What Happens if There's a COVID Outbreak in the Office?
As if work wasn’t already stressful enough, this year you also have to add in company shutdowns, working from home, masks, and so much more to the list. During this time it is important to have a plan in place in case Covid-19 comes into your workplace.
If someone is experiencing symptoms that have been linked to Covid-19, they should begin to quarantine and get tested. If an employee tests positive it is important that anyone that had close contact* with that individual also gets tested, as well as anyone experiencing symptoms. If it is possible to work remotely it is ideal to do so for the next 2 weeks.
If an employee tested positive for COVID-19 and worked while contagious, it is recommended to thoroughly clean this space using EPA-approved disinfectants, a diluted bleach solution, or 70% alcohol solution. According to CDC, the following cleaning and disinfecting should be performed in your facility:
- Close off areas used by the person who is sick. Companies do not necessarily need to close operations, if they can close off affected areas.
- Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area. Wait 24 hours before you clean or disinfect. If 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible.
- Clean and disinfect all areas used by the person who is sick, such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment like tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls, and ATM machines.
- Vacuum the space if needed
Once the area has been properly disinfected, business can be reopened and workers that did not have close contact* with the infected individual can return to work. If any customers or clients had close contact with the employee they should be notified, but you do not need to reach out to all.
The employees who tested positive or came in close contact* are able to return to work once they have both been fever free without medication for 24 hours and it has been 10 days since the onset of symptoms. If asymptomatic, 10 days after the positive test.
Stay vigilant about preventing the spread of Covid-19 by following CDC guidelines. SERVPRO can help with Covid cleaning after an outbreak, or in prevention.
*close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of an infected person for a prolonged period (15 minutes or more) starting from 2 days before illness onset. The 15 minutes does not need to be continuous. Face coverings do not eliminate all risk
Educational Facilities Professional Cleaning and Restoration
Our SERVPRO crew working on commercial cleaning.
After a long first semester with the COVID-19 virus still lingering around and flu season is in full swing, it may be time to get your educational facility professionally cleaned. The perfect time to do this is over Christmas and summer break when there are no students to disrupt. A clean environment helps students to learn better and it also decreases the risk of students calling out sick from class.
When a school or other educational facility sustains water or other damage, it’s not only a loss of property; it’s also a loss of time spent learning, leaving many students struggling to catch up. SERVPRO® can help minimize your facility’s downtime so your staff and students can return safely. Whatever size facility you have, our trained technicians will work with your school’s administrators to assess water or other damage, regardless of the size or cause. Our professionals know how to restore the damage in areas specific to educational facilities such as classrooms, laboratories, and gymnasiums. It’s our goal to restore your school to its preloss condition with as little disruption as possible to students, teachers, and staff.
As the #1 choice in cleanup and restoration, SERVPRO is experienced in handling school water damage, fire, mold remediation, and the cleaning and disinfecting of facilities of all sizes, including:
- Early Childhood – Preschool and Nursery School
- Primary – Elementary and Middle Schools
- Secondary – High School and Academies
- Higher Education – College and University
- Industry Trade Schools
- Athletics – Gymnasium, Sports Complexes and Stadiums
Medical Facility Cleaning and Restoration
If there is any place in the world you want to be clean, it is probably a medical facility. Hundreds of sick people come in and out of these facilities every day so it is important that they are properly cleaned and maintained.
SERVPRO® brings our experience and training to help hospitals and other healthcare facilities following damage from fire, water, mold or other emergency situations.
When damage of any kind strikes a hospital or other medical facility, the welfare of the patients is the top priority. Owners and managers of hospitals and other healthcare facilities can count on SERVPRO to handle everything from hospital fire and water damage to medical office cleaning. Our highly trained professionals will quickly assess your needs and work with environmental and infection control teams to help ensure all health certifications are obtained prior to completing the job. Our professionals are trained to handle the complexities involved with the cleanup and restoration of medical facilities, such as adherence to HIPAA protocols and the proper disposal of medical waste. We strive to complete cleaning services in your medical facility in a timely and cost-efficient way so that you can have a clean, safe environment to care for your patients.
SERVPRO has experience offering medical cleaning services to facilities that include:
- Assisted Living Centers
- Outpatient Surgical Centers
- Hospice Facilities
- Senior Living and Nursing Home Facilities
- Medical Office Buildings
- Rehabilitation Facilities
- Electronics and Machine Restoration
Five Tips for Getting Rid of the Smoke Smell in your Home
If you’ve had a fire in your home recently, the smell of smoke may still haunt you even if you’ve had the damage repaired. Not only is the smell of smoke unpleasant, but it can also be a harsh reminder of the fiery event that took place in your home. Here are five tips to get that smell out of your house for good!
- Air out the house. Open every single door and window in your house that you can and turn on every fan you own. Place the fans strategically throughout your house, pointing them in corners or towards doorways and windows. This will help “push” the smell out of the house.
- Clean! All clothes, towels, bedsheets, curtains, rugs, blankets, and other fabric materials in your home should be washed-- even furniture needs to be cleaned. Wash your windows, screens, and blinds, as well as all solid surfaces with dish soap, white vinegar, and warm water.
- Deep clean the carpet. Get your hands on a carpet cleaner and shampoo your carpets-- carpet holds smoke!
- Clean out the HVAC system. Smoke can stay stuck in the ductwork in your home and continue to circulate smokey-smelling air throughout your home.
- Repaint your walls. Paint can also retain smoke odor, so if you follow the previous tips and still smell smoke, it may be time for a paint job! Latex paint is best for preventing odor retention.
Of course, if you still notice the smell after following these tips, give us a call and let the professionals handle it-- we’re happy to help!
How do you Know You're Done Cleaning After a Flood?
After a home flooding, it can be a great relief to see the water removed and your home begin to dry out. But just because the water is out, doesn’t mean your home is safe.
The biggest problem that arises from flooding is mold. Under the perfect circumstances, mold can begin to grow just 24 to 48 hours after flooding. And even after standing water is removed, there is still the risk of excess moisture.
So how do you deal with moisture that could cause a mold outbreak? The first step is to get rid of any materials that were soaked and cannot be properly cleaned or will not dry thoroughly. Carpet and carpet padding must be torn out and trashed. Padded and cloth-covered furniture like loveseats and couches may need to be tossed as well.
Drywall should be removed 12 inches above the waterline. Most baseboards will also need to be discarded. If the insulation behind the drywall is wet, cut it above the wet area and discard it. Don’t pull the entire column of insulation down, as it can be difficult and expensive to replace.
Once the compromised materials are removed, you can focus on the floors and studs. In most cases, floor boards and studs can be saved, but they must be cleaned and dried properly. To do so, ventilate your home by opening windows and allowing for air circulation. To help air flow, use simple box fans or even carpet dryers. If you’re not able to open windows, use a dehumidifier. Even after you think the space is dry, continue the drying and ventilating process.
We also recommend using a moisture meter, which can read the moisture level in the floorboards and studs. Once these materials are at or below 16% moisture, you are safe from future mold growth.
How Do You Know When Everything Is Dry?
After you’ve had a flood in your home, your first question during the restoration process may be, “How will I know when everything is completely dry?” You may even be wondering if everything in your home ever will be completely dry again.
One of the easiest ways to be sure that everything will be dry is to hire professionals, such as our SERVPRO professionals, to handle the restoration process for you. At SERVPRO, our technicians have professional equipment that can help us to know when your property is dry:
- Moisture Sensors: detect moisture in carpets, baseboards, and walls.
- Moisture Meters: determine the moisture content of various materials.
- Thermohygrometers: measure both temperature and relative humidity, allowing SERVPRO professionals to calculate humidity, dew point, and vapor pressure in your property.
In general, it can take several weeks to completely dry out a house and its contents. If you have the ability to set your belongings outside to dry, it’s usually best to do so. Fabric items such as clothes, towels, or bedding can typically dry within 24 hours if left outside, as long as the weather permits. Remember to avoid placing items in direct sunlight if you use this method. As for larger items, such as mattresses or furniture, it could take up to a week to dry them outside, so we recommend hiring a team of professionals to ensure that your possessions are dried quickly enough to avoid mold growth.
COVID-19 in the Office: Applying 2020 Lessons in 2021
For the last year, it’s been hard to go an entire day without hearing or seeing the words: pandemic, Corona, COVID-19, 6 feet, social distancing, and everything related.
The COVID-19 pandemic was definitely the single most talked about topic in 2020 and for good reason as it has an effect in some way in everyone's life. Who could have thought that running back to your car to grab your mandatory face mask before going into a public place was going to be the new normal. With all of these changes and new rules and regulations there are new problems that have come to light.
Most businesses have been able to reopen and we have seen the “stay at home” orders become less and less in effect. With that being the case there is a whole new category of cleaning that needs to be done in order to ensure these businesses are safe for people to come to.
What questions to ask professionals responsible for disinfecting your space?
- Do your employees have a pathogen-specific certification for building disinfection?
- Are you properly insured to provide services (worker’s compensation, liability insurance, etc.) related to communicable diseases?
- Are you following a cleaning and disinfection protocol that is specific to that building?
- Are your employees in compliance with OSHA and EPA regulations? (i.e. training, infection control plans, PPE, proper chemicals, etc.)
- Do you have a properly written contract specific to COVID disinfection services?
Unfortunately, a lot of contractors hopping onto this new COVID cleaning bandwagon do not have the experience, certifications, and knowledge in order to ensure your business is up to the current OSHA and EPA standards, making these questions very important to ask before deciding on the company you will use for your business.
The solution to this new widespread problem we are seeing with COVID-19 is as simple as proper training. One training and certification possibility lies with The Pathogen Response and Resource Alliance (PR2A), which has established professional training and certification courses.
The Founders of PR2A provide unmatched and critical credibility that supports our overall mission in developing a nationally recognized COVID Standard of Care, starting with training and certification courses.
At SERVPRO we are committed to keeping with the highest standards in every service we provide. We offer Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned and all of our technicians are certified for pathogen-specific cleaning.
Give us a call today at 1-800-SERVPRO to see what we can do for your business.
How to Choose the Right Commercial Cleaning Company
There is nothing worse than turning off a potential new client because of a dirty or dusty-looking office space. When it comes to cleaning, businesses have two options, they hire individuals on their own payroll, or they just take the burden off their plate and hire a professional company to handle all those duties.
There are pros and cons to both options but overall hiring a professional cleaning company is usually the better option.
A commercial cleaning company understands every aspect of what it takes to both keep your office sparkling clean and the extent to which a very clean office makes a favorable impression on clients. They must do a great job of cleaning and maintaining your workplace, but you must also be confident that they will protect your business assets.
Top 5 Tips for Hiring the Right Company
- Find out their hiring and training requirements. A professional commercial cleaning services company will be able to discuss how they hire staff and evaluate employees. This process should include background checks and a formal training process. In addition, team members should be fully trained in safety and OSHA procedures.
- Ask for references. When selecting a commercial cleaning company, you should do a little research on their reputation. Check out their customer satisfaction reviews and the company’s overall standing within the local business community. Were other companies satisfied with their performance? Would they recommend them?
- Ask if they have liability insurance. All prospective commercial cleaning companies should be able to provide proof of insurance and demonstrate that they’re fully licensed. You should ask to see their general and workers' compensation certificates. It is also important they hire their own staff and not sub-contractors.
- Find out if they have an established cleaning process. You want to know if this is a well-established commercial cleaning company, with a history of serving businesses, a proven track record, and the ability to demonstrate they’ve achieved results for other clients.
- Choose a local company. Hiring a company with a local office or headquarters helps to ensure you will be able to have a crew out quickly if there is a need for them to do so.
If you run a business, making sure the floors are swept and the trash is taken out is probably not high on your list of priorities. Leave the dirty work to the professionals, as an uncleanly office can leave a negative impression.
SERVPRO has over 50 years of experience in offering this type of service and they understand the importance of a safe and clean environment at work.
Call 1.800.SERVPRO today to find out how they can help make sure your office stays sparkling clean.
The Mobile Workforce Trend
Nowadays it would probably be easier and more convenient to go a day missing a hand than it would be to not have your cell phone. Mobile phones are literally the center of our life with reminders for appointments, alarms, contacts, emails, social media, bank information, and basically anything that you have going on in your daily life.
Naturally and inevitably, our careers and workplaces are being woven in with our mobile devices. The technology that we have begun to rely on has offered the opportunity to infuse the mobile workplace trend to businesses of all kinds and all over. This trend is a long time coming, and due to the COVID-era the popularity and need have sky-rocketed.
What is a Mobile Workforce?
A mobile workforce is a group of employees that isn’t bound by a central physical location. Instead, the employees are connected by various types of technology: computers, smartphones and other mobile devices.
Traditionally, the definition of a mobile workforce was synonymous with ‘work from home.’ However, with tech advances such as video conferencing and collaboration applications, the definition of remote working has expanded and increasingly includes employees that are out in the field - an estate agent signing off a mortgage, a lawyer briefing a client, or a sales rep closing a deal. All of these, together with those working from home, contribute to the mobile workforce.
Why use a Mobile Workforce?
In today’s world, working remotely has increased in popularity and in fact was the only option for a significant amount of time. Creating a mobile workforce gives employees the capability to access all needed databases and be able to stay connected with the team in using uniform systems.
A mobile workforce is also helpful to the younger generation who excel in the technological world. Studies have also shown that productivity is increased when work can be done from home or a space an individual can choose to use.
At SERVPRO we are a mobile workforce, not only in the technological sense but also in the way of having the capability to mobilize within minutes and arrive faster to any disaster 24/7.
We are here to help in the times that offices are needed to keep all employees and customers safe. Call today for any of your commercial cleaning needs 1-800-SERVPRO.
What to Do in the Event of a Grease Fire
A fire happening whether it’s in your home or a building you’re in is likely a thought that has crossed your mind.
Although there is the fire department to call to help deal with a fire, it is also important that you take steps and precautions to prevent them yourself. A lot less damage could take place if you have fire prevention tools to use while waiting for the fire department to show up.
A common kitchen fire that you may not know how to prevent is a grease fire. These are the steps to take to prevent the spread of a grease fire:
How to prevent the spread
-Cover the fire with a metal lid and leave the cover on until it has cooled.
-Turn the heat source off.
-Pour baking soda or salt on it to smother the fire if possible.
You have to be careful to use either baking soda or salt if you decide to smother the fire. This is because other cooking powders have different chemicals that don’t react the same as baking soda or salt. If you use a different powder it has the chance of making the fire worse.
What not to do
-Do not try to move the pot/pan outside of the building.
-Do not try to pour water over it to extinguish the fire.
If you attempt either of these it can either cause you to get injured or make the fire worse.
Trying to move the pot/pan outside can end up giving you really bad burns or even lead to a fire outside of the building. Be sure to keep in mind the right methods if you ever find yourself in this situation.
What to do if you can’t stop the fire
-Get out of the home or building you are in. It is most important that you, including others, get out of the building safely. This is why it is a top priority to avoid injury and possible loss.
-Call 911. Be sure you are a reasonable distance from the fire to ensure you are safe before calling.
-Stay out and far from home/building until the fire has been contained and handled by firefighters.
Ways to prevent grease fires
-Don’t leave food being cooked in grease unattended.
-Keep flammable items far from the stovetop.
-Heat the oil slowly to the recommended temperature.
-Add food into oil/grease gently to avoid any splatter.
Knowing fire prevention methods is very important just in case you ever find yourself in a situation where there is a fire. Knowing ways to slow or stop a fire can help lessen damage from happening in your home.
Here at SERVPRO, we want to help you restore your home and offer services for fire damage repair and restoration. No one ever expects a fire to happen so try and be prepared for the unexpected.