Keep your Doors Closed.
Did you know that 40 years ago you had about 17 mins. to get out of your house during a fire?
Now you have have about 3 mins. This is due to the synthetic materials, furniture and construction materials that we use.
Fire spreads faster than ever. Having your door closed can save your life. It gives you more time to find a way out before the room fills with smoke or more time to be rescued.
Having the door closed slows down the smoke, hear and fire itself.
One concern that people had with having the door was that they wouldn't be able to hear the alarm. The difference, in one study, showed that there was only a 17 decimal difference between the door closed and opened. It was still loud enought to hear the alarm in the room with the door closed.
Along with the alarm, having the door closed can save your life.
Get in the habit of closing the door.
Here are some ways a small businesses should prepare for a natural disaster.
Could your business survive a natural disaster?
Make a reliable emergency response plan.
Create safety plans for your business.
FEMA has a great resource booklet.
Every business should also have a business continuity plan that outlines what you will do and who you can call on to help keep your business running in the event of a disaster.
Create a survival kit.
Keep your desk stocked with these items.
* One gallon of water: Keep enough water in your work kit to last you at least 24 hours.
* Non-perishable food: Pack some granola bars in your emergency kit that will last until you can get home to your family.
* Flashlights: Stow a small flashlight at your workplace in case of a power outage.
* Batteries: Purchase extra batteries and keep them in your desk.
* Toilet paper: Ensure the office supply cupboard has the essentials like toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
* First-Aid kit: Keep a large First-Aid kit on hand at the office, and supply each employee with small, personal-sized emergency kits for their supply kit.
* Walking shoes: Keep an old pair of walking shoes at your desk in case you need to walk home from work.
Ensure that you have enough insurance coverage.
Most business owners don’t have interruption insurance, which offers to reimburse all or part of the income a business might have generated without an interruption. Cost may be a factor in why entrepreneurs pass on such coverage: Policy prices range from $750 to $10,000 or more, depending on business size.
Back-up all your electronic data.
Do this daily, you don’t know when a disaster will happen.
Determine a communication strategy.
Develop several ways to alert employees of an emergency. For instance, maybe use email blasts, text blasts and voice broadcasting, which allows to simultaneously send a voice message to everyone's office phone and cell phone. Also, install alarms throughout the building and test them regularly. For retailers and other businesses that often have customers on site, consider installing intercoms to issue instructions to staff and customers at the same time.
Consider temporary relocation if needed.
Fight feelings of isolation through relaxation techniques.In addition to the change in your routine, Employees may also be feeling cooped up and anxious about not being able to leave their home. Inform employee’s uses of relaxation and meditation techniques such as yoga and deep breathing exercises to calm their nerves during times of heightened insecurity.
Being Safe While Decorating for the Holidays!
Christmas Trees can be deadly.
Christmas trees - Are beautiful but can be deadly. Check out this video. It's amazing how fast things can change.
- Between 2011-2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an average 200 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year. These fires caused an average of 6 deaths, 16 injuries, and $14.8 million in direct property damage annually.
- On average, one of every 32 reported home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 143 total reported home fires.
- Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in two of every five (40%) of home Christmas tree fires.
- In one-quarter (26%) of the Christmas tree fires and in 80% of the deaths, some type of heat source, such as a candle or equipment, was too close to the tree.
- One quarter (24%) of Christmas tree fires were intentional.
- Forty-two percent of reported home Christmas tree fires occurred in December and 37% were reported in January.
- More than one-third (37%) home Christmas tree fires started in the living room, family room, or den.
Source: NFPA's "Home Structure Fires Involving Christmas Trees" report
For many, the winter holidays are a time of joy, celebration and tradition. Decorating your home, yard or office is a fun, festive way to celebrate the season. A little planning can help you enjoy your display all season long. Following are some tips from Travelers Risk Consultants to help keep your family and friends safe around your decorative displays.
Planning your Holiday Display
- Plan your display according to the number and location of available outlets, and avoid overloading electrical outlets.
- Use lights that have been tested for safety – look for a certification mark from UL, CSA, ETL or other nationally-recognized laboratories. Consider using LED lights when possible – they run cooler, use less energy and last longer than incandescent lights.
- Never exceed the maximum number of strings or devices that may be linked together, as indicated on decoration packaging.
- Carefully inspect all lights and decorations for cracks, damaged sockets and loose or bare wires prior to use – these defects can cause a serious fire or shock.
- When decorating the outside of your home, keep yourself, your decorations and equipment at least 10 feet from power lines. Make sure decorations are well-ventilated, protected from weather and a safe distance away from flammable items.
- Use wooden or fiberglass ladders when putting up electrical décor and lights outside as metal ladders conduct electricity.
- Unplug electric lights, devices and decorations before installing or replacing bulbs, changing parts or attempting other repairs.
- Plug all outdoor lights and decorations into ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to reduce the risk of electric shock. Portable GFCIs for outdoor use can be purchased where electrical supplies are sold.
- Secure lights, decorations and cords to prevent wind damage. Never staple, nail through or fasten electrical wires or extensions cords in any way that might damage the wire or insulation. This could cause electrical shock or fire.
During the Holidays
- Turn off all lights and electrical decorations before leaving your home or office, or going to bed.
- If possible, use battery-operated candles in place of traditional candles to avoid the hazards of an open flame. If you choose to light candles, place them away from flammable or combustible materials, including other decorations, fabrics, plastic or paper products.
- Do not put candles in places where they might be easily knocked over, and never leave a lit candle unattended.
- Extinguish all candles before leaving a room or going to bed.
Packing and Storage
- Inspect and discard damaged decorations prior to packing and storing them.
- Store decorations in a dry location that is out of the reach of children and pets, as well as heat sources and open flames.
- Stack boxes in a corner or other stable location, and never higher than eye level to avoid injury or damage from toppling.
Source(s): Consumer Protection Safety Commission, http://www.cpsc.gov/; Electrical Safety Foundation International, http://esfi.org/.
Masters of Mitigation
Mold always has a way of hiding in places you might never check, but that's why the SERVPRO of HoCo mold removal team is here for!
Where there's water, there is mold risk. Mold can not only affect your health, but it can also cause significant damage to your property. It is for the very same reasons that our SERVPRO of Howard County teams have the training, protective gear, and specialized equipment necessary to handle any mold problem. Although every mold damage scenario is unique, and requires an equally unique solution, the general mold remediation process stays the same, so as to meet top industry standards.
Curious how we do it? Here are the basics for a "typical" mold job:
The mold cleanup and restoration process starts when you call us and tell us about the problem affecting your home. One of our fabulous office admins will ask you a series of questions that help determine the necessary equipment, resources, and personnel needed to get your home back to normal
Inspection & Damage Assessment
Our team will inspect your home or business for signs of mold using technology designed to detect spores and any hidden water that might be feeding the mold and growing it
Various containment procedures are followed prevent the mold from spreading and to isolate the contaminated area with physical barriers and negative air pressure to also keep the mold spores from spreading during the rest of the cleanup process
Special filtration equipment captures microscopic mold spores in the air. Our professionals use powerful air scrubbers and HEPA vacuums to further prevent the spread of these mold spores while the mold remediation is in progress
Removing Mold & Mold-Infested Materials
The mold remediation process depends on
a variety of factors, but mainly the amount of mold, and the types of surfaces the mold appears on. Antifungal and antimicrobial treatments are then employed to eliminate mold colonies and help prevent new ones from forming. Removing and disposing of mold-infested porous materials, like drywall and flooring, is sometimes necessary to remediate heavier mold growth
Cleaning Contents & Belongings
Our SERVPRO pros thoroughly clean your furniture, miscellaneous items, curtains, and other restorable items affected by mold. We use a variety of techniques to clean and sanitize your belongings. Our teams are also trained to remove odors/deodorize using fogging equipment
Depending on the extent of the 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. Our Rebuild division is more than happy to help replace and restore after the remediation process is complete.
This process might seem like a lot to deal with, but that is what the SERVPRO of HoCo mold specialists are here for!
Can Your Business Bounce Back?
Far too often, disaster can strike without even the slightest warning. We know how important it is for your business to not be bogged down by unforeseen circumstances. You already know how important it is to be prepared for anything that could happen to your home, whether it be fire, water, mold, or storm damage. Have you applied the same thought to your business? If not, keep reading for tips on how to best protect and prepare for commercial risks.
While each situation is unique and deserves personalized care, careful planning and procedures can keep you ready no matter what. Over 50% of businesses may never reopen after suffering a disaster. You don't have to be another statistic. Here's how:
Learn what kind of emergencies can affect not only your company, but your industry.
Develop a business continuity plan.
Make a list of which staff, procedures and equipment are absolutely vital for continued operation. Make a list of backups for that list. Have a plan for what to do if you are unable to access your office/facility. Have a plan for what you'll do if your industry suppliers are impacted, or what you'll do during utility disruptions.
Prepare a finite emergency plan.
Make an evacuation and a shelter-in-place plan. Form a communications plan for you and your employees for before, during, and after any emergency incident. Make copies of building and site maps, on those maps be sure to mark off utilities and emergency exit routes. It is especially helpful if your employees are trained for medical emergencies.
Practice your emergency plans.
Practice your plan, at the bare minimum, once a year. If there are other businesses in your building/facility, try to coordinate with them to plan and practice for emergencies.
Review your insurance coverage.
Make sure your insurance covers your for the disasters your company is at risk for suffering from.
Secure your facility and equipment.
Secure all the ways people, products, and supplies enter and exit your building. Conduct a walk-through to see if anything needs to be strapped down. Unsecured equipment can make a bad situation even worse, in terms of secondary damage.
Promote family and individual preparedness.
Encourage your employees to make personal emergency plans and supply kits.
Preparedness doesn't need to be daunting, as long as you give yourself enough time to plan. SERVPRO of Howard County can also provide a free ERP plan for your business. 410-465-7333
A Mold Defense Is Your Guaranteed MVP
Save this graphic to have on hand for mold defense tips at a glance!
Defending against mold growth can feel like such a major feat to take on, but have no fear. Your local mold specialists are on the case. However, just because we are on hand to help whenever mold should occur, we think you should be prepared to prevent mold on your own. Use the following tips to amp up your mold defense.
- Keep the humidity in your home or business between 30-60%
- Make sure your property has property drainage to keep water away from your building's foundation
- Regularly inspect your plumbing and other appliances for any leaks. Water left to sit is mold's favorite food!
- Keep your gutters and drains clear and free of any debris
- Inspect your roofs, windows, and any other potential entryways for water. Perform maintenance ASAP when necessary
- Immediately deal with water intrusions in your home
- Never try DIY mold removal!
- If your home experiences water damage, call SERVPRO of Howard County for immediate assistance, as improper mitigation of water damage can lead to secondary damages such as mold
Dealing with any damage to your home or business can feel so daunting, but that is what SERVPRO of HoCo is here for. Other mold cleaning services might not take the time to educate you and answer any questions you might have, but we know how important it is to make sure you understand the process your home is undergoing in such stressful times.
Basement Under Water? Drop Us A Line!
Being prepared is half your battle, but when it comes to fighting damage in your home or business...SERVPRO will win every time
Heavy rainfall can cause some pretty annoying issues for your property. A flooded basement is commonplace when it comes to problems in your Howard County home. There are a number of reasons why your basement could be susceptible to flooding, including:
- A blocked or failed sewer lateral pipe
- Heavy rain causes surface water to pool around your home
- Storm sewer backup
- Sanitary sewer backup
- Foundation drainage failure
- Water supply-line break or hot-water tank failure
- ...and many more
We know we say it often, but it really is so true that if flood water is not handled quickly and properly, it can jeopardize your health and safety. Standing water not handled right away can potentially cause even more severe damage to your home’s structure. The longer you wait, the worse the problem will get.
The bottom line: a flooded basement can jeopardize your health, safety, and your home’s integrity. It’s worth making a call to SERVPRO of Howard County and let our trained, professional crews handle the situation safely and correctly. We have earned the trust of hundreds of homeowners, business owners, and property professionals.
Why should we be your go-to for flooding situations in your HoCo home or business?
- We are available 24/7 days a week
- We’re a Preferred Vendor to many national insurance companies
- We bill the insurance directly – one less thing for you to worry about
- Our technicians are highly-trained in Water Restoration Techniques
- We use s500 IICRC Restoration Standards,
advanced inspection and extraction equipment
Basement flooded or questions about flooding?
Feel free to call us ASAP – 410-465-7333
Flash Flooding: Warning vs. Watch
The difference between watches and warnings could be the difference between being prepared and being at greater risk for storm damage.
We've definitely seen our fair share of summer storms so far this season, but we've also had a good bit of flash flood warnings and watches. Since SERVPRO of Howard County is one of the most reliable sources in the community for storm and water damage remediation, we figured it's only fair we provide you some flash flood facts. Knowing the difference between and warning and a watch could be the difference between being prepared and being at risk for flood damage.
When your local agencies (whether it be NWS or a local weather station) issue a flash flood/flood warning this means flooding is happening or will happen soon. When you see this warning, it means you should move to high ground or be prepared for flooding ASAP. Often times it is important to be aware of any announcements from local officials if the flooding is projected to be particularly severe.
When local agencies issue a flash flood/flood watch, it means that flooding is possible. Upon the release of this watch, you should be sure to stay tuned to radio or TV for more information about the potential severity of the flood, should the watch be converted into a warning.
We know this can seem confusing, but if you're connected with us on Facebook or Twitter, we are sure to clarify what and when each watch/warning means, when we can. But be sure to connect with your local Emergency Management channels. We recommend MDMEMA, HoCo OEM, NWS Baltimore, Maryland OPR, and FEMA.
Can We Dry It? Yes We Can!
There is a method to our drying madness, so let us handle your drying needs!
Drying is not a process that should be based on guess work. That's why our SERVPRO of Howard County professionals are trained in psychrometrics. This knowledge and skill set is essential for ensuring that your property dries properly after water damage, in order to avoid secondary damage and/or mold growth.
When you first spot water in your home, it is completely natural to immediately reach for a towel, mop, or a fan to handle the mess yourself. However, it is important to know, that these DIY methods might not actually solve your problem, and can even lead to more damage. Our crews follow strict industry-approved standards that make our applied structural drying process successful.
Restoration starts with your first phone call to SERVPRO. After you have reached out to us and one of our office admins have taken your info and asked you some more questions to further understand your situation:
- A SERVPRO HoCo professional will respond to your location in order to inspect and assess the damage in person. This inspection includes an estimate based on their findings. They carefully inspect your property to detect every component that is wet from the water damage
- Our crews then look to special technology to measure how much moisture is in the wet affected materials, and continuously monitor them to ensure these items and materials are drying properly
- Our professional drying equipment is utilized to speed up the process of Mother Nature, so your property can be dried as soon as possible to get you back to normal and, "like it never even happened."
If these parts of the process seem confusing, have no fear...SERVPRO is here! Other mitigation companies might not strive to help you understand your situation or our work, but the team member on site is willing and eager to answer any and all questions you might have. We know it can be overwhelming having to deal with any kind of damage in your home, but SERVPRO always does our very best to comfort and inform you in such times.
The bottom line is that SERVPRO of Howard County has the equipment, sensitivity, and know how to make such stressful situations feel like an absolute breeze!
Is Your Home Fire Escape Plan Up to Par?
Even the smallest fire can cause extensive damage, so it's crucial that your family is prepared to get out of the house if need be!
Fire experts agree that people have as little as two minutes to escape a burning building before it is too late to exit safely. When it comes to a fire escape plan, every second counts. In a matter of seconds, even the smallest flame can become a massive blaze. The American Cross conducted a survey that found only 26% of families have made and practiced their fire escape plans. If you don't have a plan in place for your home or business, use these tips to develop one!
Draw a map of each level of your home indicating exits (windows and doors)
Consider escape ladders for sleeping areas on higher floors. Store them near the window. If you buy these ladders, make sure they are tested by a reliable testing laboratory
Pick a meeting place outside that keeps a safe distance from your home. Mark it well so everyone remembers where it is
Teach the youngest members of your family how to escape on their own if no one is able to help them. Make accommodations for the elderly, disabled, and your pets
Practice your plan at least twice a year (once during the day and once at nighttime)
Fires can be unpredictable, so your escape plan shouldn't be! Restoring your property after a fire shouldn't be difficult either. That's why SERVPRO of Howard County works so efficiently to cleanup your property ASAP after damage or a loss.