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It’s hurricane and wildfire season, is damage to my home covered?

Running over the entire summer from June 1st to November 30th, hurricane season brings serious damage risks from high winds, rain, and flooding in storm-prone regions. Is your biggest asset well protected? Your home is most likely your family’s most valuable investment. Know that your current homeowner’s insurance policy may cover some damage brought on by a hurricane, but not all.

Running concurrently with hurricane season, wildfire season is a period when wildland fires are likely to occur, spread, and affect resource values sufficient to warrant organized fire management activities. Higher temperatures, reduced snowpack, increased drought risk, and longer warm seasons are increasing wildfire activity in the western United States.

Make sure you have the proper coverage

Review your homeowner’s insurance policy today to make sure your policy is up-to-date and you are properly protected for anything that may happen. Here are a few tips regarding damage brought on by hurricanes and wildfires.

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WIND

In most states, standard homeowner’s policies cover damage caused by wind, including hurricanes. But if you live in a high-risk coastal state you might need to buy separate windstorm insurance. Check with your insurance company as it might also be available as a rider on your current policy. Windstorm insurance covers damage from any high wind, not just hurricanes. The cost of a separate windstorm policy depends on the amount of your deductible, where you live, and how much it would cost to rebuild your house.

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FLOOD

Flood damage brought on by, or as the result of, a hurricane is not typically covered in a private homeowners insurance policy. U.S. law requires people to purchase basic flood insurance if their home is in a designated high-risk flood area with a federally backed mortgage. (See floodsmart.gov for more information.) But in 2017, Hurricane Harvey showed that flooding can also damage properties outside the highest-risk zones and affect homeowners who weren’t required to buy the additional coverage.

Check with the National Flood Insurance Program as you may be able to purchase a separate flood insurance to help cover such damage in your area.

Don’t procrastinate

Flood insurance policies impose a 30-day waiting period between the time you buy and the time coverage takes effect, so review your policy today. If a major storm has been forecast, there’s a chance that your current coverage will be locked in until that major weather event has passed.

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WILDFIRE

Damage from wildfires and forest fires is most likely covered by your homeowner’s insurance, but coverage may vary by geographic location and by policy. You may also find that some insurers do not sell homeowner’s policies in areas where wildfires are common, or it may be offered by paying a higher premium. Check your policy or contact your agent to learn about terms and coverage limits.

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The Insurance Information Institute (III) recommends reviewing the amount of coverage you have in place and make any necessary adjustments to help ensure your limits are in line with the potential cost of repairing or rebuilding your home.

Whether you’re buying homeowners insurance, flood insurance, windstorm insurance or wildfire insurance — or all four — make sure you have enough coverage to pay for the full cost of rebuilding your house. Your insurance agent can help you pinpoint the right amount.

 

Sources:

https://www.floodsmart.gov

https://www.wsj.com/articles/what-homeowners-insurance-wont-cover-if-a-hurricane-hits-1504897428

https://www.iii.org/article/hurricanes-harvey-and-irma-insurance-faqs

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Start your summer right with Memorial Day safety

As we happily head into this Memorial Day weekend, let’s take a moment to be thankful for our troops, and honor the passing of the members of the military who died in active duty.    Memorial Day weekend is here, and with it comes outdoor fun in the sun. Whether you’re road-tripping or celebrating at home, be aware and take a few safety precautions to ensure a happy and safe holiday weekend. No matter which way you slice the numbers, according to AAA this long holiday weekend is poised to be one of the busiest on record.  

Travel

- Make sure your car is ready for the trip. Pack a first-aid kit, bottled water and some energy bars in case you get stranded. Bring a car adapter for charging your cellphone. - Schedule your road trip at times to help avoid the holiday travel congestion. Leaving before rush hour Friday or early Saturday and driving back Monday before 3 p.m. or after 10 p.m. should make for less traffic hassles. - Never leave people or pets inside a parked car. Temperatures inside a vehicle can climb to dangerous levels quickly, even on a cloudy day. - If you plan on drinking alcohol, designate a driver who won’t drink.  

Being outside

With the temperatures rising, it’s important to know how to stay safe during times of excessive heat. - Eat small meals and eat more often. - Stay hydrated, avoid caffeine and alcohol. - Wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing. - Take frequent breaks if you are working outdoors, avoid strenuous outdoor activity.  

Grilling

Seven out of every 10 adults in the United States have a grill or smoker, and this weekend marks the symbolic start to summer and grilling season. - Never leave your grill unattended, and have a fire extinguisher available. - Propane and charcoal BBQ grills are for outdoor use only. - The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. - Keep children and pets away from the grill area. - Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill. Heavy food build-ups can cause nasty flare-ups.  

Water safety

BOATING - Have one life jacket that is US Coastal Guard approved for everyone on board. - If a child is under the age of 13, they must have a life jacket on whenever the boat is in motion. - The rules for driving a boat are similar to those of a vehicle - people cannot drink and drive a boat. SWIMMING - Everyone, including experienced swimmers, should swim with a buddy in areas protected by lifeguards. Always remember the penguin credo, never swim alone!  #skipper    - Adults, actively supervise children and stay within arm’s reach of young children and newer swimmers. - Understand what to do to help someone in trouble, without endangering yourself; know how and when to call 9-1-1; and know CPR.  

Always remember

Have a first aid kit nearby and emergency contacts programmed into your phone. You never know when an accident can happen, and better to be prepared just in case.  

SOURCES https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/how-to-avoid-grilling-mishaps-this-memorial-day-weekend/70005010 http://www.redcross.org/news/press-release/Red-Cross-Offers-Summer-Safety-Tips-for-All-Season-Long
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Safety tips for during and after a blizzard.

Winter storms can pack a devastating punch bringing not only snow and ice, but by dangerously low temperatures, severe wind gusts, and flooding. These blasting storms can also cause power outages that last for days. They can make roads and walkways extremely dangerous or impassable and close or limit critical community services such as public transportation, child care, health programs, and schools. Injuries and deaths may occur from exposure, dangerous road conditions, and carbon monoxide poisoning and other conditions. We want you to take extra care of yourself and your family during this time. Below are a few safety tips on what to do during and after a major winter storm.

During Blizzards and Extreme Cold

  • Stay indoors during the storm.
  • Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive: travel in the day; don’t travel alone; keep others informed of your schedule and your route; stay on main roads and avoid back road shortcuts.
  • Walk carefully on snowy, icy, walkways.
  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack—a major cause of death in the winter. Use caution, take breaks, push the snow instead of lifting it when possible, and lift lighter loads.
  • Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
  • If you must go outside, wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
  • Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves.
  • Wear a hat and cover your mouth with a scarf to reduce heat loss.

After Blizzards and Extreme Cold

  • If your home loses power or heat for more than a few hours or if you do not have adequate supplies to stay warm in your home overnight, you may want to go to a designated public shelter if you can get there safely. Text SHELTER + your ZIP CODE to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (e.g., SHELTER20472)
  • Bring any personal items that you would need to spend the night (such as toiletries, medicines). Take precautions when traveling to the shelter. Dress warmly in layers, wear boots, mittens, and a hat.
  • Continue to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.

Cold-related Illness

  • Frostbite is a serious condition that’s caused by exposure to extremely cold temperatures.
    • a white or grayish-yellow skin area
    • skin that feels unusually firm or waxy
    • numbness
    • If you detect symptoms of frostbite, seek medical care.
  • Hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature, is a dangerous condition that can occur when a person is exposed to extremely cold temperatures.  Hypothermia is caused by prolonged exposures to very cold temperatures. When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it’s produced. Lengthy exposures will eventually use up your body’s stored energy, which leads to lower body temperature.
    • Warnings signs of hypothermia:
    • Adults: shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech drowsiness
    • Infants:  bright red, cold skin, very low energy. If you notice any of these signs, take the person’s temperature. If it is below 95° F, the situation is an emergency—get medical attention immediately.

Carbon Monoxide

Caution: Each year, an average of 430 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning, and there are more than 20,000 visits to the emergency room with more than 4,000 hospitalizations. Carbon monoxide-related deaths are highest during colder months. These deaths are likely due to increased use of gas-powered furnaces and alternative heating, cooking, and power sources used inappropriately indoors during power outages.
  • Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal¬ burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows, and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors. Keep these devices at least 20 feet from doors, windows, and vents.
  • The primary hazards to avoid when using alternate sources for electricity, heating or cooking are carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock, and fire.
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.
  • If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door.
  • Call for help from the fresh air location and remain there until emergency personnel arrives to assist you.
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The magic of being at home for the holidays.

Many say that home is a feeling, rather than a place. Sure, we can feel 'at home' in different places, however, only one or two places hold the magic of really, truly being at home. This is especially true during the holidays.

Beautiful big family sitting at the table celebrating Christmas together at home. Father bringing roasted turkey on a serving tray.

For most, a home may be a place where fond memories have been and continue to be made. They consist of traditions that are repeated yearly, the familiar smells of home that comfort you and allow for nostalgia to set in. These remain powerful connections no matter how far away 'home' may be and research is beginning to gain a deeper understanding of the feeling that these special places elicit. On the flip side, home can sometimes be a temporary place. It is in this part of the season where we find it most important to locate suitable housing for our families.   We recently received a kind message on our Twitter feed, reminding us of the very importance of home; If you find yourself dealing with a temporary situation, past grievances or painful memories this holiday season, remember to maintain traditions. Make a meal or bake cookies with loved ones, learn how other cultures celebrate the holidays, donate your time to a charity or soup kitchen or simply enjoy time by the fireplace sharing stories.

Friends drinking tea and chatting

Do you have special traditions that feel like home? Share them with us on social media, #CRSathome, we'd love to add a few to our repertoire. From all of us here at CRS Temporary Housing, we hope you find your place this Holiday season and hope that place will feel like home.
"Places make us who we are, and we relate to them in an emotional, spiritual and physical way."
  Link(s): https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/documents/places-that-make-us-research-report.pdf
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Are the upcoming holidays getting you stressed? You can still be jolly and say “No-No-No” this holiday season.

Is thinking about December and the end of the year holidays starting to get you stressed? Join the club!

But, let’s take a step back and maybe not join that ridiculous group. We can make our very own holiday magic by saying “no” more this holiday season. Sound harsh? We don’t need to go full on Grinch, but it might just be worth your while.

Here’s a few things you can, and possibly should, say “no” to this upcoming holiday season.

George Pratt, PhD Psychologist at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla in California

Over-spending

Choose presence over presents. Give and receive gifts with love and gratitude this season but remember that love isn’t inside the box. You can’t prove how much you love someone by giving them a present.

Lack of money is one of the biggest causes of stress during the holiday season. Try setting a budget this December, and don’t spend more than you’ve planned. It’s okay to tell your child that a certain toy costs too much. Be smart and don’t buy gifts that you’ll spend next year trying to pay off.

Over-committing

As your calendar gets a little crammed between now and the end of the year, decide what really matters to you. Spend time each morning or evening and take a good look at your day. What’s important? What’s not? Just because you have empty space on your calendar doesn’t mean you need to fill it with appointments and obligations.

Don’t say no because you’re so busy. Say no because you don’t want to be so busy. Especially in this busier season of work and holidays, down time is more important than ever. Put on your coziest jammies, make some tea and grab a book and enjoy YOUR time.

Over-indulging

Think about if you really need that 2nd plate or 3rd cocktail. Remember how miserable you were after Thanksgiving dinner? Instead of abandoning the things you know are good for you in the name of enjoying the holiday season, dig in deeper. Sleep 7-8 hours a night and spend more time nourishing your body, heart and soul.

Taking care of yourself should be at the top of your list. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else.

It’s in the quiet moments, and in the white space that you are open to magic. Create that for yourself. Make room for magic, comfort and joy.


 

Sources:

www.bemorewithless.com

www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/tc/quick-tips-reducing-holiday-stress-get-started#1

www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20306655,00.html#stick-with-your-daily-routine

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Fall’s transformation is here, how will you change?

The first day of fall is Friday, September 22

As the leaves begin to fall and the heat of summer fades, we naturally begin to think about how we need to prepare for the changing season. Do we start to replace summer clothes for sweaters, pants, and boots? Is it time to think about putting down the storm windows? When do we move the shovel and salt closer to the garage door?

These are all great questions and items on many people’s lists. But how else can we better prepare ourselves for what else might be coming next?

 

Disasters don’t plan ahead, but you can

As we prepare for fall, we also come to the end of National Preparedness Month (September 2017). We hope that you have thoughtfully taken steps to prepare yourself, your family and your home for potential natural disasters and national emergencies. With the devastation we’ve recently seen with Hurricane’s Harvey and Irma, and the recent earthquakes in Mexico, we know that disaster can strike at any time and any where.

Here’s a checklist to help guide you in making a plan for you and your family:

www.ready.gov/make-a-plan

 

The importance of property insurance

Homeowners insurance not only protects your home, which may very well be your largest investment, but gives you a sense of security. The general assumption is that whatever happens to your home is covered. In actuality, typical perils (causes of property destruction) that are generally not covered are flood damage, earthquake, mold, acts of war and parts of the property in disrepair (including worn-out plumbing, electrical wiring, air conditioners, heating units and roofing). A few of these can be added as separate policies.

Educate yourself on what your policy does and, more importantly, does not cover.

 

Home health

It’s also important to consider your home and how to prepare it for the upcoming colder seasons. Here’s a helpful Home Fall Checklist from our friends at Better Homes & Gardens:

www.bhg.com/home-improvement

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What is Hygge and why do you need it?

What exactly is hygge? The idea of Hygge (sounds like hoo-gah) is about the atmosphere in which you live. It's a lifestyle that emphasizes the use of lighting and the experience of all things comfortable or cozy as well as being with those you love while living in hygge.   The word 'hygge' loosely translates to 'coziness'. Hygge is common culture in Scandinavia and in the UK and has trended in the US more recently. Largely popular during the cold winters, Danes fought the winter blues with the warm glow from candles, cozy blankets and warm drinks. However, hygge lifestyle can be adapted and attained year round.  
boy reading blanket

Image from Pexels

Why do you need Hygge?

If you've been uprooted from the comforts of your own home, you may find yourself needing to create a home-like environment in your temporary residence. Or, maybe you need a little boost to get through the final months of winter.   The Danes know how to live. They have been found to live more comfortably and are overall more cheerful compared to the rest of us. Now let's hygge your home:  

What do you need to create Hygge?

Dedicate a room or area where you can bask in some warm lighting, read your favorite book, listen to some mood enhancing music or just enjoy the space for what it is.   Add some texture to your area with chunky blankets or throws, maybe you prefer a lighter or silkier fabric or use a mixture of both. Overwhelm the space with throw pillows, floor pillows etc.   Amp up your ambiance game with candles  or opt for the battery operated ones. Lighting is considered the ultimate and most instant way to Hygge.   Opt for a diffuser to bring in a subtle and homelike scent using essential oils. Your candles can also be multipurpose for both lighting and scent. Tip: Try something with musk, vanilla, and amber or comforting food-based aromas.   If your sharing your space with others, prepare and share a meal with them too. It doesn't have to be complicated. Make  some ultimate grilled cheese sandwiches or bake some delicious cookies and enjoy them with some "cocoa by candlelight".   Turn off all phone notifications to enjoy some time in your space.   Try this Hygge playlist on Spotify:   A cozy read to learn more about Hygge: The Little Book of Hygge
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Color My World Happy.

In what season are you most happy? Is there a season that you look forward to all year?

After conducting an impromptu CRS office survey this week, turns out that we’ve fallen in love with Fall. For our sports fans, football has finally started and MLB playoffs are in full swing (#cubs). Food-lovers have chosen autumn for all the wonderful pumpkin-related offerings like pumpkin latte, and it’s time to switch back to hot coffee. For some, cool nights unleash a craving for hearty beers, whose colors mirror those of the turning leaves. More nostalgic folks long for the time to wear boots and sweaters while pulling the cozy blankets out of the closet. With the smell of crisp fall air and refreshing cool breezes, time spent with family by the fireplace is savored and remembered throughout the year.

I was not surprised when CRS employees chose Fall as their #1 season. The reason being, our home office is located in Phoenix, AZ where the summer high temperatures can get to 115° and lows at night are in the upper 90s. So when the average highs drop down into the 80s, it’s a welcome relief from the sweltering summer days and ongoing efforts to stay cool.

Having grown up in Ohio and then lived in Chicago for 16 years, Summer was undeniably my favorite season. Chicago summers offered a myriad of outdoor activities not to be missed: From farmers’ markets to music festivals to heading to see my Cubs at Wrigley. But I must say, #IMWITHFALL now that I’ve been an Arizonian for 2 years. The basic AZ summertime goal is to get thought it without melting, passing out from heat exhaustion or getting air conditioning-induced frostbite.

So whether you choose fall for sports, weather or family, all that matters is that you enjoy it to the fullest. Here’s a few fall and winter tips to lengthen your house or condo’s lifespan and energy efficiency:

Prepare your house for Fall:

   www.bhg.com/home-improvement/maintenance/weatherizing/your-homes-fall-checklist

Prepare your house for Winter:

   www.bobvila.com/articles/502-winter-preparation-checklist/#.V_WAsJMrIUE

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