Storm Safety Reminders

Hurricane Watch: issued when hurricane conditions are a real possibility for an area.

Hurricane Warning: issued when a hurricane is expected within 24 hours. START GETTING READY!

Act Now to be Prepared

  •     Develop a family plan for survival and property protection.
  •     If your home is in a potential flood or storm surge zone, be prepared to evacuate when officials recommend.
  •     Plan what you will do with your pet.
  •     Inventory personal property; safely secure all records and valuable documents in a watertight place.
  •     Have materials available to protect your doors and windows.
  •     Have emergency cash or traveler’s checks saved.
  •     Put together a family hurricane evacuation kit.

Hurricane Warning

  •     Listen for weather updates and stay informed.
  •     Keep a portable radio and flashlight on hand – with fresh batteries.
  •     Re-check all emergency supplies and equipment.
  •     Clear your yard of all loose objects.
  •     Double check your shed and contents are secure.
  •     Store drinking water in clean containers.
  •     Shutter, board or tape all windows.
  •     Plan a flood-free evacuation route, and know where to go.
  •     If ordered to evacuate – comply immediately!

Keep a Hurricane Evacuation Kit ready to go once a warning is issued. Include battery-operated radio and flashlight, plus the following:

  •     First aid kit.
  •     Two-week supply of medicine.
  •     Blankets or sleeping bags.
  •     Extra clothing, infant necessities.
  •     Personal items including books and toys.
  •     Important papers (valid ID).
  •     Checkbook, cash, credit card, ATM cards.
  •     Insurance information


After the Storm

  • Do not enter evacuated areas until local officials have issued an all clear.
  • Stay away from disaster areas. Do not sightsee!
  • Obey all curfews and emergency orders that are issued.
  • If you must drive, use caution. Be aware of road and bridge washouts,   and storm debris on roadways.
  • Avoid all downed power lines. Assume that all have live electricity.
  • Once the storm has safely passes: Inspect for Damage. When inspecting your property for damage, be careful to avoid injury.

To check if you are properly insured for a hurricane or for more information call your local Van Dyk Group office

Top Ten Boating Safety Tips from The Van Dyk Group:

1. Always wear a life jacket and insist that your crew and guests do the same. Approximately 70 percent of fatal boating accident victims drowned in 2011. Eighty-four percent of those who drowned were not wearing a life jacket, and 8 out of every 10 boaters who drowned were on vessels less than 21 feet in length. Always have an adequate supply of life jackets aboard.

2. Never drink alcohol while boating. Alcohol use was the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents in 2011. Stay sharp on the water by having a designated driver just like you would on land.

3. Take a boating safety course. Only 11% of deaths occurred on boats where the operator had received boating safety instruction. You might even qualify for an insurance discount!

4. Stay in control by taking charge of your safety and that of your passengers. Boaters between the ages of 36 and 55, who comprise approximately 30% of all the operators, accounted for the highest rate of accidents, injuries and fatalities in 2011. Don’t forget that safety begins with you.

5. Understand and obey boating safety recommendations and navigational rules. Imagine the mayhem that would result if car drivers disregarded highway traffic laws. Know and understand boating safety procedures and rules of navigation before taking to the water, and practice them without fail.

6. Operate at a safe speed and always maintain a proper lookout. Overall, operator inattention, operator inexperience, excess speed and improper lookout were the leading contributing factors in all reported accidents.  Know your boat’s limitations as well as your own. Take note of visibility, traffic density and the proximity of navigation hazards like shoals, rocks or floating objects. Don’t invite a collision by going faster than is prudent.

7. Check the weather forecast. A calm day can quickly turn ugly on the water. Keep an eye out for changing weather conditions and stay on top of the forecast while boating. Promptly heed all weather and storm advisories.

8. Hypothermia is a significant risk factor for injury and even death while boating. Cold water accelerates the onset and progression of hypothermia since body heat can be lost 25 times faster in cold water than in cold air. The closer you are to rescue support the better your chances are, therefore an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon or Global Positioning System interfaced Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB/GPIRB), and/or a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), is recommended today for all boaters.

9. Use a carbon monoxide (CO) detector. CO can harm and even kill you inside or on the deck of your boat. All internal combustion engines emit carbon monoxide, an odorless, tasteless, colorless, poisonous gas that can make you sick in seconds and kill in minutes. Even just a few breaths in high enough concentrations can be fatal. CO symptoms are similar to seasickness or alcohol intoxication, and can affect you whether you are underway, moored or anchored. Remember, you cannot see, smell or taste CO!

10. File a float plan. The U.S. Coast Guard recommends that you always tell a friend or family member where you plan to go and when you’ll be back. Make it a habit before leaving on any boat trip. The proper officials can be notified promptly if you don’t return when expected.

And most important Remember, you can have your vessel checked for safety – for free!  

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron offer Vessel Safety Checks at no cost. Their certified vessel examiners will check your boat’s equipment and provide information about its use, safety procedures and applicable regulations. Unsafe boats are a threat to all recreational boaters. Make sure your vessel is as safe as possible. Carry USCG currently approved visual distress signals at all times. Visit the U.S. Coast Guard web site at: for more information.

WelcomeAs we have just come out of our busiest rental check-in weekend to date, and they will only get busier with each passing week, here are some tips for renters for when you get to their rental house.

It may be a little warm, but give it time and it will cool off – Most tenants will turn the air conditioning off when they check out.  If not, many times the cleaning people will.  No need to panic, simply turn the air on and wait for it to cool of.  Be sure and keep the doors closed while the air is running.  It will not cool off right away, but give it a little time, and it should cool down.  One thing to make sure of, is that you close all of the doors to the outside.  Whether it’s a sliding door to a deck, or keeping the door open to bring in all of your stuff, close the door.  This will delay the cool down.

Do not adjust the refrigerator settings –  This is one  of the biggest minor problem that we run into, and it really can be avoided.  When you adjust the settings on the refrigerator, it messes up the whole system by taking the colder air from one compartment and moving it to the other.  So if you turn up the settings on the freezer, it will compensate by channeling the colder air from the refrigerator compartment, making the freezer colder, but not keeping the fridge cool enough.  The big problem with this is that to correct the problem you have to unplug the unit and let it reset, which can take up to 24 hours to correct.  So don’t adjust the settings to avoid having a broken fridge on your first day of vacation.

Take a look around and make sure nothing is broken – It is very important that you let us know if anything is broken, missing, or not working properly.  If you do not, and something is broken, the owner will think that you did it, and will look to hold some, if not all, of your security deposit.  I know its exciting to finally be down and in your rental house, but taking the extra couple of minutes to check on things can save money and aggravation if the owner wants your security deposit held.

Check the garbage schedule and don’t wait until the end of the week to put it to the curb – If you wait until you are ready to leave to put all of your garbage out to the curb, the trash cans are full because you waited, there will not be any room for the tenant who is checking in after you.  While that may not matter to you when you are leaving, think about if you had checked in and find there is no room for your garbage because the tenant before you filled them up before they left.  Garbage pick up schedules are in most units, plus we give out the schedules when you pick up keys.  Also, make sure you put the lids on the garbage cans.  If not, sea gulls will get into the bags and there will garbage all over the street.  The Townships will actually fine the owners if this happens, and the owners will in turn take that fine out of your security deposit.

No one wants to deal with issues when they first arrive, or the first days of vacation.  These simple tips can help to get your vacation off to the right start.

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