Hundreds of people die each year in the United States due to heat waves, hurricanes, lightning, flash floods, powerful thunderstorm winds, and winter storms or winter cold. Additionally, thousands of people are injured by these weather events each year. If you are aware of what weather event is about to impact your area, you are more likely to survive such an event. To stay on top of the weather, utilize NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards receiver units that can be purchased at most electronic stores. Make sure the model you purchase has a battery-backup. You should also obtain the latest weather information from commercial TV/radio, cable TV, the internet/web, and newspapers. It’s your responsibility!
What else can you do to prepare for severe weather?
Develop a disaster plan for you and your family at home, work, school, and when outdoors. The American Red Cross offers planning tips and information on a putting together a disaster supplies kit at www.redcross.org.
Identify a safe place to take shelter.
Know the county in which you live or visit – and in what part of that county you are located. The National Weather Service issues severe weather warnings on a county basis.
Check the weather forecast before leaving for extended periods outdoors. Watch for signs of approaching storms.
If severe weather threatens, check on people who are elderly, very young, or physically or mentally disabled. Don’t forget about pets and farm animals.
Severe Weather Safety - Lightning & Flash Flood/Flooding
Postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are imminent. Lightning can travel 5-10 miles away from the thunderstorm and strike the ground with blue sky overhead.
Move to a sturdy shelter or vehicle. Do not take shelter in a small shed, under isolated trees, or in a convertible-top vehicle. Stay away from tall objects such as trees or towers or poles.
If in your vehicle when lightning strikes – don’t touch a metal surface. You are safer in a vehicle than being outdoors.
Remember that utility lines or pipes can carry the electrical current underground or through a building. Avoid electrical appliances, and use telephones or computers only in an emergency.
If you feel your hair standing on end – get down into a baseball catcher’s position and plug your ears with your finger tips so if lightning does hit it will not blow your ear drums out. Do not lie flat!
30/30 rule – if the time between lighting and thunder is 30 seconds or less, go to a safe shelter. Stay there until 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder.
Nearly half of all fatalities in a flash flood involve a person driving a vehicle. Do not drive into a flooded area – Turn Around Don’t Drown! It takes only 2 feet of water to float away most cars. It’s amazing how powerful we feel when we get behind the wheel – don’t do it!
It takes only 6 inches of fast-moving water to sweep a person off their feet – don’t walk through a flooded area!
If you are camping in a river valley, move to higher ground if thunderstorms with heavy rains are in the area. Do not attempt to drive away.
Don’t operate electrical tools in flooded areas.
Most flash flood deaths occur in the middle of the night when it is more difficult to see rising water levels judge the depth of water covering road surfaces.
Severe Weather Safety - Straight Line Winds/Large Hail
Don’t underestimate the power of strong thunderstorm winds known as straight-line winds – they can reach speeds of 100 to 150 mph. Hurricane-force winds start at 74 mph. Illinois does experience these kinds of winds!
If a severe thunderstorm warning contains hurricane-force wind speeds seek shelter immediately (as you would for a tornado situation).Stay away from windows and go to the basement or interior room/hallway. Do not use electrical appliances.
Be aware that tall trees near a building can be uprooted by straight-line winds – that tree can come crashing through the roof of a home and crush a person to death.
Powerful straight-line winds can overturn a vehicle or even make a person air-borne when they get up over 100 mph!
One type of a straight-line wind event is a downburst, which is a small area of rapidly descending rain-cooled air and rain beneath a thunderstorm. A downburst can cause damage equivalent to a strong tornado!
Although it is rare, people have been killed by large hail stones after sustaining head injuries. Additionally, several people are injured by large hail stones each year in the U.S.
Some thunderstorms can produce large hail stones that can reach the size of baseballs, softballs, or even as big as computer compact discs (CD) or DVDs! These large hail stones can fall at speeds over 100 mph! – that’s why they are dangerous!
If a severe storm is producing large hail stones, seek a sturdy shelter and stay away from windows that can easily be smashed.
If you are in your vehicle before the hail storm starts, get out of it and go to a sturdy shelter. Glass windows in vehicles can easily be smashed by the hail stones. If you can’t get out of your vehicle, then come to a stop and cover your head with your arms and hands.
Mold can spread through a home in as little as 48 hours
If you see visible mold, do not disturb it. You can inadvertently spread the mold infestation throughout your home. When mold is disturbed, the mold can release microscopic mold spores which become airborne and can circulate inside your home.
What to Do:
Stay out of affected areas.
Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
Contact SERVPRO of Joliet for mold remediation services
What Not to Do:
Don't touch or disturb the mold.
Don't blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
Don't attempt to dry the area yourself.
Don't spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.
About Our Mold Remediation Services
SERVPRO of Joliet specializes in mold cleanup and restoration. Our crews are highly trained restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your mold problem quickly and safely.
If you see signs of mold, call us today - (815) 436-5735.
Will you catch pneumonia if you go outside with a wet head in winter?? Ever wonder what are really health tips and what are old wive's tales? Well this article from WebMD answers those questions about some common practices we do to try and keep us germ free.
Use hand sanitizer: Worth it
“Hand sanitizers have gotten better in recent years,” explains Charles Gerba, PhD, a germ expert and environmental biologist at the University of Arizona. Look for one that contains 60% alcohol. That's the amount needed to kill germs.
You don’t have to overdo it, Gerba says. Use it once or twice during a typical day, as well as after using public transportation, when you get home, or before you eat (if you can’t wash your hands).
Wash your hands constantly: Not (necessarily) worth it
Turn off the faucet with a paper towel: Worth it
“The faucet handle is the most contaminated surface in a restroom,” Gerba says. Using the same towel to open the restroom door on the way out is also a good idea.
Skip the hand dryer: Worth it
These machines aren’t only annoyingly loud, but they could be hazardous to your health. Studies find that a jet air dryer spreads 1,300 times more germs than paper towels . Use paper towels if available, or air dry your hands.
Use a paper toilet seat cover: Not worth it
The porcelain throne is actually one of the cleanest spots of a public restroom because they’re often cleaned with disinfectants, Gerba says.
If it gives you peace of mind, go for it, but that thin piece of paper isn’t going to do much good, since fluid can go right through it, says Philip Tierno, PhD, microbiologist and clinical professor of pathology at New York University. But chances are good you’re not going to come in contact with anything that can infect you, he says.
Touch elevator buttons with your knuckle or sleeve: Worth it
The ground-floor button, which everyone touches, can get especially grimy, Gerba says.
Avoid shaking hands or hugging people who appear ill: Worth it
Explain that you’re not being rude; you’re protecting your health. Both experts say they avoid touching friends and relatives who are sick, especially if they’re coughing and sneezing.
Keep your fingers off your face: Worth it
Touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with germy hands is a surefire way to get sick. And you may be doing it more than you realize. One study found the average adult touches their face about 16 times per hour.
Bring your own yoga mat to class: Worth it
Doing downward dog can deliver plenty of health benefits, but your yoga mat can also be a prime place for germs, Tierno says. Make sure to clean it with antibacterial wipes after every use.
Wipe down gym equipment: Worth it
Working out can play a role in boosting your immune system, but exercise equipment is pretty dirty. One study found the virus that causes the common cold is present on 63% of gym machines. Protect yourself from germs as you work out by wiping gym equipment with a towel before using it. (Tierno suggests using your own towel and marking an X on the “dirty” side.)
Wear a surgical mask on airplanes: Actually worth it!
It’s not overkill, Tierno says, especially if someone behind, beside, or in front of you is sneezing and coughing. Any further away, you’re probably safe.
Being prepared and informed may help you to avoid the messy and often expensive issue of frozen pipes. Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. No matter the "strength" of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break. Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing.
Before the onset of cold weather, prevent freezing of these water supply lines and pipes by following these recommendations:
Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve" or installing UL-listed "heat tape," "heat cable," or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.
Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.
Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
Hopefully taking these preventative measures will help you get through the winter without any frozen pipes. If you should find yourself with a water issue from a broken, frozen pipe, know that SERVPRO of Lockport/Lemont/Homer Glen is standing by to assist you in your time of need.
As we approach our last month of fall, and while the weather is still fairly mild, now is the time to prepare your home for winter. It's coming, and unfortunately will be here before we know it! Here are some tips you can do to ensure your home will be prepared when the temperature start dropping and the snow starts falling.
1. Check Windows and Doors for Drafts Did you know that a simple 1/8th inch gap running the length of your door can equal the same surface area as a brick missing from the exterior of your house? Most drafts around doors and windows can be easily fixed by installing weatherstripping or caulking around windows.
2. Insulate Plumbing and Pipes A few minutes of prevention at the onset of winter can save you hundreds of dollars on costly damage and repairs to pipes and plumbing. Insulate pipes or use heat tape or a thermostatically controlled heat cable to prevention pipe bursts. Jump into action now, and prevent major issues in the future.
3. Replace summer screens with winter storm doors and windows Replacing screens with storm doors will keep the rain and cold out and make the inside of your home nice and cozy.
4. Secure dryer vents and air intakes While it is a good idea for any air intake to be covered with a wire or mesh prevention barrier year round, animals may take advantage of any openings more aggressively once winter sets in.
5. Clear Debris from Gutter Downspouts Precipitation in a short amount of time from winter storms means excess runoff and potential flooding. Gutters and downspouts are the first line of defense in keeping the inside of your home dry. Make sure the downspouts are free of debris and that water is directed away from your home's foundation. If water runs away from your foundation, odds are that the rest of your home's moisture defenses will do their job.
6. Replace Furnace Filters Furnace filters keep excess dust and particles from circulating from your home and help your furnace operate more efficiently. Some furnaces have metal filters that can be cleaned by rinsing them or vacuuming them out, others are disposable and need to be thrown out and replaced.
7. Drain and store garden hoses and shut off exterior water spigots Disconnecting and draining garden hoses and other exterior irrigation will greatly extend their life or prevent bursting.
8. Check attic for proper air ventilation and insulation Have you ever checked to see if your attic is adequately insulated? If not, check out this article on how to determine how much insulation is necessary for your region.
9. Add more insulation If you do not have enough insulation, adding more will go a long way to reduce your heating bill.
10. Install a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat is a great idea for making your home more energy-efficient.
Completing these items will help you enjoy the next season change worry free!
Smoke alarm usage and maintenance is key to fire safety.
Did you know that if a fire starts in your home you may have as little as two minutes to escape? During a fire, early warning from a smoke alarm plus a fire escape plan that has been practiced regularly can save lives.
This October, in recognition of Fire Prevention Week (Oct.9th-15th), the Red Cross will focus their efforts on raising awareness about fire safety nationwide, and by canvassing local communities to install smoke alarms in homes that need them, teaching people about what they can do now to be prepared should a fire break out in their home.
Some top tips for fire safety:
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
- Test smoke alarms every month and replace batteries as needed.
- Talk with family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.
- If a fire occurs in your home, Get out, Stay out and Call for help. Never go back inside for anything or anyone.
For more fire safety tips, checklists and fact sheets go to www.redcross.org. Also, like and follow our SERVPRO of Joliet and SERVPRO of Lockport/Lemont/Homer Glen Facebook page for more fire prevention ideas all month long.
Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters. Conditions that cause floods include heavy or steady rain for several hours or days that saturates the ground. This is especially true when the ground is still frozen or too dry. Flash floods can occur in the country or city, where runoff from buildings, parking lots and streets can overwhelm municipal storm water sewers. Fortunately, you can help prevent the water damage that floods can cause your home. Here are several flood control fixes you can make to help manage storm water runoff and prevent flood damage to your home:
Slope soil away from your home's foundation.
Clean out gutters and downspouts in the fall and spring. You can also use downspout extensions to carry water farther away from your foundation.
Plug holes or cracks in you gutters, downspouts and downspout extensions.
Set up a downspout to empty into a rain barrel.
Look for holes or cracks in your foundation and completely fill them.
If your home is prone to flooding, having a sump pump installed is the most convenient flood control.
Review with all family members how to shut off utilities in an emergency.
You will be better prepared to withstand a flood, or any disaster, if you have an emergency plan in place. Plan and practice an evacuation route and have an emergency kit packed and ready to go.
National Preparedness Month is recognized during the month of September and is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It serves as a reminder that we all must take action to prepare, now and throughout the year, for the types of emergencies that could affect us where we live, work, and also where we visit. In order to be prepared, the first things to do would be to make an Emergency Plan and an Emergency Kit.
• Make a Plan. Work with you family and neighbors to make an emergency plan for the types of disasters that affect your area. Make sure everyone in your family understands where to go and what to do in case of an emergency. You can download Family Emergency Plan templates at www.ready.gov/make-a-plan. Business owners can go to https://ready.SERVPRO.com/ to downlod the SERVPRO Ready App and create a business emergency ready plan.
• Update Contact Information. Having accurate records for family, friends and neighbors will help you stay in contact and possibly help those in need. Make sure updated contact information is posted in visible places throughout your house and workplace. • Check Your Policy. Review your insurance policy annually and make any necessary changes – renters, too! When a disaster strikes, you want to know that your coverage will get you back on your feet.
• Make a Ready List. You may not need all of the items in ready-made preparedness kits. Choose the essentials that fit your needs and budget. Don’t forget to keep supplies at work and in your car. Sample Ready Lists can be found at www.ready.gov/document/familysupply-list
These are just a few tips to begin being prepared. Start now..you can never be too prepared!