Recent Posts

Hurricane Hazards

8/4/2020 (Permalink)

Hurricane season is here! Make sure you are prepared.

Hurricane season is upon us, and there are several named storms that have developed in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. On average, there are about 12 tropical storms that will develop between June 1st and November 30th. Of those 12 storms, 6 of them will become hurricanes according to the National Weather Service. We know that hurricanes can be life-threatening, and they can cause a serious amount of property damage. The National Weather Service lists the following as potential "hurricane hazards". 

Storm surge: is the abnormal rise of water generated by a storm's winds. This hazard is historically the leading cause of hurricane related deaths in the United States. Storm surge and large battering waves can result in large loss of life and cause massive destruction along the coast. It can also travel several miles inland, especially along bays, rivers and estuaries. 

Flooding: from heavy rains is the second leading cause of fatalities from landfalling tropical cyclones. Widespread torrential rains associated with these storms often cause flooding hundreds of miles inland. This flooding can persist for several days after a storm has dissipated. 

Winds: from a hurricane can destroy buildings and manufactured homes. We also see that signs, roofing material and other items left outside can become flying missiles during a hurricane. 

Tornadoes: can accompany landfalling tropical cyclones. They typically occur in rain bands well away from the center of the storm. 

Dangerous waves: produced by a tropical cyclone's strong winds can pose a significant hazard to coastal residents and mariners. These waves can cause deadly rip currents, significant beach erosion and damage to structures along the coastline. This is even when the storm is more than a 1,000 miles offshore. 

With this all being said, preparation is the best protection against the dangers of a hurricane. Make sure you plan an evacuation route and your emergency plan, take inventory of your property and take steps to protect your home or business. 

ERP for your commercial property

8/4/2020 (Permalink)

Emergency Ready Plan Make sure you not only have one for your commercial property, but also that it is up to date.

For a business owner, a worst-case disaster scenario involving fire or water damage can seem unthinkable until it suddenly becomes a reality. A quick response time by a disaster recovery company such as SERVPRO can help minimize property damage. Owners need to have a quick and convenient emergency disaster plan that connects them with vendors, necessary contacts, and pertinent information when disaster strikes. SERVPRO's Emergency Ready Plan (ERP) is a respected industry tool during a disaster event. It is so valuable that in the midst of the confusion and panic, an owner or manager can be provided a sense of calm and clarity in reaching out for expert help. 

There are four key parts to building an ERP. 

1. Identify your facility's greatest threats in order to assess the overall severity of the event. 

- Look at your location that you are in. Be aware if you are in tornado alley, hurricane season, or subject to freezing temperatures. 

2. Document all vital information and establish clear communication activities. 

- An ERP needs to contain critical property information that can help speed up response time after a disaster strikes the property. Make sure to include any documentation that deals with prior loss history. Also, identify and label utility shut off locations, and prioritize your key contacts. Prior loss history can provide first responders and restoration vendors with historical information on your facility's condition. Also, proper utility identification will allow for quicker response times for emergency shut off, requests and key contact information is vital to starting the recovery process. This will allow you to quickly contact key personnel and answer priority questions. 

3. Practice! Practice! Practice! There is no "textbook" event, so expect the unexpected. 

- You should always conduct practice sessions to make sure everyone is clear on the process. There needs to be clear evacuation routes in your ERP, and set a distribution chain for your disaster recovery plan amongst key contacts and various locations. 

4. Keep it updated, and have all necessary information communicated with your insurance company and emergency restoration vendors. 

- Make sure your ERP is always up to date. This is the best way for the recovery to begin. People are going to come and go, updates will be made to the facility, and utilities can change. This should be a dynamic document that changes as your business does. You do not want to fall behind when disaster strikes! 

Tornado Season

8/4/2020 (Permalink)

Tornado Season Check this out!

Tornadoes can occur year-round anywhere over the lower 48 of the United States, but the spring to summer period is prime time for severe thunderstorms that spawn the violent swirling columns of air. Building warmth and surging humidity are key ingredients for thunderstorms which, when severe, can evolve to produce tornadoes. 

Severe thunderstorms will typically form when we get warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico clashing with cool air from Canada and sometimes dry air from the deserts. We often see the most tornadoes develop from central Texas, northward through the Nebraska and Iowa area, which is referred to as "Tornado Alley". 

In order for severe thunderstorms to form, there must be a mechanism for air to rise in vigorous fashion. As a column of air rises through the atmosphere, it cools and causes moisture within to form the towering clouds we see as thunderstorms. The more moisture available and the cooler the air is aloft, the more efficient and potentially the more violent this process is. A push of dry air or cooler air from the outside can also intensify this process. 

Any time there is a surge in temperature and humidity levels, combined with the approach of cooler and drier air thunderstorms can erupt. the most dramatic time of the year for this is in the spring to early summer. The peak for severe weather and tornado season is from April through June. Areas of the country that typically warm up the fastest with an ample supply of moisture are usually the most likely areas for early-season severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. 

Commercial Building Tips

7/23/2020 (Permalink)

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned seal Get set up today!

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency nearly 50% of businesses never reopen after a water or fire emergency.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency also did a survey in 2015 of businesses across the US, and found that near 75% of businesses do not have a disaster recovery plan in place.  

SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North Riverside can help you with that.  We offer a no cost assessment of your facility.  We come into your company and give a very detailed guide on how to get your back into your business after a disaster occurs.  

The other great thing about SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North Riverside assessing your commercial property is that our assessment will take very little time away from you and your current project, but in the event of a fire or water damage it will get your back to production much faster and efficiently.  

The best part about our emergency readiness planning is that we establish a working relationship.  We know your building, and you as a customer.  You also get to know us, and build a working relationship that you can be certain we have your companies best interest at heart. 

We also want to stay up to date with our commercial buildings, and there sanitation process throughout this COVID-19 time period. We understand that most commercial buildings have and still operating during this pandemic, so we want to make sure their staying healthy. With our new Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned program, they can get all of the proper cleaning and sanitizing that is necessary to make sure they are not only staying healthy, but also still able to operate. 

Don't wait, call SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North Riverside today at 708-240-4873, and let us come assess your property and create an emergency readiness plan for you and get you set up with our Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned program. 

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned Program

7/23/2020 (Permalink)

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned Get set up today!

We as a company have recently introduced our new program Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, and it is designed to provide our communities with a way to know that a structure has been cleaned, sanitized, and disinfected. This is also a cleaning and disinfecting program that we here at SERVPRO have to offer for our commercial property owners in order to address the current COVID-19 pandemic. We ensure that when businesses choose SERVPRO, their customers, employees, and community are rest assured that they have selected a higher standard of cleaning. 

This program is set up with 3 unique steps called the 3 C's. These 3 C's include Consult, Clean, and Certify. 

Consult deals with the process of talking to each businesses personally because not all businesses are the same. A SERVPRO professional who understands the business will create a custom cleaning program to meet their specific needs. The specific program will be developed based on a range of factors including business type, size of space, amount of high frequency touch points, foot traffic, and congestion points. Therefore, they will know that the clean they receive is customized to their unique needs. 

Clean is based on the specific needs of their business, and their location will undergo a thorough expert cleaning rooted in the pillars of People, Process, and Product. 

-People: SERVPRO professionals are uniquely prepared during this unprecedented time to clean and disinfect homes or businesses according to the protocols set by the CDC. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that needs to be done.

-Process: SERVPRO professionals are trained to perform proactive or emergency responsive cleanups that involves facility or structure cleaning and disinfection. This would include cleaning of porous and non-porous surfaces, disinfecting of non-porous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, tools and supplies used for cleanup, and disposal of hazardous materials. We also recommend a frequent cleaning depending on what CAT it is in. We want to make sure that people are getting back to business as soon as possible if there is a known COVID-19 case involved. 

-Product: Our program has more than 100 exclusive professional cleaning products to meet any need. This includes our proprietary cleaning agent, SERVPROXIDE, which is a hospital-grade disinfectant that carries the Environmental Protection Agency's lowest toxicity category and is NSF certified for sanitizing surfaces in and around food processing surfaces. 

Certify deals with the our credibility as the premier biohazard cleaning company in the country to their business. This then allows assurance to their employees and customers that only SERVPRO can deliver. Once the business has been cleaned, they will gain access to propriety signage, digital emblems, and other collateral that communicates that they've selected the highest standard of cleaning available to protect their employees and customers. We also have the option to add the date, so then their guests will know that their location is being cleaned regularly. 

SERVPRO professionals have been on the front lines of proactive and reactive COVID related cleanups, and we are here to help as businesses begin to reopen and to also help them stay open!

Did you know?

7/23/2020 (Permalink)

Carbon Monoxide Detector Make sure to get yours today!

Did you know that local fire departments require carbon monoxide detectors?

The Elmhurst Fire Department requires that each home be outfitted with carbon monoxide detectors, in addition to smoke detectors. 

For some people, they may not know this, so here are some helpful tips and steps about the carbon monoxide detector. 

First off, Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is poisonous to humans. It is known as the "silent killer" because humans cannot tell when they are around it. The carbon monoxide detector is a safety device that can alert homeowners of a CO leak, and then help them escape a potentially life-threatening situation. 

Carbon monoxide can be produced by any fuel-burning device. There are three main sources, and they are your home's furnace, dryer vent in a drying machine, and fireplace or chimney. It is VERY IMPORTANT to have those sources regularly services and cleaned by a professional to help prevent a CO leak. 

When it comes to installation of the alarms, it is important to have them on every level of the home. That way all family members can hear the detectors go off. There should also be detectors in every bedroom, sleeping area, and common room for extra safety while asleep. They can be placed anywhere in the room, and can also be placed on the wall or the ceiling and will be just as effective. 

Lastly, it is important to test your alarms regularly, so at least once a month. If it has replaceable batteries, they should be changed at least every 6 months. However, just because you replace the batteries doesn't mean they last forever. They have a lifetime of anywhere between 5-7 years. 

The most common causes of house fires

7/23/2020 (Permalink)

There are many common causes when it comes to house fires, but there are measures that can be taken in order to avoid them. 

Cook equipment that includes pots and pans can overheat very quickly, and they can cause a fire very easily if the person cooking gets distracted and then leaves the cooking unattended. ALWAYS stay in the area where cooking is taking place, or ask someone to water the food when cooking with hotplates.

Portable heaters are another common cause of house fire. Make sure to keep them at least one meter away from anything that could easily catch fire. This would include furniture, curtains, laundry, clothes and even yourself. If you have a furnace, get it inspected once a year to make sure it is working to safety standards. 

Make sure to keep bedrooms off limits when it comes to smoking in the home. A cigarette tat is not put out properly can cause a flame, as the butt may stay alit for a few hours once one is done with it. It could burst into flames if it came into contact with flammable materials, such as furniture. 

An electrical appliance, such as a toaster can start a fire if it is faulty or has a frayed cord. A power point that is overloaded with double adapter plugs can cause a fire from an overuse of electricity. Also, a power point extension cord can be a fire hazard if not used appropriately. Make sure to double check the appliances and power points in the home. 

Candles may look and smell pretty, but if left unattended they can cause a room to easily burst into flames. Make sure to keep candles away from any obviously flammable items such as books and tissue boxes. Always blow out the candle(s) before leaving the room they are in. 

Children can cause a fire out of curiosity, to see what would happen if they set fire to an object. Please make sure to keep any matchers or lighters out of reach in order to avoid this. Install a smoke alarm in your child's room and practice a home escape plan with your children and family in case there was a fire. 

Homes with inadequate wiring can cause fires from electrical hazards. Some signs to see if you have bad wiring are

-lights dim if you use another appliance

-for an appliance to work, you have to disconnect another

-fuses blow or trip the circuit frequently 

Make sure to have a licensed electrician come and inspect your home, or contact your landlord if you have any of the above occurrences. 

Make sure when you barbeque to keep it away from the home, tablecloths or any plants and tree branches. Keep them regularly maintained and cleaned with soapy water and clean any removable parts. Check the gas bottle for any leaks before you use it each time. 

If you have any flammable liquids in the home or garage such as petrol, kerosene or methylated spirits, keep them away from heat sources and check the label before story. Be careful when pouring these liquids. 

Lastly, lamp shades and light fittings can build up heat if they are very close to light globes. Check around the house to make sure. Lamp bases can become a hazard if they are able to be knocked over easily, and so should be removed if they are. Check that down lights are insulated from wood paneling or ceiling timbers. 

Key takeaways for preventing water damage

7/23/2020 (Permalink)

Water damage is the No. 1 culprit that weakens your home's foundation and the very core that holds your house together. I am sure you have heard about core strength for your body. Well, water damage hits at the core strength of your home, eventually causing serious structural damage. Damp wood invites termites and carpenter ants. It can also cause mold and mildew if not taken care of properly. 

Here is how to prevent water damage using three easy strategies that will give you peace of mind the next time heavy storms hit. 

1. Ensure good drainage

- clean your gutters

- direct downspouts 5-10' away from the house

- slope your yard away from the foundation

2. Test your sump pump

- check your sump pump once a year

- test more frequently during storm season

3. Fix water leaks

- repair any noticeable dripping pipes

- check for dark spots under pipes & on ceilings

- repair any cracked caulking

- inspect the roof for missing, loose of damaged shingles 

By following these tips, you are going to have less of chance when it comes to the amount of water damage that the home may take on. 

Internship at SERVPRO

5/7/2020 (Permalink)

Cleaning and Disinfecting Job We are all in this together!

The company that I am interning for is SERVPRO of Elmhurst/Arlington Heights & N. Prospect/Lagrange Park & N. Riverside. The office location is located in Broadview IL, and the areas that are listed are the territories that our marketing team is allowed to market in. SERVPRO is a franchise that is owned and operated by personal owners. We have over 1,700 locations across the United States. Our company focuses on fire, water and mold restoration and mitigation for disasters that strike homes, buildings, businesses, etc. We are also currently doing cleaning and disinfecting for COVID-19 with our Vanquish product and fogging system. As far as what I do as an intern at SERVPRO, I work alongside the marketing and sales team. Our job is to go on daily routes around our territories and market SERVPRO to insurance agents, restaurants, hotels, churches, retail stores, etc. You name it, SERVPRO can help! However, one major struggle we are having during this time is not being able to go out on our daily routes to market and sell because of the current pandemic we are in. Therefore, all the team members are in the office and are brainstorming ideas on how to market SERVPRO from behind a computer screen. Some ideas we have come up with is marketing through social media. This is mainly my job because the other members don’t care for it, and I actually really like it. I have access to all the social media accounts like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. Every day I come in and do daily posts on all the accounts in order to ensure we are getting the SERVPRO name out on the Internet more. Especially now since everyone is at home with the stay-at-home order in place, they are constantly on their smart devices. I also have been doing blog entries on the SERVPRONet website about my internship here at SERVPRO. SERVPRONet is a personal website for SERVPRO employees to access that has updated news for everyone, marketing tools, sales techniques, and so on. I also have been attending weekly WebEx meetings with the SERVPRO marketing headquarters with all different SERVPRO franchises across the country. They show us helpful tools to use while being stuck at home or in the office. Another major event that our company has been doing is free cleaning and disinfecting for our first responders. Our team members have been going out and doing cleaning and disinfecting to the vehicles and offices of police and fire departments in our territories. This has given our company major recognition on social media websites, and we are even building relationships that we didn’t have before. I love what I do here at SERVPRO and I have learned so many different techniques about marketing and sales that I never knew before. This has given me so much more confidence when approaching new people, and building up my relationship skills. I have developed a different side of professionalism that I didn’t know I had before, and it is truly amazing to see the growth I have gained because of SERVPRO. The employees I work with treat everyone like family, and it is very welcoming when you walk in the door every day. I always have a smile on my face when I enter in the morning, and then when I leave in the afternoon. I love coming to work every day, and that is exactly how it should be. Thank you SERVPRO for letting be on this internship journey with your company!

Cleaning & Disinfecting for COVID-19

4/1/2020 (Permalink)

ServprOxide This is the product we use for the cleaning and disinfecting for COVID-19. We want to help do our part in stopping the spread of the virus!

Hello,

We have been out servicing 911 call centers, trucks, distribution warehouses and distribution offices that are keeping our stores stocked with supplies and know that our Police and Fire Departments also need to be out to protect our communities but also need to stay free from a spread of the SARS-CoV-2” COVID-19 .   

We here at SERVPRO wanted to let you all know that we are currently are open to help combat the spread of the virus.  SERVPRO, with direction from the CDC have put together protocol to deal with “SARS-CoV-2” COVID-19 pro-actively (pre-positive test) and reactively (post-positive test).

These general guidelines are broad in scope and are not-specific protocols. Any protocols from federal, state, local agencies, or an industrial hygienist would supersede these guidelines. A CAT system has been designed for the different calls as it relates to “SARS-CoV-2” COVID-19.

CAT1: Proactive cleaning only CAT2: Person under investigation (PUI) or possible exposure CAT3: Confirmed, positive case

The protocol for CAT 1 is attached along with the SDS sheets, Chemical information, approval forms and rates for the services. We know that it is ever changing at a rapid rate and is very volatile. If you are in need of any services please reach out to us and we will do our best to help answer any questions or perform any work.

CAT 2 and CAT 3 – Protocol:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (named “SARS-CoV-2”) that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, and spread to dozens of countries throughout the world. This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and the CDC will provide updated information as it becomes available, in-addition to updated guidance.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/cleaning-disinfection.html

Cleaning and Disinfection After Persons Suspected/Confirmed to Have COVID-19 Have Been in the Facility

Timing and location of cleaning and disinfection of surfaces

  • At a school, daycare center, office, or other facility that does not house people overnight:
    • It is recommended to close off areas used by the ill persons and wait as long as practical before beginning cleaning and disinfection to minimize potential for exposure to respiratory droplets. Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area. If possible, wait up to 24 hours before beginning cleaning and disinfection.
    • Cleaning staff should clean and disinfect all areas (e.g., offices, bathrooms, and common areas) used by the ill persons, focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces.
  • At a facility that does house people overnight:
    • Follow Interim Guidance for US Institutions of Higher Education on working with state and local health officials to isolate ill persons and provide temporary housing as needed.
    • It is recommended to close off areas used by the ill persons and wait as long as practical before beginning cleaning and disinfection to minimize potential for exposure to respiratory droplets. Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area. If possible, wait up to 24 hours before beginning cleaning and disinfection.
    • In areas where ill persons are being housed in isolation, follow Interim Guidance for Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection for U.S. Households with Suspected or Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019. This includes focusing on cleaning and disinfecting common areas where staff/others providing services may come into contact with ill persons, but reducing cleaning and disinfection of bedrooms/bathrooms used by ill persons to as needed.
    • In areas where ill persons have visited or used, continue routine cleaning and disinfection as in this guidance.

How to Clean and Disinfect

Surfaces

  • If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.
    • Diluted household bleach solutions can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.
  • Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
    • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or
    • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
    • Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims are expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).
    • For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning:
    • If the items can be laundered, launder items in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and then dry items completely.
    • Otherwise, use products with the EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims (examples at this link) that are suitable for porous surfaces

Thank you for your time and stay safe.