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How to identify common types of mold in your household

11/21/2017 (Permalink)

How to identify common types of mold in your household

Mold is an unwanted fungus. Untreated mold is a common problem in the average household. Do you know what type of mold you’re looking at?

Why bother with a Professional Remediation Company?

You may be able to clean up certain kinds of mold in small quantities, but most people are not equipped to perform a proper mold remediation no matter what the size. Simply wiping down the evidence is not good enough. Mold removal can involve setting up containment barriers, use of commercial size air filtration devices, wearing proper personal protective equipment, vacuums, and specialized cleaning agents. So give the SERVPRO team a call today at 440-887-9000. SERVPRO specializes in the cleanup and restoration or residential and commercial properties.

Alternaria

Alternaria grows in damp spaces, like showers and under sinks with leaky pipes. It sometimes grows in carpets that have been damp for a while, too. However, it can grow in areas with only minimal moisture. It can be found outdoors as well as indoors and spreads easily.

Cladosporium

Cladosporium grows on both wooden surfaces and fabrics, like carpeting. It can also be found outdoors, where it mainly grows on plant material. It typically enters the house through HVAC systems or simply through open windows or doorways.

Penicillium

Penicillium is frequently found in things like insulation, carpeting, wallpaper and rotting fabrics (things like old mattresses, couch cushions, etc.). It’s known to spread rapidly and easily from one place to another. It’s one of the most common of all the different types of mold, and is actually the substance from which the antibiotic penicillin is made.

Stachybotrys chartarum

Stachybotrys chartarum, sometimes referred to as “black mold” due to its slimy black appearance, typically grows in places with continuous moisture, like around a leaky pipe or in air conditioning ducts where there is a great deal of condensation. It can spread to other areas, though. Laboratory tests can determine which mold type you have in your house, but it may not really matter. Any type of mold that’s obvious to you needs to be removed. You may be able to remove small amounts of mold yourself, but we suggest you have a mold removal specialist assess the situation for you.

Article source: http://smkazoo.com/2017/04/28/how-to-identify-5-common-types-of-mold-in-your-household/ and https://www.black-mold-guide.com/types-of-mold.html

You can control mold. Mold prevention tips

11/21/2017 (Permalink)

You Can Control Mold

Inside your home you can control mold growth by:

Controlling humidity levels;

Promptly fixing leaky roofs, windows, and pipes;

Thoroughly cleaning and drying after flooding;

Ventilating shower, laundry, and cooking areas.

Mold growth, which often looks like spots, can be many different colors, and can smell musty. If you can see or smell mold, a health risk may be present. You do not need to know the type of mold growing in your home, and CDC does not recommend or perform routine sampling for molds. No matter what type of mold is present, you should remove it. Since the effect of mold on people can vary greatly, either because of the amount or type of mold, you can not rely on sampling and culturing to know your health risk. Also, good sampling for mold can be expensive, and standards for judging what is and what is not an acceptable quantity of mold have not been set. The best practice is to remove the mold and work to prevent future growth.

MOLD PREVENTION TIPS

Keep humidity levels as low as you can—no higher than 50%–all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. Bear in mind that humidity levels change over the course of a day with changes in the moisture in the air and the air temperature, so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day.

Be sure your home has enough ventilation. Use exhaust fans which vent outside your home in the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home.

Fix any leaks in your home’s roof, walls, or plumbing so mold does not have moisture to grow.

Clean up and dry out your home thoroughly and quickly (within 24–48 hours) after flooding.

Add mold inhibitors to paints before painting.

Clean bathrooms with mold-killing products.

Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried promptly. Consider not using carpet in rooms or areas like bathrooms or basements that may have a lot of moisture.

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

How to prevent a Turkey Fryer Fire. Safety Tips

11/21/2017 (Permalink)

How to prevent a Turkey Fryer Fire. Safety Tips

It's hard to beat the speed of deep-frying a turkey-or the irresistible flavor and juiciness that result. But turkey fryers have the potential to cause fire and serious injury, which is why organizations like Underwriters Laboratories and the National Fire Protection Association advise against using them.

If you plan to deep-fry your holiday bird, be sure you know how to safely use the fryer, and take these precautions to protect yourself, your guests and your home:

  1. Keep outdoor fryers off decks, out of garages and a safe distance away from trees and other structures.
  2. Make sure the turkey is thawed and dry before cooking. Ice or water that mixes into the hot oil can cause flare-ups.
  3. Watch the weather. Never operate a fryer outdoors in the rain or snow.
  4. Place the fryer on a level surface, and avoid moving it once it's in use.
  5. Leave 2 feet between the tank and the burner when using a propane-powered fryer.
  6. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to avoid overfilling. Oil can ignite when it makes contact with the burner.
  7. Choose a smaller turkey for frying. A bird that's 8 to 10 pounds is best; pass on turkeys over 12 pounds.
  8. Never leave fryers unattended.
  9. Purchase a fryer with temperature controls, and watch the oil temperature carefully. Cooking oil that is heated beyond its smoke point can catch fire. If you notice the oil is smoking, turn the fryer off.
  10. Turn off the burner before lowering the turkey into the oil. Once the turkey is submerged, turn the burner on.
  11. Wear goggles to shield your eyes, use oven mitts to protect your hands and arms and keep a grease-rated fire extinguisher close by.
  12. Skip the stuffing when frying turkey, and avoid water-based marinades.
  13. Keep children and pets away from the fryer at all times.
  14. Once finished, carefully remove the pot from the burner, place it on a level surface and cover to let the oil cool overnight before disposing.
  15. Opt for an oil-less fryer. This uses infrared heat, rather than oil, to cook the turkey.

Article source: https://www.statefarm.com/simple-insights/residence/15-turkey-fryer-safety-tips

How to Prevent Sump Pump Overflow in the Basement

11/21/2017 (Permalink)

How to Prevent Sump Pump Overflow in the Basement

We are now entering the time of year with the heaviest rainfall and many homeowners are concerned that their basements will flood.  Installing a sump pump in your basement is a great way to prevent floods during heavy rains, but there are a number of ways the sump pump can fail and eventually overflow.  The following are common problems that can cause sump pumps to overflow and the best solutions for solving these problems.  Keep in mind that you should unplug the sump pump from its power source before attempting to correct any of these problems.

The following tips will help prevent sump pump overflow in your basement:

  1. Debris in the Basin: Sometimes debris such as children’s toys and other household objects may fall into the basin and interrupt the float mechanism which can cause it to malfunction.  The float mechanism can also fail naturally over time.  To test this mechanism, fill up the basin with water to make sure the sump pump starts like it should.
  2. Check Valve: The check valve prevents water from going back into the sump pump in the event of a failure.  Make sure to check this valve because it is not always installed properly; the arrow should be pointing away from the sump pump.
  3. Weep Hole: Sometimes sump pumps may have a weep hole between the pump and the check valve.  You can clean the weep hole with a tiny object such as a toothpick, just be careful not to break anything off in the hole.
  4. Clean the Impeller: The impeller is a small filter that may become clogged and when this happens it can cause the sump pump to suddenly stop running or make a whining noise.  Cleaning or replacing the impeller can get the sump pump to function properly again.
  5. Back Up Power Source: Sump pumps are only useful when plugged into a power source and if the power goes out during a thunderstorm, the sump pump will stop working.  Installing a backup power source for the sump pump is the best way to prevent this from happening in the middle of a thunderstorm when the sump pump is needed the most.

As the season of heavy rains arrives, make sure to check your sump pump for these potential problems so that you are prepared when it rains.  If your home does experience some flooding due to heavy rain fall or a sump pump failure, make sure to call the professionals SERVPRO today to help limit the damages.

Article source: http://restorationmasterfinder.com/restoration/how-to-prevent-sump-pump-overflow/

Prepare for Spring Weather

5/12/2017 (Permalink)

Spring weather can be unpredictable. Reduce injury risk and plan ahead

 

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. Mark Twain once said, "In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours."

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.

Often by the time we are aware of an approaching storm, we have little if any time to prepare for it.

Advance planning for thunderstorms, lightning, tornadoes, and floods requires specific safety precautions. You can follow many of the same steps that you would for all extreme weather events. 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
    • tweezers
    • scissors
    • 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 in your car

Prepare your family members for the possibility of severe weather. Tell them where to seek appropriate shelter as soon as they are aware of an approaching storm. Practice your emergency plan for every type of severe weather. Show family members where the emergency supplies are stored, and make sure they know how to turn off the water, gas, and electricity in your home.

Often by the time we are aware of an approaching storm, we have little if any time to prepare for it. But we do know that when spring arrives, thunderstorms, tornadoes, and floods are real possibilities. So why not take the surprise factor out of severe weather and prepare yourself, your family, and your home? If thunderstorms, tornadoes, and floods do occur, you'll be ready for them.

 

 

blog credit:https://www.cdc.gov/features/springweather/

photo credit: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91jFL7vwP%2BL._SX700_.jpg

Free Family Summer Activities

5/12/2017 (Permalink)

Because if Anyone Needs a Time Out, it’s Your Wallet

Listen, we’ve been there. Family vacations can be an exercise in personal sanity for many parents. There’s the mini-van that took hours to pack, the endless Elmo videos playing on the DVD player, the fear of the impending temper tantrum and the desire to just have a vacation everyone will love.

But the need to spend an arm and a leg shouldn’t be on that list.

Thankfully, a visit to Cleveland ensures that you’ll get a fun (for kids AND parents) vacation that won’t require you to refinance your home. The city offers a series of free – yes we said “FREE” – family-friendly summertime events, attractions and activities that strike the perfect balance of cool and no-cost experiences.

Browns Training Camp
So, who is this Johnny Manziel anyway? And, why is my kid so obsessed with seeing him play? Head on over to the Cleveland Browns Training Facility in Berea, Ohio to watch Cleveland’s NFL team prep for the season. Watch the team gear up for the season on the outdoor training field at no cost.

Observatory Park
The Observatory Park, located in Geauga County, just 45 miles southeast of Cleveland, is a certified Dark Sky Park (it’s only one of nine in the entire world). This 1,100-acre park inhibits light pollution to create an unbelievably starry sky. This means that kids and adults can learn about how galaxies and the natural world connect in a completely one-of-a-kind outdoor setting. Observatory Park has a variety of fascinating educational programming, an on-site planetarium, outdoor exhibits and telescopes.

University Circle

Parade the Circle
Don’t be alarmed when elaborate puppets standing two-stories high cross paths with a steel drum band being mobilized by only human feet. You’re at Parade the Circle, an uncanny mix of art and music coming alive right before your eyes. This completely family-friendly parade is void of anything you’d expect with a typical parade, but filled with a fantastic array of whimsy and one-of-a-kind art.

Rockefeller Greenhouse
An afternoon walk through the Rockefeller Greenhouse offers the right escape from the rigamarole of the typical vacation sights and sounds. The greenhouse features a wide variety of exotic gardens, flowers and other plants indigenous to Cleveland.

Museums

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland – Learning Center & Money Museum
Ever wondered how we bought things before money existed? And, who makes our money anyway? All these answer and more answered at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s Learning Center and Money Museum. Kids can get a look at the Money Tree where they can track counterfeit money and follow the history of money through the ages.

Cleveland Police Museum
Got a kid who loves to play cops and robbers? Delve into the history of Cleveland law enforcement at the Cleveland Police Museum—free of charge. See confiscated firearms, uniforms, artifacts and more from Cleveland’s past including things from the legendary crime fighter, Eliot Ness.

International Women’s Air and Space Museum
The International Women’s Air and Space Museum at Burke Lakefront Airport documents women’s past and present accomplishments and contributions to the fields of aviation and space. A collection of memorabilia and historical artifacts preserve the memory of women aviation pioneers.

Exploring History – Outdoors

Take a Hike Tours
Ever wanted to meet John D. Rockefeller? Well, here’s your chance. Take a Hike Tours are unique walking tours of downtown Cleveland that come “alive” with costumed characters from Cleveland’s past. Enjoy the beautiful Cleveland summer, walk off some of those vacation calories and get schooled on the history of this destination.

Stearns Homestead
Turn off the electronics and start learning about life before YouTube. Get up-close with farm animals and learn about agricultural life from the early 1900s. Stearns Homestead is a working farm complete with animals, museums, gardens and a display of historical farm and household items.

Lake View Cemetery
Taking your family to a cemetery may not initially seem like a great idea. But Lake View Cemetery is different. This incredible place is filled with sculpture, architecture and tributes to those who made great contributions to the area’s industrial and civic development. Lake View Cemetery counts J.D. Rockefeller and African American inventor Garrett Morgan among its famous residents. And here’s a tip: on a clear day stand atop the memorial for President James A. Garfield for a fantastic view of the city. While there, be sure to take a tour of Wade Oval Chapel and the Garfield Monument (where you can take the stairwell down to the basement to see Garfield’s tomb).

Amish Country?
Perhaps what our children need is an understanding of life without technology. Enter: Amish Country. Geauga County, located just a 40-minute drive from downtown Cleveland, offers families the opportunity to truly immerse themselves in this unique culture. Think: horse-drawn buggies, homemade pies, handmade goods and exceptional craftsmanship.

Music

Lakewood Front Porch Series?
Do the kids need to burn off some of that post-dinner energy? Head on over to the urban neighborhood of Lakewood to enjoy music on the front steps of the Lakewood Public Library. Entertainers range from jazz and indie music to early 60s Americana and folk music.

Blossom Music Festival
Each summer, the internationally renowned Cleveland Orchestra takes its talents south – to the Akron area that is. The orchestra performs outdoor summer concerts at Blossom Music Center, situated in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. While there’s a small admission fee for adults, kids under 18 years old are admitted free for lawn access. Pack the picnic basket, grab a blanket and enjoy a really cool repertoire of family-friendly music (The Wizard of Oz, The Little Mermaid, Sci-Fi, The Beatles).

Wade Oval Wednesdays
Every Wednesday this summer, enjoy live music in the heart of University Circle. Reggae, jazz, rock – Wade Oval Wednesdays (WOW) has it all. Bring a picnic basket or relax in the beer and wine garden with a great view of the stage. Great for little ones who need to let loose.

Convene With Nature

Many new visitors to Cleveland are often amazed by the impressive amount of natural greenspace the region has to offer. Take advantage! The Cleveland area has a number of nature centers that are FREE and perfect for kids. Why not learn a thing or two on summer vacation?

Cleveland Area Beaches?

While surfing in Ohio might sound crazy, the truth is that Cleveland offers a variety of accessible (and FREE) beaches along its Lake Erie coast with swimming, sailing, surfing and some of the best walleye, perch and bass fishing in the world. Check out some of these notable beaches:

 

blog credit: http://www.thisiscleveland.com/articles/view/free-family-summer-activities/742/

photo credit: http://www.redskeltonmuseum.org/sites/redskeltonmuseum.org/files/styles/top_image/public/parade%20pic_0.jpg?itok=OYuU8nCi

Winter Weather Damage

4/5/2017 (Permalink)

Winter and the snow and cold that it brings can do some serious damage to a home’s exterior.


There are several very common problems usually brought on by the winter months, including damage done to roofs, foundations and pipes.




 



Insurance agents can share this list with their clients to help them check their homes for damage and give them an idea of what the costs will be to remedy these common problems after winter:


 


1. The roof


Ice dams and winter storms can do a lot of damage to your roof.


An ice dam occurs when snow on the roof melts, runs to the edge and refreezes there, forcing water back up under the roof where it can cause leaks and shingles deterioration.


At the same time, high winds, hail and winter storms can tear off shingles or drive moisture beneath them, causing further damage.


If you’ve found leaks in your roof, you’ll need to repair them to help prevent a complete roof replacement.


Cost


The average cost to repair roof leaks on a 10 foot by 10 foot area of asphalt shingles is around $650.


The total costs range from $500 for simply replacing the shingles to $1,750 to repair and apply a sealant.


The costs to repair a tile roof are around $,1500 for damaged steel tiles.


The total costs for this type of repair range from $450 for repairing metal flashing to $8,000 if the underlayment needs replacing.


Money-saving tips



  • Minimize the damage to the roof by tacking a tarp over the damaged area until it can get repaired.

  • Remove ice dams as soon as possible to prevent water from backing up beneath the shingles and causing more damage.

  • Remove the snow on the roof as soon as possible to prevent new ice dams from forming and causing future problems.

  • Look into getting better attic insulation, as this will help to prevent ice dams in the future as well.


 


2. Gutters


Ice dams can do damage not only to your roof, but to gutters as well.


That’s because the heavy ice building up on the edge can pull gutters away from the roofline.


At the same time, water freezing inside the gutters and downspouts themselves can lead to separations in some areas, which means that they’ll need to be replaced.


 


Cost


The costs of gutter repair range from new downspouts to a complete gutter replacement.


The average cost of installing new downspouts is $160, with a total range of $4 for a do-it-yourself job to $160 for a medium-size house.


The average cost of installing new gutter guards to help prevent damage is $200 for do-it-yourself on 200 feet, with a range up to $3,600 for 200 feet of luxury product installed.


The average cost of replacing your gutters is between $1,050 and $2,400 for 200 feet, with total costs ranging from $625 for a do-it-yourself job to $2,400 for professional installation. Money-saving tips



  • You can help lower costs by cleaning the gutters before winter begins and removing ice dams in a timely way.

  • PVC gutters and downspouts cost less than aluminum or copper, but you should choose what best fits your house’s aesthetic.

  • Heating elements are available that can help melt ice in your gutters all winter long; you may want to invest in these while having repairs done to help prevent problems.

  • Gutter screens are the easiest thing to install do-it-yourself, which can save installation costs in the future as well.


 


3. House exterior


Cold, snow and hailstones can also take a toll on the outside of a house.



 


This can result in peeling paint, which if left long enough, could mean that your siding can become susceptible to moisture infiltrating it, which in turn can lead to wood rot and future repairs.


Repainting your exterior in the spring can help prevent these problems.


Cost


The average cost to paint a home’s exterior is between $2,500 to $3,000 for a 1,500-square-foot home.


The total costs range from $500 for a do-it-yourself paint job to $4,000 for homes that have a lot of trim and woodwork to paint.


Money-saving tips



  • Using multiple colors on your home can increase its aesthetic, but can also increase the total cost, as can having a lot of different architectural features or trim to paint.

  • Do-it-yourself jobs can save a lot of money. Be sure to scrape the existing surfaces well, then apply a primer and two coats of paint to avoid having to repaint again soon.

  • Aluminum siding and fiber cement can be painted to freshen up their colors and give a home a new look without replacing the siding.


 


4. Siding


If the paint has peeled enough on the siding of the house, moisture can begin to infiltrate, causing the wood to begin rotting.


In addition, hail stones or fallen tree limbs can damage siding, whether denting aluminum siding or cracking vinyl. Because the siding is a home’s first line of defense against the elements, it needs to be repaired in a timely way.


Cost


The average costs to repair siding range from $300 to $1,000, depending on the type of the siding being damaged, and the extent. Vinyl is the least expensive material to repair, as well as one of the easiest to do yourself, while aluminum is among the most expensive to repair with costs ranging from $500 to $900.


Money-saving tips



  • The cost to hire a carpenter to repair siding is around $40 to $50 an hour. If you are able to repair it yourself, you can usually save a considerable amount of money.

  • Both aluminum and vinyl are often replaced during repair jobs. Shop around to get a good color match so you don’t need to replace as large a section.

  • Repairing wood siding almost always will require the new section to be painted as well. Painting it yourself can help save on labor costs.


5. Driveway


A little known problem that can occur during the cold winter months is damage to a driveway.


Small cracks that develop naturally over time are the perfect place for water to collect. When that water freezes, it expands, causing what’s known as a frost heave. Frost heaves are responsible for large cracks, as well as potholes in your driveway, making just getting home a bumpy adventure.


 


Repaving your driveway can correct these issues and help prevent additional damage by eliminating those small cracks as well.


Cost


The average cost to pave a driveway in either gravel or asphalt ranges from $800 to $1,990 for a 38-foot by 16-foot driveway.


The total costs range from about $300 for a gravel do-it-yourself job to $14,880 for a driveway laid with brick pavers.


Money-saving tips



  • If you have a lot of curves or grades in your driveway, this can increase costs.

  • Sealing an existing driveway with tar can help prevent potholes and major cracks by filling up the smaller cracks before they have a chance to expand.

  • Gravel is a less expensive way to fill a driveway, but the small stones frequently get scraped away by plows, allowing rainwater to form potholes. Therefore, paving a driveway with asphalt may be a longer term solution, saving money in the long run.


6. The foundation


The same freeze/thaw cycle that causes cracks and potholes in a driveway can also affect a foundation.


Hairline cracks in the concrete of a foundation that develop naturally over time because of a home settling can expand during the winter months, causing major structural issues if they aren’t taken care of in a timely way.


Getting a foundation repaired in the spring can help prevent more problems from developing as time goes by.


Cost


 


The average cost to repair a foundation that has been badly damaged ranges from $5,000 to $7,000.


Costs can be affected by the need for an inspection, how widespread the damage is and what types of repairs that may needed. Small cracks that only require sealing can cost as little as a few hundred dollars, while major cracks will require more extensive work.


Money-saving tips



  • If you need extensive work done on the foundation, you may want to get at least three estimates from different repair companies to try to find the best pricing for the job.

  • Remember that landscaping may be affected by foundation work. Nearby shrubs or plants may need to be replaced after the work has been done.

  • Having a trench dug for a well pump at the same the foundation work is done can help prevent problems such as flooding.

  • Always inspect the foundation each spring and seal any minor cracks you find to help prevent more extensive work.



 


7. Trees


Your home isn’t the only area that can sustain damage during a winter storm. Trees in your yard can also take a hit.


Heavy snow and high winds can knock down tree limbs, taking out power lines, damaging siding, and generally making your landscaping look a mess.


Getting your trees trimmed can help prevent this type of damage, as well as keep your trees healthy and looking great.


Cost


The average cost of tree trimming is around $591 per tree, assuming a total of five trees to be trimmed at once.


Costs range from about $227 per tree for a do-it-yourself job to $709 per tree for large trees during peak trimming seasons. All costs should include the equipment necessary to do the job and hauling away the cut limbs.




Money-saving tips



  • If you have a large number of trees on your property, and are considering having some of them removed, you can sometimes get your trimming done for free by allowing the company to remove a certain number of trees for their own use.

  • To ensure that the work is done properly, always hire a company that is registered with the Tree Care Industry Association. Do not allow workers on your property that wear spike-soled shoes, as these can damage the trees.

  • Check with your utility company before hiring someone to do the job, as some companies will trim trees located near power lines at no cost to you.


Take care of your home


Winter damage can become worse over time if you don’t take care of it in a timely way. Always make sure to inspect your home in both the fall and in the spring to repair any damage that could affect your home’s condition. By taking care of minor issues before winter, you can help prevent larger ones, while taking care of any damage after the cold weather has passed can help your home be ready for anything.



 

Severe Spring Weather – Prepare with Red Cross Tips

3/31/2017 (Permalink)

Spring brings the threat of severe weather, which can mean heavy rain, flash flooding, damaging winds and tornadoes. The American Red Cross offers safety steps to follow if your area is affected.

 

 

FOLLOW THESE LIFESAVING SAFETY STEPS

 

TORNADOES Tornadoes can strike without warning and destroy a community in seconds. Before a tornado warning is issued for your area, here are some things you should do:

1. Know your community’s warning system.

2. Pick a place where family members can gather if a tornado is headed your way. It could be your basement or, if there is no basement, a center hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest floor. Keep this place uncluttered.

3. If you are in a high-rise building and don’t have enough time to go to the lowest floor, pick a place in a hallway in the center of the building.

4. Remove diseased and damaged limbs from trees.

5. Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile.

 

THUNDERSTORM SAFETY STEPS Thunderstorms injure an average of 300 people every year, and cause about 80 fatalities. Here are the top thunderstorm safety steps you should follow:

1. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately.

2. As the storm approaches, take shelter in a building.

3. If you are driving, pull off the roadway and park. Stay in the car with the windows closed and turn on the emergency flashers. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside of the vehicle.

4. If you are inside, unplug appliances and avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances. Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water for any other purpose.

5. If you are caught outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground, water, tall, isolated trees and metal objects such as fences or bleachers. Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are not safe.

 

FLOODING Heavy rains could fill rivers and streams, bringing flooding to the area. If your neighborhood is threatened with the possibility of flooding, here are some things you should do:

1. Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice. When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.

2. Stay away from floodwaters.

3. If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.

4. Keep children out of the water.

5. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.

 

People should download the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of tornadoes, flooding and other disasters, as well as locations of shelters. The App also includes emergency first aid information and a Family Safe feature which allows people to instantly see if loved ones are okay. The free Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.

 

blog credit: http://www.redcross.org/news/article/Follow-Red-Cross-Safety-Steps-If-Severe-Weather-Possible

photo credit: http://science.howstuffworks.com/nature/climate-weather/storms/science-of-storms.htm

How to protect your home from burglaries: Thieves tell all

3/6/2017 (Permalink)

Nicholas Kyriazis estimates he's burglarized at least 100 homes, maybe as many as 150. So who better to explain how to protect your home from burglaries?

TODAY national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen went inside the walls of New Jersey State Prison, where Kyriazis is serving a 70-year prison sentence, to get tips on how to keep your home from being a target for people like him:

10 Things a Burglar Doesn't Want You to Know

  • Have a neighbor collect your mail when you're away. Mail in the mailbox signals burglars that no one is home.
  • Leave your car outside. "If there's no cars in the driveway, there's a good chance there is no one home," Kyriazis said.
  • Thieves often strike in the morning. Kyriazis told Rossen he typically did burglaries between 8 a.m. and before 2 p.m. More than half of convicted burglars surveyed by WNBC in New York also said they target homes in the morning.
  • Don't assume an alarm system will protect you. "Alarm system alerts me that the people are not home when the alarm is turned on," Kyriazis said.
  • Don't assume home security cameras will protect you. "People got money for security cameras, they got something in there they're protecting."
  • Have a neighbor watch your house. Kyriazis called neighborhood watch "one of the best things they ever started for burglary prevention."
  • Lock up when you leave. Many people leave doors and windows unlocked, and thieves take advantage. "I've never carried burglary tools," Kyriazis said.
  • Dogs can be a good deterrent. Kyriazis said a barking dog would give him pause.
  • Never engage a burglar. Thieves and experts agree that if you come upon a burglary in progress, the best option is to leave, find a safe place and call 911 immediately

blog credit: http://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/home-and-garden/how-to-protect-your-home-from-burglaries-thieves-tell-all/ar-AAnThQM

photo credit: http://www.kgw.com/news/investigations/we-asked-86-burglars-how-they-broke-into-homes/344213396

8 terrible places to be when lightning strikes

3/1/2017 (Permalink)

What’s the worst place to be during a lightning storm?

Standing in a wading pool at the top of the Burj Khalifa while holding a metal rod into the air would probably be the most correct answer to that question, but listed below are some more practical places to avoid when lightning strikes.

Under a tree

When a thunderstorm suddenly hits an open outdoor area, people naturally look for shelter. However welcoming a tall, isolated tree may seem during a downpour, it’s best to stay clear of it if you hear thunder.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, lightning will typically strike the tallest object in a given space, as it requires the shortest distance between a cloud and the object with a positive electrical charge. Trees are also likely to be struck by lightning because the water and sap inside some of them acts as a conductor.

On a sailboat

Cruise ships and well-equipped yachts are no picnic to be aboard during a lightning storm but with a lightning protection system installed, the electricity will mostly be diverted to the water. However, less sophisticated boats like sailboats and rowboats are dangerous to be aboard when a storm hits.

The NOAA warns that when a boat’s masthead is seen glowing red, it’s a sign of an extreme electrical buildup that can attract a lightning bolt in minutes. That phenomenon, called “St. Elmo’s Fire,” is a sign to get below deck or off the water immediately.

Inside, talking on a land-line phone

Being at home or inside a building when a thunderstorm hits is the best place to be but it doesn’t mean immunity from lightning strikes. Weather safety experts recommend staying away from plumbing, walls that may have electrical wires and the telephone when lightning is in the area.

According to the National Weather Service, talking on a land-line phone during a storm is one of the leading causes of lightning-related injuries in the U.S. Using a computer that's plugged into a power source can also lead to injuries.

On open farmland

Any open space is a bad place to be during a lightning storm but farmers seem to be especially susceptible to fatal strikes. Some of the most common activities victims are engaged in include herding livestock and baling hay, according to the NWS.

Outside, a few minutes after a storm passes

Many lightning-related injuries occur once the weather has cleared, as people step back outside. Bolts can strike miles away from a storm and for this reason, it’s recommended to wait 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder before going back outside.

On a covered porch

Covered shelters are fine for protection against rain but they don’t protect against lightning strikes. The same goes for open garages or carports, where it’s safer to be inside a car with the windows up. Any shelter that isn’t fully enclosed, with a roof, walls and a floor, isn’t a safe place to be during a lightning storm.

In a tent

Campers have limited options when a lightning storm hits but staying inside a tent is one of the worst options. According to Environment Canada, “Lying on the ground in a tent during a lightning storm would maximize the chances of being hurt.” Experts recommend getting inside a hard-top car with the windows up in one of these situations.

On metal bleachers in central Florida

There’s a reason outdoor sporting events are quickly postponed at the first sign of lightning. Metal bleachers would obviously be a bad place to be during a storm but this goes especially for people in central Florida. The state sees more lightning strikes each year than anywhere else in the United States. In fact, an area from Tampa to Orlando has been dubbed “lightning alley.”

 

blog credit: http://www.newsnet5.com/news/national/the-worst-places-to-be-when-lightning-strikes

photo credit:http://coinjournal.net/a-simple-explanation-of-the-lightning-network/