Winter Season Fire Risks
There are 25,000 house fires annually due to overly soiled chimneys. When was your chimney last swept. Some folks have more than one fire place--get them all swept. Please consider taking your cellular phone charger out of the outlet when it is not charging your mobile phone--ever notice how hot that charger gets? If you enjoy supplementing winter time warmth with electric blankets and space heaters, consider their age, and examine all cords at the beginning of the season, and always remember to turn off and/or unplug these items when not in use, and especially when you are leaving the house--even if it be for just a 20 minute journey up the street to the convenience store.
Fall Check For Increased Pollutants & Risk Load
Pollutants can be around the home, or actually stored within the home, and may increase the probability of fire, or other risk events. Think about items being stored in and around the home, and check with local municipalities for correct disposal methods. Some examples of items we keep, and may forget about for many, many years: oil, grease, and toxic chemicals; pesticides and lawn and garden treatments; viruses and bacteria can materialize from forgotten pet waste, and failing septic systems; heavy metals from roof shingles, and other sources. Fall, like Spring, is a great time--before the days get really short, to clean the gutters, walk the property and look for ill or dying trees, test the furnace and the smoke detector batteries, and removed items which may have been stored much too long.
Back To School
Welcome to September! School is back in session, and there is a shift of patterns of behavior in the household. Safety awareness is always important. Now, the kids may be plugging in flat irons and forget to turn them off. Some may be back onto the morning coffee, and leave the coffee pot powered on all day when they leave the house. Additionally, you may want to consider pulling out the cell phone charger from the wall when you are not charging the cell phone. Did you ever happen to feel how hot it gets plugged into the wall when it is not charging a cell phone? Also, please check smoke detector batteries, and have at least one extra set of batteries in the home--ready to go, so there is no "down time" without batteries in the smoke detector. Please have a family plan for emergency exit, and consider a minimum of two exits. Have all persons in the household agree to a designated meeting spot outside the home in advance.
Summer brings longer days, and opportunities to share fun family activities together like boating, swimming, fireworks, the zoo, vacationing, and much, much more. It's challenging to focus on ideas which would demand an evacuation plan from your home or business. These are things that we definitely don't want to think about, especially when there's so much opportunity for summer fun. However, disaster can strike at any single unexpected moment, and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Take about 10 or 15 minutes to have a family meeting, and discuss logical plans to escape the building, and please absolutely agree on a meeting locale outside the home--so often, family members will re-enter a burning home, searching for a family member who may already be out, and they don't know it. This sort of unplanned event would become all you can think about: the unplanned expense, finding a reliable contractor, plus the inconvenience to you and your family. We are always here to help. Estimates are free.
Mold is bigger than us. Our professionals use advanced water detection equipment to locate the source of the problem and remediate (remove/take away) any mold or water damage. It's important to note that mold--just like us--needs fed. Areas with moisture, darkness, and no ventilation are ideal to feed mold, and help it grow and thrive. Remember to find the food source for the mold. You don't want to remove the mold, only to have it return yet again due to a hidden leaking pipe, ground water seeping into the building, absence of a French drain or sump pump, leaking roof, or a cracked foundation--these examples come from a very long list of ways mold can be fed. The source of their food (the moisture) must be solved and removed in order to ensure that the mold will not return.
From 2011-2015, USA fire departments responded to an estimated average of 170,200 home structure fires that involved cooking equipment. Forty-seven (47 %) percent of reported homes structure fires were caused by cooking. Never leave pots and pans unattended on the stove--don't forget to turn the oven off after the baking is completed; double check yourself. Don't believe that running up the street to the convenience store for 5 minutes and leaving flames on, yet low, on the stove, is safe--it's not. For instance, boiling water on the stove, and then going off to check the laundry. The laundry is finished, and you become distracted, wanting to fold the clothes while they are still hot out of the dryer. In an effort to save time later, and complete the task, you continue on to another area of the home, to put all the folded clothes away. How much time has passed? How high was that flame on the stove? How much water was in the pot? It could be long enough to evaporate all the water in the pot, and the flame continues on without the benefit of water in the pot. Most fires are not total losses, and most fires are kitchen fires, however, no one wants to have a fire experience in their lives.
We hope Spring brings you more flowers and less showers, but if you experience water damage in your home or auto, we are here to help with solutions. When it becomes warmer, and we park outside, we may forget to close those windows, and then there is a massive, heavy over night rain storm. Our vehicle becomes water saturated. Then you may begin to have an itchy nose, and smell that mold smell. Next, you vacuum, and put the little scent tree on your rearview mirror--but oh, that smell. The same situation of leaving that open window in the house, and then, oh, that smell! We live in such a damp geographical region, thankful for our abundant drinking water source, but--mold is everywhere, and our mold estimates are free.
Heavy winds can damage literally hundreds of trees and create dangerous conditions. Additionally, heavy winds can cause power outages. Being proactive, and having a first aid kit--with fresh, non-expired products--both in your home and vehicles, walking your property during fair weather days, looking for ill and diseased trees, or hanging or cracked branches which are extremely large and heavy. If you note any of these things, seek out estimates to address and solve these problem trees BEFORE heavy, inclement weather arrives. Also, consider how you and your family would function if you lost power due to heavy winds. Do you have candles and flash lights with working batteries, and an extra sets of batteries? Blankets, and dry or pre-packaged food supplies for 2 or 3 days? Don't forget water--assume one gallon per day for each person and animal.
When Pipes Freeze
When temperatures drop and stay below 32 degrees for a full three days, it is highly likely that pipes can freeze. The following thaw that comes along after the freeze is when the pipes are likely to burst, and the result is not only a broken pipe, but water damage. Water damage to floors, carpets, dry wall and plaster, personal property, and appliances. The damage list can--sadly--go on and on. Remember, during the frigid, wintery season that you do NOT drop the thermostat below 58 degrees when you go out, and if the building is much older, a light drip, drip in both cold and hot spigots in all locations in the home. Make sure you know where your water main shut off is in your home. Also, does it turn easily? If no, a little spritz of WD-40 on the valve to help it move easily in the event there is an issue where the water main must be shut off, you won't be struggling with an uncooperative valve in an emergency.
Where does all the stuff come from? And more importantly, how can we--as individuals and families--manage all the stuff? SERVPRO of NORTH WASHINGTON COUNTY helps individuals and families when the stuff gets totally out of control. We assist on HOARDER clean outs. Estimates are free. Even now, with some many communications being electronic in nature, there is still a mountain of paper and things out in our Universe. Some tools to help manage, or prevent, the build up of stuff in our homes and worlds may be getting a home shredder and using it every single day in conjunction with the US mail delivery. Also, remembering to send out boxes and magazines with bi-weekly recycle pick ups can help diminish the pile up of paper. No recycle pick up? Magazines and periodicals can be donated to hair salons, etc. Blocking out an hour of time a week, to go through things: clothes, shoes, knickknacks, papers and other items, and being realistic about whether they are needed or used, and then unneeded items can be donated to charity, or perhaps friends or family may enjoy receiving the items.