Posts Tagged ‘emergency preparedness’

Should You Stay or Should You Go? 4 Home Disaster Planning Tips

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

disaster planning at homeWhere is the safest place to be during a disaster? The answer is, it depends on the type of emergency situation you find yourself in. You'll either be safest by staying in your home or by getting far away from it very quickly. In either case it’s important to prepare for both options.

Shelter at Home

Your home shelter in some cases can be your entire house, but you should choose a particular room to deal with certain situations, such as tornadoes. Basements are an ideal location to shelter during severe weather. The below ground location is best for riding out tornados or severe winds. In any case, your shelter should be a strong interior room with as few windows and doors as possible. Move your emergency supplies into the room, and don't forget the battery-powered radio. Your home emergency kit should contain what you need to remain in your home for three or more days. The Department of Homeland Security has recommended these items:
  • Water—At least one gallon per person per day in sealed plastic containers
  • Food—Non-perishable foods that won't need to be cooked. Canned foods, nuts, dried fruit, peanut butter and granola bars are ideal
  • A manual can opener
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Flashlights
  • Extra batteries for both
  • Sanitation or "baby" wipes
  • Soap
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Garbage bags
  • Warm clothes for winter storms
  • First-aid kit
  • Local map
  • Utility and/or pocket knives
  • Plastic sheeting (preferably precut)
  • Duct tape
  • Dust masks or cotton t-shirt to filter dust
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Whistle—To signal for help
  • Entertainment items—Books, paper, pens, crayons, cards, etc.
  • Family communication list
Special items: Make sure you include diapers, baby food, medications and medical equipment, pet food, etc.

Sheltering Away from Home

In certain disasters such as a house fire or fallen tree where your home could be damaged, it may be necessary to leave your home. Your getaway bag should be a smaller version of your home kit. It should be pre-packed in a sturdy duffle-type bag and stored in a place where it can be accessed quickly. You will need smaller quantities of most items, because you will be moving to a shelter or pre-selected evacuation site. Make sure you also include some cash, important personal information (such as medical insurance numbers) and a sleeping bag or blankets. Consider carefully what you will need, and if in doubt, put it in the bag. It is better to find you didn't need something (or even discard it) than discover you left it at home. Image courtesy of artur84 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net Download your free home disaster planning eBook  


 

7 Disaster Planning Steps You Can Take at Home

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

planning for disasterIn many ways, creating the family disaster plan is the most important part of your preparations. If you know what options you have in a dangerous situation and have made some of the choices ahead of time, you won't panic and all of you will be moving in the same direction. Each plan will be unique, just like the family that makes it. Here are some tips for constructing your emergency preparedness plan: Plan with your family. Call a family meeting and involve everyone in the process. The more involved they are, the more likely they are to provide good ideas or notice gaps in the plan. Plan for each type of disaster. Consider each calamity you may have to deal with. Begin with fire. Plan your escape routes, where your meeting place will be when you get out of the house and how you will get there. Move on to disasters that will require you to remain in your home, such as a tornado, and those that may require evacuation, such as flooding. Choose what room or rooms will be best for a shelter at home and what routes and methods you will take if you have to leave. Decide where you will seek medical attention if necessary, and how you will deal with injuries if medical personnel aren't immediately available. Plan for wherever you will be. Some members of your household may be at school, work or other sites away from the home. Be sure you discuss how you will handle being separated, and make sure you know what the disaster plans at those locations are so you can adapt your family plan accordingly. Plan in writing. Write down the basics of your plan. This will not only aid memory, it will make it available for you to review periodically. Make a list of emergency supplies. Plan to be flexible. The basics of your plan should be firm, but leave room for changing conditions and common sense. Surprises should allow you to change your mind, not derail you. Plan for special needs and special skills. Account for any family members who will need extra assistance or special items. Know who will help them and how you will attend to their needs. If you have medical training, trade skills or language skills you can use to help yourselves or your community, consider how you will put them into practice. Consider taking courses in first aid and CPR. Plan to communicate. A family communication plan is crucial. No matter how bad things are, being able to locate your loved ones will be a major stress reliever, save time and perhaps save a life. The good news? It only takes three simple steps:
  1. List each person's name, important personal information (such as allergies and medical conditions), email address and cell phone number.
  2. List the workplaces, schools and other places they frequent. Each listing should have an address, main phone number, the separate extension of your loved one if they have one, and the location that the school or business will evacuate to in a disaster.
  3. Add the contact information for a person out of town you can all contact (see sidebar) as well as a place you can meet in your neighborhood and a place you can meet in the region if your neighborhood is in danger. Add the police non-emergency phone number, the numbers of your doctors, pharmacist, religious leaders, insurance companies, restoration company and veterinarian and/or kennel. Include the address of Safe and Well (http://www.safeandwell.org), a website where you can post a message letting friends and family know you're OK.
Give a copy of this list to each member of the family. Keep one in an easily accessible spot in your home and place one in each of your emergency kits. Give one to a trusted neighbor or friend in case of fire. Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net Free eBook shows how to make a home disaster plan  


 

Cloud File Storage: Out of Sight, Peace of Mind

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

cloud computingInbox overflowing with client and vendor contracts. Cardboard boxes stuffed with several years of tax statements. Hard drives maxed out with copies of projects, historical data and daily correspondence. In the day-to-day business of life, some stuff needs to be kept within arm’s reach, no question. Other items are rarely used but take up valuable space because they may be needed…someday. Whether storage is an issue at work or at home, one thing is clear: Important paperwork and electronic files should be safeguarded from worst-case scenarios such as fire, flood and the inevitable computer crash. According to Emergency Preparedness: It’s Your Business, one option is off-site storage using a Web-based file-hosting service where important information will remain secure, yet easily accessible.

Why Cloud Storage is a New Take on Emergency Preparedness

Online file storage, like Dropbox and Google Drive, and cloud backup services like Backblaze and Carbonite, is rapidly gaining popularity and replacing traditional backup drives, discs and even the trusty ol’ fireproof safe. In fact, Gartner, Inc. (a leading information technology research company) predicts that by 2016, a third of consumers’ digital content will be stored in “the cloud.” What is this mysterious cloud? Well, the technical mumbo-jumbo could fill up pages, but for our purposes, Campus Technology suggests thinking of cloud computing as a utility. Through an Internet connection, you can store data—files, photos, music, applications and more—in the cloud and access or share them anytime, anywhere, using any device. Pretty handy, huh? Once you’re on board with the concept of online file storage, deciding how to proceed can be a bit confusing due to the sheer number of service options out there. Business managers and homeowners need to weigh their choices and select a service that best fits their needs. Security is, of course, a top consideration, along with cost and special features such as file synchronization for automatic updates. Then, once you’ve selected a service, there’s the task of organizing your existing electronic files and scanning hardcopies of documents to create new files. To make this process fast and easy, there are apps (such as “Handy Scanner Free”) that allow you to scan a document using your smart phone, instantly create a PDF and upload it. So, what types of data should be scanned, saved as electronic files and stored online? Here’s a checklist for starters:
  • Insurance policies
  • Personnel files
  • Tax statements (last three years)
  • Bank account records
  • Client and vendor contracts
  • Building plans
  • Office lease
  • Mortgage paperwork
  • Important projects and proofs
  • Family photos and memorabilia
  • Credit card information
  • Photographs of valuables
Hold up: photos of valuables? You bet. The philosophy behind emergency preparedness is to help you get on with life as quickly as possible. In the event of a disaster such as a fire, for example, photographic inventories of your investments in the workplace (computers, copy machines, office furniture and so forth) as well as big-ticket items in the home (jewelry, electronics, antiques and such) can speed up the processing of your insurance claim. Simply grab your smart phone, snap away, and upload the images to that big, fluffy storage space in the sky. LDR Construction Services, Inc. Cleaning & Restoration has proudly served all of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin since 1991. LDR specializes in the complete repair of fire, smoke, wind, water and vandalism damage to both commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. For more information, visit www.ldr4service.com or call 1-888-874-7066. Image courtesy of ddpavumba / FreeDigitalPhotos.net How to make a business disaster plan. Free eBook.  


 

Riding the Storm Out: How to Stay Safe in Severe Weather

Monday, April 29th, 2013

april showersWeather wise, most of us can agree it was a long, unpredictable winter. But with spring temperatures finally here—by the way, you’re on probation, Punxsutawney Phil—we’ve had more than our fill of April showers…with more yet to come. And unfortunately, some are guaranteed to take a turn for the dangerous. In 2011, severe thunderstorms (including tornado events) cost $25.9 billion in insured losses—more than double the previous record—and $46.6 billion in economic losses, according to risk management group Munich Re. It was also the deadliest thunderstorm season in over 75 years, with 553 direct fatalities. To learn more about losses due to natural disasters, download our free publication Tradition, Technology and Taking Risks: Five Modern Tips for Marketing Your Insurance Business. At any given moment, about 2,000 thunderstorms can be moving over the face of the earth. Even though most severe storms last less than 30 minutes, some form long-lasting squall lines or expand into mighty super cells that can spawn tornadoes. In general, the dangers of thunderstorms include strong winds, heavy rain, hail, flooding, and of course lightning. So, how should you prepare to ride out the storm and stay safe when spring showers turn ugly? Since spring weather conditions can change rapidly, it’s important to keep up with the forecasts via weather updates on your smart phone, alerts on your desktop at work, or simply switching on the TV or radio when you have a free minute. A severe thunderstorm watch means unsafe storm activity is possible in your area, so plan your day accordingly. A storm warning, on the other hand, means stop what you’re doing and take cover now. If you’re outdoors and a strong storm catches you by surprise, stay low and seek shelter as fast as possible. If you’re in a group, spread out rather than huddling together (thus making yourself a larger target). Don’t get close to trees, metal objects or water. Finally, use your head: Feeling your hair stand on end is a sign that lightning will strike any second; drop to your knees and crouch down versus laying flat on the ground. Should a severe storm strike while traveling in your car, pull onto the shoulder and turn on your emergency flashers. Again, keep your distance from tall trees and, surprisingly, highway underpasses that can flood or become clogged with other vehicles or debris. Remain inside the car but avoid touching metal objects whenever possible. Once it seems safe to resume driving, avoid roads that are covered by water; shallow-looking spots can be deceiving and may stall or sweep away a vehicle. Being indoors during a severe thunderstorm may be the best case scenario, but there are still plenty of precautions to heed, starting with staying off the phone or using any electrical equipment. Common sense will tell you to also stay out of the shower or bath during unstable weather to avoid electrocution. Unplugging computers and appliances is another smart move—and speaking of moves, move away from windows and hunker down with your flashlight in a sturdy interior room. By familiarizing yourself ahead of time with these simple tips, you’ve increased your odds of staying safe in the event of threatening thunderstorms. Now, bring on those May flowers! Sources: Insurance Information Institute (www.iii.org); USAToday.com Weather LDR Construction Services, Inc. Cleaning & Restoration has proudly served all of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin since 1991. LDR specializes in the complete repair of fire, smoke, wind, water and vandalism damage to both commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. For more information, visit www.ldr4service.com or call 1-888-874-7066. Free Disaster Planning Checklist  


 

April is Tornado Awareness Month – Don’t get swept away to Oz

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

tornado safetyHooray, it’s spring! Bulbs are sprouting, snow is melting, and … what’s that, Toto? You see low black clouds swirling overhead? It's not a flock of flying monkeys. It's a tornado. Tornados can occur anywhere, anytime; but if you’ve lived in tornado country for long, you know the risks that come with the spring and summer months. And since April is Tornado Awareness Month, here are some tips for preparing for the worst that nature can dish out:

Tornado Facts & Myths

  • Know the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning. A watch just means that conditions are favorable for a tornado. A warning is more serious – it means that a real tornado has been spotted nearby on the ground or on local weather radar.
  • Rotating winds in a tornado can reach 250 mph. Forward progress of funnel clouds can reach 70 mph.
  • The sounds of a tornado can vary from a dull roar to the sound of a waterfall to the stereotypical train-like blast.
  • Tornados can be virtually transparent until they start carrying dust and debris.
  • Most tornados move southwest-to-northeast, but they can move in any direction.
  • No area, despite it history, is “tornado-proof.” Tornados can jump rivers, cut through major cities, and even hit the exact same neighborhood more than once in a few years’ time.
  • Highway underpasses do not make safe shelters in a tornado. Watch this clever safe-shelter video from the Weather Channel to learn the truth.

Watch the Skies

If it is tornado season and the skies darken, keep an eye out for these common warning signs:
  • Storm clouds that are green or greenish-black
  • A wall cloud – basically an isolated portion of a thunderstorm that drops below the rest of the cloud base
  • Clouds of debris
  • Hail
  • Funnel cloud – a portion of a storm base that visibly rotates, either above or on the ground
Also, know your community’s early warning system (a siren, for example). As an added measure, you can follow up-to-the-minute storm activity anywhere in the country at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Storm Prediction Center.

Gather supplies

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends that you keep the following on hand in a disaster supply kit:
  • First aid kit, including prescription drugs
  • Three-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day) and non-perishable food
  • One blanket or sleeping bag per person
  • Emergency-tools, including a flashlight, battery-powered radio, and extra batteries
  • Extra keys, cash, credit cards, ID cards and driver’s licenses
  • Special items for babies or elderly family members
Also, check out the Red Cross Tornado Information Page.

Find a Safe Place to Shelter

Find a safe room in your home where everyone, including pets, can gather.  The best place is a storm cellar or basement room situated to the north and east. If no cellar or basement is available, find an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows. No trailer home is safe in a tornado. In addition, the Red Cross, FEMA and other organizations recommend that families practice tornado drills so that everyone in the house knows what to do if a tornado hits. They also recommend preparing for high winds by removing loose, diseased or damaged limbs from nearby trees, and moving trash cans, furniture or any other household items that a tornado can pick up and rocket into your house. For more information, see this tornado safety checklist. Remember – tornados can hit anywhere, anytime. The key to surviving one is knowing what to look for, what to have on hand, and where to seek shelter when storms get nasty. download the free Emergency Response Plan guide.  


 

10 Things to do Before, During and After a Power Failure

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

power outagePower outages are hazards of home dwellers everywhere. An outage can result from a variety of causes, including storm damage and construction activity, especially where electrical wires are exposed above ground. Most outages are short-lived, and a power loss of two hours or less won’t ruin perishable foods. However, in the event of an extended outage, as with most things, the better you prepare, the easier you’ll get through it. Consult the following checklist to know what to do before, during and after the electricity goes out.

Before power goes out

First and foremost, prepare an emergency kit. Every home should have an emergency preparedness kit to meet the needs of family members for at least three days. Items to have for an outage include:
  • Flashlights and batteries for every family member
  • Extra batteries
  • Battery-powered radio and clock
  • Bottled water
  • Canned food
  • Manual can opener
  • First-aid kit
  • Sternos or similar heat source for cooking
Backup candles and matches should also be on your list of emergency items to keep on hand, but use caution with the open candle flame to avoid starting a fire. Get a landline and at least one traditional wall phone. Even when power fails, phone service usually continues. Make sure you have at least one traditional, corded wall phone, without a powered base, that will work even when the rest of your electronics are down. Have the number to your power company’s emergency line written on it or near it. Get to know your circuit box. If you’re not familiar with your home’s circuit box and its location already, there’s no time like the present. Practice re-setting switches, and know what they look like when tripped. If there’s not a listing already, complete a full listing of which circuit breaker powers which room. Depending upon its age, the box may use fuses, which you’ll need to learn how to change, and make sure you keep extras on hand. It’s also a good idea to know the location of your main water shutoff [link to flood prevention blog], in the event of bursting pipes. A roll of duct can prove handy in the event of leaks. If you rely on electrical life-support or other medical equipment, be sure to check with your doctor or equipment supplier about emergency power sources and battery packs. In remote areas that may suffer outages of a week or more, you may consider investing in a gas-powered generator. See below for safe generator usage. In advance of an oncoming storm, or scheduled construction outage, you may consider turning your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings. Just put a sticky note on the door to remind you to return them to normal.

When the power goes

When the house goes dark, your preparation will prove invaluable in helping everyone remain calm. Your first job is identifying the source of the outage. If streetlights and neighbors’ lights are out as well, it’s not rocket science to figure out your neighborhood, at least, is experiencing a blackout. Call your power company’s dedicated number to report outages. You may get an automated response listing areas with reported outages and estimated time of restoration. If power has not been cut due to lack of payment, it’s off to check the circuit box. Reset any tripped switches or replace any blown fuses. Otherwise, check outside to see if there’s construction work or some other digging that may be the cause. Next unplug refrigerators and other appliances and electronic gear such as computers and televisions to prevent damage from an electrical overload when power is restored. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Food in the freezer can stay frozen for two to four days. During an extended power outage, you can use blocks of dry ice, if available. Use dairy and cooked items first, and discard after them after couple of days. For more information, visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Use extreme caution when using alternative heating or cooking sources. Never use camp stoves, charcoal-burning grills or propane/kerosene heaters indoors. And do not use gas stovetops or ovens as heat sources. They all pose risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. If you have a generator, plug appliances directly into it. Connecting the generator directly to your home’s electrical system can send power up the line and kill a utility repairman working to restore power. Make sure to place the generator outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. More than 400 people die each year from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Be on the lookout for symptoms including headache, dizziness, nausea, chest pain, and confusion. Never refuel a generator while it’s running.

After power is restored

When the lights come back on, the first thing to do is inspect your freezer and especially refrigerator. If you detect any malodor or mold, it’s time for a good cleaning with a mold and mildew remover. In the event of leaking, be sure clean the gaskets. If you lowered the settings prior to a storm, be sure to reset them to normal. If outage was caused by storm, it’s wise to check your home exterior and yard for any damage. Make sure there are no hanging branches or uprooted trees that may pose danger. Your final duty is replenishing your emergency kit including food items and batteries. Make sure to store it in an easily accessible area that will remain dry. Note to get an extra amount of any items that ran short. Then pat yourself on the back for making sure you and your loved ones are ready in the event of another power outage. Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net Free Disaster Planning Checklist  


 

9 Things to Know About Your Homeowner’s Insurance

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

homeowners insuranceYour home, your castle, your escape from the world. It’s also, almost certainly, the single largest investment you’ll ever make, by far. Thus your homeowner’s insurance policy is of vital importance, and usually required by the lender. Homeowner’s plans vary, but no matter your neighborhood or locality, sufficient protection includes four components:

Coverage of structure

The most important part of any policy, coverage of structure applies to damage to your home itself from fire, storms, vandalism and other disasters (save exceptions listed below). Protection usually applies to other structures on your property such as a storage shed or detached garage. Insurers typically offer coverage for as little as ten percent of the cost to rebuild. A word to the wise: make sure you have coverage for 100 percent of the cost to rebuild. In the event your home is destroyed, for instance burning to the ground, you’re protected. To determine the right amount of coverage, get an estimate from a builder, or figure it out yourself with the calculator at Building-Cost.net.

Coverage of contents

Most policies will cover the value of your personal belonging from theft or damage due to fire, storms and covered disasters. The typical coverage limit is 50 percent of the coverage value of the structure. So if your rebuilding coverage is $200,000, then your contents coverage can’t exceed $100,000. If you have expensive artwork or other significant valuables, you’ll likely need a separate policy to cover them. To help you determine the replacement value of your home’s contents, make a detailed list of all your belongings – furniture, jewelry, clothing, tools, computers, appliances, electronics and other items of value. A good idea is to take pictures of major belongings and store them in a separate location. Having photos will be a big help when filing replacement claims.

Liability protection

Your policy should also cover any damage to your neighbors’ home, for instance if your son breaks a window with a baseball. This protection extends to personal liability in the event a visitor is injured on your property. They can usually submit any medical bills directly to your insurer. In the event someone files suit, liability coverage pays for legal fees and any court awards, up to your policy limit. Experts recommend at least $300,000 of liability coverage. Most insurers will offer coverage starting at $100,000.

Living expenses reimbursement

In the event you and your family are displaced due to fire or other damage to your home, coverage for living expenses will pay for hotel bills, restaurant tabs, rental cars and other associated costs while repairs are underway. While the huge majority of insurance needs are covered above, it should be noted that most policies do not cover the following:

Flooding

While most policies cover water damage from storms and bursting pipes, as a rule they do not cover damage due to water flowing into the home from rising riverbanks or broken levees and dams. If you live at or near the waterline or in an area at risk of flash floods, you’ll need to get flood insurance provided by the National Flood Insurance Program.

Earthquakes

That’s right, among “acts of god” clauses in most policies, earthquakes are not covered. To cover shakers and tremblers, you’ll need an extra policy. Prices vary widely based on location and age of structure. Deductibles are usually based on a percentage of structure value, rather than a fixed amount.

Trampolines

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, trampoline accidents account for over 90,000 emergency room visits each year. Most insurance companies refuse to cover injuries suffered due to trampolines, and some will refuse coverage altogether if one is on the property.

“Aggressive” dog breeds

Justified or not, most insurers will exclude coverage of injuries due to dog bites from breeds identified as “aggressive,” such as Pit Bulls, protection that would usually apply under most liability policies. These lists comprise breeds with the most reported bites annually and they change each year. News reports and popular culture also are influencers. Dobermans were the feared breed decades ago, verses Rottweilers and “Pitties” today.

War

Whether nuclear, biological or conventional, insurers recognized a long time ago that warfare in any form is uninsurable. However, unless specifically excluded, most policies do cover home damage from acts of terrorism. In fact some states, including Florida, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Texas, prohibit insurers from excluding terrorism. For more information on insurance and other home-related issues, consult the Homeowners’ Resources page at USA.gov. LDR Construction Services, Inc. Cleaning & Restoration has proudly served all of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin since 1991. LDR specializes in the complete repair of fire, smoke, wind, water and vandalism damage to both commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. For more information, visit www.ldr4service.com or call 1-888-874-7066. Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net Download your free home disaster planning eBook  


 

How an Emergency Response Plan Speeds Flooded Basement Cleanup

Friday, February 8th, 2013

water damage restoration planWhen the forecast calls for a wintery mix, one thing is for certain ­– sloppy, late winter snowstorms will soon give way to spring showers and thunderstorms. All that water has to go somewhere and that can be bad news for property owners who may end up a flooded basement.

Water Damage is an Emergency

Quick response is critical when removing water in the basement. Water remaining on building materials for more than 24 hours can compromise structural components such as drywall, insulation, flooring, and even ceilings, to the point that it might be necessary to remove them completely. Water damage not addressed within 72 hours can contribute to mold growth. The damp, dark environment of a flooded basement is an ideal environment for mold to easily take hold and grow in as little as 24 to 48 hours. Dealing with water issues within 16 hours can result in very minimal structural damage, and can save the property owner substantial repair costs, reducing the overall inconvenience to the tenant. Responding to water in the basement within the first 24 hours is key to reducing losses. Cleaning up a flooded basement within 8 to 16 hours can reduce drying time by one day, and significantly reduce structural damage due to water damage.

Emergency Response Minimizes Disaster Recovery

As the saying goes, “time is money.” When it comes to business, every hour that a business is closed because of water damage, mold remediation, or other damage or catastrophe, is revenue lost.

Fact: 25% of businesses that close because of a disaster never reopen, and a staggering 80% of businesses that do not recover within one month are likely to go out of business.

Emergency services performed by a professional restoration company are restorative actions taken to minimize further damage to the structure. This applies to disasters from various causes. Losses that can happen daily include:
  • Water damage from an overflowing toilet
  • Fire sprinkler malfunction
  • Flood
  • Roof leak
  • Sewer backup
Less frequent catastrophic events may include fire and smoke damage, or property damage from powerful storms like tornados, severe thunderstorms or storm surge.

Emergency Response Priority Program

An Emergency Response Priority Program, (ERPP), like the free program offered by LDR Cleaning and Restoration, speeds emergency response and recovery time after a disaster. Here’s how an Emergency Response Priority Program works:
  1. Property manager/owner enrolls in the program and completes the pre-approval forms and property tour.
  2. Each property is assigned an ERP Priority Customer number
  3. Property personnel receive ERPP member cards with their priority customer number and emergency phone numbers
  4. In the event of an emergency, property personnel simply calls the dedicated phone number, provides their ERPP number
  5. Crew is dispatched immediately
After enrolling in the ERPP program, members fill out the necessary forms and paperwork and response crews conduct tours of the properties to be covered in the program. From these tours, critical information, such as building locations, insurance and billing information, special instruction, emergency equipment needs, phone numbers and other contact information, is collected and stored in a secure database. Completing these time-consuming tasks in advance, and pre-arranging the response to any disaster, minimizes business interruption should an incident occur. Perhaps the most immediate benefit ERPP members receive is the priority, VIP service they receive. For example, in winter months, many professional emergency restoration companies are busy with basements flooded from burst frozen pipes. They may receive as many as 40 calls in a day for emergency mitigation services. Most cases are placed on a waiting list until the next available crew can be dispatched. But calls from ERPP members are moved to the top of the queue for the next available service unit. Regardless of the cause of the damage, fast response to the emergency will minimize further damage and speed disaster recovery. Having a current emergency response plan is and important first step to being prepared. LDR Construction Services, Inc. Cleaning & Restoration has proudly served all of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin since 1991. LDR specializes in the complete repair of fire, smoke, wind, water and vandalism damage to both commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. For more information, visit www.ldr4service.com or call 1-888-874-7066. Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net download the free Emergency Response Plan guide.  


 

Emergency Preparedness: (Easily) Take a Home Inventory

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

cloud storageCabinets crammed with bank account and credit records. Cardboard boxes stuffed with years of tax statements. Hard drives maxed out with family photos, videos, music and more. In the day-to-day business of life, some stuff needs to be kept within arm’s reach. Other items are rarely used but take up valuable space because they may be needed…someday. If clutter is an issue, one thing is clear: Important paperwork and electronic files should be safeguarded from worst-case scenarios such as fire, flood, theft and the inevitable computer crash. In our free ebook, "Emergency Preparedness: It’s Your Business," one modern option is off-site storage using a Web-based file-hosting service where important information will remain secure, yet easily accessible. Online file storage is rapidly gaining popularity and replacing traditional backup drives, discs and even the trusty ol’ fireproof safe. In fact, Gartner, Inc. (a leading information technology research company) predicts that by 2016, a third of consumers’ digital content will be stored “in the cloud.” Apart from the virtual safekeeping of your records and memorabilia, online file storage serves double duty as insurance home inventory—ideal for speeding up the claim settlement process. The philosophy behind emergency preparedness is to help you get on with life as smoothly as possible, right? So in the event of a disaster such as a fire, for example, providing your adjustor with a handy digital catalog of your belongings makes the whole deal faster, more accurate and infinitely less stressful.

What should be included in a home inventory?

Creating a home inventory involves going through your residence room by room—don’t forget the attic, basement and garage—and making a list of the items of value in each space, their quantity and approximate value. It helps tremendously to dig deep and find a receipt for as many possessions as possible. A suggested checklist includes:
  • Antiques/collectibles
  • Appliances
  • Clothing
  • Electronics
  • Garden tools
  • Hobby supplies
  • Home office furnishings
  • Luxury items: jewelry, china, silver, crystal, furs
  • Sports equipment
  • Power tools
And more... While taking inventory, grab your smart phone and snap a photo of each item because it’s preferred to have a physical checklist plus visual images. Some larger insurance companies provide free, interactive home inventory tools for their clients—just plug in your info and go! Tools are also available for download including Handy Scanner, Google Docs, and iTrackMine, just to scratch the surface. Whatever method you choose, it couldn’t be easier today to create your home inventory and upload it all safely to that big, fluffy storage space in the sky. LDR Construction Services, Inc. Cleaning & Restoration has proudly served all of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin since 1991. LDR specializes in the complete repair of fire, smoke, wind, water and vandalism damage to both commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. For more information, visit www.ldr4service.com or call 1-888-874-7066. Image courtesy of kangshutters / FreeDigitalPhotos.net download the free Emergency Response Plan guide.  


 

After the Fire: Smart Steps Toward Fire Damage Restoration

Friday, January 11th, 2013

fire damageThe hours, days and weeks following a fire in your home or business can be simply overwhelming. Surrounded by your soot-covered and flame-damaged possessions, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture: As long as everyone got out—thanks to proper disaster planning and preparation—everything else is just stuff. But once the smoke clears, you will need to deal with that stuff, and the sooner the better. From the get-go, it’s imperative to stay organized amidst the chaos of your scorched surroundings. A three-ring binder with pockets is your new best friend. Take notes on every conversation and online correspondence with your insurance company and restoration professionals, because in any stressful situation, miscommunication can happen. Save all receipts and original documents; only give photocopies upon request. Binder in hand, your first call should be to your insurance agent. Not only is it required that you file your claim as soon as possible, it is also in your best interest. At this time, you’ll be asked to submit a proof of loss claim. The sooner you get the ball rolling, the sooner an insurance adjustor will arrive at your door to begin assessing damage. A reputable local cleaning and restoration team should be next on your call list. If you can find one that also specializes in professional construction services, you’ll save yourself time, money and headaches. Depending upon the extent of damage, your property will first need to be secured (boarded up, for example), and a high quality restoration team with carpentry skills can perform that service for you. On a side note, be sure to remain vigilant in the days ahead, because a fire-damaged residence or business is an easy target for theft and vandalism. Your restoration team should work with your insurance company to initiate a fire damage recovery plan that includes the complete restoration of your structure. Again, if your team is truly “full service,” the construction side will assess the structural damages while the cleaning and restoration specialists will work closely with you and your adjustor to determine which of your possessions can be cleaned…and which need to be inventoried for replacement. Often these services can be provided on site, but in the event that your contents have to be removed, make sure your team also offers the capability to electronically inventory, package, transport and store your belongings in a safe, heated facility. Now that you know the initial steps of the fire damage recovery process, here are a few tips on what NOT to do before the pros arrive:
  • Do not wipe or attempt to wash fire residue from walls, ceilings, or other absorbent surfaces
  • Do not use carpeting or upholstered furniture impacted by heavy smoke residues or debris
  • Do not use food items or canned goods exposed to heat
  • Do not turn on computers, televisions, stereos or electrical appliances until they have been professionally cleaned and checked
With preparation, resources and trusted professionals in place—plus a healthy dose of patience and perspective, after the fact—you and your family or co-workers will make it through the process of fire damage recovery. LDR Construction Services, Inc. Cleaning & Restoration has proudly served all of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin since 1991. LDR specializes in the complete repair of fire, smoke, wind, water and vandalism damage to both commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. For more information, visit www.ldr4service.com or call 1-888-874-7066. Image courtesy of twobee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net download the free Emergency Response Plan guide.  


 

Illinois:

Alden, Ashton, Belvidere, Burlington, Byron, Caledonia, Capron, Chemung, Cherry Valley, Dakota, Davis, Davis Junction, DeKalb, Dixon, Durand, Elburn, Forreston, Franklin Grove, Freeport, Garden Prairie, Genoa, Hampshire, Harvard, Hebron, Hillcrest, Hinckley, Huntley, Kingston, Kirkland, Lake Summerset, Leaf River, Lily Lake, Loves Park, Machesney Park, Malta, Maple Park, Marengo, Merideth, Monroe Center, Mt. Morris, New Milford, Oregon, Pecatonica, Poplar Grove, Rochelle, Rock Falls, Rockford, Rockton, Roscoe, Shabbona, South Beloit, Sterling, Steward, Stillman Valley, Sycamore, Waterman, Winnebago, and Woodstock

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