Be Storm Ready, Be Storm Smart
Severe weather can happen any time, and anywhere. Each year, Americans cope with an average of the following intense storms*:
· 10,000 severe thunderstorms
· 5,000 floods or flash floods
· 1,000 tornadoes
· 2 land falling, deadly hurricanes
Approximately 98 percent of all presidentially declared disasters are weather-related, leading to around 500 deaths per year and nearly $15 billion in damage.* Knowing your risk of severe weather, taking action and being an example are just a few steps you can take to be better prepared to save your life and assist in saving the lives of others.
Know Your Risk. The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you, your business and your family. Check the weather forecast regularly, obtain a NOAA Weather Radio, and learn about Wireless Emergency Alerts. Severe weather comes in many forms and your shelter plan should include all types of local hazards.
Take Action. Take the next step in severe weather preparedness by creating a communications plan for your home or business. Put together or purchase an emergency kit. Keep important papers and valuables in a safe place.
Be an Example. Once you have taken action to prepare for severe weather, share your story with co-workers and family and friends on Facebook or Twitter. Your preparedness story will inspire others to do the same.
*Facts provided by http://www.stormready.noaa.gov.
Tips on Cleaning and Organizing Workspaces
Determine how you want and need to use the space and set up zones for your daily functions. You may require a workspace for your computer, a library area for your research, a storage area for supplies and a filing area for your archives. This will provide a foundation for a more efficient use of space.
Keep Only What You Need at Arm’s Length:
Boxes of pens, stacks of papers and old coffee cups need to go. Rid your desk of visual clutter by paring down the items on top to the essentials only. Supplies, paperwork and personal items should be kept in the zones you’ve established for them.
Sort Your Catch-All Drawer:
Use drawer dividers to give everything a place, like compartments for paperclips and rubber bands. Go through the drawer every six weeks and clear out anything that is out of place or isn’t being used.
Eliminate Digital Clutter:
Digital clutter can be just as stressful as physical clutter. Organize digital files and your e-mail inbox just as you would paper files – with a system of logical and clearly labeled folders. Also, keep the icons on your desktop to a bare minimum, and trade in sticky notes on your monitor of calendar reminders.
Create A Daily Paper System:
Consider creating hanging files or baskets labeled “To Read,” “To Do,” and “To File.” Establish set days for each, so that you don’t get behind or feel the overwhelming need to do everything at once.
Prevent the buildup of dust, dirt, food stains and fingerprints. Wipe down your desk, phone, keyboard, and monitor once a week with disinfecting wipes.
Tips provided by Forbes, The Dangers of a Messy Desk.
Water : Clean Vs Contaminated
When you have a water damage, don’t leave your property to chance. Call SERVPRO of District Heights/Landover. Consider the following steps 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 electrical shock.
· 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 for even drying.
· Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
Damage from Contaminated Water:
· Avoid all contact with sewage and items contaminated by sewage.
· Do not walk through contaminated areas, as you could spread damage to unaffected areas.
· Do not turn on 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.
Note: If exposed to harmful waste, OSHA recommends a post-exposure medical evaluation. Consult your local health department or physician.
Areas In Your House That Mold Can Hide From You
Mold can occur anywhere in a home but mainly is concentrated to areas where moisture is present. These moisture areas are common to the bathroom and basements. Mold can cause respiratory problems and should be removed if found as soon as possible. Most restoration companies only do mold inspections if the mold is visible, an industrial hygienist would come in and search for traces of mold that are not visible.
One of the first places mold can collect and you may not think to check is under the refrigerator. Under the fridge tends to collect moisture and dirt which can cause a breeding ground for bacteria and mold.
Another place is the AC unit. AC units are known to collect debris, dust and moisture from the air, which can lead to mold spores.
Mold can even grow in or around a washing machine or its parts. Moisture and lint can cause a presence of mold spores.
Other area in the house include anywhere moisture and dirt may form such as window corners.
Spruce Up Your Space
Birds are chirping and the temperatures have warmed up – spring is finally here! Spring Cleaning is a tradition allowing us to freshen our environment and get a head start on the hectic seasons of spring and summer. While many people deep clean their homes, this is also a great time to clean and organize your business.
SERVPRO of District Heights/Landover can help get your facility in tip top shape. In addition to air duct and HVAC cleaning, SERVPRO of District Heights/Landover’s Professionals are trained to use state-of-the-art equipment to remove soils hiding deep within your carpet, as well as focused stain removal and stain resistance applications. Other services include: upholstery and drapery cleaning, hard floor cleaning and care, and odor deodorization.
A clean environment is a healthy environment! Improve your living and work spaces this spring. SERVPRO of District Heights/Landover has the tools to make your home or business sparkle in no time!
Build An Emergency Supply Kit
· Water (one gallon per person per day)
· Food (non-perishable 3-day supply)
· Manual can opener
· Battery operated radio, preferably a NOAA Weather Radio
· Flashlight and extra batteries
· First aid kit
· Whistle to signal for help
· Dust masks or bandanas
· Plastic sheeting, garbage bags and duct tape
· Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
· Hygiene items
· Important documents; copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account information
· Fire extinguisher
· Matches in a waterproof container
SERVPRO of District Heights / Landover is locally owned and operated, so we’re already close by and ready to respond immediately when you need us. We’re also part of a national network of over 1,700 Franchises, which gives us access to more resources for larger cleaning or restoration projects or major storm scenarios.
Keep Your Kitchen Safe!
Recipe For Kitchen Safety:
· Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
· Stay in the home when cooking food and check on it frequently.
· Watch children closely. It is a good rule of thumb to keep children three feet away from the cooking area.
· Clean cooking surfaces to prevent food and grease build-up.
· Keep curtains, towels and pot holders away from hot surfaces and store solvents and flammable cleaners away from heat sources. Never keep gasoline in the house.
· Turn pan handles inward to prevent food spills.
· Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
· Make sure your smoke alarms are working by testing them prior to beginning food preparation.
Tips and statistics reproduced from NFPA’s Web site, nfpa.org
Storms and heavy rains can cause heavy flooding in such a short period of time. A perfect example of this is in Lousiana currently. They had 2 feet of rain that fell consistently for 3 days, and within a 72-hour time span the streets were flooded. The National Weather Service is warning that rivers will stay in flood stage for days
Flooding means that not only will a homeowner have to think about the current situation of being displaced from their home and losing some of their personal belongings, but the results after the water is gone. Standing water is a breeding ground for bacteria.
Once the water has subsisded the presence of dirt, grime, bacteria and mold will be present. The level of these things depends on how long the standing water is left unattended. In a case like Louisiana there is no telling when the water can be extracted from the towns let alone peoples houses.
After the waters have subsided and before you immediately enter your home refer to this checklist.
1. Watch out for wild animals, poisonous snakes that may have entered the home, check thru the debris.
2. Watch out for plaster, loose ceiling structures and document everything for yourself and for insurance purposes.
3. Throw away any food, anything that may have come in contact with the flood waters, anything in the fridge.
4. Check electrical systems, gas leaks, sewage and water lines all for damage.
Mold Prevention & Mitigation: For Your Health
Molds are found in every environment, and mold spores reproduce rapidly when moisture is present. An Institute of Medicine study found excessive dampness indoors encourages the growth of molds and other organisms, potentially causing a public health problem. The EPA advised that the potential health concerns from molds are an important reason to prevent moisture problems leading to mold growth. Possible health effects include runny nose, sneezing, coughing, aggravation of asthma, sore throat, or inflammation of the sinuses.
SERVPRO of District Heights/Landover handles water damages every day and knows prompt action is required to prevent mold growth. If there is an ongoing moisture problem in the building, be alert for:
· The presence of visible mold.
· Strong musty odors, which may indicate mold is present.
· Any evidence of past moisture problems that might have caused undetected mold growth.
· Excessive humidity.
These conditions may require the expertise of a qualified Indoor Air Quality/Environmental Professional to inspect the building for mold growth and water damage problems.
SERVPRO of District Heights/Landover cares about proper restoration of your structure and, in most water-damage situations, can safely restore your building to preloss condition.
Why Trusting a Restoration Professional After a Fire Is So Important
Because of the convection pattern that flames typically form during ignition, smoky residue saturates every opening. The soot constructs up in layers that may end up being solidified and tough to eliminate which is another reason to leave the cleaning to a specialist. When the cleaning teams do arrive, they promptly different salvageable items from charred debris, taking the things creating the strongest odors out for cleaning.
Following a fire, wall surface areas can be harmed by soot. Non-water based cleaners need to be used to remove soot from walls. These kinds of chemicals should be handled by a specialist due to the fumes and toxicity. Water-based cleaning items can cause spots to bleed into plaster walls which is why a trained specialist should be left to deal with these chemicals.
Most importantly, a restoration effort reduces the after-effects a blaze can have on the health of those who return in. If a homeowner does not have the property restored by a professional, the results can be found later on down the line. To an untrained eye they might believe the issue has been fixed, they experience the remaining impacts of indoor air pollution for numerous months later on in the form of increased respiratory discomfort.
Companies like SERVPRO are leading experts in fire restoration. They are trained to help remove your belongings as well as cleaning and storing them until your property has been restored to its original condition.