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Building Resilience Into Our Community

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As we head into a heat wave under the smokey sky’s still reeling from the impact of our flood season, there is no denying we can feel the impact of climate change in our community.  It affects almost every aspect of our lives from agriculture and property to health and daily activities.

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the tally for catastrophic insurable losses in the property and casualty insurance sector from January to May 2018 exceeded $800 million. It is new statistics such as these that remind us we need to stay informed and build resilience to these imminent changes. By understanding and preparing for climate impacts we can reduce the risk.

Stay informed, knowledge is power. Ensure you are properly covered. Understanding your homeowner policy and addressing any questions you may have with your insurance provider prior to a loss.  Integrate new seasonal practices into your routine to protect your property.  Build more resilient homes in our community. These are a few of the steps we can take to prevent costly damage to our properties while together we work towards building a resilient community.

For further information on 20 best practices for mitigating damage caused by flooding in new residential communities visit; https://canada.constructconnect.com/dcn/news/infrastructure/2018/07/quick-uptake-communities-flood-mitigation-report

Boaters Beware

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Okanagan Lake has reached “full pool” and is predicted to reach levels similar to last season.

“Full pool” is the target set by the provincial government to ensure there is enough water supply through the summer.

If you experienced flooding last year take extra precautions to protect you property and call Winmar at the first signs of flooding.

Currently boat launches throughout Okanagan Lake remain open, but boaters are being warned about the high lake levels and to watch for floating debris.

Prepare Your Home For Spring Run-Off

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If your home is in a location where seasonal flooding may occur, you need to know how to prepare your home to resist or survive flooding. Flooding can occur in a number of ways.

Sub-surface water leaks

These occur when groundwater levels rise enough to enter the house through cracks or openings in foundations, basement slabs, or sumps and foundation drainage systems. You can prepare for this degree of basement flooding by raising the furnace, water heater, appliances, and storage items an adequate distance above the floor using waterproof blocking.

Spring run-off and minor surface flooding

During spring run-off or surface water flooding events, the amount of water in foundation drainage systems increases the demand on the sump pump system.

Check the ejection pipe, sump, and sump pump to be sure that they are functioning properly.

If prolonged flooding or a power outage is possible, consider keeping a spare sump pump and a gas powered electric generator available. Store generator fuel safely and operate the generator in a safe location where exhaust fumes cannot enter the home.

Sewer back-ups

These can occur even if the blockage or flooding is some distance from your home.

To protect your home, consider having a valve or one-way check valve installed where the sewer main leaves the house. A plumbing professional can help you determine the best method and location. If you do not have a valve installed to block the sewer main, temporary compression plugs can be inserted in floor drains and plumbing drain openings.

Remember that a sewer system blockage could force water higher up in the home’s drainage system than expected.

Major surface flooding

When streams and rivers overflow their banks, major surface floods present the greatest threat of structural damage to the home.

If the home is outside of areas protected by dikes, and the foundation has been strengthened or braced and sealed sufficiently to withstand the external water pressure, it may be possible to keep the basement dry using gas powered pumps. If the basement has not been reinforced and is incapable of withstanding the force of floodwaters, allowing the basement to fill with water may protect the foundation from structural damage by keeping the pressure similar on both sides of the foundation walls and floor.

If there is still time before the flooding, move stored items, furniture, and appliances to a safe upper level of the home or to a safe location outside the flood zone.

Before the home is flooded, shut off the water, gas, and electricity. After flooding clean-up and repairs, your utility company may require that service be restored only by trained utility representatives.

Five steps to prepare your family for floods

  1. Review your insurance coverage before disaster strikes
  2. Inventory your household property using List it or lose it: The case for household and property inventory
  3. Protect your important financial documents using Make a Grab and Go File for Emergencies
  4. Make a plan to protect your family and pets
  5. Start an emergency fund before disaster strikes

Daylight Saving Time!

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SPRING IS IN THE AIR.

Daylight saving time 2018 will begin at 3:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 11. Don’t forget to turn your clocks ahead.

Preparing Your Family And Home For Extreme Okanagan Winter Conditions

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  • Make sure your home is well insulated and that you have weather stripping around your doors and window sills to keep the warm air inside.
  • Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector.
  • Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them.
  • Locate and know how to shut off water supply.
  • Check the structural ability of the roof to sustain unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow or water. Check drains are clear of debree.
  • Have the following heat sources in case the power goes out: Extra blankets, sleeping bags and warm winter coats
  • Prepare your vehicle: Keep your gas tank at least half full.
  • Stock up on rock salt, sand or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on driveways and walkways.
  • DON’T FORGET your 4 legged family members, plan to bring pets inside.

Stay safe and warm. From the WINMAR Family!

Preparing Your Family And Home For Snowstorms And Extreme Cold

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  • Make sure your home is well insulated and that you have weather stripping around your doors and window sills to keep the warm air inside.
  • Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector.
  • Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them.
  • Locate and know how to shut off the water supply.
  • Check the structural ability of the roof to sustain unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow or water. Check drains are clear of debris.
  • Have the following heat sources in case the power goes out: Extra blankets, sleeping bags and warm winter coats
  • Prepare your vehicle: Keep your gas tank at least half full.
  • Stock up on rock salt, sand or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on driveways and walkways.
  • DON’T FORGET your 4 legged family members! Plan to bring pets inside.

Stay safe and warm, from the WINMAR Family!

Preparing Your Home For A Flood

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Preparing ourselves for extreme weather is a topic on all of our minds these days. This including storms that bring heavy rainfall. Bodies of water and over-saturated ground can’t always handle the showers that come our way, and suddenly you find your home or business falling victim to a flood.

Luckily, we can often tell when heavy rainfall is coming our way, and a little bit of preparation can make all the difference!

Elevate

There are certain items and critical utilities you should elevate, including appliances, heating systems, electrical panels, valuable personal items, and important documents. If you can, removing these items from your basement will usually do the trick. Ensure that items left in your basement are moved away from windows, as they could potentially let water in.

Test Your Sump Pump

Make sure your sump pump is operating correctly – test it a few times. Having a battery case for your sump pump will make sure it continues to do it’s job if the power goes out.

Clear Debris

Cleaning out your gutters prior to heavy rain will keep your potential flooding to a minimum, as the water will be able to drain properly and away from your home/business.

Pack an Emergency Bag

Put your family’s phone chargers, dry clothes, identification, and other important items in large Ziplock or plastic bags, and pack them all together. If you need to leave your home for whatever reason, you’ll be thankful to have this stuff ready to go!

Bonus:

Have your local WINMAR® KELOWNA on speed dial! We’re always ready to help with water remediation and getting your home back to pre-loss condition.

24/7 we are a phone call away 250-862-3500

“Coming Through for You”

5 Things You Should Know Before Making A Home Insurance Claim

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WINMAR® is a property restoration company that specializes in providing restoration services to homeowners and insurance companies in Kelowna, BC and the surrounding areas such as Lakecountry, Peachland, Bigwhite, Penticton, and Vernon. We have successfully completed 1000’s of insurance claims in the Okanagan and are looked at as a leader and community partner here to serve our customers.

If you are considering making an insurance claim, we are here to help. Nobody wants to make an insurance claim because that means you’ve suffered a loss. For most homeowners, the process is a bit of a mystery. Should I make a claim? Who should I call? What should I expect? And because of these questions, we’ve put together these five things you should know before you make an insurance claim.

# 1 Know Who You’re Calling

Marketing a brand is how companies become known. It’s the logo or jingle that sticks in your head and even before you think about them consciously, your subconscious kicks in and says call WINMAR® – or buy a Coke, depending on your need, emotions or craving at the time. This, however, isn’t the best way to choose a restoration company. Some restoration jobs can last weeks, months and, yes, even years. It’s not just a short term connection with an in and out service, such as carpet cleaning or window cleaning. In many cases, we form long-lasting relationships with our clients for this very reason. At WINMAR, our team is everything to us, and we have a great reputation of trust in the community. So before you find yourself in desperate need of one of our restoration services – like water damage or smoke removal – get to know us. Like our Facebook page and meet our team.

# 2 You Want a Project Manager – Not a Technician – First on Site

This is alone sets WINMAR apart from other restoration companies. We believe that in order to properly manage an insurance claim, for both the homeowner and insurance company’s benefit, a project manager should always be the first one on site.

There are two main reasons for this.

1.    Making an insurance claim can be very complicated. You need a professional to explain the process to you and walk you through each step. This is especially important during after-hours water damage emergencies because that is where the costs can quickly go up.

2.    Determining the cause of loss is not always as simple as a flooded basement, and the first thing your insurance company will want to know is what caused the damage? Our project managers know this and will help you source the root issue and document it in the right format for your insurance company.

Leaving these two things to an untrained technician can cause more stress and confusion to what can already be a sensitive situation.

# 3 Don’t Sign a Work Authorization Form Before You Understand the Next Steps

When our project manager arrives on site, there should be no pressure for you to sign a contract or work authorization until we understand exactly what needs to be done and can communicate that to you in a way you understand. Our main concern is your safety, our safety and what caused the loss. In order to do this, we follow a three-step process.

Step 1 – We do a site safety assessment. This might be a quick scan for common hazards like wet electrical, trip, slip or fall hazards or it might be more in-depth. For example, if we are attending a fire damage job, then we will most likely need to call an environmental hygienist to perform a hazardous material assessment for things like asbestos, lead paint or even mercury.

Step 2 – Cause of Loss. We need to determine exactly what caused the damage. Is it a broken water pipe, or a backed up sewer drain ? Even if it looks like it’s the drain, we may have to scope the line to determine if the line was blocked by tree roots, which occurred over a period of time, or was it caused by an object flushed down the toilet, in which case it would be a sudden and accidental backup. These details are very important when we provide our report to the insurance company. (Plumber tests in this example are not covered as part of our free inspection outlined below.)

Step 3 – Create a scope of work. Once we know what caused the loss, and what safety measures need to be put in place to protect you and our staff, we can then start building our plan in what needs to happen next. This becomes our scope of work. The scope of work might include floor protection, contents moved out, carpet drying and even some selective demolition to release trapped moisture.

All this information is important for you to know up front because you will want to know if you’re going to have to pay for this work or will it be covered by your insurance. We can’t confirm coverage on behalf of your insurance company, but we can provide you with the information they need to give you a quick decision.

# 4 Don’t Pay Your Deductible Up Front

This is obviously your choice, but at WINMAR, we believe that you don’t need to be hit up for your deductible right on the first call out. First off, many people don’t know or remember what the amount of their deductible is, and secondly, some insurance companies have what is called a vanishing deductible, which means if your claim exceeds a certain value your deductible disappears. It is our recommendation that you hold off on paying your deductible until after the emergency cleanup is complete and the repair estimate has been approved by your insurance company. It’s at this point you’ll know what the amount of your deductible is, if you owe it, and who it is payable to.

# 5 Get a Free Inspection! 

Not all companies offer free inspections, and some that do might not take them as seriously as we do. I have to be upfront in that our free inspection is limited, but the value that you do get from it can be the difference between you making a claim or not. Here’s what’s included in our free inspection.

  • We’ll send people you can trust and work with
  • We’ll send a Project Manager first (even at 1:00 am in the morning)
  • We’ll assess the damages, determine the cause of loss and provide a written report with pictures to your insurance company. Or, if we determine the value of the work is under your deductible, then you don’t even have to make a claim.
  • We won’t collect a deductible up front, and we will prepare you with all the information you need to get your home and life back to normal as quickly as possible.

To book a free inspection, call our helpline today!

Kelowna Restoration Company

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I’m surprised by how many people I run into that don’t really know what a restoration company does, how they help and what our purpose is.  So I thought this would be a great first post on our new blog.

For those that have had a flood or a fire and have had to use a Kelowna restoration company then you’ll know that we aren’t a service company that you typically come across under good circumstances.  Our typical call starts out by someone in desperate need, someone that has a mess that is just too big for them to clean up on their own.  That mess can be from a broken pipe, leaky shower, overflowing sink or from a fire caused by leaving the stove on or burning dinner left in the oven.  The list really goes on and on.

A common misunderstanding about restoration companies is that we are just a general contractor and construction company but really that is just a small piece of what we do.  As a “full service” restoration company we have emergency vehicles and staff that will respond to a homeowner in distress 24 hours a day 365 days a year.  I don’t know any home builders that will do that. Another major difference from a general contractor and a restoration company is that we have trained our staff and gained specialized experience that other carpenters and builders don’t have.  We understand how water affects different building materials and how to properly dry out a structure so that there is no ability for mould to grow.

Here is a short list of the specialized Property Restoration Services that set us apart from just a construction company;

  1. Water Damage
  2. Flood Damage
  3. Mould Remediation
  4. Asbestos Abatement
  5. Fire Damage Cleanup 
  6. Sewer Backup
  7. Rodent Infestation Damage 

This is a bathroom affected by a fire damage that burnt the main part of the house.  There is nothing actually burnt in this picture it’s the soot that has covered all the items in the house and this room.  Winmar property restoration uses specialized knowledge, training and years of experience to see through this mess and put home owners back in their home without even a hint of smoke odor.

Severe Thunderstorm Watch

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Thunderstorms are a beautiful display of natures power but can leave a wake of destruction.

Are you prepared? Residents of Central Okanagan are preparing for yet another wave of unfavourable weather to sweep through our community.

Be prepared, keep safe, and call WINMAR for your 24/7 Disaster services.

  • Before a severe thunderstorm, unplug radios and TV’s. Listen for weather updates on a battery powered radio.
  • If you are indoors, stay away from windows, doors and fireplaces.
  • You may want to go to the sheltered area that you and your family chose for your emergency plan.
  • If you are advised by officials to evacuate, do so. Take your emergency kit with you.
  • You can use a cellular telephone during a severe storm, but it’s not safe to use a land-line telephone.
  • Never go out in a boat during a storm. If you are on the water and you see bad weather approaching, head for shore immediately. Always check the marine forecast before leaving for a day of boating and listen to weather reports during your cruise.
  • If you are in a car, stop the car away from trees or power lines that might fall on you. Stay there.

For more tips got to www.getprepared.gc.ca

WINMAR “Coming Through for You”

This WINMAR® franchise is independently owned and operated. WINMAR® is a registered trademark owned by WINMAR® International Inc. and is used under license.