Worries of Winter Weahter
Winter weather and temperatures falling below freezing can bring about home water damage issues such as frozen pipes and ice dams. These damages are costly to repair and in most instances can be prevented.
Frozen pipes are not only those exposed to the cold weather, such as outdoor pipes, but also pipes in cold areas like basements, attics, garages and kitchen cabinets. A frozen pipe can burst at the point where the ice blockage inside the pipe is located, but the rupture is caused by the backflow pressure between the water source and the blockage. A burst pipe can cause considerable damage to your home if not properly and quickly fixed.
According to The American Red Cross here are some tips to prevent pipes from freezing:
- Drain water completely from swimming pool, sprinkler system and outside hoses.
- Open kitchen cabinets to let warm air near plumbing.
- In extreme cold, let water drip from faucets that may come from exposed pipes.
- Keep your heat set at the same temperature day and night. The temperature should not be set below 55°f
Ice dams can cause major damage during the snowy season. They form when heated air melts roof snow downward into water dammed behind still frozen ice. When the trapped water cannot run into the gutter system, it can backflow under the roof's shingles and into the structure's interior areas, as well as causing gutters and shingles to move or fall. Icicles can be an initial sign of an ice dam, (source Travelers.com) check for water stains or moisture in your attic or along ceiling of exterior walls in your home. These are indicators that ice dams have occurred and water has penetrated the roof membrane. Remove the ice dam quickly to prevent major water damage to your homes exterior and interior. Using heated cables, a roof shovel, or calcium chloride ice melt can be used to alleviate the ice dam problem.
If winter weather causes water damage to your property, SERVPRO has trained professional technicians ready to restore your property.
Prevent Home Fires
Fire Prevention Tips
Home fires are preventable! The following are simple steps that everyone can take to prevent a home fire disaster.
- Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.
- Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a "kid-free zone" of 3 feet around the stove.
- Position barbecue grills at least 10 feet away from siding and deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
Electrical and Appliance Safety
- Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately and do not run cords under rugs or furniture.
- If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
- Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker.
Portable Space Heaters
- Keep combustible objects at least three feet away from portable heating devices.
- Buy only heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
- Check to make the portable heater has a thermostat control mechanism, and will switch off automatically if the heater falls over.
- Only use crystal clear K-1 kerosene in kerosene heaters. Never overfill it. Use the heater in a well-ventilated room.
Woodstoves and Fireplaces
- Inspect and clean woodstove pipes and chimneys annually and check monthly for damage or obstructions.
- Use a fireplace screen heavy enough to stop rolling logs and big enough to cover the entire opening of the fireplace to catch flying sparks.
- Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.
- Do not put any decorations near the fireplace.
Are You Winter READY!
Cold weather and winter storms can have a huge impact on your home or business if you are not properly prepared. Whether it is heavy rains and wind, freezing temperatures, sleet or snow, all can cause serious and costly property damage. Take steps to be prepared and help take the sting out of the winter blues.
- After winter storms check your property for downed tree limbs and branches. Downed limbs can cause damage to your property and lead to possible water damage issues.
- Roofs, water pipes and gutters should all be inspected to ensure they are in proper order. Gutters should be clear of debris and directed away from buildings. Leaves and other obstructions can cause a damming effect, which can lead to roof damage and interior water problems.
- Inspect property for proper drainage to alleviate flood hazard potential.
- Inspect all handrails, stairs, and entryways to address and correct potential slippery or hazardous areas. Install mats or non-slip surfaces and post cautions signs.
- Protect water pipes from freezing by simply allowing water to drip when temps fall below freezing. If pipes are under cabinets, leave the cabinet doors open.
- Consider turning outdoor faucets off at the main valve. Once shut remember to drain the outdoor faucet.
When winter weather strikes and causes a disaster, call SERVPRO to strike back!
The Behavior of SMOKE
Fire Cleanup And Restoration
The damage to your property following a fire can often be complicated due to the unique behavior of smoke.
There are two different types of smoke--wet and dry. As a result, there are different typed of soot residue after a fire.
SERVPRO technicians are thoroughly trained in fire cleanup and restoration, and know the different types of smoke and its behavior patterns. Knowing this information is vital to proper restoration. Before restoration begins, the technicians will survey the loss to determine the extent of impact from fire, smoke, heat, and moisture on the building materials and contents. The soot will then be tested to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. Pretesting determines the proper cleaning method and allows us to focus on your precious items.
Smoke can penetrate various cavities within the structure, causing hidden damage and odor. Our knowledge of building systems helps us to investigate how far smoke damage may have spread. The following are additional facts you may not know about smoke.
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
- The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
Types of Smoke:
Wet Smoke (Plastic and Rubber) Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
Dry Smoke (Paper and Wood) Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke dries.
Protein Fire Residue (Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire) Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
Fuel Oil Soot (Furnace Puff Backs) While "puff backs" can create havoc for homeowners, SERVPRO technicians can, in most cases restore the contents and structure quickly.
Other Types (Tear gas, fingerprint powder, and fire extinguisher residue) Special loss situations require special care.
Our technicians are trained to handle even the toughest losses. And make any smoke disaster "Like it never even happened."
Fire Cleanup and Safety
Each November, families gather to celebrate Thanksgiving, which includes cooking large dinners, but if you don't practice safe cooking habits your holiday could become hazardous very quickly. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires is unattended cooking. Here are some useful tips to avoid cooking fires:
- Be on ALERT! If you are sleepy or consumed alcohol don't use the stove.
- Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food.
- If you are simmering, baking or roasting food, check it regularly, and remain in the kitchen while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
- Keep anything that can catch fire (oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, and towels) away from the stovetop.
If you have a cooking fire, consider the following safety protocols to help keep your family safe.
- Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
- Call 911 or the local fire department after you leave.
- For an oven fire turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
- If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
- Keep a lid nearby when you're cooking to smother small grease fire. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is cooled completely.
Have a safe and happy holiday season!
A Business Plan: For Fire Emergencies
An emergency escape plan is not required for all businesses; however the Occupational Safety and Health Admin. (OSHA) recommends building an emergency action plan to protect yourself, your employees, and your business. OSHA suggests the following when creating your plan:
Organize a Preparedness Procedure review with employees to review your company's emergency plan. You may want to select an individual or team to lead and coordinate your emergency plan.
Once a plan is developed, post evacuation procedures, including routes and exits, where they are easily accessible to all employees. At all times ensure all routes are clearly marked, well lit, unobstructed, and wide enough to accommodate the number of evacuating personnel.
Conduct office evacuation exercises and drills. Designate a safe spot outside the facility where employees can regroup, recover and conduct a head count. Once conducted, evaluate how well the plan worked and if additional training is needed.
Every second counts during a fire, help your employees and business by being prepared by having a plan in place. Call SERVPRO to help with restoring your business after the disaster.
Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out
Fire Restoration and Safety
October is Fire Prevention Month and an excellent time to examine the emergency preparedness plans for your home and business.
- Do you have a fire escape plan?
- Have you changed your Smoke Alarm batteries within the last year?
- Are you prepared?
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) sets aside a designated week each October to focus on Fire Prevention. This years theme is "Every Second Counts: Plan 2 ways out!"
According to the NFPA, once the fire alarm goes off "you have less than two minutes to get out safely," yet only 8% of people surveyed said getting out was the first thought after hearing the alarm. Creating, implementing, and practicing a fire escape plan for your home or business may be the difference between safety and tragedy. Make your plan today. Visit http://www.nfpa.org/fpw
Every Second Counts: October is Fire Prevention Month
Fire escape plan: 2 Minutes to escape
Every Second counts during a fire.
Fire experts agree; people have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home. That is why every second counts, it is critical to be prepared and have an escape plan in place. Once a plan is developed, it is important that everyone in the home understands the plan. The best way to do this is to practice the escape plan at least twice a year.
A survey by the American Red Cross shows only 26% of families have a fire escape plan in place.
Here are a few suggestions to help you develop an emergency escape plan.
- Consider escape ladders for sleeping areas on the second and third floors. Only purchase collapsible escape ladders evaluated by a recognized testing laboratory. (Store them by the window)
- Choose an outside meeting place a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after they've escaped, emergency personnel will also be able to see you. Make sure to mark this on your plan.
- Teach children how to escape on their own in case you cannot help them.
- Practice your plan twice a year during the day and at night.
Increase your chance of surviving a fire by having working smoke/fire detectors in place, developing an escape plan, and then practicing the plan with the family.
At SERVPRO our priority is your safety. We are here to help you to prepare for possible disasters, and restore your home after a disaster strikes.
Are You PREPARED?
How quickly you company can get back to business after a fire, flood, or storm often depends on the emergency planning done today. The regular occurrence of natural disasters demonstrates the importance of being prepared for any emergency. While each situation is unique, your organization can be better prepared if you plan carefully, put emergency procedures in place, and practice for all kinds of emergencies. Review the following questions to learn if your company is prepared.
Be Informed: Do you know what types of emergencies might affect your company?
Develop a Business Continuity Plan: Do you know which staff, procedures, and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep operating? Are you ready for utility disruptions? Do you have a plan if your building is not accessible? What will you do if your suppliers are impacted?
Prepare Your Emergency Plan: Do you have an plans for evacuation and shelter? Do you have plans for communications with employees before and during? Do you have copies of buildings and site maps with utilities and emergency routes marked? Are any employees trained for medical emergencies?Practice the Emergency Plan: If you have a plan, have your practiced it recently? How often do you review the plan? Do you have to coordinate the plan with other businesses?
Review Insurance coverage: Have you review your insurance coverage recently to see if you're covered in a disaster?
Secure Your Facility and Equipment: Have you conducted a room to room survey to determine what can be strapped down and secured?
Improve Cyber security: Do you regularly install patches to your software? Have you installed a firewall on your computer? Do you update your antivirus software?
Promote Family and Individual Preparedness: Do you encourage employees to have a personal emergency supply kit and a family communication plan?
If you answered "NO" to any of these questions, visit https://www.ready.gov/ and learn how to better prepare your business, employees, and family.
September is National Preparedness Month: Be Ready for Whatever Happens with the SERVPRO ERP
September is National Preparedness Month, and it is the perfect opportunity to share the benefits of having a readiness plan in place with your customers, employees and family.
The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile (ERP) will help ensure you and your business are "Ready for whatever happens." In the event of an emergency, the SERVPRO ERP can help minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action in place for your facility.
Advantages of the SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile:
- The no-cost assessment ERP is a comprehensive document containing critical information about your business, including emergency contact information, shut-off valve locations, and priority locations.
- The ERP is also accessible online using your computer or tablet; download the SERVPRO free Ready Plan APP to access this information at any time using your smartphone or tablet.
- Establishes SERVPRO as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider. Knowing who to call in advance is key to a quick response and timely mitigation, helping to minimize the amount of time your business is inactive.
Preparation is the key to making it through any disaster, whether it is a small water leak, a large fire or an area flood. No one plans on a disaster, but now you can have a plan in place when it happens.