Staying Safe in the Summer
Each summer, families and friends across the country enjoy the summer months with barbecues, camping trips, or by cooling off in a pool or lake. In order to enjoy these occasions, it is important to keep safety top of mind to ensure you have fun in the sun.
According to the United States Fire administration, just under 8,600 Americans are injured by fireworks and almost 5,000 are injured by charcoal/wood burning and propane grill fires, annually. A barbecue grill should always be supervised when in use. Keep children and pets a safe distance from the grilling area to prevent accidental burns or tipping off the grill.
If you enjoy lounging by the pool or going for a boat ride to cool off from the summer sun, make sure you exercise caution, especially when children are present. Only swim in approved areas and supervise children at all times when near the water.
Summertime should be a time to make memories and enjoy the great outdoors. The following tips, provided by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), will help keep you safe all summer long.
- When using a charcoal grill, only use starter fluid designed for barbecue grills; do not add fluid after coals have been lit.
- When using a gas grill, ensure the hose connection is tight; check hoses for leaks. Applying soapy water to the hoses will easily and safely reveal any leaks.
- Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFD (personal floatation device) when boating, jet-skiing, tubing or water-skiing. Air-filled swimming aids, like water wings or inner tubes, are not substitutes for approved PFDs. An adult should always supervise children using these devices.
- Be sure to extinguish all smoking materials and shut down motors and heating devices before fueling a boat. In case of a spill, wipe up fuel and check for fuel leakage and odors.
- When camping, always use a flame retardant tent and setup camp far away from the campfire. Only use flashlights or battery-powered lanterns inside the tent, not liquid-filled heaters or lanterns.
- Always build a campfire down wind from the tent area. Clear vegetation and dig a pit before building your campfire. Always extinguish the fire before going to sleep or leaving the campsite. To extinguish, cover with dirt or pour water over the fire.
- Store liquid fire starter (not gasoline) away from your tent and campfire and only use dry kindling to freshen a campfire.
- Consider leaving firework use to trained professionals. Stay back at least 500 feet from professional fireworks displays.
Your local SERVPRO Franchise wishes you a safe and happy summer!
Getting Ready for the Upcoming Heat
As summer approaches, it is time to consider safety precautions for extreme heat in the coming months. Heat affects all people, but especially the young, elderly, sick, and overweight. Urban area residents also have a greater chance of being affected than those who live in rural areas due to the heat island effect.
According to the EPA, "the can can heat dry, exposed urban surfaces, such as roofs and pavement, to temperatures 50-90°F hotter than the air, while shaded or moist surfaces -- often in more rural surroundings -- remain close to air temperatures." These surface island heat islands are more likely after sunset "due to the slow release of heat from urban infrastructure."
Whether you are in an urban or rural area, there are several things you can do to prepare for and prevent extreme heat from affecting you. If possible, stay indoors in air conditioning. Be sure to check on your pets who may be outdoors or bring them inside. Stay hydrated and limit alcohol and caffeine intake.
If you must go outside, wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing, and be sure to apply sunscreen often. Pay attention to signs of heat exhaustion, which are heavy sweating; weakness; cold, pale, and clammy skin; nausea or vomiting; and fainting, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, which is life-threating. Signs of heat stroke are a high body temperature (103°+), rapid and strong pulse, and possible unconsciousness. If you think someone has heat stroke, call 911 immediately and move the person somewhere cool. Reduce body temperature with cool, wet cloths or a bath. Do not give a person with heat stroke fluids, and treat the situation as s serious medical emergency (CDC).
If you live in a humid climate, be aware of the heat index. The heat index factors in the humidity, which can make the temperature feel 15° hotter.
Extreme heat is a serious danger. For more information on preparation and prevention, visit ready.gov or cdc.gov.
Extreme Heat Safety Tips to Prepare You Home
- Install window air conditioners snugly; insulate if necessary.
- Check air-conditioning ducts for proper insulation
- Install temporary window reflectors (for use between windows and drapes), such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard, to reflect heat back outside.
- Weather-strip doors and sills to keep cool air in.
- Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings, or louvers. (Outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80%).
- Keep storm windows up all year.
Poor Indoor Air Quality? -- Dirty Air Ducts are the Culprit!
More often times than not poor air quality in homes and commercial buildings can be attributed to a dirty ventilation system. Your HVAC system should be a high priority and demand your attention regularly. Dirty ducts can circulate odors, contaminants such as mold, and irritating dust throughout your building or home.
A routine service that SERVPRO offers is inspections of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) unit. Keeping the HVAC system and ductwork clean can potentially extend the life span of the equipment by allowing it to operate at peak condition, which may save you money!
SERVPRO Duct Cleaning System is proven and cost efficient. We use a portable ventilation and air duct cleaning system to examine ductwork and make a clean sweep, removing years of dust and grime.
Contact us today for more information or to schedule a duct cleaning appointment!
Emergency Fire Damage Do's & Don'ts
These tips will assist you in taking proper actions until we arrive to a scene of a fire. Follow these DOs and DON'Ts to help reduce damage and increase the chances of a successful restoration:
- Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into carpet and avoid tracking
- Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork
- If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator completely and prop doors open to help prevent odor
- Wipe soot from metal kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim, and appliances.
- If heat is off during winter, pour RV antifreeze in sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks, and tubs to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures
- Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system
- Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without contacting SERVPRO first
- Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat, or water without first consulting an authorized repair service
- Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. Wiring may be wet or damaged and cause electrical shock, and air movement may create secondary damage
"Prepare" is the Buzz Word of 2017
Resolutions are key to starting the new year, so why not resolve to be READY? No one ever plans on a disaster, but you can prepare for it. The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile (ERP) will help ensure you are "Ready for whatever happens" in 2017.
In the event of an emergency, the ERP can help minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action in place for your facility. The ERP is a comprehensive document containing critical information about your business, including emergency contacts, shut-off valve locations and priority areas. The ERP also establishes your local SERVPRO of Virginia Beach as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider, giving you access to over 45 years experience and a System more than 1,700 Franchises strong. The ERP is a no-cost assessment; all it requires is a little time, making it a great value that could save you time and money in the future. By downloading the free SERVPRO READY App, this information is stored electronically and can be accessed using your mobile device putting help at your fingertips.
Having a plan in place may help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive and get you back in the building following a disaster. Don't wait until disaster strikes -- resolve to be READY.
Always Be Prepared! -- How to Prepare for Winter Weather and Avoid Water Damage
As seasons change, so do property owners preparation checklists. With winter weather upon us, it is important for homeowners and property managers to do everything they can do to reduce risks of costly water damage caused by frozen pipes.
When water freezes, it expands. That’s why a can of soda explodes if it’s put into a freezer to chill quickly and then forgotten. When water freezes in a pipe, it expands the same way. If it expands enough, the pipe bursts and water escapes leaving serious damage as a result.
Pipes in attics, crawlspaces, and outside walls are all vulnerable to freezing, especially if there are cracks or openings that allow the cold, outside air to flow across the pipes. Holes in an outside wall where television, cable or telephone lines enter can provide access for cold air to reach pipes.
The Red Cross warns that pipe freezing is likely to occur after consecutive days and nights of freezing (32 degrees) or below conditions. Taking the following precautions ahead of time can help you prevent potential pipe catastrophes:
- Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets, especially if the pipes for faucets run through unheated or uninsulated areas of your home. Allowing cold water to trickle from a faucet can alleviate pressure and prevent a rupture even if freezing occurs.
- If a vacant home, keep the temperature above 65 degrees.
- Cap outdoor water fixtures. By placing a cover on outdoor spigots and faucets, it reduces the possibility these fixtures build up with ice.
- Keep cabinet doors open during cold spells. This allows warm air to circulate around pipes.
If you have done nothing to prevent frozen pipes and you have water leaking or you have no water pressure, it likely means your pipes have burst. According to State Farm Insurance, this happens to more than 50 million families each year in the United States. If a pipe has even 1/8” crack, it can release 250 gallons of water a day.
You must act fast to prevent further, and more costly damage.
- This first step is to always shut down your property’s main water supply. (Depending on the amount of water and location, you may want to first turn off electricity.)
- If it’s heated water that’s coming from the broken pipe, you should also close the valve attached to your hot water heater.
- After you’ve shut down the water, call a plumber for help with repairing or replacing the burst pipe.
Make SERVPRO of Virginia Beach your first call to help you and your local insurance agent assess the damage. We will work for you to restore your property and your life to make it Like It Never Happened®.
SERVPRO of Virginia Beach got the call to send our Disaster Recovery Team to Louisiana
Storm Disaster on 1 street in Louisiana
At first we believed we were traveling to Louisiana to help restore the flood damage
….We found we were restoring more than homes, we were restoring Lives
I am so honored to have been a part of SERVPRO of Virginia Beach’s Disaster Recovery Team and even more honored to work for a company like SERVPRO. Within hours SERVPRO had mobilized the largest restoration team to go to Louisiana. Over 2,000 SERVPRO employees, hundreds of trucks and equipment and the best experience and knowledge in the industry made way to the devastated regions of Louisiana. Most of you have heard me talk about our capabilities and strength in numbers but this time I was a part of it and experienced it first hand. To say I was WOWED is an understatement. Every corner, every road bled green and orange as SERVPROs from across the country gathered together to restore homes and lives. It was amazing to see and the best part was the hugs, smiles and thumbs up we received from the Louisiana residents. I am especially proud of the hardworking crew of SERVPRO of Virginia Beach, working 12 to 14 hour days with little sleep and a huge determination to do the job right and to quickly help those in need.
Our Disaster Recovery Team consisted of myself, Jason Cheracles, Wally Anderton, Ben Wynkoop, LaNese Holiday, Malcolm Williams, Bryce Games, Esteban Casillas, Kris Spell, Stephan Spell, Jerry Noell and Robert Kite. We aren’t just saying SERVPRO is the best, we are living it. I am a proud employee of SERVPRO of Virginia Beach. And when you need us, we will be there to make it like it never even happened.
Virginia Beach Smoke & Soot Cleanup
Smoke and soot damage can cause a pervasive odor in your Virginia Beach home.
Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.
Smoke and soot facts:
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
- The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
Different Types of Smoke
There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Virginia Beach will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:
Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber
- Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood
- Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.
Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire
- Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
Our Fire Damage Restoration Services
Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.
Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 757-431-1400
September: National Preparedness Month
As a business owner or manager, you are a leader in your community and have the opportunity to set an example for your employees, customers and community to follow. This September 2016, join our community in preparing for emergencies and disasters of all types and leading efforts to encourage the community as a whole to become more prepared.
Disasters not only devastate individuals and neighborhoods, but entire communities, including businesses of all sizes. As an employer in your community, having a business continuity plan can help protect your company, its employees and its infrastructure, and maximizes your chances of recovery after an emergency or disaster. Ready Business asks companies to take three simple steps: plan to stay in business, encourage your people to become Ready and protect your investment.
This year, the Ready Campaign and Citizen Corps, with support from Coalition Members across the nation, including a wide range of businesses and organizations, is focusing National Preparedness Month (NPM) on encouraging individuals, families, and businesses to take active steps toward becoming Ready. We must work together as a team to ensure that our families, businesses, neighborhoods, and communities are Ready. Ready Business, an extension of the Ready Campaign, helps business owners and managers of small and medium-sized businesses prepare their employees, operations and assets in the event of an emergency. The Business section of Ready.gov contains vital information for businesses on how to get started preparing their business and their unique needs during an emergency. For more information on NPM, or for help preparing your business, call 1-800-BE-READY, 1- 888-SE-LISTO, and TTY 1-800-462-7585 or visit Ready.gov/business where business owners can download or order free Ready information, publications, and much more.
It's The Water That You Don't See...
It's The Water You Don't See...
Even small water damages have the potential to cause serious structural and indoor air quality issues over time.
The key to avoiding costly future restoration is to handle every water problem as a real threat to your property. The proper equipment makes a measurable difference in reducing the damage expense during a water loss. When time matters most, technology and equipment must be counted on to perform.
Here are a few tools used by Professional Restoration Contractors to properly mitigate a loss;
Moisture Sensors- used to detect moisture in carpets, baseboards and walls.
Moisture Meters- used to determine the actual moisture content of various materials. The meter provides accurate readings to monitor the drying process.
Thermohygrometers- measures temperature and relative humidity to calculate and create an environment most conducive to drying. When handling a contaminated loss (CAT 2 or 3), it is not only important to dry the structure, but disinfect and often deodorize.
Ultra Low-Volume (ULV) Foggers- used to atomize liquid deodorizing agents, producing a fine mist that can easily penetrate the site where odor-causing residues may accumulate. It can also be use to inject fungicides and disinfectants into wall cavities and other hard-to-reach areas.
Thermal Foggers- dispenses solvent-based products by creating a dense fog that consists of tiny particles of deodorant solution that attach to and neutralize odor causing particles.
The bottom line... ALWAYS treat a water damage seriously. Call a professional contractor that is trained and experienced in property damage restoration.