Protecting Important Documents

 

It’s natural. It’s human nature. You don’t really think about this very often.

What are we talking about? Water, fire and smoke damage.

When you do think about what may happen to your home, and then take action to prepare, what you do is usually minor and easy to do… such as turning off your outside water supply when winter approaches and testing smoke alarms and replacing fire extinguishers on a regular basis.

Yet there is one very important action you should take right now in preparation for the unthinkable. That’s right, protecting your important documents, such as your birth certificates, marriage license, financial papers, insurance policies and social security cards. 

Most homeowners keep all their important papers and documents in what they consider a safe place, such as in an organized folder in a home office or secure location where they know exactly where everything is. Unfortunately, that’s not really very safe when there is flooding or fire and
smoke. Others might utilize a water and fire proof safe, which is a great idea.

Yet there is something additional you can do to 100% guarantee your important documents are safe no matter what happens.

Scan them and put them on the “cloud.”

You may already do this, and if so, congratulations. No matter what happens to your home, your documents are safe and can be accessed from any device connected to the internet.

But if you don’t, get a cloud-based storage account that has plenty of storage space for your needs and start scanning those documents. Keep them organized in online folders, and make sure those in your family who should have access to them have username and passwords they can use in an emergency. You should still keep the originals as safe as you can, of course.

And when the unthinkable happens, when you do have a fire, flood or mold damage, don’t forget there is professional assistance for you: Call your disaster restoration pro for help.

(more…)

Why Is Water Temperature Important?

Human populations demand solid weather forecasting. They need to know exactly what they are up against especially during the Atlantic tropical hurricane season. Not only do they need to know the speed, direction, and likely point of landfall, but for them to prepare they need to know days in advance. They have to buy the boards to board up the windows, batten down the hatches, and get everyone to a safe haven. There’s a lot that goes into forecasting the direction, path, and speed of hurricanes.

You may wonder why water temperature is so important for hurricane information. The reason has to do with a meteorological phenomenon. Surface water temperature increases the amount of evaporation. The more evaporation you get off the surface of the ocean, the more easily the normal wind flows and trade winds are blocked. When the trade winds are weak, or blocked by walls of heavy moisture content, the hurricane is allowed to freely form and grow stronger. The hurricane doesn’t have to worry about the trade winds knocking down the eye wall of the hurricane, or not allowing it form.

Without the trade winds moving the tropical storm along, that storm starts slowing down, as it goes slower all of that energy starts moving in a circular fashion. The hurricane eye wall becomes tighter and tighter, constantly evolving from a well-defined circle into a broken pattern, and reforming again. Eventually it finds a perfect groove, and the eye wall lasts longer between re-formations. If the water is cold, the evaporation slows down, and any prevailing winds push the hurricane forward on its path preventing the eye wall from creating a very tight circle with an increased low-pressure area.

This is why the super computers take into consideration the water temperature. It has often been said that warm water is like jet fuel for a hurricane. This is indeed true, and this is why warm water temperatures are so important and such an important component of the algorithms used to guesstimate, predict, and forecast the wind speeds, forward speed, and low-pressure numbers. By knowing these things and the prevailing trade winds, the artificially intelligent computer software system can adequately predict within a small range of probability.

It seems everyone knows that very warm water close to the shore in the path of a hurricane is a very dangerous factor to consider when predicting the impending disaster as the hurricane hits land, now you know why.

Three Methods for Emergency Disinfection of Drinking Water

After a water pipe leakage, flood or hurricane, the supply of clean drinking water could be interrupted. Therefore, you may have to use disinfected, boiled or bottled water until the water supply is restored. In this article, we are going to share with you a few methods that will help you disinfect drinking water from the comfort of your home.

The instructions given below can help you boil or disinfect water in order to kill microorganisms found in water. The good thing about these methods is that they won’t destroy other common contaminants like some chemicals, salts, and heavy metals.

First of all, make sure you use water that is properly disinfected. This type of water is safe for drinking, cooking and cleaning your clothes and dishes.

1. Boiling Method

If you don’t have bottled water to drink, you can boil any type of water you have access to. Boiling for 1 minute up to elevations of 2,000 meters (6,562 feet) and 3 minutes at elevations higher than that is enough to kill different types of pathogens, viruses, protozoa and bacteria, according to the reports released by WHO.

At times, water is cloudy. To get it cleaned, all you need to do is pour the water into another container through a coffee filter or a towel.

After boiling the water, you should take it off the heat and wait for a few minutes to let it cool down. Make sure the container is covered. If the water tastes flat or odd, you can add a small amount of salt into a litter of water. Alternatively, you can pour the water to another container and then to the first container and then repeat the process several times to fix the odor.

2. The Bleach Approach

For the bleach method, you need to use chlorine bleach for proper and safe disinfection. Typically, the active ingredients of this bleach have 6% of sodium hypochlorite. It’s not a good idea to go for color safe or scented bleach as they have additional cleaners.

Look for a clean dropper and use it to drop a few drops of bleach in the water. For a gallon of water, you can drop just 6 drops of bleach, which will be more than enough. However, the amount can be increased if the water is still quite cloudy or stinky.

Finally, you should stir the container and keep it covered for half an hour. If the water emits a little bit of chlorine odor, you can repeat the process and let the container sit for another 15 minutes.

3. Iodine Tablets, Crystals, or Solution

This is an effective and more convenient method. It is also available in different forms you will surely find one that would suit your budget. It has the ability to kill viruses and bacteria. They are lightweight and easy to use.

However, it takes about thirty minutes before you can drink the treated water. It is also not suitable for pregnant women. In addition, it has an aftertaste that you might not like.

Once you drop the tablet into the water container, shake the container and hold the bottle upside down and have the lid slightly unscrewed to let the iodine to flow into the threads of the bottle cap.

Long story short, if you are looking for an easy method to disinfect your drinking water in an emergency, we suggest that you try any of the three methods described in this article.

Hurricane and Severe Storm Damage for Commercial Properties

 As the tropics are heating up with activity, Hurricane Preparedness is a topic of discussion. People usually remember to be prepared at their home with supplies, however will forget the workplace. Hurricane winds or flood waters from a major storm will harm any property in it’s path.

As a result, pre-planning leads to better protection for the employees, property, and equipment. Follow the steps below to lessen damages to your commercial property.

  1. Pre written action plan for emergencies– Employers need to have a pre written action plan for employees. This plan can be given to the employees to take action within their space before leaving the office.

Examples include:

  • Secure loose items such as scissors, staplers, reams of paper, etc.
  • Contain valuables in a safe or locked area.
  • Turn off computers and other equipment.
  • Remove items from the refrigerator.
  • Place customer files into a locked area.

  1. Assign a group to be the emergency task force.By assigning 2-5 people, depending on the size of your company, you will have a few people that can perform and oversee other precautions are taken before the major storm or hurricane.

Examples include:

  • Take a photo inventory of the various offices, assets, and equipment.
  • Check there are batteries, flashlights, and other emergency supplies in the office.
  • Secure doors and windows in the event of an emergency.

  1. Remove items from floor, if possible.As storm waters rise, the office may flood. By lifting items such as plants, boxes, and chairs off of the floor, it will  alleviate further water damages to those items.
  2. Send staff home. Their safety is a priority.After the commercial property has been prepared for the severe storm or hurricane, remember your staff will need time to prepare their own properties.

Take the time to plan ahead of the storm, use your staff, and keep emergency supplies on hand. The right preparation leads to very little effort and thirty minutes to an hour of time right before the storm. Not only will this help before the storm, but will get your business back up and running in no time! Be prepared and not scared when a storm is nearby.

Disaster Recovery Plan Resources

 

 

Disaster Recovery Plan Resources

Having a proper evacuation plan can make all the difference in keeping you and your family safe during a hurricane. And, if you run a business, it can also help you get back on track faster after a disaster. disasters are unpredictable and can cause hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to homes and properties,but the good news is that there are several agencies that offer valuable information and guidance on how to prepare, stay safe, and recover from natural disasters.

  1. American Red Cross: The Red Cross offers tips on how to best prepare: what to do before, after, and during a disaster. They do this in addition to aiding victims. You can also buy emergency supplies from the Red Cross.
  2. Ready.gov: This site, manage by the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA, offers guides to help you prepare for both natural and man-made disasters. It can help with things such as:
    1. Emergency supplies to stock up on
    2. Making a plan
    3. How to safeguard your property
    4. What to do in the hours before a disaster
    5. How to be safe after a disaster
  3. National Weather Service: The National Weather Service will keep you updated on current weather developments during a storm. To make sure you can get these important updates, it is recommended you have a weather radio, which will work in nearly any weather conditions. It uses the FCC’s Emergency Alert System to communicate critical information to victims of natural disasters.
  4. NOAA: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is the organization that manages the National Weather Service. Their website has a plethora of information on hurricanes, complete with satellite imagery and hurricane tracking.
  5. CDC: The Center for Disease Control offers resources to help you understand the potential health risks that arise from a disaster. They offer tips on:
    1. Creating an evacuation plan
    2. Preventing carbon monoxide poisoning
    3. How to find safe food and water supplies
    4. How to stay safe when helping your community recover

Flu Season Preparedness

We all know what the flu is, and I’m sure a few of you have felt the aches and pains associated with this virus. In the 2017-2018 flu season there were 80,000 flu related deaths, which is the highest it’s been in over three decades! To help you get ready for flu season we have put together some helpful information for you.

When does flu activity peak in the United States?

The influenza virus to circulate year-round, but it generally peaks between December and February. February tends to see the highest flu activity though.

How will I know if I have the flu?

Influenza is one of those viruses that will make you feel like you’ve gotten hit by a train when you wake up in the morning. You’ll know when you have it. But just in case you want to make sure, here are the symptoms for the influenza virus:

  • Feverish and/or chills
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea

*You don’t have to have all these symptoms to have the flu.

How does the flu spread?

The influenza virus is usually spread when an infected individual sneezes or coughs. When this happens, tiny droplets land in the mouths or noses of people who are in the vicinity, thus infecting them.

How can I prevent the flu?

The best thing you can do is to make sure you get the flu vaccine every year! The CDC also recommends that you stay away from people who are sick and wash your hands frequently.

Will the flu vaccine give me the flu?

No, the flu vaccine is a dead virus. But you could develop flu like symptoms for a variety of reasons including:

  • A two-week window: After you get your flu shot it takes about two weeks before it starts to work. If you are infected shortly before or after you may catch the flu.
  • Reaction to the vaccine: Your body may produce protective antibodies that will give you flu like symptoms. This should only last a day or two.
  • Mismatched viruses: Sometimes the flu shot doesn’t match the virus that is going around and, as uncommon as this is, you still have some protection against the virus.

I don’t like shots, are there any other options?

Yes, there sure is! You can either get the vaccine as an injection or a nasal spray! Although there are some things to be aware of when going the nasal spray route;

  • The nasal spray vaccine is only approved for people between the ages of 2 and 49.
  • Not recommended for pregnant women.
  • Not recommended for people with weakened immune systems.
  • Children 2-4 years old who have had wheezing or asthma in the past year.

*Make sure you check with your doctor first.

The flu can’t get worse right?

Wrong! When you get the flu, it weakens your immune system; and if your flu gets worse your body won’t be able to fight off the bacteria. Once the bacteria build up enough, it turns into something incredibly worse… pneumonia.

Here are the 4 stages of Pneumonia:

Consolidation

  • Occurs in the first 24 hours
  • Cellular exudates containing neutrophils, lymphocytes, and fibrin replaces the alveolar air
  • Capillaries in the surrounding alveolar walls become congested
  • The infections spread to the hilum and pleura rapidly
  • Pleurisy occurs
  • Marked by coughing and deep breathing

Red Hepatization

  • Occurs in the 2-3 days after consolidation
  • At this point the consistency of the lungs resembles that of the liver
  • The lungs become hyperemic
  • Alveolar capillaries are engorged with blood
  • Fibrinous exudates fill the alveoli
  • This stage is characterized by the presence of many erythrocytes, neutrophils, desquamated epithelial cells, and fibrin within the alveoli

Grey Hepatization

  • Occurs in the 2-3 days after Red Hepatization
  • This is an avascular stage
  • The lung appears grayish brown to yellow because of fibrinopurulent exudates, disintegration of red cells, and hemosiderin
  • The pressure of the exudates in the alveoli causes compression of the capillaries
  • Leukocytes migrate into the congested alveoli

Resolution

  • This stage is characterized by the “resorption and restoration of the pulmonary architecture”
  • Many macrophages enter the alveolar spaces
  • Phagocytosis of the bacteria-laden leucocytes occurs
  • Consolidation tissue re-aerates, and the fluid infiltrate causes sputum
  • Fibrinous inflammation may extend to and across the pleural space, causing a rub heard by auscultation, and it may lead to resolution or to organization and pleural adhesions