Recent Storm Damage Posts
What Secondary Damage can occur after Storm Damage?
What Secondary Damage can occur after Storm Damage?
After roof leaks or flood damage, if not properly dried and treated, a home or business can develop mold from the moisture left on: wood, tile, carpeting, windows, concrete, and/or other materials/items that were affected. SERVPRO of Upper Cape Cod and the Islands strives to prevent secondary damage every time we remediate water damage. Building material and flooring are dried and treated to prevent mold and other allergens/contaminates using specialized equipment and cleaning products.
If water damage is not properly treated, the perfect environment is created for mold spores to grow in your home and to contaminate the air that is breathed.
Should you ever suffer water damage due to: excessive rain, storm damage, leaky roof, flood damage, a water heater leak, sink overflow, fire, refrigerator leak, or any other reason water has invaded your home or business, please know that SERVPRO of Upper Cape Cod and the Islands is here to help. Faster to Any Disaster
Types of Contaminated Water after a Storm
Types of Contaminated Water after a Storm
Should you experience a flood in your home after a storm, our team of technicians will inspect your home or business to determine the appropriate plan of action for the type of water encountered.
Category 3: "Black Water"
Category 3 water is grossly contaminated and could cause severe illness or death if ingested and any contact should be avoided. Examples include flooding from rivers or streams, water from beyond the toilet trap, water from the toilet bowl with feces, or standing water that has begun to support microbial growth.
- May contain untreated sewage, harsh chemicals, and microbes
- Water from flooding rivers or sewer backup
24 Hour Emergency Service
Water contaminated with sewage backup should be considered an emergency situation and dealt with as quickly as possible. Our technicians at SERVPRO® of Upper Cape Cod and the Islands are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for any emergency situations that arise. We have been a trusted name in safely and properly restoring homes and businesses for almost 15 years! We are here to help!
One Year After Hurricane Harvey
One Year After Hurricane Harvey
August 25th marks the one year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, the category 4 hurricane that deeply affected the state of Texas one year ago. Hurricane Harvey dumped more than 50 inches of rain in parts of the Houston area, flooding thousands of homes and killing more than 80 people. The devastation was swift, and the recovery is far from over. SERVPRO® franchises from all over the country were proud to come to the aid of the people whose homes were damaged by the hurricane. The water damage was catastrophic. The professionals at SERVPRO® worked especially hard during that hurricane and will always be here for you during any New England storm or Nor'easter...faster to any disaster to help you through any type home flood.
Lightning During Storms and House Fires Resulting
Lightning During Storms and House Fires Resulting
Unlike other types of house fires, which occur more frequently in the winter months, fires in the home caused by lightning are more likely to happen in June, July and August in the late afternoon or early evening. From 2007-2011, NFPA says there were an average of 22,600 fires per year caused by lightning strikes. Lightning is responsible for a number of wildfires as well.
Lightning during storms poses the greatest risk outdoors and frequently strikes the highest point on a structure.
Safety tips During Lightning Storms:
- When possible, stay away from doors and windows during an electrical storm.
- Do not use corded phones, computers, TVs or other electrical equipment during storms.
- Unplug major electronics – TVs, stereo equipment, computers and microwaves to minimize damage if there is a lightning strike close by.
- Avoid plumbing such as sinks, baths and faucets during a thunderstorm as metal plumbing is an excellent conductor of electricity.
Source: http://www.propertycasualty360.com and National Fire Protection Association
5 Guiding Steps for Mold Remediation after a Storm
SERVPRO of Upper Cape Cod & the Islands is a leader in the storm damage remediation industry. They offer exceptional water & mold damage restoration.
We know the storms this winter did a lot of damage in our area with widespread flooding and falling trees. It’s during these times when water damage from a storm can leave you exposed to having a mold problem if not cleaned up immediately or professionally. Mold is a fungus that grows in areas that have moisture. Its development in the different areas of the house or office gives off an unpleasant odor coupled with an unaesthetic view. It is an awful sight to look at. It grows in filaments and spreads if left unchecked. The bathrooms, walls, ceilings, kitchen cabinets and wardrobes are a few of the significant spaces that get affected by mold. Recently the towns of Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard were affected by nor’easter storm Skylar, Riley and Cyclone Bomb. Their adverse effects were due to strong winds, snow, and flooding. As we are well aware of the fact that water is one of the important constituents in that help in boosting growth since it creates moisture if left untouched at a space. Read ahead to know how to go about remediation at your property after a storm.
Look at the following five steps that should be followed for basic and quick restoration:
Assessing spore growth involves more than just looking at what's clearly and visibly growing on the walls or in a corner. First, understand that the reason behind all unwanted spore growth is water and moisture. The ultimate goal is to identify the moisture source and use its location to help locate all mold growth.
Before we start the remediation process, it is best to document the situation with photos which is standard with our service. This will be useful for the restoration team and will also help the claim manager from the insurance company to help determine coverage. It will assist in developing a remediation plan, which typically answers questions like work beginning time, work completion time, performing the remediation, any testing that should be done, and will homeowners be temporarily relocated – all things are noted down in this document.
Extent of the Contamination
Mold growth is usually never restricted to one specific area. Hence, you need to calculate the extent of the contamination. This will decide how you approach its removal and clean up. The goal of remediation is to clean up the growth within the home and to avoid exposing residents to large amounts of it.
Remediation involves cleaning up existing mold with minimized exposure to one’s self as well as loved ones. The procedure will also prevent new growth by addressing the moisture source based on the calculations of the contamination area. This step is further divided into steps to have an effective approach. Things to be done are:
- Repairing water problem
- Isolation of contaminated area
- Removing soggy materials
- Discarding damaged, affected and wet materials in plastic bags
- Cleaning of porous and wood surfaces that have been affected
- Cleaning all areas along with egress
- Proper inspection, just to be sure
- Drying of the materials
- Repairing or replacement of materials
Determining Successful Cleanup
In the end, we have to be sure that our clean-up efforts after water damage remediation have been successful. It is similar to a judgment call after all the procedure. According to EPA guidelines, look for the following:
- Verification of moisture problem by revisiting the home soon after remediation and you shouldn't see any signs of recurring water damage
- Checking for no sign of visible mold, materials damaged by it or any odors that may be there in its presence
- Residents should be able to occupy or re-occupy the home without aggravated health complaints
- Depending on your company and the details of the problem, additional testing by an environmental testing company may be considered after the cleanup to be sure enough.
Storm damage brings problems and mold is one of them. It occurs due to flooding, leakages or blockages in the pipes. Hence, it is better to be attentive to the timely inspection of the pipes before the storm. If you’re facing a mold problem, it will be better to call in professionals from a competent restoration company for effective removal of mold.
Call us now at (508) 888-5985.
Effective Ways to Prepare for and Minimalize Storm Damage
SERVPRO of Upper Cape Cod and the Islands is a team of dedicated storm damage cleanup crew which ensure the best quality restoration and remediation.
Natural calamity is unpredictable and waits for none. It varies in nature and can arrive in form of strong winds or sometimes followed by a flood which further adds difficulties leading to a largescale disaster. Recently the storm effected many different towns on Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard that left considerable damage to homes and businesses. The residents on the East Coast had their lives turned upside down when heavy rains, gusting winds, and snow pummeled States due to the winter storm Skylar which was the third Nor’easter in two weeks. In addition to this, Cyclone Bomb has brought floods and tidal surges into the region. According to reports, six people died when fierce winds brought trees crashing down on roads, homes and surrounding buildings.
These natural events are inevitable. One should always be prepared for the worst and utilize ways to minimize the damage. Due to storms, not only is the property damaged but if it gets flooded, it can also lead to mold growth on visible as well as hidden areas. In such a case, if water damage is left untreated, it can increase the problems you will have to face in that scenario.
Read ahead to know about some of the points that need to be considered in order to reduce the damage:
Reducing Storm Damages
- First of all, ensure that all drains and gutters are clear of debris to prevent blockages which can lead to more flooding in house if left as is. If the growth progresses, you will have to get professional mold remediation done to keep your house or office fit for health.
- If it is safe to carry out, check if your pipes and water tanks are insulated to prevent freezing. Secondly, ensure that the release point of overflow pipes is not obstructed. Ideally, you'll have a regular maintenance program in place to keep everything in order.
- Cut back trees and branches to minimize the risk of broken branches that may fall or are move by the strong storm winds.
- Secure loose fences so that these remain intact and grounded. The best option is to remove them completely to avoid any unseen problems for the duration of the storm(s).
- Check that all roof shingles, tiles and aerials are secure. It may be worth seeking professional advice, if needed, to make things better.
- Make sure all garden furniture, ladders, decorations, etc. are secured and locked away in the shed or inside the house to avoid dispersion from strong winds.
- As soon as you get official warnings about gale-force winds and floods from the concerned authorities, make sure your children, pet, family, loved ones and neighbors are safe. Ensure that they stay at home and wait it out. If the danger level is higher, evacuate as per official guidelines. Please do not try to repair damage during the storm.
- It is recommended to maintain a minimum temperature of 55 degrees in the home during severe weather, in particular, to protect pipes from freezing.
- Last but not the least, if you have home insurance, take a look to know what will be covered in the event of your property being damaged by storm.
Mold growth can arise as an aftermath of the storm. During the storm, the pipes, down-spouts or gutters may get blocked, freeze due to winter winds, or cause leakage from roofs and walls after heavy storm rains. Moisture and stagnancy, if left unattended, will trigger mold growth. It is better to inspect the house soon after the storm to assess the damage. If the affected area is large, call in professionals to do the job with specialized equipment and procedures.
For more information on storm damage, water cleanup and mold remediation, call us at (508) 888-5985.
12 Types of Storms
SERVPRO of Upper Cape Cod and the Islands is competent storm damage restoration service that will help you restore your property
Don't like the weather on Cape Cod? Wait a minute, it's sure to change!
Being a part of the Cape Cod community, SERVPRO of Upper Cape Cod and the Islands understands the needs and requirements of the locals when it comes to storm damage. Not only are we proactive in our approach towards disaster remediation, but we also ensure that our clients get the best restoration services available. Storms come in all sizes, shapes, and forms, and we understand that our region is prone to seasonal storms of many types. From tropical storms to hurricanes, the Cape Cod residents have braved through it all, and we have always been there to help them get their property back to "Like it never even happened."
Here, we are highlighting the most common types of storms that are prevalent in the Cape Cod, Massachusetts:
With strong and heavy winds, hail storms can range from moderate to severe type. Based on the size and shape of the ice pellets and hailstones, it can cause minimum to high damage to your property. The size of the pellets can range between 0.2 to 0.5 centimeters in diameter.
Similar to hail storms, ice storms are also pushed by heavy and strong winds. Instead of carrying hailstones and ice pellets, the ice storm usually brings rain. Due to freezing temperatures, the rain freezes upon falling on the ground or on impact. Ice storms can weaken wooden structures, poles, buildings as these can be responsible for ripping apart grown trees due to the accumulation of weight on the branches.
When the temperature falls lower than zero, the strong winds spread snowflakes. This kind of storm is called a snow storm. If the storm is prolonged for hours or overnight, it can easily form inches of snow cover. On the weak areas of your property, this accumulation can cause stress and even breakage.
When a snowstorm worsens, it ends up becoming a blizzard. These will have stronger winds of around and over 35 miles per hour. Another indication of blizzards is that these will continue on for hours. The wind damage can become devastating for weaker and standalone structures. The snow that gathers in the storm will impact roofs, windows, etc.
When the skies turn dark due to heavy clouds and are accompanied by highly frequent lightning, then it is called a thunderstorm. Moderate to heavy rain may also fall during the thunderstorm, but not always. The severity of winds is relatively low. If the lightning strikes on your property, it will lead to heavy damages and may even cause a fire incident.
The only difference between a thunderstorm and a rainstorm is that is the former has more concentration of lightning whereas the latter brings with it heavy rainfall. Rainstorms may cause flash flooding which can heavily damage property, especially basements. Water damage and mold remediation will be necessary afterward. The tropical storms are prone to hit the Cape Cod region every five to six years, according to meteorologists.
These storms are composed of very strong and heavy winds which may or may not include rain. However, due to the intensity of the winds, windstorms are accompanied with stones, dust, and even hailstones. This storm is strong enough to uproot trees and cause damage to property, especially the exteriors.
These storms carry sand particles and dust. The overcast will have a yellowish tint. Such a storm makes breathing and visibility difficult. The damage may not be as heavy as other storms but it can result in accumulation of dust particles in vents and even within houses and offices.
The content of sandstorms differs from dust storms in the sense that it carries majorly sand. These storms are more common in and around desert areas where the winds carry off a huge amount of sand. When faced with a sandstorm, the property may be damaged moderately to a medium level of intensity.
These are the most severe types of storms that rotate in anti-clockwise or clockwise direction. As these travel, they rip off whatever comes in their way. The destruction level is intense and precautions need to be taken beforehand to avoid damage.
This is a severe cyclone which has its origin near the equator. It travels north and hence moves counterclockwise. A hurricane is accompanied by heavy rains and violent winds. It destroys everything in its path. Cape Cod suffers the Atlantic hurricane season almost every other year which may or may not affect the region. Meteorologists state that Cape Cod is hit by a violent hurricane every eleven to twelve years.
This storm is basically a fast whirling wind which rotates clockwise and builds up due to wind pressure. The dust on the ground is forced into the swirl of the tornado. As it passes over urban areas, it rips off the property if the intensity is strong. The tornadoes that hit oceans are called water sprouts.
For any and all storm damage restoration, you can call SERVPRO of Upper Cape Cod and the Islands at (508) 888-5985.
Hurricane Season in Full Force for Cape Cod & the Islands
SERVPRO Ready as East Coast Prepares for Jose's Arrival.
After the recent catastrophic devastation at the hands of Hurricane Irma, the Caribbean and the East Coast prepare once again. This time, the threat comes in the name of Hurricane Jose which is swirling its way up slowly. Being the third major hurricane of the year, it is reported by officials to hit coastal areas from Virginia up towards New England. The outer Cape Cod and Boston areas have been issued a hurricane warning. SERVPRO, the leading name in water damage cleanup services is ready to face this challenge. With our 24/7 emergency service available to all in Cape Cod, we aim to minimize the damage caused in the hurricane’s wake. Our professional crew and emergency teams will help you in restoring your property to its formal glory and make it "Like it never even happened."
Here are few things for you to keep in mind regarding Jose and the probable damage it may cause:
A Little About Hurricane Jose
As of 8 am, Tuesday, September 19, 2017, latest update on Hurricane Jose and Hurricane Maria is that tropical storm watches have been issued for areas including Delaware up towards Cape Cod. The National Hurricane Center has stated that Hurricane Jose is “expected to cause direct impacts from Delaware northward to New England.” Jose will have an offshore track but it is predicted that its tropical-storm-force winds will go beyond the conventional center of circulation. It has sustained wind speed of 65 knots (75 mph; 120 km/h). Due to Jose, areas up till New York will see big wave action and erosion. An official Tropical Storm Warning has been issued in Cape Cod, especially Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.
DIY Tips before the Storm Hits
First and foremost, communicate with your local authorities to ensure if there has been an evacuation warning. If you are allowed to stay within your homes, then there are quite a few DIY steps that you can manage on your own to minimize the storm damage. Ensure that you have a well-stocked Emergency Kit which includes first-aid kit, food, clothes, emergency items and such. Rehearse evacuation routes with your family members to make sure everyone knows what to do and where to gather. Apart from these, if it is safe for you stay indoors while the storm passes, ensure that you have all windows, doors and vents checked properly. Leave nothing in your lawns and backyards that may fly and damage the windows or exterior. You can contact us for further instructions on how to minimize the storm damage on your property.
SERVPRO Against Hurricane Jose
We are a locally owned company which harbors national storm resources. Since we are from the community and work for the community, we understand the need for restoration efforts that are necessary after a catastrophic disaster. Our company is based in the Upper Cape Cod and the Islands. Hence, we are ready to respond to any emergency call at any time. We pride in being active members of our community. As a reputable water removal service in Cape Cod, SERVPRO always steps up to play its part for the community.
24/7 Emergency Service Available
When dealing with hurricanes, blizzards, floods, tornadoes and the likes, we utilize our vast network of storm teams which are strategically placed. These teams are always on standby to help you in the unfortunate case where your locality gets hit by such a calamity. We have more than 1,700 franchises spread across the nation. As soon as an area is hit, we pool in the resources from our network to focus on local command centers. Their expertise are available for you all through the year. We consider no disaster to be too big as we handle residential and commercial projects of all sizes. The Catastrophic Storm Response Team has handled major disasters in the past such as Katrina, Sandy, Polar Vortex and Chicago floods among others.
We hope, pray and advise that everyone stays safe!
If you have further questions about Water Removal and Storm Damage Restoration in Cape Cod, feel free to contact us anytime at (508) 888-5985.
Some Cape Cod & Islands Property Owners Left Dealing with Water Damage from Arctic Blast
If you or someone you know is experiencing a water damage from frozen pipes call us for service at 508-888-5985.
The Arctic Blast that came in last weekend is now a distant memory for many. However, for some the effects have just begun. At SERVPRO of Upper Cape Cod & The Islands we've been experiencing a higher volume of calls from both residential and commercial property owners who are now experiencing broken pipes and water damages across Cape Cod & The Islands now that temperatures have returned to above normal across the region.
Here is some information for those dealing with water damage on Cape Cod & The Islands
Some other things you should consider when hiring a company to help you recover from storm damage here on Cape Cod & the Islands
- When contracting a cleanup and restoration company that can help you restore your property, "Like it never even happened." make sure they have the correct insurance to be doing this type of work.
- If you need to hire someone to do the reconstruction make sure they hold a General Contractors License and are fully insured with both liability and worker's compensation. Note: Anyone that works on your property should carry their own WC Policy or any accidents that may occur will be covered under the property owners policy.
- Make sure a building permit is acquired and all inspections are passed before final payment is issued. And remember to report any upgrades or changes to your property to your insurance agent or carrier so they can add it to your policy. Note: Upgrades to kitchens and bathrooms or even flooring should be noted in your policy for future coverage.
Going through a water damage is hard enough but not having the right resources and information to guide your decision making can sometime add unneeded stress to an already stressful situation. At SERVPRO of Upper Cape Cod & The Islands we want to help you recover from a water damage as quickly and effortlessly as possible. Call 508-888-5985 for help 24/7!
Here are some other helpful resources:
A list of local insurance agents and carriers
Six Steps to a Water Damage Clean up & Repair
Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification
Fall Back is a Good Time to Catch Up on Storm Preparations on the Cape Cod & The Islands
Use your time wisely to help you and your family prepare for potential storm damage.
This weekend marks the end of daylight savings time which means it’s time to fall back…giving us an extra hour on Sunday….an hour that could be used to prepare for any storms that might blow our way in the coming months.
I’m not sure about you, but I could use an extra hour in every day! I remember one year when daylight savings time ended, but my husband Bill and I failed to take advantage of the extra hour to sleep in. Oblivious to the fact that it was one hour earlier than the clocks in our house and cars indicated (yes, folks, this was the era before iPhones and smart phones that readjust the clocks for us), we got our three children up on Sunday morning, fed them breakfast, got them dressed, and loaded them into the car. We headed out to get a few errands done, which included some shopping. Thinking that it was well passed the scheduled noon opening time, we were stunned to find one store after another still closed. Confused and perplexed, we looked at one another until it finally dawned on us—everyone else in the state and the country remembered to turn their clocks back except for us.
As much as I celebrate gaining an hour, I also grieve it a bit, too, knowing that the sunsets will occur earlier, making the days feel shorter. There is something sad about driving home from work in the dark. It signifies that the winter season—and the cold weather and the storms that go with it—really is just around the corner.
Since we do get an extra hour on the first Sunday morning when daylight savings time ends, the best use of this bonus time might be spent preparing for the upcoming winter season and checking on a few things. For instance, this is a great reminder to check the batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. It’s a good time to seal up any cracks around windows and doors to ensure that there are no cold drafts pouring into the home, driving up our heating bills. This is also a good time to schedule an annual maintenance of your furnace. This not only helps to prevent a “puff back,” which can blow soot all over your home and belongings, it also helps to ensure that the furnace is working efficiently, which helps keep the heating bills in check.
If you have a storm emergency kit, this is the time to check it to make sure that it is fully stocked with things like flashlights, candles, batteries, water, non-perishable foods, etc. If you don’t have a storm emergency kit, then this certainly is a good time to put one together.
Daylight savings should serve as a reminder to have your chimney cleaned, since a build up of creosote can cause a chimney fire.
This is also a good time to clean up exterior spaces—making sure that any outdoor furniture is stored away and any items that remain outside are properly covered.
Since daylight savings 2015 officially ends on November 1 this year, after the last of the trick or treaters have come and gone, go ahead and turn back the clocks in your house and take pleasure in knowing that you can enjoy an extra hour of sleep the next day. And if you happen to forget about the time change, fear not…your phone will let you know.
Winter Storm Damage...Cape Cod & The Islands Are We Ready for 2016?
Don’t get caught without an emergency response profile to help with winter storm damage.
Winter storm damage never happens at a convenient time. Storms can range from a blissful snowfall to an extreme storm and we learned that the hard way during the winter season of 2015.
Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures and sometimes by strong winds, icing, sleet and freezing rain. If a big storm is coming be prepared…fill your required prescriptions, gas tanks and your pockets with cash.
Seriously, baby its cold outside and that’s why it’s important for families to get ready now. Before we know it winter will be here and we should take the time to create an emergency plan that includes enough food, water and supplies to last at least three days.
The biggest concern is that the electricity can be out for days as experienced during the winter season of 2014. Many areas did not have power for up to five days. And lastly, communication. How will you learn about what is going on in your community, where you can go for help or shelter or to learn what the plan is for the local authorities to help the community to recover? If there is no power you won’t be able to listen to the television or radio and the battery in your cell phone will not be able to be charged! Having a plan in place puts you in the driver’s seat!
Before winter storm damage happens gather basic items that would be needed if you were house bound during a bad storm.
- One gallon of drinking water per person
- Non-perishable food (Canned, dried, nuts & protein bars)
- First aid kit
- Prescriptions and medications
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Feminine hygiene supplies
- Garbage bags
- Flashlights and batteries
- Hand Sanitizer in liquid form and towelette
- Blankets and Sleeping bags
- Propane gas for grills
- Rock salt and Sand
- Shovels or snow Removal Equipment
- Warm clothing
During the winter storm damage you should stay indoors. When you do venture outside be careful when walking on icy driveways and walkways. Avoiding overexertion when shoveling snow is key to staying safe. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack—a major cause of death in the winter. Make sure you take breaks to rest and when possible push the snow instead of lifting or lift lighter loads. You will want to keep dry and change your wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Did you know that wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly?
Important signs of severe health risks during a winter stormSigns of Frostbite: Occurs when the skin and body tissue just beneath it freezes. Loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, earlobes, face, and the tip of the nose.
What to Do: Cover exposed skin, but do not rub the affected area in an attempt to warm it up. Seek medical help immediately.Signs of Hypothermia: Dangerously low body temperature. Uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion.
What to Do: If symptoms of hypothermia are detected take the person’s temperature. If it is below 95°, seek medical attention immediately. Get the victim to a warm location. Remove wet clothing. Warm the center of the body first by wrapping the person in blankets or putting on dry clothing. Give warm, non-alcoholic beverages if the victim is conscious. Seek medical help immediately.
After every winter storm restock your emergency supplies to be ready in case another storm hits.Assess how well your supplies and family plan worked. What could you have done better?Take a few minutes to improve your family plan and supplies before the next winter storm hits.Talk to your neighbors and colleagues about their experiences and share tips with each other.
Flooding: What Happens When It Rains Here on Cape Cod & Islands
The remnants of a storm that passed over Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.
Life on this side of the bridge is vastly different from the rest of the world.
In any other part of the state, a forecast for a tropical storm or hurricane will certainly have people running for the grocery stores—and I’m still not sure how bread and milk is critical to storm survival—but when you live on the Cape and the islands, those same predictions conjure up much different anxieties.
Any fierce storms accompanied by strong winds can leave the people on this side of the bridge susceptible to becoming isolated from the rest of the world. Sustained winds of 70 miles per hour or higher will close the Bourne and Sagamore bridges, leaving Cape Codders and Islanders cut off from “civilization.” Depending on where you live and which side of the bridge you happen to be on when they are closed, that may not be a bad thing. For those living on Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket, isolation is even more frequent and probable. When the winds blow hard enough and the seas get rough enough, the Steamship Authority makes the call where you can stay or go! For people who happen to live on one of the islands and are visiting the “mainland,” or vice versa, worry goes well beyond, “will I have milk and bread for the next 24 hours,” to “can I get home before the storm.”
I have been in situations where either I—or my crew—had to scramble to get that last ferry or plane on or off and know it is not a fun game to be played. Before you start thinking that getting stranded on either side seems more like a vacation than an inconvenience, consider that there tends to be fewer hotels and restaurants open during the winter and there are very few vacancies in the summer.
I have also found myself in the predicament where I was off Cape and needed to get to this side of the bridge before a storm hit. It is even more stressful waiting for a loved one to make it home before the possibilities of either the bridges closing or the ferries and planes shutting down.
As Hurricane Joaquin losses steam as he makes his way up the east coast, I am preparing for any remnants he might throw my way and this includes everything from making sure that my crew is ready for any calls that come in to fighting off shoppers for that last loaf of bread to making sure that I am on the right side of the bridge before the storm hits.
If you have ever been unable to make it home during a storm to the Cape and Islands or worse—stranded at the airport—tell me about it. I would love to hear your story.
Wind and Flood Damage….A Coastal Property’s Enemy on Cape Cod
Water damage from a passing storm near Cape Cod.
Nothing strikes fear into the heart of a property owner on the Cape and Islands like the words, Hurricane or Tropical Storm. Sure, we have lived through some significant storms—everyone remember Hurricane Bob?— and perhaps that is why we take it seriously when predictions about a hurricane or tropical storm begin to surface. Even if the storm doesn’t live up to the hype of weather forecasters, we know that these storms are likely going to include wind, rain, and flooding and those elements can do significant damage to coastal properties….whether those properties are located close to the water or a bit further inland. All homes and businesses are vulnerable to the damage that rain, wind, and flooding can cause but ironically many property owners are not aware of the damages that can occur, how to respond to those damages, and what is even covered under their insurance policies.
There are two types of water damage?
Yes, there are two ways that water can get into your home—from the top and from the bottom. If it infiltrates the home from the roof, usually because of faulty shingles or gutters that were not cleaned, it is definitely an inconvenience but, fortunately, it is usually covered under your insurance policy. If it enters from the basement, it is called groundwater infiltration and this type of water damage is most likely not going to be covered by your insurance policy. But make no mistake about it, the damage needs to be cleaned up as soon as possible. If the basement is unfinished, and by unfinished, I mean concrete floors and walls with no drywall, framing, insulated walls, or carpeting and the water level is low—less than an inch—you can probably handle the clean up yourself. Start by turning off the power in that area—remember electricity and water are a bad combination, so be sure you know what you are doing—then prop up any items or boxes off the floor to mitigate further damage. Hint: if any of the boxes are cardboard, replace them with plastic bins. Even if the cardboard did not get wet, the material is a source of food for mold and wet cardboard is considered mold’s Thanksgiving Day. Remove the standing water by mopping it up, pushing it out with a broom or using a sump pump. If you have fans, bring those in to circulate the air and dry out the space. Hint: If there is any evidence of mold, do not use the fans since this will spread the spores. If the water level in the unfinished basement can be measured in inches or if the basement is a finished room to any degree, you need to call in a professional. The water remediation professionals at SERVPRO of Upper Cape Cod & The Islands have the knowledge, experience, and equipment to make it, “Like it never even happened.”
Hot tip #1: If the water level can be measured in feet, you definitely need to call in a professional, immediately. When a high volume of water is pumped outside at a high rate of speed, it may cause significant structural damage.
Wind can cause a variety of damages…from sending furniture and other debris into the air, crashing into windows, to knocking trees onto roofs, to ripping shingles up from the roof. The biggest misconception that property owners have about wind damage pertains to their insurance deductible. Most property owners believe that the deductible or amount that they will have to pay is based on the cost of the damage; however the deductible is actually based on the percentage of the total value for which the home is insured.
Any damage caused by the wind should immediately be addressed. A broken window should be boarded up from the outside and any hole in the roof should be covered—from the outside!—with a tarp. Yes, we actually responded to a damage where the tarp used to protect the roof was secured from the inside and not the outside—providing a nice area for rain to collect causing the tarp to collapse inside the structure. If you are unsure of how to properly secure your home or reluctant to head up to the roof, contact the professionals at SERVPRO of Upper Cape Cod and The Islands, who can begin the process of making it, “Like it never even happened.”
Hot tip #2: Take notice of the trees around your property. If a tree’s root system does not seem sound or strong or there appears to be some erosion, consult an expert. Remove any branches that are hanging close to the roof or whose width is not relative to the height of the tree.
5 things to do before the storm arrives: Look around the property. Anything that is unsecured, lawn furniture, toys, tables, and chairs should be brought inside or stored away. Secure the grill as much as possible.If your property is located near the water, and you have hurricane shutters, go ahead and use them, even if the storm is not categorized as a hurricane.Remove any solar-powered ground lights. Ground lights that are hard-wired can be left in the ground.Wrap burlap around ornamental trees or fragile bushes. You can also stake and string trees and bushes.Take in any window air conditioners.
4 things to do…and not to do… after a damage If water has infiltrated the basement, shut off the power. Remember, electricity and water are a deadly combination. If you have to walk through standing water to get to the circuit breaker box, consider calling your power company to come out to shut off the power. If you are unsure of the best and safest way to shut off the power, call your local fire department.To mitigate any further damage to your valuables, raise any items up off of the floor and out of the water.If the roof has incurred any damage, immediately cover it with a tarp. If a window has been broken, immediately board it up. If you are unsure of how to do this, contact a professional.
Check on neighbors—especially the elderly—to make sure they are safe.
Are You Ready for a Storm?
You wouldn’t wait until December 24 to start preparing for Christmas, so why wait until a storm is predicted to begin preparing for that event. As someone who works well under the pressure of a deadline, I understand how attractive procrastination can be. But when it comes to the safety of my family and taking care of my property, I cannot put off until tomorrow what should be dealt with today. When you plan before a crisis, you have the benefit of clarity of thought and therefore your action plan will be complete and hopefully your emergency kit will contain a few unexpected pleasures.
According to the website, ready.gov, there are several plans to put into place now so that you can rest somewhat easy when television stations across the state preempt favorite television shows to talk about an approaching storm.
1. Have a plan in place for receiving emergency alerts and make sure all family members know where to meet in case the family is separated before or during an event. Cell phone coverage will most likely be limited so know where the closest emergency shelter is and consider making that your meeting place. Make a paper list of contact numbers and make sure all members of the family have a copy of the list. Just as an aside, don’t you miss the days when we could memorize our children’s and parents’ telephone numbers?
2. Emergency Kit. While most people know that it is important to put together an emergency kit, the majority of people do not know what items to put into the kit. After all, one person’s necessity is another person’s, “what the heck is that doing in here?” According to ready.gov, the kit should contain one gallon of water per person for at least three days, a flashlight with batteries, medications, a first aid kit, a whistle to signal for help, pliers or a wrench to turn off water or utilities, a manual can opener, and non-perishable canned goods. The kit can also contain games that the family can play or small toys and activities, depending on the age of your children. Consider including some hygiene products, such as hand sanitizer, wet cloths, and deodorant. Since you are preparing this kit well in advance of a storm, consider putting in some nice to have items, such as chocolate or other treats. Yes, you should change those items out with a fresh supply every few months.
3. Alternative Energy Solutions. If you have a backup power generator, make sure that it has been installed by a licensed electrician and has been tested. If the generator is gas powered, be sure that it is located a safe distance from the home. If you are using a fireplace or wood stove as a heat source during power loss, make sure that you have enough wood to keep warm for at least three days and that the home is properly ventilated. Check on neighbors—especially elderly neighbors—to make sure they are warm and safe. While a gas grill can be a great alternate cooking source, NEVER bring it inside the home or into garage.
4. If the power does go out, chances are gas stations will not have power either and therefore, pumps will not work. Make sure that your vehicle’s gas tank is full and that there is gas for the generator and snow blower.
September is hurricane preparedness month so take a few days to consider the items you use on a daily basis, the things your children love and that bring them comfort and make sure that as many of those items as possible are in your emergency kit. When a hurricane or severe snow storm does hit, it can be very inconvenient and uncomfortable. Being prepared for the storm can take away some of that discomfort and even make surviving a few days without power a fun memory.
5 Steps Business Owners Can Take to Prepare for a Hurricane on Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard
This photo is of Hurricane Sandy as it approaches Nantucket , MA in 2012.
The last week of September is Hurricane preparedness week in the U.S. The potential dangers from a hurricane or any significant storm include storm surge, power outages, possible electrical hazards, and falling trees. We know that nothing bad ever happens at a convenient time so now is the time to Plan, Talk, and Practice your Emergency Profile Response. Be ready for anything at any time. Here are five steps that business owners can take to be ready for a hurricane or any other storm.
- Create a Plan of Action. Establish who will be notified and in what order. This will help to keep everyone calm and creates a sense of order for both your employees and customers. Identify how you will communicate before, during, and after a hurricane. Remember, service for things like landlines, cell phones may be limited, so you will want to establish alternative forms of communication. Make sure employees are given a master cell phone contact list and everyone has it. A couple of good ways to let the public know you are still in business is through local radio, blogging, and social media outlets. Prepare a message prior to a storm. This is an ideal way to minimize the down time of communication.
- Establish your Needs:The #1 concern is electricity. Make sure a licensed electrician determines your power needs and what kind of back-up generator will work best for your situation. If you rent a space, check with the landlord first and get permission to bring a generator on to the property.
- Supply and Demand. Develop a master list of your vendors who understand your company’s needs and its expectations if the “Big One” hits! Don’t forget to ask them if they have a recovery plan too!
- Double Check Coverage. Contact your insurance agent to find out if your policy is up-to-date. Consider Business Interruption Insurance, which compensates you for lost income if you have to close your doors when disaster strikes. It’s also important to understand what your carrier’s plan is for recovery if there is a large area effected by damage.
- Prepare Staff. Your staff should be aware of your company’s Emergency Response Profile and understand their role and responsibilities in implementing the plan. Like your vendors, you should ask your employees if they have a recovery plan. We have a monthly staff meeting at our office and every September we always find it timely to share with our staff the importance of being prepared during hurricane season.