2019 Hurricane Season Prep (Pt. 4)
Hurricane flooding Evac
Rey Luna – Sales & Marketing
This blog post concludes the 4th and final portion of our Top 20 Hurricane Prep Tips.
We’ve covered a lot about what to do in the first 3 portions (1-15), so for our final 5 points, I’d like to cover specifically what NOT TO DO during storm time.
Some of these should be fairly common sense, however, I have an uncle who’s done one of these, not just once, but twice! So, this one’s for you, Tio Ben! Lol.
Approaching downed power lines.
At first glance, one can say that this point is pretty obvious. True. If we see a broken line, I’m sure we’ll stay clear. But sometimes the damage is not so easily seen, and that can be extremely dangerous. As a rule of caution, DO NOT touch any large metal objects outside as they could be touching a power line that you may not be able to see.
Driving/walking in flood waters.
Again, another seemingly obvious point, but ask my aunt Linda how many times they’ve had to replace their car because my uncle thought he’d make it.
So, with that being said… let’s go over the reasons why.
Number 1 is easy! You can ruin your car!
Number 2 is a little more complex. You can’t see what’s lurking in the water. Maybe a dangerous animal or just as deadly… bacteria. You may have just recently shaved and left open pores on your skin leaving room for bacteria to enter. Or you may have a small cut, again allowing bacteria to enter. It’s very unfortunate to have to lose a limb to amputation from a severe staph infection because you couldn’t wait to take the proper precautions.
DO NOT Empty in-ground pools.
You may feel like this is a good idea because you’re trying to avoid the pool overflowing… BUT… with extreme rain, such as in a hurricane, the water table (amount of water held in the ground) can rise. And without water to hold down the pool, this can even put enough force for the pool to literally be pushed up out of the ground.
As I’ve been during research and looking at some of the other suggestions by other blogs, I’ve seen repeatedly the suggestion for using candles.
This has to be some of the worse advice for storm time. Especially if you have small children or pets that don’t really stay still. You’re already dealing with one disaster, the last thing you need is for a candle to be accidentally knocked over and start a fire.
Approaching wondering animals.
It seems like almost every day I see a growing amount of animal lovers. Which really warms my heart, honestly. But one thing to keep in mind at the end of the day, as much as we want to help our furry friends, sometimes they are not capable of reason and therefore are nervous and confused.
If you happen to come across an animal that you may feel needs assistance, call a professional. Do not approach a scared/nervous animal as they are more likely to show aggression rather than appreciate your help. Remember, they’re scared and possibly misplaced from home. They can and will bite if they feel uneasy.
This concludes our list of Top 20 Hurricane Prep tips.
We hope that we’re not faced with a major storm this year, but should unfortunate events transpire, know that SERVPRO has your back.
2019 Hurricane Season Prep Top 20 (Pt. 3)
One other thing to be sure to have on hand would be a camera. If the damage is significant, you may be having to file an insurance claim. If this is the case, then they would require photos of the damage done to your home. So, before any repair or clean up work is done, make sure to snap several photos to document anything that may need repairs.
We don’t want a repeat of the RGV Gas Shortage of 2017. It’s best to make sure you never go below a half-tank of gas in your vehicles. Top ‘em off as often as possible. You’re not actually spending more money on gas; you’re just replenishing as you go. This will make sure you’re always full and never caught off guard. If you have any gas drums or spare gas tanks, be sure to fill those up as well so that you have a backup supply. You never know when you or someone you know may need an emergency refill.
Something else to make sure you’re topping off every now and then is your on-hand cash supply. This is something that you don’t want to have too much of, as it can be difficult to keep track of and can be more of a risk. The needs of every family are different, but maybe just a couple hundred bucks would be useful to get you out of a bind or purchase last minute/emergency supplies is all that’s needed.
In the event of an emergency road trip, you’re going to want to make sure that your vehicle is running 100%. The last thing you want is another unexpected tragedy once you’re on the road away from home and away from friends or family that can help.
Be sure to have a means of communication in the event that cell phones are no longer an option. You may have figured out a way to keep them charged, but if cell towers have been disrupted or damaged, then we lose connectivity. 2-way radios could be an option for you or consider trying Bluetooth antennas. If you’re tech-savvy, this could be an interesting option for you.
One Year Anniversary of the Great June Flood of 2018
Drone Photo by the National Weather Service.
According to the National Weather Service, the damage caused by the rains brought on by severe thunderstorms last year could be compared to the damage brought on by Dolly in ‘08, the last major hurricane to hit our area.
As of June 25th, State of Emergency Declarations were issued for Cameron, Hidalgo and Willacy County.
Although the most affected area was Weslaco, other RGV cities were not immune.
The following timeline provided by the Mid Valley Town Crier gives a breakdown of the weather events that happened last year.
June 15th & 16th - Meteorologists observe moisture moving across the Gulf of Mexico towards the RGV
June 18th - Pre-dawn storm drops 2-3 inches in Los Fresnos and Harlingen
June 19th - More than 12 in. fall over Duval, Jim Wells & Brooks counties
June 20th - Much of Weslaco became submerged after 16-18 in. of rain fell in less than 12 hours. Brownsville and Los Fresnos we also hit by more rain.
June 21st – Starr County arroyos overflowed their banks when more than 7 inches fell over Rio Grande City. McAllen had rainfall between 6 - 8 inches.
June 22nd - 3 more inches of rain topped of Los Fresnos once again and the McAllen/Mission area.
Mid-Valley Airport grounds reported 11.36 inches of rain in just 3 hours.
Similar situations were seen throughout the entire Valley… large amounts of rainfall in a very short period. That formula was perfect for overwhelming draining systems and causing mass overflows.
Most of the damage was in large part due to the failure or lack of current infrastructure. Plans were immediately made to improve drainage in the areas that were most affected.
In total, the damage counts amounted to
- 2500 homes
- 100+ businesses
- 2500 vehicles
Let's Prepare Now!
Hurricane Season has already begun. Spanning from June 1st to November 31st. This means we are to be on the watch for half the year. Plenty of time to prepare and not get caught off-guard.
Let’s take these learning experiences to heart and get ahead of the situation before it becomes a problem.
Should the worst arise, know that you have a neighbor in your pocket with all the resources imaginable to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Why hesitation leads to Mold Growth in the RGV.
A water loss from a faulty pipe can lead to mold if not handled properly.
Rey Luna - Sales & Marketing
Every day I walk into the office and pop in on our crew during their morning meeting to say, “Good morning” and every day, they’re responding to a new emergency.
SERVPRO professionals handle water damages on a daily basis and the most important thing to them is to take action as soon as possible to prevent mold growth.
Mold is likely to spread in an environment that has been subject to moisture for an extended period of time. If your property has sustained recent water damage, it is vital to extract any excess water/moisture and dry out the structure right away.
In an area like ours, down here in the RGV, quick action is especially critical. Since we have a warmer climate, combined with almost 100% humidity pretty frequently, it is crucial that we respond without any hesitation.
Here is a list of things to be on the watch for once you notice that there is moisture present:
- The presence of visible mold,
- Strong musty odors which may indicate mold is present.
- Any evidence of past moisture problems that might have caused undetected mold growth.
- Excessive humidity.
- Stagnant or “stale” air.
Certain conditions may even require the expertise of a qualified Indoor Air Quality/Environmental Professional to inspect the building for mold growth and water damage problems.
Now, after seeing just how much effort goes into mitigation work, it’s clear to see why these are situations that require special professional attention.
Commercial Services For Rio Grande Valley Business Owners & Managers
Commercial clean up
Rey Luna – Sales & Marketing
There is no job too big or too small for our SERVPRO team.
Our services are available those in property management, retail, education, healthcare, hospitality, food services, government/military, manufacturing/industrial and many more!
For our commercial customers, we offer a myriad of services such as
- Water/Fire restoration
- mold remediation
- storm and major events
- disaster recovery
SERVPRO of Harlingen / San Benito offers cleaning services ranging from cleaning restaurant hoods to removing biohazard contaminants. We have the specialized training and products to get you back to business in no time at all. Our cleaning services include the following:
- Air Ducts and HVAC
- Biohazard and Sewage
- Trauma and Crime Scene
- Carpet and Upholstery
- Drapes and Blinds
- Ceilings, Walls, and Hard Floors
- Odor Removal and Deodorization
If you or someone you know would benefit from our services, feel free to call SERVPRO of Harlingen/San Benito at (956) 277-0645.
*Remember: call direct and avoid the lines!
We are also offering No Cost Assessments and No Cost Emergency Response Plans. Our services are available 24/7/365 and we will always execute our jobs with promptness and professionalism.
Find and like our page on Facebook at SERVPRO Facebook.
Who is SERVPRO and Why choose us?
SERVPRO of Harlingen/San Benito.
Rey Luna – Sales & Marketing
I’m greatly enjoying my new position here at SERVPRO of Harlingen/San Benito. I’ve always been in the marketing and advertising field, but never for the restoration sector. One of the things I enjoy the most is sharing all the information I’m constantly learning, from specialized certification courses, or from watching our experienced techs in the field.
I will never look at construction the same way again!
I always get the same reaction every time I’m telling my friends and family about what I do… “I should’ve called you guys!”
The fairly typical scenario we’ve probably all had the misfortune to witness: broken/leaky pipe. It’s more of a common occurrence than I first believed. It’s a major pain to deal with. More so out of inconvenience than anything else. It’s not really that large of a situation to call up your insurance company and file a claim.
The last thing you want to have to do is file a claim and mess with your insurance. So, what do you do?? Guess you grab some towels and buckets and cancel your weekend plans, right?
Guess again! Not so fast!
You may ask: “Well what’s the harm in picking up the mess? It has to get done, right?”
The issue is really about all the things that are lying beneath the surface… behind the walls, under the carpet/tile. The things we don’t see.
- Do you have pets? No matter how well you’ve cleaned up after them, they leave behind all kinds of germs and bacteria, and when they come back into contact with water, those harmful toxins are reactivated and can leave foul odors/stains, or even worse… get you and your family sick.
- What year was your home built? This may seem like a pointless question at first, but it really helps us find out what tools we’re gonna need to get the job done the right way. See, in the early ’90s, there was a large amount of Chinese Dry Wall being used in home construction. The difference in this type of drywall is that it is a lot more dense, heavier and may even contain metal. This plays a big role in how long we’d need to leave drying equipment set up.
The type of insulation of your home is another factor to consider. Carpet? Type of carpet pad? Type of tile? Ceramic? Subfloor? Plank wood floor? You get the idea.
- Relative Humidity. Well you can just open a window, right? That’ll dry it out, right? Relative Humidity. That’s the difference between humidity in the home vs. outside the home. And the difference in whether you might get mold or not. Unless you have the equipment to test the moisture levels in the air, then it may not be the best idea.
You may be able to mop up the surface, but that’s as far as most will be able to reach. It’s the water you don’t see that becomes the problem. Can’t exactly mop behind your walls, or under your tile. A few weeks may go by and you’ll notice a funky smell that never really goes away… and that’s when you’ll know: mold.
Although at first thought, it may seem like unnecessary, fancy solutions to a simple problem… it’s honestly way more than that. Getting in front of the problem to prevent secondary damage is what SERVPRO does best.
So next time you experience any kind of unexpected mishap, test us out and see what SERVPRO of Harlingen/San Benito can do for you.
2019 Hurricane Season Top 20 PREP TIPS (pt. 1 of 4)
Get ready now! Don't wait until you have to!
Springtime is officially wrapped up here in the RGV and we bring in another HOT, HOT Summer. But along with the warmer weather is the higher risk of adverse conditions. Enter HURRICANE SEASON.
Every year we see the same suggestions and preparation steps needed to get ready.
However, instead of waiting until there’s an actual hurricane, there’s really no reason why these steps can’t be started ahead of time so that you’re not at the store looking for supplies with nothing but aisles and aisles of empty shelves.
This is where you’ll discuss your plan of action. Make sure everyone is aware of the evacuation routes just in case of the rare event that some become separated. It’s also a good idea to assign different roles and tasks to each person and make sure everyone is aware of the duties that are left in their care. Make plans to tackle the rest of the list together early during the summer so as to not be caught off guard. Perhaps setting aside a weekend together as a family to prepare the yard or go over inventory and supplies.
In your preparation, you should be sure to include any supplies or special gear you may need. Battery powered tools, chargers, and any necessary medications for your family and/or pets. Included in his list will be extra clothes, food (preferably non-perishable), first aid kits and anything else you think you’d need for at least a 1 week stay out of town if necessary.
Once out on the road, one can forget that there’s more than just tools and gear you might need. Special documents, cash, and other important information may be especially necessary. It’s important to keep these particular items safe because they are easily lost or damaged. To avoid this, pack a firebox or small fire safe along with your belongings. These are very inexpensive and are also waterproof most of the time. Take extra precaution by taking pictures of those documents so that you have a digital copy easily accessible on your phone or tablet.
Keep in mind the furry members of the family. Animals really can’t prepare like we can so they’re gonna need our help to stay safe. If you have your pets outside, you’ll have to make arrangement to temporarily house them inside and out of the elements. Just like humans, they need food, water and shelter. Make sure you pack an emergency kit for them as well. If you need to evacuate, then you’ll want to keep in mind that you’ll have extra companions. And no… the back of the pickup truck is not a very safe place for them to ride, unless they have a proper kennel secured in place.
Board up those windows early! Can’t stress this enough… prep supplies run out quickly once a storm is announced to be heading our way. Don’t wait! You don’t have to necessarily install everything now, but it’s a good idea to at least buy what you need, and have it set aside ready for when you do need it. There are many ways to go about prepping your windows. Plywood is effective and very cost effective, but, you’re definitely gonna need some help to get the job done. Hurricane Shutters are a nice addition to the home, they add appeal to your home and it’s a lot easier prep your home every year. But this method is more costly. However you chose to go about it, make sure it’s done well in advance!
Keep these tips in mind as you prep for the season and stay tuned for Parts 2, 3 and 4 coming soon!
2019 Hurricane Season TOP 20 PREP TIPS (pt. 2)
South Texas flooding.
Loose items in yard:
The reason for boarding up windows to protect your home from any flying debris that appears during storm time. We can further minimize damage to our property and others by taking the time to pick up and store any items that we may have laying out in the yard. Decorative ornaments, lawn statues or figurines and children’s or pet’s toys. Also be sure to wrap up any water hoses or pathway lighting. Taking these measures can prevent further damage to your property.
Probably one of the most important things we can do to protect our properties is making sure that they’re properly covered with the correct insurance policies. A common misconception is that having Home-Owners Insurance alone is enough to cover your damages. However, in the event of a storm where heavy flooding is concerned, you will specifically need flood insurance. A separate policy from that of your home-owners insurance. There are plenty of great companies. Be sure to communicate your needs to your local agent and find what works best for you and your family.
Now, how relevant is this to our local community??? The RGV is not a traditional Mountain Valley. We are a River Valley. More than that… we actually sit on a flood plain. This is due to the fact that in older times, farmers didn’t have the irrigation systems we do now, so they would literally flood the fields with resacas fed from the Rio Grande and the Arroyos. Many of these fields no longer exist, and are now the subdivided neighborhoods we live in. So, yeah… we NEED flood insurance.
For us here in the RGV, travel is pretty simple. You go one way, you get to Upper Valley/McAllen area. You go the other way to head to the Island. During storm time though, that same simplicity makes things a little difficult. Because everyone will be evacuating at the same time, and there are basically only 2 ways to go, traffic can become an issue. Be sure to plan back-up routes just in case your first option is not safe or become too congested.
Make this a fun mini road trip for you and the family. Or if you just need a little get-away drive. Drive through different parts of town and get to know some of the outlying areas.
Loss of power/water:
If evacuation is not necessary and you and your family plan to ride it out at home, be ready to lose power and running water. In a situation like this it’s a good idea to store and gather as much water as you can. While still possible, prefill bathtubs and sinks for flushing toilets, cleaning and laundry. My neighbor has his rain gutters collecting water in large drums during storm time.
As far as power is concerned, you can only buy so many batteries. But you can store as much as you need to in small rechargeable power packs. These come in all kinds of sizes and are especially convenient when you need to recharge your cell phone, but they may also be able to power other small tools such as flashlights and small radios. Be sure to have these charging the moment you know a storm is heading our way and test them frequently throughout the year to ensure they function properly.
Turn off gas/ unplug small appliances:
In the event of a power surge, many of the electrical components in our appliances can be damaged. It’s important to use surge protectors and if need be, even disconnect the power to anything you may feel could be at risk. The last thing you’d want is to have power come back on only to realize that your items no longer work.
It is important to note, if you evacuate your home or business, DO NOT turn off your gas supply at the main meter. Only emergency or utility personnel should turn the valve on or off. You CAN turn off the gas for individual appliances at the appliance valve near each unit if you choose to do so. Most codes now require an appliance valve within six feet of each appliance.
This completes Part 2 of our Hurricane Preparation list. Stay tuned for Pt. 3 & 4!
10 SPRING CLEANING TIPS/IDEAS (Pt. 2)
6. Appliances: Yes… it’s easy to just sweep the floors you can see, but don’t forget about those hard to reach spots. This is probably easier with 2 people. Take your vacuum and be sure to get all around the refrigerator coils and beneath the fridge as well. This will help the fridge run better and put less stress on it which will help it last longer. Buying small plastic bins will help keep the contents inside neat, organized and help prevent things from spilling.
7. Clutter: Sell your unused items. This is a great way to not only clear up some space in your home, but also an easy way to make some spare cash! Try having a garage sale and parting with a few things you may not have any more use for. An easy rule to go by is that if you’ve had it stored for over a year and a half… chances are you really can do without it. With the power of the internet, it’s that much easier! Tons of useful apps and platforms allow you to list your items for sale with just a click of a button. Many of these you may have already heard of, but we’ll list a few platforms below.
- Facebook Marketplace
- Let Go
- Craig’s List
- Posh Mark
- Offer Up
8. Décor upgrade: If you’ve followed tip number 7, you may have some space to spare in your home now. Adding a few small decorative items can really give your space a new look. The great thing about small décor pieces is that they are relatively cheap. *Hint- try the same apps mentioned above ??. Simple cosmetic upgrades can really transform your home and maybe even enhance your mood. Try a fresh coat of paint for an accent wall and you’ll have a total room makeover for about the same price as a nice dinner.
9. Don’t forget outside! With so much focus on the interior of the home, we don’t want to forget about that “curb appeal”. This is an area that can be handled at a low cost but may take some time. Keeping the yard nice and trim keeps your home looking great. A quick addition of mulch around trees and bushes give you a great traditional look for only about $3 dollars a bag. If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, try taking a trip over to your local flea market and seek out some patio furniture. You’ll be surprised at the items you’ll be able to find and the savings that go with it!
10. Relax! And Enjoy the “new” space! invite some friends or family over and take pride in your hard work! New additions and improvements to your home don’t have to cost a lot to get the result you desire. You’ll find that the more you keep up with your home, the more you’ll enjoy spending time there and so will friends and family.
10 SPRING CLEANING TIPS/IDEAS (Part 1)
We’re wrapping up another short-lived Spring Season here in the RGV. Summer’s here! Hello, triple digit weather!
We get home from a long day at work and rush out of the car and try to get into the house as quickly as possible to cool off. The last thing we want to come home to is a messy, cluttered house.
TOTAL MOOD KILLER!
Clutter can add more stress and anxiety to our busy lives. Having a clean, organized space can help you relax and feel more energized.
Here are 10 Tips from the Cleaning Pros here at SERVPRO to help you get organized and enjoy your time at home a little bit more:
Pick out which days certain tasks are assigned. Sometimes we think of spring cleaning as a one time, single-day event. Because we know how much work it’s gonna be… we end up procrastinating.
Breaking down the tasks throughout the week can help make things a little more manageable. Set aside just 15 to 20 minutes a day and you’ll have everyone asking how you keep the house so clean all the time.
Having one day designated for a major cleanout is great, but it can quickly revert back to where you started without a proper maintenance schedule.
Below is a sample weekly schedule to help get things moving.
Monday: Dusting, sweeping- doesn’t seem like a very hard task, but when it’s the only task to focus on you’ll be surprised all the corners that get neglected. Don’t forget those baseboards!
Tuesday: Kitchen- dishes, clear up counter space to avoid clutter
Wednesday: Humpday! Maybe a good day to do the laundry now that we have momentum in the middle of the week.
Thursday: Bathrooms. Probably the most dreaded chore but you’ll find that the more you stick to the schedule, the lighter and lighter the cleaning becomes.
Friday: Moving into the weekend we suggest leaving your floors for this day. With all the foot traffic during the week, this is a perfect time to get ‘em done. Right before the weekend when you may have guests coming over.
Satur…. Pfff! Yeah right! TAKE THE WEEKENDS OFF! #TREATYOSELF #carnesazo
We may be adults, but let’s be honest here… we forget things too. It’s easy to look around and see everything that needs to be done but having an actual written list of things to do helps you make sure you don’t skip anything. Plus, actually seeing checks next to all the things you’ve knocked out gives you a feeling of accomplishment and gives you a visual of the work that’s been finished.
Having the right equipment can help get things done a lot faster and make things a lot easier. Don’t be afraid of spending a few dollars on gear. Getting that gadget you’ve always wanted might make you excited to use it and help you enjoy your housework.
- High Traffic Areas: It’s good to give special attention to areas that are used more frequently than others. Because these spaces see more use, they are more prone to harbor bacteria and germs. Make sure to disinfect and wipe them down. Some examples of those can be -
- Hallway baseboards
- Carpets (runners)
- Door handles
- Light switches
- Loose Power Cords:
This small task can make a huge difference in how your entertainment areas look. Having loose cords or hanging wires coming down from TVs, game systems, or other electronic can make a space seem messy even though it’s clean. A simple fix is to grab yourself some rubber bands or even better: zip ties. They’re super inexpensive and make a great way to neatly hide and tuck away all those cables.
Stay tuned in for Part 2 soon!