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

Fire/Burn Hazard Recall Alert

Posted on Tue, Feb 10, 2009 @ 04:13 PM

FIRE HAZARD/BURN HAZARD RECALL ALERT

Have You Recently Purchased a Halogen Lamp at Staples?

Source: USPC

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Office of Information and Public Affairs
Washington, DC 20207

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 10, 2009 Release #09-124
Firm's Recall Hotline: (866) 949-8567CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908

Catalina Lighting Recalls Halogen Clamp Lamps Due to Fire and Burn Hazard; Sold Exclusively At Staples Stores

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product: Halogen Clamp Lamps

Units: About 2,000

Manufacturer: Catalina Lighting Inc., of Miami, Fla.

Hazard: The UV glass lens on the lamp can crack, exposing the halogen bulb, posing a fire and burn hazard.

Incidents/Injuries: Catalina Lighting has received 65 reports of broken lenses. No injuries have been reported.

Description: The halogen clamp lamps, also known as architect’s lamp, have 150 watt halogen bulb, an articulating arm, and a clamp desk lamp that adjusts up, down and swivels. Only lamps with model number 13456-US and lot numbers C06081581V185, C06081582V185 and C06081584V185 are included in the recall.

Sold at: Staples retail stores nationwide from July 2008 through October 2008 for about $50. Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumer should immediately stop using the recalled lamp and contact Catalina Lighting to receive a free replacement lens.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Catalina Lighting toll-free at (866) 949-8567 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or visit the firm’s Web site at www.catalinalighting.com


Advanced Restoration Corporation is a family-owned and operated full-service property damage restoration company with a combined 75 years experience in dealing with Fire Damage Restoration, Water Damage Restoration, Flood & Storm Damage, Mold Remediation, Smoke Damage Restoration and Reconstruction. We service Long Island (Nassau County, NY; Suffolk County, NY) and the New York Metro area.

When disasters strike, Advanced Restoration is ready to respond 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You are guaranteed to speak with one of our knowledgeable, caring team members, day or night. Our immediate response to a claim/property loss helps minimize the damages to the structure, contents, and ease the sometime catastrophic effect that a disaster may have on an owner or occupants.

Our company is dedicated to serving our clients with courteous and prompt service. We take the utmost pride in the craftsmanship of our work. As certified specialists in water mitigation and fire/smoke restoration, we have the knowledge, expertise and experience to deal with all types of property damage. Our professional staff is also trained in all aspects of mold remediation and damage appraisals.

If you have questions related to fire and smoke damage restoration, please call us at (800)693-6263.

Tags: property damage, fire restoration, water damage, burn hazard, fire recall, advanced restoration, restoration company, disrepair, fire protection, cpsc recall, smoke restoration

Fire Hazard: Oil-Fired Furnace Recall Alert

Posted on Mon, Feb 02, 2009 @ 03:12 PM



The Consumer Product Safety Commission recently published Release #09-104, which focuses on a recall related to oil-fired furnaces that may result in a fire hazard.

Source: CPSC

NEWS from CPSC
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Office of Information and Public Affairs
Washington, DC 20207
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 22, 2009 Release #09-104
Firm's Recall Hotline: (800) 577-3960CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908

Rheem Recalls to Repair Oil-Fired Furnaces Due to Fire Hazard
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product: Rheem, Ruud and United Refrigeration Oil-Fired Furnaces
Units: About 14,000

Manufacturer: Air Conditioning Division of Rheem Manufacturing Co., of Fort Smith, Ark.

Hazard: If the furnace is not properly wired, the oil burner can continue to operate when the blower shuts off, posing a fire hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: Rheem has received one report in which the furnace was incorrectly wired. No injuries or property damage have been reported.
Description: This recall involves oil-fired furnaces sold under the Rheem, Ruud and United Refrigeration brands. Only the models beginning with the model numbers listed in the chart below and with date codes ending in 0106 through 5206, 0107 through 5207, or 0108 through 4808 are included in this recall. The model number and date code (designated by the four digits following an “M” in the middle of the serial number) are printed on the unit’s rating plate, which is on the left wall of the furnace’s interior just above the burner. The rating plate can be found by opening the unit’s burner access door, which has slotted openings.

See Model Number/ Brand & Description

  • ROBF
    Rheem Classic/Ruud Achiever High Efficiency Upflow Oil Furnace
  • ROPF
    Rheem Classic/Ruud Achiever High Efficiency Downflow/Horizontal Oil Furnace
  • TZOUP
    United Refrigeration “Thermal Zone” Upflow Oil Furnace
  • TZODH
    United Refrigeration “Thermal Zone” Downflow/ Horizontal Oil Furnace

Sold by:
Contractors nationwide to consumers from January 2006 through December 2008 as part of installed systems for between $1,500 and $10,000.

Manufactured in: United States
Remedy: Consumers should immediately contact the contractor who installed the oil furnace to arrange for a free inspection and repair, if necessary.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Rheem at (800) 577-3960 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s Web site at www.rheemac.com.

About Us
Advanced Restoration Corporation is a family-owned and operated full-service property damage restoration company with a combined 75 years experience in dealing with Fire Damage Restoration, Water Damage Restoration, Flood & Storm Damage, Mold Remediation, Smoke Damage Restoration and Reconstruction. We service Long Island (Nassau County, NY; Suffolk County, NY) and the New York Metro area. Call (800) 693- 6263 for additional information, or visit us on the web at www.AdvancedRestoration.com.

Tags: disaster, property damage, fire restoration, puffbacks, nassau county restoration, burn hazard, fire recall, advanced restoration, advanced restoration corporation, suffolk county restoration, emergency service, restoration company, fire protection, cpsc recall, smoke restoration, heating

Fire and Carbon Monoxide Alert

Posted on Fri, Jan 30, 2009 @ 05:49 PM

The Consumer Product Safety Commission Released Information Related to Fires and Carbon Monoxide Hazards With Home Heating...

Source: CPSC


NEWS from CPSC
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Office of Information and Public Affairs
Washington, DC 20207

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEJanuary 28, 2009 Release #09-109
CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908
CPSC Warns of Deadly Fire and Carbon Monoxide Hazards with Winter Home Heating

WASHINGTON, D.C. - According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), there have been more than 150 residential fires that resulted in more than 200 deaths since Thanksgiving. These statistics have led the USFA and fire chiefs to declare the holiday season and start of the new year as one of the deadliest in recent memory.

As families look for ways to save money in these tough economic times, the concern over additional fire deaths and carbon monoxide poisonings from alternative heating sources is heightened. The U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is urging consumers to keep safety in mind when it comes to heating their homes this winter.

Home heating equipment is among the top causes of fires and CO poisonings. From 2003 through 2005, there was an annual average of 57,300 fires and 270 fire deaths associated with portable heaters, central heating systems, and fireplaces and chimneys. There were also 68 deaths, on average, from carbon monoxide poisoning each year associated with these products.

CPSC urges consumers to:
Schedule a professional inspection each year of all fuel-burning home heating systems, including furnaces, boilers, fireplaces, wood stoves, water heaters, chimneys, flues and vents.

Take precautions when using space heaters, fireplaces or other heating sources to help stay warm this winter.

Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in the home and check that the batteries are fresh and working.

2009 is just weeks old, yet there have already been dozens of deaths from fires in the home.

Reports of residential fire deaths in January include:
Eight people died including a mother, her boyfriend and her four sons age 6 months to 10 years old, in their Richland, New York home. There were no smoke alarms in the home.

A woman was killed in her Detroit home by a fire believed to have been caused by a space heater that was too close to a chair.

Three people, including 13- and 15-year-old sisters and their older male relative, died in their Oklahoma home. Space heaters and an electric stove were being used for heat.

CPSC urges consumers to follow these home heating safety tips:

Space heaters:
Place space heaters on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as a ceramic tile floor), not on rugs or carpets or near bedding or drapes. Keep the heater at least three feet from bedding, drapes, furniture and other flammable materials. Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
To prevent the risk of fire, NEVER leave a space heater on when you go to sleep or place a space heater close to any sleeping person. Turn the heater off if you leave the area.

Never use gasoline in a kerosene space heater. Even small amounts of gasoline mixed with kerosene can increase the risk of a fire.

Use a space heater that has been tested to the latest safety standards and certified by a nationally-recognized testing laboratory. These heaters will have the most up-to-date safety features; older space heaters may not meet the newer safety standards. An unvented gas space heater that meets current safety standards will shut off if oxygen levels fall too low.

Do not use portable propane space heaters indoors or in any confined space unless they are specifically designed for indoor use. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for proper use.

Fireplaces:
Have flues and chimneys inspected for leakage and blockage by creosote or debris.
Open the fireplace damper before lighting a fire and keep it open until the ashes are cool.

An open damper may help prevent build-up of poisonous gases inside the home.

Store fireplace ashes in a fire resistant container and cover it with a lid. Keep the container outdoors and away from combustibles.

Stoves and Ovens:
Never use electric or gas stoves to heat the home. They are not intended for that purpose and can cause fires and CO poisoning.

Stay Warm and Be Safe!

Advanced Restoration Corporation is a property damage/disaster restoration company that specializes in Fire and Smoke Restoration in the New York Metro/Long Island area. Call us at (800) 693-6263, or visit us on the web at www.AdvancedRestoration.com. We are committed to Making Disaster Temporary and Restoration Permanent.

Tags: disaster, smoke detectors, property damage, fire restoration, restoration companies, water damage restoration, nassau county restoration, advanced restoration, advanced restoration corporation, suffolk county restoration, emergency service, homeowner tips, restoration company, fire protection, cpsc recall, smoke restoration

Flooding/Water Damage Restoration

Posted on Sun, Jan 25, 2009 @ 05:24 PM



Do You Have Flooding/Water Damage in Your Home, Office or Business?

When a pipe bursts, the damage to your home or business can be devastating. Knowing who to call for this type of situation is essential to ensure emergency water mitigation efforts are handled timely and properly by trained experts.

If you had recent storm or water damage from frozen pipes, one call to Advanced Restoration will ensure your property structure is mitigated properly. Our professional staff is ready to provide you 24/7 Emergency Service throughout the New York Metro area!

Reduce your claim costs by hundreds, even thousands of $$$. Our equipment allows us to dry wet hardwood floors (or any hardsurface floor) by using our Injectidry Systems. Injectidry's Vac-It Panels are placed directly over the wet area and the system (HP60) pulls the water out of the wood or hardsurface!

Injectidry's High Pressure drying systems are specifically developed to target high risk areas of hidden moisture such as: walls and ceilings, double-sheeted fire walls, party walls, sound barriers, insulation, walls behind cabinets and fixtures and floors.

Benefits of Using Advanced Restoration and Injectidry Technology

  • In most cases, the floors will dry beneath refrigerators and stoves without moving appliances.
    Many of the floors do not even need to be refinished.
  • Floors do not sit wet and cupped for 3-9 months while nails rust and mold grows underneath.
    Continue to use the premise (home, office, business) during the drying process.
  • Reduced claim costs.

Advanced Restoration is available for all your property restoration and reconstruction needs.

Our staff is truly committed to Making Disaster Temporary and Restoration Permanent!

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It's Cold Out...Stay Warm & Be Safe!

Posted on Wed, Jan 14, 2009 @ 04:58 PM

Arctic air is expected to hit the New York Metro area by tomorrow, and is expected to last until Sunday. Many Homeowners will be using various heating sources to stay warm, including electric heaters and fireplaces. Fire safety is essential to your family and should be discussed with all members of your household.

Heating equipment is among the leading causes of home fires nationally and in New York State. Very often heating related fires are the result of a lack of maintenance or simple acts of carelessness. Following the guidelines below will help to ensure that you reduce the possibility of experiencing a heating related fire.

Fire tips from NY State's Office of Fire Prevention and Control include:

Fire Prevention
To prevent fires, keep furnishings and other combustibles 36 inches from all heating sources. A heating source too close to combustibles is the leading cause of fires due to home heating. Store matches and other fire starting appliances out of the reach of children. Fires started by children often have tragic results.

Follow Proper Maintenance
Proper maintenance and an annual inspection of heat pumps, furnaces, space heaters, wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, chimneys and chimney connections by qualified specialists can prevent fires and save lives. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation, venting, fueling, maintenance and repair.

Review the owner's manual to make sure you remember the operating and safety features.

  • Space Heaters – When using portable heaters, do not place them where it is possible for small children or pets to fall against them or to receive a contact burn. Avoid the use of extension cords with electric heaters. Always turn off space heaters before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Fuel Burning Appliances – When taking a heater out of storage in the fall, install batteries and inspect the shut off mechanism and wick for proper operation. Fill the tank with fresh fuel. Let the heater cool down before refueling. Adding fuel to a hot heater can start a dangerous fire.
  • Wood Burning Appliances and Fireplaces – Do not burn trash in the wood stove or fireplace. Burn only well-seasoned hardwoods. Be sure the fire you build fits your fireplace or stove, don’t overload it. Be sure wood stoves are installed at least 36 inches away from the wall. Keep combustible materials well away from the fireplace, stove and chimney. Keep the area around them clean. Always use a fireplace screen to prevent sparks from leaving the fireplace and starting a fire. Never leave a fire unattended.
  • Chimneys - Creosote accumulation is the leading cause of chimney fires. A chimney that is dirty, blocked or is in disrepair can inhibit proper venting of smoke up the flue and can also cause a chimney fire. Nearly all residential fires originating in the chimney are preventable. An annual chimney inspection by a qualified chimney sweep can prevent fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Ashes – Keep wood stoves and fireplaces free of excess ash buildup. Excessive ash buildup prevents good circulation of air needed for combustion. When removing ashes, use a metal container with a tight-fitting cover. Always place ashes in an outside location away from structures. Ashes that seem cool may contain a smoldering charcoal that can start a fire.

Advanced Restoration is a full service property damage restoration company and is trained to respond to all aspects of fire, smoke damage and water damage that can occur after a fire. Call us at (800) 693-6263 for more information, or visit our website at www.AdvancedRestoration.com.

We are truly committed to Making Disaster Temporary and Restoration Permanent.

Tags: smoke alarm, preventing frozen pipes, property damage, fire restoration, puffbacks, water damage, structural drying, flooding, burn hazard, cold winter, advanced restoration, advanced restoration corporation, long island water damage, restoration, water extraction, emergency service, restoration company, storm damage, fire protection, smoke restoration, heating

Winter Storm/Property Damage: Ice Dams and Your Home

Posted on Fri, Jan 09, 2009 @ 04:41 PM

Snow is expected this weekend on Long Island and the NY Metro area and the Weather Service has issued a WINTER STORM WARNING for the area. Whenever there is snow, you are guaranteed to have troublesome ice dams to follow. Ice dams can cause major water damage and flooding to your home, which requires immediate attention.

As winter advances through cycles of freezing and thawing, buildings and homes experience ice buildup and roof damage. In general, ice dams are formed when attic heat moves up to warm the roof and melts snow at or near the ridge. Snow melts, runs downward and hits the edge of the cold roof, resulting in re-freezing snow. These cycles cause ice to accumulate and back up under shingles. Damage appears in the form of soaked insulation, stained, cracked and damaged sheet rock, damp, smelly, rotting wall cavities and stained, blistered and peeling paint.

Preventing Ice Dams
To prevent an ice dam, don't heat the roof, keep it cold. That way, the snow on the roof eventually dissipates without making large amounts of meltwater. The underside of the roof deck should not exceed 30 F. The best way to maintain low temperatures is by ensuring that there is adequate insulation and sealing gaps that let warm air pass into the attic from the house. The attic must also be ventilated, so that cold air is introduced into it and heated air escapes rapidly. Some remodeling contractors are under the impression that heat passing through the attic helps prevent ice dams, when just the opposite is true. Although excess heat moving from the attic through the roof rapidly melts snow, once the meltwater touches the cold eaves, it quickly freezes and forms an ice dam.

If you have a furnace in the attic, it may not be possible to prevent ice dams. Increased insulation, however, should help. First, insulate the areas between the roof rafters. It is important to keep an air space between the roof deck and the insulation in order to prevent a condensation buildup that can delaminate the roof deck. Prior to insulating, install polystyrene rafter air channels, which are available at home centers. Next, lay insulation blankets over the furnace's heating ducts to help reduce the heat buildup in the attic. If there's a hatchway into the attic, build a cover for it out of rigid poly-styrene insulation.

If the gable and ridge vents do not generate sufficient air movement to dissipate the heat, you will need a motorized vent at one end of the attic to exhaust the heat, and an adequately sized vent on the opposite end of the attic to draw in cold air from the outside.

Check your home carefully when ice dams form. Investigate even when there doesn't appear to be a leak. Look at the underside of the roof sheathing and roof trim to make sure they haven't gotten wet. Check the insulation for dampness. And when leaks inside your home develop, be prepared. Water penetration often follows pathways difficult follow. Don't just patch the roof leak. Make sure that the roof sheathing hasn't rotted or that other less obvious problems in your ceiling or walls haven't developed. And then detail a comprehensive plan to fix the damage. But more importantly, solve the problem.

If you experience water damage that requires a water damage/flood restoration expert, please contact Advanced Restoration at (800) 693-6263. Advanced Restoration is a full service property damage restoration company that can respond 24/7 to your water damage situation. We use state-of-the-art equipment to handle structural drying. Our professional staff is also available to handle mold situations that may occur as a result of a water loss. Our service area includes Nassau County, Suffolk County and the New York boroughs. Enjoy the snowfall and stay dry!

Tags: disaster, property damage, fire restoration, ny water damage company, water damage, water damage restoration, winter storm, groundwater, advanced restoration corporation, long island water damage, mold remediation, suffolk county restoration, water extraction, restoration company, flood damage, flood, moisture, storm damage, mildew

Home Restoration Repairs: 203(k) Program/Rehabilitation Mortgage

Posted on Tue, Dec 30, 2008 @ 09:14 AM

It's no secret that many homes across the country, including New York, have been placed into foreclosure because of the economy. As a result, some homes become neglected over time and develop situations that subsquently require a restoration company to perform repair work. Initiating necessary foreclosure repairs for a property can be accomplished by a potential homeowner applying for a mortgage related to the 203(k) Program.

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which is part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), administers various single family mortgage insurance programs like a 203(k) mortgage. These programs operate through FHA-approved lending institutions which submit applications to have the property appraised and have the buyer's credit approved. These lenders fund the mortgage loans which the Department insures. HUD does not make direct loans to help people buy homes.

The Section 203(k) program is the Department's primary program for the rehabilitation and repair of single family properties. As such, it is an important tool for community and neighborhood revitalization and for expanding homeownership opportunities.

When a homebuyer wants to purchase a house in need of repair or modernization, the homebuyer usually has to obtain financing first to purchase the dwelling; additional financing to do the rehabilitation construction; and a permanent mortgage when the work is completed to pay off the interim loans with a permanent mortgage. Often the interim financing (the acquisition and construction loans) involves relatively high interest rates and short amortization periods.

The Section 203(k) program was designed to address this situation. The borrower can get just one mortgage loan, at a long-term fixed (or adjustable) rate, to finance both the acquisition and the rehabilitation of the property. To provide funds for the rehabilitation, the mortgage amount is based on the projected value of the property with the work completed, taking into account the cost of the work. To minimize the risk to the mortgage lender, the mortgage loan (the maximum allowable amount) is eligible for endorsement by HUD as soon as the mortgage proceeds are disbursed and a rehabilitation escrow account is established. At this point the lender has a fully-insured mortgage loan.

Advanced Restoration Corporation is a full service property damage restoration company that has the abiltiy to execute all necessary repairs to a property that qualifies for a 203(k) loan.

For more information on the 203(k) program, contact Continental Home Loans:

Wendy Doerzbacher-Mortgage Planner
Continental Home Loans
175 Pinelawn Rd.-Ste 400
Melville, NY 11747

(800) 540-8838 Ext. 4140
(516) 982-6339 Cell
Email: [email protected]

This information is designed to be of general interest and should not be considered legal advice. The specific information discussed may not apply to you. Before acting on any matter contained herein, you should consult with your personal legal adviser.

Tags: foreclosure, 203(k) loan, property damage, fire restoration, floods, ny water damage company, puffbacks, restoration companies, water damage restoration, mold, black mold, puff-back, mortgage, advanced restoration, advanced restoration corporation, long island water damage, mold remediation, reconstruction, restoration, suffolk county restoration, water extraction, disrepair, home repair, frozen pipes

Burn Hazard Recall Alert:

Posted on Tue, Dec 23, 2008 @ 11:26 AM

On December 18th, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission sent out a Recall Alert related to Chef's Mark Cookware sets.

Recall Alert
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Office of Information and Public Affairs
Washington, DC 20207

December 18, 2008Alert #09-714
Article Source: U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission

Fingerhut Recalls Chef’s Mark Cookware Sets Due to Burn Hazard
The following product safety recall was voluntarily conducted by the firm in cooperation with the CPSC. Consumers should stop using the product immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product: Chef’s Mark® 15 piece cookware sets
Units: About 9,000
Importer: Fingerhut Direct Marketing, of Eden Prairie, Minn.

Hazard: The handles on the cookware can break, posing a burn hazard to consumers.
Incidents/Injuries: Fingerhut has received six reports of handles breaking including three reports of minor burn injuries to consumers.

Description: This recall involves Chef’s Mark® 15 piece cookware sets with model number 515 and Fingerhut product code H6637. The model number and product code are printed on the cookware’s packaging. The non-stick cookware has red, green, black, blue or purple exteriors, black handles, glass lids and came with spoons, spatulas and ladles.
Sold exclusively by: Fingerhut catalogs and Fingerhut.com from January 2008 through October 2008 for about $80.
Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should stop using the cookware immediately and contact Fingerhut to receive a free repair kit. Fingerhut is directly contacting purchasers.
Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Fingerhut toll-free at (866) 931-5417 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s Web site at www.fingerhut.com
---
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from thousands of types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard. The CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals - contributed significantly to the decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.
To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC's hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270, or visit CPSC's web site at
www.cpsc.gov/talk.html. To join a CPSC email subscription list, please go to https://www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.aspx. Consumers can obtain this release and recall information at CPSC's Web site at www.cpsc.gov.

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Ice Storm: NY State Insurance Dept. Activates Disaster Hotline

Posted on Tue, Dec 16, 2008 @ 05:38 PM

The New York State Insurance Department just sent out a news release related its Disaster Hotline, which was activated due to an ice storm that hit multiple counties in upstate New York:

See below...

New York State
Insurance
Department
NEWS
RELEASE
Contact:
Public Affairs
(212) 480-5262

www.ins.state.ny.us

Eric R. Dinallo Superintendent of Insurance 25 Beaver Street New York, N.Y. 10004
ISSUED 12/15/2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

INSURANCE DEPARTMENT ACTIVATES DISASTER HOTLINE
The New York State Insurance Department today activated its toll-free Disaster Hotline to assist property owners affected by the ice storm that struck 16 Upstate counties and left thousands of New Yorkers without power, Superintendent Eric Dinallo said.
The Insurance Department's Disaster Hotline number is 1-800-339-1759. The hotline is staffed by personnel from the Department's Consumer Services Bureau on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

"Consumers who have storm-related damage and are having difficulty dealing with their insurance company or understanding their coverage should give the hotline a call," Dinallo said. "We are available to help New Yorkers work through the claims process with their insurance companies in the event they need help."

Dinallo urged homeowners and business operators to make every effort to protect their homes and businesses from further damage. This includes reviewing insurance policies for important information related to electric utility interruptions. Coverage for power failure is generally excluded in a homeowners policy. However, coverage may be available for damage occurring during the restoration of electricity by such events as electrical power surges.

Commercial property policies generally exclude coverage for power or utility service failure if the failure occurs outside the premises. There may also be waiting periods in policies before business interruption coverage is triggered. It is important for these property owners to confer with their insurance agent to determine the extent of coverage available.

Following are some typical questions and answers consumers may find helpful:

What damage to your home is covered?
Damage caused by wind, wind-driven rain, trees or other falling objects, as well as the collapse of a structure due to the weight of ice or snow, is covered under most standard homeowner policies. The repair of pipes frozen as the result of extreme cold weather may not be covered if damage is due to negligence, such as failing to maintain an adequate temperature in the house.

What damage to your home is not covered?
Many policies do not cover losses of any type incurred as the result of a flood, costs associated with the removal of a fallen tree (unless the tree lands on your home), food spoilage expenses created by an off-premises power outage, and water damage resulting from backed-up drains or sewers. Some insurers offer endorsements (additional protection that may be purchased) for certain coverage not included under a standard homeowner policy. Consumers should check with their insurance agent or company to determine their needs.

What should I do after damage to a car or an accident?
Damage to automobiles due to falling ice or trees is covered under your comprehensive automobile insurance policy. In the event of an accident while driving on icy roads, call your insurance agent or insurance company with your policy number and other relevant information as soon as possible, although you have 30 days in which to report the accident. Be sure you cooperate fully with the insurance company and ask your agent what documents, forms and data you will need.

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Tis The Season: Christmas Tree Fires

Posted on Thu, Dec 04, 2008 @ 04:18 PM

Every year around the holidays, tragic stories hit the news media in New York related to Christmas trees that caught fire in a home or business. Taking simple precautions will help to prevent an unforeseen situation from occurring.

Preventing Christmas Tree Fires

Selecting a Tree
Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needle should not break if the tree has been freshly cut. The trunk should be sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground. If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard.

Caring for Your Tree
Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree. Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.

Disposing of Your Tree
Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or woodburning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. The best way to dispose of your tree is by taking it to a recycling center or having it hauled away by a community pick-up service.

Holiday Lights
Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. Use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory.

Do Not Overload Electrical Outlets
Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Make sure to periodically check the wires - they should not be warm to the touch. Do not leave holiday lights on unattended.

Holiday Decorations
Use only nonflammable decorations. All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents.

Never Put Wrapping Paper in a fireplace. It can result in a very large fire, throwing off dangerous sparks and embers and may result in a chimney fire.

Click here to view a Christmas Tree catch fire

Ensure working smoke alarms are installed on every level of your home, test them monthly and keep them clean and equipped with fresh batteries at all times. Know when and how to call for help. And remember to practice your home escape plan.

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