Are you prepared for the next disaster?
Is your business ready for the next storm, or fire?
You’re at work. You’re in the office at your desk, or in the warehouse hard at work, or in the breakroom having lunch. Suddenly, the fire alarm goes off. Or the tornado sirens go off. Do you know where to go or what to do?
Your business should have an emergency plan in case either of these situations occur. The plan should include: a safe place to congregate, who is in charge there, and a way to communicate once the all clear has been sounded.
Once all employees are accounted for at the assigned meeting place, the next question is: Are there needed supplies available? Is there a first aid kit? Bottled water? Fire extinguisher?
Keeping employees safe should always be the number one concern. Having a well-designed plan is vital, not only in business but also in case of emergencies. Also, ensure that all employees are aware of that plan, and exit routes must be clearly marked.
Now, the all clear has been sounded, and employees are allowed back into the building. But, parts of the building has suffered some sort of damage, whether it’s smoke damage from the fire, or storm damage. Is there a plan in place to take care of this problem?
SERVPRO Bedford Park/Burbank has a plan, called the Emergency Ready Profile, or ERP. The ERP is designed to kick in at exactly this point. It sets the wheels in motion to get your business running at 100% again, and as soon as possible.
The ERP is a free app for your electronic device, and management shares it with only those employees who will need the information necessary, so it’s safe and secure. This ERP lists contact information for anyone that may be needed at this point. Calls can literally be made as damage assessment is still be collected.
If you would like more information about this totally FREE service, please contact SERVPRO Bedford Park/Burbank at 708-430-3600. Until then, ask yourself this question: Are we ready?
Ways to prevent mold growth
Having moisture levels in check helps prevent mold growth.
Mold is everywhere. Mold is on the trees, bushes, and plants outside. Mold spores use air currents to travel, so each time you open a door or window, mold spores are entering your home.
How can I prevent mold from growing in my home? Mold primarily needs two things to grow: a food source and moisture. Since you cannot eliminate every food source for mold to grow (drywall, paper, wood, cardboard, etc), you can work on keeping moisture in check.
Here are just a few ways you can curb moisture indoors:
- Check problem areas inside the home and correct them. Go through your house and identify the problem areas. Does the basement have seepage issues? Is there frequent condensation on upstairs windows? Are there water stains on the ceiling, and is the area getting larger? Fixing these issues may cost money upfront, but it can be far less than having mold grow unchecked in your home.
- Immediately dry wet areas. Having even small water damages or issues can lead to mold if not dried quickly. “Leaving it to dry on its own” is never a good strategy. Whether it’s drying the basement after a storm, mopping up a spill on the carpet, or drying wet clothes from the wash machine are ways to help eliminate excess moisture.
- Ensure your home has proper ventilation. Throw open the windows when the weather is nice outside. Use the vents/fans when cooking, taking a shower, or doing laundry. The more moisture that gets vented outside means there is less inside for mold to utilize to grow.
- Monitor indoor humidity. During the winter months, air that is heated dries out. That is why some people use humidifiers. But, if condensation is collecting on the windows near the humidifier, then there is an excess amount of humidity. Refrain/reduce its use until the condensation disappears.
- Improve indoor air flow. To increase the air circulation inside your home, open doors between rooms, open closet doors, open dresser drawers (especially if the dresser is on an outside wall), and move large furniture away from outside walls (where possible).
- Check problem areas outside too. If the gutters are full of leaves and debris, rain water or snow melt may back up and cause roof damage. And even if the gutters are clean, if the yard is pitched so that water runs back towards the house, water may find a way inside your home. Correct the pitch so water flows away from the structure.
Remember, if you smell a musty smell, that could mean you already have active mold growing in your home. Call the mold experts at SERVPRO Bedford Park/Burbank at 708-430-3600 to set up an inspection.
Major causes of electrical fires
Electrical fires can be anything from a minor distraction to a major loss.
Electrical fires in your Chicago home or business can be from any of several sources.
- Faulty outlets. If cords plugged into an outlet falls out easily, but doesn't do that anywhere else, that outlet may need to be replaced. Over time, like anything else, normal wear and tear can cause failure.
- Light fixtures. If you use a bulb that needs too much wattage for the fixture to handle, that can cause a malfunction or an electrical fire.
- Appliances. Appliances sit in the corner, and you really only think about them when you are using them. When was the last time you checked the cords, tubing, etc? When was the last time you cleaned behind that appliance (I'm talking to you, dryer)? Check the cords, and ensure that all appliances are clean of dirt and debris.
- Extension cords. Just like outlets, normal wear and tear can cause failures. And people tend to overload extension cords during the winter holiday season. Know the capacity of that extension cord, and do not exceed that number.
- Wiring. Wiring in homes >20 years old may not be able to handle the electrical capacity of today's homes. Today's computers, big screen TVs, microwaves, etc all have more power than their predecessors. Be safe; know how much is too much for the cords, outlets, etc.
If you have suffered an electrical fire, call the clean up experts at SERVPRO Bedford Park/Burbank at 708-430-3600. We can handle the soot clean up and deodorization!
Take actions now to limit flooding's damage
Furnishings lost due to extreme flooding.
You don’t need to be near a body of water (lake, river, or stream) to experience flooding. Hurricane Harvey is a recent example of that; areas around Houston, TX received 50 inches of rain!
In this area, we can have excessive snow melt, severe storms, extensive power outages, etc., that can cause flooding. It seems lately that more and more extreme weather is the new normal.
What can you do to protect your property from the hazards of flooding?
- Know the risks. Is there any part of your property where the slope is incorrect; water slopes towards your home instead of away from your home. Try to correct that issue as soon as possible.
- Have an emergency kit already prepared. You can read more about making an emergency kit in another blog on this website, or you can go to Ready.gov for more information.
- Check your insurance policy. Most insurance policies do not cover floods, or water that doesn’t come up from the drains nor from a broken pipe. Talk it over with your insurance professional.
- Direct as much water away from your foundation as possible. Downspout extensions are a cheap and easy way to accomplish this feat. And keep your gutters clean of debris.
- Put utilities on blocks if located in lower level. Place your wash machine, dryer, water softener, etc up on blocks to keep them out of the water in case your lower level sustains flooding issues.
- Plug SERVPRO of Bedford Park/Burbank’s number into your phone. When you have discovered water damages in your home, time is critical! By having 708-430-3600 already installed on your phone means you can talk to us while the water damages are still in the early stages. Our trucks are loaded with equipment and ready to assist extracting, removing, and/or drying out your home as quick as possible!
May is Building Safety Month
Large or small, we can handle it all!
May is 2018 Building Safety Month, as sponsored by the ICC, or International Code Council. Also, May 13 - May 19 is Preparing for Natural Disasters Week, something that we here at SERVPRO Bedford Park/Burbank feel strongly about.
This is the 38th year that the ICC has designated May as Building Safety Month. And, according to their website:
"All communities need building codes to protect their citizens from disasters like fires, weather related events, and structural collapse. Building codes are society's best way of protecting homes, offices, schools, manufacturing facilities, stores, and entertainment venues."
SERVPRO Bedford Park/Burbank believes that preparation is the key. That is why we have been working with commercial clients using the Emergency Ready Program. You can read about the ERP in another blog on this website: (SERVPRObedfordparkburbank.com/blog/post/34308/commercial/free-program-for-commercial-clients).
If you are a property manager or owner, take a few minutes to look around your facility and ask this question: "Are we ready if a fire, storm, or other unforeseen event would strike?" Whether the answer is a yes or no, make sure you have our phone number plugged into your phone: 708-430-3600, because we are ready to take your call and assist you, regardless of the event!
Build an emergency kit
This time of year, the weather itself adds to the list of disasters that can befall you. Tornadoes, severe storms, lightning strikes all can hit around your home, many times with very little notice.
Be prepared at your home or business for that unexpected disaster, with an emergency kit. You should have enough supplies in your kit to last at least three days. Some of the suggested items:
- Three day supply of non-perishable foods
- Plastic utensils and plates
- Bottled water (1 gallon per person per day)
- First aid kit plus a dust mask
- Prescription medications
- Hygiene products
- Sleeping bag and/or blankets
- Extra batteries
- Phone charger
- Change of clothes
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Whistle/Glow Stix to signal for help
- Unique supplies for an infant or senior citizen (if necessary)
- Extra cash
- Tool to shut off utilities (wrench, vice grips, pliers)
- Manual can opener, if you have canned food
- Garbage bags, for sanitation and to possibly wear
Have these items (and more, if you have any specific needs) at a handy place, if you need to leave in a hurry or to shelter in place.
For more information about emergency kits, check out Ready.gov.
Tornadoes strike anywhere, even in a city!
Our cool weather this late winter/spring has kept severe weather away from the area so far. But, did you know we are in the heart of tornado season?
Illinois has had tornadoes strike every month of the year, as early as January, and as late as December 23rd (Merry Christmas!). Though the vast majority of tornadoes strike in the March, April, and May months.
The time of the day doesn't matter either, but the 3:00 - 7:00 pm time slight is slightly favored. Tornadoes after dark are the worst because you cannot see them coming.
The weather service has greatly improved getting watches and warnings out to the public. If you watch the Weather Channel, they even tell you DAYS in advance where the prime areas might be. On our Twitter page, we even keep you apprised of possible hazardous weather.
Some tornado myths have been debunked:
- Do NOT open your windows. Scientists thought that the uneven pressure caused homes to collapse, which is doesn't. Take that time to take shelter instead.
- Stay in the southwest corner of your building. The thinking was that most tornadoes move southwest to northeast, and the southwest corner would be the safest spot. Find a secure spot in your lowest level.
- A tornado will not hit the same community twice. Tell that to the people of Codell, KS, who suffered a tornado on May 20th in each year of 1916, 1917, & 1918!
The strongest tornadoes can hit wind speeds of >300 mph, be two miles wide, and travel >20 miles on the ground. The infamous Tri-state tornado, March 18, 1925, traveled >200 miles and lasted three hours!
SERVPRO of Bedford Park/Burbank traveled to Massachusetts!
Snow Storm in the Northeast area!
It wasn’t a good start of the year for many Massachusetts residents, the beginning of January of 2018 we were asked to travel to the state of MA as a lot of people had water damage due to broken pipes and Ice Daming damage in their homes due to freezing temperatures.
Some customers had no electricity or heat available, these conditions made the restoration process a little difficult, but as soon as these issues were resolved, we immediately started the demolition/drying process.
Unfortunately, after we left town a couple more snow storms hit the northeast area.
SERVPRO of Bedford Park/Bubank has the capability to travel to any part of the country, thankfully we count with professional employees and specialized equipment to assist to any size disaster in the United States
It's grilling season again!
Keep the fires INSIDE the grill!
If you’re anything like me, you LOVE BBQ grilling. There’s nothing as delicious as food that has been prepared on an outdoor grill.
As you get your grill and apron ready for another mouth-watering season, please remember these safety tips:
- Do NOT use an outdoor grill indoors. That includes the basement, garage, or any structure that can catch fire.
- Never leave your grill unattended. Accidents, such as pets or a gust of wind can cause the grill to tip over, and ignite nearby items on fire. Also, keep young children away from grills.
- Clean your grill when an accumulation of grease appears. Grease fires start quickly, and can get out of hand just as quickly.
- If you are using charcoal, ensure that every coal is completely out before attempting to remove it from the grill.
- If you are using propane, make sure all fittings are secure before lighting the grill.
- Always have a fire extinguisher nearby, in case fire spreads outside of the grill.
- Place the grill where the smoke will not enter an open door or window. Smoke from a grill can stick to door frames, walls, etc, and then catch other pollutants.
Have a safe grilling season, from your friends at SERVPRO Bedford Park/Burbank!
Mold in the attic
The attic is one place where mold can grow, but how often do you get up there?
Sometime during the winter, you had a roof leak. Perhaps it’s because of missing shingles, or perhaps you had some ice damming. Either way, water invaded your attic. And since you were unaware of its presence, it was left to dry on its own. But before it could dry, mold started to grow.
You had the windows and doors open for a couple of really nice Spring days, and then closed everything up when the rains came. Once everything was closed up, you noticed a slight musty smell in the upstairs bedroom and bath. Upon investigation, you found the culprit; mold in the attic.
The roofer came in and repaired the roof. The roofers did a great job repairing/replacing only what was needed. You’re convinced the roof will not leak again.
A couple of months later, that moldy, musty smell returned, especially after another rainstorm. You check the attic area, and cannot see any obvious wet spots. But the smell is worse there.
Even though you spent a great deal of money on the roof, you failed to get rid of the mold in the attic. In essence, you treated the symptom and not the disease.
That musty smell means you have active mold, mold that at this minute is eating drywall, insulation, paper, cardboard, anything and everything it can. You need to call in the mold experts.
SERVPRO Bedford Park/Burbank has the experience and expertise dealing with mold. We know what can be treated and what needs to be removed. We even have treatments that can help prevent mold from occurring again.
If you suspect mold has infiltrated your home, call us at 708-430-3600 and set up a no-obligation inspection. You’ll be glad you did!