Summertime Fire Safety
Now that it is summer, it is bonfire time! According to a report from the United States Fire Administration, summer is one of the most dangerous seasons for fire-related injuries and deaths. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to protect yourself and your loved ones while still having a great time. Here are some great tips from the American Fire Safety Administration.
Choose a location for your bonfire where it will not spread. Never build a fire near any dry leaves or grassy areas or under overhanging tree branches. Before building a bonfire, clear away all shrubbery and vegetation from the area, dig a pit for the fire, and surround it with rocks.
Be smart about lighter fluid. Do not store gasoline, liquid fire starter, or any other type of flammable liquid near the campfire. It's too easy for stray flames to ignite these materials.
Never light a bonfire if you do not have the means of extinguishing it. Always keep plenty of water and a shovel near the campfire to use in an emergency and to put the campfire out when you are finished using it.
If you experience a fire at your home while enjoying a beautiful summer night, SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North Riverside is here to help. Give us a call at 708-240-4873.
Can I Get Mold In The Summer?
In general, mold grows well within the same temperature range that makes us feel comfortable, about 60 to 80 degrees. When warm, moist air comes into contact with cold surfaces, it can create condensation, since the cooler air can't hold as much moisture. Sometimes, humidity or dampness, or water vapor in the air can supply enough moisture for mold growth. Indoor relative humidity should be kept below 60 percent. Ideally humidity should be kept between 30 percent and 50 percent, if possible.
In the summer, air conditioning can de-humidify indoor space. However, if the system is too large or too small for the space it serves, the cooling system can create high humidity by cooling without removing water vapor. A properly sized and maintained system will dehumidify and cool a building. Learn more about the role of heating, ventilation and air conditioning HVAC systems in indoor environmental quality.
When there are cold surfaces in a building, water vapor can condense on those surfaces, just as water condenses on the outside of a glass of ice water. Insulation of exterior walls can prevent condensation and mold growth during the winter.
You should always be mindful of indoor sources of water vapor that can be problematic. Clothes dryers must be vented to the outdoors. Unvented gas or kerosene space heaters can generate enormous amounts of water vapor, as well as other air contaminants, and should be used sparingly and never as a primary heat source. Always run the bathroom exhaust fan when showering or bathing, and make sure the vent is exhausted to outdoors. A properly vented kitchen exhaust fan can remove steam created during cooking.
If you find you have mold growth in your home give SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North Riverside a call at 708-240-4873. We will make it “Like it never even happened.”
Does Your Business Have An Emergency Readiness Plan?
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, as many as one in four businesses that suffer some kind of major disaster do not reopen afterward. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, U.S. fire departments responded to about 3,300 office property fires per year between 2007 and 2015. Those fires resulted in about $112 million in property damage each year, and most were in business offices.
The NFPA also has statistics specific to manufacturing facilities. According to their research, there are about 37,000 fires at industrial or manufacturing facilities each year, resulting in 18 deaths, 279 injuries, and $1 billion in property damage. Heating equipment and stop tools were the leading cause sparking 28 percent of the fires. Mechanical failure or malfunction caused 24 percent of the fires.
Floods are the #1 natural disaster in the United States. Every business in every state is at risk of water damage from floods. In the past 3 years all 50 states have experienced flash flooding causing damage to businesses as well as homes.
We offer an Emergency Readiness Plan that literally puts getting help after a fire or water damage at your fingertips. The Ready Plan is an emergency preparedness tool for home and business owners, property managers, risk managers and facility management. It allows for the creation of an Emergency Ready Profile™ containing critical facility information to help speed up response time.
You need a restoration company that is going to not only help you get your company back on their feet, but also work with your insurance company. SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North Riverside is here for your business and commercial property. We are here to help! Call us today at 708-240-4876 to discuss all your fire and water restoration needs or to create an Emergency Readiness Plan for your business.
Prepping Your Property For Summer Storms
Have an emergency kit with these items you probably already have in your home: flashlight(s), battery powered weather radio, extra batteries to fit each electronic (including cell phone), non-perishable foods (canned goods and dry foods), lots of bottled water, can opener, first aid kit (with a disinfectant), fire extinguisher, blankets, extra clothes, sturdy shoes or boots, clock or watch, whistle to signal for help, important personal items (eyeglasses, prescriptions, etc.), and paper documents such as birth certificates, social security cards, and other significant legal papers.
- Know the safest structure of your home to go to during a severe storm such as a basement, underground cellar, or even the most inner part of your home away from windows.
- Get routine maintenance on your roof and the foundation! Cracks in the roof are the number one leading cause to flooding damage.
- Cut down any unwanted trees or limbs and get your trees trimmed before summer storm season. Trees and branches can fall on your property and damage the siding or windows due to those powerful 100 mph thunderstorm winds.
- Contact your insurance company to be more familiar with your policy. Most home insurers do not cover flooding damage.
- Keep all expensive and favored possessions off the floor and away from low ground in case of flooding. Keep them in the highest part of the home preferably.
- Invest in storm windows.
- Keep all patio furniture, grills, etc. in doors before a summer storm hits. Do not forget to park your vehicles in the garage!
- If your town is evacuating due to a hurricane, secure and board up windows and any openings of your home.
- Finally, take those summer storm warnings and alerts seriously, especially tornado and hurricane warnings! Tornadoes and hurricanes can lead to total property loss and even death.
SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North Riverside is here to help. Water damage, fire damage, and storm damage can cause serious damage to your home or commercial property. Give us a call at 708-240-4873 for all your restoration needs.
Two Easy Ways to Avoid Water Damage
Water damage is the No. 1 culprit that weakens your home’s foundation and the very core that holds your house together. You’ve heard about core strength for your body. Well, water damage hits at the core strength of your house, eventually causing serious structural damage. Damp wood invites termites and carpenter ants; plus, it causes mold and mildew.
Here’s how to prevent water damage using three easy strategies that will give you peace of mind the next time heavy storms hit.
#1 Test Your Sump Pump
Sump pumps come to life during storms. That’s not when you want to realize yours isn’t working properly. You should check it at least once a year, and ideally perform several checks during heavy storm seasons.
How to test your sump pump:
- Slowly fill the sump pump pit with water. Watch for the “float” (similar to the float in your toilet) to rise, which should turn on the pump. Then watch to make sure the water level falls.
- Test your backup pump the same way, but unplug the main pump first.
- If you don’t have a backup pump — or a generator — and are on municipal water, get one that runs on water pressure. If you’re on well water, your only option is the battery kind.
#2 Check for water leaks and fix them.
- Check for dark spots under pipes inside sink cabinets, stains on ceilings, toilets that rock, and of course drips.
- At least once a year, inspect your roof. Repair missing, loose, and damaged shingles. Repair any cracked caulking and check for leaks around flashing.
Prolonged and persistent leaks lead to mold.
This is just 2 very simple ways to avoid having water damage to your home. However, life happens and SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North Riverside is here to help. Give us a call at 708-240-2873 for all your water damage needs.
Do's & Don’ts of Flood Damage Cleanup
The first thing you will need to do after a flood is make sure that it’s safe for you and your family to be on the property. SERVPRO has the ability to pull our resources in the event of a flood and can be onsite to assist you in the event of a flood. Here is a list of Do's and Don'ts after a flood for you to consider.
- DO beware of rodents, snakes and insects that might have come in with flood waters
- DO smell for gas and look for damaged power and gas lines, foundation cracks and exterior damage
- DO look for broken pilings, shifted stairs, slanted floors and walls
- DO turn off water and power (unless you would have to do so while standing in water)
- DON’T enter your home or business if you see major structural damage
- DON’T walk on sagging floors or floors above sagging ceilings
- DON’T use electrical appliances or turn on ceiling fans and lights if the ceilings are wet
Once you’re ready to start the cleaning process, it’s important to prioritize. At this stage:
- DO check that your running water is safe to drink and to use for cleaning
- DO flush your toilet before you use it to check for clogs from mud and debris
- DO check for cabinets and other items that may be ready to fall over
- DO temporarily patch holes in the walls and roof with plastic wrap and repair floors and roof sections with 4X4s if you can do so safely
- DO remove debris
- DO remove water trapped in walls
- DO open all the doors and windows to improve ventilation
- DO use a wet vac, shop vac, fans, dehumidifiers and desiccants (materials that absorb moisture) to start drying out the property
- DON’T drain a flooded basement too quickly, because rapid changes in pressure could cause the foundation to collapse
- DON’T do structural or electrical work yourself
- DON’T connect generators to the home’s power system, but plug in fans and appliances directly
- DON’T use generators, grills, camp stoves or charcoal inside homes or within closed areas
- DON’T use a household vacuum to remove water and mud
- DON’T let garbage pile up, as it could exacerbate contamination and house pests
- DON’T leave pools of standing water, which could become breeding grounds for mosquitoes
Floods are serious events to a persons home or business, SERVPRO of Lagrange Park/North Riverside is always here to help. Give us a call at 708-240-4873. We will make it “Like it never even happened.”
The key to mold prevention is simple: moisture control. You can't mold-proof your home, but you can make it mold-resistant.
Identify problem areas in your home and correct them. - See water spots in the ceiling and walls? There is water coming from somewhere. Find the sorce and stop it.
Dry wet areas immediately. Mold can't grow without moisture, so tackle wet areas right away. Seepage into the basement after a heavy rainfall, accumulation from a leaky pipe, even a spill on the carpet should be dried within 24 to 48 hours
Direct water away from your home. If the ground around your home isn't sufficiently sloped away from the foundation, water may collect there and seep into your crawlspace or basement.
Improve air flow in your home. According to the EPA, as temperatures drop, the air is able to hold less moisture. To increase circulation, open doors between rooms, move furniture away from walls, and open doors to closets that may be colder than the rooms they’re in. Let fresh air in to reduce moisture.
Again, mold proofing your home is not achievable. However, following these few steps will help make it mold resistant. However, as we know, even our best efforts sometimes do not hinder mold growth, and that is where SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North Riverside comes in handy. We are IICRC certified in mold remediation and will help make your home or business look “Like it never even happened.” Give SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North Riverside a call at 708-240-4873.
Summer Tips For Your Commercial Property
Summertime is the perfect chance for you to freshen up the outside of your commercial property, temperatures are finally starting to heat up and signs of summer are rolling in. It also marks that time of year when commercial real estate property owners and managers need ensure that their buildings are ready the seasonal changes in order to avoid unexpected issues or costs.
Inspect your roof – Summer weather leads to strong storms. Keep a close eye on your roof to make sure leaks haven’t developed.
- Clean out gutters– Clean out any debris that’s trapped in your gutters. This is not only good for your gutters, but it also gives your business a well-maintained appearance. Summer often means severe storms, hail and even tornado activity that can put a severe strain on roofing materials. Start the summer out right by getting a professional roof inspection to determine any problems that might have occurred over the winter months. Ice and snow damage may have occurred that isn’t immediately evident. Loose tiles, damage to underlay materials and problems with gutters can lead to more serious problems as the season continues
- Revitalize the exterior– Clean up any trash or yard debris that’s lying around your property. Plant summertime flowers to offer a fresh pop of color. Apply a new coat of paint – or even better, use commercial pressure washing to remove dirt, pollen, and grime. Don’t forget about commercial concrete stains on your drive-thrus and sidewalks.
- Thoroughly inspect surfaces– Walk around your property and make note of any stains or damage on your exterior walls. Call us to come by and see how we can clean up your exterior with commercial pressure cleaning.
- Window maintenance, Winter weather may have damaged the windows on your commercial property, which could lead to higher air-conditioning costs during the summer months. Thorough caulking can prevent leakage of cooled air and save more on energy bills.
SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North Riverside is here to help with all your commercial property needs. Give us a call at 708-240-4873, and ask about our Emergency Readiness Planning.
Water Damage Insurance Claim Tips
SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North understands the insurance companies and how to help guide you through your claim. Here are some claim tips to assist you with your claims process for water damage.
Contact Your Insurance Company ASAP
Keep your policy number at hand and be prepared to provide them with detailed information of damages.
Take Note Of Everything
Keep detailed records of everything during the initial call. This includes the name of the agent you’re speaking to, the date of the call, the time, and what was discussed.
Keeping this information handy will help you if you experience a problem with your claim.
Document the Damage
DON’T throw anything out or try to make permanent repairs before the adjuster is able to estimate the damages. Doing this may void coverage. Take photographic evidence of damages, make a detailed list of damaged items, and provide receipts if you have them available.
You’ll want to (and your insurance company expects you to) do as much as you can to prevent further damages. These are considered emergency repairs and will not affect your coverage.
If your house is flooding or if you’re suffering from storm damage, soak up as much of the water as possible, dry out waterlogged items, and board up broken windows.
Keep receipts for the cost of these emergency repairs, and if you’ve had to relocate, keep receipts for any travel or lodging expenses.
Dealing with water damage is stressful enough, so we try to make the insurance process as stress-free possible. As a courtesy to our customers, we’ll guide them through the insurance process and help them with their insurance claim.
SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North Riverside is always here to help. Give us a call at 708-240-4873 for all your residential or commercial water damage needs.
5 Fire Damage Restoration Tips
Fire damage can be very stressful time for your home or company. Here are some tips to remember in the event of fire and smoke damage to your home or business.
Repairing Smoke Damage to Walls
With fires there will always be a degree of smoke damage to your walls, wall paper and paint. If the smoke damage is not too serious, you should be able to scrub it clean with detergents and bleach. Note: soot from smoke damage is greasy stuff so you should always try to dust as much of it off from a surface before trying to scrub it clean. Often, you’ll want to repaint, but make sure all surfaces are clean and dry before painting.
Getting Rid of Mold & Mildew
Another huge issue in fire damage restoration is actually introduced by the water used to extinguish a fire. This problem is mold and mildew, and requires special attention. We highly recommend fire damage restoration professionals to deal with mold and mildew, because it can cause serious health problems, and can contaminate furniture, carpets, clothing, mattresses, walls and vents. The best thing you can do immediately is air out every room and clean out all vents and filters.
Repairing Flooring & Carpet
With all the water that is involved in putting out a fire, your floors and carpets will end up absorbing the worst of it. In almost every case, it’s recommended that you pull up any carpets that have water damage and replace them. Water can also seep underneath vinyl flooring and into cracks of hard wood, and will need to be addressed. If you have experience with flooring, you can lift it up and clean under them, but you may want to call a professional fire damage restoration company to assist you.
Cleaning smoke damage from clothing is one of the biggest jobs you’ll find after a fire. We’ve written a whole article on Restoring Clothing of Smoke Damage. Our biggest tip is to make sure you don’t smear the greasy soot into the clothing or just throw the smoky clothes into the wash. Often times dry cleaning is the best bet, and you should ask around local dry cleaners to see if any have experience with post-fire laundry.
Dishes are also important items to clean thoroughly after a fire because they will be in contact with your food and can cause health problems. Scrub all dishes well, let them soak in a solution of bleach and water (2 tablespoons of bleach per gallon) for at least 20 minutes and scrub some more for safety. When in doubt, if a dish, pot or pan won’t come clean, cut your losses and throw it out – (especially rubber or wooden dishes that absorb smoke).
SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North Riverside are always here to help, If you have found your home or commercial property has had a fire give us a call at 708-240-2873 for all your restoration needs.