Every week, we ask a Boston real estate professional for their thoughts on the top three stories from the week before. This week, we spoke with Rainbow International.
Boston Agent (BA): Considering Boston’s recent rain and the danger of impending floods and flash floods, what are some steps Realtors can relay to clients and homeowners about what to do before heavy rains to help mitigate damage and risk?
Rainbow International (RI): Soaked rugs, damaged walls, warped flooring and ruined furniture are only the beginning of what homeowners in flooded areas across the nation are experiencing. Flooding can happen anywhere and can be caused by heavy rains, severe storms, poor drainage, plumbing issues, and other water-related issues. The key is to be prepared and take quick action when a flood disaster occurs:
- Check with an insurance agent about flood insurance for the home.
- Prepare a home inventory of furniture and valuables in the home, including details and pictures.
- Put together a family emergency plan and make sure everyone in the household knows what to do.
- If you live in a high-risk flood area, prepare an emergency kit, including insurance policy numbers and phone numbers, a change of clothes for each family member, essential toiletries, bottled water and non-perishable food items, flashlights, batteries, blankets, first aid kit, disposable cleaning cloths, insect repellent, and enough cash to last you a few days.
- If you have a leak in your home, have it repaired immediately. Waiting to do repairs often results in flooding that causes structure or mold damage to your home.
BA: What steps should follow a flood?
RI: The number-one goal in a flooding disaster is for families to stay safe. Then, it’s important to act quickly to begin the cleanup and restoration process to prevent further damage in the home.
- Act quickly. Report damage to your insurance agent or company as soon as possible to begin processing the claim immediately so restoration process can begin.
- Take photos of the damaged areas both inside and outside to document the damage and give to your insurance agents.
- Never turn on the electrical power to your home until a professional makes sure it’s safe to do so.
- Be patient and never use a home vacuum to remove water since electrical shock can result, as well as damage to the equipment. Let the restoration professionals do the cleanup.
BA: According to the National Fire Protection Association, gas grills are involved in an average of 7,200 fires per year. What are some steps to avoid them?
RI: Fire is a traumatic event for any property owner and preventing fires is always a priority. However, accidents do occur. If a fire disaster does occur, you can always count on us to restore your property and your life, so that you can begin to recover.
To prevent property fires or injury while grilling, consider these tips from the experts at Rainbow International:
- Only use propane and charcoal grills outdoors.
- Place grills a safe distance from overhanging branches, deck railings, eaves and siding. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends placing a grill at least 10 feet away from a home or building.
- Stabilize the grill on a level surface to avoid tipping.
- Ensure that the grill is placed away from pets, children, or any activities and that it’s never left unattended.
- Use grilling utensils that have long handles and keep objects that can ignite away from the grill.
- Remove grease and fat buildup in the trays below a grill to prevent ignition from the heat.
- If using a charcoal grill, use the proper type of charcoal starter fluid and keep the container away from children. Never add charcoal starter fluid or any other type of fluids to the grill after the coals have already been ignited.
- If using a propane grill, check the gas hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Applying a light soap and water solution to the hose will allow homeowners to quickly know if the hose has a leak if it has bubbles.
- If a gas smell is present while using a propane grill, move away from the grill immediately and call the fire department.