Supporting Those in Need

Hurricane Harvey, the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States in more than a decade, made landfall on the Texas coast late Friday as a Category 4 storm, destroying homes, overturning vehicles and sinking boats, severing power lines, and forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee, while leaving ten dead. As Harvey, now downgraded to a tropical storm, lingers over Texas, record amounts of rain are predicted, which could spawn even more destruction in the form of catastrophic flooding.

There are many in need of help, and here’s how you can show your support.  Go to the Red Cross website, or click the link below and donate whatever you can.  Even a couple of dollars will help those in need, and give the Red Cross the funds needed to provide support to those who lost everything.

Red Cross Link

Generator Safety Tips

Whether it’s a hurricane or a routine power outage, navigating a dark house is never fun. That’s why many people choose to install backup generators in their homes. A backup generator can power your home until regular electricity resumes.  This also proves useful for powering sump pumps during heavy rains which can result in major flooding and water damage.

While backup generators can come in handy in a pinch, owners should know the right way to install and maintain them. Knowing what to do can help reduce risks like fire, electrical damage, injuries and more. Here are nine things to do now if you have (or will soon have) a backup generator.

  1. Review your local laws. Depending on your state, you may be responsible for making sure your generator’s current doesn’t feed back into power lines. (Learn why this matters below in number eight.) You might also be required to give local utility companies a head’s up about your generator.
  2. Keep the surrounding area clear. Backup generators give off a lot of heat. Help prevent a fire by keeping any items far away from it
  3. Check the ventilation. This one is best left to the pros during the installation. If your generator doesn’t have enough room to properly ventilate, dangerous carbon monoxide can build up.
  4. Invest in a carbon monoxide detector. Speaking of carbon monoxide, you’ll definitely want to invest in a carbon monoxide detector if you have a backup generator. It will warn you if levels are rising so—a good thing, since carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal.
  5. Keep it dry. Wet conditions can lead to short circuits—and that could lead to a generator fire. For this reason, keep your generator in a dry place. An open-canopy structure can help protect it if you’re worried about water.
  6. Stash a fire extinguisher close by. Consider it an added precaution in case a fire was to break out. (Check out this handy fire extinguisher guide before you buy.)
  7. Corral the cords. Cords should be out of any foot paths, yet still easy to access. You’ll want to check them regularly to see if they’re frayed or cut—both types of damage could cause a fire.
  8. Say no to wall outlets. Plugging your generator into a wall outlet is known as “back feeding,” and it’s a bad idea. That’s because the low voltage from the generator can increase to thousands of volts when it passes through a utility transformer. And that could put you and utility workers at serious risk. Instead, plug your generator into a manual transfer switch that distributes power in a safer manner.
  9. Hand off. Backup generators heat up fast. Protect yourself from potential skin burns by putting on protective gear before touching your backup generator.

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Tropical Storm Hermine

Hermine’s remnant low is also expected to hover off the Northeast seaboard this holiday weekend. New tropical storm warnings were issued along the Southeast coast early Thursday from Florida’s First Coast to a swath of coastal South Carolina, including Jacksonville Beach, St. Simons Island, Hilton Head Island and Charleston. This means tropical storm-force winds (39 mph or higher) are expected within 36 hours. Tropical storm watches were also issued north of that to include Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Wrightsville Beach and Surf City, North Carolina. Hurricane warnings continue for a swath of north Florida, extending inland to include the city of Tallahassee. This means hurricane-force winds (at least 74 mph) are expected for a period of time in the warned area.

Before the Storm

  • Be ready to put your plan and preparation into action.
  • Pay attention to local weather reports on radio, television, or the internet.
  • Have house boarded up, or have storm shutters in place.
  • Have plenty of food and water.
  • Make sure all your tools, supplies, and first aid kit available for use.
  • Have a secure room available.

During the Storm

  • Stay in Secure Room.
  • Stay away from windows.
  • Do not use the phone, or candles.
  • Monitor Weather and Civil Service Bulletins on either regular or NOAA radio.
  • Have supplies on hand.
  • Remain indoors when the eye moves over your area because the storm will resume shortly.

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How To Help Louisiana Flood Victims

After historic floods ravaged parts of southern Louisiana over the weekend and left thousands evacuated, waters are beginning to recede and cleanup efforts are underway. Many organizations are lending a helping hand with food, supplies and cleanup efforts. There are many ways you can support victims as they pick up the pieces and begin again.

Here are a few organizations that need your help as residents recover from what the American Red Cross calls the worst disaster since Hurricane Sandy.

American Red Cross

The Louisiana branch of the American Red Cross is providing meals and dozens of shelters for residents needing a safe place to sleep. A detailed listing of the organization’s efforts, facilities and needs can be found here and you can contribute financially by either visiting here or by texting the word LAFLOODS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is working from its Baton Rouge facility to help those evacuated during the flood. The organization has sent extra personnel to the area to provide mobile feeding units, hygiene kits and to help in cleanup efforts. You can volunteer or donate money to the Salvation Army’s Gulf Coast fund.

The United Way

Donations for flood relief can be made through the United Way of Southeast Louisiana website. They are also seeking volunteers.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans & Acadiana

This organization is seeking financial support as they distribute thousands of pounds of food, water and supplies to flood victims.

Convoy of Hope

This faith-based, nonprofit organization is providing food, water, equipment and relief supplies to southern Louisiana. You can donate here and specify that you would like your donation to go to the Louisiana August 2016 flood relief efforts.

Operation Blessing International

Operation Blessing International is another faith-based, nonprofit that has already deployed volunteers to help in cleanup efforts and reconstruction. For more on their relief efforts in Louisiana, you can find information here. If you’re interested in volunteering, email volunteer@OB.org and to offer financial support, you can donate here.

LSU Fund

Louisiana State University’s Zeta Phi Beta sorority has a GoFundMe site, which is aiming to raise $10,000 and disburse it to students impacted by the flooding.

Save the Children

This organization that serves children and their families around the world is providing support to help with emergency assistance in flooding areas. To support their efforts, you can donate to the Gulf Coast Floods Children’s Relief Fund.

Animal Shelters

There are several animal shelters in the area that are seeking donations, volunteers and foster parents for hundreds of rescued pets, including Companion Animal Alliance, as well as a GoFundMe site for Denham Springs Animal Shelter.

Drop Off Items

If you live in the area, there are a number of places where you can drop off items like diapers, pillows, bedding, toiletries, clothing, car seats, mattresses, food, gift cards, stuffed animals, pet food and water bottles. See a full list of locations accepting donations here.

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Heavy Rain Safety Tips

It is important to remember that floods caused by rain can occur anywhere, with floodwaters rising gradually or flash floods striking suddenly. Water is a powerful force that can easily overtake vehicles and people.

Safety tips for driving in heavy rain:

  • If you must drive in the rain, drive slowly and steadily.  Pull over and stop if it is raining so hard that you cannot see.
  • DO NOT DRIVE THROUGH FLOODWATERS!
  • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control or possible stalling.
  • One foot of water will float most vehicles.
  • Two feet of rushing water can sweep away most vehicles — including SUVs and pick-ups.
  • Stay away from water that electrical or power lines have fallen into; electric current passes through water easily.
  • Stay off your cell phone unless you must report severe injuries or call for help.

Safety tips for walking or cycling on urban trails:

  • When rain is falling, it’s best not to walk or bike near a river or stream, even on Denver’s paved urban bike and walking trails; water flow can quickly increase and flooding can occur without notice.
  • Move to higher ground and never go into a culvert! If you are on a streamside trail during a rainstorm use the alternate trail up to street level to avoid underpasses and culverts.
  • NEVER take shelter in a culvert, under a bridge, or in an enclosed space, especially in low elevations by rivers and streams. Always go to higher ground out of the flow of water.
  • Do not walk or bike through moving water. Six inches of moving water can cause a person to fall.
  • If lightning is present, do not stand under or near an isolated tree or group of trees.
  • Never allow children to play around streams, drainage ditches or viaducts, storm drains or flooded areas.

Localized street flooding:

  • In underpasses and some areas that are geographical low-points, water cannot be expected to disappear down the storm inlets instantly; the pace and volume of the rainfall may be too quick and too great to immediately drain off. It takes time for the system to accommodate the rainfall.
  • If you know that your street tends to flood because it is located in a low point, be sure to move your vehicles to higher ground whenever rain is forecast.

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Water Loss Philadelphia

Pictured below is a set of photos showing a flooded basement from a cracked water line. The photos show the basement prior to the water being extracted, after the required removal of all affected materials, after the damaged contents were removed and just before the equipment was set up.

Wind & Hail Preparedness – Part 3

If you are warned that a wildfire is threatening your area, listen to your battery-operated radio for reports and evacuation information. Follow the instructions of local officials. Remember, personal safety should always come first! Back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing the direction of escape. Shut doors and roll up windows. Leave the key in the ignition. Close garage windows and doors, but leave them unlocked. Disconnect automatic garage door openers.

Confine pets to one room. Make plans to care for your pets in case you must evacuate. Arrange temporary housing at a friend’s or relative’s home outside the threatened area. Know at least two exit routes from your neighborhood in case of emergency evacuation. Wear protective clothing; sturdy shoes, cotton or woolen clothing, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, gloves and a handkerchief to protect your face. Take your emergency supplies kit. Tell someone when you are leaving and where you are going. Choose a route away from fire hazards. Watch for changes in the speed and direction of fire and smoke.

If you’re sure you have time, take steps to protect your home. Close windows, vents, doors, Venetian blinds or non-combustible window coverings and heavy drapes. Lock your door and always remember if you are advised to evacuate, do so immediately.

Assembling Emergency Supplies

When wildfire threatens, you won’t have time to shop or search for supplies. Assemble a disaster supply kit with items you may need if advised to evacuate. Store these supplies in sturdy, easy-to-carry containers such as backpacks, duffel bags or trash containers.

Include in the kit:

  • A three-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day).
  • Food that won’t spoil
  • One change of clothing and footwear per person
  • A first aid kit that includes your family’s prescription medications.
  • Emergency tools, including battery-powered radio, flashlight and plenty of batteries
  • An extra set of car keys and a credit card, cash or traveler’s checks
  • Sanitation supplies
  • Special items for infant, elderly or disabled family members
  • An extra pair of eyeglasses
  • Important family documents stored in a waterproof container