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Fire Prevention Week

10/12/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Fire Prevention Week Check out the NFPA's website for more information.

National Fire Prevention Week | SERVPRO of Springfield

Every year the National Fire Prevention Agency sponsors the public observance of Fire Prevention Week during the week of October 9th. It is the longest running public health observance in the United States. The program began in 1925 when President Coolidge proclaimed Fire Prevention Week in order to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire that claimed the lives of more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, and destroyed more than 17,400 structures over 2,000 acres of land.

During Fire Prevention Week, the NFPA sponsors programs that educate communities about fire prevention and safety. By bringing awareness to the topic of fire prevention to people of all ages, races and socioeconomic status, the NFPA is hoping to drastically reduce the amount of casualties caused by fire.

You can learn more about the NFPA and their mission here: www.nfpa.org

SERVPRO® of Quincy is always here in case your home or office experiences a fire damage. Let us help you get your life back on track. We are available 24/7 at 217-223-2993.

Hurricane Michael Helpful Tips

10/11/2018 (Permalink)

You've just been cleared to return to your home or business and find it severely damaged by Hurricane Michael floodwaters.

Provided below is a list of self-mitigation strategies  to limit losses until professional help arrives provided by the IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, Restoration and Certification, a nonprofit standards-setting and credentialing body for the inspection, cleaning and restoration industry. 

In order to reduce damages, once floodwaters recede it's important to act quickly. Before you enter your home or business you should check for electrical hazards and structural damage and use proper protective gear like boots, gloves and respirators. Make sure to check for hazardous materials like lead paint and asbestos before starting any construction or repairs. Check out the complete list below.

  1. Act quickly. The longer the water sits and building materials remain wet, the more severe the damage becomes. Mold can grow within 48-72 hours, so it is best to start removing water and begin drying the structure as soon as possible. 
  2. Ventilate affected areas to prevent mold growth. Mold lives off of moisture and organic materials such as paper or particleboard. You can help prevent damage by opening windows if the weather allows it and maintain moderate temperatures inside the structure. 
  3. Assess damage to items and materials. Clarify the type of water that caused the damage such as rainwater, water from broken pipes, contaminated river water or bacteria-filled sewage when you are salvaging items. The IICRC recommends items that were in contaminated waters such as sewage water or river water be thrown out of disinfected by a professional remediator. 
  4. Take photos. It can be extremely helpful for insurance purposes if you take photos before you begin working, while you are working, and once work is complete. Also, if you are going to throw contaminated items away these items should be documented with photos. 
  5. Expose pockets of saturation. Hidden and concealed pockets of water, such as in layers between building materials, need to be opened for cleaning and drying. For example, wet carpets are typically dried by professionals with industrial fans and dehumidifiers. However, carpet padding acts as a big sponge and should be discarded. Hardwood floors and wooden trim can also be saved if they are dried properly on both sides. Be sure to check out concealed cavities such as behind walls, in mechanical spaces, under cabinets and furniture, and in crawl spaces.
  6. Conduct a thorough cleaning. Durable, non-porous materials, such as studs and joints, hardwood flooring and vinyl products, can be cleaned with common cleaning products or specialized products with detergents. After a careful and thorough cleaning of salvageable materials, a disinfectant solution may need to be applied in case of harmful bacteria from sewage, river water debris or even standing water that has gone bad. If vacuuming, use a HEPA-filter vacuum to remove allergens, fine dust and spores. 
  7. Confirm drying before reconstruction. In order to prevent dry rot and structural damage, it's important not to reconstruct or cover wood and other wet materials until the moisture content has been adequately reduced. A water restoration professional can confirm proper drying before reconstruction. 

For more information, call your local IICRC Certified Firm, SERVPRO of Quincy, at 217-223-2993. 

How to Inspect a Fire Extinguisher

10/11/2018 (Permalink)

Home Safety: How to Inspect a Fire Extinguisher

When was the last time you checked the fire extinguisher that sits under your kitchen sink? Or the one hanging from a dusty hook in your garage? If you’re struggling to remember, it’s time to check it. Like any other piece of safety equipment, a home fire extinguisher should be inspected regularly to ensure it’s in proper working condition. A fire extinguisher in good working condition is your first line of defense when a home fire erupts.

Ideally, you should inspect your portable home fire extinguishers every month.

Tips for Performing a Monthly Fire Extinguisher Check

Check the label or tag.

Every fire extinguisher, whether disposable or rechargeable, has a manufacturer’s label or tag. Read the tag and follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance suggestions.

Check the tamper seal.

If the tamper seal has been broken or is cracked, a disposable fire extinguisher needs to be replaced. If it’s rechargeable, it needs to be serviced professionally. Check the locking or pull pin as well to make sure it’s in the correct position. If the pin is missing, the fire extinguisher needs to be inspected or serviced by a professional.

Inspect for physical damage.

Physically inspect the fire extinguisher for obvious damage. This may include but is not limited to dents, corrosion, cracks and obvious leakage. If a fire extinguisher has leakage, it’s no longer under full pressure and may not work properly when you need it most. Check the fire extinguisher nozzle as well, to ensure it’s not clogged by grime, dust, bugs or leakage from the unit itself.

Check the pressure gauge.

Check that the pressure gauge needle indicates the fire extinguisher pressure is in the optimum operating range. Often the correct pressure range will be designated by green on the gauge.

Is the fire extinguisher full?

During your monthly check, lift the fire extinguisher and determine if it still feels full. If there has been a leak, it will feel light, and it won’t have the right amount of pressure to work correctly.

Shake it.

If you have a dry chemical fire extinguisher, it should be shaken once a month during your inspection. This helps prevent the chemical dousing agent from solidifying at the bottom of the unit.

Write inspection date on tag.

Keep track of every inspection date by writing it on the fire extinguisher tag.

Ensure easy access to your fire extinguisher.

Fire extinguishers should always be easy to access if there is an emergency. You don’t want to have to search for it once a fire breaks out. Don’t block fire extinguishers with furniture, boxes or any other items. Everyone who lives in the household should know where the closest fire extinguisher is located and how to use it in case of an emergency.

In the event of a fire emergency, first make sure to get people safely away, then call 911. A home fire extinguisher can be used to put out or control small fires, but it’s still safest to call professional fire fighters before you attempt to control a fire on your own. If you need professional fire, smoke and water damage cleanup and remediation after a fire, call the experts at SERVPRO of Quincy. 

National Day of Service and Rememberance

8/21/2018 (Permalink)

In honor and memory of those who died on September 11, 2001, as well as the survivors and First Responders, National Day of Service and Rememberance was established in 2009 as a day of reflection. Led by the Corporation for National and Community Service, this is a day to come together as Americans did following the events of 9/11 to help neighbors in need, and to honor veterans and First Responders in your community. 

On this day and everyday, SERVPRO salutes those heroes who arrive in the greatest times of need and stand strong in the face of disaster. These heroes are the First Responders who keep our communities safe in trying times. 

Give back and make a difference in your community this year. To find a volunteer opportunity near you, or to register your National Day of Service and Rememberance event, visit nationalservice.gov/911day. 

Smoke Alarms: Life Savers

8/21/2018 (Permalink)

Smoke alarms save lives when properly installed and maintained, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

In homes, smoke alarms should be in every bedroom and on every level, including the basement. In office and commercial environments, check your state requirements or contact your local Fire Marshall to help ensure all codes are met. 

Test smoke alarms monthly using the test button. Smoke alarms with non-replaceable batteries need the entire smoke alarm unit replaced every ten years. Other alarms need batteries replaced every year, and the unit replaced every ten years. If the alarm chirps signaling low battery, take the proper steps to replace the unit or the batteries immediately. Never disable or remove the battery from an alarm. Almost half of fires where smoke alarms were present but did not activate had missing or disconnected batteries (NFPA).

In larger commercial facilities, hard wired or wireless smoke alarms offer benefits such as not needing to be tested as often and activating throughout the entire building if smoke is detected in just one area (NFPA). 

If you need help installing, testing or changing batteries in your smoke alarms, contact your local fire department, an electrician or the American Red Cross. 

Be sure your home or workplace has a fire emergency plan in place and conduct regular fire drills. For more information on emergency preparedness, contact SERVPRO of Quincy.

If a Disaster Strikes, Will You Be Ready?

8/21/2018 (Permalink)

It is important to prepare before a disaster occurs. Consider the following steps to help you better prepare for an emergency situation.

  • Sign up for local alerts and warnings, download apps and/or check access for wireless emergency alerts.
  • Develop and test emergency communication plans.
  • Assemble or update emergency supplies.
  • Learn about local hazards and conduct a drill to practice emergency response actions.
  • Participate in a preparedness discussions, training or class.
  • Collect and safeguard critical documents.
  • Plan with neighbors to help each other and share resources. 
  • Document property and obtain appropriate insurance for relevant hazards.
  • Make property improvements to reduce potential injury and property damage. 

Emergencies can happen anytime to anyone. Take action now to protect yourself and your property.

Why the Emergency READY Profile?

8/21/2018 (Permalink)

National Preparedness Month is the perfect opportunity to share the benefits of having a readiness plan in place with your customers, business 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 Emergency READY Profile can help minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action in place for your facility. The ERP is a comprehensive document containing critical information about your business, including emergency contact information, shut-off valve locations and priority areas. The ERP is also accessible online using your computer or tablet; down SERVPRO's free Ready Plan app to access this information at any time using your smartphone or tablet. 

The ERP establishes SERVPRO of Quincy as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider, giving you access to over 50 years experience and a system more than 1,700 Franchises strong. Knowing what to do and who to call in advance is key to quick response and timely mitigation. Having a plan in place may help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive and get you back in the building following a disaster. 

Preparation is the key to making it through any size disaster, whether it is a small water leak, fire or an area flood. The best time to plan for such events is not when the event happens, but well before it happens. No one ever plans on a disaster, but now, you can plan for it. 

The ERP is a no-cost assessment; all it requires is a little time, making it a great value that could save a lot of time in the future. Call SERVPRO of Quincy to establish your Emergency READY Profile. 

Hurricane Hazards

7/25/2018 (Permalink)

Hurricane season has already begun and several named storms have developed in the Atlantic, Carribean or Gulf of Mexico. For the Atlantic, the season begins June 1 and runs through November 30. On average, there are 12 tropical storms that develop, with an average of six becoming hurricanes, according to the National Weather Service. 

Hurricanes can be life-threatening as well as cause serious property damage. The National Weather Service lists the following as potential "hurricane hazards."

  • Storm surge is the abnormal rise of water generated by a storm's winds. This hazard is historically the leading cause of hurricane related deaths in the United States. Storm surge and large battering waves can result in large loss of life and cause massive destruction along the coast. Storm surge can travel several miles inland, especially along bays, rivers and estuaries. 
  • Flooding from heavy rains is the second leading cause of fatalities from landfalling tropical cyclones. Widespread torrential rains associated with these storms often cause flooding hundreds of miles inland. This flooding can persist for several days after a storm has dissipated. 
  • Winds from a hurricane can destroy buildings and manufactured homes. Signs, roofing material and other items left outside can become flying missiles during hurricanes. 
  • Tornadoes can accompany landfalling tropical cyclones. These tornadoes typically occur in rain bands well away from the center of the storm. 
  • Dangerous waves produced by a tropical cyclone's strong winds can pose a significant hazard to coastal residents and mariners. These waves can cause deadly rip currents, significant beach erosion and damage to structures along the coastline, even when the storm is more than 1,000 miles offshore. 

Did You Know?

  • In 2017, there were 17 named storms.
  • Of the 17 storms in 2017, 10 of those became hurricanes. 
  • Of the 10 hurricanes, six were a category three or above.
  • Dating back to 1851, 2017 was the seventh most active season on record and was the most active season since 2005.

Preparation is the best protection against the dangers of a hurricane. Plan an evacuation route and your emergency plan, take inventory of your property and take steps to protect your home or business.

Extreme Heat

7/11/2018 (Permalink)

As summer approaches, it is time to consider safety precautions for extreme heat in the coming months. Heat affects all people, but especially the young, elderly, sick, and overweight. Urban area residents also have a greater chance of being affected that those who live in rural areas due to the heat island effect. 

According to the EPA, "the sun can heat dry, exposed surfaces, such as roofs and pavement, to temperatures 50-90 degrees fahrenheit hotter that the air, while shaded or moist surfaces - often in more rural surroundings - remain close to air temperatures." These surface heat islands are strongest during the day when the sun is shining, while the atmospheric heat islands are more likely after sunset "due to the slow release of heat from urban infrastructure."

Whether you are in an urban or rural area, there are several things you can do to prepare for and prevent extreme heat from affecting you. If possible, stay indoors in air conditioning. Be sure to check on your pets who may be outdoors or bring them inside. Stay hydrated and limit alcohol and caffeine intake. 

If you must go outside, wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing, and be sure to apply sunscreen often. Pay attention to signs of heat exhaustion, which are heavy sweating; weakness; cold, pale, and clammy skin; nausea or vomiting; and fainting, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, which is life-threatening. Sings of heat stroke are a high body temperature (103+ degrees), rapid and strong pulse, and possible unconsciousness. If you think someone has heat stroke, call 911 immediately and move the person somewhere cool. Reduce body temperature with cook, wet cloths or a bath. Do not give a person with heat stroke fluids, and treat the situation as a serious medical emergency. 

If you live in a humid climate, be aware of the heat index. The heat index factors in the humidity, which can make the temperature feel 15 degrees hotter. 

Extreme Heat Safety Tips to Prepare Your Home

  • Install window air conditioners snugly; insulate if necessary
  • Check air-conditioning ducts for proper insulation
  • Install temporary window reflectors (for use between windows and drapes), such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard, to reflect heat back outside. 
  • Weather-strip doors and sills to keep cool air in
  • Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings, or louvers. (Outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80 percent.)
  • Keep storm windows up all year

Extreme heat is a serious danger. For more information on preparation and prevention, visit ready.gov or cdc.gov. 

When They Call You, Call Us.

7/10/2018 (Permalink)

When they have water damage, your policyholder or property owner looks to you to handle the situation. You collect information and provide reassurance everything will be returned to normal. SERVPRO of Quincy understands your priority is helping restore the property and the insured's or owner's peace of mind, while minimizing the loss on a claim. 

The first 24 hours following a water incident are the most important in preventing secondary or permanent damage. Within four hours of loss notification, SERVPRO of Quincy will be on-site to help ensure a water damage is handled properly by completing the following steps. 

Inspection

SERVPRO of Quincy will inspect affected areas of the property to determine the extent of damage. they will also review the inspection with you, your insured, or property manager and answer any questions before beginning work. 

Emergency Services

Next, SERVPRO of Quincy will take immediate steps to protect the home or property and personal belongings from further damage by extracting the excess water and preparing for drying. They will also review the inspection with you, your insured, or property manager and answer any questions before beginning work. 

Emergency Services

Next, SERVPRO of Quincy will take immediate steps to protect the home or property and personal belongings from further damage by extracting the excess water and preparing for drying. They will explain in detail the needed emergency services step-by-step.

Monitoring

To help ensure your insured's or owners home and personal belongings, or property are dried to appropriate industry standards, SERVPRO of Quincy will monitor the drying process. The results will be consistently communicated to you throughout the monitoring process. 

Restoration Services

SERVPRO of Quincy will replace structural materials such as drywall and baseboards, reinstall carpets, and clean affected areas of the property and belongings. A final walk-through of the jobsite will be conducted with you, your insured, or owner to help ensure their property was returned to preloss condition when possible.