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Prepare for a weather emergency

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Prepare for a weather emergency

Prepare for a weather emergency

Preparing For Winter Emergency

What to do before a storm
What to do after a storm

What to do before a storm

Protect your property

  • Ensure that your property is protected to the fullest extent possible:
    • Install storm shutters in wind-prone areas.
    • Secure or store outdoor furniture and loose items.
    • Trim tree branches that are close to the structure; remove dead trees or limbs.
    • Reinforce garage doors.
  • Inspect and replace caulking and weather stripping around doors and windows.
  • Be sure you have a copy of your insurance policy and an inventory of the property and contents in a safe place.

Protect Yourself and your Family

  • Be sure you have these items on h and:
    • Battery-operated radio and flashlights with fresh batteries.
    • Supply of bottled water and non-perishable food.
    • Blankets and clothing.
    • First aid kit and any necessary prescription medications.
  • If you’re in an area prone to power outages, consider purchasing an auxiliary generator.
  • Familiarize yourself with evacuation routes, and if asked to evacuate, do so.
  • Be certain your car is in good working order and the tank is full.

What to do after a storm

  • Make sure all family members are safe. Listen to the radio for public service announcements. If evacuated, do not return to your home until authorized to do so. If at home, wait for the “all clear” announcement before venturing outside.
  • Don’t touch downed power lines; assume they are live no matter how long they have been down.
  • Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas, leave immediately and call the utility company from a neighbor’s house.
  • Don’t try to move large trees or branches that have fallen on your home. You could hurt yourself and possibly increase the damage to your home.
  • Cover broken windows or holes in walls or roofs to prevent further damage.

Flood/water damage

Flood/water damage

Severe weather, flooding, and interior water leaks each pose their own risks. Underst anding the different ways water damage can occur helps you take the right steps to protect your property, which includes purchasing the right insurance coverage.

Underst anding causes of water damage.

While fire may be a common concern among homeowners, Travelers claim data suggests that homes could be as much as 10 times more likely to be damaged by water than by fire.

  • More

    Water damage to property can come from many sources with weather-related moisture or flooding being one significant source: leaking roofs, blocked gutters and downspouts leading to foundation and siding damage, ice dams; flooding from heavy rains, flash floods, dam and levee failures, snowmelt and spring thaws, tidal storm surges and mudflows. New construction development of buildings, roads or bridges can often alter the potential and flow of floods. Being located within a flood zone can put individuals at risk, but being outside an established zone does not mean homeowners are safe: flooding is always a possibility due to causes such as heavy rains, snowmelt and spring thaws.

    Water damage also can come from non-weather related sources within the home, including leaky baseboard heating, plugged air conditioning unit condensation drains, furnaces/boilers, water heaters, washing machines, and leaky plumbing. Homeowners may also have wet basements resulting from water entering through cracks in foundations, improper l andscape grading, downspouts placed too close to the foundation or from seepage through floor drains and sewer pipes, among other reasons.

    In all cases, water can cause major damage to your property, valuables and equipment. In severe damage, such as from flooding, it may mean the need to rebuild or move to another location.

Protect your property through prepare and prevent measures.

In addition to purchasing the right insurance coverage, no matter the source of damage-causing water (weather-related or not) there are a number of things you can do to help minimize or prevent water damage to your property.

Protect your property with the right flood insurance.

The average cost for homeowner flood loss is $48,000, according to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). While floods can cause major destruction, the damage caused by floods is not covered by st andard homeowners insurance policies. However, flood insurance is offered by the NFIP and available through Travelers.

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    A flood insurance policy provides specialized coverage to help you protect your home and condo from rising waters. Costs vary depending on how much insurance is purchased, what it covers, and the property’s flood risk. In general, flood policies can provide coverage for your home’s structure, furnace, water heater, furniture, appliances, clothing, rugs (with certain limitations for basement areas) and certain expenses you incur to protect your home from imminent flood damage and clean up costs. Generally, there is a 30-day waiting period from date of purchase before your policy goes into effect. That means now is the best time to buy flood insurance.

    If you have any questions regarding homeowners insurance or flood insurance, contact your agent or company representative.

Prepare & Prevent: Weather-related sources of floodwater damage

Before

  • Know your flood zone risk. Evaluate your flood risk.
  • Have your furnace, water heater and other permanent equipment elevated above the expected flood levels of your area.
  • Inspect sump pumps and drains regularly to ensure proper operation.
  • If you own a generator, have a licensed electrician provide a transfer switch to your sump pump so you can operate it in the event of flooding.
  • To help prevent sewage backup, have a licensed plumber install an interior or exterior backflow valve.
  • Keep s andbags on h and to help divert unusually high water away from your foundation.
  • In snowy climates, flag drains to avoid plowing snow on top of them.
  • Learn the flood alert signals of your community.
  • Collect emergency building materials if you live in a frequently flooded area. These include plywood, plastic sheeting, lumber, nails, shovels and s andbags.
  • Plan and practice an evacuation route. Designate a place for family members to meet in the event they become separated.
  • Review with all family members how to shut off utilities in an emergency.
  • Plan a kit with important documents, including insurance documents, medications and critical items in the event you need to leave your home.

During

  • Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for the latest storm information. If advised to evacuate, shut off all utilities and evacuate immediately.
  • Move to high ground, avoid rising waters and do not walk or drive through any floodwaters.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and electrical wires.

After

  • Listen to the radio and do not return home until authorities indicate it is safe to do so.
  • Be watchful of snakes that may have found their way into your home.
  • Throw away all food that has come in contact with floodwaters.
  • Remove st anding water as quickly as possible, including from your basement. If your basement is flooded, pump out the water gradually. Remove about 1/3 per day to avoid structural damage.
  • Properly dry or remove soaked carpets, padding and upholstery within 24-48 hours after a flood to prevent mold growth. Discard anything that cannot be properly dried.
  • Wash and disinfect all areas that have been flooded. This includes walls, floors, closets, shelves, as well as heating and air-conditioning systems.
  • Do not energize electrical or electronic equipment that may have suffered water damage without first having a qualified electrician inspect and/or test it.
  • Promptly report the loss to Travelers using the toll-free claim reporting number.

More on tips for wet basements.
Floodsmart Tips

Prepare & Prevent: Weather-related sources of water damage

You can minimize or help prevent water damage from sources from within the home through home maintenance steps, including:

  • Keep drains, gutters and downspouts clear of leaves and other debris.
  • Maintain your roof to prevent water from seeping into your home.
  • Move downspouts minimally three feet away from the base of your home.
  • Inspect and repair foundation wall cracks.
  • Grade your l andscape away from your building so water is directed away from the basement.

Prepare & Prevent: Non-weather, interior sources of water damage

You can minimize or help prevent water damage from sources from within the home through home maintenance steps, including:

  • Inspect washing machine hoses annually and replace every three–five years–or immediately, if there are any signs of cracking or bulging.
  • Inspect plumbing around water heaters, showers, tubs, toilets, sinks, and dishwashers annually and repair if there are any signs of leaks or corrosion. When possible, install water heaters in an area with floor drains to minimize damage if leaks should occur.
  • Inspect refrigerator icemaker connections, usually located behind the refrigerator, annually and replace hoses if they appear cracked or corroded.
  • Check air conditioning drain lines yearly and clean if clogged.

The storm is over – now what do you do?

 

 

The storm is over –
now what do you do?

After it is confirmed by authorities that the storm has passed and it is safe to go outdoors, you can begin to assess any potential damage. If you have property damage, you should report your claim as soon as possible. The more information you can provide when you report the loss, the better we can begin our response. However, if you have missing information but have sustained damage, please report your claim in any event.

  1. Stay inside and make sure everyone is safe.

Stay tuned to the radio or television until an official “all clear” is given (if you were evacuated, return home only after authorities advise it is safe to do so.)

  1. Avoid downed power lines.

Never touch anything in contact with power lines, including water or water puddles that may be near the downed power lines.

  1. Protect property from further damage.

Board up broken windows to protect against v andalism or additional weather damage. Arrange for reasonable temporary repairs.

  1. Keep accurate expense records.

Save bills and materials receipts from your temporary repairs. (Do not make permanent repairs until the insurance adjuster has reviewed the damage.) Also, keep accurate records of other expenses incurred.

  1. Separate and inventory the damaged property.

Write a list of any damaged contents. Include the item description, name of the manufacturer, the br and name, age, the place and date of purchase, if known. Use any photographs, videotapes or personal property inventories you may already have to help.

Preparing for a hurricane

Preparing for a hurricane

You may have heard the terms “hurricane watch” or “hurricane warning”. The terms have different levels of preparedness that are required and are described below.

With either type of alert, it is important to be prepared. What you do beforeh and can determine how well you weather the storm and recover from it. Here are some preparation tips:

  • Prepare a survival kit that includes water and non-perishable food for everyone including your pets; a portable radio; flashlights and batteries.
  • Plan your evacuation route and make sure you leave as soon as an evacuation order is issued. Also, please be sure to fuel up your car before you leave.
  • Make sure you have car chargers for your cell phones and portable devices.
  • Close storm shutters and board up all windows and glass doors.
  • Secure all outdoor objects or move them inside.
  • Bring in gas or charcoal grills, but do not use them inside or even store propane tanks inside the house or garage. Chain propane tanks in an upright position to a secure object away from your home.
  • Secure your boat or move it to a safer place.
  • Fill your emergency generator fuel tank, if you have one, and have spare fuel on h and. Be sure to store generator fuel in an approved can away from the house, open flames and fuel-burning appliances such as natural gas appliances.

As soon as you hear of a hurricane watch or warning, it is important, depending on the type of alert, to immediately begin or complete your preparedness. You can never be too prepared when it comes to protecting your loved ones and your property.

Stay warm during severe cold weather

Stay warm during severe cold weather

Extreme cold can cause a number of health problems. Hypothermia and frostbite are just two of the health effects induced by cold weather.

Hypothermia occurs when a person’s core body temperature is lower than 95°F. The condition is considered mild if a person’s core temperature is between 90 and 95°F. Victims of mild hypothermia may show symptoms including uncontrollable shivering, loss of dexterity, pale and cool skin, and incoherence.

Severe hypothermia occurs when a person’s core body temperature falls below 90°F. At this temperature shivering stops and the victim’s blood pressure, heart rate and respiration begin dropping. Symptoms of severe hypothermia include slurred speech, confusion, shallow breathing, unusual behavior and a slow, irregular heartbeat. In extreme cases, the victim appears dead.

Treat mild hypothermia by moving the victim to a warm, dry environment. Prevent further heat loss by covering the victim’s head and neck. Provide extra clothes or blankets. Give the victim warm liquids (no caffeine or alcohol) and high-energy foods. Consult a physician as soon as possible.

Severe hypothermia dem ands immediate medical attention. Apply mild heat (comfortable to the elbow) to the victim’s head, neck, chest, armpits and groin. Attempt to keep the victim conscious. As much as possible, prevent them from moving. Movement circulates cold blood back to the heart and can cause further damage.

Frostbite is frozen and sometimes dead tissue caused by prolonged exposure to cold temperatures, usually below freezing. The extremities of the body (ears, nose, fingers, h ands, toes, and feet) are most often affected because the body reduces blood flow to them in an effort to maintain its core temperature.

Frostbite usually causes the skin to look pale or blue. In extreme cases, the skin may turn black. The skin will generally feel cold and numb, and may be either stiff or rubbery. Severe cases of frostbite may form blisters.

Contrary to common belief, one should NEVER rub areas affected with frostbite. Rubbing actually increases the tissue damage. Move the victim to a warm, dry area. Place the affected area into warm water (100 to 104°F) until it becomes red, not until feeling returns. Consult a physician as soon as possible.

If you must be outside in cold weather, dress in layers including a hat, gloves and insulated boots. The inner layer of clothing should transfer moisture away from the skin, the middle layer should provide insulation and warmth while the outer layer prevents wind, rain and snow from getting in . Air between the layers also will provide additional warmth.

Keeping dry in cold weather is crucial to avoiding hypothermia. If a person does get wet, quickly move the individual to a warm, dry area. Remove the wet clothing and cover the individual with dry clothes or blankets.

Avoid smoking and stimulants, such as caffeine and alcohol. Smoking decreases circulation to the extremities. Caffeine stimulates the heart and may cause it to circulate cold blood. Although alcohol may make a person feel warm, it actually causes the body to lose heat.

Nutrition is a critical part of combating hypothermia. Your body needs food to burn to sustain core temperature. Eat a well balanced diet rich in complex carbohydrates. The dry air in cold conditions also can cause dehydration. It is important to rehydrate regularly.

Spring maintenance tips

 

Spring maintenance tips

Spring ahead with these home maintenance tips.

 

Spring cleaning and spring maintenance tips go h and in h and. Take a cue from the tips below and spruce up your gutters as you spruce up your rose garden.

  • Inspect your smoke detectors, and make sure that there is one on each floor of your home. Test them monthly, and change the batteries annually or as needed.
  • Check the light bulbs in all your fixtures to be sure they are the correct wattage as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Replace all high-intensity bulbs (such as inc andescent) with fluorescent bulbs that don’t produce as much heat.
  • Check your electrical outlets for potential fire hazards such as frayed wires or loose-fitting plugs. Be sure not to overload electrical outlets, fuse boxes, extension cords or any other power service.
  • Keep a multi-purpose fire extinguisher accessible, filled and ready for operation.
  • Have your air conditioning system inspected by a professional as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Check for damage to your roof, and clean gutters and downspouts to keep debris from accumulating.
  • Check water heater for leaks and corrosion.
  • Clean or replace your furnace filter.
  • Clean the clothes dryer exhaust duct and space under the dryer. Remove all lint, dust, and pieces of material.
  • Remove all dead trees in your yard, and keep healthy trees and bushes trimmed and away from utility wires.
  • Safely store oil and gas for lawn equipment and tools in a vented, locked area.
  • Repair cracked, broken or uneven driveways and walkways to provide a level walking surface.

Winter maintenance tips

Winter maintenance tips

Keep the chill out and safely enjoy the season.

Winter means rosy cheeks, but it also means harsh weather and frigid temperatures. Make sure you’re prepared for the snow and sleet by following the winter maintenance tips below.

  • Check your outlets and all electrical holiday decorations for potential fire hazards such as frayed wires or loose connections. Do not overload the outlets, extension cords or surge protectors.
  • Check and clean your heating system to make sure it is in good working condition for the winter months. This is generally a job best performed by a professional.
  • Keep adequate fuel reserves on h and because fuel carriers might not be able to refuel for several days during severe weather.
  • Close off and lower the temperature in rooms that are not in use. Make sure there is sufficient heat to prevent the freezing of water pipes.
  • Insulate pipes that pass through unheated areas. Your home’s crawlspace and attic are two such areas.
  • Clean or replace your furnace filter before the heating season begins.
  • Clean the clothes dryer exhaust duct and space under the dryer. This prevents lint from accumulating and reduces the risk of fire.
  • Service snow removal equipment, and keep ice melting compound on h and to melt ice on walkways.
  • Set the heat in your home no lower than 55 degrees.
  • Remove screens from windows, and install storm windows.
  • Protect your roof against heavy snow and ice loads. Keep gutters clean and roof drains open.
  • Inspect washing machine hoses periodically, and replace hoses that show signs of wear or leakage.