Recent Posts

How to Protect Your Home from Flood Damage in the Future

5/7/2019 (Permalink)

How to Protect Your Home from Flood Damage in the Future

  • Consider flood insurance (especially if you live in areas where weather-related flooding is common). Government-issued disaster assistance doesn’t always cover the cost of damage from a flood, so it’s important to consider a supplemental insurance policy.
  • Bring appliances such as utilities, broilers, window air conditioning units and other HVAC equipment to higher ground if possible, as these items are particularly vulnerable to flood damage.
  • Hire a trusted plumber to install a sewage water backstop or sump pump. Some cities offer programs to fund the installation of these types of valves. Check with your local official to see if this is offered in your area.
  • Fill any holes or cracks in foundation with caulk or patching to prevent potential leaks.

How to Prepare for a Flood

5/7/2019 (Permalink)

How to Prepare for a Flood

  1. Check in with local authorities or news outlets to learn more about flood evacuation plans, warnings and advice.
  2. Buy sand bags and place them in toilet bowls and any other laundry/bathroom drain holes to prevent sewage backflow.
  3. Move hazardous items such as rugs, furniture and electrical items to higher ground.
  4. Turn off electricity and gas supplies to prevent gas leaks or any other potential damage.
  5. Gather up the 5 P’s of evacuation: people, prescriptions, papers, personal needs and priceless items, and only return when authorities say it is safe if you’re in an area that has been evacuated.

Preventative Gardening Tips to Protect Your Yard From Flooding

5/7/2019 (Permalink)

Grass, Soil and Mulch

Soil composition and grass type can both play a big part in how well (or poorly) a lawn will handle flooding. An ideal soil type crumbles easily and allows water to drain adequately; however, it should also not be so light that it washes away during heavy rain. Sand and other loosely-packed soil varieties are likely to experience the most severe water damage (and can even be washed away completely), while clay and other very dense soil types that don’t allow for much drainage will result in a lot of standing water that doesn’t easily subside during the flood cleanup process.

Adding mulch or a compost mixture can help improve soil composition and drainage, but make sure if you’re using mulch specifically for your garden or flowerbeds that you use a heavier hardwood mulch or one made of manmade materials. Light mulch chips, such as pine, tend to get washed away very easily which will make flood cleanup a hassle, plus it can clog drains. 

Plant Life

A good way to naturally avert water damage is to plant specific varieties of trees, shrubs and plants in certain areas of your yard. Plants with a high water tolerance should be planted in areas that don’t drain well since their roots can handle being submerged. Shallow root plants that are more susceptible to water damage should be planted in higher elevated areas of a yard or in raised flower beds. Another good rule of thumb is to choose native varieties of flowers, plants and shrubs for your yard, as they usually will require very little watering between rainfall and can withstand water damage if flooding occurs. 

Landscaping

If the lay of the land where you live isn't conducive to draining excess water, there are ways you can create natural features that will aid in proper drainage and decrease the likelihood of standing water. A swale is a depression in a landscape—either existing or created—that’s basically a shallow ditch which directs water flow and helps with drainage. Swales can be built narrow or wide, depending on how much water they’ll need to move and should be lined with rocks (at the lowest point) and deep-rooting plants (on the slopes) to maximize their use and minimize the chance of water damage in the event of a flood.

How to Deal With Flood Cleanup

If your yard does experience flooding, there are actions you can take to assist with water removal and to prevent any further damage from happening to the plant life and trees in your yard. First and foremost, determine where you'll be channeling the excess water before you start draining it off your yard because you don't want to accidentally send it toward a neighbor's house or toward another water-logged area, which will result in a bigger flood cleanup effort. Also, make sure to check with your local storm water services department (or appropriate agency) in case you need to get permission to carry out your water removal procedure and/or connect your home's water drainage system with existing storm sewers when you are making upgrades.  

Pet Fire Safety

5/1/2019 (Permalink)

Each year, more than 500,000 pets are affected by house fires, with 1,000 house fires started by pets themselves. In order to prevent and prepare for a possible house fire, it is important to remember your pets when thinking about your fire preparedness plan.

PREVENTING A FIRE

  • Reduce open flame exposure – Pets are curious and may try to investigate your unattended candles or fireplace. Opt instead for flameless candles or an enclosed fireplace to prevent an accidental knock or escaped ember from burning out of control.
  • Put covers on or remove stove knobs and discourage climbing in the kitchen – An accidental nudge of a stove knob is the number one cause of house fires started by pets. By preventing your pet from interacting with a stove, you can take a big step toward preventing fires.
  • Secure loose wires – Pets may like to chew on wires and cords, but ensure that these items are out of reach from your pet, as they can lead to fires.
  • Never put a glass bowl on a wooden porch – The sun’s rays can heat the bowl and cause a fire on your wooden deck. Opt instead for ceramic or stainless-steel dishes when outside.

PREPARING FOR A FIRE

  • Include your pet into your family emergency plan and practice taking them with you. Talk with your family members to determine who is responsible for grabbing your pets and who should grab their supplies (food, medication, photo, leashes and carriers, medical records) during an emergency so you can reduce scrambling and redundancy when speed and efficiency are needed.
  • Put a decal in your home’s front window indicating the number and type of pets you have – Providing this information can cut down on the time responders spend searching your home in the case of a fire.
  • Make sure your pet’s updated contact information is reflected on their ID collar and in the microchip database – If your pet gets lost during a fire, this will help rescuers get him or her back to you.
  • Use monitored smoke detectors that are connected to emergency responders – Should a fire start while you are away from your home, you’ll rest assured that your pet has access to emergency response services even if no one is home to call them.
  • Know your pets’ hideaways and create ways for easy access to them in case of an emergency – It’s nice that your pet can get away if he or she wants to, but in an emergency, you need to be able to locate and extract your pet as quickly as possible.

DURING A FIRE

  • Attempt to grab your pet and exit the home as quickly as possible, but if it takes too long to locate or secure them, leave – You should never delay escape or endanger yourself or your family. Once responders get there, immediately inform them your pet is still inside, so they can go enter your home and continue looking for your pet.
  • Grab leashes and carriers on your way out – Outside will be chaotic and that may cause your pet to try to escape to a calm, safe area.
  • Never go back inside a burning house. If you can’t find your pet, leave, open the door, and call to them repeatedly from a safe distance away. Let firefighters take over the task of locating your pet.

Spring Cleaning Outside

4/11/2019 (Permalink)

General Spring Cleaning Outside Spring Cleaning Outside

When making your spring cleaning list, remember your home's exterior.  A few hours of attention could save you a bundle in unexpected repairs. 

Roof & Chimney
Examine your roof for cracked or missing shingles and damaged flashing around vents and chimneys. Check chimney caps and roof vents for bird nests and debris.

Gutters & Downspouts
Clogged gutters lead to rainwater back up and rot under shingles, waterfalls that cause window leaks and pools that drain into your crawl or basement and soften soil around tree roots causing them to fall.  Consider installing gutter screening and downspout extensions.

Foundation Vents & Drains
Look for missing or damaged screens, debris, signs of insect or rodent infestation, or other issues.  Unclog drainage systems designed to channel water away from the foundation, including city sewer drains.