Recent Posts

Well I Guess My Pipes Froze This Winter

2/26/2020 (Permalink)

ice covered pipe Frozen Pipes Can Be a Hidden Surprise.

You’ve made it to the end of another winter of cold long nights.  You didn’t have to call out SERVPRO because you took care of the snow on your roof and stopped the ice dam build up.  You kept the heat in the house above 55 degrees all winter and turned off your water when you went on that tropical vacation in January.

It’s time to start the clean up the spring and summer seasons.  You hook up your hose to your pressure washer to clean the winter grime off your gutters and eaves.  Pull the trigger on the pressure washer and, nothing happens.  That’s when you realize that you don’t have any water pressure, but where is the water going. 

You turn off the outside facet and run downstairs, to find that water has been running into you finished man cave basement.  The one thing you didn’t check was the pipe running to that outside facet, and you may have forgotten to open the facet to run the rest of the water out of it when you shut the source off.  It’s pretty common and we aren’t surprised that it happened, we get quite a few calls at SERVPRO in the spring in early summer about this exact same thing. 

Please follow our page, as we continue to explore the benefits of mitigation, and how this approach helps both your clients and your business. Please call us with any questions you have, 715-381-2266. Visit our site: SERVPRO of The Saint Croix Valley

Tis the Melting Season

2/24/2020 (Permalink)

A roof damaged by ice dams While they might be pleasing to the eye, ice dams can be very destructive to property.

With temperatures over 40 degrees this weekend, we are reminded of the approach of spring, and with that, winter run off.  What have you done to prepare your home for the winter melt?  If you remember last year in the Saint Croix Valley region, the spring brought rivers running over their banks, parking lots flooding, businesses, schools and home basements filling with water.  Now with last year’s crazy weather, there wasn’t much you could do to combat the flooding.  On a more manageable year like the winter we’ve had, there are a few things you can do. 

First, way back in the fall you should have clear your gutters on the roof out one more time, once the leaves were off the trees.  This allows for the roof snow to melt off and drain properly, avoiding water running over the sides and pooling next to your house’s foundation.  Throughout the winter it’s a good idea to rake the snow off your roof as well, this will help avoid ice dams on your roof.  This will also help with the flow of water once the roof snow starts to melt.

Around the foundation of your house you will want to shovel the snow away and make sure that melting snow flows away from your home.  If you do all of this, and mother nature still decides to not play nice, SERVPRO of The Saint Croix Valley will be here to help, make it like it never even happened. 

Please follow our page, as we continue to explore the benefits of mitigation, and how this approach helps both your clients and your business. Please call us with any questions you have, 715-381-2266. Visit our site: SERVPRO of The Saint Croix Valley

Your Client Has A Property Lost – What Now? 1-4-8 Response Time

1/13/2020 (Permalink)

In last week’s article we discussed the potential cost benefits of using a remediation company, what that mean.  So, you have a client call in with a loss.  That’s when our 1-4-8 service guarantee kicks in.  Within 1 hour of receiving notice of loss your client will be contacted to determine scope of loss.  Within 4 hours of that notice we will have boots on the ground to visual determine the scope and begin necessary work to mitigate further loss.  By the 8th hour, we will have spoken with you and your client to provide an update on how the course of action will proceed.  Response time in any loss, be it fire, water, etc is critical, when trying to salvage both building and personal materials.  That’s why we are faster to any size disaster.   

Please follow our page, as we continue to explore the benefits of mitigation, and how this approach helps both your clients and your business. Please call us with any questions you have, 715-381-2266. Visit our site: SERVPRO of The Saint Croix Valley

We Had _________ Happen To Our Place of Business, What Now!

1/10/2020 (Permalink)

Every business owner’s worst nightmare is something happening to the physical location of their company.  The place where your inventory, records, or employees report for work each day.  In a digital age, the brick and mortar location is still an important element of many companies.  What happens when a sprinkler head breaks, or that bag of popcorn in the breakroom microwave catches on fire?  Most businesses need to be in their facilities to conduct business, what’s your plan to get back into your building after an accident.

70% of businesses that go through some sort of disaster do not reopen.  Of the 30% that do reopen, half had emergency readiness plans in place.  It is hard enough to reopen a business after a loss, have you improved your odds by having a plan in place.  If not, SERVPRO of the Saint Croix Valley can help put one in place.  Our complimentary program, compiles the emergency contacts, shut offs and service entrances throughout the building.  Along with any other information of value, to first responders or employees.  The information is kept both in a hard copy, as well as, a mobile app on key employees’ phones.  Faster response times are always critical in any emergency situation. 

For our commercial insurance partners, teaming with SERVPRO to provide this plan is a fantastic way to give additional value and protection to your clients.  Reach out today to schedule a time to put your plan into place.

Please follow our page, as we continue to explore the benefits of mitigation, and how this approach helps both your clients and your business. Please call us with any questions you have, 715-381-2266. Visit our site: SERVPRO of The Saint Croix Valley

Why is it important to know where the water shut is?

1/3/2020 (Permalink)

The Importance of Main House Water Shut Off Valves

As a homeowner, it's essential to know where the main water shut off valve is located. Water leaks from running toilets, burst pipes, broken water heaters, and even leaky sinks can cause significant damage in a short amount of time. In order to prevent costly damage, turn off the water supply as soon as a leak, flood, or spill occurs.

When Do I Need to Shut Off My Main Water Line?

Typically, you won't have to go directly to the main water line to fix a leak. Instead, your first attempt at stopping your water supply should be straight at the source. Most local supply lines have valves located directly behind or above the fixture and can be turned clockwise to shut off the water supply.

To locate water valves next to specific fixtures in your home, use these tips:

  • For sinks, look under the cabinet on the supply lines leading to the faucet. There will likely be two shut-off valves to control both cold and hot water.
  • For toilets, look close to the ground behind or beside the toilet, along the flexible metal tubing leading to the tank.
  • For washing machines, look either directly above the washer or pull the machine away from the wall and check behind it.
  • For water heaters, the water valve should be located just above the heater itself.

If the leaky fixture's valves aren't working or break off, turn off your main water line right away. Acting fast could save you plenty in damages and repair costs.

How Do I Find My Main House Water Shut Off Valve?

The main water line valve to a house is usually located in the basement or in the crawlspace and enclosed behind an access panel. However, there isn't a standard location specified in any home.

If you don't know where to look for your water shut off valve, use these tips:

  • The valve will often be located on-grade, so you'll likely find it at floor-level in the basement or near the ground on the first floor.
  • Take a look at the property inspection report provided when you purchased your home. This report should note the location of the valve.

Maintaining Your Water Valves

At SERVPRO of The Saint Croix Valley, we know how terrifying it can be to try shutting off your supply lines just to see the valves stick in place – or worse, snap off in your hands. That's why we recommend periodically checking your shut off valves to ensure they're in good working condition.

At least twice a year, test all the valves in your home. Simply turn them completely off and on again to ensure they aren't stuck in place or include faulty parts. That way, if an emergency ever does occur, you can have peace of mind that you'll be able to fix the problem quickly and efficiently.

If the unexpected happens and you aren’t able to shut off your water valves in time, call on the experts at SERVPRO of THE SAINT CROIX VALLEY. Our water damage restoration services can help you get your home back to normal as quickly as possible. With the proper tools and knowledge, we'll work fast and efficiently to prevent additional water damage, cleanup costs, and overall stress.

Why Fire Safety Training Matters for Your Company

12/10/2019 (Permalink)

Even if your office is fully stocked with alarms, sprinklers, and extinguishers, these safety measures are less effective if your workforce doesn’t understand emergency procedures. By implementing routine fire drills and training from a professional, you’ll prepare all your employees to stay safe during an emergency. Here is more information about why fire safety maintenance is necessary.

How Should Your Employees Be Trained for Fire Safety?          

To contain small fires, such as microwave accidents, every employee should know how to use a fire extinguisher. A brief training demonstration could save your company from costly property damage and potential staff endangerment. For larger fires that can’t be eliminated with an extinguisher, everyone should know the quickest way to evacuate the building.

To prevent injuries, you must undergo fire drills, which will force your staff to act like an emergency is occurring in your building. Every employee should move quickly toward the nearest exit, helping those who may have limited mobility. By teaching your workforce to act calmly under pressure, you’ll minimize the chances of chaotic rushing that could lead to trampling.

Most importantly, having an evacuation plan is required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and nearly all businesses should have regular fire drills as per the state of Wisconsin fire code. A professional will help you comply with the law.

Breaking Through The Panic When You Need Water Damage Restoration

12/6/2019 (Permalink)

You were just relaxing at home when all of a sudden, there was a loud clunk and then a rushing sound as water began to pour into your basement. Maybe the rains came and didn’t stop for so long that the ground became saturated and water seeped into your living room. It could have been an unnoticed leak behind the walls, or even improperly sealed doors. But whatever the cause of unwanted moisture in your home, the result is the same – water damage that destroys property and creates a breeding ground for all sorts of nasty stuff.

When this happens, we feel panic because the water needs to be stopped and removed as quickly as possible to minimize the damage. The longer it sits around – or worse, continues to flow – the more significant the health hazards.

We know it’s an insane time, but we’re here to help guide you through the process, from important first steps to finding and engaging excellent water damage restoration services. Take a deep breath, center yourself, and then get started. The following steps will prepare you to safely address water damage in your home.

Stop or contain the flow of water if possible 

If the cause is a burst pipe, locate the main water valve and turn it off. This is also helpful if you have a leaky pipe that is merely dripping, but if it is in an accessible area, you can choose to catch the drops in a bucket rather than cut off water to the entire home. If you’ve had a flood, discover where most of the water is entering and try to divert the flow with strategically placed sandbags.

Turn off electricity 

When you have standing water, it can be a good safety precaution to cut power to the affected areas of the home. Before you step into any standing water, check to see if electricity is flowing through it by lightly grazing the water with the back of your hand. If you feel any tingling at all, evacuate the home and call for emergency services. You may also want to have an electrician come to check out the system before turning the power back on.

Call a reputable water damage restoration company 

The best companies are ones that are available 24/7 to assess the damage, quote a price for necessary services, and schedule the work to be done quickly. If there has been flooding in the area, the most reliable providers will get booked up fast, so get on their schedule as soon as possible. Also beware of companies that spring up overnight after natural disasters; they are likely not prepared or qualified to perform the work.

Deal with the standing water 

Bailing out standing water and overseeing the drying process is part of the package that your water damage restoration company will offer you. If you want to get started right away, you can begin removing standing water with a wet/dry vacuum or with buckets. However, flood waters are often contaminated with dangerous germs and the collected water needs to be dumped carefully so that it doesn’t flow back into your home. For these reasons, it may be best to wait for the professionals. If you do decide to begin the work yourself, be sure to wear protective gear.

Increase the ventilation

Good air flow is critical for drying out a home that has been flooded. If it’s not raining, open the windows to release moisture as it evaporates. If you still have power, run multiple fans as well as a dehumidifier. The more air you can move through the area, the faster it will dry. Don’t worry about this too much if you don’t have power – your water damage experts will have a plan for ventilation.

Remove wet possessions

It is likely that certain possessions will be destroyed by the water, especially things made of paper. If you have important files that got wet, each page should be laid out separately to dry. Though they will be warped and wrinkled, you may still be able to read the information. Books should be thrown away as water can remain trapped in the bindings and easily grow mold. 

Items made of metal dry quickly but may later rust around joints, and wooden items will have to be assessed after drying to determine if they are still structurally sound. Cloth that can be washed and dried, either on a line or in the dryer, should be safe to keep.

Relax and wait for help

The days or possibly weeks ahead will be stressful, especially if you have to vacate your home during repairs. Even if you can stay home, water damage restoration can be disruptive to your routine. Once you have done all you can to salvage as many possessions as possible, take some time to rest and recuperate. Take the family out for a comforting meal or snuggle together in one room to read. If you’ve had to leave home, enjoy the amenities offered by your hotel. Family bonding is one bright side to a disaster situation.

If you have experienced water damage, you know it is a serious hassle to manage. There will be time, money, and possessions lost in the effort to recover. Just try not to panic as that can freeze you in your tracks when time is of the essence. It’s also really important that you do engage a water damage restoration firm to make your home safe again. Dangerous mold grows easily in areas that have been flooded, and certain structures including support beams and drywall can become unsound. The whole situation stinks, but rest assured that there are qualified professionals in your area that can help make your house a home again.  

Weathering the storm: how your business can mitigate natural disasters

12/6/2019 (Permalink)

2017 was the seventh most active hurricane season in the historical record dating to 1851 and was the most active season since 2005.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting a lot of activity this hurricane season, with as many as 16 named storms. This follows a historic 2017 hurricane season, which precipitated the most costly year on record for insurers, according to Swiss Re.

A savvy use of technology combined with equally savvy advanced planning can help companies prepare for the worst and expedite their recovery after a storm clears. Technology for storm preparation and recovery is steadily expanding in sophistication and utility, from drones that can navigate the interiors of flooded buildings to artificial intelligence-enabled applications that enhance modeling and speed claims processes.

Claims: The quicker, the better

Whether Fortune 500 firms or small businesses, companies share a common goal when it comes to recovery after a hurricane or other major natural disaster: They want to replace lost inventory, infrastructure, stores, offices and plants; ensure their employees are safe; and get back to normal operations as soon as possible.

Being able to file an advance claim — or, for that matter, help employees begin their own rebuilding process — hinges on how quickly and efficiently companies can gather the information and documentation needed in the chaotic aftermath of a major natural disaster.

In a recent Marsh survey, more than 80 percent of respondents indicated they would consider changing insurers or other advisers based on their ability to provide claims management innovations.

In a recent Marsh survey, more than 80 percent of respondents indicated they would consider changing insurers or other advisers based on their ability to provide claims management innovations.

Leveraging technology, from drones to social media, can be crucial to prioritizing company response actions, speeding up the claims process and getting the money needed to begin rebuilding, while also enabling employees to file their own claims for lost or damaged cars and homes.

Visual intelligence

Visual intelligence made a big difference in accelerating organizations’ recovery after hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria last year. In Houston, one hospital, flooded in the aftermath of Harvey, was able to use drones to capture evidence of the damage the water had wrought, with footage of the waterline along the complex.

In the Florida Keys, a retailer gathered critical information on the condition of its stores by leveraging imagery acquired via fixed-wing aircraft with sensitive imaging technology to document hurricane damage to all of its stores.

The flyovers helped the retailer take stock of the damage at each location and focus its recovery efforts on swiftly reopening undamaged stores while simultaneously directing restoration teams to the one location where Irma had blown the roof off.

The value of drones

Drones, aerial intelligence surveillance reconnaissance (hovering drones), fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters and satellites can gather crucial information from devastated areas far faster than people on the ground. Drones also can save employees or adjusters from having to enter still-hazardous areas and scramble up on rickety roofs and other structures to check damage.

Deploying directly over the top of facilities sometimes can be a cause for concern to risk managers, but 360-degree panoramas developed through the clever processing of drone footage can offer detailed intelligence from a safe distance at the site perimeter.

3D imagery, in turn, provides a far fuller picture of damage than traditional photographic images, while a plane or drone equipped with thermal technology can spot flooding and roof damage at night or when it otherwise might be hard to see.

A plane or drone equipped with thermal technology can spot flooding and roof damage at night or when it otherwise might be hard to see.

And thanks to advances in battery power and operator navigation technology, drones are starting to be used to inspect building interiors. In a recent case in the United Kingdom, a drone was used to inspect the fire-ravaged interior of a commercial building full of high-value machinery, safely performing what otherwise would have been a potentially risky job for an employee or contractor.

Don’t forget public information sources

While drones and other aerial technologies are exciting, companies also can glean crucial intelligence about the condition of their facilities through careful monitoring of public sources of information, such as Twitter, Facebook, other online platforms, and even closed-circuit television cameras.

All of these techniques can help businesses resolve claims, recover from storms and return to normal operations more quickly.

For example, a retailer with a $24 million store loss may be able to get an advance payment of $10 million on undisputed costs if it can show its insurer through video or photographic evidence that a return to work is impossible or that a location is a complete loss.

Is it worth having your own capacity?

As companies consider using visual intelligence technology to gather critical storm damage information, they’ll need to decide whether to hire an outside vendor or build up in-house capabilities. Some companies, especially in the energy sector, have invested heavily in building out their own visual intelligence capabilities.

Hiring seasoned drone pilots or training employees to handle this technology, however, can be an expensive process. Investing in external contractors might be the better course of action so that you can draw on precisely the right technologies and analysis.

If you work with an outside vendor, make sure its personnel are fully versed in regulations and the practical operational requirements for deploying any type of aerial technology in disaster situations, when emergency responders may be controlling airspace. You also may want to consider a vendor’s overseas reach, in case Caribbean territories are once again in the spotlight in 2018.

Working at street level

This survey technology need not be airborne. If streets are passable, then Lidar, a laser scanner system, can be mounted on the roof of a van and instantaneously can take millions of measurements as it drives through a neighborhood to create 3D models. Put on a boat, the same device — coupled with an optical camera — could provide crucial documentation of a flooded neighborhood.

If streets are passable, then Lidar can be mounted on the roof of a van and instantaneously can take millions of measurements as it drives through a neighborhood.

Insurers more often are on the scene with mobile claims units that travel into storm-damaged areas to help homeowners and others file their claims, but they’re using technology in other ways. As some insurers allow customers to process claims via text messaging, email and mobile apps, images of flooded or otherwise damaged homes and cars can give employees stranded in shelters or hotels the ability to start the claims process before they eventually return home.

Similarly, receipts and other documentation can be transmitted digitally. Behind the scenes, sophisticated software and artificial intelligence can help insurers process the incoming data and build the claim file.

Staying in touch with employees

Meanwhile, employers will want to establish a way to communicate vital information to employees after a storm hits and keep tabs on their well-being. Because major hurricanes severely can disrupt communications networks, you’ll want to establish at least three methods through which employees can get the information they need and report back to the company on their status.

One increasingly popular method is to hire a third-party mass notification vendor to handle such critical communications. In the event of a major storm or other emergency, the messaging service will reach out to employees by email, phone and text.

The messages also may ask employees to register whether they are OK. This can provide a quick snapshot on how employees are faring and how many will be able to return to work.

With hurricane season upon us, new technologies can help businesses and individuals better prioritize their efforts, more efficiently collect information in support of claims payments from insurers, and accelerate a return to normal operations.

How Can Wind Mitigation Protect Your Home and Family During Severe Winds?

12/6/2019 (Permalink)

How Can Wind Mitigation Protect Your Home and Family During Severe Winds?

Wind is an unpredictable element that can threaten your home and safety. During periods of high wind, air currents can fluctuate and change directions without warning, placing pressure on all parts of a structure and potentially pulling it apart or lifting it from its foundation. When wind speeds climb, pieces of debris can also become dangerous — crashing into your home with significant force and potentially breaking through it and endangering your loved ones. But there are steps you can take to increase your safety with wind mitigation.

Protect Your Home from Wind Storm Damage

Traditional Homes

  • Keep your home firmly anchored in high winds, have anchor bolts with heavy-gauge, square bolt washers installed to connect your floor to the foundation.
  • Reinforce the rest of the frame by connecting wall and floor components with properly installed plywood or oriented strand board (OSB), and attach roof trusses or rafters to the walls with metal connectors.
    • On existing homes, this can be done when replacing siding.

Manufactured Homes

  • Manufactured homes are more prone to damage from high winds as a result of non-permanent foundations.
  • Inspect all straps and tie-downs regularly for rust, weakness or wear, and have repairs made immediately.

Make Your Home Less Vulnerable to Wind Damage

Windows

  • Install windows rated for the wind speeds in your region.
  • For the best protection in hurricane-prone areas, install impact-resistant permanent shutters that meet applicable building code approved standards.

Doors

  • To better resist wind pressure and flying debris, make sure your entry doors are solid wood or hollow metal.
  • All entry doors should have three hinges and a dead bolt lock with at least a one-inch bolt throw length.
  • Door framing should be securely anchored to the wall structure using fasteners that are at least three inches long.
  • If you have double-entry doors, secure the inactive door with head and foot bolts that extend through the door header and into the subfloor.
  • Patio doors should be made of impact-resistant safety glass.
  • Shuttering doors offers extra protection.

Garage Doors

  • Install doors rated for the wind speeds in your region.
  • If building a new home in a hurricane-prone area, consider installing horizontally braced, single-wide garage doors instead of double-wide doors.
  • For existing homes, check with your garage door manufacturer for availability of retrofit bracing kits.
  • Be aware that your garage door panels, especially if double-wide, may require both horizontal and vertical bracing to ensure stability.
  • You can also protect your garage door with a shutter or screen rated for wind pressure and debris impact.

Roofing

  • Strong winds can cause shingles to peel off, especially if edge shingles are not well secured or the adhesive on their tabs has failed.
    • A roofing professional can evaluate your roof, and if needed, additional roofing cement can be added under each tab to help keep the shingles attached during a high-wind event.
  • The shingles should be attached to roof decking of solid 5/8' thick plywood.
  • The roof decking should be attached to the roof framing using 8d ring shank nails, and a secondary water barrier created by installing self-adhering flashing tape over the joints in the roof deck.
  • For greater resistance to wind uplift, apply a bead of construction adhesive along both sides of the intersection between the roof decking and the rafters or trusses; your roofing professional can provide you with information about additional safeguards.

Soffits

  • To help anchor the soffits, the exposed siding under your roof rafters to your home, have a professional apply a bead of polyurethane sealant between the wall and the trim into which the soffit panels are inserted.
  • You can also apply a dollop of caulk in the V-shaped hole where the joint between two soffit panels meets the trim.

Safe Rooms

  • Designate a place in your home that will protect your family from injuries caused by broken windows and flying debris.
  • The basement is often the best location for a safe room; otherwise, locate the room on the interior, ground floor of your home.
  • An experienced contractor can equip your safe room with reinforced floors, walls and ceilings, regardless of whether you have a new or existing home.

Landscaping

  • Avoid using gravel or rock landscaping materials, which can be hazardous when airborne. Shredded bark can be an attractive and less dangerous alternative.
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) broadcasts official Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To tune into these NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) broadcasts, you’ll need an NOAA Weather Radio Receiver. These are available at many retail outlets.

When preparing your home for seasonal winds, it's also important to review your insurance coverage.

7 Must-Have Items For Your Storm Emergency Kit

12/6/2019 (Permalink)

7 Must-Have Items For Your Storm Emergency Kit

When it comes to hurricanes and tornadoes, you can't be too prepared. Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 to November 30, and while tornadoes can occur any time of the year, peak season is May and early June for the Southern Plains, early spring for the Gulf Coast, and June and July in the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest. No matter where you live, it's never too early to gather supplies and put together your storm emergency kit. Use these helpful hacks to create your own storm emergency kit with items you probably already have around your house.

  1. The Basics: Of course, no hurricane emergency kit would be complete without first-aid supplies, personal medications, non-perishable food for a minimum of three-to-five days (including baby formula), clean water, toilet paper, soap, emergency blankets, matches, and a flashlight with extra batteries. These are also the first to fly off the shelves as soon as a hurricane watch is issued.

    Pro Tip:Make sure to include a manual can opener in your kit for your non-perishable food items.
  1. Bleach: You should have at least a gallon of clean water per person per day for three-to-five days in your emergency kit. But if you're running low on clean drinking water and can't boil any, the CDCrecommends that you use unscented household bleach as a method of water purification. Add one-eighth of a teaspoon of unscented bleach to a gallon of water, mix it well, and let it stand for at least 30 minutes before drinking.

    Pro Tip:Do not use bleach that is six months or older, and be sure to open windows or doors to get fresh air when using bleach.
  1. Goggles, Work Gloves and Breathing Masks: If you have damage during a hurricane or tornado, this protective gear will come in handy during cleanup. It can help keep you from being contaminated by exposure to harmful materials like lead, asbestos, cement, or mold.
  1. Trash Bags: There are several ways that trash bags can come in handy during a hurricane or tornado emergency. In addition to their obvious function, you can wear trash bags as rain ponchos, use them as temporary tarps, or to collect rainwater. And since they don't have an expiration date, you can stock up.
  1. NOAA Weather Radio (NWR): A battery-powered All Hazards NOAA Radio is a must-have in a weather emergency. With over 1000 stations across the 50 states4, it provides 24/7 live updates from the National Weather Service on weather and emergency information. You can also get live updates from the NWR on the FEMA app, but only if you have cell service and a charged battery.

    Pro Tip:Don't wait until a storm emergency to buy a NWR receiver, because that's when stores sell out. If you can't get a NWR, a hand crank or battery-powered radio with extra batteries works too.
  1. Hand Tools: You probably already have a screwdriver, wrench, and pliers in your home (if not, read 10 Things Every Handy Homeowner's Toolkit Should Have), so you'll want to keep them handy in your emergency kit. You may need a wrench or pliers for turning off utilities, and a screwdriver to remove storm shutters from your windows after a hurricane.

    Pro Tip:Familiarize yourself with your home's utilities and know how to access the water, gas, and power shut-off valves in advance.
  2. Home Inventory:

Creating a list of your belongings is an extremely important step in emergency storm and claims preparedness. Take stock of everything in your home, so you have it documented before a hurricane or tornado is approaching. Having this record will make the claims process much easier if damage occurs.

Now that you know what should be in your emergency storm kit, you can get a head start on stocking yours with the non-perishables and tools you hope you won't need. It'll save you a hectic trip to the store and ensure you’re ready for the next storm that comes your way.