Preparing Your Business for a Severe Storm
Invest in operable shutters to protect windows from high winds
A rainstorm or thunderstorm can occur suddenly, and you may not always have adequate time to prepare. Luckily, there are steps you can take now to prepare your North Riverside, IL, business for inclement weather.
Before a Storm
Unfortunately, storms can damage property and injure customers and employees. Here are some tips for minimizing damage:
- Invest in operable shutters to protect windows from high winds.
- Make sure all trees close to your business are healthy, and keep limbs trimmed.
- Install surge protectors or other forms of lightning protection.
- Inspect the roof to make sure it can withstand heavy rains.
- Create a plan for yourself, employees and customers in case severe weather strikes during business hours.
During a Storm
The storm plan you create should include basic safety precautions such as not using landline phones or running water, staying away from windows, etc. It should also list the safest areas of the business to go during a storm. If you have employees that may be out of the office when a storm hits, be sure to include information about how to stay safe while on the road during a thunderstorm or rainstorm, i.e., pull over as soon as possible and stay in the vehicle with the windows up.
After a Storm
Although much of the danger is over by the time the skies clear, there are still risks to both people and property. Be sure to avoid downed power lines and report them to the proper authorities. Also, never attempt to drive through a flooded area. After you ensure the safety of your employees and customers, it is important to begin repairing any damage. Before beginning repairs, though, be sure to take either photos or video for the insurance company. After documenting the damage, begin cleanup efforts as soon as possible. Water damage can quickly turn into mold growth which can further harm your property.
Preparing for a storm will go a long way toward minimizing damage, but you may still need to hire a certified restoration company to get your business back to normal after a thunderstorm or rainstorm.
3 Steps for Protecting Fire-Damaged Property
Fire damage in Broadview, IL
After your commercial property is affected by fire damage, looters may try to take advantage of the vulnerability. There are several things you can do to protect your property and everything inside.
Secure All Openings
One of the first things you need to do is board up windows and doors. Choose exterior plywood, or marine-grade wood, with at least ¾ inch thickness. Don't simply screw the plywood into place; instead, screw the wood into place from the inside or use interior clamps. You'll need more than your security system in place because the fire and related damages could have affected the wiring, or the electricity may have been turned off.
Hire Professionals for Restoration and Security
Commercial buildings are harder to secure than private dwellings. Preventing vandals from entering the property may be harder in this situation. Contact fire cleanup and restoration professionals to address the damage; they may also put up temporary fencing and assist with the boarding up process. A temporary arrangement with a security company may also be appropriate for preventing looting and vandalism.
Store Documents and Valuables in a Secure Location
If you have sensitive information, expensive products, or specialized equipment, it's a good idea to move those items to a secure location that hasn't been compromised by fire damage. As fire cleanup efforts are underway, there may be many technicians and workers coming and going through your property. Removing valuables to a secure location reduces the potential for further losses and damages.
Prevention Equals Protection
A fire in your place of business can be an emotionally taxing experience. After the flames have died down and restoration efforts are scheduled, the need for tight security is clear. Protect your property and business belongings from vandals and looting by securing your buildings, hiring professionals, and storing valuables somewhere else. Minimize fire damage on your Broadview, IL, property by taking decisive preventative action.
Efficient Commercial Mold Testing
Mold on basement
Your commercial building in Hillside, IL, needs quality indoor air. Whether you’re serving hundreds of customers daily or working in a small office with a few coworkers, air quality is important for the comfort and safety of everyone in the building. While some mold can be easily seen, other types of mold can affect your air quality and require an indoor environmental specialist to determine the presence of mold.
How To Test for Mold
Mold growth is typically easy to spot. Here are some common areas that mold may be growing in your commercial building:
- Bathroom grout and caulk
- Bathroom ceilings surrounding fans
However, not all mold is visible. Some mold can be growing deep in your HVAC ductwork, wall cavities or other areas that aren’t immediately visible. Hidden mold can have the same effect on your air quality, so consider hiring a professional indoor environmental specialist who will check the air quality and compare it to the air quality index.
Limits of Mold
The EPA hasn’t set any official limits on the amount of acceptable mold in an indoor environment. This means that there isn’t an official level to compare the presence of mold against. Any positive signs from a mold test should be treated seriously, so ask a specialist about any steps you can take to remove mold from your commercial building.
The Importance of Commercial Mold Test Specialists
Without a specialist, it’s difficult to determine the air quality of your business location. Discover how your air quality compares to other businesses, and ask about ways to improve your air quality to benefit your guests and employees. Look for a mold remediation company that is Here To Help.
Mold may be hiding in areas that you can’t see, but an indoor environmental specialist who is experienced with commercial buildings can help you accurately test your air quality and determine the best course of action for your business.
How To Prepare Your Commercial Property For Winter
It's important to prepare your business for winter.
Winter facility preparation is so crucial to your peace of mind at your commercial property. Having a check list of tasks is an efficient way to attack the needs of your building. Unexpected problems will always arise, but if you are prepared it makes dealing with those surprises less stressful.
Facility roofs are a critical point of risk when it comes to winter weather. Facilitiesmanagment.com has listed some safety tips to consider during winter weather.
Safety Tips for Your Commercial Property During Winter.
Flat roofs: Flat roofs require continual maintenance. Conduct required repairs of flat roof membranes and seams before cold weather compromises ability to do work. Be sure to identify areas where water can accumulate and where ice or heavy snow can pile up in wintertime.
Consider forming a snow and ice removal plan to prevent snow burden or ice overload from causing breakdowns in roof surface or even structural integrity. This is especially important when big snows are followed by a fast warm-up that can lead to standing water on roofs.
- Inspect roofs each week leading up to and during the winter season.
- Sweep up debris and check tar seals.
- Keep roof drains clear and be prepared if necessary to pump water off roof.
- Check that flashings are flush and secure.
- Plan for emergency snow removal in event of heavy accumulation. Identify and supply proper equipment and check it in advance of predicted snows.
Slanted Roofs: The various materials from which slanted roofs are made can present different kinds of problems. Even though water runs downhill and shingles or tiles are designed to shunt it off, slanted roofs can still leak and must be sealed correctly to prevent seepage.
- Inspect shingles and roof vents if applicable.
- Check roof-edge waterproofing and seal to prevent potential drafts.
- Install or check ice breakers to protect public safety.
- Trim back trees or branches that may impact roof integrity.
Water seepage is always something to consider in the winter as well. Foundation seepage can reach into the interior of the building and cause mold damage. This can cause air quality in the building to decline, which can lead to illness. Ensuring adequate ventilation and completely drying any areas impacted by moisture collection or seepage are the best ways to prevent mold growth.
Winter Fire Safety
Fire safety involves both preventative and responsive measures at most facilities.
- Have electrical contractors run tests on “last mile” connections from input source to buildings and throughout the facility to check wiring and loads placed on outlets, panels and equipment.
- Run daily checks if necessary to prevent storage of flammable materials including cloths or other solvent-soaked items.
- Educate all people to proper fire escape and fire drill procedures.
- Inventory and check all fire extinguishers.
- Supply adequate heat to keep fire response equipment functioning safely, including value houses, water tanks, pump houses and other supplies.
- If your facility has fire protection tanks, check daily to prevent freezing.
Your commercial property is worth protecting from the winter weather. Should you have a winter fire, mold damage, or water damage give SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North Riverside a call at 708-240-4873.
3 Common Causes of Home Fires
Cigarettes are another common cause of house fires
Common Causes of Fires
Fires can devastate homes, and avoiding a home fire Riverside, IL, is often important to homeowners. However, many people aren't sure how to prevent fires in their homes. Learning about common causes of fires can be a helpful first step in preventing your home from sustaining fire damage.
1. Worn Electrical Cords
Many items in households today require electricity to function, which is one reason why electrical fires are common occurrences in residential areas. Over time, cords can become frayed, which can expose the wires and make a fire more likely to occur. It can be difficult to notice if cords that are not in view, such as cords to the television or other appliances, become frayed. In order to help to prevent this type of fire, it can be useful to check the wiring to all devices in appliances in your house and to replace frayed cords.
2. Kitchen Mishaps
There are several reasons fires in homes often begin in kitchens. Fires commonly start in kitchens when pots or pans are left unattended or when grease is left on a stovetop and catches fire. After kitchen fires, many homeowners find it useful to contact fire cleaning and restoration experts to restore their homes to their original states. Fortunately, you can often prevent a home fire by staying in the room while cooking and keeping your kitchen clean.
3. Smoking Inside
Cigarettes are another common cause of house fires, and this type of fire is more likely to occur when a person smokes inside their home. Many people unintentionally fall asleep while smoking on their beds or sofas, which often results in a fire. Improperly disposing of a cigarette in the home can also cause a fire. However, you can often prevent cigarette fires by smoking outside of your home and extinguishing cigarettes in an ashtray outside of your home as well.
Understanding common fire causes can help you to protect your home. Replacing worn electrical cords, using caution when cooking and not smoking inside can help you to prevent a home fire.
Avoid These 3 Causes of Sewage Backup
Sewage overflow in Lyons, IL
Three Possible Causes of Sewage Backup
If you are a homeowner in Lyons, IL, whose house has suffered damage from a backed-up sewer, one of the biggest impact areas will likely be your basement. A flooded basement can be inconvenient and expensive to deal with, so putting in measures to prevent such an occurrence is highly advisable. Here are three possible causes of sewage backup to keep in mind.
1. Sewage Overflow
Sewage systems are designed to have a maximum water-holding capacity. Thus, when there is a heavy downpour and the amount of water coming in exceeds the capacity of a sewer, there is a high likelihood of flooding even though the system may be in perfect working condition.
2. Old Sewage Systems
The average age of many public sewage systems in the U.S. is 30 years. As a result, many of them are more susceptible to damage now than in the past. This means that if your home in Lyons, IL, is connected to any such public system, there is a bigger risk of suffering a flooded basement. Similarly, if you live in an older home, your plumbing may be nearing the end of its life span. Replacing old pipes and valves before they deteriorate can prevent a backup of sewage.
3. Blocked Pipes and Drains
When foreign materials get into drains and pipes, it can result in water backing up and, ultimately, flooding. Pipes can get clogged when solid substances are thrown into sinks, flushed down toilets or washed into drains from the outside. To keep your pipes and drains clear, be sure to get rid of oil and grease properly. You should also take care not to use toilets and sinks to dispose of items that do not easily degrade.
A flooded basement can cause a lot of anxiety and discomfort to a homeowner. If you find yourself surrounded by unwanted water, consider consulting a reputable water damage restoration company to help.
Hail Damage to Roof Can Cost You Money
Hail Damage on roof is common after a storm.
Hail Damage can be costly.
What is hail?
"Hail is large, layered ice particles, often spherical in shape, which are produced by thunderstorms having strong, tilted updrafts. Hailstorms form within a unusually unstable air mass, that is, an air mass in which the temperature falloff with height is much greater than normal." (The Weather Channel)
How can hail damage your roof?
"Basically, hailstones one inch in diameter begin causing damage to some of the older, thinner roof products. Therefore, from a roof damage perspective, we believe the hail size threshold for issuing a severe thunderstorm warning can be increased from ¾ of an inch to one inch in diameter." (Travelers Insurance) Hail larger than 0.75 inches is considered large enough to cause serious damage in the United States. Per NOAA, hailstones can fall at speeds up to 120 mph. The largest hailstone ever recorded in the United States was 8 inches in diameter, weighing nearly 2 pounds.
How do you know if you have roof damage from hail?
Set up a ladder to your roof to examine the top of the roof. Check the ridge cap of the roof for dents. This area of the roof will receive the most damage from hail since it is flat and will take a direct hit in a storm. Look at the shingles. Check the whole shingle, as well as the edges, for signs of damage.
If climbing up a ladder is not your thing, call SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North Riverside at 708-240-4873, and we will take a look at your roof for hail and other roof damage for you.
Creating a Fire Escape Plan for Your Office
A fire evasion plan, also known as an emergency escape plan
Imagine it’s a typical afternoon at your company in La Grange Park, IL. It’s business as usual, with your employees hard at work. Suddenly, the smoke alarm jolts everyone out of their normal routine, but when they see there’s a fire erupting in the hallway, they realize this is no ordinary fire drill. They have to leave immediately. A good fire escape plan, previously disclosed to and rehearsed with the staff, can ensure everyone exits the building safely during an emergency, and you can account for all employees.
What Is It and Why Is It Necessary?
A fire evasion plan, also known as an emergency escape plan because it is helpful for any emergency evacuation, is a strategy for exiting the building in the event of a fire. When creating such a plan, the best routes for evacuation are identified, so that everyone can leave the building safely and in a timely manner.
What Is Considered a Good Plan?
A good fire escape plan often includes the following:
- Designated managers who step into action in the event of an evacuation and make sure everyone exits the building safely and meets at the pre-planned meeting area
- Designated exits, depending on one's location in the building at the time of evacuation
- A meeting place for employees once they have exited the building
- A communication plan to use in the event of separation
- Time to practice the exit strategy once or twice a year so that employees are familiar with what to do in the event they have to evacuate
After the Fire Has Been Extinguished, What’s Next?
A fire is a most unwelcome tragedy, but it does not have to mean the end of business as you have known it. Companies specializing in emergency restoration services are Here to Help and can make the fire damage look “Like it never even happened.”
Hopefully, your business will never experience the misfortune of a fire. However, a good fire escape plan can ensure your employee's exit safely and give you additional peace of mind.
3 Common Sources of Water Damage
Commercial water damage due to roof leak
3 Common Sources of Water Damage
You want your Forest Park, IL, business to make as much profit as possible, but you may be losing money without even realizing it. Leaks from damaged pipes, as well as other areas, are a common source of trouble in many buildings. It is important to perform regular inspections to make sure everything is in top condition. Here are a few problems that might end up costing you money.
1. Damaged Roofing
Leaking pipes are not the only potential source of excess water. The roof is an important part of the structure of your business, as it protects you from severe weather and keeps the inside of the building dry. However, if you do not properly maintain your roof, you could end up with a lot of damage. In some cases, the structure of the building may weaken or a mold growth might develop. Make sure to regularly check the condition of your building and perform repairs as needed.
2. Broken Appliances
Another common source of water is from broken appliances. The damage here can range from a small leak to a lot of flooding. One way to prevent this is to test your equipment regularly to ensure it is in proper working condition. As items begin to age and break down, replace them to prevent any significant problems.
3. Pipes and Plumbing
Damaged pipes can sometimes be a hidden source of wasted water and money. If you are not performing regular maintenance, a persistent leak could end up costing hundreds or thousands of dollars in extra water bills. Leaks can also indicate aging pipes that could cause a lot of damage if not replaced.
Performing regular maintenance in your building is a great way to locate problems and prevent big issues from leaks or damaged pipes. If you do experience damage, however, a water restoration company can perform necessary repairs to your building and belongings.
3 Ways To Prevent Water Damage
If there is a leak in your home, you should have it repaired as soon as possible
Protect Your House from Harm
There are many things that can cause water damage to your La Grange, IL, home, from accidents to natural disasters. Luckily, there are also several steps you can take to prevent it. In many cases, using the following tips will allow you to protect your house from harm.
1. Perform Regular Maintenance
While it can sometimes seem bothersome, you should perform maintenance on your home on a regular basis to avoid preventable water damage. This should include inspecting each area of your property and checking your plumbing and appliances for signs of disrepair. Examine the exterior as well to locate any cracks. Maintaining your home can limit future issues and make an insurance claim go more smoothly if a problem occurs.
2. Repair Leaks Right Away
Many people ignore small leaks and assume that they are not a big deal. However, this is not always the case. If there is a leak in your home, even if it does not seem severe, you should have it repaired as soon as possible. These can lead to large areas of damage as well as broken pipes if they are ignored.
3. Prepare Your Home for Storms and Cold Weather
Sometimes the water damage will come from outside the house rather than inside. If you are expecting a severe storm, be sure to prepare your home beforehand. Clean your drains and gutters to prevent roof leaks caused by backed up water, and make sure that all doors and windows are properly sealed. During the colder months of the year, keep the inside sufficiently heated and consider insulating your pipes to stop them from freezing and bursting.
While you can prevent certain problems, some accidents are unavoidable. If your home is impacted by water, you can call an emergency restoration service to repair the damage. They can perform remediation, water cleanup and any necessary repairs to your property.