Winter Storm Checklist
Winter storms can range from a moderate snow over a few hours to a blizzard with blinding, winddriven snow that lasts for several days. Some winter storms are large enough to affect several states, while others affect only a single community. Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures and sometimes by strong winds, icing, sleet and freezing rain.
- Source: American Red Cross
Being prepared for winter storms can help limit the damage done and make sure that everyone stays safe before, during, and after. Preparedness may not always be able to prevent damage done by the storm but many times it can make a big difference on how much is damaged.
Follow the link to find the "Winter Storm Safety Checklist" the American Red Cross has put together to help educate about what to expect and what to do in a winter storm situation.
Be Prepared for Winter Storms
Winter storms can be just as damaging to homes as any other. The American Red Cross offers the following guidelines to help be prepared for them:
- Learn how to protect pipes from freezing
- Make sure your home heating sources are installed according to local codes and permit requirements and are clean and in working order.
- Make sure your home is properly insulated. Caulk and weather-strip doors and windowsills to keep cold air out.
- Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside to provide an extra layer of insulation to keep cold air out.
- Consider buying emergency heating equipment, such as a wood- or coal-burning stove or an electric or kerosene heater.
- Stoves must be properly vented and in good working order. Dispose of ashes safely. Keep a supply of wood or coal on hand.
- Electric space heaters, either portable or fixed, must be certified by an independent testing laboratory. Plug a heater directly into the wall socket rather than using an extension cord and unplug it when it is not in use.
- Use a kerosene heater only if permitted by law in your area; check with your local fire department. Use only the correct fuel for your unit. Properly ventilate the area. Refuel the unit outdoors only, and only when the unit is cool. Follow all of the manufacturer's instructions.
- Consider storing sufficient heating fuel. Regular fuel sources may be cut off. Be cautious of fire hazards when storing any type of fuel.
- If you have a fireplace, consider keeping a supply of firewood or coal. Be sure the fireplace is properly vented and in good working order and that you dispose of ashes safely.
- Consider installing a portable generator, following our safety tips to avoid home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning
- Consider purchasing flood insurance, if you live in a flood-prone area, to cover possible flood damage that may occur during the spring thaw. Homeowners' policies do not cover damage from floods. Ask your insurance agent about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) if you are at risk. More information on NFIP is available at www.fema.gov/nfip.
- Source: American Red Cross
With the holiday season getting closer and the temperatures getting cooler the American Red Cross offers these tips to help prevent your pipes from freezing during the winter months.
- Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
- When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.
- Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
- If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
-Source: American Red Cross
If you do have a pipe that freezes SERVPRO of Morgan, Cass, Macoupin, and Montgomery Counties is only a phone call away at 217-8528-7775
National Fire Safety Week
October 8th through the 14th was National Fire Safety Week!
The one of best ways to keep your home safe from fires is through preventing them in the first place. Check out these statistics and tips from the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) on how to prevent electrical fires in your home or business.
- AFCI Breakers and Outlets can prevent 50% of residential home fires.
- Each year 2,400 children in the US are treated for injuries caused by outlets. 1/3 of parents do not have outlets childproofed. Install Tamper Resistant Receptacles.
- 470,000 counterfeit smartphone batteries were recalled in 2010 due to burn and fire hazards. Purchase electronics at reputable retailers.
- 3,300 home fires originate from extension cords each year. Heavy reliance on extension cords is a sign to have more outlets installed.
- The CPSC found 47% of electrocutions could be prevented with GFCI protection in homes.
- Frequently tripped circuit breakers or flown fuses and cracking, sizzling or buzzing from outlets can be signs of an overloaded circuit. 47,700 home fires in the US are caused by electrical failure or malfunction each year.
Learn more about how to keep your home safe from fires from the ESFI from their website http://www.esfi.org/
Source: Electrical Safety Foundation International
The goal of every restoration job is to safely and efficiently return the indoor environment to preloss condition for the customer. Part of this responsibility is to address the quality of the air inside the structure.
Any job that involves cleanup of sewage, mold, and/or fire damage will generate significant amounts of particulates and odiferous (smelly) gases. These contaminants are a direct result of the damage itself, as well as the necessary process of treating and cleaning damaged materials. This includes not only damage in the occupied space, but also contaminants in wall or ceiling cavities that may be disturbed and unknowingly introduced into the occupied space. These contaminants can settle on carpet, upholstery, furnishings, and be drawn into the HVAC system.
Because these particles can be easily stirred up and become airborne we usually employ the use of an air scrubber in some capacity. In the simplest terms, an air scrubber is a portable filtration system. It draws in air from the surrounding environment and passes it through a series of filters. These filters efficiently remove particles from the air to help improve indoor air quality.
"Mold, often referred to as fungi, are primarily recognized as hazards, however, there are molds with important applications and can serve useful purposes in our environment. Molds are a key component of foods we enjoy, (red wine, beer, mushrooms, and blue cheese). Molds produce by-products that are used in the manufacture of many medications such as antibiotics and anti-rejection drugs for organ transplant patients. Molds are necessary to complete the process that break down organic waste in our landfills and compost bins."
- Source:"IICRC Approved Applied Microbial Remediation Technician Course Manual"
Despite the above passage, the mold that has become a large concern in recent years are those types that cause adverse health effects. It is for these reasons that an indoor environmental professional such as a mold remediation technician is usually employed to correct the problem in order to restore a positive living environment for the inhabitants of the structure.
If you have a mold problem contact SERVPRO of Morgan, Cass, Macoupin, and Montgomery Counties at 217-528-7775
Factors that Affect Mold Growth
There are 6 general factors that affect mold growth:
Of these factors the easiest to control by far are the presence of water and nutrients. For this reason almost all remediation projects include some component of structure drying (removing water) of source removal (removing nutrients).
Structure drying could include the implementation of dehumidifiers to remove moisture from the air or the use of air scrubbers to filter air and draw moisture out of material through evaporation.
Source removal is usually some kind of controlled removal of building materials that are easier and more cost effectively removed and than cleaned in order to restore the structure to its original state. It is very important that the removal of material be controlled in order to limit the spread of the affected area throughout the structure.
If you need help controlling these factors call SERVPRO of Morgan, Cass, Macoupin, and Montgomery Counties today at 217-528-7775
Securing Structure after Fire
Fire damages are never a good situation. In some cases structures are uninhabitable after a fire occurs which can add to the stress of the situation. From loss of property and the shock of what has happened it can be hard to figure out where to start and what to do.
One of the first considerations for the immediate future directly following the fire department's departure is making sure that the structure is secure.
Making sure the structure is secured serves multiple purposes. First, making sure that the interior is protected from the elements, this can mean tarping a roof that has been compromised or boarding up windows that were broken out.
The next reason for securing is deterring burglars or vandals. It is a sad consideration but when you have a fire and there are trucks outside the house for multiple hours it can be a big flashing light for burglars that there is a structure with nobody home and easy access. Using boards and screws to secure door and window openings can make it a lot less likely that someone would be able to gain entry.
Another good reason for boarding up is preventing animals from wandering inside the structure. Animals may take advantage of the missing windows or doors in an attempt to seek shelter or find food.
If you need help with securing a structure after a fire call SERVPRO of Morgan, Cass, Macoupin, and Montgomery Counties at 217-528-7775
Storm Damage in Morgan, Cass , Macoupin & Mongomery Counties
Stay alert for the unexpected.
The word storm certainly has been in the news lately. In fact Harvey's remnants were felt all the way up into the state of Illinois. Many homeowners wonder what can be done to prepare for a storm event in the area.
The local planning commission is able to provide you with information about whether or not you are living in flood zone or not here is a link to get you started http://co.sangamon.il.us/departments/m-r/regional-planning-commission/program-areas/strategic-comprehensive-planning
Something else that can be helpful is to do a walk around of your home. If you have a ladder than start with safely examining the roof looking for loose shingles and siding, then examine all the other areas of the home. This inspection should also include the interior of your home, do you see damage form previous heavy rains? Are electrical services up to date and in good working order? Do you know where the shut offs for all of your utilities are locates and have the tools needed to turn them off?
Most people today have access to social media and TV and or radio. Please don"t develop warning fatigue! That means that you hear warnings but because nothing happens your state of readiness lessens. Storms in the area develop quickly please stay alert.
Assessing Water Damage
A water damage occurs when a pipe breaks, plumbing backs up, flood waters rise, or a number of other reasons in which water enters a structure.
Water restoration is the act of making it "Like it never even happened" which is our specialty at SERVPRO of Morgan, Cass, Macoupin, and Montgomery Counties.
Many homeowners who experience a water damage often don't know where to start. The first step is assessing the situation and responding appropriately.
There are two criteria for categorizing water damages: Class, and Category.
The Class of water damage refers to the extent of damage and how much moisture has been soaked up (or bound) in the building material.
There are 4 Classes of water damages:
Class 1 - water is confined to a small area and materials absorb very little water.
Class 2 - where wet materials represent approximately 5-40% of combined floor, wall, and ceiling surface area in a space
Class 3 - wet materials represent more than 40% surface area
Class 4 - this class of damage is a special case where water has been deeply absorbed into the structure and special methods need to be employed beyond a regular drying plan.
Category refers to the level of contamination caused by the water:
Category 1 - originates from a sanitary source, meaning a supply line or sink overflow with no contaminants
Category 2 - water that contains some contaminants such as washing machine or dishwasher rinse water
Category 3 - this includes all water that is significantly contaminated and can cause illness if ingested. This would include sewage, standing water with microbial growth, or water from a toilet containing fecal matter
If you have a water damage that needs to be assessed and for help with the cleanup call SERVPRO of Morgan, Cass, Macoupin, and Montgomery Counties at 217-528-7775