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 sun 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 heat islands are strongest during the day when the sun is shining, while the atmospheric 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-threatening. 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 a 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 Your 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 percent.)
- Keep storm windows up all year.
Biohazard, Crime Scene and Vandalism Cleanup
Recognized as a leading fire and water cleanup and restoration provider by hundreds of insurance companies, SERVPRO franchise professionals offer fast, reliable biohazard and crime scene cleanup and restoration services to residential and commercial property owners.
Exposure to biological and chemical contaminants can pose serious health consequences for building occupants, employees, customers and owners. A failure to properly handle and safely remove such hazardous substances can contribute to unhealthy and even dangerous environments.
SERVPRO franchise professionals are trained to safely and effectively remove bio-hazardous substances and prepare waste for proper disposal according to OSHA, EPA, and state and local health regulations.
Equipped with the necessary safety equipment and cleaning products, we can help turn unsafe environments into clean, safe homes and offices.
We can help with the following issues:
- Blood-borne Pathogens
- Methamphetamine Labs
- Crime Scene Residues
- Sewage Backups
- Black Water Intrusions
- Mold Mitigation and Remediation
We remove and dispose of bodily fluids, tissue and other potentially pathogenic substances resulting from accident, trauma, crime or death. Trained SERVPRO franchise technicians thoroughly clean, disinfect and deodorize the structure.
Many of the chemicals used in the production of illegal drugs, such as methamphetamine, are volatile and can leave harmful residues throughout a structure. We follow federal and state guidelines to properly clean all surfaces.
CRIME SCENE RESIDUES
From fingerprint powder and evidence-gathering chemicals to tear gas and pepper spray residues, we can clean and restore your property and contents.
ARSON AND VANDALISM
We are recognized as leaders at helping property owners recover quickly from fire and water damage. We also provide general cleaning and deodorization services for situations resulting from vandalism including graffiti, egg, spoiled foods and human or animal waste.
Understanding Water Types
When your home or business suffers a water damage, understanding what type of water you are dealing with is critical to ensuring proper cleanup. There are three types of water. Clean water is water from a broken pipe, or other water source; rainwater is also considered clean. The term gray water is used to classify slightly contaminated water. Clean water becomes gray water when it's left untreated allowing bacteria and other contaminants to begin growing, making the water hazardous. Black water is highly contaminated and filled with fungi, bacteria, chemicals and more. Black water is typically caused by sewage damage, flooding or any type of natural disaster. Black water should always be handled by trained professionals. When you have a water damage, don't leave your property to chance. Call us and consider taking the following precautions to help minimize damage or prevent further damage while waiting for help to arrive.
Damage from Clean Water
- Shut off the water source if possible or contact a qualified professional to do so.
- Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building if access to the power distribution panel is safe from potential electric shock. Do not enter rooms with standing water, as electrical shock hazards may exist.
- Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting. Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items.
- Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions to allow more even drying.
- Move any paintings, art objects, computers, documents and other valuable items that may be sensitive to moisture to a safe place.
- Do not leave books, newspapers, magazines or other colored items on wet carpets or floors as they may cause staining.
- Do not use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water as there is potential for electrical shock or causing damage to the vacuum cleaner.
- Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet; do not enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.
Damage from Contaminated Water
- Avoid all contact with sewage and items contaminated by sewage. Wash your hands thoroughly if you come in contact with contaminated items.
- Do not walk through contaminated areas, as you could spread damage to unaffected areas.
- Do not turn on the HVAC system if there is a possibility of spreading contaminated air.
- Do not use household fans to dry the structure; air flow could spread contaminants.
- Discard any food and/or products for personal hygiene and cleanliness if exposed to the contaminated areas.
What SERVPRO Professionals Can Do for You
With more than 50 years of industry experience, SERVPRO is a leader of fire, water, mold and other specialty cleanup and restoration services. Our network of more than 1,700 franchises has responded to property damage emergencies ranging from multi-million dollar large losses to those suffered by individual businesses and homes. Providing coverage in the United States and Canada, SERVPRO has earned the trust of major insurance companies, commercial clients and countless homeowners. Below are the residential and commercial services we provide, including but not limited to:
Fire, Smoke and Soot Cleanup and Restoration
Pretesting helps us determine what type of fire has taken place. Knowing the types of smoke and their behavior patterns are vital to proper restoration.
Water Removal and Dehumidification
We identify the source and type of water, which determines the proper course of action. Drying equipment controls temperature and humidity, minimizing secondary damage.
Crime Scene, Biohazard and Vandalism Cleanup
We are trained to safely and effectively clean bio-hazardous substances and prepare waste for proper disposal according to OSHA, EPA and state and local health regulations.
Mold Mitigation and Remediation
We work to control and remove mold contaminants while protecting the health and safety of building occupants.
Contents Claim Inventory Service
Accurate inventory helps keep costs low and reduces job completion time. We can provide an itemized, room-by-room loss inventory.
Air Duct and HVAC Cleaning
We can inspect your HVAC system and ductwork. Cleaning services can be provided to help restore peak energy efficiency, eliminate offensive odors and improve indoor air quality.
Carpet and Hard Floor Cleaning and Care
We use the latest IICRC training as well as state-of-the-art equipment to remove entrapped soils from deep within your carpet's pile and backings.
Stain Removal, Stain Resistance Applications
Using IICRC standards for carpet as a guide, we will show you what cleaning option would be best for your carpet's level of soiling and explain the benefits of soil protection.
Odor Identification and Deodorization
We will find the source of the odor and determine the best methods to neutralize and eliminate it.
Upholstery and Drapes: Wet or Dry Cleaning Methods
Fabrics are inspected and tested to determine the safest and most effective cleaning method.
You have so much invested in your home. Choose SERVPRO to protect your most valuable asset! Your home is a reflection of you and makes an impression on all those who enter it. You invest your time, energy and hard-earned resources to maintain, protect and increase the value of your home.
When you need work done on your home or business, you should expect the very best service at a fair price. We are committed to providing fire and water cleanup and restoration services, as well as top-quality professional cleaning services for your entire residential or commercial property.
Destroy Odors with Deodorization
Even a small fire can cause odors for years to come if the affected areas are not properly cleaned and deodorized. Fire, smoke and soot damage in your home or business can create unpleasant and potentially permanent problems.
As various materials burn, the smoke produced travels throughout the structure, leaving odorous residues and deposits on surfaces and in hard-to-reach places. Unless fast, professional action is taken, these residues and deposits can cause permanent damage to contents and may result in resurfacing odors.
With technicians certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration (IICRC), SERVPRO franchise professionals provide specialized services that can rid your home or business of offensive odors left by fire or smoke damage. We do not cover up lingering odors with a fragrance; we seek out and remove the source of the odor. Once the source is found, SERVPRO's own proprietary line of cleaning products is used to treat and prevent the odor from returning. Any restorable item in affected areas will also be professionally cleaned and deodorized, including furniture, draperies and upholstery, electronics, art, flooring, walls, ceilings, HVAC air ducts and more.
Other odors that may require deodorization:
- Cigarette Smoke
- Pet Odors
Ask your SERVPRO franchise professionals to explain the various deodorization methods available and which one will work best for you.
If you suffer a fire damage or some other accident and require deodorization services, contact us immediately. Whether it's fire, water or mold damage, or just a stubborn odor that refuses to go away, we'll help make it "Like it never even happened."
Hoarding: A Serious Situation
According to The Mayo Clinic, "A hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. A person with hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items. Excessive accumulation of items, regardless of actual value, occurs." Many people with a hoarding disorder do not find their habits to be a problem. Hoarded items are often things others would throw away or look at as junk or garbage, such as old newspapers, junk mail or packaging.
Hoarding can lead to homes filled with extreme clutter to full capacity from years of accumulation, making living conditions unsanitary and crowded. Bugs, fleas, rats and other vermin may be present, at which point an exterminator would need to be called. At times, hoarding may spread to outside the home as well, to storage facilities, or even the garage or yard.
SERVPRO encounters hoarding situations in several different ways. Often, we are called for a fire or water loss and find the hoarding situation when we arrive on-site. We will communicate with the insurance company regarding their contents coverage, and after approval, contents can be packed out and possibly cleaned, dried and stored by us, or relocated to a storage facility so work on the fire or water loss can begin.
Another way SERVPRO encounters hoarding jobs is through calls from landlords, case workers, real estate agents or family members, often after the death of a loved one. In these situations, we will see if we should look for any items of importance while we clean the job. Sometimes, family members will come and try to help the hoarder sort through their contents as well.
If you encounter a hoarding situation at one of your properties or wish your insureds, call us today. Each case is very different, and hoarding jobs are often sensitive situations, but we are here to help make it "Like it never even happened."
Be Flood Smart
Facts and information provided by FloodSmart.gov.
Floods are one of the most common and widespread natural disasters in the United States. Whether your home or business is near a coastline, along city streets, in the mountains, near a river, or even in the desert, there is always potential for flood damage. Floodsmart.gov reports, in the last 5 years, all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods. Just because you haven't experienced a flood in the past, does not mean you won't in the future. In fact, nearly 20% of all flood insurance claims come from moderate-to-low risk areas. On average, floods cost $3.5 billion in annual losses in the United States.
According to the American Red Cross (ARC), floods cause more damage in the U.S. every year than any other weather-related disaster. The ARC offers the following flood safety tips.
- Stay away from floodwaters. If you come up on a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.
- If you approach a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept by less than two feet of moving water.
- Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.
If a food does strike your home or business, contact us. Even minor floods have the potential to cause major damage to a structure when not treated quickly and properly, and the cleanup is often an overwhelming task. We are prepared to handle any sized disaster. When fire and water take control of your life, we will help you take it back.
HERE TO HELP with Coronavirus
HERE TO HELP minimize the spread of germs.
SERVPRO professionals are trained in adhering to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards.
SERVPRO professionals offer cleaning services including the removal of biohazard contaminants. They have the specialized training and products to get your property back to business.
The CDC is responding to an outbreak of a respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has spread to 60 locations internationally (as of this publication), including cases in the United States. The virus known as “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”) is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person or through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Scope of Cleanup Protocol
SERVPRO professionals can perform a proactive cleanup that involves facility or structure cleaning and disinfection where the customer states that there is no active known threat of COVID-19 contamination or exposure. The customer will be required to acknowledge that cleaning and disinfecting will only apply to the current state of the structure and contents. The structure would not be protected from future COVID-19 contamination if an infected person was to enter and occupy the building.
Cleanup Scope of Work and Planning
The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and tables at a minimum. These same surfaces are mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces as well, including:
- Kitchen/Food Areas
- Retail Spaces
- Water Fountains
- Shelving and Racks
- Sales Counters
- Carpets and Rugs
- Stair Handrails
- Elevator Cars
- Playground Equipment
- Fitness Equipment
Cleanup and Disinfecting Procedures
Cleanup procedures generally include cleaning of porous and non-porous surfaces, disinfecting of non-porous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, tools, and/or supplies used for cleanup process, and disposal of waste.
The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar type organisms to COVID-19.
SERVPROXIDETM, SERVPRO’s proprietary disinfectant, is a hospital-grade disinfectant that has demonstrated effectiveness against viruses similar to SARS-CoV-2 on hard, non-porous surfaces. In addition, SERVPROXIDETM currently has dozens of EPA-approved claims including Feline coronavirus, Canine coronavirus, Staphylococcus (MRSA), E. coli, Salmonella, Rotavirus, Swine flu (H1N1) and more.
Porous surfaces that are not water-sensitive, such as carpet and other fabric material, cannot be disinfected but can be sanitized using SERVPROXIDETM.
When there's a water intrusion, like a roof leak or leaking water line, mold can quickly become a problem in your home or business. Mold can cause health effects and can also cause significant damage to your property. Fortunately, SERVPRO professionals have the training, protective gear and specialized equipment necessary to handle your mold problem. Although every mold damage scenario is different requiring a unique solution, the general mold remediation process stays the same. The following steps illustrate a "typical" mold removal process.
Call the Team in Green
The mold cleanup and restoration process begins when you call us. A representative will ask a series of questions to help determine the necessary equipment, resources and personnel needed.
Inspection and Damage Assessment
Your property will be carefully inspected for signs of mold using technology designed to detect mold and hidden water sources. Mold feeds on cellulose and water and can be hidden from plain view.
Various containment procedures will be placed to prevent the spread of mold and isolate the contaminated area with physical barriers and negative air pressure to keep the mold spores from spreading during the cleanup process.
Specialized filtration equipment captures microscopic mold spores out of the air. SERVPRO technicians utilize powerful air scrubbers and HEPA vacuums to prevent the spread of these mold spores while the mold remediation is in progress.
Removing Mold and Mold-Infested Materials
The mold remediation process depends on the amount of mold growth and the types of surfaces on which the mold appears. Anti-fungal and antimicrobial treatments will be used to eliminate mold colonies and help prevent new colonies from forming. Removing and disposing of mold-infested porous materials, like drywall and flooring, may be necessary to remediate heavy mold growth.
Cleaning Contents and Belongings
SERVPRO professionals clean your furniture, decorative items, curtains and other restorable items affected by mold. They use a variety of cleaning techniques to clean and sanitize your belongings. They are also trained to remove odors and deodorize using fogging equipment.
Depending on the level of mold damage, drywall, subfloors and other building materials may be removed. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting and installing new carpet; or it may entail major repairs such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business.
We understand mold and mold growth and have the training and equipment to remediate mold in your home or business.
Rapid Response is CRUCIAL
Call the cleanup team that is faster to any size disaster.
The first 48 hours after a fire damage can make the difference between restoring versus replacing damaged property and personal belongings. Rapid response and timely mitigation can help prevent fire damage from creating long-term problems.
Your local SERVPRO franchise professionals understand that returning to normal is your primary concern. SERVPRO response teams are trained in caring for both you and your property. By responding quickly with a full line of fire cleanup and restoration services, your local SERVPRO franchise professionals can help you get your home or business back up and running quickly and help protect your property and belongings.
If your home or business suffers a fire damage, contact your local SERVPRO franchise professionals to help make it "Like it never even happened."