June thru August is the Peak Season for Lightning Fires
According to the National Fire Protection Association, During 2007-2011, U.S. local fire departments responded to an estimated average of 22,600 fires per year that were started by lightning. These fires caused an average of nine civilian deaths, 53 civilian injuries, and $451 million in direct property damage per year. Most of these fires occurred outdoors, but most associated deaths, injuries, and property damage were associated with home fires.
Lightning-related fires are more common in June through August and in the late afternoon and evening. Peak seasons for lightning-related fires vary by region, as do weather patterns in general.
In addition to the fires reported to local fire departments, federal and state wildland firefighting agencies reported an average of 9,000 wildland fires started by lightning to the National Interagency Fire Center per year in 2008-2012. These fires tended to be larger than fires started by human causes. The average lightning-caused fire burned 402 acres, nine times the average of 45 acres seen in human-caused wildland fires.
In addition to causing fires, lightning is dangerous on its own. Data from the National Weather Service show that in 2008-2012, an average of 29 people per year died as a result of lightning strikes. The most common location for these deaths was outside or in an open area. The average number of lightning flashes per square mile varies considerably by state, as does the death rate from lightning incidents.
What to Do During a Thunder and Lightning Storm
- Know your area’s risk for thunderstorms. In most places, they can occur year-round and at any hour.
- Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
- Identify nearby, sturdy buildings close to where you live, work, study, and play.
- Cut down or trim trees that may be in danger of falling on your home.
- Consider buying surge protectors, lightning rods, or a lightning protection system to protect your home, appliances, and electronic devices.
- When thunder roars, go indoors. A sturdy building is the safest place to be during a thunderstorm.
- Pay attention to weather reports and warnings of thunderstorms. Be ready to change plans, if necessary, to be near shelter.
- When you receive a thunderstorm warning or hear thunder, go inside immediately.
- If indoors, avoid running water or using landline phones. Electricity can travel through plumbing and phone lines.
- Protect your property. Unplug appliances and other electric devices. Secure outside furniture.
- If boating or swimming, get to land and find a sturdy, grounded shelter or vehicle immediately.
- If necessary, take shelter in a car with a metal top and sides. Do not touch anything metal.
- Avoid flooded roadways. Turn Around. Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
8 Most Common Places for Mold Growth
Household mold primarily thrives in damp, humid areas, such as basements, showers and areas around heating and cooling appliances. Mold in homes can also occur in carpets, ventilation ducts and crawlspaces. The best way to guard against mold in your house is to ensure there are no active leaks or areas where moisture is collecting regularly. The most common places where mold is found are:
- Basements or cellars that have been flooded
- Underneath kitchen and bathroom sinks
- Underneath or behind refrigerators
- Behind walls that also house plumbing
- Stacks of damp or wet newspaper or cardboard boxes
- Around air-conditioning units
- Wallboard or around windows that leak
- Under carpeting that may have become wet
By regularly inspecting common areas for mold in your home to ensure there are no leaks or other sources of moisture that could contribute to mold growth, you should be able to steer clear of the expensive and unhealthy problems mold in houses can cause.
Dangers of Rotted Wood
Occasionally, it is very obvious to the homeowner when their house is in need for repair. For instance water gushing from a pipe burst.
However, unlike major water leaks or broken windows, rotting wood can easily escape notice, unless you specifically look for it. And unfortunately, like a spot of rust on a car, wood rot can spread far and wide, making it especially dangerous to your home’s wooden building materials.
Be on the lookout for any sign of soft, brittle, or crumbly wood. In extreme cases rotten wood may even disintegrate as you touch it.
As you poke around, keep your eyes peeled for discoloration, which is a sign of fungi and rot. Also, if you find a surface with peeling paint that feels damp, you may have just uncovered a water leak behind that spot. Investigate further and fix any leaks you find.
Check any painted or sealed wooden surfaces on your home’s exterior for cracks in the paint or sealant. Any crack you find, even small ones, can allow water to work its way into the wooden material, resulting in rot.
Because of its tendency to spread, you should repair rotten wood ASAP when you discover it, and make sure you fix it completely. Otherwise, you will only face more serious and extensive repairs down the road. Ultimately, serious enough wood rot can even compromise your home’s structural integrity.
You should inspect your home for rotting wood at least annually - or twice per year if you live in a damp climate. Ideally, make this inspection a regular part of your spring and fall maintenance routine, it will save you from a lot of heartache and money.
Understanding Your Commercial Insurance Policy
According to the Insurance Information Institute, for small businesses without specialized risks, a Business Owners Policy—or BOP—may offer the basic property and liability coverage that you need. But if your company is growing in size and complexity—or you face specialized risks due to the nature of your business—you may want to consider purchasing a Commercial Package Policy, or CPP for short.
Customized insurance under one policy
Like a BOP, a CPP enables you to bundle various types of coverage within a single policy. However, while a BOP has limitations—it is only available for certain types of smaller businesses and covers only a few types of risk—Commercial Package Policies are available for a wide range of businesses, and can be better customized to the specific needs of your business. Most CPPs begin with:
- Property insurance - Covers damage or destruction of buildings, equipment, inventory and more.
- General liability insurance - Covers costs if someone is injured at your business or from using your product or service.
From there, you can add a range of coverages to your CPP, including:
- Business income insurance - Also known as business interruption insurance, this replaces lost revenues and covers extra expenses in the event that your business has to shut down or relocate due to fire, wind damage or other covered losses.
- Business vehicle (or fleet) insurance - Covers vehicles owned and used by your business.
- Business crime insurance - Covers losses from burglary, computer fraud, employee dishonesty and other business crimes.
- Commercial umbrella liability - Increases and broadens liability coverage, filling in gaps left by other coverages.
- Electronic data processing coverage - Covers costs associated with the loss or damage of electronic data processing media or equipment.
- Equipment breakdown—Also known as boiler and machinery insurance, this covers losses from the malfunction of heating, electrical, air conditioning, telephone systems and other equipment.
- Employment practices liability—Covers costs tied to disputes with employees over termination, discrimination, sexual harassment and other employment issues.
- Inland marine—Covers the transport of goods over water and land, providing comprehensive protection for assets that are moveable or mobile in nature, while in transit—such as from a warehouse to a store—or in storage.
- Pollution liability—Covers costs related to pollution, including clean-up and personal injury.
A range of other types of insurance—covering professional liability, supply chain risk, terrorism, farming or ranching losses, and more—can also be included in a CPP.
What a CPP doesn’t cover
A CPP can provide your business with coverage against a broad range of risks. That said, it’s important to recognize that your CPP will not include:
- Directors and Officers (D&O) liability
- Health and disability
- Life insurance
- Workers compensation
These coverages must be purchased separately; discuss your additional insurance needs with your insurance professional.
What Causes A Dishwasher to Overflow?
As stated in HomeSteady; An overflowing dishwasher can be a serious problem in your kitchen. Water leaking from the unit can cause damage to your floors that requires major repair. Several underlying problems can cause a dishwasher to overflow with water and detergent. The problems range from simple user error to faulty parts that need adjustment or replacement. Knowing the potential causes can help you diagnose and repair the problem quickly before more damage occurs.
- Dish Detergent:
The most common reason for dishwasher overflow is soapsuds. By using a poor detergent that leaves more than 1/2 inch of suds on top of the water, a soapy overflow can happen. Also, the addition of even a very small amount of dishwasher liquid or hand soap can cause overflow around the door. If you have inadvertently put too much detergent or the wrong type of soap into the machine, add some vinegar to the tub to remove the foam.
- Door Gasket
If water is leaking out around the dishwasher door and it is not soapy or foamy, there is a good chance that the door gasket has worn out. The door gasket is a rubber seal that surrounds the door opening and prevents such leaking. But if the gasket is torn, worn, dirty or missing entirely, it can easily allow large amounts of water through the opening and into the floor. Replacement is generally the best way to repair this problem.
- Tub Seal
If the motor in your dishwasher is mounted vertically beneath the main rack in the bottom center of your machine, the tub seal may be leaking, which typically results in water overflowing underneath the dishwasher and running either behind or out in front of the unit. With this type of motor, you can remove the seal from its housing and replace it to solve the problem. Otherwise, you may have a motor that is mounted horizontally. These machines are not as self-service friendly and usually require professional repair or complete replacement of the motor assembly.
- Water Supply Tube
Water flows from the same water pipes that supply the rest of your home into a supply tube that hooks into the machine, generally near the bottom rear of the dishwasher. If you are seeing evidence of overflow, the problem may not be an overflow at all. In fact, the water possibly never reached the machine at all. Holes in the supply tube will result in water spillage as will improperly connected tubes. Water may actually be spilling out from the connector and causing you to think there is a problem with the machine.
Everything You Needed to Know About...Hail!
Hailstorms are statistically one of the most costly natural disasters
As stated in "Hale Depot", according to the National Weather Service, hail results in some of the highest rates of property damage in terms of natural hazards. In 2015, hail caused 586 million dollars in property damage, and in 2016, hail caused 3.5 billion dollars in damage.
Hail does not immediately fall after it forms
Hail forms inside the clouds of a thunderstorm, and actually begins as just a tiny drop of supercooled water. This just means that it is below freezing temperatures, but still in a liquefied form. If it stays at this extra cold temperature for long enough, it will eventually freeze and solidify into a small hailstone. The tiny ball of ice still isn’t heavy enough to fall yet and remains suspended in the thundercloud by an updraft caused by the storm. These hailstones tumble around and collect more condensation, which freezes and makes the hailstone bigger – kind of like rolling a snowball around in the snow to make larger. Once the stone becomes too heavy to stay afloat, it falls to the ground.
There is a threshold for what is considered “severe” hail
The National Weather Service classifies “severe” hail as being at least 1-inch in diameter, about the size of your average gumball. It seems like a lot of hail storms are considered severe because that’s what we see on the news, but most hailstorms involve hailstones that are closer to the size of peas. Even hail that does not reach the “severe” state can still cause damage to cars and injure people.
The largest hailstone ever recorded was the size of a volleyball
We often refer to sizes of hailstones in terms of recognizable, everyday objects. We’ve already done it in this article! For some perspective, a hailstone that is 1 inch in diameter is the size of a gumball. After that, a hailstone that is 1.5 inches is most recognized as the size of a ping-pong ball, and next comes some golf ball-sized hail at 1.75 inches across. When people talk about “baseball-sized hail,” they’re referring to hailstones that are about 2.75 inches in diameter. The largest hailstone ever recorded was bigger than a baseball. It was bigger than a softball.
Hail happens most often during the summer
No, it isn’t opposite day. Even though balls of ice fall from the sky during a hailstorm, these occurrences are actually most common during the summertime and warmer months. So why does this happen? Hail forms inside of thunderclouds, so there need to be proper atmospheric conditions that support both thunderstorms and hail. This happens in the early months of summer when the ground temperatures are warm, but temperatures in the upper atmosphere are cold enough to form ice. The greater the contrast between upper and lower temperatures, the stronger the updraft of the storm will be. Stronger updrafts can suspend hailstones for longer periods, meaning that the ice continues to collect and grow the hailstone bigger until they eventually fall. That’s why warm summer months are the perfect time for hail to form and ultimately fall.
Hailstones fall fast… really fast
The bigger the stones, the faster they fall. Hail often falls so fast that it doesn’t really lose a lot of mass between when it leaves the thundercloud and when it reaches the ground. The speed at which hail is falling when it hits the ground is often referred to as terminal velocity, and this speed varies depending on the size of the hailstone. A hailstone that is about 1 centimeter in diameter has a terminal velocity of about 20 miles per hour. What about a stone the size of a baseball? This size of hail can hit the ground at a walloping 100 miles per hour. To put that into perspective, the fastest fastball baseball pitch ever recorded was clocked at 105.1 miles per hour. So if you ever find yourself stuck in a hailstorm of any proportions, please take cover.
There is a place called “Hail Alley”
You’ve probably heard of Tornado Alley, where tornadoes frequently occur, but did you know there is a Hail Alley as well? We talked above about how hail forms in thunderstorms. It would follow that the areas that receive the most hail are places that have the most thunderstorms – like Florida. However, Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming report the most hailstorms, and the region where these states meet is called Hail Alley. This is because these states have high elevations where parts of the atmosphere that remain below freezing temperatures are closer to the ground, meaning the hail is more likely to stay frozen as it travels to the earth. Internationally, China, Italy, Russia, and India also receive large amounts of hail storms each year.
You can tell how many times a hailstone circulated a thundercloud by cutting it in half
You’ve probably heard about tree trunks having rings inside that help you determine how old the tree is, but did you know that if you cut a hailstone in half, you can also see rings in the cross-section. These rings form when new layers of ice freeze on the hailstone, and usually alternate between clear and milky white. Scientists believe that the clear layers occur when the stone is at the lower end of the thundercloud where the temperature is slightly higher. This makes the water freeze more slowly and appears clear, just like when you make ice cubes in your freezer at home. The milky layers are thought to form when the hailstone is at the top of the cloud where temperatures are well below freezing. This means that water droplets freeze almost immediately upon contact with the hailstone, creating white air bubbles.
"The Key to Mold Control, is Moisture Control"
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urband Development, while you may not be able to eliminate all mold spores from a home, but you can take the following steps to prevent and get rid of mold. Prevent: keep your house clean and dry following steps to prevent and get rid of mold.
¦ Fix water problems such as roof leaks, wet basements, and leaking pipes or faucets.
¦ Make sure your home is well ventilated and always use ventilation fans in bathrooms and kitchens.
¦ If possible, keep humidity in your house below 50% by using an air conditioner or dehumidifier.
¦ Avoid carpeting in kitchens, bathrooms, and basements. Dry floor mats regularly. Identify: find mold that might be growing in your home.
¦ Search for areas that have a damp or moldy smell, especially in basements, kitchens, and bathrooms.
¦ Look for water stains or colored, fuzzy growth on and around ceilings, walls, floors, window sills and pipes.
¦ Search behind and underneath materials such as carpeting, furniture, or stored items.
¦ Inspect kitchens, bathrooms, and basements for standing water, water stains, and patches of out-of-place color.
Respond: fix any water problems immediately and clean or remove wet materials, furnishings, or mold. ¦ Clean up spills or floods within one day.
¦ Dry all surfaces and fix the problem or leak to prevent further damage.
¦ Install a dehumidifier where there is high humidity.
¦ Replace contaminated components, such as drywall and insulation.
¦ Clean mold off non-porous surfaces with a weak solution of bleach and water.
¦ Throw away moldy materials that cannot be cleaned, such as carpet, upholstered furniture, drywall, and floorboards.
¦ To clean mold, contact us today at 617-332-9000 SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley understands mold and mold growth and has the training and expertise to remediate the mold in your home or business.
Every Minute Counts in Getting Companies Back to Business
Businesses will always be susceptible to fire, water, or natural disasters. In best case scenarios, the damage may be minor, however after a devastating storm, the damage may be severe. Subsequently disrupting business operations for days, weeks, or even months.
Every day that the business is closed, revenue decreases, while expenses remain the same. Additionally, there is the increased risk that if business is disrupted for an extended period of time, customers may choose a competitor for future needs. That is why it is essential that business owners and property owners throughout the Metro West area prepare for the worst-case scenario. In today’s competitive economy, a business simply cannot be over prepared for a catastrophic event.
A quick and thorough restoration of your property after a flood, fire, or other damage will help you get back to business, helping to secure your future and the loyalty of your valued customers.
While it may be tempting to save money by doing the restoration yourself, the truth is that you can lose more revenue and incur greater costs by doing so. SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley, serves business owners and property managers across the metro west area. Our team is highly trained, equipped with the best tools, and is faster to any size disaster to help you keep your business moving forward.
We can work directly with your insurance company, freeing up your time to contact your employees, tenants, customers, and vendors. It is our goal to make the process of water damage restoration in your property as easy on you as possible. Professional water damage restoration helps to ensure that mold infestations don’t affect hidden areas of your property requiring mold remediation and repair. Our team uses industrial dehumidifying fans to bring humidity levels back to normal levels after a flood, leaky roof, broken water pipe, or other water damage has affected your business.
SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley is ready to respond 24 hours a day when disaster strikes your commercial property. Rely on us to do what we do best – clean commercial properties throughout our surrounding communities after water, fire, smoke, and storm damage occurs. That allows you to do what you are best at – growing your business and serving your customers. Call us anytime, our water damage restoration technicians, applied structural drying technicians, and our upholstery and fabric cleaning team will respond quickly to any disaster that strikes your commercial property.
Tornadoes Becoming More Frequent
There once was a time when you rarely heard about a tornado threat in Massachusetts. These frightening and sometimes deadly storms were rarely on any New Englander's radar.
However, according to Weather.com, tornado outbreaks have been producing more tornadoes and more deaths in recent years, according to a new study.
Published in the online journal Nature Communications, the findings revealed tornado "clusters" are more dangerous now than they've been since at least 1954. Responsible for 79 percent of tornado fatalities in the eastern two-thirds of the U.S., these outbreaks often leave damage totals in the billions, the study also found.
"These discoveries suggest that the risks from tornado outbreaks are rising far faster than previously recognized," Joel Cohen, a mathematical population biologist and head of the Laboratory of Populations at Rockefeller University in New York and Columbia's Earth Institute, told Live Science.
Using NOAA tornado records from 1954 to 2014, the scientists studied events when at least six tornadoes rated EF1 or higher were spawned in a 6-hour span. In calculating the average number of tornadoes spawned by each of these clusters, the findings revealed an average of 15 twisters per outbreak from 2004 to 2014. In the 1950s, the average was just 10.