Emergency Preparedness Kits
September is National Preparedness Month! Throughout the month you’re likely to see a variety of ads that offer tips and advice becoming prepared should you and your family ever face any type of emergency. Ready.gov provides information on every type of emergency situation thinkable, and some you might not have thought about. There’s resources on assembling emergency plans, how to educate children on implementing these plans and how to prepare for survival.
One of their most visited sections provides suggestions on assembling an emergency kit. Following an emergency, you could be without power, food and water for hours, even days. By putting together an emergency kit, you’re lowering the chances your household will go without necessities.
Each kit can vary from home to home but these are their suggestions:
- Water – one gallon per person, per day, for at least three days.
- Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
- First Aid Kit
- Extra batteries
- Whistle – to signal for help
- Dust mask – to filter contaminated air
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape – to create shelter
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties – for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers – to turn off utilities
- Manual can opener
- Local maps
- Cell phone chargers and a backup battery
- Prescription medications
- Pet food and extra water for your pet
- Cash or travelers’ checks
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
These are just examples of items you might include in a basic emergency kit, to see the full list of suggested items you can follow this link – Full List of Suggested Items
Columbia Business Owners Mean Clean!
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Midlands, SC area have been a roller coaster lately. We see gradual declines and then reports of increases as school starts and we venture out in public more often. One thing we know that has been consistent, is the number of business owners reaching out to us to learn more about our Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned Program. We’ve developed numerous plans for businesses of all types to help them keep their staff and patrons safe! The Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned Program provides business owners as well as patrons peace of mind when they see our logo, and can tell that the space they’re in is genuinely clean. We use EPA Approved products and procedures to disinfect all highly touched surfaces and areas of concern. This process leaves behind no residue or strong chemical odor, making it ideal for any business setting.
Restaurants, retail stores and office buildings are high traffic facilities. This makes them a great candidate for our program! If you’d like a quote for a single sanitation service, or even to set up a regularly scheduled cleaning – call us and we’d be happy to go over, in detail, how we can be of assistance.
What Happens to Wet Drywall & Carpet?
Discovering water in unwanted places is never a good sight – especially when it’s inside your home. Your belongings are now at risk of becoming damaged, and some un-salvageable. When you discover water damage, time is not on your side. But the quicker you react, the better your chances of saving your valuable items from irreversible damage.
Back to the importance of time; some items are able to maintain their integrity when submerged for a short period of time, while others, like electronics, are likely beyond saving. Typically, when we arrive on-site a customer’s first question is “will we have to remove it all?” While we never have a 100% for certain answer regarding various materials, we have to evaluate what is affected, to what degree and then monitor the progress of drying.
If you live in the Midlands, SC area your home likely consists of drywall which makes up the walls and barriers of your home. Drywall is a porous material that absorbs water like a sponge, even more so than wood. When it becomes wet it may swell, crumble or sag. More importantly, it becomes the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and mold growth. If we discover wet drywall, we begin drying it right away – this involves various techniques to access the back and sides with fast moving air to quickly reduce the level of moisture within the material.
If the drywall is misshapen, distorted or soft upon our arrival we plan to remove that area, not the entire wall, and replace it when the drying process is completed.
Carpet and rugs typically incur the most damage when water intrudes. The synthetic fibers that make up the flooring material absorb water, debris and any other contaminates that come with the water. Carpet can be salvaged depending on the source of the water. If storm water flows from outside your home, into your home, it’s likely carrying mud, rocks, etc. Our technicians are able to extract water, but mud is an entirely different obstacle.
If the water source is clean and your carpet or rugs got wet, we simply extract the water and then “float” the carpet. This process allows air to flow on both sides of the flooring to promote quick drying.
At SERVPRO we always take the “repair over replace” approach. If we can fix, dry or repair affected materials rather than require you to purchase new ones, we will!
Protecting Your Multi-Unit Property from Water Damage
Multi-family or Apartment Complex water damages are not uncommon and its not unusual for them to become costly at a very fast rate. Because these individual units share walls with others, if water begins to flow in one unit, it almost inevitably will make its way to another unit. Leaving multiple parties with water damage to resolve.
Best Practices for Preventing Water Damage in Apartment Complexes and Multi-family Residential Properties:
- Create a clear emergency response plan and share it with your tenants. Make revisions as needed and update tenants once a year. Tenants should know and understand how to respond quickly in any emergency.
- Check on units that are vacant once a week to detect any issues. Money and time can be saved if you’re able to discover broken or malfunctioning items before they become a major problem.
- Remind tenants what CAN and CANNOT be flushed down the toilet. Often multi-unit properties share plumbing and a backup in one, can cause a backup in others.
- Inspect buildings regularly and make necessary repairs immediately. Even a small leak can cause drastic damage if left unfixed.
- Mark all water supply shut off valves clearly and obviously. If a tenant does not have to call maintenance staff or management to find the location, less time is spent trying to locate the source that could reduce water damage.
- If units are equipped with a fire suppression system, ensure that tenants can identify where those lines are within walls. Additionally, provide a reminder that sprinkler heads should not have anything hanging from or near them. Avoiding an accidental discharge of this equipment is a favorable outcome.
Keep our phone number easily accessible in maintenance and leasing offices. We’re accessible 24/7 for any emergency. SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork also offers Emergency Ready Plans – these plans outline the shutoff locations for all utilities on each unit or building. They also list all contact information for those involved should there ever be an emergency. These plans are free of charge and highly encouraged for building managers.
The Dangers of Phone Chargers
A phone charger sparked this fire in a bedroom.
The majority of us sleep with our cell phone within arm’s reach, on our nightstand or tucked under our pillow. It’s become common to charge them overnight when they won’t be in use. SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork has responded to a number of house fires caused by the device we use every day. While it’s not usually the device itself but the charger that starts the fires.
Exposed wires, poor quality manufacturing and the location of the charger are all likely sources of the flames. Chargers produces a large amount of energy, which is why the cord is surrounded by a protective material. Once that protective layer becomes compromised, the entire cord is subject to malfunction. We’ve seen children’s mattresses completely charred; entire houses crumbled to the ground amongst many devastating home fire situations.
- Ensure that you purchase devices and chargers that have been quality tested in a laboratory setting.
- Use only the battery and charging cord that is designed for your device.
- A cheap price point usually means cheap manufacturing – do your research before looking for the best deal.
- Never charge your phone under a pillow, on your bed or in direct sunlight.
Your home is one of the biggest investments you’ll make, don’t let a charger cord be what takes that away from you!
Fire Safety - Preparing Your Children
Holding regular conversation with your children regarding fire safety is a great learning tool for both you and those young minds! Discussing the dangers of fire, how they can start and what to avoid that might accidentally cause a fire, are all great starting points. In school, your children practice fire drills; they learn what to listen for, where to go and how to exit the building safely. Practicing a fire drill at home can become part of your regular routine to ensure your children know how to detect a fire, and most importantly, how to get out safely.
- Test your fire alarms monthly to make sure the batteries have not gone bad. This also familiarizes your children with the high-pitched noise or beep it makes, alerting them to a fire.
- Create an exit plan – draw a map of your home for each child from their bedroom that takes them to the closest exit.
- If you live in a home with multiple stories, consider a fire ladder that hangs from a window to help you escape. Store it in a visible location, and let everyone know where it is.
- Children often want to re-enter a home during a fire if they’ve left a prized possession, pet or other cherished item. Teach and remind them to “get out, stay out”. Only professional firefighters should enter a building that is on fire.
- Check windows for proper function. A window that is painted shut or unable to open could limit the number of exits your family has.
- Teach and practice STOP, DROP and ROLL if your children’s clothes were to catch on fire this method could save their lives.
Fire education can certainly be fun, but more importantly, can save the lives of your family members. Never assume anyone in your home will know what to do in the event of an emergency. Hold a family meeting and organize your thoughts together, that way everyone is on the same page with the plan.
For more helpful tips and ideas on emergency preparedness be sure to visit https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/emergency-preparedness-for-kids.html
We Stand Behind Our Promises
Three stories of water damaged offices were no match for SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork
Faster to ANY disaster, 24/7.
It’s our motto, our tagline, how we sell our SERVPRO brand. But how do we live up to that? We believe our customers would happily testify that we hold up our end of that bargain. We recently responded to a commercial job; a call came in for an office building in a local business park. Roof repairs were being completed when a downpour of rain popped up. With clogged gutters and an inoperable drainage system, the water had nowhere to go but down… Leaving three floors of offices affected by a great deal of water.
We loaded up our trailers with every piece of equipment we could get our hands on and began the drying process. In instances like this, the faster we react, the greater our chances of preventing further damage to the space as well as contents of the areas affected. Offices buildings are home to electronics, furniture and sometimes sensitive documents. These contents are expensive to replace and critical to the employees that work there.
Our technicians are equipped with a plethora of skills – drying out wet spaces and structures is at the top of the list. SERVPRO has equipment to dry and restore documents, books, clothing/fabric and even furniture. Unfortunately, this will not be a quick process but the property management and employees can rest easy knowing they called the right people. SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork is equipped to handle any disaster, of any size, at any time.
Professional Cleaning of Fire Damage
No matter the size or magnitude, fire can affect your entire home or business. Flames, heat, soot and smoke travel quickly – we’ve seen a small stove fire in a downstairs kitchen result in soot residue in a third-floor bedroom. We always advise hiring a cleaning professional to examine and perform the work necessary following any fire.
Our SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork Fire team is certified by the IICRC in Fire Restoration. That means they understand how fire, smoke and soot residue travel, affect materials, and how they should be restored. Our team is careful to maneuver in a way that does not cause further damage to the home. Walking on contaminated areas can track soot residue into other rooms, creating additional cleaning that has to be done. You must also take precautions due to possible structure damage. Floors can become weakened and support beams brittle after a fire, your safety should be the #1 priority.
The fire team at SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork is prepared to handle any fire job, the RIGHT way. We understand that being displaced by fire creates an immense amount of stress on homeowners as well as business owners, and we do our best to comfort, reassure and help them through the entire process. If you or someone you know has experienced a fire and is struggling to get back on their feet, please reach out to us, we’re connected with many organizations that help individuals get the assistance they need.
The Shocking Truth of Electrical Fires
If your home or business has experienced an electrical fire, Call the pros at SERVPRO!
Did you know there are well over 25,000 electrical fires that occur each year in the United States? The damage that results from those fires can be detrimental to a business. Not only do the flames, heat and smoke diminish the structure, but the efforts made by firefighters to extinguish the fire often cause significant water damage. We know that all fires are preventable, especially electrical ones. As business owners you may wonder what proactive steps you might be able to take in order to avoid a costly and potentially fatal blow to your livelihood. The most effective solution we recommend is to regularly inspect any and all electrical sources. A licensed electrician can help check all electrical systems and determine if there are areas of concern.
Wiring – faulty wiring can mean many things, all of which are not good for your building or office. There are many signs that your wiring could potentially have issues – check out this site that names just a few https://electricalconnection.org/news/6-warning-signs-of-faulty-electrical-wiring-in-your-home-103
Cords and Plugs – electrical cords are one of the most common causes of electrical fires. Extension cords, outlets and plugs can become damaged over time and increase the chances of sparking which leads to fires. Regularly check the condition of all cords, look for fraying, exposed wires and bent plugs that, when plugged into a receptacle, become dangerous. Also make sure you’re using the correct extension cord or power strip for the device or appliance you have plugged in. Overloading either one of those can cause a surge in electricity and spark a fire.
Outlets – similar to extension cords, are designed to produce a predetermined amount of electricity. There are many devices that allow you to plug multiple cords into one outlet and if you’re not mindful, you can quickly overload that circuit. Check to see if you’re outlet faces are warm or visibly damaged. If using a power strip on an outlet, The United States Fire Administration recommends purchasing products equipped with internal overload protection. This feature forces the device to shut off it its power supply becomes overloaded, preventing a fire.
Space Heaters – should be carefully placed away from flammable material such as clothing, paper, fabric and electronics. The heat supplied by these appliances can melt items within a small radius.
A few minutes of your time, or a simple phone call to a professional, could save your business – studies show that 80% of businesses that experience a water or fire loss never reopen. Don’t let yours become one of them!
Why Choose SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork
If you’re in need of services that we provide it’s likely you’ve done your research on companies who also provide the same services in your area. When you’re not experiencing an emergency loss or cleanup, you have time to be selective. We encourage this type of due diligence from our customers! We want you to have more than just our word when we assure you that: we offer competitive pricing, our team of IICRC certified technicians will perform tasks correctly, and our knowledgeable office personnel will make the entire process simple for you by handling all matters with your insurance provider.
We strive to be the #1 Restoration and Cleanup company in the Nation! We achieve that by setting goals to achieve superior customer service, performance and results. Each morning our office meets to go over each customer’s file – where we are, what we’ve done, and what we’re going to do. This creates fluid communication between all divisions of our office.
Our phone lines are open 24/7, 365 days a year for whenever you may need us. We’d love to make your home or business “Like it never even happened.”