Lightning Safety Tips
Contact SERVPRO® of Panthersville at (678) 515-8602 if you encounter a natural disaster from a lightning storm.
According to the National Weather Service, there are about 25 million lightning strikes in the United States each year. Comply with the following lightning safety tips when a storm occurs:
- Immediately seek shelter in a substantial building and avoid the outdoors when thunderstorms are in the area. There is no place that is safe outside during a storm. Remain in the shelter at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder.
- If you are caught outside and cannot find shelter, then go to a low-lying open place away from trees, poles, and metal objects. Ensure that the place you choose is not subject to flooding.
- Never touch any wires that fall or low-hanging wires, because they can kill. Telephone or cable TV wires that touch a power line can also be deadly.
- Never try to make your own electrical repairs to power equipment. Let trained professionals do the work.
- Never pull tree limbs off power lines yourself.
- Never go into areas with debris or trees that fall. Dangerous power lines may be buried in wreckages.
- Never go near chain-linked fences. Dangerous lines could be touching the metal.
- Never step in puddles, because they may be electrified.
- Never connect portable generators to your household electrical wiring. Connect only essential appliances, such as freezers and refrigerators directly to a generator.
- Never walk into areas where professional Crews are working. Obey road signs and proceed cautiously if you are driving near work Crews.
At SERVPRO® of Panthersville, our commitment to the community though our charitable donations is as important as providing emergency cleaning and restoration services for twenty four hours a day. We want to be judged not only by the service we provide, but also for what we do to improve the quality of life for all people in the places where we live, work, and nationwide.
Our charitable donations include organizations that benefit Veterans, African Americans, Firefighters, and individuals who suffer from Autism, Alzheimer's, and Breast Cancer illnesses. The company's Management Team also participates in local walks in honor of Autism, Alzheimer's, and Breast Cancer patients.
Electric Safety at Home
By using a power cord in a moist environment is a serious hazardous defective condition!
The importance of electrical safety at home is often taken for granted. Ignoring electrical safety instructions may put your safety and property at risk. Let us all do our part to contribute to a safe and accident-free environment as follows:
- Swimming Pools—do not use electrical appliances near pools; do not route extension cords in the vicinity of pools; do not raise pool maintenance or rescue poles into overhead power lines.
- Outlets—look for outlets that have loose-fitting plugs, exposed wires, or broken plates and have them fixed by a qualified Electrician. Use safety covers on all outlets accessible to children.
- Surge Protectors—only use surge protectors with internal circuit breakers. To prevent overheating, these units will trip the breaker if the power strip is overloaded or shorted to prevent overheating. Do not plug a surge protector into an existing surge protector. Unplug the unit when the surge protector is not in use.
- Cords—do not place appliance cords where they will come into contact with the stove or other heated surfaces. Do not hang appliance cords over countertops where they might be accidentally pulled down.
- Frayed Appliance Cords—worn or frayed appliance cords can cause fire, electric shock, and even electrocution. As a basic home safety procedure, inspect cords regularly to assess wear and replace cords as required.
- Boats—keep boat masts away from power lines.
- Space Heaters—read all manufacturer instructions before use, and keep heaters away from furniture, curtains, sinks, tubs, and water. Do not lay rugs or carpet over the cord. Do not use heater if the cord is frayed or broken, and do not use an extension cord. Turn off heater before leaving home or going to bed.
- Ladders—exercise caution when using ladders, painting, pruning, or cleaning near a service drop where the wiring comes into a house or building at the meter. Weatherproofing on the overhead wiring is not insulation. This covering can become brittle, cracked, and expose you to electrical contact.
- Trees—do not climb trees near power lines. Keep balloons, kites, fishing lines, and aluminum poles away from overhead lines. The lines are uninsulated and you could create a path to the ground by touching them.
- Meter Boxes—ensure safe and easy access to your meter box; do not fence in meter boxes, use private locks on meter boxes, or surround meter boxes with trees and shrubs. Keep dogs safely secured away from your meter box.
- Shoes—avoid damp or wet areas when using electrical power tools outdoors. Wear sturdy, rubber-soled shoes when working with electrical appliances outdoors. NEVER use electrical equipment when barefoot.
- Utility Poles—do not swing, climb, or run into guy wires supporting utility poles. Report damaged guy wires to the power company.
How to Prevent Mold
Contact SERVPRO® of Panthersville at (678) 515-8602 if you have water stain and mold infected areas. We use licensed subcontractors when required.
The key to preventing mold is moisture control. Mold cannot grow without excessive moisture in your home. Experts generally advise keeping the humidity levels in your home below 55%. You can use a hygrometer to monitor your humidity levels.
Give your home a thorough checkup to identify any issues that might contribute to future mold growth and correct any problems as soon as possible. Hire a professional to assist you if you are unsure how to make the necessary repairs. It will be well worth the cost, because you will save so much money in health care, home repair, and mold removal expenses in the future.
- Window frames—check around all window frames to ensure that they seal tightly and no water seeps in.
- Sinks, toilets, and tubs—check under and around all sinks, toilets, and tubs for any leaking water. Install water leak sensors in these areas to alert you early to any leaks.
- Hot water heaters—check around your hot water heater for any leaking water. This is another good place to install a water leak sensor.
- Roofs—examine your ceilings for signs of a leaky roof. Sometimes you cannot see signs of leakage from inside the house until the problem worsens. Hire a professional to get up on the roof and inspect it for you if you are unsure how to inspect it.
- Bathrooms—check for adequate ventilation especially when showering. If the room gets really steamy when you shower, then turn on an exhaust fan or crack open a window. If you do not have an exhaust fan in the bathroom, then you may need to install one.
- Basement—try the sniff test. Is there a musty odor in the basement? If so, there may be mold present. Purchase a dehumidifier if the basement smells damp or musty.
- Attic—also try the sniff test in the attic. There may be mold in the attic if there have been any leaks in your roof. If not, keep a hygrometer in your attic to measure humidity levels. A hygrometer transmits the humidity level to the main unit so you can monitor your attic humidity levels very easily.
In addition, you can prevent mold by:
- Wiping up any water spills promptly.
- Using a fan to help dry any damp carpet as soon as possible
- Keeping windows tightly closed when it is raining outside
- Using exhaust fans in the bathroom when showering and in the kitchen when cooking
- Wiping showers, shower curtains, tubs, and so forth dry with a towel after use
- Keeping an eye out for signs of mold and addressing any problems promptly
- Installing a solar fan in your attic so that you have good air circulation there all year round.
Frozen Pipes Prevention and Thawing Tips
If you have already experienced a burst pipe, contact SERVPRO® of Panthersville at (678) 515-8602 to prevent structural damages and mold.
Water expands when it freezes, which is a unique characteristic. By allowing water to freeze and expand inside your pipes can lead to a tremendous buildup of pressure, which eventually causes your pipes to burst. You can save yourself from severe water damages if you learn how to avoid frozen pipes.
Preventing Frozen Pipes
Before the harsh cold of winter sets in there are a few important steps to take to reduce the possibility of frozen pipes, which include:
- Investigate your home and determine whether there are areas that are not being heated properly and are significantly colder than the rest of the home. Insulate any water pipes located in the area.
- Ensure that you drain all water from swimming pools and sprinkler supply lines.
- Close the indoor valves that supply your outdoor spigots, and then keep the outdoor spigots open and allow them to drain completely.
- Keep the garage door closed if any water pipes are located in your garage.
- If the temperatures outside plummets below freezing, then let water drip from your faucets at all times. By keeping even a small amount of water moving through your pipes significantly reduces the possibility of freezing.
- Never allow the temperature in your house to plunge below 55 degrees.
Thawing Frozen Pipes
If you are only getting a small dribble of water from your faucet, then chances are you are experiencing a frozen pipe. Here are some simple ways to thaw your frozen pipe before it bursts:
- Heat the pipe using a portable space heater, electric blanket, or hair drier.
- Keep the water running. As the frozen pipe begins to melt, then water will flow through the frozen area and helps melt the ice.
- If you have one frozen pipe, then you more likely have others. Check every faucet in your house and attempt to locate all of the frozen pipes. If you are unable to locate the other frozen pipes, then call a licensed Plumber before they burst and cause water damage.
Fire Prevention and Safety Information
A lit candle and readily combustible materials, such as cloth, paper, and (certain) plastics are not good mixes and can lead to dire consequences.
Kitchen Fire While Cooking
- Never use water on a grease fire! Salt or baking soda can be used to extinguish a fire. Also, smother a fire in a pan by putting a lid on it.
- Do not leave food cooking unattended.
- Pay special attention to hot grease or oil.
- Always supervise children.
- Keep a fire extinguisher nearby and ensure that it shows “A, B, or C.”
Wood, Coal, and Pellet Stoves or Fireplace Inserts
- Ensure that your stove or insert has a “UL” label on it.
- Ensure that your stove was installed properly by a contractor according to NFPA standards for proper clearances, floor covering, wall covering, flue, and chimney.
- Ensure that your chimney is cleaned regularly especially at the beginning of the season.
- Never use homemade stoves, which are a common cause of fires.
- Do not install or use stoves in a garage, because they can contact combustible materials more readily.
Candles and Potpourri Burners
- Burn candles and potpourri only when you are in the room.
- Keep open flames away from curtains and other combustible materials.
Outside Burning and Bonfires
- Do not start open fires when ground and surrounding vegetation is dry.
- Do not burn when winds are stronger than a gentle breeze.
- Always have a strong water source ready in case a fire begins to get out of control.
- Stay with the fire at all times.
- Rake through the ashes to ensure that all coals are cooled when finished.
- Ensure that all outside antennas are properly grounded.
- Install lightning rods to reduce the possibility of fire by lightning strike.
- Ensure that your home’s wiring is updated and adequate to handle electrical loads.
- Do not overload circuits. Breakers trip and fuses blow when overloaded.
- If you have an older heating system, then get it checked by a professional for safety.
Fire Safety Equipment
Use these fire safety tools to protect your home, family, and pets from fire, smoke, and poisonous carbon monoxide gas.
Fires can start in a variety of ways, which includes faulty electrical wiring, lightning strikes, cigarette smoking, cooking mishaps, dryer vent ignition, gas furnace ignition, fireplace ignition, portable heater tip-overs, and so forth. Fires can smolder for hours before suddenly erupting into flame. If you have an electrical fire, a fire extinguisher, sand, and baking soda can be used once the electrical source of the fire has been disrupted.
Fire extinguishers are classified by ratings of A, B, and C. These ratings determine the size and type of fire that the extinguisher can put out as follows:
- A type fires—they consist of burning wood, paper, and fabric.
- B type fires—they consist of flammable liquids, such as gasoline and oil.
- C type fires—they are electrical.
The number that precedes the letter determines how big of a fire the extinguisher can put out in increments of 2.5 feet. For example:
- A 10-B:C extinguisher—it can put out a 25-square foot fire from a flammable liquid or electrical source.
- A 5-B:C extinguisher—it can handle a 12.5-foot fire from a flammable liquid or electrical source.
There are two basic types of smoke detectors as follows:
- Ionization smoke alarms—they are better at detecting small particles that are produced in greater amounts in flaming fires, which quickly consume combustible materials and spread in many directions.
- Photoelectric smoke alarms—they are better at detecting large particles that are produced in greater amounts in smoldering fires, which may smolder for hours before bursting into flame.
Both types are effective in detecting smoke and fire, but the best smoke alarms feature both technologies.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a toxic, colorless, odorless, poisonous gas that comes from an appliance malfunction and burning fossil fuels, such as oil, gas, and coal. A furnace crack, dryer vent clog, and a blocked chimney can all produce CO. Use carbon monoxide alarms to detect a leak quickly.
Under normal operation, a carbon monoxide detector is able to vent the small amounts of CO gas that is produced outside of your home. However, small amounts of CO gas can build up and become a life-threatening problem when the vents are blocked.
Carbon monoxide deprives you of oxygen that your blood depends on to sustain life. If you are exposed to even small amounts of CO, then it quickly bonds with hemoglobin in your blood and displaces oxygen. When this occurs, you experience flu-like symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizzy spells, confusion, and irritability. As more time passes, the symptoms can worsen to include vomiting, loss of consciousness, brain damage, and even death. Place a CO detector in every bedroom, living room, and basement in your home to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
Fire or Smoke Damage Tips
Do not hesitate to contact SERVPRO® of Panthersville at (678) 515-8602 if you encounter fire or smoke damages!
Severe fire damages can be the most devastating thing to happen to any property when disaster strikes. Consequently, you have most likely lost some personal belongings and areas of your home are completely destroyed. The following tips can assist you when notifying your insurance company about a fire loss claim:
Check Your Policy
Although you have replacement coverage for your home, you may actually only have "actual cash value" for the personal items that were lost. Therefore, ensure that your agent notifies you about this and suggests that you buy an endorsement so that your belongings will be covered under a replacement policy.
Secure Your Property
Most homeowners' coverage policies require you to take reasonable steps to minimize more harm on your property, which is essentially your duty to mitigate damages. These steps are relatively easy to do, such as either covering leaking areas with plastic wrap or turning off the water if you discover a huge pipe burst. Your insurance company will more often pay these costs when you make your claim.
File Your Claim Immediately
All homeowners’ policies require you to report your losses promptly. You are required to call your agent and submit a Proof of Loss claim in which you should itemize your losses in detail and list the values of each item.
Always Keep Track Of Your Living Expenses
All homeowners’ policies include a Loss of Use clause, which entitles you to adequate reimbursement for living expenses while you are out of your home. Subsequently, these expenses only include additional living expenses, which means the difference between what it costs you to live on a daily basis and what it is costing you thereafter. For instance, if you ate most of your meals at home and your groceries cost you $400 a week, and after a fire you are eating out and spending $500 a week, then you can only claim that additional $100.
Mold Contamination Safety
Contact SERVPRO® of Panthersville at (678) 515-8602 to eradicate your mold infected areas.
Mold contamination poses health risks for workers and home occupants. Health reactions can develop from inhaling, ingesting, and touching mold spores or fragments. Molds may produce toxigenic mycotoxins that can potentially affect some persons although the mold spores are dead or dormant. There are specific precautionary procedures that should be followed when mitigating mold contaminations. Individuals are required to wear the following safety equipment attires when working in extensively contaminated environments:
- Protective equipment—this includes full-body suits, and rubber and latex gloves. Employees should receive safety training before remediation work begins.
- Splash goggles—eye protection should be worn to protect the eyes from burns or punctures from flying particles or corrosive substances. Mold spores can infect the mucous membranes of the eyes in extensive mold contaminated environments, and so goggles may be required for protection.
- Respirator—the type of respirator and filter should be selected based on the hazards to which workers are exposed. Workers may wear either half-face or full-face respirators, and even powered air purifying respirators that supply air to the water damage restoration professional’s full-face mask. Respirators used for mold remediation can be equipped with combination cartridges, which includes both HEPA particulate filters and organic vapor filters to protect against mold spores, mycotoxins, and mVOCs.
Water Damage Hazards!
Do not hesitate to contact SERVPRO® of Panthersville at (678) 515-8602 when disaster strikes from water damages!
The safety hazards and precautions associated with water damage restoration are as follows:
Mixing water and electricity creates a potential for disaster, and electrical hazards exists everywhere on the typical water damage job site. Water that comes into the building from either a roof leak or from water pipes in the attic is likely to intrude into the wiring system. Floods may also cause water to intervene into the wiring system.
The first item to check is the power distribution box. Turning off all circuit breakers at the power distribution panel is the easiest way to protect you, your Crews, and building occupants from electrical shock hazards. If only a portion of the building is affected, then turn off all circuits that provides power to the damaged areas if water has intruded into wall cavities and electrical outlets, or when electrical outlets are located on the floor. Use either a lockout device or tagout device when circuits are turned off to prevent shock hazards.
Storm damaged structures might be weakened and pose hazards. Floods and earthquakes can cause considerable damage to a building foundation or to the bearing partitions under and around a structure. Storm surge and wave action from a hurricane can undermine foundations or damage pilings in pier-type construction. Long-term exposure to water may destroy the structural reliability of materials, such as particle board and drywall, which creates a hazard for workers and occupants. Determine the potential structural hazards before proceeding with mitigation and restoration services.
Hazardous chemicals or hazardous materials, lead, and asbestos may be present in some water damaged buildings. Be alert for hazardous materials and do not try to handle or remove them unless you are certified to handle hazardous materials. Use qualified Subcontractors to remove and dispose of hazardous materials.
Slip, Trip, and Fall Hazards
Water damaged structures and the restoration processes can create numerous slip, trip, and fall hazards. Wet surfaces are usually slick, equipment hoses, and power cords provide ample opportunity for workers and occupants to slip, trip, or fall. Post warning signs and brief occupants about the hazards. Slippery floors are a common hazard in water damaged situations. People may not recognize the potential hazard of walking from a wet carpeted surface onto a hard floor surface, such as vinyl tile. Wet shoes may not slip much on the carpet, but when the person steps onto the hard floor surface then a serious slip hazard exists. Ensure that occupants understand this hazard.
Hoses and power cords may become a tangled maze for occupants and workers to navigate during emergency services. During the drying stage, equipment power cords may be a problem for occupants. Secure dehumidifier and air mover cords to limit the hazard during the drying phase. Floating carpets also present a trip hazard. Ensure occupants understand that they should not be walking on carpet that is being floated.