Hurricane Dorian Updates

Hurricane Dorian Updates

On Thursday night, Hurricane Dorian strengthened to a Category 2 storm and is expected to keep strengthening as is approaches Florida. The National Hurricane Center predicts Dorian will become a powerful Category 4 by the time it reaches land, with potentially catastrophic 140 mph winds.

“Dorian is likely to remain an extremely dangerous hurricane while it moves near the northwestern Bahamas and approaches the Florida peninsula through the weekend,” the NHC said. As of right now, Dorian is expected to make landfall late Monday or early Tuesday as a Category 4. The National Weather Service said the Dorian will probably be a “triple-threat of dangers” with “life-threatening storm surge, devastating hurricane-force winds, and heavy rains.”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis tweeted that he has activated more than 2.500 Florida National Guard troops as the state braces and prepares for Hurricane Dorian. He has declared a state of emergency for all of Florida’s 67 counties and has encouraged residents to gather at least seven days’ worth of supplies, including food, water, and medicine.

President Trump has also addressed the hurricane, posting a video on twitter, calling Dorian “an absolute monster.” He has also cancelled a trip to Poland as a result of the storm, in order to “To ensure that all resources of the federal government are focused on the arriving storm I have decided to send our vice president, Mike Pence, to Poland this weekend in my place,” the president said. “It’s something very important for me to be here.”

In preparation for the hurricane Florida power and Light activated its emergency response team on Thursday, securing nearly 13,000 worked to help restore power. “We’re actively working with other utilities from across the United States to secure additional crews and equipment and pre-positioning resources in advance of the storm’s landfall, so we are ready to respond as soon as it is safe to do so,” said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of Florida Power and Light.

The Science of Hurricanes

Hurricane season in the Atlantic brings with it a plethora of dangerous and devastating weather. But how does all of this get started?

All hurricanes are essentially fueled by two simple things: heat and water. Hurricanes generally begin above the equator, where the waters are significantly warmer. The air just above the ocean’s surface takes in heat and moisture and, as the hot air rises, it leaves the air below it with a lower pressure. This cyclical process repeats and produces swirls in the air, according to NASA. This creates a thunderstorm that has the potential to turn into a hurricane.

Warm water in the Atlantic is really the first key element hurricanes need to get started. Another important key factor is wind shear. Wind shear, according to Federal Aviation Administration, is a change in wind speed and/or direction over a short distance. Wind shears can be either horizontal or vertical and are most commonly caused by strong differences in temperature. These contribute to the cyclone of warm and cool air that starts a hurricane.

These two ingredients for hurricanes don’t just happen on their own, though. Gerry Bell, the lead seasonal hurricane forecaster for NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, says that “there are two dominant climate patterns that really control the wind and pressure across the Atlantic.

The El Niño/La Niña cycle is the first of these climate patterns. El Niño is a large-scale ocean-atmosphere climate interaction that causes periodic warming in the ocean surface temperatures. These effects are seen in the winter season, with wetter-than-average conditions expected. La Niña is essentially the opposite of El Niño, in which it represents below-average ocean surface temperatures, but slightly warmer temperatures in the Southeast region.

The second climate pattern that impacts hurricanes is the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). This is a climate trend that has a time span of 25 to 40 years and is generally associated with warmer waters in the Atlantic. When the AMO is in a warm phase, there tends to be stronger hurricane patterns. Currently, we have been in a warm phase AMO, conducive to hurricanes, since 1995.

Hurricanes start out as tropical cyclones. Once a tropical cyclone’s winds have a sustained speed of 39 to 73 mph, it is then considered a tropical storm and it gets a name from the list put out by the World Meteorological Organization. If the sustained winds reach speeds of 74 to 95 mph, the storm becomes a Category 1 hurricane.

CategorySustained Wind SpeedPotential Damage
174-94 mphMinimal – some roof leakage, gutter damage, snapped tree branches
296-110 mphModerate – major roof and siding damage, uprooted trees causing road blockage, power loss for days to weeks
3111-129 mphExtensive – gable and decking damage, many uprooted trees, extended power outages
4130-156 mphExtreme – roof and exterior walls destroyed, snapped trees, power outages for weeks to months
5157 mph or higherCatastrophic – high fraction of framed houses destroyed, power outages for weeks to months, large areas uninhabitable for weeks to months

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About Regency DRT/DKI

Regency DRT/DKI is a nation-wide leader in emergency services and property restoration services with 7 offices in Florida and Michigan, including West Palm Beach, Orlando, Sunrise, Port St Lucie, Panama City, Fort Walton/Pensacola and Detroit. Regency DRT/DKI was founded on the belief that a restoration company should provide exceptional quality of services to their customers while maintaining the industry’s highest standards.

Regency DRT/DKI offers 24 Hour Emergency Response and has extensive experience in working with insurance companies and claims adjusters on property insurance claims, coordinating everything from initial response until the property is restored to pre-loss conditions. With our extensive training and knowledge of restoration services, we are able to quickly respond with the necessary amount of equipment, resources and staff for the unique needs of the job, whether it’s a single residential loss, large loss or area-wide disaster.

Regency DRT/DKI is also a proud Member of Disaster KleenUp International (DKI), North America’s largest disaster restoration contracting organization. Being a DKI member also provides us with nationwide affiliates and partners to provide nationwide coverage to our clients. Call us at 1 (888) 354-2447 or visit our website at RegencyDKI.com.

Why You Must Act Quickly to Clean the Devastation Caused by Wind Damage

Why You Must Act Quickly to Clean the Devastation Caused by Wind Damage

When a storm or other serious weather conditions cause wind damage, it is imperative to contact Regency Disaster Response Team immediately. This is especially true if heavy winds damaged the roof or walls of your property and left it further exposed to the elements. Your home or business is even at risk if only your windows were broken.

As soon as we arrive on the scene, we evaluate the damages and come up with a plan to ensure that you and your family or employees are safe. Next, we procure the equipment we need to start cleaning up right away. This may involve temporarily boarding up part of your home or business until you can get it permanently fixed. We may also use a tarp if the situation calls for it.

Ensuring Safety Inside the Property

Due to the recent storm, the high winds may have blown rainwater, dirt, miscellaneous debris, and several allergens into your home. If you or a family member suddenly has difficulty breathing, this is the most likely cause. Our disaster response experts use humidification and total structure drying to remove allergy triggers from your indoor environment. We also use thermal imaging and diagnostics to see if there are additional problems that we also need to address.

Another common problem caused by wind damage is that it allows moisture to settle permanently into the foundation of your property. This leaves you extremely vulnerable to mold. Our team searches for any evidence of mold and removes it before it becomes a permanent health hazard.

Always Available

Disaster Response Team understands that natural disasters can happen at any time and often come on with little warning. While we can’t control the weather, we can get your life back to normal as soon as possible. Our crew is prepared to respond to a call for emergency clean-up 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Detergents, Soaps and More

Detergents, Soaps and More

When it comes to your home, you usually have two prime, important goals in mind: Keep your home clean and keep your home healthy. Family is important to you.

To do that, it takes a lot of thought. Not about your cleaning technique… but about the products you choose to do the cleaning.

When you wander the cleaning supply aisle at your favorite department or big-box store, the options are endless. The list of ingredients is long and the descriptive words are confusing. While a scientist working in a laboratory knows what those ingredients are, it’s not your fault that they mystify you.

What do you really need to know? The basics. Here they are. Continue reading “Detergents, Soaps and More”

Safe or Not Safe?

Have you ever walked or drove down a road and came across a sign that declared, “Floodplain Zone!”

If it was near your home, you might have panicked. But if it was somewhere far from your home, you felt safe.
A floodplain can be dangerous because any home in or near one is subject to flooding. If you have a basement, you have more to worry about.

But did you know that even if you live outside a floodplain, there are flooding issues that you must be aware of? Continue reading “Safe or Not Safe?”

Mold Inspection Specialist Clears the Air on All Things Cladosporium

 

 

Mold Inspection Specialist Clears the Air on All Things Cladosporium

Interstitial lung diseases, phaeohyphomycosis, chromoblastomycosis, allergies, hair loss and scalp infections are all known to be caused by exposure to cladosporium. It is a genus of fungi that our mold inspection specialists have encountered during examinations of water damaged homes. So we are encouraging all people in our service area that suspect that their buildings may be harboring colonies of cladosporium to read today’s blog and reach out to us right away.

Upon visual inspection, patches of cladosporium will appear either black, dark brown or olive-green in color. In sufficient number, they are known to give off odorous, volatile organic compounds. Consequently, that’s why the colonies are typically associated with interstitial lung diseases and airborne allergies. It can also transfer from one area to another by physical contact with an affected surface. As such, it could find an opening and make contact with dermis and subcutaneous layers of tissue or irritate the epidermis. In those instances, contact dermatitis, hair loss, scalp infectionschromoblastomycosis and phaeohyphomycosis may occur.

The list of place where cladosporium may show up in a building may be fairly long depending on whether or not the interior environment has a relative humidity level greater than 50% and lots of cellulose surfaces. The list of surfaces and locations includes, but isn’t confined to the following:

  • Variety of Window Sill Materials (e.g. Oakwood and Bamboo)
  • Drapery and Other Window Treatments
  • Bathroom and Kitchen Tile Grout
  • Upholstered Furniture
  • Carpeting and Area Rugs
  • Sheetrock and Plywood
  • OSB furniture and Shelving
  • Subfloors and Tile Floors

To learn more about cladosporium and other genus of fungi best handled by a mold removal specialist, please contact us at Regency Disaster Response Team. We are certified, licensed and recognized by some of the best mold inspection/removal industry entities, including the IICRC.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mold And Mold Cleanup

 

Mold, every home owner’s worst nightmare. Not only does it look unsightly, but a mold infestation can be detrimental to your family’s health. In this FAQ we will answer common questions about how it grows, who it affects, and how to get rid of it.

So.. What Is Mold Exactly?

Typically seen mold is a form of multi-celled fungus which is constantly present in the atmosphere in the form of fungus spores. These spores can make themselves at home with you, so long as they have a cozy environment such as a moist, generally undisturbed area. Additionally, they require a food source such as paper, wood, fabric fibers, dead skin cells, and more.

That Sounds Kinda Gross! What Impact Does It Have On Your Health?

Touching or inhaling the mold can affect anyone in the household. However, some people are more sensitive to the mold spores than others. Infants and the elderly, people with allergies, suppressed immune systems, and those suffering from asthma feel more effect from the mold spores. Typically they will experience inflammation of the sinuses, sneezing, runny nose, cough, congestion, itchy eyes, and skin rashes.

Yikes! Isn’t Mold More Of A Warm Weather Problem?

While it’s true that mold thrives in warm and moist environments, many onsets of mold occur in the home due to winter conditions. During the winter months, homes are less ventilated and water vapor will condense on cold surfaces such as windows and walls.

What Can I Do To Prevent Mold From Growing In My Home?

The best way to help prevent the growth of mold in your home is to minimize humidity inside the home. Spilled liquids should be cleaned up promptly, and damp clothing which cannot be laundered right away should be hung outside to dry. Ensure that your A/C drip pans are empty and the filters cleaned. Open windows to encourage ventilation in rooms such as the bathroom and kitchen. Also, be sure your appliances such as your dryer are properly vented outdoors.

I Think I Already Have Mold In My Home… What Can I Do?

The first thing to do is begin eliminating the sources of moisture in your home. If possible, open windows and doors while running fans to dry out the moldy area. When cleaning, never touch mold with your bare hands, always wear rubber gloves and a face mask.

If the mold damage is too extensive, you should seek out the help of a professional. They can inspect the property and give you an accurate estimation of what the cleanup will cost and how extensive it should be. If you would like to know more, feel free to visit our website.

Understanding This Whole Mitigation Thing

Understanding This Whole Mitigation Thing

In the restoration industry, the term mitigation is one of the most commonly used words. Sometimes I get so caught up in our daily lingo, that I forget that not everyone speaks our language! I was reminded of this last week. I was speaking with a customer and explaining to him that he had a responsibility to mitigate his water damages. His response, “I don’t really understand this whole mitigation thing.”

Mitigation Defined

Merriam-Webster defines mitigation as; “to cause to become less harsh or hostile” or “to make less severe or painful”. While cleaning up water damage quickly will make the process less painful, we think of mitigation in a slightly different way. If the Restoration Industry had a bible, the IICRC S500 would be like the book of Genesis. This document, entitled Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration, forms the basis for nearly all water damage restoration activities. It defines mitigation as Continue reading “Understanding This Whole Mitigation Thing”

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. Hurricanes 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 for a storm: what to do before, after, and during the storm. They do this in addition to aiding hurricane 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 hurricane plan
    3. How to safeguard your property
    4. What to do in the hours before a hurricane
    5. How to be safe after a hurricane passes
  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 hurricane, including bacteria and mold that can grow in the standing flood water. 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
 

What You Should Know About Mold

What You Should Know About Mold

Mold is a fast-growing fungus that can spread within 48 hours of water damage. In some cases, like after a flood, the need for restoration is obvious. In other cases, mold can be growing behind your walls without you noticing. Mold spores spread easily and quickly, and mold can grow almost anywhere under the right conditions: on carpet, clothing, cabinets, drywall, in your walls, or even in your ceiling. In addition to being difficult to remove, mold can also produce allergens and, in some rare cases, even toxins. Taking the necessary steps to protect your home against mold, learning to spot the signs of mold, and knowing the negative effects of mold are important to keeping you and your family safe.

PREVENTING MOLD

Dry Wet Areas Immediately

  • Depending on conditions, mold growth can occur within 48 – 72 hours of water damage. During everyday occurrences, such as spills, wet cloths, etc., make sure to dry everything up right away. Quickly fix roof leaks, old dilapidated pipes, cracks in the walls and foundations, and make sure to regularly check HVAC units for clogs
  • If you experience a large loss, such as a flood, burst pipe, flooded basement, etc., call a restoration company immediately.

Monitor Humidity in Your Home

  • The EPA recommends keeping humidity in your home between 30% and 60%. You can measure humidity with a moisture reader purchased from a hardware store.

Keep House Well Ventilated

  • Even simple, daily activities can lead to mold growth – cooking, taking a shower, or doing the laundry can facilitate mold growth if the room is not properly vented. Make sure to vent moisture-producing appliances, such as dryers and stoves, to the outside of the house, not the attic.
  • Mold needs moisture to grow and, as the air temperature drops, air is less able to hold moisture. Keeping your A/C on and/or running a dehumidifier during hot/humid days can help prevent mold growth.
  • Improving airflow in your house can also prevent excess moisture from condensing on your walls, windows, and floors. To increase circulation, open doors between rooms, move furniture away from walls, open closet doors, and open windows.

Identify Problem Areas in Your Home

  • The best way to do this is to do an audit of your home. Do you notice frequent condensation on your window? Is there a water stain on your ceiling? Are there often wet spots in your basement? Looking for signs of moisture in your home will help you identify the places most susceptible to mold growth.
  • Once something is wet, fixing it may be as simple as throwing out wet furniture or ripping up wet carpet. Or it may require major mitigation and reconstruction. Either way, it is very important to fix it immediately.

Direct Water Away from Your Home

  • If the ground around your home isn’t sloped away from the foundation, water may collect there and seep into your basement or crawlspace. It can even compromise the integrity of the foundation over time.

Check Gutters

  • Clogged or broken gutters can lead to roof leaks, which can cause mold growth in your ceiling. Have your roof and gutters inspected and cleaned regularly. Keep an eye out for water stains after heavy rain fall, as they can indicate a leak.

SIDE EFFECTS OF MOLD EXPOSURE

  • Foggy thoughts and temporary memory loss, loss of focus, headaches
  • Weakness of muscles and exhaustion
  • Joint pain, nerve pain, random muscle pains
  • Tingling of numbness in the body
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Coughing or shortness of breath
  • Slight tremors of the body
  • Change in appetite, diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pains
  • Irregular body temperatures changing at random intervals
  • Increased urination and higher intake of liquids

 

MYCOTOXINS

What are mycotoxins?

  • Mycotoxins are chemicals released by fungi and they are toxic to both humans and pets. They are not required for mold to grow, since most mold will not produce mycotoxins, but they act as a kind of defense mechanism and allow mold to more easily infect a host.
  • Short term symptoms of mycotoxin exposure include headaches, muscle pain, nerve pain, night sweats, difficulty breathing, fatigue, confusion, vision changes, and disorientation. Long term effects of mycotoxin exposure include poor kidney function, liver necrosis, lung hemorrhage, gastrointestinal ulcers, and seizures.
  • Mycotoxins can harm any organism that competes with the mold for space and nutrition, which can include other mold. If you have various molds competing, mycotoxin production may increase. Although most molds won’t produce mycotoxins, the best way to avoid them is to prevent and get rid of any mold growth.

SIGNS OF MOLD

Watery or Stinging Eyes

  • Many people have allergies to mold. If you are consistently experiencing itchy/watery eyes, coughing, and/or nasal congestion, there may be mold in your house.

Tingling Skin

  • If you’re allergic to mycotoxins, you can experience tingling, itching, or burning sensations when you come into contact with mold.

Paint Bubbling

  • Bubbling paint is a sign of moisture build up. It is important to fix the underlying problem before repainting.

Odd Smelling Chimney

  • Moisture can build up in the porous bricks and mortar in a chimney and mold growth can produce a musty smell. Rusty chimney caps or damaged flashing can let rain and snow seep in.

Bathroom Exhaust Fan isn’t Working

  • Exhaust fans can get clogged and, if it’s still steamy five to ten minutes after you get out of the shower, your fan isn’t circulating enough air. The bathroom is one of the rooms most susceptible to mold, so it is imperative to fix a faulty bathroom fan immediately.

Even if the water damage to your home may not seem significant, it is important to use a qualified restoration company to bring your home back to pre-loss condition. Trying to fix a major mold problem in your home on your own is not only generally ineffective, it can also be dangerous. Any cleaning a homeowner does is usually only at the surface level, leaving potentially harmful mold, bacteria, and toxins beneath your floors or in your walls. This can lead to bigger and more costly damages down the line.