Recent Posts

Roofs, Gutters, Snow and Rain do not mix......

1/11/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Roofs, Gutters, Snow and Rain do not mix...... Clearing the snow off the roof and shoveling out the down spouts to your gutters and sewer drains is going to help with all the rain coming to Boston

Having a hard time shoveling/Walking/ driving with all the ice and snow in and around Boston???? Yes we know you are we see the posts..

It is heavy.. Hard to move. .Frozen solid.. Sidewalks not shoveled///

OK so it is warming we are all looking forward to it... We are in the clear.. Its going to rain and be almost 50 right..... Ummmm No not even close..GET THOSE ROOFS SHOVELED OFF BEFORE IT RAINS and clean out those down spouts so the water has somewhere to go. This is very important because behind this rain will be another blast of cold air which means more freezing. Even measurable icing event behind the rain.

Did you know.

Total accumulated weight: 2 feet of old snow and 2 feet of new snow could weigh as much as 60 lb per square foot of roof space, which is beyond the typical snow load capacity of most roofs. Ice: 1 inch of ice equals 1 foot of fresh snow.

Do you have icicles hanging from your roof?

Do you have snow on your roof?

Do you have gutters?

Are the downspouts blocked by snow?

If you answered yes to any one of these questions you have a major problem on your hands.

Ice causes melting snow to stop up and back up onto your roof and possibly into your home. If not it will stay and create more ice. If it gets under a shingle , breaks your gutter off or even cracks a corner of your home you will have a major water problem in your home most likely between the walls. Icicles also mean heavier water on your roof.

If you still have measurable snow with the temperatures warming up you will most likely see some rapid melting provided you have a good drainage system with no ice. ( but hey we have only had -25 wind chills I am sure you don't have ice hahah) You will be fine.

We have a major rain event set for Friday.. with excess of 2.5 inches of rain on the way. Couple that with the snow already on roofs with little or any place to go. You are at risk for a roof collapse

Got Gutters?????

We talked about roof shoveling and it’s importance. Did you get it done? Hope so because now you have more work to do. Snow on roofs..sidewalks and streets are frozen and making a mess of walking and getting around. We know we have seen all the issues online...

We all have to look out for one another as well as ourselves from time to time. Relying on the city, a business or a landlord to do something does not always work law or otherwise.. As we have seen. Let’s all help out this was a bad storm with another on the way.

Find your gutters ... the down spouts are buried by all the snow that we got or got put out of the way. GUESS WHAT....Its in the way.

We are getting 2-3 inches of rain it needs a place to go.

Storm drains are blocked by snow..

Gutters are totally covered.

Sidewalks and streets have solid bricks of snow encased in ice.

Open up a drain If it is in front of your house

Shovel out the down spouts ALL of them

If you don’t that water is going to flood into homes

If you do not have flood insurance this will not be a covered event. A little bit of shoveling is worth it trust me. Even if you do it is very limited so just get it done. Landlords are tapped out. City’s are over extended. Complaining will not stop the water from coming Friday let’s just get this done.

Nor'Easter

1/2/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Nor'Easter Boston looks picturesque at this height during this time of the year. However the bitter cold sets in and a Nor'Easter this view changes quickly

Did you know that MA has a website that can provide you with emergency information and assistance on how to find help. I know right who knew? 

http://mass211.org/

From here you can get a lot of information fast and accurate. Should you need help during this intense record breaking winter season here in New England.

Record breaking cold rounded out our 2017 year bring it all into the start of 2018. Creating havoc. Our aging water systems pipes cannot handle the frigid temperatures and have had more water main breaks than we care to talk about. There have been gas line fires, house fires started from people trying to keep warm and improperly using space heaters. There have been some unintelligent uses of blow torches, as well as pipes bursting. We know there are a lot of ice dams on peoples roofs we can see them, but no one has called us for damage yet because they are not melting very fast due to the cold but they will.

Being prepared and knowing what the forecasts are saying is your only way to stay ahead of everything this season. There are numerous ways to stay informed and up to date. Below is a link for choosing the right way for you to receive your information. There are even apps that you can download to your phone.

https://www.weather.gov/subscribe

Did you know that preparing for a Nor’Easter is almost the same as preparing for a hurricane. Yes it can be that serious. Having   a weather app on your phone to listen for updates is the first step to being in the know. Ensuring your car has plenty of gas so that if you lose heat or power you can at least be warm until you make other arrangements. . Making sure your phone is charged before you lose power is key, and having a car charger will help keep you in the loop while you search out your options.

Know where the warming stations in your town are and being prepared to leave with your family to go to them if necessary. Many town buildings like libraries have opened their doors to those who need it . There are a number of local churches and shelters that have extended capacity to make sure everyone that needs it will have a place to go. So do your research on that now.

Alternative and additional heat sources. Yes we know that it is cold and the house may be drafty so what do you do. Crank up a wood stove or fire place if you have it. Great but please be safe, clean and empty the ashes into fireproof tins and outside on a non flammable surface (NOT YOUR PORCH). So you have a space heater, wonderful, are you following the 3ft rule? Not sure what that is keep everything 3ft away yes everything clothes, furniture, curtains, kids, pets, rugs everything. Oh and for the sake of good sense only directly plug them into wall units.

Food preparedness: With the cold of the winter we have a bit of a reprieve than what we do in the summer. If you are out for more than 4 hours get your refrigerator cleaned out and put it all outside on the porch in containers this will ensure you do not lose any of that food. The freezer would be a good idea to but if you get the power on before the 8 hour mark that stuff should be ok. Also make sure you have some foods that are non-perishable and that you have extra food on hand for your pets. It could be a while until you get to a store. Keep an eye on things but remember animals are looking for food this time of the year so make sure the food is in a container and covered.

So you have food taken care of, you have found places to go if necessary, you are getting ready to leave your home for what could be a few days depending on when you get your heat back on. You need to get your home ready. Turn every faucet in the house on and let it run while you are going to be gone. Open all of your cabinets and doors this will let the air circulate and help to try and keep the pipes from freezing.( Hopefully)

Is your Car prepared? There are a few things you should always keep in your car, Shovel, cat litter or sand, extra chargers, blankets as well. Flashlights, knife, jumper cables road maps (yes the paper ones), an extra set of clothes and some drinking water and food. These are just the basic suggestions depending on how many people, or animals you are going to be with will determine how much you actually need.

Being prepared will help you survive and stay safe during emergency situations. Knowing where to go to get and getting there safely may just save your life. Be in the know and be prepared.

Watch/Warning/Advisory .. What do you know??

12/28/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Watch/Warning/Advisory .. What do you know?? Winters in Boston can get pretty intense if you are not prepared you could be in for some trouble. Know the warnings and be ready

WE are in the thick of winter here in New England. With all the weather we have already had we thought it would be a good idea to keep you up to date with all the watches, warnings, and advisories that can be issued. They can be confusing and if you do not know which one is worse you could be in some trouble.

Hazardous Weather Outlook

The Hazardous Weather Outlook will describe potential hazardous weather and hydrologic information of concern in Days 1 through 7.

The outlook contains two segments: One segment for the marine zones and adjacent land-based (i.e., coastal) zones and the other segment for the rest of the land-based zones. Each segment of the HWO will contain 3 sections: short term through Day 1, long term for Days 2-7, and spotter information.

Winter Storm Watch

A Winter Storm Watch is issued when there is the potential for significant and hazardous winter weather within 48 hours. It does not mean that significant and hazardous winter weather will occur...it only means it is possible.

Significant and hazardous winter weather is defined as a combination of: 1)  5 inches or more of snow/sleet within a 12-hour period or 7 inches or more of snow/sleet within a 24-hour period AND/OR 2)  Enough ice accumulation to cause damage to trees or powerlines. AND/OR 3)  a life threatening or damaging combination of snow and/or ice accumulation with wind.

The snow/sleet criteria for a Winter Storm Watch for the five westernmost counties (Allegany, Mineral, Grant, Pendleton, and Highland) is higher (6 inches or more within a 12-hour period; 8 inches or more within a 24-hour period).

Blizzard Warning

A Blizzard Warning means that the following conditions are occurring or expected within the next 12 to 18 hours. 1) Snow and/or blowing snow reducing visibility to 1/4 mile or less for 3 hours or longer AND 2)  Sustained winds of 35 mph or greater or frequent gusts to 35 mph or greater. There is no temperature requirement that must be met to achieve blizzard conditions.

Winter Storm Warning

A Winter Storm Warning is issued when a significant combination of hazardous winter weather is occurring or imminent.

Significant and hazardous winter weather is defined as a combination of: 1)  5 inches or more of snow/sleet within a 12-hour period or 7 inches or more of snow/sleet within a 24-hour period AND/OR 2)  Enough ice accumulation to cause damage to trees or powerlines. AND/OR 3)  a life threatening or damaging combination of snow and/or ice accumulation with wind.

The snow/sleet criteria for a Winter Storm Warning for the five westernmost counties (Allegany, Mineral, Grant, Pendleton, and Highland) is higher (6 inches or more within a 12-hour period; 8 inches or more within a 24-hour period).

Ice Storm Warning

¼ inch or more of ice accumulation.

Winter Weather Advisory

A Winter Weather Advisory will be issued for any amount of freezing rain, or when 2 to 4 inches of snow (alone or in combination with sleet and freezing rain), is expected to cause a significant inconvenience, but not serious enough to warrant a warning.

If the event is expected to impact the Baltimore/Washington metro areas during rush hours (4-9 am or 2-7 pm on weekdays) forecasted snow totals of one inch will necessitate the issuance of a winter weather advisory. The snow/sleet criteria for a Winter Weather Advisory for the five westernmost counties (Allegany, Mineral, Grant, Pendleton, and Highland) is higher (3-5 inches).  

Freeze Watch

A Freeze Watch is issued when there is a potential for significant, widespread freezing temperatures within the next 24-36 hours.

A Freeze Watch is issued in the autumn until the end of the growing season (marked by the occurrence of first widespread freeze). The normal end of the growing season is mid to late October west of the Blue Ridge and early November east of the Blue Ridge. However, during anomalously warm autumns, the growing season may be extended past the normal end of the growing season.

A Freeze Watch is issued in the spring at the start of the growing season (when it is late enough to cause damage to new plants and crops).

Freeze Warning

A Freeze Warning is issued when significant, widespread freezing temperatures are expected.

A Freeze Warning is issued in the autumn until the end of the growing season (marked by the occurrence of first widespread freeze). The normal end of the growing season is mid to late October west of the Blue Ridge and early November east of the Blue Ridge. However, during anomalously warm autumns, the growing season may be extended past the normal end of the growing season.

A Freeze Warning is issued in the spring at the start of the growing season (when it is late enough to cause damage to new plants and crops).

Frost Advisory

A Frost Advisory is issued when the minimum temperature is forecast to be 33 to 36 degrees on clear and calm nights during the growing season.

A Frost Advisory is issued in the autumn until the end of the growing season (marked by the occurrence of first widespread freeze). The normal end of the growing season is mid to late October west of the Blue Ridge and early November east of the Blue Ridge. However, during anomalously warm autumns, the growing season may be extended past the normal end of the growing season.

A Frost Advisory is issued in the spring at the start of the growing season (when it is late enough to cause damage to new plants and crops).

Wind Chill Advisory

A Wind Chill Advisory is issued when wind chills of -5F to -19F are expected east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and when wind chills of -10 to -24F are expected along and west of the Blue Ridge Mountains and in Frederick and Carroll Counties in Maryland.

Wind Chill Warning

A Wind Chill Warning is issued when wind chills of -20F or lower are expected east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and when wind chills of -25F or lower are expected along and west of the Blue Ridge Mountains and in Frederick and Carroll Counties in Maryland.

Courtesy of our friends over at the National weather service. You can visit their website at

www.weather.gov for more information and to stay up to date on the latest weather for your area.

Space Heaters and Smoking Material Fire Safety..

11/27/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Space Heaters and Smoking Material Fire Safety.. Space heaters even infrared ones need to be attended to. Just like Smoking materials .. Please stay alert to remain safe...

With the first few major fires of the season having tragic results in and around Boston, we feel the need to write this article.

Two of the deadly fires were a result of improperly disposed of smoking materials while the other was a space heater. We have written article in depth about these topics but really need to reiterate the fact that these are quick moving and fast spreading. Many of which occur at night while these materials are unattended.

Let us start with the smoking materials.

This is the number one cause of death in home fires.

Many industries have made efforts to aid in the reduction of death and injury from these kinds of fires. The mattress and furniture industry have been required to use flame resistant materials in manufacturing. New fire safe cigarettes have been developed and are required  to aid in reduction of fires starting in the first place.  These measures cannot and should not replace the smokers properly disposing of lit or smoldering products.  We need to change our mindset and not rely on companies to make things safer for our friends and families.

 We all know the dangers that smoking has on our overall health yet many still continue to smoke. All too often while driving down the road someone will toss a lit cigarette they are done without the window.  While seemingly innocent when it comes in contact with the dry under brush and fallen leaves this can spark a major problems for so many. This is not an ideal way to dispose of a lit object period.

With the holiday season upon us many of us will partake in joyous occasions which often includes alcohol. While we support good time these drinks do impede judgment, make you sleepy, and reduce awareness. Coupled with many do smoke socially this can be a recipe for a disaster. When you have a smoke right before bed, but you are tired all too often many will fall asleep with the cigarette in their hand or even more scary in their mouth. The images of someone sleeping with a cigarette hanging out of their mouth is often a funny thing yet is a very dangerous event. As they sleep and muscles relax those funny images become deadly. Cigarettes falling out of the mouth or hand unknowingly onto the floor. Allowed to go unchecked, smoldering on a dry article of clothing, carpet or bed can quickly get out of hand. Deaths in these types of fires are often NOT the individual that was smoking the cigarette.

Please stay aware and if you see something say or do something you may just save a life. Properly dispose of the smoking materials even if they are not yours.

Here are some tips from our friends at National Fire Protection Association

  • If you smoke, smoke outside.
  • Whenever you smoke, use deep, wide, sturdy ashtrays. Ashtrays should be set on something sturdy and hard to ignite, like an end table.
  • Before you throw out butts and ashes, make sure they are out. Dowsing in water or sand is the best way to do that.
  • Check under furniture cushions and in other places people smoke for cigarette butts that may have fallen out of sight.
  • Smoking should not be allowed in a home where medical oxygen is used. ( Someone in Maine just had a home explosion due to this) .. Oxygen is flammable ….Very FLAMMABLE… Be smart and safe…. Others will be affected.
  • To prevent a deadly cigarette fire, you have to be alert. You won’t be if you are sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken medicine or other drugs.  These are the second leading cause of home fires and injuries and the third cause of death. As Temperatures dip and the cold settles into the homes we all seek to stay warm, many of us turn to space heaters. While this is a great way to provide an infusion of concentrated heat into the areas of the home we are in or live in they can be very dangerous if not used properly.
  • The second is the space heater.
  1. Keep them at least 3ft away from any and all flammable materials.
    1. This includes curtains, furniture, rugs, bedding, paper, Christmas trees, and holiday decorations.
  2. Turn them off when you are not home or cannot monitor properly i.e. when you are sleeping. Warm up the room and get an extra blanket to hold in the heat but turn that heater off when you go to sleep
  3. When buying a heater, look for one that has been tested and labeled by a nationally recognized testing company, such as Underwriter’s Laboratories Inc. (UL).
  4. Place the heater on a level surface away from areas where someone might bump into it and knock it over.
  5. Avoid using extension cords. If you must use an extension cord, make sure it is a heavy duty cord marked with a power rating at least as high as that on the label of the heater itself.
  6. Supervise children and pets when a space heater is in use.
  7. Keep electric heaters away from water. Never use them near a sink or in the bathroom.
  8. The sale and use of unvented kerosene heaters is illegal in Massachusetts. 
  9. We hope this will make you think about these two causes of fires and use even just one tip to save a life maybe even your own. Share this tip with anyone you know that smokes or uses space heaters. Have a safe and happy holiday season with your friends and family. Let us work together to create lasting memories we can all be happy about. Not the memories that bring sadness over the holiday season. Being with our loved ones is precious and every moment we can add to it should be treasured. DO NOT cut those memories short because of a careless mistake. Check back with us often for this and other important safety tips and tricks.

Holiday Fire Statistics

11/1/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Holiday Fire Statistics Having the holiday season fast approaching the need to remind everyone of home fire safety.. Please make this holiday season SAFE AND FUN..

Home Fire statistics are an important way to stay safe this holiday season. Knowing where most problems stem from can lead to more attention being paid to those areas or activities .We have borrowed this information from NFPA ( National Fire Protection Association).  Hoping to keep you safe and secure this Holiday season

Christmas trees

  • Between 2010-2014, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 210 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year. These fires caused an average of 6 deaths, 16 injuries, and $16.2 million in direct property damage annually. 
  • On average, one of every 34 reported home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home fires.
  • Some type of electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in one-third (35%) of home Christmas tree fires.   
  • Twenty-three percent of Christmas tree fires were intentional. 
  • Two of every five (38%) home Christmas tree fires started in the living room, family room, or den.Holiday decorations
  • A live Christmas tree burn conducted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) shows just how quickly a dried out Christmas tree fire burns, with flashover occurring in less than one minute, as compared to a well-watered tree, which burns at a much slower rate.
  • U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 860 home structure fires per year that began with decorations, excluding Christmas trees, in 2009-2013. These fires caused an annual average of one civilian fire death, 41 civilian fire injuries and $13.4 million in direct property damage.
  • Ten percent of decoration fires were intentional.
  • The decoration was too close to a heat source such as a candle or equipment in nearly half (45%) of the fires.
  • One-fifth (20%) of the decoration fires started in the kitchen. One out of six (17%) started in the living room, family room or den.
  • One-fifth (20%) of the home decoration fires occurred in December. 
  • Candles
  • Candles started 38% of home decoration structure fires. 
  • Half (51%) of the December home decoration fires were started by candles, compared to one-third (35%) in January to November.
  • The top three days for home candle fires were Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Christmas Eve.Holiday cooking
  • Source: NFPA's "Home Structure Fires Involving Decorations" report
  • Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.
  • Cooking equipment was involved in 18% of home decoration fires. This can happen when a decoration is left on or too close to a stove or other cooking equipment.Fireworks
  • Source: NFPA's "Home Fires Involving Cooking Equipment" report

Water Damage Emergency Process

10/23/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Water Damage Emergency Process Flooding can occur with out warning despite the advanced weather technology. Having a plan and knowing how to react makes all the difference.

So you got flooded.. Now what do you do

Everyone always wants to get back to normal as soon as possible, with as little cost and intrusion into their life as possible. Guess what??? That expectation is the worst way to approach this kind of water loss. While it sounds great what is the big deal. Let us explore the things that can happen when you actually move too quickly.

Having anything submerged in water means it was able to saturate. Saturated clothing can be wrung out but is still wet at the fiber level. Guess what wood does the same thing. Unlike clothing wood structures cannot be thrown into a dryer. That is right inside those beams are still wet. Behind that wall is soaked, oh your home is insulated yeah that’s wet too. That beautiful wood floor is sitting on a subfloor that space is wet too. However will you get it dry. Well if you do not have high powered fans and commercial grade dehumidifiers it can take months yes months to air dry.

Aside from the fact that everything is wet, said you were flooded right? Guess what dispite what you think flood water is not clean. At all!!!! It is flooded because the water did not have a normal place to drain. Where does most city water drain into??? That is right the sewer system.. Sooo if you are flooded because the sewer system is not working that is right folks you have been flooded with sewer water.

CHECK FIRST

  • Is mold already growing
  • Is electricity on & active ( Never walk through water to power off electricity)
  • Check for gas leaks
  • Is the structure safe
  • Wear protective eye glasses, Shoes and gloves and respirator if you suspect mold.
  • Do not mix chemicals the vapors can be deadly ( Especially Bleach and Vinegar)

Step by Step guide:

  • Get to safety: If the rain has stopped flooding is still possible as the water drains from some areas and into others. Makes sure you stay safe. Once it is safe to do so start assessing the personal damage you have incurred.
  • Insurance: Most people have home owners insurance. Guess what they do not cover flood insurance so start there. If you were flooded and do not have flood insurance you are on your own. Even if you do it is your responsibility to keep the home safe and reduce damages as much as you can. Which means you cannot wait to hear from the insurance company. Should you get mold or rot from waiting most likely it will not be covered due to the fact that it is considered secondary damage. Meaning it would not occur if you had started to clean up immediately.

The clean up: What can you do before the adjuster arrived from the insurance company.

  1. Take pictures of everything, before you or anyone do any work what so ever.
  2. Clean up areas of the house so that wall, and floor damage can be easily seen.
  3. There can be hidden damage, such as behind the walls so it will be reassessed as work begins.
  4. Reach out to government agencies for potential assistance for aid. ( Please note that a federal disaster must be declared for you to apply for this type of assistance.
  5. Hire an electrician to come in and assess the safety of electrical system of the home. This will tell you what is safe and not safe to turn on ( Never turn on equipment that was submerged any salvageable items could spark and become a total loss)
  6. Check with the local town to see if the water is safe to use or if it was adversely affected by the flood waters.
  7. Go through your food and make sure you throw out anything not in a metal can. Make sure you get rid of the labels and get new ones. To identify the food later. The cans must be washed if you are going to keep them . o.
  8. All your silverware and utensils have to be cleaned and sorted. Wood, plastic or anything no metal or ceramic needs to go
  9. Cut and remove walls ( Even if they do not look damaged)
    1. If you see a water line ..Cut the wall at a minimum of 2 feet above that line.
    2. Remove insulation and yes throw it away.
    3. Take off the base boards , they may be able to be dried and saved but at least removing them assured they are not holding in moisture.
  10. It is recommended anything that cannot be dry cleaned should be thrown away. This includes but is not limited to furniture, clothing, and blankets.
    1. Carpets must be pulled up and while the carpet may be able to be cleaned and dried the pad cannot so throw that way.. Do not re-attach the carpet before the floor it sits on is fully dry ( Yes we have to say that again) To avoid any issues make sure that you do this within 48hrs after the water goes down so that it does not have a chance to grow anything it should not be growing ( which is anything)
  11. Flooring: Be it if you have wood, vinyl, laminate or tile if it was submerged in flood water it really has to go.
    1. If you are not sure if the tile or its adhesive is asbestos get it tested.
    2. If it is a painted surface and you are not sure about the presence of Lead that too should be tested.
    3.             This step while will be a bit of a delay keeps you, your family and the workers safe.
  12. Subfloors: Guess what your floors sit on a floor and regardless of what sort of main floor you have most of the time the subfloor is plywood and will be affected by the water. The top floor must be removed so that this level of floor can dry fully. Make sure you do not have any buckling before you put a new floor on top once it is dry. If so you may need to replace that.
  13. Set up fans and Dehumidifiers to created a vortex to encourage drying. Proper fan positioning and temperature regulation will speed up the drying process.
  14. ****BLEACH**** DOES NOT KILL MOLD… PERIOD….
  15. If you see mold… There is a very specific process that must be followed. The most important step is to NOT spread the spores all over the house. So DO NOT VACCUM them unless you have a hepa-vaccum.

Contact a professional and keep in mind this is not a two or three day process. Have the right expectations going in to this. It will ease your mind and reduce the amount of stress that you have. Expecting something to be done to fast can result in long term damage that will cost more. It will also put undue stress on all involved. Take a step back and know that it could be a month or even more depending on how extensive the damage is.

Holiday season is fast approaching..

10/19/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Holiday season is fast approaching.. Home fires are a big threat to Americans. Knowing what causes them and how to prevent them can be all the difference.

With holiday season just around the corner. Tips to ensure you all stay safe. We want the holidays to be full of cheer, fun, and wonderful memories.

Holiday home fires can put a damper on that. Here some facts on what to keep an eye out for.

Fast Facts

• Nearly 47,000 fires occur during the winter

holidays claiming more than 500 lives,

causing more than 2,200 injuries, and costing

$554 million in property damage.**

• On average, one of every 22 home fires

started by Christmas trees result in death.***

• Candle fires are four times as likely to occur

during the winter holidays.**

• During the winter holiday season, an average

of 40 home fires per day are caused by

children playing.**

• The number of home fires the American Red

Cross has responded to has risen 10% since

2000.*

• Having a working smoke alarm reduces one’s

chances of dying in a fire by nearly half.**

Preparedness Tips

Place Christmas trees, candles, and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat

sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents and candles.

Purchase flame retardant metallic or artificial trees. If you purchase a real tree, make sure that it

has fresh, green needles that aren’t easily broken. Keep live trees as moist as possible by giving

them plenty of water.

Make sure that light strings and other holiday decorations are in good condition. Do not use

anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.

Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or

going to bed.

Use only sturdy tree stands designed not to tip over. Keep curious pets and children away from

Christmas trees.

Keep anything that can catch on fire—pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic

bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from your stove top.

Designate one person to walk around your home to make sure that all candles and smoking

materials are properly extinguished after guests leave.

Smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home,

near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed. Use the

test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.

Visit www.redcross.org/homefires for more information on how to keep your home fire safe during

the holidays.

Sources: American Red Cross,* U.S. Fire Administration,** and the National Fire Protection Association.***

Water on the rise in New England

9/14/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Water on the rise in New England Flooding is going to become an increasing problem in and around the Boston area over the next few years. Being prepared is going to be pivotal.

Massachusetts

Storms and their frequency are on the rise. In addition so too is the intensity of each event. In the United states there has been a 74% increase in the top tier precipitation events since 1958. Flood events have risen along with this severely altering the environment, wildlife, and financial obligations of cities, towns, and individual residents. With flooding of sewer systems there comes an increase of pollution to fresh drinking water access. Being prepared for these types of events is pivotal.

The areas impacted the most from these rain events has actually been the northern costal and mountainous regions of the country. Areas in Eastern Massachusetts have seen an uptick in rain event days that have more than 2 inches of rain per event.  The average rainfall has also seen a 1 to 2 inch increase since the 1970’s. The major Connecticut river basin alone has seen double the heavy rain events over the last 60 years. Most of this rain has occurred from May to September.

This shift has also changed the frequency of coastal storms. The rising sea levels are changing the shape of the coast and what is actually considered the coast. We must all be prepared. These storms are what are known as hurricanes and Nor’Easters. Those alone are not the only threats.  Increased intensity of Thunderstorms, tornado frequency and even damaging hail events are on the rise. The structural damage that is caused to homes, cars and the natural environment around you can be catastrophic. 

Key findings on a recent survey stated that sea level rising by 2030 is estimated to rise by another 8 inches. These higher water levels also mean stronger waves as well as farther reaching damage. While there is protection from areas like Winthrop, Hull and Harbor Islands this is not a guarantee of safety. These sea level rises coupled with the increased intensity of storm level events the sewer systems can be quickly overloaded. River flooding and their overflow channels will be overwhelmed and run off into streets, yards, homes and fields.

What scientists call the 100 Year flood is now being seen every 60 years or so. By the year 2050 these flood level events will be every 10-20 years. In Boston alone these 100 year flooding events are projected to recur every 1-2 years. For many subsets of Boston such as East Boston which are built up and used to be the harbor flooding is a serious concern. Costal Massachusetts is at high risk due to the rising rain fall and sea levels. We are already seeing an uptick in claims and severity of the claims. If you are not currently in a sanctioned flood zone yet, get flood insurance now. This will grandfather you into the policy. Should your area reclassified you will not have to pay new premiums on rates for the new requirements.

Please be aware and be prepared for these events. Check out our preparedness plans for what to have ready and on hand now so you can be safe later.  

So you sent the remediation company home early

7/27/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation So you sent the remediation company home early Look closely.. the wallpaper looks as though it is in good shape. As it peeled away from the wall it revealed the scope of the mold problem.

A home owner or business owner wants to get back to normal as soon as possible. Working to make that happen is our goal. That being said water damage or fire damage is never a pretty thing. The right expectations need to be understood. Beyond that what needs to be understood is the reason for the time frame and process.

Let me explain. All too often especially with water damage issues we are asked to cease and desist. Pack up our stuff and leave before the work is done. There are even times that we recommend opening a wall, or pulling up the floor. Home owners and business owners will refuse to let us to do this sort of work. Why would they do that you ask. There are a number of reasons but the main one is that they do not want the inconvenience of more intrusion into their home. This is always a bad idea.

Restoration companies have extensive training and certifications that most do not. They also have years of experience working with insurance companies and property adjusters. This leads to a great understanding of the scope of work that is needed to properly mitigate your building. This ensures what they call secondary damage is not an option.

First let us get into what secondary damage actually is. Secondary damage is something that would not have happened even if the first occurred. Let me explain. If you do have a pipe break, you call and get the plumber out and stop the water. Moisture damage is what happens when you do not mitigate the water that intruded into your home fast enough.

Some key examples of what is considered secondary damage is when your wood floors start to buckle. This is not from the water intrusion it is from the wood sitting in the water that is underneath . The wood warps. This warping forces the finish to crack and the floors are not salvage able.

 Ok so you don’t have wood floors. Vinyl is not much better, look at that edging popping up. That is damage from the water getting under the floor and damaging the glue.

Cracks in sheet rock and sagging ceiling are a result of moisture continuing to collect if they did not have an outlet to release the water.

Mold colonization. This is probably the most problematic. The challenge here is many times it will be somewhere you cannot see until it is a real problem. Similar to an iceberg you only see a fraction what is there. Lurking behind a wall under a floor or even where you see nothing at all such as in a duct system.

Let us get back to the reason for this post. We have clients that ask us to leave early and no explanation in the world is going to change their minds. Business owners are looking at the short term issue they have to be closed. Closing means so money is coming in and many do not have the proper insurance to cover loss of business. Additionally they tend to have very high deductibles or inadequate coverage.  Coupled with lack of income there are a lot of bad decision made. They only want the visible water dried out. They will not allow demolition to occur for it will delay the process of reopening. Another problem is that they do not want to pay for anything more than absolutely necessary.

Home owners often as us to leave early but not always for the same reasons as a business owner. The equipment that is used in the drying process is industrial. It is not like the fan you put on your night stand to lull you to sleep. These are high powered fans used to circulate the air and create a tornado like event that forces strong air movement. They are positioned in such a fashion that they are pointed at wet objects , such as a wall.  This positioning is tied directly to where the dehumidifiers are located as well. This will force the air to push the moisture out of the wet materials into the air and the dehumidifier will capture the wet air and release it as drier air. This requires the area to be warm. We ask people to turn up their heat and the equipment itself gives off quite a bit. All too often the home owner will say the fans are too loud. They are too big and in the way. I have a party planned for this weekend. It is just too hot inside I cannot stand it anymore.

All of these decisions are bad ideas. We have 3 different kinds of waivers that are required. One that states you know we do not advise removal of equipment. One that advises you are declining the scope of work we are recommending. There is also a limitation on standard compliance form when we are not allowed to perform the necessary scope of the work. We have to make sure when the mold appears down the road we are not held liable and the parties in question were explained the scope of possibilities for this refusal.

We try to work with the residents of the property to the best of our ability. At the end of the day they are the ones affected and we will honor their wishes. You must know the potential ramifications for your actions and know that down the road be it 1 week, month, one year or even several years later. Mold can be a very serious problem. Kicking off a professional can be expensive. Now we agree not everyone may be doing the work up to par and that is your right to change whom it is that is doing the work. Have a plan in place to get it completed in a timely fashion. Do not kick them off totally without a solid replacement plan.

 The cost associated with Mold Remediation far exceeds what a few days of inconvenience could ever be. So before you kick a remediation company off the job, think about what is going on and have a plan.

Increase in Storms and Water events in Massachusetts

7/24/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Increase in Storms and Water events in Massachusetts Having a plan and enacting that plan are two different things. Practice and know how to react follow the advice.

Storms and their frequency are on the rise. In addition so too is the intensity of each event. In the United states there has been a 74% increase in the top tier precipitation events since 1958. Flood events have risen along with this severely altering the environment, wildlife, and financial obligations of cities, towns, and individual residents. With flooding of sewer systems there comes an increase of pollution to fresh drinking water access. Being prepared for these types of events is pivotal.

The areas impacted the most from these rain events has actually been the northern costal and mountainous regions of the country. Areas in Eastern Massachusetts have seen an uptick in rain event days that have more than 2 inches of rain per event.  The average rainfall has also seen a 1 to 2 inch increase since the 1970’s. The major Connecticut river basin alone has seen double the heavy rain events over the last 60 years. Most of this rain has occurred from May to September.

This shift has also changed the frequency of coastal storms. The rising sea levels are changing the shape of the coast and what is actually considered the coast. We must all be prepared. These storms are what are known as hurricanes and Nor’Easters. Those alone are not the only threats.  Increased intensity of Thunderstorms, tornado frequency and even damaging hail events are on the rise. The structural damage that is caused to homes, cars and the natural environment around you can be catastrophic.  

What scientist call the 100 Year flood is now being seen every 60 years or so. By the year 2050 these flood level events will be every 10-20 years. In Boston alone these 100 year flooding events are projected to recur every 1-2 years. For many subsets of Boston such as East Boston which are built up and used to be the harbor flooding is a serious concern. Costal Massachusetts is at high risk due to the rising rain fall and sea levels. We are already seeing an uptick in claims and severity of the claims. If you are not currently in a sanctioned flood zone yet, get flood insurance now. This will grandfather you into the policy. Should your area reclassified you will not have to pay new premiums on rates for the new requirements.

Please be aware and be prepared for these events. Check out our preparedness plans for what to have ready and on hand now so you can be safe later.

https://climateactiontool.org/content/storms-and-floods