6 Ways To Prevent Water Damage This Winter
Here are six things you can do to protect your home from water damage, especially if you're leaving town during the winter.
1. Install a water leak detection device. A minor water leak can cause expensive damage if it remains undetected—if the leak is behind a wall, say, or if it happens while you're away from home. The lowest-cost leak detectors include sensors you can set up under sinks or near a water heater, dishwasher or refrigerator; they sound an alarm if they detect any moisture. Leak detectors that cost a bit more (typically $50 to $80) will send an alert to your smartphone if they detect moisture or a big change in the amount of water used in your home (signaling a possible leak). Some sensors even monitor the flow of water to your house and can shut down the water valve automatically if there's a noticeable change in the amount of water used, which is particularly helpful if you travel frequently. Your home insurance company may offer a discount for installing some kinds of leak detection devices.
2. Turn off the main water supply before leaving town for an extended period of time, says Annmarie Camp, executive vice president at Chubb Personal Risk Services. "That's the easiest and most cost-effective way to prevent water loss from happening," she says. As an alternative, you could have someone check your house every few days and walk around to make sure there aren't any leaks.
3. Check your water supply lines at least once a year. Give your house an annual leak checkup to inspect water supply lines and washing machine hoses for signs of wear, says Camp. Check for leaks from your hot water heater, washing machine, ice machine in your refrigerator, and any other appliances that can leak. Most water supply lines tend to last for about five years; you may want to replace rubber hoses with steel-braided hoses, which tend to last longer, says Camp.
4. Get sewage-backup coverage. Heavy rains and melting snow can overburden the storm water system, causing water or sewage to back up into your house. Sewage and drain backups usually aren't covered automatically under your homeowners insurance, but it may cost only $50, say, to add $10,000 in coverage. Also consider having a battery-powered back-up for your sump pump if the electricity goes out.
5. Clean your gutters and inspect your roof. Remove leaves and other debris, which can clog gutters and send water pouring down the side of your house or under your roof. Also inspect your roof and repair or replace missing or damaged shingles, which can cause water to come in through the roof.
6. Protect your pipes from freezing. Insulate accessible pipes with pipe insulation materials, especially in attics and crawl spaces. When it gets very cold, keep cabinet or closet doors open to help prevent pipes there from freezing. Consider low-temperature detectors, which can send an alert to your smartphone if the temperature in areas of your home near pipes dips below freezing.
Effects Of Water Damage
Water damage is a problem that most property owners dread. When it rains heavily or snow melts quickly, the risk of this type of damage increases. Water can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage by damaging wood furniture, upholstery, electronics, household appliances, and plumbing equipment. Water damage also increases the risk of mold growth, which is a very expensive problem to remediate. Hiring a water damage restoration company can make the cleanup process easier to handle, as these companies employ experienced workers who know the best ways to repair or replace damaged items and help with water damage cleanup.
Causes of Water Damage
There are several possible causes of water damage. Leaky dishwashers, clogged toilets, broken pipes, broken dishwasher hoses, overflowing washing machines, leaky roofs, plumbing leaks, and foundation cracks are just some of the possible causes of water damage in homes and businesses. Floods, heavy snow, and heavy rain are other possible causes of this type of damage and can lead to having water in basements. Too much water can lead to minor problems such as water in basement areas, or it can lead to the destruction of homes and businesses. Once a home or business sustains water damage, it is important to start the water damage cleanup immediately. Starting water damage cleanup as soon as possible increases the likelihood of saving water-soaked furniture, carpets, rugs, clothing, and other items.
Categories of Water Damage
Assessing the severity of the damage is important for determining what is needed to start water damage repair and water removal. There are several different categories assigned to water damage. Category 1 refers to clean water, or water that does not pose a threat to humans. Possible causes of this type of damage include broken appliances or sink overflows. Category 2 water is also called gray water. This means that the water is contaminated and may cause sickness of ingested. This type of water contains microorganisms. Broken toilets, broken sump pumps, and seepage may cause category 2 water damage. Category 3 water is known as black water. This type of water is unsanitary, as it contains bacteria and other organisms that cause sickness. The possible sources of black water damage include sewage problems and contamination of standing water.
There are also several classes of water damage. The class of damage is important when assessing water damage repair options. Class 1 is the least harmful form of damage. Materials absorb very little of the water from this type of damage. Water damage repair is the easiest in this type of situation. Class 2 has a fast rate of evaporation, which means that carpets and cushions may be damaged. Water damage repair is more difficult when it involves class 2 damage. Class 3 has the fastest rate of evaporation. In this case, the water may come from broken sprinklers or other overhead sources, soaking the walls and furniture. Class 4 requires special water restoration and water removal procedures. This type of damage may affect hardwood floors, plaster, and concrete.
The water restoration process is an important one. Using the right procedures and materials can help people save cherished belongings and even prevent their homes from being condemned. Water restoration companies specialize in mitigating the effects of water, but the success for water damage restoration depends on the severity of the damage and the amount of water that caused the damage. Water restoration companies may hire outside experts to assess a property and determine a water restoration and water removal plan. These water restoration companies typically use high-tech equipment and well-documented procedures to control water damage. Water in basement areas may only require a short cleanup process, but water in other areas of a property will require extensive remediation.
It is important to hire one of these water damage restoration companies as soon as possible after water damage occurs. Moisture promotes the growth of mold and other organisms, increasing the risk for serious health problems. Mold exposure may aggravate allergy and asthma symptoms, especially in children and people with compromised immune systems. Exposure may also increase the risk for respiratory diseases and other medical problems. Cleaning up immediately can help mitigate the health effects of water damage on everyone in a home or commercial space.
How Smoke Damages A Home
A house fire can be devastating and is something no homeowner wants to experience. However, if a fire does occur in your home, professional fire clean up services are available to help you recover from the damage. It's important to know exactly how and where fire damage can impact your home before the clean up process begins, especially since some areas of your home may have smoke damage that's not visible.
Unexpected Issues from Fire and Smoke Damage
After a fire, it's usually evident what smoke damage looks like in your home - whether it's charred items, discolored walls, or ash and soot on the floor - but it can also produce smells and other side effects that are harmful to surfaces as well as your health. It's also important to note that some signs of smoke damage can occur immediately, while others are only apparent several hours - or even days - after the fire.
Shortly after a fire, the effects of smoke damage are visible on walls, ceilings and surfaces, appearing as stains and discoloration. Within a few days, walls and flooring may begin to turn yellow; however, this yellowing affect doesn't show right away. Plastic surfaces/appliances and wood can also become discolored and warped. Several hours after a fire, metal hardware can show signs of rust and corrosion. If you have countertops, tiles or other surfaces that contain porous stone such as marble, granite or travertine, they usually become permanently discolored from the acidic residue found in soot. This residue can also permanently tarnish metals.
Surfaces of your home, specifically fabric items, may not only show visible signs of fire damage, but also may contain a smoky odor. Smoke produces tiny particles of carbon in the air, and when deposited, these particles are called soot. Getting rid of the smoke residue, or soot, is the first step to reducing the smell of a fire.
Smoke is made up of several components, which contribute to the smell that lingers after fire damage.
- Particles - partially or completely burned substances that are sometimes toxic and can penetrate surfaces and fabrics.
- Vapors - misty, fog-like droplets that can be poisonous if inhaled or absorbed.
- Toxic gases - although it is odorless, carbon monoxide (CO), is the most common toxic gas that results from a fire. Phosgene is created when household products such as vinyl, plastics and other chemicals and solvents containing chlorine materials are burned. Hydrogen cyanide is a by-product from the combustion and burning of insulation, carpets, clothing, synthetics, and plastics, such as PVC pipe.
The smell of smoke gets trapped in clothing, carpets, drapes and upholstered furniture, and unless these items are properly cleaned and deodorized by a professional fire clean up service, they may retain the smoky smell for a long period of time. The source of the odor can oftentimes be difficult to pinpoint. It could be in the soot on a surface, in the pores of wood or saturated in the finish of a piece of furniture.
While smoke damage is visible on walls and ceilings, it can also permeate these surfaces and cause damage to a home's structure/framing, wall studs, insulation and air ducts in your ventilation system. When soot and smoke particles become trapped in the HVAC system, the smoke odor can reoccur periodically and even cause respiratory problems.
If any part of a home with wiring experiences fire damage, it usually means that the electrical system has been compromised, too. Depending on the source of the fire, any of the following electrical components may be damaged: wiring, cords, outlets, switches, fuses and breaker boxes. Appliances that have been affected by fire damage can show signs of corrosion, experience short circuits and malfunction, or fail completely.
No matter the level of destruction to your home, you should always consult licensed and trained industry professionals to access smoke or fire damage before you move forward with restoration and repairs.
Areas of a Home Commonly Affected by Fire Damage
The level of damage will vary depending on where a fire originated. An enclosed space typically will not have as much smoke damage as a large, open room with multiple appliances and a lot of wiring in the walls. Additionally, certain parts of a room may experience more damage than others.
Because hot air rises, the highest concentration of smoke residue is commonly found directly above where a fire started - usually on the ceiling above the point of origin. Nail heads in the ceiling (and walls) can also attract smoke particles, which appear as an outline of a ring around them.
When smoke particles are ionized - or have an electrical charge - they are attracted to certain surfaces. Smoke produced by burning plastic carries a stronger charge than smoke from wood, paper or cotton. This causes smoke residue to form in clusters that look like cobwebs in the corners of rooms where walls and ceilings meet.
Walls and Windows
Windows and exterior walls are usually cooler than the center of a room and because smoke naturally travels to areas with a lower temperature, it's common to find a lot of smoke residue on outside walls and even in spaces behind drapes and blinds, even more so than surrounding surfaces.
Once you and your family are safe, you'll need to contact a professional smoke and fire clean up service to assess the damage and advise you on the type of service(s) you'll need to remove any smoke damage. It's highly advised to seek smoke damage restoration within a few days of the fire to minimize the amount of repairs your home will need.
Why SERVPRO Is A Better Restoration Choice
SERVPRO Franchise Professionals understand your situation. As an agent or adjuster, you have a responsibility to keep claims costs down while still providing the best services possible for your customers.
SERVPRO Franchise Professionals are uniquely qualified to help. Our results create a measurable difference, giving you many competitive advantages.
Emergency Response to Claims
Restoring property is the SERVPRO Franchise Professional's first priority. Your customer will appreciate the immediate response and you will know everything is being done to limit the damage.
Pretesting Reduces Claims Expense
Restoring property is less expensive than replacing property. Claims Professionals know the rule is, "Restore whenever possible, replace only when necessary." SERVPRO Franchise Professionals make sure pretesting is completed on every loss to determine restorability.
Claims Inventory Service
SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can provide an itemized loss inventory. You will receive an Excel formatted report and pictures of important items.
Electronic Claims Information
Our Claims Information Center provides fast, accurate information you need to make sound decisions, including:
- A Complete Electronic Job File.
- First Notice of Loss.
- Detailed Estimate.
- Digital Loss Photos.
- Scanned Forms and Paperwork.
- All delivered by email or hard copy.
- On-line Access to All Files.
- New Assignments.
- Pending Jobs.
- Completed Jobs.
- Informative Reports to Improve Results
- Performance Comparison to Industry Standard.
Superior, Time-Tested Training
Effective training is the best way to help ensure your customers receive the service they deserve. Franchises are trained to IICRC standards in Fire and Water Cleanup and Restoration. In addition, continuing education classes are available to Franchise Professionals and Insurance Clients at our state of the art IICRC Approved Training Facility.
Vendor Qualification Compliance and Professionalism
If you call SERVPRO, we will use only qualified vendors to service your customer. That commitment resulted in:
- A National Call Center to achieve prompt handling of the claim.
- Implementation of best practices and job process programs.
- National Accounts qualification criteria and annual compliance checks.
- Crew and vehicle standards.
- Insurance requirements.
- File documentation requirements.
- Quality assurance program.
Serving Adjusters and Their Clients
A SERVPRO Franchise Professional's job is to reassure the customer, perform quality service and to report to you quickly. We know your job is to interpret the policy and adjust the claim... and not to deal with problems from vendors! Working together we strive to save you time so you can focus on priority files, while having complete control of every loss you are assigned. 24-hour emergency response, damage mitigation, loss assessment, and an electronic file are available to you within hours. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals’ documented, measured performance increases value to you and your shareholders, managers and customers.
Hard-earned results have made SERVPRO leaders in the fire and water cleanup and restoration industry. The SERVPRO System is geared to achieve customer satisfaction and mitigation results, adding to your company’s competitive advantage.
The SERVPRO Story
Ted and Doris Isaacson launched SERVPRO in 1967 as a painting business in Sacramento, Calif. With a background in cleaning and restoration, however, Ted and Doris soon transformed the company into a franchisor of cleanup and restoration specialists.
After selling its first Franchise in 1969, SERVPRO continued to grow, acquiring the Bristol-Myers Domesticare Division and its 175 Franchises in 1979.
SERVPRO relocated the corporate headquarters from Sacramento to Gallatin, TN, in 1988 in a strategic move to place itself within 600 miles of 50% of the U.S. population.
At the time of the relocation, the SERVPRO System consisted of 647 Franchises.
SERVPRO Corporate quickly became a key contributor in its community, and in 1991 the Nashville Business Journal named SERVPRO the Small Business of the Year. In the meantime the company continued its impressive growth, selling the 1,000th Franchise in 2000. Learn more about our Awards and Recognition.
In 2005, SERVPRO moved to a 140,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility in Gallatin to provide more room for expansion.
More than 1,700 Franchises are operating nationwide, and SERVPRO continues to grow. The need for experienced, trained and professional cleanup and restoration experts is recession resistant, and the growth potential inside of a proven system presents an opportunity for prospective Franchisees.
With a proud history, a successful present and a bright future, SERVPRO will press on toward becoming the premier cleaning and restoration company in the world.
Who should do the cleanup depends on a number of factors. One consideration is the size of the mold problem. If the moldy area is less than about 10 square feet (less than roughly a 3 ft. by 3 ft. patch), in all cases it is recommended to call a reputable mold mitigation company:
- If you choose to hire a contractor (or other professional service provider) to do the cleanup, make sure the contractor has experience cleaning up mold. Check references and ask the contractor to follow the recommendations in EPA guide Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, the guidelines of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygenists (ACGIH), or other guidelines from professional or government organizations.
- If you suspect that the heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) system may be contaminated with mold (it is part of an identified moisture problem, for instance, or there is mold near the intake to the system), consult EPA guide Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned? before taking further action. Do not run the HVAC system if you know or suspect that it is contaminated with mold - it could spread mold throughout the building.
- If the water and/or mold damage was caused by sewage or other contaminated water, then call in a professional who has experience cleaning and fixing buildings damaged by contaminated water.
- If you have health concerns, consult a health professional before starting cleanup.*
What Would You Do If Your Business Flooded?
Flooding, whether it occurs as a flash or from a slow buildup, is a common occurrence in many parts of the country. If you're wondering how to prepare your business for a flood, the post below highlights some key steps you should consider in your flood disaster planning.
Flood Planning Need-to-Knows
National Flood Safety Awareness Week took place from March 16 to March 22 and with the recent flooding we've had along the east coast of the country, it's a perfect reminder of the importance of flood preparedness for your business.
Even if you think the flooding risks are low in your area, it’s important to be vigilant. For example, during the 2013 floods in Colorado, a very rare weather event hit Boulder County and surrounding areas hard. A stalled weather front dropped 21 inches of rain very quickly, and the resulting damage to businesses, homes and civic infrastructure was devastating and widespread.
The first step to prepare for flooding is to understand your potential exposure. Fortunately there are some convenient resources. For example, the NOAA Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service provides quarterly updates and maps showing areas that are higher risk during certain times of the year. Historic flood maps are also a great resource for understanding the potential risks in your area. Knowing how high water could potentially rise and how long it will take to drain are valuable insights for developing a response plan.
In addition to getting flood insurance, here are some other important steps to keep in mind for preparedness:
- Safeguard key information—be sure you keep copies of flood insurance and other key business information in a safe place where it won’t be damaged or swept away by flooding.
- Prepare your building—depending on your building layout, it may be worth getting a sump pump to help minimize potential damage. Be sure to keep gutters and drains clear of debris, and to anchor fuel tanks. Also, if possible, minimize storage of especially valuable assets in the lowest-lying areas of the building.
- Develop an emergency plan—design a flood evacuation route and share it with employees so they can get themselves and customers to higher ground, if it becomes necessary. Also, be sure to have an emergency kit onsite, in case people are stuck in the building.
And take it from the experts—preparation pays. "Flooding is dangerous and costly, killing nearly 100 people and causing an average of eight billion dollars in property damage in the United States each year," said Dr. Louis W. Uccellini, director, NOAA's National Weather Service, which produces an array of flood outlooks and forecasts, including watches and life-saving warnings. "A weather-ready nation is a prepared nation; one that will reduce flood losses by planning ahead, staying abreast of weather forecasts, and heeding the warnings."
5 Things You Need To Know About Water Damage
When a pipe bursts, a drain backs up, or a flood occurs in your home, it can be hard to see past the mess. A million questions will run through your mind.
What do I do now?
What’s going to happen?
Is my stuff ruined?
And the most important question of all: Will my homeowner’s insurance cover the damage?
There’s no doubt about it. Water damage is extremely stressful, and the more you know about it, the better you’ll be able to decide how to address it. Here are five things that every homeowner needs to know about water damage.
1. There are different insurance policies for flood damage and water damage.
You might think that water is water, whether it’s from flooding or a burst pipe, but flood damage is not covered under homeowner’s insurance. If you live in an area likely to experience flooding, you will probably already have a separate policy through the National Flood Insurance Policy (NFIP). When you report the claim to the insurance company, make sure to specify whether the claim is for water damage or for flood damage, so they can begin adjusting your claim correctly.
2. Not all water damage is covered by your insurance.
It is a good idea to look over your insurance policy and familiarize yourself with any exclusion to your water damage coverage. For instance, most policies cover sudden damage, like water damage from a really bad storm or from an overflowing washing machine. On the other hand, any water damage that happens because you didn’t maintain the property may be excluded, as well as gradual leaks that caused water damage over time.
3. Once water damage has happened, the clock is ticking before it gets worse.
When your property has been water damaged, you don’t have the luxury of waiting around for a convenient time to start the cleanup. Secondary damage from mold growth can present serious health risks associated with mold in the living environment.
Mold spores are everywhere, but they need moisture and a nutrient source to grow. And that is exactly what your wet carpet or drywall offers.
There is a 24 to 48 hour window from the time something gets wet until mold can begin to grow. After that time, mold will multiply rapidly. When mold growth is widespread, you may need the services of a professional mold remediation service to safely treat and remove the mold.
To prevent mold growth, you will need to get your property completely dry again within that 48-hour window. To do this, you’ll need to contact a company that specializes in water damage restoration and emergency water extraction. They will have the professional water removal equipment and drying equipment to get the job done as quickly as possible. Many have 24-hour a day emergency hotlines, so you can start recovering your property almost immediately.
4. Your insurance company needs to know right away.
It’s a good idea to call your insurance company right away when you discover water damage. Your insurance agent can start the claims process immediately, as well as guide you through the first steps you will need to take to protect your property from more damage, like stopping the source of the water at the main water turnoff.
Your insurance company may also direct you to a water damage restoration company that they have worked with in the past. Keep in mind that you do not have to call the company that they recommend. You may choose any reputable restoration specialist to restore your property for the insurance claim.
5. The pollution level of the water is important.
Water damage is categorized as one of three levels by how polluted the water source was that caused the damage.
Category 1: Water from a clean water source, like a fresh water line for a dishwasher. This water will not cause illness or any ill effects.
Category 2: Water that may cause illness through contact. It may have bacteria in it,
Category 3: Water that is highly contaminated. Contact can cause severe illness or death. Think sewage backup, an overflowing toilet, or storm waters.
Even though water may start out as Category 1, that doesn’t mean it will stay that way. Any contamination that the water touches, such as dirty carpeting or soil from the ground, can change water damage Category to 2 or even Category 3. And since standing breeds bacteria, the longer the water is around, the worse the contamination of your property.
More contamination can mean that the restoration team will have to use more aggressive measures to clean your structure and property, and it might mean that soft furnishings, like your carpet and the carpet pad, may have to be discarded for your safety.
Water damage can be dangerous and expensive, so preventing water damage is an important part of home maintenance. But if you know the basics of what to do once it happens, you can prevent it from doing its worst.
What To Expect When Mold Remediation Takes Place
Day 1: Kill Mold with Biocide
- Company Prepares: The mold remediation company will park a truck as near as possible to the doorway, lay down plastic sheeting, and run hoses through the house to the mold area. If the mold area is accessible from the outside (such as a crawlspace), so much the better. A good mold remediation company will take care to keep your house clean while they do the work.
- Suiting-Up Process: As with any other potentially hazardous process, such as the removal of lead-based paint or asbestos, mold remediation workers fully suit up for action: head-to-toe white suits, booties, respirators, and goggles. This does not necessarily mean that the mold remediation company will be removing toxic mold. This is the usual procedure for any job they are dealing with.
- Spray Down: The first step of this two-step process is to spray the mold area with biocide. Biocide is an EPA-approved liquid which kills mold. Note that bleach is not approved by the EPA for killing mold. Typically, this first step should take less time than the second step.
- Wait: After the workers leave, the biocide goes to work, killing the mold spores.
Day 2: Spray Mold Area with Encapsulant
Next day, the mold remediation company returns. Again, clear access is needed.
- Encapsulation: The workers will spray the area with a type of paint or whitewash that encapsulates the remaining mold spores. The mold remediation company should spray well beyond the moldy area to ensure that no more mold grows. For example, if only a limited area of an attic exhibits mold, the company will probably still spray down the entire attic. This is more desirable, and you should confirm with the company that they will do this.
How To Survive Severe Storms
What to do during a severe storms
- If you are indoors, stay away from windows, doors and fireplaces.
- You may want to go to the sheltered area that you and your family chose for your emergency plan.
- If you are advised by officials to evacuate, do so. Take your emergency kit with you.
- You can use a cellular telephone during a severe storm, but it's not safe to use a land-line telephone.
- Never go out in a boat during a storm. If you are on the water and you see bad weather approaching, head for shore immediately. Always check the marine forecast before leaving for a day of boating and listen to weather reports during your cruise.
- If you are in a car, stop the car away from trees or power lines that might fall on you). Stay there.
What to do during
- When a winter storm hits, stay indoors. If you must go outside, dress for the weather. Outer clothing should be tightly woven and water-repellent. The jacket should have a hood. Wear mittens - they are warmer than gloves - and a hat, as large portion of body heat is lost through the head.
- In wide-open areas, visibility can be virtually zero during heavy blowing snow or a blizzard. You can easily lose your way. If a blizzard strikes, do not try to walk to another building unless there is a rope to guide you or something you can follow.
- If you must travel during a winter storm, do so during the day and let someone know your route and arrival time.
- If your car gets stuck in a blizzard or snowstorm, remain calm and stay in your car. Allow fresh air in your car by opening the window slightly on the sheltered side - away from the wind. You can run the car engine about 10 minutes every half-hour if the exhaust system is working well. Beware of exhaust fumes and check the exhaust pipe periodically to make sure it is not blocked with snow. Remember: you can't smell potentially fatal carbon monoxide fumes.
- To keep your hands and feet warm, exercise them periodically. In general, it is a good idea to keep moving to avoid falling asleep. If you do try to shovel the snow from around your car, avoid overexerting yourself.
- Overexertion in the bitter cold can cause death as a result of sweating or a heart attack.
- Keep watch for traffic or searchers.
- Take cover when hail begins to fall. Do not go out to cover plants, cars or garden furniture or to rescue animals. Hail comes down at great speed, especially when accompanied by high winds. Although no one in Canada has ever been killed by hail, people have been seriously injured by it.
- When a hailstorm hits, stay indoors, and keep yourself and your pets away from windows, glass doors and skylights which can shatter if hit by hailstones. Avoid using the telephone during a storm, and do not touch metal objects like stoves, radiators, metal pipes, and sinks.
- When a hailstorm hits, find shelter and avoid underpasses or any low lying areas that may flood.
- Ice from freezing rain accumulates on branches, power lines and buildings. If you must go outside when a significant amount of ice has accumulated, pay attention to branches or wires that could break due to the weight of the ice and fall on you. Ice sheets could also do the same.
- Never touch power lines. A hanging power line could be charged (live) and you would run the risk of electrocution. Remember also that ice, branches or power lines can continue to break and fall for several hours after the end of the precipitation.
- When freezing rain is forecast, avoid driving. Even a small amount of freezing rain can make roads extremely slippery. Wait several hours after freezing rain ends so that road maintenance crews have enough time to spread sand or salt on icy roads.
- Rapid onsets of freezing rain combined with the risks of blizzards increase the chances for extreme hypothermia. If you live on a farm, move livestock promptly to shelter where feed is available. Forage is often temporarily inaccessible during and immediately after ice storms. Animal reactions to ice storms are similar to that of blizzards.
- Always take shelter during a lightning storm.
- There is no safe place outside during a thunderstorm. Safe shelter can be found either in an enclosed building or a hard-topped vehicle.
- If you can see lightning or hear thunder, you are in danger of being hit. Seek shelter immediately.
- Wait 30 minutes after the last lightning strike in a severe storm before venturing outside again.
- Do not ride bicycles, motorcycles, tractors, or golf carts. These will not protect you from a lightning strike.
- During thunderstorms, you should also stay away from items that conduct electricity, such as corded telephones, appliances, sinks, bathtubs, radiators and metal pipes.