Recent General Posts

Cut Your Tax Bill After A Natural Disaster

12/6/2017 (Permalink)

General Cut Your Tax Bill After A Natural Disaster No one wants a natural disaster to hit but it could cut your tax bill

Most people don’t realize they can cut their tax bills after a natural disaster damages their home according to a December 2017 article by Lew Sichelman. In the article, Patrick O’Connor, president of one of the country’s largest tax consulting firms, says to call your local tax appraiser’s office after major damage. If you do call, the value of your property could go down significantly and that would reduce your tax bill.


Examples include homes damaged by natural disasters like the recent Northern California fires, and the hurricanes that hit the Gulf Coast, Florida, and Puerto Rico. Here’s how it might work. Imagine your Bloomfield, Connecticut house was worth $500,000 before a natural disaster. But the natural disaster that hits Connecticut decreases your home’s value to $230,000. If your local appraiser or tax assessment office knows that, he or she can reduce the valuation on your Bloomfield home or business appropriately.

If you don’t let the tax authority know your house could be assessed as if it were in normal condition despite its diminished market value. Most local tax officials don’t visit every house in their district every year so they may not be aware of the need to charge you less.

Avoid preventable disasters. Call SERVPRO Of Bloomfield/Enfield (860) 216-2785


Across Connecticut, Massachusetts, and the country each town, city, and county has its own system for valuing property. When disaster strikes some authorities proactively assess the local damage. Others do not have the resources to do so. Regardless, SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield recommends you call the Bloomfield, Enfield or your other local tax appraiser office just to make sure they know your property has lost some value.

In some states, like Texas, you’re required to tell would-be buyers if your home suffered flood damage.

Maximizing Your Tax Relief

To receive the most tax relief, you usually need to document the condition of your house when it suffered the damage and again at the end of the year. Also report any repairs done on your property and what still needs repair.

Federal Income Tax Refund Possible
Also, whether you were insured or not when the snow storm, hurricane, flood, or other natural disaster struck, you may be eligible for a federal income tax refund because of the damage. The IRS has a provision called Section 165 that allows for a deduction as a result of casualty losses. Of course, tax law is subject to change so always check with a professional tax advisor.

Avoid preventable disasters. Call SERVPRO Of Bloomfield/Enfield (860) 216-2785

Cash From The SBA
Another way to get cash is a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan. The SBA usually makes loans to businesses, but after a named disaster, the SBA makes low-interest loans to individuals. In December 2017 interest on these SBA loans was 1.75 percent amortized over 30 years. The loans are capped at $200,000 for rebuilding and $40,000 for personal property like autos, clothing, and tools.

If a natural disaster does major damage to your home or business, call your insurance company first. But remember to call your local appraiser’s office later.

More Information On Our Blog
You can learn more by reading other posts on this blog:

50% Of Businesses Never Reopen After A Natural Disaster

Bloomfield Storm Damage: Is It Ever Minor?

Disaster: What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

FEMA’s Take On Restoring Flood Damage In Bloomfield/Enfield

Natural Disaster Statistics And Facts

SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield
Top 50 Franchise Nationally
100 Peters Road, Bloomfield, CT 06002
IICRC Certified
Ralph DiCristofaro
Certified SERVPRO technician
Call 860.216.2785
24 hour emergency service 

Shutting Off Your Electricity

7/25/2017 (Permalink)

General Shutting Off Your Electricity When a natural disaster exposes electrical components electricity becomes dangerous and even life-threatening.

One of the greatest inventions and conveniences is electricity. Electricity lets us read at night, run major appliances, cook food, heat water, watch television, stay cool on hot days, and much more. It’s safely embedded in nearly every wall of every room of our houses. But when a storm or natural disaster exposes electrical components or compromises them, electricity becomes dangerous and even life-threatening.

A live electrical wire can cause electrical shock or even death. A slight electrical spark can ignite leaking natural gas. When your electrical system suffers storm damage or becomes a danger you should immediately shut off the electrical power.

If your electrical panel is damaged or if you have standing water near your breaker box you should leave the house immediately, keep everyone out, and call for help.  

1. Find The Electrical Service Panel
In homes the main electrical service panel (sometimes called a main breaker panel box) contains either circuit breakers or fuses and is usually located in a utility area. It should be easily accessible but away from the main traffic flow in your house.

It’s usually a large metal box with a door that swings open to reveal the electrical circuit breakers. Often it’s in the basement. There are many possibilities for electrical panels and shut-offs so look carefully. Nearly all homes have a single electrical feed but multi-family buildings could have several.
 
2. Make sure everyone in your home knows where the electrical service panel box is.
You may not be home when electricity needs to be turned off so others need to know how to shut off power without you. If the breakers or fuses are not marked you should label them so everyone will know what each individual breaker or fuse controls (Examples: Kitchen, Master Bedroom, Air Conditioning, etc.).

If You Have Electrical Damage Call SERVPRO Of Bloomfield/Enfield At (860) 216-2785

3. Find the “main” circuit breaker. 

You’ll see many individual circuit breakers that cut the power to individual rooms or appliances. In an emergency and when you don’t know the extent or source of the electrical damage, the easiest and safest thing to do is to shut off the main breaker. It will cut the electrical power throughout your entire house. The main shut-off is often found at the top of the breaker panel and should be labeled.
 
4. Breaker switches are usually marked “off” and “on”.
Just flip the main switch to the off position. If you have trouble finding the main circuit breaker just turn off every individual circuit breaker. The main breaker is usually a double-width switch located at the top of the service panel. You may need a flashlight handy when you turn on your electrical power.
 
If You Have Electrical Damage Call SERVPRO Of Bloomfield/Enfield At (860) 216-2785

5. Caution: The electrical line into your house still is live
After the main breaker is off you will still have power in the wire from the road to your house.
Keep everyone away from that outside power line.

More Information On Our Blog
You can learn more by reading other posts on this blog:
21 Tips On Preventing Electrical, Home Heating, And Candle Fires
Business & Home Holiday Electrical Safety
Preventing Home Disasters
Workplace Safety & OSHA
You might also want to explore the educational information on our sister franchise’s blog, SERVPRO of Manchester/Mansfield.

Help Is Here
The team at SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield has specialized training and experience in fire restoration services, natural disaster prevention, water damage, and natural disaster cleanup. Call SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield (860.216.2785) anytime.

SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield
100 Peters Road, Bloomfield, CT 06002
IICRC Certified
Ralph DiCristofaro, Nat Langan, Ron DeFeo
Certified SERVPRO technicians
Call 860.216.2785
24 hour emergency service

Preventing Home Disasters

3/24/2017 (Permalink)

General Preventing Home Disasters Look for signs of insects before major damage is done.

Around your house it makes great sense to tackle minor headaches before they become major migraines. Consumer Reports suggests doing the following high priority projects early.


1. Runaway Rainwater


Telltale signs: Rain pouring over your gutters and puddling along foundation walls. Why you need to act: Water can deteriorate siding and foundation walls, eventually finding its way to interior spaces and damaging them.


What to do: Inspect your entire gutter system for clogs and corrosion; you can clear clogs yourself, but if your gutters are corroded, you'll want to talk to a pro about having them replaced.


2. Leaky Roofs


Telltale signs: Cracked, curled or missing shingles, which signal that the roof is near the end of its life; also cracks in the flashing around chimneys, skylights, roof valleys, and the rubber boots around vents.


Why you need to act: If your roof doesn't provide a proper barrier to rain and snow, water can find its way to your home's drywall and insulation, leading to rot and interior water damage. What to do: You might be able to replace a shingle here and there, or patch leaky flashing. But if your roof is more than 20 years old, it's probably time for a new one. If it's an asphalt shingle roof with only one layer, you might be able to add a second layer over it, lowering the project cost significantly.


For Cleanup Or Restoration Needs Call SERVPRO Of Bloomfield/Enfield At (860) 216-2785 Anytime


3. Insect Infestations


Telltale signs: Rotted wood in the sill plate that sits on top of the foundation and cast-off wings along windowsills and walls are evidence of termites. Piles of sawdust along baseboards are a sign of carpenter ants.


Why you need to act: Tiny as they are, these insects can cause major structural problems if left to nosh on your home's wooden framework. What to do: Call an exterminator. Check for accreditation on the database of the National Pest Management Association (pestworld.org).


4. Foundation Cracks


Telltale signs: Cracks in the concrete, especially those that are wider than 3/16 inch, as well as signs of the walls bulging and buckling. Why you need to act: An unstable foundation can compromise the entire structure of your house.


What to do: Hairline cracks can usually be filled with an epoxy injection system. If the cracks seem to be getting bigger, Consumer Reports suggests consulting a structural engineer.


For Cleanup Or Restoration Needs Call SERVPRO Of Bloomfield/Enfield At (860) 216-2785 Anytime


5. Mold and Mildew


Telltale signs: Musty odors, dank air, and black mold spores growing on surfaces such as bathroom ceilings. Why you need to act: Any surfaces that harbor extensive mold, including drywall, carpet, and ceiling tiles, will need to be removed. Otherwise mold spores will be released into the air, causing allergic reactions and asthma attacks.


What to do: If you catch it early, patches of mold less than 10 square feet can be treated with a homemade solution of 1 cup chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Wear an N-95 disposable respirator, goggles, and heavy-duty gloves. For larger outbreaks, or if the ventilation system is contaminated, call in a mold-remediation pro like SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield.


In addition, The Family Handyman offers these home disaster prevention tips:


• Turn off your home’s water supply before going on vacation


• Use metal tubing rather than plastic for ice maker supply lines


• Test your sump pump before rainy season starts


• Monitor foundation or wall cracks


• Trim trees around your house so dead branches won't crash down on your roof


• Put splash pans under washers and water heaters to catch leaks


• Install no-burst hoses on your clothes washer


• Inspect your foundation once a year for termite tunnels


• Strap your water heater if you live in an earthquake-prone region


• Add six foot long downspout extensions


• Install surge protectors to protect your microprocessors and prevent data loss


More Home Disaster Prevention Information


Every month on the SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield blog we publish educational articles on how Enfield residents can protect their homes and businesses from disasters and how to deal with mold, fire, water, sewage, or other damage.


Here are a few blog posts that you might find helpful:


21 Tips on Preventing Electrical, Home Heating, And Candle Fires Home Protection Guide


Preventing A Home Fire: A Checklist


Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning


Wood-Burning Stove And Fireplace Safety


You might also want to explore the educational information on our sister franchise’s blog, SERVPRO of Manchester/Mansfield.


Here For You


The Enfield team at SERVPRO has specialized training and experience in water damage restoration services, fire damage restoration services, mold remediation, commercial services, and natural disaster cleanup. Call SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield in Bloomfield at 860-216-2785 anytime, 24/7.


SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield 100 Peters Road


Bloomfield, Connecticut 06002


IICRC Certified


Ralph DiCristofaro, Nat Langan, Ron DeFeo Certified SERVPRO technicians


Call 860-216-2785 anytime

10 States Most At Risk For Natural Disasters

1/30/2017 (Permalink)

General 10 States Most At Risk For Natural Disasters The size of a disaster isn't as important as your quick and appropriate response to it.

Depending on where you live or where you are, your risk of suffering a natural disaster vary greatly. Based on records from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Bankrate published this list on its website.

10. Missouri

The Show-Me State has been shown disastrous weather in every month on the calendar: severe snow and ice storms in winter, tornadoes during the spring, summer and fall, and flooding at virtually any time. Major disaster declarations since 1953: 55

 

9. Kentucky

Kentucky's had more than its share of landslides, mudslides, and rock slides, as well as flooding and tornadoes. Hurricane Ike ripped up the state in 2008; it had a record snowfall in late 2004; and chemical explosions in the Louisville sewers hit in 1981. Major disaster declarations since 1953: 56


8. Arkansas

Arkansas has been thrashed by heavy rain, snow, ice, tornadoes, and flooding over the years and has even taken poundings from tropical storm systems. In 2008, storms and tornadoes associated with Hurricane Gustav littered streets with debris, and damaged buildings, roads, and bridges. Major disaster declarations since 1953: 58


7. Alabama

This Gulf Coast state has been battered by hurricanes, including Isaac in 2012, Gustav in 2008, and Katrina and Dennis in 2005. Tornadoes in April 2011 rivaled the hurricanes for destructive power, lashing the state with winds that exceeded 210 mph and leaving about 250 people dead and an estimated $1.5 billion in damage. Major disaster declarations since 1953: 58


6. Louisiana

Louisiana won't soon forget Hurricane Katrina, the now-legendary 2005 storm that government officials say killed nearly 1,000 residents and caused an estimated $80 billion in damage. Numerous hurricanes have ravaged the Gulf state. Major disaster declarations since 1953: 60


5. Florida

Florida has been roughed up by dozens of tropical storm systems since the 1950s, none worse than Hurricane Andrew in 1992. It held the title as the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history until Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. Severe freezes have been disastrous for Florida farmers on multiple occasions. Major disaster declarations since 1953: 67

 4. New York

Across its wide span from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic, New York has been punished by everything from blizzards to tropical storms. In 2012, Superstorm Sandy killed nearly 50 people in New York and caused more than $40 billion in damage. New York also received disaster declarations for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Major disaster declarations since 1953: 68

 

3. Oklahoma

This state has recorded an average of more than 55 twisters per year since 1950. One of the worst in recent history struck near Oklahoma City in May 1999 with winds over 300 mph. It killed 36 people. Major disaster declarations since 1953: 75

 

2. California

California has it all—wildfires, landslides, flooding, winter storms, severe freezes, tsunami waves, and more. But earthquakes are the disaster perhaps most closely associated with the nation's most populous state. Major disaster declarations since 1953: 79

 

1. Texas

At least one major disaster is declared during nearly every calendar year in Texas, the second-largest U.S. state by area (after Alaska). The Lone Star State has dealt with tornadoes, floods, wildfires and fairly frequent coastal hurricanes. Major disaster declarations since 1953: 88

 

This list is based on the number of major disaster declarations within each state since 1953. That means that larger states have a greater chance of appearing here. The list appears quite different when FEMA factors in both population and land area. In that case the ten states most prone to natural disaster are (listed from the greatest risk to the 10th greatest) : Vermont, Delaware, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Hawaii, West Virginia, Maine, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Oklahoma.

 

Disaster Preparation Information   

Every month on the SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield blog we publish educational articles on how to prevent natural disasters and deal with them quickly and effectively should they occur. Here are a few you might find helpful: 

 

Home Protection Guide: 29 Tips To Protect Your Home Or Business From Financial, Structural, And Natural Disasters

Business Lessons Learned From Natural Disasters

16 Ways To Make Your Home And Family Safer

Surviving A Natural Disaster

 

Here For You

The team at SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield has specialized training and experience in water damage restoration services, fire damage restoration services, mold remediation, commercial services, and natural disaster cleanup. Call SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield (860-216-2785) anytime, 24/7.

 

We've served clients in Avon, Agawam, Bloomfield, Coventry, East Hartford, East Longmeadow, Ellington, Enfield, Farmington, Hartford, Manchester, Newington, Simsbury, South Windsor, Springfield, West Hartford, and beyond.

SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield

100 Peters Road

Bloomfield, Connecticut 06002
IICRC Certified
Ralph DiCristofaro, Nat Landon, Ron DeFeo
Certified SERVPRO technicians

Call 860-216-2785 anytime

Business & Home Holiday Electrical Safety

11/15/2016 (Permalink)

General Business & Home Holiday Electrical Safety At work and at home, prevent fires by practicing electrical safety.

It’s the holiday time of year and you probably have parties to give and celebrations to attend. At work and at home you have holiday decorations up. Enjoy your holidays, but please remember to be safe. Here are a few tips to keep your business and your home safer from the potential electrical and other hazards that the holidays can bring.

1. Inspect electrical decorations and cords.

Carefully examine electrical decorations and cords for damage before you use them. Have your family or employees check for cracked or frayed sockets, loose or bare wires, and loose connections. Repair any damage before use.

2. Avoid overloading electrical outlets.

When you overburden an outlet you can cause a power outage or create heat that can result in fire. In general, plug in only one high wattage appliance per outlet.

 3. If you have a live Christmas tree, water it daily.

A dry tree becomes a fire hazard.

 4. String together no more than three strings of incandescent lights.

When you connect more than three strings you can blow a fuse or create conditions for a fire.

 Keep your holidays safe. Call 860-216-2785 and ask for ask your Emergency Ready Profile.

 

5. Use electrical extension cords properly.

They are for temporary use only. Don’t use one that feels hot. Don’t run extension cords through walls or ceilings or nail or staple them to walls or baseboards. Make sure that cords are not pinched in doors, windows, or under heavy furniture, which could damage the cord’s insulation. Keep extension cords out of high-traffic areas like doorways or walkways where they pose a tripping hazard. Ensure that all extension cords are certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory such as UL, CSA, or ETL, and read the manufacturer’s instructions. For more, go to Extension Cord Safety.

 6. Use battery-operated candles.

The Electrical Safety Foundation International says that candles start about half of all home decoration fires. By using battery-powered candles you greatly reduce this risk at home or at your place of business.

 7. If you’re cooking stay in the kitchen.

Whether you’re cooking in the break room, cafeteria, or your home kitchen stay with the stove or oven.

Every year, especially at holidays, people begin to cook then run to another room to quickly do something and forget to go back to the stove in time to prevent a fire. Never leave a stove or oven that’s in use.

 8. Keep anything that burns at least three feet any source of heat.

Don’t store newspaper near the fireplace or have paper decorations above a heater, for example.

9. At work check your fire alarms and fire protection equipment.

The holiday season is the perfect time to inspect fire alarms and fire suppression systems or devices. Inspect regularly, perhaps twice year, and make sure everything’s in working order. Are your portable fire extinguishers adequately charged?  Are all your smoke alarms working? Do you have enough fire extinguishers, the right types, and are they in the right places?

10. For more holiday electrical safety tips...

Go to Work Place Fire Prevention for the Holidays: 3 Tips for Safety.

     

A Wealth Of Natural Disaster Information For You

Every month on our blog we publish educational articles on how to prevent natural disasters and deal with them quickly and effectively should they occur. Here are a few you might find helpful: 

 

50% Are Not Prepared For A Natural Disaster

Surviving A Natural Disaster

Disgusting Places In Every Home: How To Clean Them

7 More Myths About Mold

Chemical Emergencies: Preventing And Handling Them

 

Why SERVPRO Excels

Many factors make SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield a great choice. We offer:

  • More than 40 years of experience as a leading fire and water cleanup and restoration provider.
  • A network of 1,500 franchises nationwide so we can call in every resource you need.
  • On site evaluation of your natural disaster recovery needs within four hours of you contacting us.
  • Highly trained staff with experience in all types of natural disasters.
  • Assistance with dealing with your insurer and filing a claim.
  • Local knowledge and resources—we know your community and we have relationships with other local organizations that can help in times of need.

 

Help Is Here

The team at SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield also has specialized training and experience in water damage restoration services, fire damage restoration services, and natural disaster cleanup. Call SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield (860.216.2785) anytime, 24/7.

We've served clients in Avon, Agawam, Bloomfield, Coventry, East Hartford, East Longmeadow, Ellington, Enfield, Farmington, Hartford, Manchester, Newington, Simsbury, South Windsor, Springfield, West Hartford, and beyond.

SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield

100 Peters Road

Bloomfield, Connecticut
IICRC Certified
Ralph DiCristofaro, Nat Landon, Ron DeFeo
Certified SERVPRO technicians

Call 860.216.2785 anytime


When Disaster Strikes Time Is Precious

10/24/2016 (Permalink)

General When Disaster Strikes Time Is Precious  After a disaster the clock is ticking. Faster repairs can save further damage and lower your cost.

Fire destroys your home. Water ruins your basement. High winds bring a tree crashing through your business’s roof. There are many more disasters that could affect your business or home. And what many people don’t realize is that when a catastrophe occurs time becomes your most important possession.

The initial damage from a disaster is just the beginning of the ordeal. Things get much worse if you cannot or do not act in a timely manner to repair the damage and prevent further damage. At least two factors make time a critical resource after a disaster.

One factor is that without quick repair the damage usually gets worse. Water does more damage the longer it sits in your building or walls or wherever. Many possessions can be restored after a fire but only if you act quickly.

For businesses, a second factor that makes time critical is the business interruption. Every day a natural disaster keeps your doors closed is another day of lost business revenues. In fact, for businesses the natural disaster is usually less costly than the business interruption that disaster causes.

Save your home or business; save worry, time, and expense. Call Ralph at 860-216-2785.

When you need natural disaster recovery done fast, done right, and done economically, call SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield. We are always available—24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We’ve handled just about any emergency restoration need you can imagine. We even do non-emergency tasks like carpet cleaning and mold removal.

SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield arrives quickly with the main goal of restoring your business or home to full function as soon as possible. We’ve enabled businesses who thought they’d be closed for weeks to reopen in days. We’ve saved homeowners thousands by restoring valuable possessions they thought were lost to fire or other damage.

A Wealth Of Natural Disaster Information For You
Every month on our blog we publish educational articles on how to prevent natural disasters and deal with them quickly and effectively when they occur. Here are a few you might find helpful:  
Home Protection Guide
Commercial Businesses: The Best Disaster Is The One You Avoid
50% Of Businesses Never Reopen After A Natural Disaster
16 Ways To Prevent Cooking And Cigarette Fires

Why SERVPRO Excels
Many factors make SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield a great choice. We offer:
•    More than 40 years of experience as a leading fire and water cleanup and restoration provider.
•    A network of 1,500 franchises nationwide so we can call in every resource you need.
•    On site evaluation of your natural disaster recovery needs within four hours of you contacting us.
•    Highly trained staff with experience in all types of natural disasters.
•    Assistance with dealing with your insurer and filing a claim.
•    Local knowledge and resources—we know your community and we have relationships with other local organizations that can help in times of need.

Help Is Here
The team at SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield also has specialized training and experience in water damage restoration services, fire damage restoration services, and natural disaster cleanup. Call SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield (860.216.2785) anytime, 24/7.

We've served clients in Avon, Agawam, Bloomfield, Coventry, East Hartford, East Longmeadow, Ellington, Enfield, Farmington, Hartford, Manchester, Newington, Simsbury, South Windsor, Springfield, West Hartford, and beyond.

SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield
IICRC Certified
Ralph DiCristofaro, Nat Landon, Ron DeFeo
Certified SERVPRO technicians
Call 860.216.2785 anytime

50% Are Not Prepared For A Natural Disaster

9/29/2016 (Permalink)

General 50% Are Not Prepared For A Natural Disaster We've got the staff and equipment to handle any natural disaster.

Based on a survey of 1,050 AskTheBuilder.com newsletter subscribers, more than 50 percent of U.S. adults are not prepared to take care of themselves for a few days in the event of a major disaster. When asked why they weren’t prepared, 30 percent said they don’t know how to prepare; 20 percent believed they don’t need to prepare; and 32 percent wrote a specific reason for not being prepared for a natural disaster.

The editor who conducted the survey, Tim Carter, said people who aren’t prepared offered a number of reasons. Among the most frequent were:
    “I’m too busy”
    “My fire department and utility company will save me”
    “I don’t think I will be affected by a natural disaster”
 
In the September 4, 2016 Hartford Courant article on the survey Tim says, “A big disaster is going to strike where you live.” He recommends not relying on the fire department or utility company to save you. When a natural disaster strikes the fire department and utility company will be overwhelmed with needs. They will probably be busy working to get large community assets like the hospital, government buildings, schools, and retirement homes back up and running.  

Get prepared for any natural disaster. Call Ralph at 860-216-2785.

So what should you do? You might think about how you would prepare to go camping where there are no utility hookups. Put together all the equipment and supplies you’d need for that trip. And focus on the basics.


Water And Food
One huge basic is water. You can get by without a shower or bath but you’d be surprised how much water you need to drink, to wash up, and to prepare food. The Red Cross recommends one gallon of water per person per day.

Another basic is food. Have a storage of  non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items ( at least a 3 day supply for an evacuation). You may need a camp stove and fuel to cook with. Tim mentions inflatable solar camp LED lanterns for light at night.

Shelter And Critical Papers
Think about shelter, too. After a natural disaster you may be able to stay in your home or maybe not. Is there a large shed, detached garage, or other shelter on your property that you could use for a few days in an emergency?

Have your critical papers protected and together in one place. Many (like wills, contracts, insurance policies, and irreplaceable pictures) you may store on a thumb drive or on a remote server. And how about your contact list or address book? You probably have them on your computer or smart phone but what happens if the computer or phone gets lost or destroyed or you can’t power them up? Some people keep a spare set of their critical papers and contact lists with a relative or friend who lives in a different community but is still close by.

Your Go-Bag
One more essential is a go-bag or an emergency supply kit. It’s a small day pack with the minimal things you need to survive for a day or two. See SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield’s Your Emergency Supply Kit Checklist or check out others online. The Red Cross has more good information on how to be prepared.        

Call Ralph and SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield
We’ve helped businesses and families prepare for natural disasters. They tell us that three main reasons they choose SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield are:
    1. We respond immediately and work quickly
    2. We are experienced and have the solutions for virtually any natural disaster issue
3. We answer all questions and will help with insurance claims  

Help Is Here
The team at SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield also has specialized training and experience in water damage restoration services, fire damage restoration services, and natural disaster cleanup. Call SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield (860.216.2785) anytime, 24/7.

We've served clients in Avon, Agawam, Bloomfield, Coventry, East Hartford, East Longmeadow, Ellington, Enfield, Farmington, Hartford, Manchester, Newington, Simsbury, South Windsor, Springfield, West Hartford, and beyond.

SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield
IICRC Certified
Ralph DiCristofaro, Nat Landon, Ron DeFeo
Certified SERVPRO technicians
Call 860.216.2785 anytime

Home Protection Guide: 29 Tips To Protect Your Home Or Business From Financial, Structural, And Natural Disasters

8/1/2016 (Permalink)

General Home Protection Guide: 29 Tips To Protect Your Home Or Business From Financial, Structural, And Natural Disasters   Keep yourself, your family, and your employees safe by following basic home and business safety guidelines.

Your home’s safety and its value are keys to living well, enjoying comfort, and staying financially sound. Yet many homeowners neglect to take easy steps to make their homes safer, avoid structural damage, protect the home from natural disasters, and help maintain property value. What home disasters can you easily avoid? Read these 29 tips and you may prevent a home safety nightmare, save money, and sleep better at night.

1. Test for radon.

This colorless, odorless gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Test every three years. A tightly sealed home increases your risk.

2. Install carbon monoxide detectors on every floor.

Many homes have CO alarms on the main floor and the floor where bedrooms are. But you should have carbon monoxide detectors on all floors, including the basement.

3. Check your smoke detectors.

Do you have enough of them in your home? Are they in good working order? Have you replaced the batteries within the last year?

4. Know about surprising items that can go up in flames.

Battery-charged appliances, paper and cloth towels, and dryer lint are three items people don’t think of when they think of the fundamentals of home fire safety. Any of them could start a fire. Take precautions.

5. Replace 10-year-old electric blankets.

After 10 years, heating pads and electric blankets can become fire hazards. Replace them if they have charred spots, frayed or cracked electrical cords, or are old.

6. Toss out old space heaters.

Space heaters are a prime cause of household fires. Protect your home by replacing old space heaters with the newer models that turn off automatically if they tip over or get too hot.

7. Check your house for mold every 3-5 years.

Mold damages your respiratory and immune systems. It can grow in hidden places like inside your home’s  walls. Buy a do-it-yourself kit or hire SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield to detect mold every 3-5 years.

8. If you must smoke, do so only outside your house.

More fire deaths are caused by smoking inside the home than are caused by any other factor. Always dampen butts and ashes before throwing them away.

9. Be aware of and check potentially dangerous products like toasters.

Every year common toasters start thousands of household fires. Protect your home by cleaning out the crumbs and unplugging your toaster when it’s not in use.

10. Place critical household papers in a fireproof box.

You may want to include your identification papers (like your Social Security card, passport, and birth certificate). Consider adding financial records, family photographs, and emergency cash in small bills.

11. Trim trees and shrubs around your home or business.

Dead branches hanging over your roof can fall and cause damage to your home. Shrubs that brush against your house can bring an outdoor fire right into your home or business.

12. Keep your gutters clean.

If a gutter, drain, or downspout at your home or business is clogged, water may build up and find its way inside. And you may not know it until major structural damage has been done.

13. Have your chimney and fireplace inspected.

Use binoculars to examine the outside of your chimney for any cracks or signs of damage. Have your flue cleaned and inspected by a certified chimney sweep.    

14. Consider how vulnerable your home is to wind damage.

Are your home and business protected from tornadoes, hurricanes, and other damaging winds? Consider how sturdy your doors and windows are. Do you need to fortify them? 

15. Know your area’s evacuation routes and shelters.

If you should have to vacate quickly you’ll be better off if you’ve already planned your route and destination.

16. Prepare an evacuation bag.

Include personal hygiene items, water, snacks, spare cash, a flashlight, a phone list of family and key contacts, and anything else that you or your family might need to stay safe for 72 hours or longer. If you have employees on site, prepare an emergency evacuation plan and be sure every employee knows the procedure.

17. Consider having an emergency evacuation kit stored in your car.

Besides what you have in your home evacuation bag, pack other items of use on the road: charged cell phone, first aid kit, tire gauge, jumper cables, road flares, gloves, extra batteries, a fire extinguisher, etc.

18. Protect people and pets with special needs.

Know how you will get them to safety if a natural disaster causes you to evacuate.

19. Read up on emergency preparedness and preventing home disasters.

Your home or business cannot be overly prepared. For protecting your home or business, two good resources are ready.gov and redcross.org. For businesses, download Homeland Security’s 12-page brochure, “Every Business Should Have A Plan.”

20. Have a weather radio, smart phone app, or other means to receive natural disaster warnings and weather updates.

Before a predicted natural disaster or threatening weather turn that weather channel on, leave it on, and keep it close.
Before a predicted natural disaster or threatening weather turn that weather channel on, leave it on, and keep it close.

21. Keep copies of important documents off site.

Have extra copies of birth certificates, passports, financial information, marriage certificates, wills, etc.) stored in a remote location like a bank safe deposit box. Keep essential business papers (bylaws, business plans, leases, tax records, permits, etc.) off site as well.

22. Check your sump pump to make sure it’s working.

Consider installing a battery-operated backup, in case of a power failure.

23. Contact your insurance company if you make certain major structural changes.

For example, if you install a fireplace or add on to your business’s facility you might change your risk of fire or other disaster. Let your insurer know. You may have to update your insurance policy to continue to be protected.

24. Always use the right type of flooring.

Don’t install carpet in front of a fireplace or wood-burning stove. A spark could start a fire. Use linoleum, brick, or another flooring that’s not as combustible as carpeting.

25. Walk through all the areas in your house or business.

Look for dangers like unsafely stored chemicals. Check chemical labels and take the necessary steps to ensure that you are using, storing, and disposing of each chemical according to the manufacturer’s directions.

26. Inspect your foundation.

Look for cracks or damp wood resting on the foundation. Be sure the ground slopes away from the foundation so water will drain away. Be certain that anything planted near your home or business is not causing water to pool around the foundation.

27. At home, store chemicals where children can’t reach them.

Locked cabinets is one good choice. Products such as aerosol cans of hair spray and deodorant, nail polish and nail polish remover, toilet bowl cleaners, and furniture polishes all fall into the category of hazardous materials.

28. At work, store chemicals and hazardous materials where only authorized personnel can reach them. 

All types of businesses could face an emergency involving hazardous materials such as flammable, explosive, or toxic substances. Know what chemicals your business has on site and store them safely. Among the hundreds of common workplace hazardous materials are pesticides, mercury, solvents, and lead.

Preparing Your Mind To Handle A Natural Disaster

5/13/2016 (Permalink)

General Preparing Your Mind To Handle A Natural Disaster Survivors and heroes feel fear just like you and I do.

Most of our days on this earth are calm and uneventful. But if a storm or other natural disaster creates an alarming emergency, how can we be mentally prepared?

Scott Finazzo, author of The Neighborhood Emergency Response Handbook, says we have much less understanding of how we would react in an emergency than we think we do. Things like 80 mile-an-hour winds or three foot flames at our home or business can cause emotions and stress to overtake logic and reason. Here are some tips from Scott and others to prepare your mind to function well during a natural disaster.

1. Understand your role

Think about and realize what you’ll need to do during a natural disaster. Your role could be physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging. If you accept and understand that reality now, you’ll be better able to manage your actions and decisions during an emergency.

2. Use visualization

A 20-year firefighter, Scott Finazzo recommends envisioning worst-case scenarios—the sights, sounds, smells, and emotions that come with being in the middle of a major natural disaster. By envisioning in detail, your brain creates a bookmark similar to an actual experience. Later, your brain can “refer back to” what you envisioned. Your brain searches for how you reacted to the earlier experience and the decisions you made even if the experience and decisions were only in your mind. Fabricated memories can dictate your behavior toward logic and reason in critical, stressful situations.

3. Be prepared physically

Preparing yourself physically helps prepare your mind. Have your home well protected. Know your emergency evacuation route. Have essentials and valuables in an emergency kit you can quickly grab on your way to safety. Preparing physically will give you and your family some peace of mind should a natural disaster strike. You’ll have a plan to follow and that can keep you calm and keep your stress level down. The same principle applies to your business and your employees.

In How to Mentally Prepare for Disasters and Emergencies, Ramani Durvasula, a licensed clinical psychologist, says preparation is key. “[Preparation] can largely help because it can address real anxieties about clean water, food, etc,” Ramani says. “With those real issues addressed, it makes it easier to simply focus on the psychological symptoms of anxiety and manage those without worrying about being hungry.”

4. Manage your fear

Survivors and heroes feel fear just like you and I do. What’s the difference between them and us? They have learned how to manage their fear. They acknowledge the crisis and look ahead and think about what they need to do next to be safe and protect others. Realize that in an emergency you will be fearful. But also realize that the best thing you can do when you’re fearful is to act and get out of the fearful situation.

5. Build up and use relaxation techniques

At the Parks & Recreation site an essay by Sonia Myrick recommends breathing, relaxation, and meditation exercises. Sonia also says you can adapt relaxation techniques to almost any situation or emergency.She also recommends cognitive restructuring — a useful technique for understanding and reframing the negative thinking that we all experience from time to time. Cognitive restructuring can change attitudes, values, or beliefs in ways that alter self-expression. It occurs as a result of insight or behavioral achievement.

Help Is Here

The team at SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield has specialized training and experience in fire restoration services, natural disaster prevention, and natural disaster cleanup. Call SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield (860.216.2785) anytime, 24/7.

We've served clients in Avon, Agawam, Bloomfield, Coventry, East Hartford, East Longmeadow, Ellington, Enfield, Farmington, Hartford, Manchester, Newington, Simsbury, South Windsor, Springfield, West Hartford, and beyond.

SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield
IICRC Certified
Ralph DiCristofaro, Nat Landon, Ron DeFeo
Certified SERVPRO technicians
Call 860.216.2785
24 hour emergency service

We’ve Moved: 100 Peters Road, Bloomfield, CT 06002

16 Ways To Make Your Home And Family Safer

5/3/2016 (Permalink)

 1. Test for radon.
This colorless, odorless gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Test every three years. A tightly sealed home increases your risk.

2. Install carbon monoxide detectors on every floor.
Many homes have CO alarms on the main floor and the floor where bedrooms are. But you should have carbon monoxide detectors on all other floors, including the basement.

3. Know about the surprising items that can go up in flames.
Battery-charged appliances, paper and cloth towels, and dryer lint are three items people don’t think of when they think of the fundamentals of fire safety. Know they could start a fire. Take precautions.

4. Replace 10-year-old electric blankets.
After 10 years, heating pads and electric blankets tend to cause problems. Replace them if they have charred spots, frayed or cracked electrical cords, or are old.

5. Toss out old space heaters.
Space heaters are a prime cause of fires. Replace old space heaters with the newer models that turn off automatically if they tip over or get too hot.

6. Check for mold every 3-5 years.
Mold damages our respiratory and immune systems. Buy a do-it-yourself kit or hire SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield to detect mold every 3-5 years.

7. If you must smoke, do so only outside the house.
More fire deaths are caused by smoking inside the home than are caused by any other factor. Always dampen butts and ashes before throwing them away.

8. Be aware of and check potentially dangerous products like toasters.
Every year common toasters start thousands of fires. Clean out the crumbs and unplug your toaster when it’s not in use. Another common household product that can cause fires is your dryer.

For Cleanup Or Restoration Needs Call SERVPRO Of Bloomfield/Enfield At (860) 216-2785

9. Place critical papers in a fireproof box.
You may want to include your identification papers (like your Social Security card, passport, and birth certificate). Consider adding financial records, family photographs, and emergency cash in small bills.

10. Trim trees and shrubs around your home or business.
Dead branches hanging over your roof can fall and cause damage. Shrubs that brush against your house can bring an outdoor fire right into your home.

11. Keep your gutters clean.
If a gutter, drain, or downspout is clogged, water may build up and find its way into your house.

12. Have your chimney and fireplace inspected.
Use binoculars to examine the outside of your chimney for any cracks or signs of damage. Have your flue cleaned and inspected by a certified chimney sweep.    

13. Consider how vulnerable your home is to wind damage.
Is your home protected from tornadoes, hurricanes, and other damaging winds? Consider how sturdy your doors and windows are. Do you need to fortify them? Research protective products like concrete canvas or cloth.

14. Know your area’s evacuation routes and shelters.
If you should have to vacate your home or business quickly you’ll be better off if you’ve already planned your route and destination. And consider having an emergency evacuation kit stored in your car.

15. Keep in mind people and pets who may have special needs.
How will you get them to safety if a natural disaster causes you to evacuate?

16. Read up on how to best prepare for a disaster.

Help Is Here
The team at SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield has specialized training and experience in fire restoration services, natural disaster prevention, and natural disaster cleanup. Call SERVPRO of  Bloomfield/Enfield (860.216.2785) anytime, 24/7.

We've served clients in Avon, Agawam, Bloomfield, Coventry, East Hartford, East Longmeadow, Ellington, Enfield, Farmington, Hartford, Manchester, Newington, Simsbury, South Windsor, Springfield, West Hartford, and beyond.

SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield
IICRC Certified
Ralph DiCristofaro, Nat Landon, Ron DeFeo
Certified SERVPRO technicians
Call 860.216.2785
24 hour emergency service

We’ve Moved: 100 Peters Road, Bloomfield, CT 06002

Disaster Questions

4/14/2016 (Permalink)

General Disaster Questions Get your natural disaster questions answered at 860.216.2785

If a water, fire, wind, or other natural disaster hits your home of business it can be difficult to know what to do and in what order. Here are some of the most frequent questions SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield receives from people who’ve just suffered a disaster:

Q: After my home or business suffers storm damage, who do I call first?
 A: When you have an emergency make life and safety your first priority.  If you’re not certain your home or business is safe, evacuate and call 9-1-1.

Q: Can I turn the power back on if the damage to my home or business isn’t extreme?
A: If your electric, gas, or water supply has been affected or turned off by first responders, do not turn the utilities on. Wait until you have a qualified official check the systems.

Q: If my business has a facility maintenance team do I need to call an outside disaster recovery team like SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield?
A:Yes. Building maintenance staffs are not trained or equipped to handle the aftermath of an emergency or disaster. SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield is your recovery partner. Our teams are trained to safely, thoroughly, and professionally handle the effects of an emergency or storm damage.  SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield has specialized equipment, tools, and techniques that minimize business interruption, long-term damage, and costs. We work with your maintenance team and/or emergency preparedness team.  

For Disaster Cleanup Or Restoration Needs Call SERVPRO Of Bloomfield/Enfield At (860) 216-2785

Q: How can I help my insurance company quickly assess the damage and so restoration can begin?
A: After a disaster, do contact your insurance company representative right away. Be prepared to give your insurer detailed information about the damage. Conduct an inventory of damaged property and items. Don’t throw away any damaged goods until after your inventory is complete. Document all telephone calls with the date, time, parties who spoke, and highlights of your conversations. Take pictures of all damages for later reference. Begin saving receipts for any money you spend related to the loss. Your insurance company may need those receipts to verify all your losses.

Q: What is a work authorization form and why do I need to sign one?
Before your clean up and restoration process begins, you must legally grant permission to perform the work. The work authorization form gives SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield (or whichever clean up and restoration company you choose) permission to work in your building or facility and to communicate with and provide a courtesy copy of the invoice to your insurance company.

Q:  What’s the best thing I can do to protect my business or commercial facility from another disaster?
A: One critical step every business should take is to create a disaster preparedness plan. Use an all-hazards approach and include the four phases of disaster recovery: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. You’re also wise to call SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield at any time to discuss your concerns about handling or preventing future disasters. We’d be glad to come to your home or business, answer your questions, and discuss your needs. For details, see the SERVPRO Ready Plan.

Here To Help
The team at SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield has specialized training and experience in fire restoration services, natural disaster prevention, natural disaster cleanup, and natural disaster restoration. Call SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield (860.216.2785) anytime, 24/7.

Other Blog Posts You May Want To Read
Chemical Caution: What To Know Before You Enter That Damaged Home Or Business
Commercial Businesses: The Best Disaster Is The One You Avoid

SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield
IICRC Certified
Ralph DiCristofaro, Nat Landon, Ron DeFeo
Certified SERVPRO technicians
Call 860.216.2785
24 hour emergency service

We’ve Moved: 100 Peters Road, Bloomfield, CT 06002

Your Cleanup, Restoration & Safety Quiz

1/18/2016 (Permalink)

General Your Cleanup, Restoration & Safety Quiz Do you know all you need to know about cleanup, restoration, and safety?

It’s hard to know what you don’t know. This short cleanup and restoration quiz will help you find out about weaknesses you might have in handling a fire, water, or storm restoration or in being safe should a natural disaster strike.

Check your answers at the end. If any answers escape you or to get more information, just click into the blog post link in that answer. You can read our other SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield blog posts to get more details.  Now let’s see how well you do. Good luck.

Need Expert Disaster Recovery Advice? Call SERVPRO Bloomfield/Enfield At (860) 216-2785


1. Be sure any wood-burning stove you buy is made of sturdy, suitable material, such as cast iron or steel.  And look for what label?

2. If you have a washing machine, dishwasher, or toilet overflow and the experts say you have gray water on your floors, what does that mean?

3. To help prevent home fires if you smoke, what type of ashtrays should you use and when should you put cigarette and cigar butts in the trash?

4. To protect your home or business’s foundation from cracking due to water damage, the downspouts from your roof should lead water how far away from the foundation?

5. According to the National Roofing Contractors Association, how often should your home’s roof be inspected?

6. What’s the most common danger from a home heating oil furnace?

7. To remove carpet stains caused by a spilled liquid don’t rub or scrub. What should you do instead?

8. Which is likely to be more dangerous – a solid chemical spill or a liquid chemical spill?

9. What should you do if you’re caught in a tornado while in your car?

10. Why should you keep a set of pictures of your commercial building?

Quiz Answers

1) The Underwriters Laboratories (UL) label. For more, see this stove and fireplace blog post; 2) Gray water is contaminated water that can cause discomfort or illness and quickly degrade into black water if not treated. For more, see this sewer back up post;  3) Use deep, sturdy ashtrays. Don’t put butts in the trash until they’re cold. For more, see this prevent home fires post; 4) At least 10 feet. For more, see protecting your home’s foundation;  5) Twice a year. For more see roof leaks;  6) carbon monoxide. For more see oil furnace dangers; 7) Blot with an absorbent white or plain cloth. For more see easy carpet cleaning; 8) Liquid. For more, see chemical emergencies; 9) Stop, get out and lie face down in a low area. Cover your head. For more, see surviving a natural disaster; 10) If a storm strikes the pictures can serve as “before” pictures. Take a set after the storm to show the full extent of the storm damage. For more see 3 keys to rebuilding commercial property. 

There’s a lot to know. We’re here to help. The team at SERVPRO Bloomfield/Enfield has specialized  training and experience in virtually all aspects of cleaning up after water, sewer, fire, smoke, or other similar damage. Call SERVPRO Bloomfield/Enfield (860.216.2785) anytime, 24/7.

We've served clients in Avon, Agawam, Bloomfield, Coventry, East Hartford, East Longmeadow, Ellington, Enfield, Farmington, Hartford, Manchester, Newington, Simsbury, South Windsor, Springfield, West Hartford, and beyond.

SERVPRO Bloomfield/Enfield
IICRC Certified
Ralph DiCristofaro, Nat Landon, Ron DeFeo
Certified SERVPRO technicians
Call 860.216.2785
24 hour emergency service

Your Emergency Supply Kit Checklist

7/10/2015 (Permalink)

General Your Emergency Supply Kit Checklist This off-the-shelf Red Cross emergency kit and others like it are portable. They contain items you would require to survive for 72 hours.

Most storm, fire, and water damage happens unexpectedly. So emergencies catch people in Connecticut unprepared. You’re smart to have an emergency supply bag or container already stocked with the basics you need should an emergency happen. The Connecticut Guide to Emergency Preparedness advises all of us to have an emergency supply kit or evacuation pack that includes the following:

•    Water in jugs or bottles. Your emergency water supply should be at least one gallon for every person for each day.
•    Food in cans or sealed packages. Soup and tuna are good examples.
•    Cooking and eating supplies: a manual can opener, paper plates, plastic utensils, and a small grill.
•    Bleach and an eyedropper to treat water.
•    Paper towels, toilet paper, soap.
•    Battery-powered radio, flashlights, cell phone, and extra batteries.
•    Blankets or sleeping bags and pillows.
•    Extra clothing for everyone in the family.
•    Baby and child items like diapers, games, toys, and books.
•    A first-aid kit. It should include medicines (prescriptions, fever reducers, aspirin), eyeglasses and supplies, list of your doctors with phone numbers, and medical supplies you require (insulin syringes or colostomy supplies for example.)
•    Garbage bags and cleaning supplies.  
•    Pet supplies (food, water, pet carrier, medicines, collar, leash, ID tags, immunization records, etc.)
•    Extra set of car keys, credit cards, cash, and important information like your social security numbers and birth certificates.
•    Plastic sheeting and duct tape.
•    Pictures of family members and pets in case you are separated and need help looking for them.
Need Emergency Cleanup? Call Us Today – (860) 216-2785
    
In Connecticut or anywhere, flood recovery, hurricane recovery, and recovery from other natural disasters will be much easier if you’re prepared with emergency survival tools and supplies like these.

For property restoration after storm damage, call SERVPRO Bloomfield/Enfield (860.216.2785). You can reach us 24/7. At SERVPRO we’re trained in the safest, most advanced, and quickest ways to help you recover from any emergency -- flood, fire, wind, ice, or other storm damage. We've served clients in Ellington, West Hartford, Avon, Springfield, Manchester, Hartford, Newington, Bloomfield, East Hartford, and beyond. 

SERVPRO Bloomfield/Enfield
IICRC Certified
Ralph DiCristofaro, Nat Landon, Ron DeFeo 
Certified SERVPRO technicians
Call 860.216.2785 
24-hour emergency service