Yes, you read that correctly: your premiums might be affected by a water loss at a different property than the one at which you filed the claim. A simple analogy would be that it can be much like getting a speeding ticket: the ticket affects your car insurance rates, and selling your car & buying a different one won’t make that speeding ticket go away. THIS is why it’s so important to take a moment to consider the long-term effects vs. the short-term gain. Ask yourself: “Should I file a claim?”
REMEMBER: regardless of whether or not you file a claim, keep in mind that you’re still going to have to get the work done by a professional reputable water mitigation team. SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County is available 24/7 to respond to your needs.
We hope this helps. We offer services ranging from water damage mitigation to mold remediation to fire/smoke damage. If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or are in need of immediate assistance at your home or place of business, call SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County at 847-516-1600—we’ll be happy to assist.
Resolve to be "READY" in 2018
With New Year’s Eve rapidly approaching, now is the perfect time to think of resolutions. While resolutions typically involve committing to personal changes and reaching goals, the single most important resolution that both business and homeowners can make for 2018 is to “Resolve to be Ready.”
Preparing in advance to deal with the unexpected can make a world of difference in how quickly and completely property owners can put the pieces of their lives back together. Emergency readiness plans are the foundation for effective and timely emergency response.
We would like to encourage all property owners, commercial or residential, to take advantage of the no-cost emergency planning tools available from FEMA, as well as SERVPRO’s Emergency READY Profile and READY Plan Mobile App.
- FEMA resources include guidelines for creating a Family Emergency Plan and Emergency Supply List, with additional tips for pet owners, seniors, people with disabilities, and even commuters.
- SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County offers their free SERVPRO READY Plan App, which stores critical contact and property information electronically in advance, where it can be accessed with a mobile device in seconds if disaster strikes.
For business owners:
- FEMA offers materials on topics ranging from creating a Business Continuity Plan to an Insurance Discussion Coverage Form in addition to guidelines for creating an Emergency Response Plan.
- SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County offers a no-cost facility assessment and assistance in creating a comprehensive Emergency READY Profile®(ERP). The ERP includes information about emergency contact numbers, priority and high/risk areas, shut-off valve locations and more that can be stored in the READY app.
The time to gather and store information like emergency contact numbers; insurance contacts; and location of shut-offs, fire suppression system controls, and such is before an emergency strikes, not during an emergency. Having this information at your fingertips can help emergency responders react as quickly and effectively as possible, helping to limit loss of property and even lives.
SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County specializes in disaster restoration, cleanup repair services, helping to remediate damage, making it “Like it never even happened,” for both commercial and residential customers. For more information on SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County the SERVPRO mobile app and the SERVPRO Emergency READY Program, please contact your local SERVPRO Restoration Consultants at 847-516-1600 or SP8666@sbcglobal.net.
Preparing for Winter Storms
Take some time this fall to check your home before the cold winter and snow comes!
More often than not, as homeowners, the last thing we want to do is home repairs. Not only do they take time (and many of us don't have a lot to spare), but they can also be costly and sometimes tedious. Small repairs such as changing a light bulb or fixing a leaky faucet can be put off until it is absolutely necessary to fix, but there are some repairs that should never be put off. Unfortunately, many of these involve major things (and can come with an even more major price tag), but avoiding the two repairs listed below could actually cause bigger problems down the road when the cold freezing temperatures and snow hit us shortly.
The foundation of your home is extremely important-it holds up your home's entire structure. Cracks in the foundation are definitely something not to overlook when it comes to repairs. The last thing you want as a homeowner is for a crack to spread. Checking your home's foundation in the fall will help prevent water from thawing snow or ice getting into your home in the spring.
Water anywhere other than in a pipe or sink basin is bad, especially for your home. Plumbing issues and leaks anywhere in your property should be addressed as soon as possible. Winter in the Chicago area is known for its below freezing temperatures. This can sometimes take a toll on the plumbing and pipes in your home. Checking them now will be a great step towards prevention.
Every home has a roof. This is one of the most important parts of any building because it protects what is inside. The roof is a major player when it comes to keeping up on repairs. If you notice any leaks, missing or damaged shingles/tiles or any kind of sagging this should be fixed as soon as possible. Leaks mean water will get into your home and then may lead to mold, structure damage and even possibly fire if it comes in contact with anything electrical. Missing or damaged shingles can lead to a number of issues if not fixed and create weak spots in a roof. A sagging roof could signify moisture in the attic and could be a sign of poor ventilation, broken or cracked joists, rafters or the ridge line itself.
Fireplaces and other indoor heating systems with poor maintenance can cause fire, puff-backs and smoke damage. A fireplace is beautiful and keeps your home warm with low electricity bills but without proper care it can cause a house fire. Clean chimneys and flutes on your fireplaces annually. Get your furnaces checked once a year and keep your space heaters 3 feet or the recommended length away from any flammable objects. This includes window blinds/curtains, furniture, bedding, and decorative rugs.
Here to Help®
In addition to the 121 local Franchises that are in the states affected by Hurricane Harvey, SERVPRO has a national network of over 1,700 Franchises across the country and our designated Disaster Recovery Teams have been deployed to the affected areas bringing hundreds of crews from across the nation to help.
Harvey made landfall late Friday night as a Major Hurricane at Category 4 strength. Impacts for Harvey are widespread and will continue for the next week at the very least, and our local SERVPRO Franchises and Disaster Recovery Teams are ready to respond to calls.
You Can Help By Making a Donation Today!
The American Red Cross is working around the clock along the Gulf Coast to help the thousands of people whose lives have been devastated by Tropical Storm Harvey.
Click HERE to make a donation
Floods and FEMA
FLOOD LOSSES and FEMA
I know we have got past of the worst of the flood season, but with all the talk of earthquakes, I thought this could be helpful.
Catastrophe situations typically involve numerous flood claims, making for brisk business for restoration companies like SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County. When a property owner states they have insurance, it would be wise to clarify if it is going to be a standard property claim, or insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). It is important to keep in mind that flood claims have to follow the rules of the Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) and there are some fairly significant differences from a standard homeowner’s policy.
Knowing the flood program rules can keep restorers like SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County from getting into hot water after a flood claim, especially if you are referred in by an agent. Nothing upsets a client or referring partner more than surprise charges the property owner must pay when, from the onset, everyone might have assumed it would be covered by the policy. While restorers like SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County know exactly what is required to be done to restore the property to pre loss condition, it is imperative that they know these standard procedures are not always covered by the SFIP -- which the flood adjuster must adhere to. There is no wiggle room when it comes to the SFIP, and it is important that the insured read their policy and coverage and make sure they understand the coverage and limitations, or contact their agent. When a restoration professional knows the rules, life becomes easier for all involved.
FEMA produced a lengthy memo outlining what is allowed and what is not when it comes to restoration expenses after a flood loss. The memo is titled W-13025a and a quick web search will produce it. With this in mind, the following list represents a portion of some of the major points every restorer must know before beginning work on a flood claim using an SFIP policy. Refer to the memo for a full listing.
- Water extraction from wet carpet is not covered by the SFIP. If your estimate lists water extraction as a line item, it will not be allowed for coverage. It is assumed the extraction cost is included in the cost to remove wet carpet, so restorers must include that cost in the removal line item.
- Restorers must provide complete daily drying logs with their invoice. This includes readings of affected and non-affected areas, equipment outputs, and material readings, documenting the drying process. Without proper drying logs, flood adjusters are only able to pay the reasonable costs that should have been incurred via calculations provided by FEMA.
- The SFIP will not pay for claims to dry building components that are typically removed as flood water is considered category three. The removal of carpet and drywall affected by flooding is a typical example. All wet materials must be removed prior to installing drying equipment or the equipment charges will not be allowed.
Warning Systems – Wireless & Siren Alerts
Tornado in McHenry County
The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is a national public warning system that requires broadcasters, cable television systems, wireless cable systems, satellite digital audio radio service (SDARS) providers, and direct broadcast satellite (DBS) providers to provide the communications capability to the President to address the American public during a national emergency. The system also may be used by state and local authorities to deliver important emergency information, such as AMBER alerts and weather information targeted to specific areas.
What should I do when I hear the sirens?
When you hear tornado sirens, go inside and tune to local media to get more information.
Why can’t I hear the sirens in my house?
Sirens are an outdoor warning system designed only to alert those who are outside that something dangerous is approaching.
How can I get alerts when I’m at work or in my house?
For alerts indoors, every home and business should have a NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards. NOAA Weather Radio is like a smoke detector for severe weather, and it can wake you up when a warning is issued for your area so you can take appropriate action.
When are sirens tested?
Sirens are tested according to local community policies. This policy in the Chicagoland area is the system is tested every Tuesday at 10am.
Why don’t the outdoor warning sirens sound an all-clear signal?
People should be indoors and monitoring local media for updates on the storm.
Will the sirens warn me of every dangerous storm?
The safest approach is to be proactive and use all of the information available to protect yourself and your family from threatening weather. Nothing can replace common sense. If a storm is approaching, the lightning alone is a threat. Sirens are only one part of a warning system that includes preparation, NOAA Weather Radio, and local media.
Who activates the sirens?
Sirens are typically activated by city or county officials, usually a police or fire department or emergency management personnel. Check with your city or county officials to learn more.
Wireless Emergency Alerts
During an emergency, alert and warning officials need to provide the public with life-saving information quickly. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs), made available through the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) infrastructure, are just one of the ways public safety officials can quickly and effectively alert and warn the public about serious emergencies.
What you need to know about WEAs:
- WEAs can be sent by state and local public safety officials, the National Weather Service, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the President of the United States
- WEAs can be issued for three alert categories – imminent threat, AMBER, and presidential
- WEAs look like text messages, but are designed to get your attention and alert you with a unique sound and vibration, both repeated twice
- WEAs are no more than 90 characters, and will include the type and time of the alert, any action you should take, as well as the agency issuing the alert
- WEAs are not affected by network congestion and will not disrupt texts, calls, or data sessions that are in progress
- Mobile users are not charged for receiving WEAs and there is no need to subscribe
- To ensure your device is WEA-capable, check with your service provider
NOAA All-Weather Radio
If you don’t have a NOAA Weather Radio, there are other methods for receiving forecasts, watches and warnings from the National Weather Service. Tune in to your local radio and television stations for the latest news and updates on the situation, and visit weather.gov for information about weather radios and other online services.
All individuals living or working in tornado-prone areas should have a weather radio inside their home or place of work. A weather radio is particularly important for those living in an area that does not have storm warning sirens. All-weather radios broadcast National Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts, and other hazard information 24 hours a day, and post-event information for all types of hazards, both natural and technological.
NOAA Weather Radios are available at electronics stores across the country and range in cost from $25 to $100 or more, depending on the quality of the receiver and number of features. The NWS does not endorse any particular make or model of receiver.
What to Look for in a NOAA Weather Radio
- The most desirable feature is an alarm tone. This allows you to have the radio turned on but silent, listening for a special tone that is broadcast before watch and warning messages that give immediate information about a life-threatening situation.
- Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) technology, a feature available since the mid-1990s, is capable of providing detailed, area-specific information. Unlike other NOAA Weather Radios, the SAME feature will filter out alerts that do not affect your immediate area.
- It should operate on batteries during times when electrical service may be interrupted. Look for radios with an AC adapter and battery compartment.
- The radio should be tunable to all seven NWR frequencies. For the latest list of frequencies and transmitter locations, check the NOAA Weather Radio website.
- The hearing and visually impaired can receive watches and warnings by connecting weather radio alarms to other kinds of attention-getting devices, such as strobe lights, pagers, bed-shakers, personal computers, and text printers.
Please be safe during these times of possible disaster. If a disaster does occur call SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County at 847-516-1600.
Be Storm Ready, Be Storm Smart!
Down Trees From Storm Event
Severe weather can happen anytime, anywhere. Each year, Americans cope with an average of the following intense storms:
- 10,000 severe thunderstorms
- 5,000 floods or flash floods
- 1,000 tornadoes
- 2 land falling deadly hurricanes
Approximately 98 percent of all presidentially declared disasters are weather-related, leading to around 500 deaths per year and nearly $15 billion in damage. Knowing your risk of severe weather, taking action and being an example are just a few steps you can take to be better prepared to save your life and assist in saving the lives of others.
Know Your Risk. The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you, your business and family. Check the weather forecast regularly, obtain a NOAA Weather Radio, and learn about Wireless Emergency Alerts. Severe weather comes in many forms and your shelter plan should include all types of local hazards.
Take Action. Take the next step in severe weather preparedness by creating a communications plan for your home and business. Put together or purchase an emergency kit. Keep important papers and valuables in a safe place.
Be an Example. Once you have taken action to prepare for severe weather, share your story with co-workers and family and friends on Facebook or Twitter. Your preparedness story will inspire others to do the same.
Build an Emergency Kit
- Water (one galloon per person per day)
- Food (non-perishable 3-day supply)
- Manual can opener
- Battery operated radio, preferably a NOAA Weather Radio
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust makes or bandanas
- Plastic sheeting, garbage bags and duct tape
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Hygiene items
- Important documents; copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account information
If you have any questions please contact SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County at 847-516-1600
Checking Your Home: Structural Elements
Checking Your Home: Structural Elements
From The American Red Cross
If you had to leave your home, return only when local authorities advise that it is safe to do so. Do not cut or walk past colored tape that was placed over doors or windows to mark damaged areas unless you have been told that it is safe to do so. If a building inspector has placed a color-coded sign on the home, do not enter it until you get more information, advice and instructions from your local authorities.
If you have children, leave them with a relative or friend while you conduct your first inspection of your home after the disaster. The site may be unsafe for children, and seeing the damage firsthand may upset them even more and cause long-term effects, including nightmares.
Make a careful and thorough inspection of your home’s structural elements:
- Check the outside of your home before you enter. Look for loose power lines, broken or damaged gas lines, foundation cracks, missing support beams or other damage. Damage on the outside can indicate a serious problem inside. Ask a building inspector or contractor to check the structure before you enter.
- If the door is jammed, don’t force it open – it may be providing support to the rest of your home. Find another way to get inside.
- Sniff for gas. If you detect natural or propane gas, or hear a hissing noise, leave the property immediately and get far away from it. Call the fire department after you reach safety.
- If you have a propane tank system, turn off all valves and contact a propane supplier to check the system out before you use it again.
- Beware of animals, such as rodents, snakes, spiders and insects, that may have entered your home. As you inspect your home, tap loudly and often on the floor with a stick to give notice that you are there.
- Damaged objects, such as furniture or stairs, may be unstable. Be very cautious when moving near them. Avoid holding, pushing or leaning against damaged building parts.
- Is your ceiling sagging? That means it got wet – which makes it heavy and dangerous. It will have to be replaced, so you can try to knock it down. Be careful: wear eye protection and a hard hat, use a long stick, and stand away from the damaged area. Poke holes in the ceiling starting from the outside of the bulge to let any water drain out slowly. Striking the center of the damaged area may cause the whole ceiling to collapse.
- Is the floor sagging? It could collapse under your weight, so don’t walk there! Small sections that are sagging can be bridged by thick plywood panels or thick, strong boards that extend at least 8–12 inches on each side of the sagging area.
- If the weather is dry, open windows and doors to ventilate and/or dry your home.
- If power is out, use a flashlight. Do not use any open flame, including candles, to inspect for damage or serve as alternate lighting.
- Make temporary repairs such as covering holes, bracing walls, and removing debris. Save all receipts.
- Take photographs of the damage. You may need these to substantiate insurance claims later.
Stay Safe from Summer Storms
While the spring season is known for the potential to experience severe weather, the threat exists throughout the summer months as well. In fact, the potential for severe weather even increases in some areas. Thunderstorm season in the Midwest begins June 1st and runs through September 30th.
While it may be difficult to prepare for the unpredictable, there are steps you can take now to ensure you are ready when disaster strikes. Consider the following tips when preparing for an approaching storm.
SERVPRO of Southern McHenry County 847-516-1600
Before the Storm Build an emergency supply kit and develop a communication plan. Unplug your electrical devices like your computer, or television. Secure objects that could easily be blown away in a storm. When you see the storm coming don't watch the storm and all of its fury, find shelter inside or in your hard top vehicle (avoid convertibles).
During the Storm Use your battery operated NOAA Weather Radio for updates from your local officials, for more information on weather radios. Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords, including corded telephones. Cordless and cellular devices should be safe. Unplug anything you don't want damaged as a result of the storm. Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage. While staying away from windows and doors, remember that plumbing fixtures can conduct electricity.
After the Storm Don’t ever drive through flooded roadways. Stay away from downed power lines, and storm damaged areas to keep from putting yourself in harm’s way. Report any downed power line to your electric supplier immediately.
Flood Warnings What do they mean?
Lately there has been flooding all over the United States: if you are unfamiliar with the difference between a flash flood warning, flood warning, and flood advisory; then read below!
What is the difference between a Flood Watch and a Flood Warning issued by the National Weather Service?
- Flash Flood Warning: Take Action! A Flash Flood Warning is issued when a flash flood is imminent or occurring. If you are in a flood prone area move immediately to high ground. A flash flood is a sudden violent flood that can take from minutes to hours to develop. It is even possible to experience a flash flood in areas not immediately receiving rain.
- Flood Warning: Take Action! A Flood Warning is issued when the hazardous weather event is imminent or already happening. A Flood Warning is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring.
- Flood Watch: Be Prepared: A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for a specific hazardous weather event to occur. A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding. It does not mean flooding will occur, but it is possible.
- Flood Advisory: Be Aware: An Flood Advisory is issued when a specific weather event that is forecast to occur may become a nuisance. A Flood Advisory is issued when flooding is not expected to be bad enough to issue a warning. However, it may cause significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised, it could lead to situations that may threaten life and/or property.
Information from http://www.floodsafety.noaa.gov/