How to Prepare for a Winter Storm
Winter storms can bring extreme cold, freezing rain, ice, snow, high winds, or a combination of all of these conditions. This guide from FEMA is designed to help you properly prepare for a winter storm and know how to protect yourself before, during, and after one.
Planning and preparing can make a big difference in safety and resiliency in the wake of a winter storm. The ability to maintain or quickly recover following a winter storm requires a focus on preparedness, advanced planning, and knowing what to do in the event of a winter storm.
Sign up for local alerts and warnings.
Create and test emergency communication plan(s).
Stock emergency supplies, and install battery-powered or battery backed-up carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors.
Winterize your home.
Review your property insurance, and safeguard critical documents.
Get trained on specific needs your family may have. Also, consider joining your local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).
Identify a place nearby where you can safely warm up should you lose heat in your home.
*Find out more tips on what to do during the storm and after to ensure safety and survival at Fema.gov.
Will your home be vacant this Winter? How to winterize your pipes to prevent pipe breaks.
It's that time of year again! Whether your traveling this winter, or selling your home. You might ask yourself, how do I winterize my pipes, and how do pipe breaks happen?
According to www.thebalancesmb.com; Winterizing plumbing pipes is a process that prepares household plumbing for freezing temperatures that can cause leaks and breaks in the home. When water freezes, it expands as it becomes ice. This expansion produces pressure within pipes which causes damage.
Winterizing plumbing is recommended when a house will be vacant for a long period of time and no water will be running through the pipes. The winterizing process involves emptying the water heater, draining all water from the pipes and filling all fixtures with antifreeze solution. Preparing for Winterizations
Begin with a plan for winterizing your plumbing. It is easy to miss a step, so you make yourself a checklist of all parts of the house with the steps detailed below, including all taps and valves. Mark them off as you complete them, so you'll know you did everything—and won't have any nasty surprises come cold weather. Steps for Winterizing Your Plumbing
Follow these steps to winterize plumbing pipes in a house:
- Shut off the main water valve, turn off the water pump and the water heater. It will protect heating elements in the water heater when there is no water inside the tank.
- Open all drain valves and all taps. Check off each on your list, so you are sure all taps are open. A closed tap could create a vacuum that will hold water inside of pipes. All valves and taps should remain open throughout the winter.
- Using air compressors, blow excess water standing out of the pipes.
- Open the drain valve in your hot water tank and let it discharge until it is empty. Be careful, because sometimes these hot water tanks don’t have floor drains and you will need to connect a garden hose to it.
- Drain all the water that is left in the holding tank, especially the one located in the rubber diaphragm, the one that is used along with the water tank to build pressure. As an additional protective measure, add antifreeze to the jet pump case.
- Flush toilets to remove as much water as you can from the tanks and the toilet bowls. If all water cannot be removed, add antifreeze to prevent any water from freezing and cracking the toilet.
- Check all sink and tub drains that could have drain traps. Add some antifreeze on each one of them to prevent water from freezing and cracking in the traps.
How to Prevent Freezing Pipes
If you have enough time to check the conditions of the building's plumbing, identify the pipes most vulnerable to freezing. Look for pipes located outside walls and windows, uninsulated pipes and pipes installed near unheated spaces.
It is also important to check for any cracks or openings in walls, floors, and ceilings. If you find holes during your inspection, caulk them to keep cold air from entering those gaps.
Be sure to follow these tips:
- Insulate pipes with insulation sleeves, wrapping or slip-on foam pipe insulation. Do not leave any gaps without insulation as cold air can affect the pipe in these spaces. Plastic piping is more tolerant of freezing than old copper or steel water pipes.
- Inspect the exterior of the property making sure that all visible cracks are sealed. Cold air can enter through the cracks and once inside it will cause your pipe to freeze. If visible cracks are noticed, seal them using caulking or spray foam to fill the voids.
- Maintain a heating source inside the building to protect pipes against cold.
- It is a good idea to maintain a faucet dripping allowing the water to move freely and continuously preventing it from freezing.
- Make sure the crawl space is properly insulated. Block all vents that lead to the outside using cardboard or wood.
- Don't forget the hose bibs. Hose bibs are normally left unattended causing them to burst in the middle of the night. Drain hose bibs and insulate with covers. Once this has been completed, deactivate bibs at the shutoff valve.
- Use heat tape to protect pipes from freezing. Heat tape is one of the preferred methods for winterizing plumbing, but be aware that these might bring additional hazards. The U.S. CPSC has provided safety recommendations for homeowners using heat tapes to help prevent fires.
Click on the link above to learn more on how to prepare your vacant property before the cold temperatures arrive!
If you need help with a pipe break or water damage, call SERVPRO of Broome County West to assist you. With our certified technicians, no temperatures are too cold to battle the worst water damages. We are always available and happy to help!
Commercial Large Loss Division
SERVPRO of Broome County West is ready for your emergency call 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Our Large Loss Response Team can assess the damage done to your commercial facility and write up a professional scope for you and your team to review. We take a step by step approach and identify the most important tasks to tackle first. Not only are we there as your restoration specialists, we are there as your professional consultants, business associates and trusted advisors. We focus on what is best for you and your business and work hard everyday until the job is complete. We strive for excellence by providing you with daily written and verbal communication, before and after photographs and detailed scope outlines of the entire project. Call us today to see why SERVPRO is the leader in Restoration industry. See, feel and experience the SERVPRO difference!
Team Building Activities
SERVPRO of Broome County East knows that the best teams that work together are the ones who have a great relationships. We like to do fun team building activities with our employees to remind them that it is important to work together to reach our main goals.
We have weekly meetings with the entire company where we focus on education and communication to one another.
In this activity, everyone was split into teams to build a pyramid of cups without using their hands! The only materials they could use were the ones provided to them. The materials were 6 paper cups, precut pieces of string and a rubber band. It was exciting to see each team come up with different strategies to complete their task. This helps them get ready for the day and whatever it may bring.
Pride in our Community
Our Production Managers and Large Loss Project Managers wore pink for the entire month of October to show their support for Breast Cancer Awareness. The fundraiser was called 'Real Men Wear Pink' for the American Cancer Society.
We planned a successful fundraiser and raised funds online to reach a goal of just over $1,000.00 to aid research efforts. Our managers were happy to wear pink to showcase our support for the cause and for our community.
Throughout the year we take part in many different activities to showcase different aspects of our company. We make it so every one of us feels like we are making a difference in the place we work and live in. This is important to us so we can all be a part of building a better community together.
Fall Checklist, Getting Ready for Winter
As leaves start to fly, revisit your spring cleaning list and add a few seasonal extras to prepare your house for the winter.
The new season should always begin with a fresh start, especially in your home. Is your home ready for the beautiful autumn weather in Upstate NY? We've done our research and with a bit of help from Real Simple, we can help you get through your fall cleaning checklist!
Check out your wooden floors are they scuffed up? See if they need to be sanded or refurbished.
Test all of your home smoke and carbon monoxide detectors; especially as you go through the months with more active fireplaces and with your heat turned up.
Replace Furnace Filters. If you changed your furnace filter in the last three months, now is a good time to do it!
Don't forget the outside of your home too!
Check and clean the gutters before the red and orange leaves fall!
Time to drain and store your garden hoses, don't let them freeze when the first snow falls.
Touch up the paint on your home
Check out the full checklist here! https://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/cleaning/fall-cleaning-checklist
And if you need an expert to come but to make sure you have your full checklist covered, give SERVPRO of Broome County West a call. We'll give you and your family a free estimate! (607) 722-2262!
Fire Safety & Prevention
We tend to think about Fire Prevention each fall during Fire Prevention Month…. however fire can affect, homes, businesses, and communities at any time. Always keep in mind how to keep your property safest during a fire, especially by having working smoke alarms!
According to the National Fire Protection Association, survey data shows that the public has many misconceptions about smoke alarms, which can put them at increased risk in the event of a home fire. In an effort to inform the members of our community, SERVPRO and the National Fire Protection Association are offering several tips and information regarding your smoke detectors:
-Check how many years you've had your smoke alarm for- if it's after 10 years its time for a new one. If you are not sure how old your smoke alarm is, the date of the manufacture on the back of the alarm will tell you.
-Hardwired smoke alarms operate 94% of the time while battery powered alarms operate 80% of the time. However, if smoke alarms completely fail to operate, it could mean batteries are missing, disconnected or dead.
-As the National Fire Protection Association specifically recommend, an ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, or where extra time is needed to awaken or assist others, both types of alarms, or combination ionization and photoelectric alarms are recommended.
Keep safe this week and every week. SERVPRO will always be there for you.
Atlantic Hurricane Season
The Atlantic Hurricane season runs from June 1- November 30th. We have one month left. There were a number of tropical depressions this year, with Hurricane Michael being the most severe Hurricane and Weather event along the East Coast this year. It is SO important to insure safety before, during and after a hurricane emergency. Please see the tips below from ready.gov on how to prepare BEFORE for Hurricane Emergencies.
IF YOU ARE UNDER A HURRICANE WARNING, FIND SAFE SHELTER RIGHT AWAY
- Determine how best to protect yourself from high winds and flooding.
- Evacuate if told to do so.
- Take refuge in a designated storm shelter, or an interior room for high winds.
- Listen for emergency information and alerts.
- Only use generators outdoors and away from windows.
- Turn Around, Don’t Drown! Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters.
- Know your area’s risk of hurricanes.
- 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 you are at risk for flash flooding, watch for warning signs such as heavy rain.
- Practice going to a safe shelter for high winds, such as a FEMA safe room or ICC 500 storm shelter. The next best protection is a small, interior, windowless room in a sturdy building on the lowest level that is not subject to flooding.
- Based on your location and community plans, make your own plans for evacuation or sheltering in place.
- Become familiar with your evacuation zone, the evacuation route, and shelter locations.
- Gather needed supplies for at least three days. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Don’t forget the needs of pets.
- Keep important documents in a safe place or create password-protected digital copies.
- Protect your property. Declutter drains and gutters. Install check valves in plumbing to prevent backups. Consider hurricane shutters. Review insurance policies.
When the Emergency and threat is over, and safety can be insured, we can begin to rebuild and mitigate damage. SERVPRO with over 1,700 Franchises Nationwide will be there READY for Whatever Happens.
Learn More: https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes
Types of Smoke Residue
Did you know there are different types of smoke? There is “Wet” Smoke and “Dry” Smoke. What is burning in your home or business determines the type of smoke residue that is left. The different types of smoke are Wet Smoke (Plastic & Rubber), Dry Smoke (Paper & Wood), Protein Fire Residue (Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire), Fuel Oil Soot (Furnace Puff Back), Other Types of Smoke (Tear gas, Fingerprint Powder, and Fire Extinguisher residue).
Our SERVPRO franchise is highly trained in how clean and remediate fire losses depending on the type of smoke. SERVPRO is also trained in how to assess smoke damage. For example, smoke is unique in its behavior as it gravitates to cooler areas and upper levels, smoke seeps through holes around piping and can go floor to floor between walls and flooring.
Dealing with any smoke or fire damage to your home or business, no matter how minor or severe, can be stressful and frustrating. If you experience a fire loss, and have issues with linger odor, wall discoloration, or even severe damage call in SERVPRO, we will be there to provide a free quote and plan of action to restore your property like it never even happened.
SERVPRO offers Emergency Ready Profiles to all commercial buildings, no matter the size. We work with Schools, Municipalities, Property Management Firms, Manufacturing Facilities and more. We work directly with Owners and Facility Managers to put a plan in place should an Emergency Occur. The profile only includes the necessary information needed following an Emergency with the goal of a knowing what to do and who to call. A quick response can minimize damage and business interruption when it comes to fire and water damages.
After working with our Marketing Manager Ashley on an Emergency Ready Profile, the Johnson City Senior Center had an unexpected water damage occur after hours. The organizations Director, Darlene had her mobile at accessible at 4 AM and called SERVPRO to respond. SERVPRO came and cleaned up the water within a couple hours. Our client could not believe how smooth of a process this was and how much easier it was having a plan, and knowing exactly what to do without wasting time. To learn more about our ERP and see the Johnson City Senior Living Video testimonial, please click the link below and