Tornado in Longview WA

The National Weather Service declared a powerful storm system a tornado yesterday afternoon in Longview, Washington.  Thankfully, no on was injured but the storm did sustain damage to trees and property in the area.  This storm is a reminder that we should be prepared for the impact of any natural disaster.  What would you have done in a similar situation?  Would your family or workplace be prepared for such an event?  Being prepared means having fully stocked emergency supplies and having a plan in case of a disaster.

Our thoughts are with those who have been impacted by this event.

Ask the Estimator!

Welcome to Ask the Estimator, where we pick the brains of the professionals who have seen it all! Today’s question went to estimator Jason Stephens. Jason came to Kennedy Restoration in 2013 with plenty of experience to contribute to the company. With 15 years in construction, 9 years in restoration and 6 years as an estimator, he is a wealth of knowledge!

 

The Question:

“What can I do prepare for severe damage to my home by water, fire, storm or other such events?”

 

The Answer:

 

  1. Know the risks for the area you live in – Planning for the worst differs depending on location, climate, and proximity to trees, elevation and many other factors. Understand the events that could affect your property and plan for them accordingly.
  2. Know your coverage – Make sure your insurance information is current and easy to find when you need it. Have all the necessary information to contact your representative handy and ready to go, should you have to leave your home during an emergency. Know your coverage limits and special endorsements (code upgrade, mold coverage, flood insurance, etc…).
  3. Know your home – Know where to shut off your water in case of leaking or pipe breakage. Any amount of water that is contained could potentially further damage. The more quickly you can shut off the running water, the less damage could be caused.
  4. Know your fire extinguishers – In case of a fire, make sure your fire extinguishers are in working order and everyone in the family knows how to use them properly. Inspect your extinguishers monthly and check the gauge to see when replacement or repair is needed.
  5. Know your emergency plan – Have a well stocked emergency kit with back up lighting and make sure all family members know its location. Run emergency evacuation plans with everyone in your household, making sure that all emergency exits are identified.

 

If you have a question to ask one of our estimators, send it our way!

National Emergency Preparedness Month!

September is National Emergency Preparedness Month! This is a great time to review your emergency plan with your family, take inventory of your emergency kit and update yourself on the latest emergency preparedness efforts in your community. These videos, presented by Ready.gov have some excellent information and are a great resource to help you get started on your emergency preparedness plan!

Boating Safety Tips

For this week’s safety tips, we turn to our assistant general manager Tanner Kennedy!  No matter the weather, you can always find Tanner on his boat, fishing with friends and family.  Tanner has some excellent advice to help keep everyone safe and having fun while enjoying their time on the water:

It is that time of year when boat and personal water craft owners are out recreating on the water. If you are a boat owner, you should always put safety on the top of your priority list.  Here are some helpful tips to help you be as safe as possible on the water.

 

  • Carry the correct Personal Floatation Devices (PFD’s) for your boating application.  This must include one lifejacket/vest for each person on the boat and an approved throw able rescue device for a man overboard situation.  Here is a great link to help you determine the proper PFDs for your application. http://www.pfdma.org/choosing/types.aspx  Keep in mind, if you have the inflatable type life vests that are so common now and your vessel is inspected by the Coast Guard, they will only accept them as an appropriate PFD if they are being worn properly. If that is the only kind of PFD you have in your boat and you and your passengers are not wearing them, you will most likely be cited for not having proper PFDs on board.
  • Inspect all PFDs to make sure they are in good working condition.  Look for tears in the fabric, compression or deterioration of foam floatation and worn straps, buckles, etc.  Any PFDs that have any such damage should be disposed of and replaced with new ones. Never remove any of the sewn on factory tags from a PFD.
  • Make sure that you have a horn or other Coast Guard approved noise making device such as a whistle in your vessel. I personally have a built in horn, a whistle and a hand held air horn on my boat.River boat
  • Inspect your fire extinguisher regularly. The gauge should be in the green at all times. If it is not, replace it.
  • If you have an inboard motor in your boat, make sure you have an operational blower fan in your motor compartment and that the duct lines are hooked up correctly allowing any fuel fumes to escape the motor box/compartment. Make sure you run your blower at least a couple of minutes before you start your boat. This will evacuate any fumes that may be trapped in the motor compartment and reduce the chance of fire/explosion when the boats ignition is engaged.
  • Be alert and watch for other boaters and other hazards at all times.
  • Be courteous to other boaters, especially ones that may be on anchor. Remember, you are legally responsible for any damage that may be caused by your boat wake.
  • If you are following another boat, give yourself plenty of stopping distance. Remember you cannot stop a boat like you can stop an automobile.
  • Do not follow directly behind a boat that is towing a skier, wake boarder or another boat.

Have fun and enjoy your time on the water but always keep boater safety in mind when enjoying yourself on the water.

 

What to do during an earthquake

What can we learn from this video?  The recent earthquake in Los Angeles should serve as a reminder that an earthquake, no matter how benign or severe, can strike at any time.  While it is important to properly prepare for such an event, we need to know how to react when an earthquake does strike.

If you are indoors when during an earthquake, ready.gov encourages you to DROP, COVER and HOLD ON!

  • DROP to the ground!
  • COVER yourself under a structure or heavy furniture!
  • HOLD ON to something stable around you until the shaking has subsided
  • Move away from windows and glass doors
  • Stay indoors until all is clear
  • Do not use elevators

If you are outdoors:

  • Stay clear of power lines, street lamps or anything that could fall on you
  • Move away from buildings as debris can come lose and fall
  • If you are near the ocean, listen for tsunami alerts and make your way to higher ground

If you are driving:

  • Pull over when it is safe to do so
  • If possible, avoid stopping under trees, lamp posts or over passes
  • Drive cautiously after the shaking has stopped, roadways and bridges may have been damaged

Most importantly, when you find yourself in an earthquake do not panic.  Remember what you have learned and react accordingly to avoid injury.

So, how was this news anchors reaction to the earthquake?

Winter Weather – were you prepared?

We had a heck of a winter storm these past few days!  While the Pacific Northwest gets plenty of wind and rain, many are not prepared for snow and ice like we experienced this past weekend.  Storms can hit suddenly without warning, so it is important to always be prepared for extreme weather conditions.  Here are a few ways to stay safe during a winter storm:

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Stay informed – The storm we recently experienced was reported on the news; make sure you are checking in with news and weather sources to stay up to date on how the weather may impact your area.  Such sources will have updates on school and road closures as well.  Make sure you have access to these outlets if your power should go out by having an emergency radio and charging phones and tablets. 

Supply kit – Make sure your emergency supply kit is well stocked should you be unable to leave your home. For a detailed outline of what your emergency kit should contain, check out our previous blog here.

Freeze prevention – Frozen pipes can potentially be a costly damage to your home should they burst.  It is a very common incident we encounter here at Kennedy Restoration, especially when temperatures begin to rise after a freeze.  Protect your pipes from freezing with these tips.

Driving – Whenever possible, do not drive in the ice or snow.  While you may be an expert driver, others on the road are not and even the best of drivers can get into serious accidents due to icy road conditions.  However, if you must leave be sure to follow these safe driving tips in the ice.  Add a few items to your emergency kit to make sure you can leave the home, including sand, kitty litter, snow shovels.  Make sure your tires are equipped for the weather and your vehicle is capable of the excursion. 

Loss of power – As we experienced here in Portland, power outages are common with the onset of snow and ice.  Frozen moisture on tree limbs weigh them down, causing them to crack and fall on power lines.  Be prepared for such outages and potential loss of heat! 

So, how did you do?  Do you feel that you were adequately prepared for the weather over the weekend, or do you have some adjustments to make to your preparedness techniques?  As always, if you experienced any damages to your home or property, Kennedy Restoration is here to help! 

Hail storm damage prevention

There’s nothing quite like a hail storm!  The pinging on the roof that turns to a dull roar then passes as quickly as it came.  Hail can be as small as a pea all the way up to as large as a grapefruit and travel at speeds up to 120mph.  Hail storms are generally brief, lasting only a few minutes and can be accompanied by wind, thunder and lightning.  Though the storm may only last a short time, it can do a lot of damage in those few minutes.  The Northwest isn’t known for extreme hail storms like those in the Midwest and South but we should still be prepared for the few hail storms we get each year.  Here are a few tips to keep your property safe in the event of a hail storm:

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Make sure your roof is up to code.  When doing repairs or re-roofing your home, have the work done by professionals or have it inspected when the work is done.  Make sure your shingles are asphalt and have a Class 4 rating under Underwriters Laboratories’ (UL) 2218 standard. This rating indicates that the shingles did not crack when hit twice in the same area by a two-inch steel ball.

When a hail storm strikes, be sure to stay indoors for safety.  Close all blinds and window coverings; if a window should shatter during the store you will want to minimize the area affected by broken glass.  Stay away from skylights and glass doors until the storm has passed.

Hail has the potential to cause major damage to your vehicle.  If a hail storm is predicted in the forecast, park your car in a covered area.  If you are driving in a hail storm, pull over, preferably under the safety of a roof or over pass.  If shelter is not available, park safely and cover your face should your windshield shatter.

Know your insurance policy well!  If you have any damages contact your insurance representative immediately.

Should you experience damage to your home or property Kennedy Restoration is always here to assist you with your repairs.

10 Fireplace Safety Tips

While many residences are now heated by furnaces or boilers, the good, old fire place is still found in over one third of American homes.  Wood and pellet heated homes are wonderful; they add a certain coziness to a home that can only come from the crackle of a fire place.  This comfort can potentially come at a price; a fire place can pose a potential hazard to your home and family.  Through proper precautions the risks posed by fire places can be avoided.

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  1. Have your chimney and fireplace annual inspected by a certified chimney specialist.  These professionals will perform routine cleanings which will keep your chimney safe from build up as well as inspect the unit for potential fire hazards.
  2. Be sure to cap your chimney to keep debris from flying into it and causing damage.
  3. Use dense wood that has been properly stored and dried (for at least 6 months). Wood that has not been properly stored or is too green produces more creosote, which can damage your chimney over time.  Use only wood, never flammable liquids, cardboard or trash to start fires.
  4. Use a spark guard in front of your fireplace to prevent damage or injury.  Place a non flammable carpet in front of the fireplace to keep embers and sparks from damaging hardwood or carpet.
  5. Never leave a fire unattended in the home.  Make sure there is always an adult present while a fire is burning and children should be at least 3 feet away from it at all times.
  6. When removing ash to clean the fireplace, wait at least 3 days since the last fire before handling soot.  Embers can smolder for quite a while and have the potential to cause burns or fire damage if not cooled long enough.  Where a dust mask while disposing of the debris.
  7. When the fire place is routinely in use, clean out the fire box at least once a week.
  8. If you ever notice a smoky haze indoors while burning a fire, inspect your fireplace for potential build up or damage.  The air indoors should never be smoky and must be addressed immediately.
  9. Never build your fire too large so it burns too hot.  Start small and build the fire until it is an appropriate size and producing adequate heat.
  10. Install and regularly test carbon monoxide and smoke detectors!

Stay warm and safe!

Your Emergency Plan

We are in the final week or Emergency Preparedness month!  Hopefully you have been assessing your emergency kit to make sure it’s fully stocked should you ever need to use it.  How is your emergency plan looking though?  An emergency kit won’t be very useful if your family is not sure where it is or where to meet.  A plan of action is every bit as important as food and water when it comes to emergency readiness.  Here are some steps to take to make sure your family is adequately prepared:    

  1.  Find out what types of emergencies your area may be at risk for.  There is no point in preparing for a tsunami in a land locked state or a dust storm if you live in an oceanic climate.  Educate yourself on what could potentially come your way and how to best prepare for each event.  Learn about your community warning signals and how to properly respond. 
  2. Your emergency kit may be fully stocked, but what will you do if your family needs to leave your home?  Make sure your emergency kit is mobile or make a separate “go bag” should you need to leave your home in a hurry.   
  3. Come up with two places your family can safely meet should an emergency occur. If there was a fire, where could you meet outside your home?  If a disaster occurred and you could not return to your home, where is a safe place you could all meet? 
  4. Designate a person of contact that your family will reach out to should you be separated when a disaster occurs.  Local phone lines may be down in an emergency situation so it may be easier to reach someone out of the area. 
  5.  Practice your evacuation plan with your family.  If an emergency plan cannot be well executed, it is useless.  FEMA recommends running these drills at least twice a year.   

We hope that we have provided you with some valuable information this month and you take the time to discuss your emergency preparedness plan with your family and community!