Thanksgiving Safety Tips - Pandemic Edition
Wishing you and your family a safe Thanksgiving!
Last Thanksgiving was weird enough. But let's talk about this year. Thanksgiving still isn't the same, but at least we can feel some relief from the progression in combating COVID-19. Though things are looking more hopeful, we should still keep up the good work of cleanliness.
With festivities around the corner, we here at SERVPRO of Cenreville, Marion & Selma want to share what YOU need to know to keep your family safe this year. We also want to share the other major safety hazard... house fires. House fires can begin in an instant, normally because cooking is left unattended in the kitchen.
Wonder what you can do to stay safe and keep your kitchen under control? Follow these simple safety tips on preventing fires. In addition, due to widespread fear on the pandemic we have also included some safety tips to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Fire Safety Tips
- Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stove top so you can keep an eye on the food.
- Stay in the kitchen when cooking and check on frequently on your dishes.
- Keep children away from the stove by at least 3 feet.
- Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
- Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
- Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
COVID-19 Safety Tips
- Save the fine china. Disposable utensils/cups/plates not only keeps germs from piling in your sink, but also less cleanup afterwards.
- Keep two trashcans out to help prevent germy trash laying around.
- Have germ-x available at your entrance and the beginning of the food line.
- Avoid crowding around in the kitchen or any other food-preparation areas.
- Use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets.
- If the weather is right, why not put up tables and eat outside?
- If that's not an option, bring in fresh air by opening windows and doors to allow circulation.
- Ideally, we suggest keeping your guest list minimal.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
- Call us to aid your cleaning needs!
We are here for all of your cleanup and fire restoration needs. Make sure that you're practicing fire safety this Holiday season and exercising precaution with company this year.
Backyard Fire Pit Safety Tips
Cooler Weather is Here
Here in Centreville, AL its a tradition to enjoy the cooler nights outside around a homemade fire pit! Many of us are looking forward to spending time gathering around them to enjoy time with family and friends. Before you start dreaming of moonlit nights and toasted marshmallows, take a moment to check out some of these tips from Allstate to remember.
Tips & Tricks:
- Whether you prefer a built-in or portable fire pit, choose one that is not too large for the area. The pit should be a minimum of 10 feet away from any structures or combustible materials as well as away from trees, fences, sheds, power lines, and telephone wires.
- Make sure that the seating area is large enough and properly placed for comfort and ventilation.
- Check wind direction before lighting a fire.
- Don’t use flammable fluids (gasoline, lighter fluid, etc.) to light or relight fires.
- To start the fire, use a lighter to ignite crumpled pieces of paper covered with small sticks. Then, add larger sticks and a log or two to keep it burning.
- Burn only dry material. Damp material will create excess smoke.
- Don’t wear flammable clothing (like nylon) or any loose-fitting clothing.
- Never leave the fire unattended, and keep pets and children far away from the fire as they will be attracted to it.
- Keep a fire extinguisher, garden hose, or bucket of water nearby.
- As the fire dies down, use a shovel and spread out the ashes to allow them to cool down. Then slowly pour water over those ashes and watch them closely to be sure that no burning embers remain or reignite. Put the cooled ashes in a specially designated ash storage metal can.
Autumn Damage Prevention
Outdoor Cleaning Tips that Could help Prevent Damage this Fall
The chill is in the air and the leaves are piling up. Our team at SERVPRO of Centreville, Marion & Selma is committed to helping our friends, you, by offering little tips and important reminders to help during times of need or to prevent damage altogether. As cooler weather approaches, here are some things you may want to add to your cleaning to-do's:
- Check weather stripping and caulking around doors and windows.(Repair or replace as needed.)
- Check and clean the gutters.
(Do the downspouts, too.)
- Clean the patio furniture.(Then store away.)
- Drain and store garden hoses.
- Check the exterior paint.(Touch up as needed.)
- Drain the pool, if applicable.(Close it up for the year)
Some of these tips can help prevent future water damage as well, like cleaning your gutters and repair the weather stripping & caulk. So, remember:
Stay ahead. Be prepared.
Professional Cleaning & Disinfecting
We've Got You Covered.
Helping our Community, One Cleaning at a Time
As the virus has mutated into the variant, we want to reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. It's important to us that we all feel safe during this time.
We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform on a daily basis.
The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:
- Kitchen/Food Areas
- Retail Spaces
- Water Fountains
- Sales Counters
- Carpets and Rugs
- Stair Handrails
- Elevator Cars
- Playground Equipment
- Fitness Equipment
The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities.
Call Today for a Proactive Cleaning
Fall Water Damage Prevention Tips
1. Adjust your sprinkler timer
Water during the early morning and evening hours to reduce evaporation and find out how much water is required to effectively water your lawn. You'll see a difference in not only your lawn but also that water bill!
2. Check for leaks and building damage
Inspect all interior fixtures, as well as basements and crawlspaces and you may also want to inspect your building’s exterior for damage. With the increase of storms this time of year, water will try to find it's way inside.
3. Insulate water pipes in unheated areas
To reduce the likelihood of future freezing, wrap water pipes in unheated areas with insulation tubes and apply heat-tape prior to wrapping pipes with insulation. Doesn't hurt to get a jump start on this for the cooler weather ahead.
4. Know the location of your property shut-off valve
Knowing the location of your shut-off valve could save you money on water and damage repairs. The faster you can turn off the water, the less goes to waste.
5. Install a smart water flow monitoring system
When excessive water usage is detected, it immediately notifies the property manager that water spike above the preset limit has occurred. The alert can be sent to both a computer and a smartphone for the manager to act upon, and can be customized for business hours, as well as after hours and weekends.
Stay aware and prepared!
Hurricane Season is Here
Hurricane Ida made it's big appearance last week, causing water and wind damage. Hurricanes are one of the most dramatic, damaging and life altering events that can occur in our state.
SERVPRO of Centreville, Marion, and Selma wants to make sure you are prepare for further hurricanes this season.
Here are some tips:
- Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information. In any emergency, always listen to the instructions given by local emergency management officials.
- Be alert to changing weather conditions. Look for approaching storms.
- Many communities have text or email alerting systems for emergency notifications. To find out what alerts are available in your area, search the Internet with your town, city, or county name and the word “alerts.”
- Know where to go. If you are ordered to evacuate, know the local hurricane evacuation route(s) to take and have a plan for where you can stay. Contact your local emergency management agency for more information.
According to msema.org, prepare a three to five-day disaster kid that should contain:
- Flashlight and battery-powered radio with additional batteries.
- Canned and non-perishable food.
- Bottled water.
- Toiletry items.
- Pet food and pet supplies.
- Medicine and prescription medication.
- Copies of important family papers and documents.
National Preparedness Month: Storm Prep
"Preparation isn't about convenience, rather the relief that you did."
During this time of year in Alabama, we not only experience a lot of heat but also rain, which includes thunderstorms. It’s important to be prepared and have a plan in place. Talk with your family and create an emergency plan for thunderstorms, floods, and hurricanes. It would be beneficiary to think about an emergency shelter and evacuation plan. Below, we have a few suggestions to make sure you and your family are ready for whatever happens.
Protect Your Electronics
Your electronics can get fried if they are not properly protected. Plug electronics into a surge protector to avoid damage during a storm.
Prepare for Power Outages
Have battery-operated flashlights and lanterns in easy to get to places. Check on these items from time to time to make sure the batteries still work, replace them if necessary. Also, think about keeping the refrigerator and freezer doors shut to keep food from spoiling. If these food items rise above 40 degrees for 2 hours or more, they should be disregarded. Call your local power company to inform them of the outage and to get information regarding when the power should be restored.
Stay Away from Power Lines
Do not go near power lines should they fall to the ground, they can be very hazardous. Call 911 if you see downed power lines.
Don't Stay Outside
If you hear thunder, it is likely that lightning is also occurring. Lightning can be dangerous, therefore, make sure to go inside when thunder occurs.
There are many different natural elements which can occur and be harmful when outside during a disaster. Therefore, during a storm, it is important to seek shelter and be safe. If you're inside, a good place to be is at the lowest level of your home. If you have a basement or storm cellar you can hang out in until the storm passes.
Handy Emergency Kit
Consider putting together a kit of things you may want to have on hand during a storm. Items you may want to include would be water, non-perishable food, flashlights, blankets extra batteries, a radio, and a first aid kit.
If disaster does strike your home during a storm, your SERVPRO friends are ready to be apart of the team that pieces it back together. #SERVPROStrong
National Preparedness Month: Business Prep
Wind damage can lead to other damages, which causes huge inconveniences for our businesses.
Flying Debris Protection
High winds produce flying debris which can cause property damage, like a roof leak or broken windows, and even structural damage, like a fractured wall. We can help you minimize the risk of flying debris by following these tips.
1. Trim Trees and Clean Grounds
While high winds may result in a few missing shingles, the most significant damage is caused by flying tree branches and other miscellaneous debris. Therefore, all trees and bushes should be trimmed to minimize the risk of a damaged roof or structure. Additionally, you can police the property daily to collect any refuse, ensuring that it, too, does not harm your property in future storms.
2. Secure and Reinforce Exterior Objects/Decor
Exterior objects like signs, furniture and fences, should be secured and reinforced to minimize any potential property damage. Depending on the severity of the winds, furniture and fence posts can become projectiles in volatile storms. You can secure these objects by mounting them to cement slabs or, regarding fences, replacing loose boards and railings.
3. Convert Gravel Pathways and Landscaping to Dirt or Concrete
A roof leak is common after high winds, and the main reason is roof damage caused by flying debris. Loose gravel and rock are some of the most common elements of flying debris, and each material adds to the risk of property damage during high winds. Replacing gravel driveways and pathways with concrete or asphalt and converting rock beds to mulch will minimize your risks during wind storms.
4. Create an Emergency Action Plan
While you can take every preventative measure possible, nothing is guaranteed, and that is why you should have an emergency action plan in place. Restoration specialists from around the Selma, AL, area help with this type of planning, and many even offer customized plans that take effect immediately following a disaster.
Wind damage can result in many issues like a roof leak or broken windows, but there are things you, as a business owner, can do to help protect your property. Trimming trees, policing the grounds and reducing risks through appropriate landscaping are all proactive ways of protecting your business from future high wind storms.
Water Damage Insight for Business Owners
Actions You Need To Take on Category 1 Water Damage
Most business owners are terrified when they hear those two dreaded words: water damage. However, what some do not realize is that there are different levels of water damage. Business owners need to be aware that clean water will also need to be properly taken care of to avoid damage, loss, and a progression to other, more serious water damage categories. If your property in Centreville, Marion, or Selma, AL, has water damage, here is a guide to how it starts and what action you need to take:
- What is Category 1 water damage? Category 1 water damage is caused by a clean water source that has not been contaminated. Since this water originates from sanitary conditions, it is not a risk to your health to be exposed to it. This category of water damage is the easiest to clean up. However, Category 1 water damage can progress quickly into Category 2 and Category 3 if not treated as soon as possible.
- What are the main causes of Category 1 water damage? The main sources of Category 1 water damage are usually a water supply line from an appliance that has broken, a sink or bathtub overflowing, or a broken pipe.
- What is the cleanup process like? Specific professional water damage restoration services are needed, even with Category 1 damage. Removal of water is the first step, with remediation to follow if there is damage to the property. There are a variety of drying and restoration procedures to help save as much as possible. Certain things, such as carpets and walls, may be too damaged and therefore will have to be replaced.
Dealing with clean water damage in Selma, AL, can be stressful. By knowing how it starts and what steps you need to take, you will be better prepared to handle the situation and get your business back to normal.
Danger: Washing Machine Malfunction
One of the most well-known causes of water damage in your home, washing machines can cause costly damage. After the deductible is paid, the average claim nationally for water damage from washing machine malfunction is more than five thousand dollars.
Since washing machines have various ways of creating water damage to your home, many homeowners do not totally understand the prevention options, risks, or cleanup options. Knowing just a bit about how your washing machine can create water damage, you can save thousands of dollars and many headaches. When this happens, professionals should be called.
Supply Hose Leaks
Over 50% of claims from washing machine water damage can be traced to the failure of your supply hose. It can be caused by an aging hose, a poor connection to the wall or machine, or the hose being pinched while it is installed, causing a hairline break. Intake hoses are high-flow lines and can put out more than six hundred gallons of water in one hour. If the supply hose on your machine is over five years old or is not steel braided, get it replaced as soon as you can.
Drainage Issues And Flooding
If there is a clog in your drainage pipe, the sewer backs up, or your drain pipe is not properly lined up, the drainage system of your washing machine causes some water damage at least. Most importantly, avoid a clog in the sewer line. When this backs up, you can be faced with water damage that is filled with contaminates and poses serious health risks. You most definitely need the help of our professionals if this happens to you. It's important you don't DIY this, because proper equipment and training is needed for health safety reasons.
Your washing machine doesn't have to be incorrectly installed, old, or built poorly to create an internal leak. Overloading your machine on a regular basis can cause valves, gaskets, and bushings to crack or loosen. Smaller loads, even if it takes longer to do the laundry, keep your machine from shaking itself apart.
Identifying Your Leak
If you have a leak that is constant, you likely have an issue with the supply hose. It is probably an internal leak if it happens during the wash cycle but before the spin cycle. With water on the floor during the spin cycle or right after the machine turns off, you probably have a drainage issue.
SERVPRO of Centreville, Marion, and Selma can handle any washing machine leak in a timely and efficient manner.