RSSAll Entries in the "Ask the Expert" Category

Tips on Storm Safety


In Rhode Island, we are not accustomed to thinking of any storm much smaller than a hurricane as a potential danger. However, in one week this summer, the state experienced 2 severe storms, including a tornado warning, flooding, and wind damage that left thousands without electricity. In nearby states, recent storm systems took the lives of several who were caught in them.

We want you to be prepared in advance for severe storms, and to know how to respond in a storm, so that you and your family are safe when the next severe storm hits.

Severe Weather Watch vs Warning.

When a severe storm watch has been issued for your area, that means that a strong storm might develop nearby. Whether you are home, on the road, or outdoors, you should monitor the weather during the watch period, and have a plan ready in case of a storm. If a warning is issued for your area, then a severe storm is approaching and you should follow your storm plan and seek shelter immediately.

Prepare Before A Storm

Before storm season starts, make sure that your trees are well trimmed and maintained to help reduce the likelihood of falling branches. If a tree expert tells you that a tree or large limb is close to structures, power lines or roads and may be vulnerable to high winds, you should consider taking it down.

Keep your home’s (or business’s) exterior in good repair, especially roofing and flashing, windows and doors, foundations and gutters. This lessens the possibility of wind damage or leakage in a heavy rain.

Know whether your home or workplace is in a flood zone and be aware of roads that are likely to flood along your route in a heavy rain. The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency’s (RIEMA) Floodplain Mapping Tool can help you learn more.

Have emergency kits and an emergency plan in case the storm causes an extended outage like the August 4th storm, or damages your home enough that you are forced to evacuate. Both the Red Cross and RIEMAoffer emergency preparation how-to’s on their websites.

Discuss thunderstorm and lightning safety with your household and make everyone familiar with the family emergency plan if a storm hits. If your family uses cell phones, find out if your carrier is part of the Wireless Emergency Alert system which will send a text alert in the event of a weather emergency (read more here). The National Weather Service also has a listing of third party weather alert services.

When a Severe Storm Watch is Issued

Both at home and your business, before any storm approaches, put away outdoor items that might carried away in high winds such as umbrellas and lawn furniture, toys, and any yard and garden equipment or display material that is stored outside. Make sure your windows and doors can be closed and secured quickly.

If you have plans to drive somewhere, review the weather forecast and decide whether the potential storm is serious enough to put off your trip. If you are caught on the road in heavy rain, you risk an accident from hydroplaning and from poor visibility, as well as flash flooding on some roads. Large hail is rare in New England, but even moderate hail can damage your car and crack windows. In the high winds of a squall or microburst, your car can be blown off the road, or struck by a falling tree or pole

If you have planned a day outdoors, it’s even more important to reconsider your plans in light of the warning. The last place you want to be in a severe storm is out on a boat, a fair ground, a golf course, a hiking trail, or any outdoor spot far from shelter. No picnic or golf game is worth the risk of a lightning strike, or being caught in large hail, or destructive winds. On the water, you have no shelter from lightning and wind driven waves can even swamp or capsize your boat.

When a Severe Storm Warning is Issued

This means that a storm is approaching quickly. Follow your storm plan and seek shelter immediately. If you are outdoors, get inside a sturdy building as quickly as you can (But remember, metal structures and open structures such as picnic shelters are not safe.) Make sure to have everyone in the household and all pets come inside with you. Head for an inside room on the lowest level of the building, away from all windows, and stay there until the storm has passed.

During the storm, stay away from plumbing fixtures and any electrical devices that are plugged in. If lightning strikes the building, it can travel through both electrical wiring and plumbing.

Remember, if you can hear thunder, you can be struck by lightning, even if the sky seems clear.

After the Storm

Wait until the storm has completely passed and the thunder and lightning have stopped before going outside.

If someone is injured by lightning or falling debris, call 911 immediately. Give first aid while waiting for help but do not try to move a seriously injured person, unless they are in imminent danger.

Before you go outside, check for tree branches or other structures in danger of falling nearby, and especially, look out for downed utility wires. If wires are down, do not approach them or touch anything that is touching them. Call 911 and National Grid to alert them of the downed lines.

If your building has been severely damaged by wind, falling trees, hail, lightning, or is in the path of flooding, follow your evacuation emergency plan and get yourself and your family to safety.

When you are cleaning up after a storm, wear protective clothing, sturdy shoes and gloves and safety goggles, and watch for nails, broken glass and other sharp objects. Do not try to use chain saws or other power tools to clean up, unless you are sure you know how to use them safely.

You can find much more information on storm safety and preparedness at RIEMA and the Red Cross. We hope you have a safe and sunny summer.

Rob Levine & Associates specializes in Personal Injury throughout Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts, as well as Social Security Disability and Veterans Disability throughout the country. As “The Heavy Hitter” Rob Levine not only works hard on your case, but also believes in making a positive impact in the communities he serves. Through internal resources, education and volunteerism, Rob Levine & Associates strives to help prevent accidents, as well as raise awareness around the needs of our elderly and returning veterans. For more information visit, or call 401.529.1222 or toll free 800-529-1222.



Be Safe When You Swim This Summer

RLA Swim blog

With the tragic loss of three swimmers in Rhode Island waters recently, we want to remind you of the basics of water safety, especially for your children. According to the Red Cross, drowning is the second most common cause of accidental death for children aged 1 to 14. But adults can also lose their lives in the water, especially when drinking or risky behavior is involved. It takes only a few minutes to drown. Here are the most important rules to keep yourself and your family safe in the water:

Around the pool

Keep the pool and the hot tub properly fenced and secured so that children cannot access the water without an adult present. Increase safety by adding pool alarms. Remove ladders and attach safety covers to above ground and inflatable pools.

Supervise kiddie pools just as carefully as swimming pools: even a few inches of water can drown a toddler. Empty the pool after each use.

Make sure all swimmers understand the pool rules, such as no rough play or running, no alcohol use, no swimming alone, and no diving except where the pool has a specific diving area.

At the beach, lakes and rivers

Swim in lifeguard protected areas that are clearly marked for swimming. The presence of a lifeguard significantly reduces the risk of drowning.

Don’t share the water with boats and personal watercraft (including surfers), which can easily hit a swimmer.

Never dive into unknown waters, or in any shallow water. Wade in feet first until you know the bottom is safe with no rocks or other obstacles.

Have a swimming buddy. Even the most experienced swimmers can get in trouble in the water, especially in surf or a fast current. Swim with a friend and pay attention to each other’s safety.

Avoid swimming in high surf and fast currents, especially around rocks and other submerged obstacles. Be respectful of surf warnings and rip current warnings at your regular beach. (See the National Weather Service’s Rip Current Resources page for information on identifying rip currents and how to escape if you are caught in one.)

Pay attention to all conditions at the swimming area. This might include the tide, changes in the weather such as an approaching thunderstorm, obstacles or weeds in the water that can entangle a swimmer, or human activity such as boats, surfers or fishermen in the area.

All swimming activity

If a child or friend is missing, check the water first. Seconds make the difference if someone is in trouble in the water.

Keep all children under active adult supervision at all times. Don’t assume that older children can watch younger children, or that you can be close at hand but doing something else, and still notice a problem in time to prevent an emergency.

Have Coast Guard approved life vests or flotation devices for non-swimmers and those who don’t swim well, especially young children.

Consider swimming and water safety classes for yourself and your children. Although no class can guarantee 100% safety, becoming a better swimmer, and learning how to prevent and respond to water emergencies may save a life.

You can find much more information, including downloadable safety tip sheets, on the Red Cross’s Water Safety page. Be water safe so you and your family can enjoy the beach and the pool this summer.

Rob Levine & Associates specializes in Personal Injury throughout Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts, as well as Social Security Disability and Veterans Disability throughout the country. As “The Heavy Hitter” Rob Levine not only works hard on your case, but also believes in making a positive impact in the communities he serves. Through internal resources, education and volunteerism, Rob Levine & Associates strives to help prevent accidents, as well as raise awareness around the needs of our elderly and returning veterans. For more information visit, or call 401.529.1222 or toll free 800-529-1222.


Filling in a swimming pool?

Swimming Pools & Real Estate Values – a very popular discussion.

Whether you already own a home with a pool, that maybe has gone from being a staple of your family culture to an eyesore that brings you stress every time you look at the back yard, or you’re a potential buyer and you love the home but that in-ground pool is at the top of your ‘cons’ list – we thought we’d share some tips on how to get rid of it the right way!

A visual tutorial on what we think the best way to fill in a pool is:

-haul away (all) the concrete, then;

-install gravel in compacted lifts, and…

…that’s how we do it, no sinks holes.  EVER.


Grenco pool

Grenco - pool #1

Grenco pool #2


Pools can be a great source of family fun and exercise but they can also be a great source of stress.  We’ve been lucky enough to take part on both sides of the ‘pool’ debate – helping clients install and create their dream oasis whether it meant removing their greatest source of stress and creating a lush landscape or excavating and installing their dream pool area!

Happy Summer!

Thinking About Building A New Home?

DP blog - Thinking about buying a home?


This is the one you have been waiting for, right?  Where do you begin?  You’re right in asking this question because if you have not done this before…there is so much that takes place from concept to completion.  Scary, huh? – it doesn’t have to be if you have a knowledgeable instructor!  It’s true that I don’t know the first thing about selling a car (mark up costs, carrier, dealer, lease obligations, etc.), and I’m not a heart surgeon and wouldn’t pretend to be even after a long night with friends – but, when it comes to building a home, I feel pretty confident that I can assist you.

This is why I am going to share some of my expertise with you over the next 10 weeks or so — walking you through all the steps — from planning your home concept all the way through to placing the silverware in the kitchen drawer! 

Let start with…

STEP 1: 

Planning- Where do you want to live?

This may sound foolish, but it is really not.  Some people spend the least amount of time on this one, when it is really the most critical part.  This ONE question consist of:

Can I afford the neighborhood: taxes, insurance, square footage requirements (in some developments) and on and on…

Am I getting married, if so, are we planning on having children: how are the public school systems…

What style houses go within the area of my choice(s) – you don’t want to over build or settle for something that is not appealing to you – what is my desired living space/square footage?

Atmosphere in the area – things to do – quality of life (probably the most important question in Step 1 believe it or not!)

What’s my minimum expectation for land/lot size – am I okay with just a small buildable lot size (maybe in close proximity to shared green space or community areas/playgrounds, etc…) or do I want ACRES?

Do I want to own livestock?

Do I want to live off the grid – times are getting tough…

Can I find a house similar to my ‘list’ that might just need slight remodel work vs. a new build– and possibly save thousands (or tens of thousands)?

Is this my permanent home or is it for only 5, 6, 8, 10 years?

Do I really want to own a home – and do I want the responsibilities that come along with home ownership like landscaping, interior/exterior maintenance, those resulting improvement costs, the never ending ‘to do list’, etc…?

Does it still sound scary?  No worries, Craig DiPetrillo is here, to make your decision making process a whole lot easier!  If you have the time, jump in and we’ll look at this one step at a time, together.  This week, let’s focus on getting the answers to the 10 questions above.  In addition to each week’s blog that will consecutively cover each step, we will post a ‘public’ question received with my answer, relative to the last step discussed.  If you have a question on this current step, please email it to  We will draw one or two from the group to answer.

Coming next week, STEP 2:  Planning – selecting a home design, financing, and a contractor.

DiPetrillo Properties specializes in home building and renovations.  We have over 25 years of design, construction and investment talent and experience waiting to be utilized on your next project.  Call us today for a free in-house consultation with no obligation.

previous arrow
next arrow