CELEBRATE SAFELY WITH A RECIPE FOR SAFETY
Each November, families father to celebrate Thanksgiving by preparing a delicious feast, but if you don’t practice safe cooking habits, your holiday could become hazardous very quickly. According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. It’s important to be alert to prevent cooking fires.
- Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don’t use the stove or stovetop.
- Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling or broiling food.
- If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, 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, towels or curtains, away from stovetop.
If you have a cooking fire, consider the following safety protocols to help keep you and your family safe.
- Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
- Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
- For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep 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 fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
Your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals wish you a safe and happy holiday season.
DID YOU KNOW?
Thanksgiving is the leading day for home cooking fires, with three times the average number.
IS YOUR PROPERTY WINTER READY?
Cold weather can have a huge impact on your home or business if you are not properly prepared. Whether it is heavy rain, freezing temperatures, damaging winds, sleet or snow, all can cause serious and costly property damage. While you cannot control the weather, you can take steps to be prepared and help take the sting out of winter weather.
To help prevent costly damages due to weather, consider taking the following precautions to protect your property before colder weather hits.
- Check your business property for downed tree limbs and branches. Weather, such as wind, heavy rain, ice and snow, can cause branches to fall, which could cause damage to the property and potentially cause personal injuries.
- Roofs, water pipes and gutters should all be inspected to ensure they are in proper order. Gutter downspouts should be directed away from your building. Clear gutters of debris that may have gathered during fall. Leaves and other obstructions can lead to a damming effect, that can lead to roof damage and interior water problems.
- Inspect property, especially walkways and parking lots, for proper drainage to alleviate flood hazard potential.
- Inspect all handrails, stairwells and entryways to address and correct potential slippery or hazardous areas. Install mats or non-slip surfaces and post caution signs where water could be present.
- Protect water pipes from freezing by simply allowing water to drip when temperatures dip below freezing. If pipes are under a cabinet, leave the cabinet doors open allowing warm inside air to circulate around the pipes. If the building has outdoor faucets, consider shutting water off at the main valve in the basement or crawlspace. Once the valve is off, open the outdoor faucet to ensure it drains, preventing any remaining water from freezing in the pipe.
- Ask your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals about completing an Emergency READY Profile (ERP) for your business. The ERP is a no cost assessment to your facility, and provides you with a plan to get back in business fast following a disaster.
- When winter weather strikes, call your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals to strike back.
- SERVPRO Franchise Professionals help meet the real needs of insurers and property owners by supplying reliable and consistent service. The first steps taken in a disaster situation can mean the difference between recovery and total loss.
Moisture and Mold Prevention and Control Tips
Most everyone is aware that water problems can lead to mold growth…let’s look at some simple steps you can take to help prevent mold growth. We know that water is needed for the growth of mold, so I want to share with you the EPA’s Moisture and Mold Prevention and Control Tips from their website, www.epa.gov.
- Act quickly with water leaks or spills occur indoors. If wet or damp materials or areas are dried 24-48 hours after a leak or spill happens, in most cases, you can prevent mold growth.
- Clean and repair roof gutters regularly to keep outside water from penetrating inside your home and creating a moisture problem inside the walls and ceiling of your home.
- Make sure the ground slopes away from your home’s foundation so water cannot collect or enter at the foundation
- Keep air conditioning drip pans clean and drain lines unobstructed and flowing properly.
- Keep indoor humidity low (between 30 and 50 percent is ideal but anything below 60 percent relative humidity is good). Relative humidity can be measured with a moisture or humidity meter, a small, inexpensive ($10-$50) instrument available at many hardware stores.
- If you see condensation or moisture collecting on windows, walls or pipes, act quickly to dry the wet surface. Condensation can
be a sign of high humidity.
Ways to reduce humidity and prevent condensation include:
- Vent appliances (such as clothes dryers and stoves) to the outside of the house when possible.
- Run the bathroom fan or open the window when showering.
- Use exhaust fans when cooking or running the dishwasher.
- Cover cold surfaces such as cold water pipes with insulation.
Increase ventilation or air movement by opening
doors and windows (whenever practical) or using fan
Are You "Plugged In"?
A recent report from the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) shows home electrical fires claim the lives of 280 Americans each year and also create over 1,000 injuries. Overloaded circuits and extension cords are the cause of most electrical fires in the home and workplace. December and January are the peak months for electrical fires. According to the USFA, the peak in fires is due to the increased time spent indoors, which also increases the use of lighting, heating and appliances. Many electrical fires can be avoided if the most basic safety precautions are taken.
- Routinely check your electrical appliances and wiring.
- Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately.
- Replace any electrical tool or appliance if it overheats, shorts out, causes electrical shocks, or gives off smoke or sparks.
- If an appliance has a three-pronged plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
- Use electrical extension cords wisely; never overload extension cords or wall sockets.
Protein Fires Are A Unique Challenge
Protein Fire Pot
Contrary to most house fires that occur, the typical kitchen fire or “protein fire” produce little visible smoke residue. Protein fires create an especially unique restoration challenge. The low level of heat reduces the animal fat and food protein and leaves a thin layer of film on surfaces. Many homeowners mistakenly underestimate the damage as there may be little or no black residue that you would expect to see after a typical fire. The layer of film that is produced from these fires can create a rancid strong odor that also compromises the structure and contents. These protein residues penetrate cabinets, drawers, air ducts, furniture, clothing, draperies etc. Here are some important facts regarding this type of fire.
- Protein fires generally leave little visible residue that can sometimes be overlooked at first.
- They create a significantly more repugnant smell than most other fires.
- The nature of the burn causes the odor to permeate structure and furniture even more completely than other fires.
- Require extremely thorough cleaning by a trained professional to remove the odor.
- Sometimes require a sealing agent or even repainting to completely eradicate the odor.
- May require multiple attempts and methods to achieve customer satisfaction.
It is also important to recognize that perception of odor is highly individual. There are no tools available to “measure” smell, and as a result, a homeowner may perceive odors that technicians or even neighbors cannot. Often, because of the strong link between smell and memory, a homeowner may experience “phantom odors” where the memory of the event causes reproduction of the odor even after thorough cleaning. It takes extensive cleaning of walls, floors, ceilings and contents of the home to rid the home of these odors and should be handled by professional cleaning and restoration company no matter what size of job.
Fire Extinguisher Tips
Make sure when choosing a fire extinguisher for your home or business that you choose the right class of extinguisher for the job. Fire extinguishers are broken into classes and each class is designed to extinguish different types of fires. Here are the different classes of extinguishers:
Class A – This is the most common extinguisher and can be used to put out fires in ordinary combustibles such as cloth, wood, rubber, paper and many plastics.
Class B – Used on fires involving flammable liquids such as grease, gasoline and oil.
Class C – Designed for fires involving appliances, tools, or other equipment electrically charged or plugged in.
Class D – For use on flammable metals; often specific for the type of metal in question. These are typically found only in factories working with these metals.
Class K – Intended for use on fires that involve vegetable oils, animal oils, or fats in cooking appliances. These extinguishers are generally found in commercial kitchens, but are becoming more popular in the residential market for use in kitchens.
***Information provided by the National Fire Protection Association.
Occasionally, you may have smoke damage in your home that seems harmless. Some examples of these incidents are burning a dinner, “puff-backs” from a furnace, smoke from a candle or lamp, or even a small fire from an appliance that you are to put out quickly with an extinguisher…but what about the smoke? Experienced fire restoration professionals know that areas seemingly unaffected by fire damage are still a danger to homeowners. Smoke can penetrate within cavities of the structure, causing hidden damage and odor. Smoke can coat your entire home with soot and leave toxic residues that can act as an irritant if not properly cleaned and can cause health issues. Now, before I go further, I would like to point out that planning ahead to prevent fires in the home is the best thing you can do.
Here are some things you may not know about smoke:
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, using holes around pipes and your HVAC duct work to go from floor to floor and throughout your home.
- There are several types of smoke which affect how it acts and determines what type of cleaning process is required.
Types of smoke include:
- Wet smoke – results from smoldering fires with low heat. Residues are sticky, smeary and with pungent odors. Smoke webs can be difficult to clean.
- Dry Smoke – results from fast burning fires at high temperatures. Residues are often dry, powdery, small, non-smeary smoke particles.
- Protein Smoke – here’s your burning chicken. Virtually invisible residues that discolor paints and varnishes. Extreme pungent odor.
- Fuel-Oil Soot Smoke – this is a result of a furnace malfunction (commonly known as a “puff-back”)
When having someone clean up smoke damage in your home, it’s important that they perform an inspection and do pretesting. A fire damage restoration professional should determine the extent of the smoke and fire damage, make sure unaffected areas are protected, determine which materials can be restored and which need to be replaced, and the most effective cleaning methods. These steps also allow the focus to be on saving precious items and keepsakes for you.
Water damage can be costly and a big inconvenience. It can occur as a result of many circumstances and you cannot control all of the sources or situations that may lead to water damage. However, there are things you can do to reduce the possibility of water damages occurring. Today we are going to focus on Plumbing as the cause. Here are the most common reasons for water damage in your home or business as a result of plumbing:
- Faulty Construction
- Malfunctioning Water Filtration System
- Problems with Dishwasher Supply Line
- Sink Malfunction
- Problems with Ice Maker Water Supply Line
- Toilet Overflow or Back-up
- Malfunctioning Water Heater
- Frozen Pipes – Pipe Breaks / Leaks
- Problems with the Clothes Washer Water Supply Line
It is always good to keep a check on the plumbing areas you can see…toilets, sinks, refrigerators and washing machines to make sure they are in good running order. By routinely checking, you could find any small problem before it becomes a major problem. This could save you from having a major issue in your home.
Good News…Bad News
Good News Bad News...
Before you end up on the roof waiting for a ride…make sure you are prepared for whatever happens. We can help get life back to normal once the storm has passed but it helps to be prepared before it arrives.
Basic Emergency Supply Kit
In celebration of National Preparedness Month here is a list of recommended items for a basic emergency supply kit:
- Water (one gallon of water per person per day)
- Food (non-perishable – 3 day supply)
- Manual can opener
- Battery operated radio, preferably an NOAA weather radio with tone alert and extra batteries.
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First Aid kit
- Whistle (to signal for help)
- Dust masks or bandanas
- Plastic sheeting, garbage bags and duct tape
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities (if necessary)
- Local Maps
- Hygiene items
- Important documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account information
- Fire Extinguisher
- Matches in a water proof container
Make sure you are prepared for whatever happens.
Basement Waterproofing is needed anytime a structure is built at ground level or below ground. Waterproofing and drainage considerations are especially needed in cases where ground water is likely to build up in the soil and raise the water table. This higher water table causes hydrostatic pressure to be exerted underneath basement floors and against basement walls. Hydrostatic pressure
forces water in through cracks in foundation walls, through openings caused by expansion and contraction of the footing-foundation wall joint and up through floor cracks. Hydrostatic pressure can cause major structural damage to foundation walls and is likely to contribute to mold, decay and other moisture related problems.
Warning signs that you have waterproofing problems in your basement can include:
- Signs of Mold and Mildew Fungus - this can grow in damp or dark areas, and cause discoloration, or musty odors.
- Moldy Odors - This is the result of the decay process from mold, and dry rot.
- Peeling Paint – This is a sign that you have moisture problems and may have waterproofing issues.
- Damp Spots on Walls – Water has absorbed through your walls and you need to confirm the source of the water.
- White Substance on Basement Walls – This is a chemical breakdown of the bonding agent that holds your walls together. This white substance can be a sign of possible structural deterioration.
- Cracked Walls – These should be inspected to determine the exact cause.
- Rust on Appliances or Furniture Like furnaces – Rust is caused by a wet environment and can be a sign of waterproofing issues.
If you have on-going occurrences in your basement you may need to investigate on procedures to waterproof your basement. Mold remediation can be handled professionally but but if the source is not repaired you will be dealing with the various signs above over and over again. If any of these signs sound familiar please make sure you look into fixing the source of the water intrusion instead of fixing the affects of the water damage time after time. It may cost money up front but it will save you money in the long run and help to maintain the structural integrity of the home.