Fire Prevention Month!
October is Fire Prevention Month—a perfect time to examine emergency preparedness plans for your home and business, including your fire escape plan. Do you have a fire escape plan? Have you changed your smoke alarm batteries within the last year?
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) designates a week each October to focus on fire prevention awareness. The 2018 theme is “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere.™” This theme hopes to create awareness in the steps necessary to reduce the chance of a fire and how to react in the event a fire does happen. The NFPA states the following:
“LOOK” for places fire could start. Take a good look around your home. Identify potential fire hazards and take care of them.
“LISTEN” for the sound of the smoke alarm. You could have only minutes to escape safely once the smoke alarm sounds. Go to your outside meeting place, which should be a safe distance from the home and where everyone should know to meet.
“LEARN” two ways out of every room and make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily and are free of clutter.
Stay safe and prepare now to help ensure you are ready for any disaster. Find additional safety tips in this issue of the Restoration Newsline. If you don’t already receive the Restoration Newsline contact one of our awesome marketing reps to start receiving one by emailing office@SERVPROdalecity.com.
Fire Damage: What to do until help arrives
Wait for the professionals to help you!
A fire can leave behind soot, smoke damage and a host of other problems. Ceilings, walls, woodwork, carpeting and floors will often need a thorough professional cleaning. If your home or business suffers a fire, it is important to take the appropriate steps to prevent further damage until your local SERVPRO® Dale City/Lake Ridge Professionals arrive. The following tips may help reduce damage and increase chances of a successful restoration.
DO THE FOLLOWING UNTIL HELP ARRIVES:
- Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpet.
- Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
- Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
- If electricity is off, empty freezer/ refrigerator completely and prop doors open to help prevent odor.
- Wipe soot from chrome kitchen/ bathroom faucets, trim and appliances, then protect these surfaces with a light coating of lubricant.
- If heat is off during winter, pour RV antifreeze in sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks and tubs to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures.
- Change HVAC filters; leave system off until a trained professional can check the system.
- Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system.
DON’T TRY ATTEMPTING:
- Don’t attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting your SERVPRO® Dale City/Lake Ridge Professional.
- Don’t attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture without first consulting your SERVPRO® Dale City/Lake Ridge Professional.
- Do not attempt to clean any electrical appliances (TV sets, radios, etc.) that may have been close to fire, heat or water without first consulting an authorized repair service.
- Do not consume any food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water, as they may be contaminated.
- If ceiling is wet, do not turn on ceiling fans. Wiring may be wet or damaged and cause electrical shock, and air movement may create secondary damage.
- Don’t send garments to the dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set in smoke odor.
Should your home or business suffer a fire/smoke/soot damage contact us at 703-583-8484 to help make it "Like it never even happened."
Safety Tips from the American Red Cross
Check out www.redcross.org for more information!
TORNADOES Tornadoes can strike without warning and destroy a community in seconds. Before a tornado warning is issued for your area, here are some things you should do:
1. Know your community’s warning system.
2. Pick a place where family members can gather if a tornado is headed your way. It could be your basement or, if there is no basement, a center hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest floor. Keep this place uncluttered.
3. If you are in a high-rise building and don’t have enough time to go to the lowest floor, pick a place in a hallway in the center of the building.
4. Remove diseased and damaged limbs from trees.
5. Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile.
THUNDERSTORM SAFETY STEPS Thunderstorms injure an average of 300 people every year, and cause about 80 fatalities. Here are the top thunderstorm safety steps you should follow:
1. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately.
2. As the storm approaches, take shelter in a building.
3. If you are driving, pull off the roadway and park. Stay in the car with the windows closed and turn on the emergency flashers. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside of the vehicle.
4. If you are inside, unplug appliances and avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances. Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water for any other purpose.
5. If you are caught outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground, water, tall, isolated trees and metal objects such as fences or bleachers. Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are not safe.
FLOODING Heavy rains could fill rivers and streams, bringing flooding to the area. If your neighborhood is threatened with the possibility of flooding, here are some things you should do:
1. Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice. When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
2. Stay away from floodwaters.
3. If you come upon 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 away by less than two feet of moving water.
4. Keep children out of the water.
5. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.
DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY People should download the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of tornadoes, flooding and other disasters, as well as locations of shelters. The App also includes emergency first aid information and a Family Safe feature which allows people to instantly see if loved ones are okay. The free Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
I have a water damage, what do I do while I wait for help?
If you have a water damage from a clean source such as water supply lines, sink overflows, tub overflows, or appliance malfunctions, here are some things to do before SERVPRO Dale City/Lake Ridge arrives.
Shut off the source of the water.
Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building if the access panel is safe from 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
Remove to a safe, dry place any paintings, art objects, computers, documents and other materials that are valuable or sensitive to moisture.
Use wooden clothespins to keep furniture skirting off damp floors
- Hang draperies with coated hangers to avoid contact with wet carpeting or floors
Tips for Kitchen Fires
Did you know...
A majority of fires that take place in homes begin in the kitchen.
The holiday season is approaching, which means that many of us will be spending a lot more time in the kitchen. This also means that, with every pumpkin pie and each batch of Christmas cookies you make, there is a greater risk of a fire emergency.
Aside from calling 9-1-1, which should be one of your first moves, here are some quick tips for dealing with a fire emergency in your kitchen.
- Always watch your cooking; don't leave anything unattended
- Set a timer so that you don't accidentally burn something or forget that an appliance is being used
- If something on the stove catches on fire and it is small, cover it with a lid and turn off the burner
- Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen near your cooking area where it is easily accessible
- Add baking soda to a grease fire, not water
- Clean your appliances regularly so that grease does not accumulate and start a fire
- Clean and dust around and behind appliances, as dust accumulation can cause fires if it is close to electrical wiring
- Keep flammable objects away from cooking appliances, especially those things like tea towels and potholders
- Install a smoke alarm in your kitchen
- Test your smoke alarms and make sure they will work when you most need them!
Keep these quick tips in mind, and prevent a major fire damage emergency from taking place in your home this season!
Proper Ventilation helps prevent Mold
Mold can spring up very quickly in humid environments and many homes have areas that are prone to mold growth for this reason. Bathrooms, kitchens, attics, and basements all have the highest chance of developing mold because humid air often circulates in these rooms. Proper ventilation can help to significantly reduce the chance of mold growth in these areas of your home. It is important to take steps to ensure that each room is well-ventilated and that the air is circulating well.
Some of the most important areas to vent are the bathrooms and the attic. Bathrooms are usually quite small with a lot of warm, moist air circulating within them regularly. This makes them very susceptible to rapid mold growth. Investing in vents and fans that push the humid air outside of the home will help to keep mold growth to a minimum. Attics often have poor ventilation and many homeowners are tempted to quickly ventilate bathrooms by placing vents in the bathrooms that push the humid air into the attic. This will result in mold growth in the attic, which could then spread into the ducts as well as tight, difficult-to-reach spaces.
Avoid these potentially costly problems by investing in quality fans and vents that will draw humid air out of the rooms, sending it outside of the home, rather than into the attic.
If you see mold, call SERVPRO of Dale City/Lake Ridge at 703-583-8484.
Prevent Electrical Fires
Electrical fires are the cause of many house fires, and can be some of the most difficult to put out due to the difficulty of identifying the source. Proper care of electrical outlets and appliances will help to prevent electrical fires. It is very important to follow manufacturer guidelines when using electrical appliance and systems, such as the wattage guidelines given when changing lightbulbs. Be sure that you do not plug in too many electrical units into one outlet, as this could burn out the outlet and cause a fire. Be sure that you have your wiring checked regularly by an electrician. Faulty wiring is a leading cause of electrical fires and is a common problem in many homes. If you hear a sparking sound near a particular electrical outlet or appliance, or see smoke or smell burning after plugging a unit in, immediately unplug the object and call an electrician to check your wiring.
Finally, if an electrical fire does occur, do NOT attempt to put the blaze out with water. This will only make the fire worse and could shock or electrocute you. If safe to do so, attempt to unplug the source. Put the fire out using baking soda or a blanket to smother the flames. If the fire is larger, a class C fire extinguisher can be used. If the fire continues to grow, leave immediately! Do not be tempted to put out a growing fire by yourself. Allow the firefighters to do so.
If your home has been damaged by fire, please call SERVPRO of Dale City/Lake Ridge at 703-583-8484.
Mold and Your Business
In the business world, time is money, as the saying goes, and you should spend your time growing your business in Dale City/Lake Ridge, not repairing water damage or removing mold from your property. Protect your business with mold prevention.
What Causes Mold?
The short answer is simply water. Did you know mold exists nearly everywhere water exists? Mold is a natural occurrence, and any type of moisture can lead to mold growth in a short period of time. Water damage is worrisome because it can unbalance natural mold levels. Your commercial building could experience water damage from various sources:
• Natural disasters
• Heavy rainfall
• Broken pipes
• Leaky plumbing
Untreated leaks, humidity, and moisture may lead to mold, which will continue to spread until the source of the moisture is repaired.
If you have concerns of mold please call us at 703-583-8484 to schedule an inspection.
Smoke Alarms: LIFE SAVERS
Test your smoke alarms monthly!
Smoke alarms save lives when properly installed and maintained, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
In homes, smoke alarms should be in every bedroom and on every level, including the basement. In office and commercial environments, check your state requirements or contact your local Fire Marshall to help ensure all codes are met.
Test smoke alarms monthly using the test button. Smoke alarms with non-replaceable batteries need the entire smoke alarm unit replaced every ten years. Other alarms need batteries replaced every year, and the unit replaced every ten years. If the alarm chirps signaling low battery, take the proper steps to replace the unit or the batteries immediately. Never disable or remove the battery from an alarm. Almost half of fires where smoke alarms were present but did not activate had missing or disconnected batteries (NFPA).
In larger commercial facilities, hard wired or wireless smoke alarms offer benefits such as not needing to be tested as often and activating throughout the entire building if smoke is detected in just one area (NFPA).
If you need help installing, testing or changing batteries in your smoke alarms, contact your local fire department, an electrician or the American Red Cross.
Be sure your home or workplace has a fire emergency plan in place and conduct regular fire drills. For more information on emergency preparedness, contact your local SERVPRO® Dale City/Lake Ridge Professionals.
Why the Emergency READY Profile®?
Be Ready with an ERP!
National Preparedness Month is the perfect opportunity to share the benefits of having a readiness plan in place with your customers, business and family.
The SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile® (ERP) will help ensure you and your business are “Ready for whatever happens.”
In the event of an emergency, the SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile® 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 contact information, shut-off valve locations and priority areas. The ERP is also accessible online using your computer or tablet; download SERVPRO’s free Ready Plan app to access this information at any time using your smartphone or tablet.
The ERP establishes your local SERVPRO® Dale City/Lake Ridge Professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider, giving you access to over 50 years’ experience and a System more than 1,700 Dale City/Lake Ridges strong. Knowing what to do and who to call in advance is key to quick response and timely mitigation. 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.
Preparation is the key to making it through any size disaster, whether it is a small water leak, a large fire or an area flood. The best time to plan for such events is not when the event happens, but well before it happens. No one ever plans on a disaster, but now, you can plan for it.
The ERP is a no-cost assessment; all it requires is a little time, making it a great value that could save a lot of time in the future. Call your local SERVPRO® Dale City/Lake Ridge Professional to establish your Emergency READY Profile®.
Contact our office at 703-583-8484 to arrange for one of our trained staff to come talk to you about setting up and ERP!