Paramount Fencing’s Comprehensive Guide to Hurricanes

Paramount Fencing’s Comprehensive Guide to Hurricanes

How Are Hurricanes Formed?

If you are reading this, something is brewing in the tropics. It does not matter if it is a tropical storm, depression, or a hurricane. They are all disruptive and destructive when they arrive. They damper new business and create long-term stress on time, money, and resources. We have a responsibility to ensure that correct and ethical decisions are made along the way for past, present, and future customers. This may seem like a monumental task; however, with understanding and preparation, the right decision always reveals itself. The key to success is preparation and implementing standard protocols and procedures based on the existing level of threat.

All tropical cyclones begin as a tropical depression, which have the potential to grow into a tropical storm and then into a hurricane. For Florida, all potential tropical weather disturbances originate near the equator just off the shores of Africa, and eventually drift west with the Trade Winds toward North and South America. These disturbances occur because of heated ocean water evaporating, causing it to naturally rise upward, creating low air pressure near the surface of the ocean. In the absences of pressure, cool air is pulled inward and forced upward. If the conditions are right, the air continues to rise higher, and begins to twist in the atmosphere. The twisting creates winds, which begin to circle counterclockwise. Once the wind speed reaches 74 mph, this tropical storm becomes a hurricane. What happens to the hurricane and where it goes is dependent on environmental conditions a tropical storm encounters.

Simply put, a hurricane needs to feed. The main food sources water temperature. For a hurricane to sustain or flourish, the water temperature must be 79F or greater. If the water surface temperature less 79F, the winds will gradually slow until they are no longer of hurricane force. Therefore, it is important when analyzing a hurricane to not become mesmerized with the strength or location of the hurricane in the Atlantic Oceans. It is more important to focus on the projected path and conditions a hurricane will travel through. This path will determine the result.

When a hurricane forms, scientists constantly monitor them with both satellites and airplane surveillance. All data is balanced off weather conditions such as frontal boundaries, low-pressure systems, wind directions, and other tropical events. Current weather conditions are the factors that determine a projected path. What lays in front simply determines the strength and speed.

Hurricane Watch: During a hurricane watch, the tropical storm(s) being monitored have a possibility to develop hurricane force winds in a stated area. Experts usually issue a hurricane watch about 48 hours before they expect the winds to begin.

Hurricane Warning: A hurricane warning is issued when hurricane force winds are expected in a stated area. Experts issue a hurricane warning about 36 hours before the winds are expected to give preparation time.

Before a Hurricane:

- Cover windows with plywood or storm shutters
- Move outdoor items to the garage if possible, or secure them
- Listen to the local news for the most updated information
- Create an emergency kit, include items such as non-perishable foods, water (3-day supply for each person minimum), batteries, first aid kit, medications, pet food (3-day supply minimum), a battery or crank powered radio, extra face masks, hand sanitizers, and extra hand soap
- Fill gas tanks in cars and be sure cars have an emergency kit in them in case of emergency evacuation
- Keep your emergency kit packed together in case of emergency evacuation
- Know how to turn off gas/water/electrical on house in case of evacuation

Houses line a flooded street after the effects of Hurricane Dorian arrived in Nassau, Bahamas, September 2, 2019. REUTERS/John Marc Nutt MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

After a Hurricane:

- Stay out of floodwater if it is avoidable
- Don’t drive in flooded areas
- If you have to be in floodwater, wear a lifejacket
- Wash your hands with soap and water if you have been in contact with floodwater
- Never use a wet electrical device
- If the power is out, use flashlights instead of candles to avoid accidental fires
- Stay away from downed power lines
- Listen to local authorities for advice on water precautions

Cleaning Up After The Storm:

- Prioritize what cleanup is most important and start there. Stop and take breaks when you are tired
- Get help lifting heavy or bulky objects
- Try to cleanup with other people
- If using a chainsaw, be sure to follow manufacturer instructions and wear protective hear
- Inside, clean up and dry your home as soon as possible, ideally 24-48 hours after the storm or flooding ends
- Air out the house by opening doors and windows. If you have power, put fans on wet areas
- To avoid mold, throw away what can’t be cleaned/dried quickly (rugs, carpeting, mattresses, furniture, etc.)
- Remove any drywall or insulation that has been contaminated with floodwater or has gotten wet
- Fix any leaks as quickly as you can
- Clean up any mold you see with a mixture of bleach and water (1 cup of bleach:1 gallon of water) Be sure to have windows and doors open, never use bleach in an enclosed area

Protecting Your Fence Through a Hurricane:

Your fence was built beautiful and strong, and according to the ASTM standards. It is time to see how it will stand up to hurricane-force winds. Regardless, I need you to do a few things that will help protect your investment. This will be the difference between the insurance company picking up the tab or the cost for repairs coming directly out of your pocket. They are listed below:

- Take a pictures and videos of your fence. Make sure you document all stretches both inside and out. You should do this with your home as well.

- If you have a wood fence, the gates can be secured by taking a foot-long piece of wood 2” x 4” and securing it to the gate and latch post on both the top and bottom. Use screws. If you can, fold the gate open and screw it against the fence with screws.

- If you have a vinyl fence, remove the ¾” bolt from the outer portion of the top and bottom hinges. Slide the gate off and store those gates in the garage. Check your post caps. If they are loose, take them off and place them in the garage as well.

- If you have an aluminum fence, simply place a bungee cord around the gate.

- Make sure you check the fence where it meets the house. Make sure the fence is attached to the house. If it is not, go buy a hurricane strap or 90-degree angle bracket and connect the fence to the house. It will be the difference between the Insurance company viewing the fence as an attached structure or detached structure.

- If you have a stretch of fence line which is standalone or not attached to the fence line, brace it. Bracing can be accomplished by taking a 2” x 4” about two feet long and placing it at a 45-degree angle, one end buried in the ground, one end attached to the post with a screw.

- If you have a pool, even if it has a screen enclosure, please purchase an orange plastic safety fence from the home improvement store. It will be hard to find after the storm.

Pool Code – What’s Required of My Fence?

Pool Code – What’s Required of My Fence?

Paramount Fencing has received many requests to convert a customer's fence to be pool code compliant this summer, and unfortunately have had to deliver some hard news. Many four foot aluminum fences we have seen have had to be removed and re-installed to meet pool barrier requirements. This is because many aluminum fences are ornamental, and their rails fall below the minimum height requirement. At Paramount Fencing, our #1 goal is to EDUCATE the consumer, and we recommend having a fence installed to be pool code compliant, even if you do not have a pool. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and having a pool-safe fence could save a life in the future.

What is Pool Code?
According to the CDC, from 2005 to 2014 there have been an average of 3,536 accidental drowning deaths annually in the United States. This averages out to about 10 deaths per day. Of those deaths, about 390 are children aged 0-14, and about 250 are children under the age of 5.
On October 1, 2000, Florida Senate Bill 86 went into effect, which outlined new building code requirements for commercial and residential pools. The Bill covers any structure with water deeper than 24” that is intended for swimming, recreational bathing, or wading.
This lead to the Florida Statutes 515, which now required all new water structures to have at least one pool safety feature.

What does that mean for my fence?
Well, that depends. Do you currently have a pool, or are you planning to get one? If you have a pool, chances are, your current fence is compliant, but there are some steps you can take to check. First, what material is your fence? There are some general requirements for each type:

Aluminum:
48” minimum 2-Rail with flush top and bottom
54” minimum 3-Rail with flush top and bottom

Wood:
48” minimum for privacy style, horizontal runners facing inside, pickets away from pool, pickets maximum of 1 ¾ inch apart
54” minimum for picket style, horizontal runners must be 45” apart, runners facing inside, pickets maximum of 4’ apart

Vinyl:
48” minimum for privacy style
54” minimum for picket style, horizontal runners must be 45” apart, pickets maximum of 4’ apart

NOTE: All 48” ornamental fences, no matter the building material, are not approved. Circles, scrolls, crossbars, decorative runners, and cutouts make these fences possible to climb.

Then, check the space under your fence. Fences should have no more than a 2-inches between its bottom and the ground. Check your gates, pool code compliant gates swing out/away from the yard and have automatic close hinges with an automatic closing latch. The latch should be installed no lower than 54” on the gate.

If your fence meets these requirements, great! You are pool code compliant. Just be sure to Walk that fence line or pool screen and make sure you do not have any damaged planks or pickets. Look for gaps more significant than two inches below the fence, or a space wider than four inches, the minimum amount of space a small child needs to squeeze through.

My fence doesn't meet these requirements, what now?

If your fence does not meet these requirements, it is very possible that it will need replacement. Failure to erect a safety barrier or enact other approved safety devices is a second-degree misdemeanor under Florida law. However, if the property owner attends a drowning prevention program and complies with the act's requirements within 45 days, the state drops charges.

So how can the homeowner protect themselves in this situation?

First, if you’re having a pool installed, your pool company should be able to provide all the information needed. If they do not mention barriers, or don’t know the barrier requirements, that is a red flag. A freshly installed pool will not pass inspection without a proper to-code pool barrier. Any fence company you speak with should know the current building code for your municipality.

Ask yourself, what do you see for the future? Do you really need a 48-inch fence, or can you add the extra six inches to hit the height requirement? Do you ever have plans to install a pool or a hot tub? Even an above ground pool is subject to these barrier requirements.

Are you looking to purchase a new home? This is something to look for when shopping around. The average homeowner will pay about $35,000.00 for an in-ground pool installation. Replacing a fence can add another $4-8,000 to your project depending on footage and building material. Or, if you don’t want to replace the fence, you could always spend $20,000.00 on a screen enclosure, or ruin the aesthetic of your new pool with a screen barrier.

If you find yourself stuck in this situation, give Paramount a call. We will work with you to find a fence that fits your unique needs as well as pool barrier requirements.
TO SCHEDULE A FREE ESTIMATE CALL!  (407) 341-2720 Family Owned & Operated Since 2003 Veteran Owned and Operated.

How to Avoid Getting Scammed

How to Avoid Getting Scammed

A guide to choosing a reputable fence contractor in the Central Florida market

Let's be honest.  Let's be real.  Most businesses in the Central Florida marketplace are flat-out disappointing.  We’re often forced to settle or accept substandard customer service, product, workmanship, and even scams.  Rarely are customers left satisfied.

As our owner always says, “Don’t trust all that you hear, but trust 100% of what you see”, which is especially true when it comes to the fencing industry. It’s impossible to drive through any given neighborhood and not find that 80% of the existing fences are falling, warping, wiggling, or discolored. Is this what fences are supposed to do? Should I need to replace my investment every 5 years? These issues bring up many questions, but there’s only one answer.

We noticed potential customers in the Central Florida Market place were starved for information. It did not matter if it was fencing or some other service. All the customer wanted was information. Information beyond what a company’s marketing materials could provide or what a likable salesperson could present. What they wanted was a real conversation with a real person who understood their industry, service, and products. Simply put, they wanted the ability to make a well-informed decision.

That is often difficult to come across in today's market, so we have made it our company’s goal to educate the consumer so that they do not make costly mistakes. This article will cover red flags in the industry that may lead to subpar products or loss of money entirely. Follow these crucial steps when choosing a contractor to help yourself make the best-informed decision possible.

  1. The first step that many people skip is checking the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, or other trusted sites. It is quite common for companies to use fake reviews on Google or Facebook to help boost their ratings, and the 5-star reviews may drown the 1-stars, but don’t let that blind you. Read those 1-star reviews and take them into consideration. Some sites, such as the BBB, allow the company or contractor to reply to their reviews. Do they own up to their mistakes and try to make it right, or do they argue with the customer? A company that argues with their customer is a red flag.
  2. Look for reviews from customer’s neighbors. It is common to see reviews from neighbors about messes left on lawns, or landscaping that was destroyed. If a company does not respect a neighboring yard, they won’t respect yours.
  3. Look for reviews of bad communications with the company. You may see some that say, “the salesman was responsive and attentive until we signed, and now we can’t reach anyone!” That is a surefire red flag. It is common for fence companies to ask for large “material deposits” (50-60% of total bill), and then disappear, leaving the homeowner out thousands of dollars.
  4. Ask questions about the materials being used. Many companies will advertise high-quality products and provide economy grade materials upon installation, leaving homeowners paying a huge markup for a fence that will need replacement in 3-5 years. A reputable company should be able to provide you with manufacturer and warranty information. Look online for reviews on the material quality before you sign a contract.
  5. Check that the company or contractor you want to work with is licensed. Go to Sunbiz, and search either the company name or contractor's name. If they are listed as “inactive”, they are not currently licensed. Additionally, ask for the company's or contractors' insurance information. If they are not insured and you allow them onto your property, that is a recipe for disaster. If possible, look for a company or contractor who is insured and bonded. The difference here is that the bond works as second insurance and protects the property owner.
  6. Sunbiz will show you how often a contractor has closed and re-opened as another company name every year or two. That is a sign of a scam company. It makes them more difficult to trace. Additionally, look for a contractor with a storefront or physical address.
  7. Lastly, watch out for bogus awards. “Best of Orlando Fences 2018” a company will boast online. It looks great, but is it real? If legitimate, the company should appear when searching for the award name online. Chances are, “Frank’s Fencing” is not the number one rated fence company in your city.

When in doubt, call Paramount Fencing. Our customer service and installation are superior and proven.  We are ranked number one on referral sites such as Angie's List, NextDoor, and the Better Business Bureau. Our number 1 goal is to educate the consumer regardless if they go with us or go with someone else.  That is what we do, and we will still be here for you regardless.

TO SCHEDULE A FREE ESTIMATE CALL!  (407) 341-2720 Family Owned & Operated Since 2003 Veteran Owned and Operated.

 

Hurricane Preparation for Individuals with Autism

Hurricane Preparation for Individuals with Autism

Hurricane Preparation for Individuals with Autism

With hurricane season quickly approaching, and the increase of more and more summer storms, Paramount Fencing is teaming up with Autism Society of Greater Orlando once again to help better prepare those of us with a loved one with Autism in the event of a large storm.

  1. Begin preparing for a possible hurricane now. Add comfort items to your emergency kit. Be sure to include batteries/rechargeable blocks to the kit for recharging electronics. Get an extra pair of soundproof headphones just in case.
  2. Explain to your loved one what is going on. Tell them everything you can about the situation. Use personal stories if applicable. Allow the individual with Autism to ask questions, and answer them. Validate their concerns.
  3. Keep as many routines as possible, but explain to your loved one that there may be some unexpected changes such as loss of electricity, or a change in diet due to lack of access to preferred foods. Make sure to prepare them for any possibility.
  4. If evacuating, expect bad traffic and try to take a frequent break. If you can, try evacuating to a familiar friend or family member's house. If this is not possible, be sure to pre-register for a spot at a special needs shelter in your county. Service animals will be allowed at the shelters, just be sure that you have updated vaccine/license records available. Don't forget to pack at least a 3 week supply of food/water/medicine for service animals.

To pre-register for a special needs shelter near you, follow the links below:

Orange County Special Needs Registry

Seminole County Special Needs Registry

Lake County Special Needs Registry

Polk County Special Needs Registry

Volusia County Special Needs Registry

 

Note: It is very rare for home insurance policies to cover damages caused by either flooding or hurricanes without specific add-ons. After the above preparations have been made, review your homeowner's insurance policy to ensure you are covered prior to any severe weather indications.