safety during the holidays
For many people November is a time to enjoy cooler temperatures, beautifully colored leaves and family oriented get togethers, like Thanksgiving. While you are busy whipping up delicious dishes, it is also important to take time to remember safety.
Cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires and home fire-related injuries in the United States. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) reports U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 357,000 home structure fires each year. 45% of these fires are attributed to home cooking fires. These fires are also responsible for thousands of injuries and more than $6.9 billion in property damage each year.
Please remember to be safe and take precautions during the upcoming holiday season.
Simple ways to avoid a water damage
Be careful with planting trees
Planting trees may not be that popular, but if you are looking to add some shade to help your home cool down in those summer months, Be careful of trees with invasive roots. Trees with invasive roots can cause problems with irrigation problems, pipes and even septic tanks.
Keep an eye on your water bill
It is always a good idea to monitor your water bill regularly. That can be the best indication of a leak that you might not know about.
Chemicals may not be the best thing when unclogging your sink
Clogs happen. Everyone experiences them and those unclogging chemicals are extremely handy but they can eat away at pipes causing future problems. If you can avoid those chemicals and try using a drain snake instead.
Never pour grease down your sink
Grease can be harmful to pipes if it hardens inside the trap and cause back ups. Even if you think diluting grease with water would help, it doesn't. The best thing for grease is to put it in a disposable container and let it harden before you throw it away.
Have you checked behind your sink or washer lately?
Do you ever look under you sink? All the way in the back behind the toilet paper and various cleaning products? What about pulling the washer away from the wall and looking behind that?
A lot of time you can have a water damage and not even realize it. That was the case in this job. Our customer had a leak in the wall behind his sink and didn't realize it until he tried to sell his home, and a home inspector found it, because it went unnoticed, mold grew and had to be fully re-mediated.
Leaks in the wall are hard to notice but there are some things to look for. Baseboard separation in one of the easiest things to spot. The baseboard swells up from the water and pulls away from the wall.
Peeling paint or paint flaking away. These are easy to see but a very good indication of a potential water leak.
Lastly, any sort of discoloration. If you are unsure if you have wet building material, call your local SERVPRO franchise for a moisture inspection.
Smoke alarm safety
The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) reports nearly two-thirds of these fire-related deaths occurred in homes with no working smoke alarm or no smoke alarms present at all. Smoke alarms play a vital role in saving lives, and when they are properly installed, can reduce the risk of fire injury in half.
The NFPA recommends smoke alarms be installed in every bedroom, outside all sleeping quarters and on every level of the house.
Business owners should consult the local Fire Marshall to ensure specific building fire codes and smoke detector requirements are met.
Once smoke alarms are in place, it is important to maintain and regularly test the alarms to ensure they are in the proper working order. Review the tips provided here regarding smoke detector installation and maintenance.
Smoke alarms work best when paired with a fire escape plan. A preparedness plan allows your family, employees, or clients to escape quickly and safely in an emergency situation. For tips or information on emergency preparedness, contact SERVPRO of Centreville, Marion and Selma at 205-926-6010
Smoke Alarm Tips:
- Install smoke alarms inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
- Smoke alarms should be installed away from the kitchen to prevent false alarms. Generally, they should be at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance.
- Test smoke detectors at least once a month using the test button
- Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm “chirps,” warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away
- Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old
What happens after a leak?
Over flowed toilets, sprinkler systems and broken pipes can all be culprits in water damage to your home. When water issues in your home go undetected or ignored it can lead to major issues and large bills. Water has away of getting in all those little tiny places and can be easily over looked. The average cost on a water is between 1,000 to 4,000. This is not including any construction to get your house back to its original state.
A few things to keep in mind
- The longer your water damage goes unnoticed with, the more likely you are to have a mold issue.
- If your furnishings are not dried out properly and in a timely manner they also have a high chance of mold.
- The length of time the water sits can greatly affect the restoration costs.
- How much water was involved in the loss
- What kind of water was involved, clean water contains little to no contaminates, grey water contains significant amounts of contaminates, black water is extremely contaminated.
Water damage can’t always be avoided, but with the proper equipment and knowledge it can be cleaned up “Like it never even happened.” If you find yourself with a water emergency don’t forget your favorite crew, SERVPRO of Centreville, Marion, an Selma is here to help 7 days a week, 24 hours a day you can reach us at 205-926-6010
Fire damage in your home
Fire damage in your home can be a stressful event. Damage to your personal belongings and home are just some of the concerns you may experience. Timely response and thorough mitigation can alleviate these concerns. The first 24 hours can make the difference between restoring versus replacing your property and personal belongings. Our 1-4-8 Service Response Guidelines can help prevent fire damage from creating long-term problems.
We provide timely response with mitigation services ranging from fire, smoke and soot removal to contents claim inventory and document restoration. These services help ensure your property, belongings and memories are restored to preloss condition when possible.
What you can do until help arrives:
- Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from spreading and additional damage from occurring
- Place clean towels or old linens on rugs and high traffic areas and upholstery
- Coat chrome faucets, trim and appliances with petroleum jelly or oil
- Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpet
- Wash any walls or painted surfaces
- Shampoo carpets or upholstery
- Clean any electrical equipment
- Send clothing to dry cleaner since improper cleaning may set smoke odor
SERVPRO of Centreville, Marion, and Selma understands your home is more than four walls. Your home includes your memories and personal belongings. We are trained in caring for both you and your home. By responding quickly with a full line of fire cleanup and restoration services, SERVPRO of Centreville, Marion, and Selma can help you restore your home and personal belongings.
Before you risk doing further damage by attempting to clean up the damage yourself, call SERVPRO of Centreville, Marion, and Selma, the fire damage cleanup and restoration professionals at 205-926-6010.
Sump pumps and how they work
In-order to understand how a sump pump works and why it’s important, it’s helpful to first understand the home building process. After a hole is dug by an excavator for a basement, the next step is to put in foundation footings. Foundation footings in Alabama are typically a poured cement slab, often reinforced with rebar. The footings are poured into the excavated trench essentially in an outline of the foundation walls. The footings provide a foundation upon which the cement bricks of the foundation will be laid, or upon which the cement walls of the foundation will be poured, depending on the type of basement wall construction used. The soil upon which these footings are poured needs to stay at a consistent moisture level to prevent settlement, heave, or differential movement. That’s where the sump pump and it’s supporting system comes into play.
A drain system is installed around the perimeter of the foundation/footings. This drain system is essentially a system of pipes (surrounded by crushed stone) with holes in the top that collect water that is heading towards the foundation walls. The water that is collected in these pipes is redirected into a sump crock in the basement, where a pump then pumps the water up and out of the basement. Proper installation and maintenance of this entire system is essential to keeping a basement dry and stable.
What is a flood?
Floods occur when large amount of water overflows over dry land. They may result from prolonged or very heavy rainfall, severe thunderstorms, monsoon rains, or tropical cyclones. People, who live near rivers, or in low-lying coastal areas, live with the greatest threat of floods.
Common types of flooding
- Slow onset floods
- Rapid onset floods
- Flash floods
Usually, a reasonable warning period is possible except in case of flash floods.
Common terms used by the meteorological department to describe the warnings for flooding are as:
- Minor flooding: Causes inconvenience, closing small roads and low-level bridges.
- Moderate Flooding: Low-lying areas inundated, requiring removal of stock, equipment and evacuation of isolated homes. Main road and rail bridges may be covered.
- Major flooding: Higher areas inundated, towns and properties isolated, and extensive damage.
- Local flooding: Intense rainfall, some high run-off, but usually no flooding in main streams;
- Significant river rises: This warning is issued if it is not certain that the initial flood levels will be exceeded in the main streams. It makes people aware that appreciable rises are expected.
After a Flood
The following are guidelines for the period following a flood:
- Listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink.
- Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
- Avoid moving water.
- Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
- Stay away from downed power lines, and report them to the power company.
- Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
- Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
- Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations.
- Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.
- Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals.
SERVPRO of Centreville, Marion, and Selma is always here to guide you in the right direction after any disaster. Call (205)-926-6010 today!
This page explains what actions to take when you receive a tornado watch or warning alert from the National Weather Service for your local area and what to do before, during, and after a tornado.
Know your risk
A tornado is a violently rotating column of air that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground and is often—although not always—visible as a funnel cloud. Lightning and hail are common in thunderstorms that produce tornadoes. Tornadoes cause extensive damage to structures and disrupt transportation, power, water, gas, communications, and other services in its direct path and in neighboring areas. Related thunderstorms can cause heavy rains, flash flooding, and hail
About 1,200 tornadoes hit the United States every year and every state is at risk. Most tornadoes in the United States occur east of the Rocky Mountains with concentrations in the central and southern plains, the Gulf Coast and Florida.
Tornadoes can strike in any season, but occur most often in the spring and summer months. They can occur at all hours of the day and night, but are most likely to occur between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Before a Tornado
- Identify safe rooms built to FEMA criteria or ICC500 storm shelters or other potential protective locations in sturdy buildings near your home, work, and other locations you frequent so you have a plan for where you will go quickly for safety when there is a Warning or an approaching tornado.
- For schools, malls, and other buildings with long-span roofs or open space plans, or many occupants, ask the building manager to identify the best available refuge.
- Build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
- 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.
- Look for the following danger signs:
- Dark, often greenish sky
- Large hail
- A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
- Loud roar, similar to a freight train.
- If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.
The extent of destruction caused by tornadoes depends on the tornado’s intensity, size, path, time of day, and amount of time it is on the ground. Wind from tornadoes can reach more than 300 miles per hour, and damage paths can be more than 1 mile wide and 50 miles long. Wind from tornadoes can destroy buildings and trees, transform debris into deadly projectiles, and roll vehicles.
- They may strike quickly, with little or no warning.
- They may appear nearly transparent until dust and debris are picked up or a cloud forms in the funnel.
- The average tornado moves Southwest to Northeast, but tornadoes have been known to move in any direction.
- Tornadoes can accompany tropical storms and hurricanes as they move onto land.
- Waterspouts are tornadoes that form over water.
Know the Terms
Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify a tornado hazard:
- Tornado Watch - Tornadoes are possible. When there is a Watch, move to be near enough to a shelter or sturdy building to be able to get there quickly in a few minutes if there is a Warning or if you see signs of a tornado approaching. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
- Tornado Warning - A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.
During a Tornado
If you are under a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately! Most injuries associated with high winds are from flying debris, so remember to protect your head.
If you are in school, nursing home, hospital, factory, shopping center, high-rise building pre-identified best available refuge then:
- Go to a pre-designated area such as a safe room built to FEMA criteria, or a small interior windowless room on the lowest level, below ground in a basement, or storm cellar, is best. (Closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and cover your head and neck with your arms and cover your body as best you can e.g., with a heavy coat or blankets, pillows. .
- In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
- Do not open windows.
- A sturdy structure (e.g. residence, small building) , school, nursing home, hospital, factory, shopping center, high-rise building)
A manufactured home or office then:
Get out immediately and go to a pre-identified location such as the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, do not offer protection from tornadoes.
The outside with no shelter then:
- If you are not in a sturdy building, there is no single research-based recommendation for what last-resort action to take because many factors can affect your decision. Possible actions include:
- Immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter. If your vehicle is hit by flying debris while you are driving, pull over and park.
- Take cover in a stationary vehicle. Put the seat belt on and cover your head with your arms and a blanket, coat or other cushion if possible.
- In all situations:
- Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
- Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for protection in a sturdy building. .
- Outdoor areas are not protected from flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.
After a Tornado
- If you are trapped, do not move about or kick up dust. Tap on a pipe or wall or use a whistle, if you have one, so that rescuers can locate you.
- Listen to local officials for updates and instructions.
- Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media.
- Watch out for debris and downed power lines.
- Stay out of damaged buildings and homes until local authorities indicate it is safe.
- Use extreme caution during post-disaster clean-up of buildings and around debris. Do not attempt to remove heavy debris by yourself. Wear protective clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, work gloves, and sturdy, thick-soled shoes during clean-up.
- Photograph the damage to your property in order to assist in filing an insurance claim.
- Do what you can to prevent further damage to your property, (e.g., putting a tarp on a damaged roof), as insurance may not cover additional damage that occurs after the storm.
- If your home is without power, use flashlights or battery-powered lanterns rather than candles to prevent accidental fires.
Kansas weather can be unpredictable! Be informed & stay safe!
If tragedy strikes remember, SERVPRO of Centreville, Marion, and Selma is always here to help!
3 Reasons Why Your Commercial Building Needs Professional Mold Intervention
When it comes to maintaining the cleanliness of your' commercial building, there are many chores you can perform yourself. Sweeping, mopping and wiping down employee bathrooms are all manageable tasks; however, if you encounter mold on your property, its removal is not a job you want to handle on your own. Fungus cleanup is best left to a qualified mold mitigation and remediation service, which can offer several benefits for the condition of your building.
1. Mold Is Not a Surface Fungus
Unlike mildew, mold cannot simply be wiped away with a cloth and a household cleanser. Once mold spores take hold on a food source, they tend to grow roots deep into the surface. While spot cleaning mold with bleach may make it appear cleaned up, the roots remain and allow it to grow back within a day or two afterward. In addition, the water contained in many bleach products may only contribute to further mold development.
2. Mold Spores Can Spread if Not Contained
Attempting mold cleanup on your own may make the problem worse because disturbed patches of fungus tend to release spores that can travel throughout your building to settle and grow elsewhere. The spread of these spores can happen quickly, especially if they find their way into your ventilation system. Remediation technicians can use containment systems as they employ a cleanup mold process to reduce the risk of further contamination.
3. The Cause Must Be Addressed
Fungus cleanup is only one factor in battling an infestation. Unless the cause of the growth is addressed, you may find that mold returns repeatedly, which can cause long-term damage to your building. Expert mold techs can discover the source of the problem, whether it is a hidden plumbing leak or excess moisture buildup behind your walls, and resolve the issue so mold does not grow back