5 Tips to Prepare for the next Northeast Ohio Storm
Storms can be an inconvenience, but also a danger. Knowing what to do can be of help to you and your family. It’s as the Boy Scouts say ‘Be Prepared’! Here are some tips to help you this winter:
- Keep a close eye on the weather reports and warnings for winter storms
- Sign up for the local warning system. Such as the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
- Equip your household to stay warm, install insulation, caulking, and weather stripping. Educate yourself about freezing pipes and how to avoid them. Fit carbon monoxide and smoke alarms into your home.
- Collect the necessary needs for the home in the case of no power. Be sure to include what each person requires, especially medication. And don’t overlook pets! Keep spare batteries, primarily for radios and flashlights. If the budget allows, keep soap, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, and other household cleaning supplies.
- Keep an emergency equipment kit for your car. Jumper cables, sand, flashlights, extra clothing, blankets, water, and food that will not go bad.
While storms can be daunting, look them right in the face and tell them that you are not worried because you, like a boy scout, are prepared.
Warning Signs of Dangerous Outdated Wiring
Before bed each night and maybe even multiple times throughout the day, you plug in your phone to charge. You may have a watch, headphones, tablet, laptop, or any other electronic charging right alongside it. In today’s world with all the technological advancements your home is required to supply power to so many more devices than ever before. There is not much thought given to what goes on behind the walls as long as the light switch turns the light on and the charger works as it should, but old or damaged wiring can cause big problems. Overloading an older home's wiring can start a fire.
Home electrical fires account for an estimated 51,000 fires each year, nearly than 500 deaths, more than 1,400 injuries, and $1.3 billion in property damage. Many of these fires can be prevented if you know how to recognize and address common warning signs.
- Frequent Circuit Breaker Trips - It is common for your circuit breaker to trip on occasion, that is what they are designed to do. In most cases, you will be able to flip the switch and continue going as usual. However, if the circuit breaker begins tripping multiple times a month or more it’s a sign of a deeper more serious problem.
- Flickering, Buzzing, or Dimming Lights - If any of these things happen when you plug in or use multiple appliances this is a sure sign you are needing a professional upgrade.
- Frayed or Chewed Wiring - Wires can fray or crack from age, heat, corrosion, or bending. They can also be nicked, pinched, or pierced by nails or screws. Damaged wires are dangerous and should be replaced by a pro. Rodents will also chew through wiring.
- Discolored, Scorching, or Smoking Outlets - Keep an eye open at the outlet points in your home. If you notice any discoloration or scorch marks on your outlets, that is a sign that the wiring in your home has been damaged in some way and is releasing heat. That heat is already damaging your home and has the potential to do much worse if left unchecked.
- Warm or Vibrating Outlets - Another way to find out if the wiring in your home has gone bad is to check by feel. Without touching any wiring directly, feel your home’s electrical outlets for heat or vibrations. In the case of either, have an electrician check for and replace any loose or damaged wiring.
Working with electricity is best left to the professionals, as it can be dangerous when not handled properly. Even with taking all necessary problems, disaster can still strike. If it does, SERVPRO is here to help. With over 50 years of fire restoration experience, the technicians at SERVPRO will make dealing with the results of a house fire as easy and manageable as possible.
Best Methods to Dry Soaked Carpets After Leaks or Floods
Floods and leaks are a hazard, and many people don’t like them. But what about your carpet? How does the carpet feel about leaks and floods? The answer is, not super great. Wetness on carpets can create long term damage to carpets or even make them irreparable. When a carpet is exposed to large amounts of water, it is best to start drying your carpet immediately.
But how should you dry a carpet? Here are the steps:
- Remove all the furniture
This will make it easier to remove the water without any obstructions. When the carpet is finally dry, and the furniture has been sitting on it, it will leave dents and ruin the carpet’s volume.
- Pump out the water
Removing as much water as possible is a priority. Using a submersible pump is best; you can rent one from a nearby hardware store. If you cannot rent one, using a bucket is the next best option.
- Use a shop vac
The excess water by now should have soaked into the carpet, and the best way to remove it is through a shop vac. DO NOT use a household vacuum cleaner; it is not made for cleaning out water and poses a high chance of electrocution.
- Use a dehumidifier
This will help in the case of extracting more moisture from the room.
- Dry the carpet
- Turn on fans
- Use towels
- Open windows
- Turn on the air conditioning or heat
- Remove the padding
This is when the possibility of the padding and subfloor could have been damaged. If water has reached it, it is a better and cheaper option to just to replace the padding
- Dry the subfloor
Use fans to dry any water that has reached the subfloor. Once dry, add more filling and place the almost dry carpet back.
- Clean the carpet
Once the carpet is damp, clean it. Use a carpet cleaner or cleaning solution. This will remove any bacteria or dirt.
What is an ERP (Emergency READY Profile)?
It is estimated that more than 50% of business owners are not prepared for an emergency or natural disaster. Whether it’s lack of insurance coverage, lack of planning, or inadequate savings, most businesses are one disaster away from going out of business.
That’s where a SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile comes in! SERVPRO offers this FREE service to business owners to help them prepare for disaster so they are ready to tackle the challenges that unexpected disasters can pose. An ERP contains the following:
- A thorough and free assessment of your place of business.
- A Profile Document that contains all necessary information needed in an emergency.
- A guide to help you get back up and running post disaster.
- Establishes your local SERVPRO franchise as your go to restoration and damage mitigation professional.
- Clear instructions on chain of command for work to commence post disaster.
- Detailed specific information regarding your facility management, like shut off valves, emergency exits, main frames, etc.
SERVPRO can help you and your business be “ready for anything that happens” and the first step is creating your ERP. With our 24/7 365 service and handy mobile app, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing you’ll be able to handle any emergency that comes your way.
How Often Should You Be Sanitizing Your Workplace?
Regular sanitization of your business can make a difference in the health of your employees and clients.
Pandemic or not, cleanliness and sanitation are important in the home and workplace. When the world was turned upside down (or so it seemed) because of COVID-19, we began to see new standards for health and safety. One obvious precaution that was taken (almost immediately) was cleaning and disinfecting an area that was exposed to a positive COVID-19 case. But what about the “normal” or “day-to-day” cleaning? How often should you be sanitizing your office?
The amount of cleaning that should be done usually depends on the amount of traffic and the kind of work that is being conducted in your workplace. Obviously, if there are a lot of people in and out of the building, touching surfaces, and sharing workspace, then some sort of daily cleaning and disinfecting should be conducted. Sometimes this may look like a cleaning crew coming in at the end of the day and taking care of everything. Or perhaps, they come in and clean, but sanitization takes place during the day and is the responsibility of those using the space (cleaning wipes and spray at each station).
Maintaining a clean and safe workspace by cleaning and sanitizing regularly can easily be done and make a world of a difference. Begin by evaluating your space and the resources available, once you have done this you can come up with a plan then implement it into the office routine. By doing this, it will be easier to ensure a healthy work environment for employees and customers.
Fire Retardant Fabrics
Knowing which fabrics are fire retardant to better protect you and your home.
FABRICS are all around us, adding warmth, texture, color, and much more to our surroundings, whether curtains, drapes, furniture upholstery, carpets, and even the clothes we wear.
But fabrics can also burn easily and in today’s world we want to protect our homes, businesses, property – and the people we love – from unnecessary risk if the worst does happen and a fire breaks out.
Luckily, there are many types of fabrics out there and each has its own unique properties, many of which are actually surprisingly resistant to fire.
And for those that are more flammable, an increasing range of products exists to improve their abilities to resist fire.
Fabrics are assessed on their fire retardancy based on how long it takes the fabric to burn and at what temperature this takes place. Fabrics are assessed in labs and tested with different types of fire starter such as a gas burner, a smoldering cigarette, or a match, and rated on internationally agreed standards.
Some natural fibers are among the best at being flame-retardant – wool is the hardiest of natural fibers, being particularly hard to catch the light, and often self-extinguishes smaller flames. Silk, perhaps surprisingly, is also a very slow burner and hard to light.
Of man-made fibers, acrylic, polyester, and nylon all have high melting points – higher than many natural fibers – and are considered fire retardant.
For fabrics that are not as naturally retardant, there are two main methods to make them tougher against fire – coating and dipping.
The coating is a method where a fire-retardant back coating is applied to the fabric. This is best for upholstery as it makes the fabric stiffer – good for furniture less so for curtains.
Dipping is when the fabric is given a chemical bath, with the solution filling in space between fibers and making the finished product more resistant to fire – when exposed to heat the chemicals activate and trigger a reaction that suppresses the flame.
SERVPRO of Northern Summit County is your trusted fire safety advisor and here to help with any emergency clean up or restoration.
Storm Insurance: What to Know
Make sure you and your home are protected from the elements.
WHILE Northeast Ohio may not be in a major hurricane zone, we have all experienced some rough winds and storms.
Particularly during the tornado season, many of us find we have some damage caused to our properties – from a few missing roofing shingles to trees falling on our homes.
It is worth checking out your homeowner’s insurance policy before storm season to check exactly what is and is not covered in the event the weather brings significant damage to your property.
As a rule, a good policy should cover some common types of storm damage, usually hail, wind, fallen trees and lightening – but flooding and earthquake damage is usually excluded.
While earthquakes are not common in this area, flooding can be – if your home is particularly at risk it may be worth taking out extra and specific coverage. This tends to apply regardless of the cause of the flooding, be it a burst river or a burst water pipe in the basement.
As always with insurance, the detail of your policy is key – do not assume you are covered as you may be in for a shock when you try to make a claim. Look into the specific terms and conditions of your policy, and if you are not sure, talk to a broker or an agent. A review of your coverage is usually a good idea, then you can clarify exactly what you need and want.
Tornado VS. Hurricane: Know the Difference
Knowing the difference between a tornado and a hurricane could be crucial to your safety.
Natural disasters occur often and are almost completely out of our control. While some areas are more prone to certain forces of nature, we are all impacted in some way or another. When it comes to fires and floods, you can sometimes prepare for it, prevent it, and even control it at times. This is not the case in regards to the windy variety of natural disasters. Both hurricanes and tornadoes alike can be destructive and devastating. But, what are the main differences between the two?
While both of these phenomena are alike in that they both produce powerful and destructive swirling winds, they still have their differences. One of the biggest differentiation between the two is the size and time length. While tornadoes are usually no more than a few hundred feet wide, hurricanes can span up to hundreds of miles (in diameter). Additionally, while occasionally tornadoes can form over water (water spouts), they are mostly land prominent - unlike hurricanes. The energy that creates a hurricane comes from warm ocean waters, as opposed to tornadoes that form from powerful updrafts of wind that eventually twist as they rise.
Depending on what part of the country you live in, one might be of more concern than another. However, oftentimes a hurricane will impact hundreds of miles away (even other states). Both of these natural disasters can wreak havoc on homes and businesses alike. From debris caught in the wind to mass amounts of rain. Structures become susceptible to fire, storm damage, water problems, and more. If you find that a tornado or hurricane has impacted your home or business, give us a call, we can help you get back to normal in no time.
Maintaining Air Quality in Your Northern Summit County Business
Keep fresh air flowing for you and your employees.
CLEAN air is a vital part of staying healthy, more so during the winter when we tend to want to curl up and shut our windows tightly.
But stale indoor air being continually recycled around your home or office is not good news – especially for those with allergies or respiratory problems as this cycle simply increases the number of spores, pet dander, and dust moving around your property.
Luckily improving air quality is simple and straightforward by some good habits.
Number one – keep your space clean. Regular vacuuming, especially with a model containing a HEPA filter, will literally suck away much of the dust or pet dander. Hardwood floors also make it harder for allergens to accumulate. The same thinking applies to regularly clean curtains and drapes, and laundering bed linens – preferably at a higher temperature.
Next, check and change your filters. It is easy to overlook but if they are doing their job, they will get dirty and clogged up over time, and this is especially true with forced-air heating systems.
It may also worth getting your ducting cleaned regularly to remove any trapped dust – but this does depend on your system and is not always appropriate, so seek advice.
Air purifiers are a good investment, especially for those with respiratory problems, and are essential if you cannot remove the cause of the allergens – after all, our pets are part of our family. These may not eliminate allergens but can cut them down significantly.
And a dehumidifier in damper areas such as the basement can help reduce mold growth and the spores mold emits.
Finally – fresh air is your friend. Even in the coldest months, open your windows occasionally and let clean air into your home.
Steps to Prevent Frozen Water Damage
Avoid water damage to your home and plumbing.
As the days get colder, you start adding gloves, hats, coats, and scarves to your wardrobe to prepare and protect yourself from the harsh weather outside. Your home needs the same kind of care to prepare for the colder weather as well. Taking precautions before freezing temperatures hit can help save you a lot of money and stress later when you don’t have to deal with a burst water pipe in the dead of winter or other water damage that can occur.
Clean Your Gutters
Now that fall is in full swing and the leaves have fallen, clean out your gutters to prepare for winter. Clogged gutters can cause water to back up and freeze which in turn will cause water to leak into your home and wreak havoc. It is also important to knock off any large icicles.
Prepare for Winterization
The process of winterizing plumbing pipes prepares the home for freezing temperatures that can cause leaks and breaks in the home. When water freezes it expands and if the expansion occurs in pipes it can produce pressure and cause damage. This process is recommended when the home will be vacant and no water will be running through the pipes. Make a plan when beginning this process as well as a list of all your home’s plumbing parts and you can be sure not to miss a step.
Steps to Winterize Plumbing
- Shut off the main water valve and turn off the water pump and heater
- Open all drain valves and taps
- Blow excess water out of pipes using an air compressor
- Open the drain valve in your hot water tank and let it drain completely
- Flush all toilets repeatedly to remove as much water as possible and add antifreeze.
- Check all sinks and tub drains for drain traps, add antifreeze to any found.
Taking the time to follow these steps can save you a lot of time and money in costly repairs later. For more information and tips be sure to call SERVPRO of Northern Summit County and they can walk you through the process.