Wow, it’s Cold!

Regardless of where you are in the United States, (except Florida, which we currently hate right now by the way) you are probably shivering because of this Polar Vortex. Every morning before work, you are putting on layer after layer of clothing until you are literally forced to waddle, and every time one of those commercials comes on for those cars where you can turn on the heat from a remote location, you are probably saluting them with a gloved middle finger. This freezing cold temperature is definitely unpleasant and although you may think it just affects you, your pets, plants, and the wild animals stuck outside (maybe Sarah McLachlan will write a song about them), it can potentially affect other areas of your life.

 

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Freezing Temperatures and Your Home

The Polar Vortex garnered a lot of attention in the United States when record lows were being reported, massive snowstorms locked people inside their homes, and people began to realize that they needed much thicker jackets. A lot of people had never even heard the term “polar vortex” and most probably wish they never had. As an unpleasant side effect of the cold, people also noticed that some of their electronics, as well as other home related items, were at risk. Here is a short list of some of the items in your possession that could be at risk:

 

1. Television

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Yes, your beloved source for the latest shows, news, and drama could be affected by the cold. The freezing temperatures can easily knock out power grids and services, leaving you stuck with literally nothing to watch on the television. LCD televisions can also be damaged if exposed to the cold weather.

 

2. Air Conditioning

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Outside air conditioning units could be covered in ice, which could easily damage parts. Wrapping or insulating outside units is always recommended!

 

3. Your cell phone

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As towers turn to icicles, you can potentially lose cell phone service for extended amounts of time.

 

4. Your car

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Besides the obvious risk of covering your car in tons of snow or forcing you to run outside and sit inside a freezing car for a long duration before it ever gets warm, there are other risks involved. Your tires could harden, motor oil thickens, your windshield could crack from significant amounts of pressure, and your engine block may also crack. Yikes!

 

5. Pipes

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Water pipes in your home are probably the most at risk. Leave cabinets open and wrap all exposed pipes with towels, blankets, or some form of insulation. Also, leave faucets on with a slow drip to prevent freezing. Keep in mind that frozen pipes can burst which can cause a lot of damage and a nasty repair bill! (Provided you can find a technician to come out in the cold!)

 

6. Electricity

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You may experience a loss of electricity during the cold if you have a significant ice or snowstorm. Ice and snow can pile up on transformers and lines, breaking and damaging them.

 

During this cold season, take a few extra precautions (especially when driving) and you will be just fine! Also, consider using your fireplace instead of the heater to conserve energy and lessen the hit to your electric bill.

The wonder of nature is breathtakingly beautiful and admired by all walks of life. Be it the forest, mountains, ocean or even the cool, invincible wind. But when nature is abused, the result can be awful and destructive and causes mankind to suffer its wrath. Sometimes, man is to blame for the effects of natural disasters which are all harmful and frightening to both property and life.

Some of the Post Natural Disasters and its Effects

Earthquakes

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Intense shaking of the ground coming from the earth’s inner crust thus making blocks of rock push against each other. When this occurs, the shaking is sometimes barely felt but if the friction is excessive, a violent reaction happens. Most of the time, the damage is extensive especially in places where there are a lot of structures. Houses and buildings tumble down like dominoes leaving the place in ruins.

Hurricanes

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Strong winds with destructive forces which develop from easterly waves which turn into a tropical depression. It’s usually a huge tropical cyclone and when coupled with tidal surges and intense rain and winds causes property damage and numerous deaths especially on a highly populated place.

Tornadoes

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This is one of nature’s deadly and gripping forces. Although limited in size of violent winds, it can still damage vast areas and leaving devastation along its way. Tornadoes are characterized by vicious swirling counter clockwise winds forming a downward funnel. With this wind, objects and debris are carried and causing destruction to property with increasing death toll. Some areas are untouched due to the skipping of the excessive wind but leaving others totally destroyed.

Tsunami

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A Japanese word meaning tidal wave. This is formed by volcanic eruption oftentimes caused by earthquakes. When the ocean floor is moved violently, a set of waves push the waves to the shore. Tsunamis have powerful energy because of the gigantic volume of water it brings washing out thousands of houses along the coast. With this destructive surge of towering walls of water, residents are killed and millions of properties left totally damaged.

 

With all the unhappy and devastating circumstances we have seen all over the world, communities gather to lend a helping hand. Like the social workers, Toronto plumbing companies, carpenters and engineers. We have learned a lesson the hard way when it comes to these disasters’ effects. May these phenomena keep us aware that we have to take care of Mother Nature so that we won’t experience these post natural disasters.

2011 Queensland Floods. The worst flood ever recorded in Australia

 

Both shock and confusion loomed over my small town the day the 2011 flood hit. I remember being very relieved that the flood had not affected my house. Then a devastating realization hit me. My best friend and her family lived in a house dangerously close to one of the town’s major rivers. I immediately contacted my friend (who was at college during this time) to get updated on her family. They had been safely evacuated to a local high school.

 

This was just the beginning, however. Most of their belongings were completely soiled. Some of their most prizes possessions had even floated right out of the house and disappeared in among the heavy amount of debris. My friend lost all her formal dresses and her brother’s numerous gadgets were destroyed. Their entire life had sunk to the bottom of a river in the matter of just a few hours.

 

 

The thing with natural disasters is that they are never biased. You could be fresh out of college with a business diploma or some rundown homeless person on the street. It doesn’t matter. A natural disaster can affect you all the same. But it doesn’t have to ruin you. Cleaning up after a flood is going to be hard work but, if you follow these simple tips, can go quite smoothly.

 

My first tip is common sense but is so completely essential that it should never go unnoticed. Accept help from others. This is great for you but also extremely beneficial to your loved ones. Seeing you going through hardship is going to be hard on them. They need to feel like they are doing something positive for you.

 

 

When it comes to the cleanup process, there are a few things you need to consider. First thing’s first: you have to strike up a conversation with your insurance agent. They will guide you through all the legal matters. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s slap on some gloves and boots and get messy. Before you go into your house, be extremely cautious as the structure could be damaged severely. Once you have (safely) made it inside, assess what items are damaged or lost. Write all this information down as it will help with your insurance claim later on. After getting a general inventory, start cleaning by throwing out all the wet stuff first. This will help prevent mold. Then tackle the rest of the house. If you followed the first tip, this process will be a lot faster and a lot more fun.

 

Don’t let a flood become your downfall. Don’t let it knock you to the ground. And don’t, for heaven’s sake, let it win. You can overcome this. Just take it one step at a time and be willing to lean on your friends throughout the whole journey.

Seeing the images of ruined homes as an aftermath of a terrible disaster wrenches my heart. I have seen hapless victims of natural disaster running from pillar to post to get insurance money as the only respite. At the time of such tragedies, what if the home and office of your insurance agent were destroyed too? Let us have a quick look at an overview of claiming insurance post natural disasters.

 

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Visiting Mobile Trailers Set Up by Insurance Companies

After a natural disaster, insurance companies set up their office either in the mobile trailers or in tents. These temporary abodes are the communication center and local people can visit these to meet with their claims adjusters and to satisfy their queries regarding the same.

 

Companies Submit Claims Through Agents

Sometimes there are certain strange circumstances where the agents of the companies began to file claims for their clients. There are certain companies that submit claims through their agents and get the ball rolling for assisting their clients. There are some large companies that make use of satellite imagery to evaluate the damage and begin filing claims with the worst hit areas.

 

Covers Additional Living Expenses

Normally, the homeowners policy that you buy covers the additional living expenditures for about a year or two during the time your home is repaired by the company. This facility is provided to you only after the insurance company validates your claim.

 

File your Claims As Early As Possible

There are plenty of policyholders who have a difficult time claiming insurance post natural disaster. This is so because they do not file their claim soon enough. Also, it is a good idea to have enough cash in the saving accounts to cater the financial needs for about one month at least. Emergency fund in hand serves as a back up and prevent any kind of contingency.

 

Final Thought

To prepare yourself from the fury of Mother nature, filing insurance post natural disaster is very important. So, any type of lingering or “ I will deal with it in future” can cost you dearly. Also, to get a better processing of your claims it is important to begin earlier. All the receipts should be kept as a proof of expenses incurred so that the money can be reimbursed by the insurance company. Besides, it is always better to file the claim as soon as disaster strikes.

Natural disasters such as storms, typhoons, floods, earthquakes, forest fires can take place anytime, often without any prior warning. Most people residing in the disaster struck area will suffer varying degrees of damage to their homes and other possessions. People who suffer from a natural disasters are often traumatized by the experience, and there is no shortage of frauds who will try to take advantage of the situation. The law enforcement agencies are too busy providing relief, so law and order is also affected. Beware of frauds post natural disasters, some precautions which affected people and relief agencies should take are discussed below.

 

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Beware of frauds

 

Loss of valuables

A majority of natural disasters leave people homeless or without the safety barriers which people have installed to protect their valuables like security systems. There is no power supply in the area, so most electrical appliances do not work. Frauds take advantage of this to enter people’s homes to decamp with valuables. In other cases, they may pretend to be government officials or from some relief agency and enter the home to assess the valuables available. Then their associates may break into homes and decamp with these expensive items. Any items which are left in the open may also be stolen.

Compensation for natural disasters

Most homes and businesses in the disaster struck area suffer financial losses due to the damage. Government agencies and charity organizations offer offer monetary and other compensation to those affected by the natural disaster. There may be frauds pretending to be government or relief agency officials, who may demand an upfront payment so that the affected person or household can get a larger relief amount or can receive the compensation payment faster.

 

Fake Charity Organisations

Also fake charity organisations claiming to be working on behalf of the disaster struck individuals , may solicit donations and assistance from people, but use the donations to enrich themselves. These requests may be made by email, though websites or by visiting homes requesting donations to a non existing organisation. Identity theft and false claims Many persons go missing or remain un-traced during natural disasters. This can be used by frauds for identity theft, especially if the person is wealthy or owns a large number of assets, and if the targeted person does not have any surviving family member or close friend.

Alternately fake relatives may turn up to claim the assets of a dead person, if entire families are wiped out . Also insurance claims may be filed by frauds who may fake their relationship with a dead or missing person, to earn easy money. Hence a close scrutiny of all financial claims post natural disaster is needed, to prevent exploitation by frauds.

Natural disasters may be very traumatic especially for the youth and children. When we experience a violent or dangerous flood, storm, earthquake or wildfire we get frightened whether an adult or a child and the devastation that comes due to that environment may be a long lasting one. For every disaster we need to come up with a plan of what to do i.e. a preparedness plan.

With a preparedness plan we will be able to know what to do post natural disasters. Different kinds of disasters have different measures:

 

Hurricanes

The destruction left behind by hurricanes resembles that of floods, tornadoes and thunderstorms. If we sheltered in a place during the hurricane, it’s safe to leave the place once we a sure that the hurricane has passed over. Most of the cases power goes out and we should try not to use candles for fire safety reasons. Flashlights are the best to use when trying to get around. If we were evacuated , before going back we need to check our premise as there maybe ruptured gas lines, contaminated water and others.

 

Earthquakes

The passing of an earthquake does not mean that we are safe as damaged and loose structures may fall after the shaking has stopped. We need to assess the situation and go somewhere safe away from buildings and other hazards. In case we are trapped, we should make very loud noise to get the attention of emergency services. In case the earthquake was minor we should inspect our houses together with the authorities to ensure its safe before going back in.

 

Floods and Tsunami

In case we experience floods we need to move away from the folded areas until the authority’s state otherwise. We should avoid walking into moving waters as flood water may be contaminated with chemicals, Oil, sewage and so on.

 

House Fires

House fires are very destructive and we may never be able to return to our homes until we are advised otherwise by the fire department. In case of an okay from the fire department to go in, we should first collect the valuable items i.e. documents. Before leaving a fire-damaged home we need to make the police aware. Rebuilding such a home may take a long time therefore we need to be ready and to give ourselves plenty of recovering time.

 

With this wide range of information concerning what to do post natural disasters, we will be able to get prepared therefore recover quickly.