Property Damage & Disaster Restoration Blog: Long Island & New York City

"A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home"

Posted on Wed, Mar 31, 2010 @ 10:00 AM

The recent storms that hit the Northeast have caused major flooding and property damage to homes and businesses. The aftermath of the storms have property owners dealing with mold and moisture issues. 

Mold Basics...

The key to mold control is moisture control.
If mold is a problem is in your home, you should clean up the mold promptly and fix the water problem. It is important to dry water-damaged areas within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth. 

  

Why is mold growing in my home?

Molds are part of the natural environment.  Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but indoors, mold growth should be avoided.  Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air.  Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet.  There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture.

Can mold cause health problems?

Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing.  Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins).  Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.  Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold are common.  They can be immediate or delayed.  Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people.  Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold.  Research on mold and health effects is ongoing.  This brochure provides a brief overview; it does not describe all potential health effects related to mold exposure. For more detailed information consult a health professional.  You may also wish to consult your state or local health department.

How do I get rid of mold?

It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors; some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust.  The mold spores will not grow if moisture is not present.  Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors.  If there is mold growth in your home, you must clean up the mold and fix the water problem.  If you clean up the mold, but don't fix the water problem, then, most likely, the mold problem will come back.

 

Mold Tips: 

Fix plumbing leaks and other water problems as soon as possible.  Dry all items completely.

Scrub mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water, and dry completely.

Absorbent or porous materials, such as ceiling tiles and carpet, may have to be thrown away if they become moldy.  Mold can grow on or fill in the empty spaces and crevices of porous materials, so the mold may be difficult or impossible to remove completely.

Avoid exposing yourself or others to mold.

Do not paint or caulk moldy surfaces.  Clean up the mold and dry the surfaces before painting.  Paint applied over moldy surfaces is likely to peel.

If you are unsure about how to clean an item, or if the item is expensive or of sentimental value, you may wish to consult a specialist.  Specialists in furniture repair, restoration, painting, art restoration and conservation, carpet and rug cleaning, water damage, and fire or water restoration are commonly listed in phone books.  Be sure to ask for and check references.  Look for specialists who are affiliated with professional organizations. For more information on mold, visit the EPA website.

Source: Environmental Protection Agency

 

 

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What To Do After a Loss

Posted on Thu, Mar 18, 2010 @ 08:32 AM

Heavy rains and winds pummeled the New York Metro area this past weekend, causing major damage to many homes and businesses. If you experienced property damage, you need to know what to do after a loss. 

If you suffer a loss, the first thing to do is to notify your insurance company or its agent. You can do this by telephone, although it is a good idea to follow up with written notification. Remember, if you give the notice to your broker, rather than directly to the insurance company, you still have a responsibility to make sure that the insurance company receives notice of your claim.

It is also important to notify your insurance company promptly after any incident takes place that might result in a claim at some later date, even though no claim was made at the time the event occurred.

For example, if your dog bites a neighbor or a guest falls on your property, it should be reported to the insurance company even though you don't know whether any claim is actually going to be made against you. Your failure to notify the company promptly might allow it to deny coverage in the event a claim if filed against you at a later date.

It is also important to protect your property against further damages. For example, if the windows are broken, have them boarded up to protect against further vandalism or burglary. The cost of this type of protection is covered by, and would be reimbursed by your insurance company.

However, no permanent repairs should be made until your company or its representative has inspected the property. The company has the right to inspect the property in its damaged state, and can refuse to pay you for any damage that is repaired before inspection.

An adjuster will be sent from your insurance company to examine the damage and give you an estimate of the cost of repairs or replacement. You should also get an estimate from your own contractor to compare with the insurance company's estimate. Your contractor will probably charge a fee for this service but might credit that fee to your bill if you hire that contractor to repair and/or replace your property.

If you need assistance, your agent, broker or insurance company sales representative should help you fill out the claim form and help gather the materials you need to substantiate your loss.

In the event you are unfortunate enough to experience a major loss such as a fire or severe windstorm which has badly damaged or destroyed your home, and you are not in a position to negotiate a settlement with your company, you may want to consult an attorney or call a licensed public adjuster to act on your behalf with your insurance company.

Public adjusters are licensed by the Insurance Department. They represent you and not the insurance company. They will help you in taking inventory of your loss, securing your home from vandalism, contacting your insurance company, advising you on the extent of your coverage and help you secure the services needed to repair or rebuild you home. They will negotiate on your behalf with the adjuster from the insurance company.

A public adjuster may not charge a fee more than 12.5% of the recovery amount and must get a signed compensation agreement from you in which the amount of compensation is clearly stated. Such agreement may be cancelled up to midnight of the third business day after the date on which you have signed the compensation agreement. In addition, public adjusters may not solicit your business between the hours of 6 p.m. and 8 a.m.

Another alternative to consider when an agreement cannot be reached between you and your insurance company is the appraisal process. Every homeowner, tenant, cooperative apartment and condominium policy issued in New York contains a provision whereby you and your company select a competent and disinterested appraiser. The two appraisers, in turn, select an umpire. Each appraiser must evaluate the loss and determine the value of each item. Any disagreements between the appraisers regarding the value of any items are submitted to, and settled by the umpire. The costs of this process are paid by the policyholder and the insurance company.

Source:  NY State Insurance Department

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Do You Have Water or Wind Damage?

Posted on Sun, Mar 14, 2010 @ 10:31 PM

24 Hour Emergency Water Removal, tarping, and Cleanup Services

One of the worst things that can happen is having a pipe break or water heater malfunction that causes a water intrusion to flood your basement or saturate your home or office.  Advanced Restoration's Disaster and Emergency Response Time minimizes  damage that can be caused by a flood.  Our water extraction services have assisted many homes and business throughout Long Island and New York City.  We extract water due to:

Advanced Restoration Corporation  is a DKI Member Company

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Flooding Rains Will Soak New York, New Jersey and Long Island

Posted on Thu, Mar 11, 2010 @ 08:32 PM

March 11 (Bloomberg) -- A slow-moving storm will drop as much as 4 inches (10 centimeters) of rain on New York City starting tonight and lasting until next week, according to the National Weather Service.

Manhattan is forecast to receive about 3.5 inches, while other parts of the city may get a half-inch more, said Joe Pollina, a weather service meteorologist in Upton, New York.

"We do expect some urban flooding," Pollina said by telephone. "The city and parts of Long Island could see ponding on roadways, with roads closed due to flooding."

Flood watches and warnings extend from Long Island to Indiana, according to the weather service. Rivers and streams across the region, including Connecticut, the lower Hudson River valley and New Jersey, could swell their banks, Pollina said.

"It just seems to be a rather slow-moving storm," Pollina said. "It is just hanging around. Rain will start tonight, continuing through Sunday and we even have showers forecast through Monday. It doesn't dry out until Tuesday."

--Editors: Charlotte Porter, David Marino

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at [email protected]

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at [email protected]

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Catastrophe Experts Call for Quick Action on Catastrophe Protection

Posted on Wed, Mar 10, 2010 @ 04:12 PM

Former FEMA Director: The status quo is not acceptable

WASHINGTON, March 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- James Lee Witt, the former Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the current co-chair of ProtectingAmerica.org today urged a subcommittee to the House Financial Services Committee to move quickly to enact legislation that would help American families and communities be better prepared for and protected from the devastation caused by massive natural catastrophes such as earthquakes and hurricanes.

"A catastrophic event, whether an earthquake striking one of our great American cities, or a massive hurricane making landfall near any of the metropolitan areas from New York to Houston, would cause such enormous damage that our economy would be stunned, private resources quickly depleted, and an immediate federal bailout of hundreds of billions of dollars could potentially be required," Mr. Witt stated.  

"The American public has lost its appetite for bailouts.  Clearly the nation, our families and our communities would be better served by a program that uses private insurer dollars to pre-fund coverage for the eventuality of the next massive hurricane or devastating earthquake," Witt said. "There is no place in the country that is immune from catastrophic natural events, and the stakes are higher than ever.  Major cities along the coasts, and throughout the West and Midwest, are threatened by devastating earthquakes or hurricanes.  The human, physical and economic toll that such events would take would be unfathomable," he said.

"To put it simply, the status quo is not acceptable.  There is an urgent need for a comprehensive and integrated program that strengthens America's financial infrastructure, improves mitigation and readiness to prepare and protect our families and communities before and during catastrophe, and creates a privately-funded backstop that assures that resources will be available to rebuild, repair and recover as quickly as possible," Witt said.

Witt testified before the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity and Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises in support of HR 2555, the Homeowners' Defense Act, a bill sponsored by Rep. Ron Klein (D-FL) and more than 70 cosponsors from across the nation.

The bill would provide more protection at lower cost for consumers and provide additional capacity and stability to the market.

The bill would also mandate and help finance enhanced mitigation and prevention through better land use planning, establishment and enforcement of stronger building codes and better education training and equipment for first responders.  

An earlier version of the Homeowners' Defense Act passed the House of Representatives in the last session of Congress by a bipartisan margin of 258-155.

ProtectingAmerica.org is a non-profit organization with over 300 members including the American Red Cross, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, and other emergency responders, emergency management officials, police organizations, Allstate and State Farm Insurance, and large and small businesses.  The organization has more than 20,000 individual members.

ProtectingAmerica.org is co-chaired by James Lee Witt, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Admiral James M. Loy, former deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and former commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard.  

A Nation Exposed

  • Risk experts and modelers suggest that 57 percent of the American public resides in areas that are prone to earthquakes, hurricanes or other disasters.  
  • Twenty states, including Hawaii and every state that borders the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, face the threat of hurricanes every year.
  • The largest earthquake to ever rock the continental U.S. emanated from New Madrid, Missouri in 1811 and affected an area that stretched from Mississippi to Michigan, from Pennsylvania to Nebraska.
  • Eight out of the 11 most costly U.S. natural catastrophes have occurred since 2001.
  • Since 1900, 11 hurricanes have made direct hits on New England; six of them on the New York coastline.  The "Long Island Express," a massive hurricane that in 1938 made landfall in Long Island and raced through Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, killed 700 people and left 63,000 people homeless.  If the same storm struck today, damages would exceed $100 billion according to risk modelers.

About ProtectingAmerica.org

ProtectingAmerica.org is a non-profit organization consisting of emergency management officials, first responders, disaster relief experts, insurers and others.  Its members include the American Red Cross and more than 300 other organizations and businesses.

At the core of ProtectingAmerica.org's mission is the establishment of a comprehensive, integrated national catastrophe management solution that will better prepare and protect American families, communities, consumers and the American economy from catastrophe.   

ProtectingAmerica.org is working to increase public awareness and enhance consumer education; advocate for better coordination with local, state and federal mitigation and recovery efforts, and strengthen emergency response and financial mechanisms to rebuild after a major catastrophe.

The organization supports comprehensive federal legislation that would establish a privately financed national catastrophe fund that would serve as a backstop to state catastrophe funds.  The funds' private deposits and the majority of its earnings could only be used to cover replacement and rebuilding costs following major catastrophic events.  A portion of the funds' earnings would be dedicated to increase public and consumer education, strengthen first responders, and enhance building codes and their enforcement.

 

SOURCE ProtectingAmerica.org

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