Winter Storm Preparations

Winter Storm Preparations

As we brace for this powerful storm, we wanted to take a moment to remind everyone about some safety tips to keep you, your family, and your property safe.

Last Minute Storm Readiness

What to do when a storm threatens…
The following information is intended to help you use the final hours before the storm hits most efficiently, highlighting things you can do now that are intended to help keep your family safe and minimize damage to your home.

Prevent Ice-Damming and Future Damage Following the Storm. It’s likely that the recent snowfall has left heavy wet snow on your roof and as temperatures drop and remain below freezing, the melted snow will again freeze. These conditions can lead to ice dams. Ice dams form when heat collects in the attic and warms the roof, except at the eaves. Snow then melts on the warm roof and then freezes on the cold eaves. Ice accumulates along the eaves, forming a dam. Melted snow from the warm roof backs up behind it, flows under the shingles, and potentially into the house.

To prevent ice dams:
• Make sure your gutters are clean as well, since clogged gutters will prevent water from draining sufficiently and may be at risk of coming down completely.
• Remove the snow from your roof with a roof rake or push broom. But use caution not to avoid damaging roofing materials. Don’t use salt or other minerals to melt snow on your roof – these will damage the roof covering along with the gutters and downspouts.
• If you notice a dam and water entering your home, making channels through the ice dam will allow the water behind the dam to drain off the roof. To do so, pour hot water over the ice. Work upward from the lower edge of the dam. This is only a temporary solution and a licensed roofer should be contacted to help remedy the issue.
Prepare Your Trees. The recent snow fall has also left heavy wet snow on your trees. This snow is often too heavy for trees to support it, especially sick and dying trees. Shake residual snow from trees and shrubs before the new snow falls.

Prevent Frozen and Burst Pipes. When water freezes in a pipe it expands, often causing the pipe to burst. This is a major cause of loss for homeowners; however, there are actions you can take to help avoid it. Follow these tips to help proactively prevent loss.
• During extended periods of freezing temperatures, maintain a minimum thermostat setting of 60°F throughout your home.
• To prevent exterior faucets from freezing, each faucet should be shut off from inside the home, as well as any water drained from the pipe. Exterior irrigation systems should be winterized to help prevent freezing.
• Still water freezes faster than running water. On frigid nights, turn on a faucet at the highest point in the home. Keep the water stream low, so that only a small amount can trickle through.
• Identify where the main water valve and the valve on your water heater are located for quick access during an emergency.
Test your Generator. Confirm that your generator is fueled up, or that its permanent fuel supply line is unobstructed. While many generators feature a regular “test mode” cycle, owners of the quietest models have reported not knowing whether or not the tests ran. As such, consider starting it up to ensure it’s working properly so as to avoid surprises when it’s needed most.

Move your Car to the Garage. Protect your car from ice and nearby branches, which can break and fall due to the weight of snow, by moving them indoors.

Prepare Your Family. Here are a few things every family should consider, as well as some additional resources you might find helpful:
• Identify a meeting location. Pick and communicate a meeting location for all family members in case you become separated during the storm. Also, have a plan for the safety and well-being of any pets you may have.
• Stay up to date on local evacuation orders and instructions. Your local news stations and municipality websites are your best source for current information.
• Fill ‘er up. Ensure all household vehicles have a full tank of fuel. If your water supply is influenced by power and you are concerned about an outage, fill your bath tubs and other vessels with clean water for drinking and sanitary purposes.
• Check your disaster kit (see below). Make sure it has enough food, water, batteries, and other supplies to last your family at least three days.
• Have access to important documents, including your insurance policies. Be sure to keep your passport, important financial documents, and other information in a secure, dry place that you can access during and after the storm. If you maintain a policy from the National Flood Insurance Plan (NFIP), be sure to take it with you in the event you and your family elect to evacuate.
Driving Safely in the Snow
• Clean the snow and ice off your vehicle before driving. Snow and ice can become dangerous projectiles that can damage other cars and affect your visibility and the visibility of other drivers.
• Maintain a safe driving distance. Increasing your driving distance in winter weather will allow you plenty of room to maneuver your car should an emergency occur.
• Keep your lights on while driving. Keeping your lights on allows other drivers on the road to see your car more easily. Don’t forget to make sure your lights are clear of ice and snow before you head out to drive.
• Keep an emergency winter kit in your car. Your emergency winter kit should consist of the following items: a snow shovel, ice scraper, cell phone, flashlight, jumper cables, tire chains, lock deicer and blankets.
• Maintain a full tank of gas. You never know when bad weather can strike, and with a full tank of gas, you may be much better off if you are stuck in traffic delays.
• Slow down while driving. The posted speed limit on roads is intended for dry weather conditions; not snow and icy conditions. Slow your speed down while on the road to help avoid an accident. If you are driving a 4×4 vehicle, don’t become overconfident while out on the road.
• Take extra care when backing up your vehicle. Before backing up, make sure your windows are free and clear of debris.

Recommended Disaster Kit Items
• Water (at least one gallon per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation)
• Food (at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food)
• Battery-powered or hand crank radio
• Flashlight and extra batteries
• First aid kit
• Whistle to signal for help
• Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
• Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
• Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
• Duct tape and a multipurpose tool
• Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
• Local maps
• Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
• Prescription medications and glasses
• Special items for infants, seniors, and people with disabilities
• Copies of Important Personal Documents
• Emergency contact card (be sure to include an out-of-town contact)
• Photos of family members and pets for re-identification purposes
• Extra keys to your house and vehicle
• Cash or traveler’s checks and change
If you have pets, include the following:
• Enough drinking water to last your pet(s) for 3 days.
• Non-perishable food (include a can opener if needed)
• A solid carrier and/or leash
• Litter and litter box or puppy pads along with plastic bags
• Medicine and medical records
• A picture of your pet in case you get separated
• Tags and/or microchipping your pet will also make it easier to recover, should he/she get lost
We hope that you never experience any type of claim, but if you do we are here to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you experience a claim during regular business hours please call 516 538-7000 and our claims professionals will report your claim to your insurance carrier and guide you through the process.

If you experience a claim after hours please call our 24 hour service at 1-800-723-9280 and they will contact one of our claims professionals who can put you in touch with emergency remediation and/or clean up companies.

Most importantly, we at Rampart want you to be careful and to stay safe.

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