Recent Storm Damage Posts
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.
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!
Weslaco Emergency Preparedness Meeting
On Wednesday, June 30, 2018, we at SERVPRO of Harlingen and San Benito were invited to the Weslaco Emergency Preparedness Meeting. At the meeting, there were speeches given by the Mayor, Commissioner, the head of the Office of Emergency Management, and Barry Goldsmith from the National Weather Service. During the breaks, the people in attendance would stop by our booth and we would inform them of what we at SERVPRO of Harlingen and San Benito can do in an emergency. We also informed the business owners about our free Emergency Readiness Plan (ERP) and made appointments to complete ERPs the following week. All in all, it was an amazing experience with the people of Weslaco and we can not wait to follow up with those wonderful business owners!
With the impending hurricane season, it is imperative that you have all your buildings ready for the possibility of a dangerous storm. You also want to make sure that your buildings have flood insurance, especially because it takes 30 days for it to kick in.
The following are ways that you can better prepare your home/business for a major storm.
- Hurricane film
- This specially made film can keep shards of window glass from getting into your home after the window has shattered.
- New windows
- Replacing your old windows with heavy-duty, wind-resistant windows can make a big difference when up against strong winds. Also, they can provide better insulation for your home, and might reduce your energy bill.
- Storm shutters
- These can be your best form of protection against high winds, they can also be taken off and reapplied every hurricane season.
- Skylights and tubular daylighting devices
- If you do have skylights in your home, it is best to upgrade the glass to strong, energy efficient glass that can protect your home against debris that the wind might throw.
- A tubular daylighting device disperses light throughout your home by means of reflective tubing and a rooftop dome. These can be especially helpful if you lose power.
- Replacing your current door with a windstorm door is a necessity when preparing for a strong storm, as these FEMA approved doors can deal with pressure from 250 mph winds.
You can never be too safe when dealing with storms, and as the hurricane season is upon us, it is best to make sure your house is prepared for whatever mother nature throws our way.
When Storms or Floods Hit the Rio Grande Valley, SERVPRO of Harlingen and San Benito is Ready
SERVPRO ofHarlingen and San Benito specializes in storm and flood damage restoration. Our crews are highly trained and we use specialized equipment to restore your property to its pre-storm condition.
Since we are locally owned and operated, we are able to respond quickly with the right resources, which is extremely important. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces the restoration cost.
Resources to Handle Floods and Storms
When storms hit the Rio Grande Valley, we can scale our resources to handle a large storm or flooding disaster. We can access equipment and personnel from a network of over 1,700 Franchises across the country and elite Disaster Recovery Teams that are strategically located throughout the United States.
Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call SERVPRO of Harlingen and San Benito Today 956-277-0645
Maintenance of trees during windy season
Having trees in front of your house makes the property look welcoming and endearing, but there are some cons to having a tree as well. Having a tree on your property near your home brings shade to your yard and fun adventures for your kids. Trees also tend to grow a lot and sometimes get out of hand. This is when trees can be bad if they are too close to your home. If one day it is super windy, and the wind causes your tree starts to sway and the branches start to scrape up against your house or your roof, and damages end up happening to your home and you try and call your insurance agent to see if they will cover the bill for the damages because of the wind. They won’t be able to help you with the cost of the damage because they will tell you that is lack of maintenance on your trees. So SERVPRO of Harlingen and San Benito would like to remind you to make sure that you are trimming your trees regularly to prevent this from happening.