How To Prepare Your Employees For A Weather Emergency
As you head into the winter months, take a minute to prepare your business and your employees for any possible winter weather emergencies. Doing this will hopefully minimize the amount of property damage, financial loss, and potential injuries or accidents to your business and workforce.
When a weather emergency occurs, it will bring with it a lot of logistical and human resource challenges to your enterprise. Whether it’s a heavy snowfall or torrential downpour, the productivity of your employees will be affected, especially if they work outdoors or travel any distance to your location or outside of the area on projects.
Here are some ways to prepare your employees for a weather emergency:
- Policy. Set a fair and logical office policy that addresses the expectations you have for your staff when it comes to their attendance at work, and what allowances will be made when the weather has produced dangerous conditions for travel. If you require your employees to come in when the conditions are poor, that can, and will, adversely affect your employees’ morale.
- Plan. Ensure that you have an updated continuity plan for your business that clearly explains what will happen in the event of serious weather situations. It is important to address different weather scenarios and set the expectations for everyone involved. You should clearly spell out who is responsible for announcing any communication closures, for example, and you should have a clearly-defined place for everyone to go for further information. Your social media accounts or email threads need to be in the hands of a great communicator, someone who can be relied upon to keep everyone in the loop with correct information in a timely manner.
- Pay. If your office or business closes due to bad weather, the issue of payment will be at the top of everyone’s mind, especially if they are paid on an hourly basis. Under federal law, you can establish these rules as you see fit, but keep in mind that in a hot job market, employees are going to be far more likely to look for a new job if you aren’t focused on their retention. Create your policies and procedures with this most important business consideration in mind, and think back to those days in your own past when you may have struggled financially. Remember, a happy workforce is a productive one!
Here at SERVPRO of Huron/East Seneca Counties, we are always ready to help in any weather-related emergencies. If your business has sustained damage from a flood, fire, or other circumstances beyond your control, give us a call. We are damage repair specialists!
How To Use Your Fireplace Properly And Safely
One of the best things about colder weather is being able to curl up in front of a roaring fire in the fireplace. Such a fire is beautiful, cozy, and aromatic, of course, but it can also be extremely dangerous if you don’t take the proper precautions. Almost half of all home-heating fire and emergency room visits every year are related to fireplace usage.
Today we would like to share some tips on how to use your fireplace both properly and safely:
- Inspection. Have your fireplace and its chimney inspected by a professional every year. They should examine:
- The flue and its ability to open and close, as well as its seal
- Whether there are cracks or loose bricks
- Whether the mortar is crumbling or missing
- If the chimney is leaning
- If the chimney cap is present to keep out rain, animals and debris
- Cleaning. Your chimney and fireplace should be cleaned before each winter by a certified chimney sweep. If any debris is present, inadequate venting can occur and toxic fumes may end up in the home. Soot and creosote buildup can also cause a chimney fire.
- Wood. Burn only dry and seasoned wood or fire logs that have been specially designed for the purpose.
- Spark Guard. Install a spark guard to prevent sparks or embers from coming out of the firebox and setting fire to anything near. Keep flammable materials, such as Christmas trees and decorations, at least three feet away from the fireplace and open flame.
- Build a safe fire.
- Open the flue before lighting for proper ventilation.
- Place logs at the rear of the fireplace on a metal grate.
- Use crumpled paper and kindling that is no thicker than a human thumb to start a small fire. Don’t use an excessive amount, as this can over-build the fire and ignite any soot in the chimney.
- Use matches or a commercial firelighter to start your fire. Never use gas or any other fuel for this purpose.
- Add logs gradually as your kindling ignites and as the fire builds.
- Ensure that your fireplace isn't overloaded. This is actually more dangerous than even a controlled burn. A large fire can crack your chimney.
- Let ashes cool completely before you remove them, and add a bit of water to make sure no hidden embers reignite.
- Never leave your fire unattended.
If you should ever experience a house or building fire, be sure to call a fire and smoke damage restoration service for emergency cleaning. SERVPRO of Huron/East Seneca Counties is available 24/7 to help with all fire damage restoration emergencies, as well as cleanup from flooding and other water-related damage situations.
Steps To Take When Your Basement Is Flooded
If your basement is affected by wet weather or faulty equipment, it can be a real mess. We all store extra items in our basements, and boxes of soggy books, soaked carpets, ruined photos, and submerged electronics can be extremely daunting to face.
Acting quickly to remove the water and repair the damage is vital. Mold can take hold within two days, and many of your affected items can be saved if you act right away.
Make sure safety is your first concern, however. If you have a large amount of standing water in your basement, call your power company, electrician, or your professional water damage cleanup team immediately. They will help you and take precautions by disconnecting electrical service to the area before stepping into that water.
You can use a wet vac to remove standing water, but if it is not doing the job call your professionals here at SERVPRO.
Using dehumidifiers and fans will move air around, and that discourages mold and mildew. Keeping them at least 8 inches away from walls will allow for the best circulation. Your air conditioning can be a big help here, too, so keep it running.
Scrub hard surfaces with a solution of one cup bleach to one gallon of water while wearing gloves and protective eyewear. Remember to keep the room ventilated, too.
If your valuable documents or papers have been affected, you can freeze them! This may stop the growth of mildew or deterioration until you can take a better look at them. In the future, it may be a good idea to not store anything valuable in the basement. If you don’t have space anywhere else, then using plastic bins should help protect your items if your basement floods again.
Here at SERVPRO of Huron/East Seneca Counties, we are ready to help if you are affected by water damage, storm damage, or other disastrous events. We are available to homeowners and commercial business owners alike, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
Top Three Places To Check For Mold Growth In Your Business
Did you know that mold can be found almost anywhere? To keep your business safe from mold and safety risks, make sure you’re taking every precaution. There are various types of mold, and all mold can cause potential health problems if present in large quantities. If health problems persist, it can have negative effects on your employees and business. In order to prevent the spread of mold within your business, you first have to know where to look for it.
Here is a list of where to check for mold growth in your business:
- Leaks. Mold needs water and oxygen in order to continue to grow. If a leak is not repaired correctly and in due time, it can cause the growth and expansion of mold. The source of water or moisture has to be completely eliminated in order for the problem to dissolve. This includes pipes, windows, and roofs.
- Basements and areas affected by flooding. Any water-damaged area is at risk for mold. If it wasn’t assured before-hand that all water had been dried up and the area was repaired properly, it puts you at risk for mold. It’s important to check for any standing water lines on walls within your office building.
- Plumbing. Watch out for any humid or musty-smelling areas within your business. Places like bathrooms tend to be affected by mold due to plumbing. If humidity and musty smells persist, be sure to have your business checked for mold to assure you and your employees are healthy and safe!
If you or your business suspect health issues caused by mold, contact a professional immediately to start the mold remediation process. Here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties, we are mold remediation experts, and we’re here to help you 24/7.
Top Three Reasons To Deep Clean Your Office Building
Considering much of our time is spent in our offices, the environment and conditions in which employees work influence their attitudes and overall health. You want to assure that your employees work in a clean environment in order to feel healthy, happy, and efficiently complete their tasks and responsibilities.
In busy and chaotic work seasons, it can be easy to forget the importance of keeping a clean and safe office. Here is a list of reasons to deep clean your office building to remind you of the significance of keeping the office clean and your employees happy!
- Health. Commonly used spaces and workspaces can maximize the number of germs and potential mold if employees are not taking the proper precautions, like cleaning up after themselves and washing their hands often. This can lead to sickness and an increase in employees taking time off. Assuring that your office is at its best and safest is essential in order to keep a healthy and happy business. Employee productivity will also thrive in a clean and healthy working environment. SERVPRO of Huron/East Seneca Counties is happy to help you with any of your carpet cleaning or Air Duct cleaning needs!
- First Impressions. First impressions are important and often make or break a client’s view of your business. Keeping your office building clean is necessary in order to keep your business looking professional and running smoothly. A clean workspace can influence a customer by allowing them to see that you take great care of your space and your employees.
- Reducing injuries. The less mess and distractions, the less chance of accidents within your business. If liquids or items fall and spill, it can increase the chance of injuries like slips and falls. Encouraging employees to clean up after themselves and having the proper equipment to deep clean your office building is crucial to avoiding injury and increasing the productivity of your business.
At SERVPRO of Huron/East Seneca Counties, we are always ready to help with any cleaning projects necessary to improve the well-being of your business! Call us at (419)-442-1790 to schedule an inspection, or for cleanup assistance!
Unpleasant Odors After Water Or Fire Damage? We Can Help!
Does a musty smell waft throughout your house? Would you describe it as earthy, mildewy, or moldy? Has your home recently experienced any kind of water damage? If so, then your home most likely suffers from mold. If you are not aware of your home having water damage or mold, then this particular smell is typically the first sign of a larger issue. However, here are some easy steps to identify the issue and remove the problem:
- Track down the source of the smell. If this is difficult, look for places in your home that are dark, warm, and damp. That is the kind of environment that mold thrives in. These can be areas such as your bathroom or basement.
- If you have found the source, and it is a relatively small area of mold, you can clean it up by using a mixture of household detergent and water. Be careful around mold, and make sure you wear protective gloves while cleaning. Do NOT use bleach, as it can make the mold grow even more. However, if it is a large area of mold, call the professionals to safely remove it here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties. If the smell is coming from an area that has been damaged from water, such as carpet or drywall, it will need to be removed and replaced. The source of the water will need to be repaired as well.
- After making sure the entire area is completely clean, be sure to fully dry the area with a fan or heater. If there is a window nearby and it is not damp outside or raining, then open the window to allow airflow and ventilation. If the smell still lingers, then mix water with baking soda into a paste and rub it into the area, and allow it to dry. When it does, then clean up the excess.
Remember, if the mold is extreme or your home has serious water damage, do not hesitate to call the professionals to safely and accurately remove and fix the dangers.
Smells from fire damage can be tough to remove because smoke is easily absorbed by fabrics and plastics. However, it is not impossible to get rid of it. Note, if you still have soot left in your home from fire damage, call the professionals to remove it as soot can be very dangerous.
For removing the smell of soot:
- Have airflow going throughout your house by opening up any windows and doors. You should also turn on any and all fans you have to force any lingering smoke particles out of your home.
- Collect all of your fabric items from the affected area such as pillows, clothing, blankets, etc. and have them washed and dried. Make sure you keep the fabric items away from the affected area until the smell is completely gone as to not have them reabsorb the smell.
- If there is upholstery in the affected area that contains the smell, you will need to have that cleaned as well. We recommend calling the professionals in those cases.
- For carpets, sprinkle baking soda and then leave for an extended amount of time - preferably overnight - to deodorize the area. After waiting, vacuum up the remainder. If that does not work, then you may try steam cleaning your carpet as well. If that does not work either, then you may have to have it deep cleaned by a professional or replace it altogether.
- For hard areas such as wooden surfaces, countertops, appliances, windowsills, cabinets, walls, or doors, you should make a cleaning solution consisting of a gallon of warm water, half a cup of distilled white vinegar, and a teaspoon of dishwashing soap. Transfer the solution into a spray bottle, then spray onto any hard surface and wipe with a cloth or sponge afterward. However, do not spray the solution onto a stone surface, as the white vinegar will damage it.
- As a final step, it is highly recommended that you change the air filter in your air conditioning unit and have your air ducts or ventilation system cleaned by professionals to ensure that all remaining smoke particles are cleared as to not cause any more danger to you or your family.
Remember, if your home contains a large amount of mold, any amount of soot, or suffers from severe water or fire damage, then your best option is calling the professionals! Here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties, we are experts at repairing and restoring fire damage and water damage and have what you need to get your home smelling brand new again!
Cleaning Up Your Home After Smoke Damage
After a fire in your home, it can seem almost impossible to get everything back in order and cleaned up. The effects on both your home and family can feel really overwhelming and like you’ll never get back to normal. However, SERVPRO of Huron and East Seneca Counties is here to tell you that it is possible and we are here to help with any damage and restoration your home may need. In addition, we want to give you some tips to help you do what you can to repair your home on your own.
If there is any active water damage from firefighters, clean up is essential to avoid mold from developing. If you suspect any mold, make sure to schedule a Mold Inspection with SERVPRO of Huron and East Seneca Counties as soon as possible to avoid health problems and further damage. Evaluate carpet and floors that may need attention from Fire damage and remove belongings that could be damaged from the remaining smoke.
Leaving the AC running can have an effect on your health and continue to spread smoke, damaging items that weren’t previously touched by the fire.
- Clean all items already affected by the fire.
Everything in your home during the fire, including countertops, furniture, and lights, needs to be cleaned.
Use fans positioned towards windows and doors to eliminate some of the remaining smoke.
- Don’t attempt to handle it alone.
Fire cleanup is a complex process and while you can handle the basics, the pros at SERVPRO of Huron and East Seneca Counties are specialized in Fire Damage clean-up and want to be sure that your home is restored to the best condition possible. We care about your family and home and want to take some of the responsibility off your shoulders during this difficult time.
We are here to help you in any emergency, no matter the size. If you have experienced a disaster event, call SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties for assistance. We will be there right away.
Steps To Take When Your Apartment Complex Floods
Water damage from flooding will have serious consequences for your apartment complex. It can make units impossible to live in and can also ruin personal property permanently. Even a smaller flood can have long-lasting consequences, both to you as the owner and to your residents.
Here are some important steps for you to take when your apartment complex floods:
- Make sure everyone is safe. This should always be the very first consideration in any emergency situation. Even the most minor flooding event can create unsafe conditions, such as washing out walkways or causing potholes in the parking lot, so you will want to inspect your grounds thoroughly to identify any unsafe situations that have become an issue. Log these observations and take plenty of pictures and videos, and make sure that your residents are notified to stay clear.
- Inspect unit interiors. Visit each and every affected unit to ascertain what damage has been experienced. Be on the lookout for mold, especially. Wet surfaces are fertile environments for mold which can further damage the apartment and create substantial health hazards.
- Know your responsibilities. You will be responsible to repair the damage up to a point. Be aware of your tenants’ rights, as well, and be sure to always do the right thing. (It’s good advertising!) Some residents may be under the impression that the owner is liable for the replacement of personal property, for example, so knowing the laws will really help in such cases. The principles that support the rights of tenants are the same throughout the U.S., with each state varying in the details. You or your residents can consult the local housing authority or a tenants’ rights organization if there are any disagreements or if clarification is needed.
- And what about the rent? If a resident has to leave their unit due to severe water damage, they do not have to pay rent for that particular month, nor until their apartment is completely repaired. If the apartment is totally destroyed, they can request to cancel their lease.
- Call in the professionals. After you have ensured that the safety of all involved is secured and you know where the repairs need to be made, call in a professional repair company with the expertise and equipment needed to get you back to normal as soon as possible. You are required by law to get these repairs completed in a timely manner and to ensure that units are fit to live in, so make sure you use a company that has a great reputation for thorough and timely completion of all projects.
Here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties, we have the experience and skill you need to get your apartment complex back to pre-flood condition as soon as possible!
Preparing Your Yard/Property For Winter Storms
Even before the first frost, you’ll want to give your home and yard a good going-over to take stock of any winter preparation projects you need to complete. You won’t regret making sure both the exterior of your home and its surrounding landscaping are ready for the cold winds, snow, and ice that winter storms can bring. You’ll also enjoy lower energy costs, increased efficiency of your home’s components, and a safer property all around.
The windows and doors of your property are always a weak spot during a winter storm. Some preparation you can do here:
- Check all weatherstripping and replace if necessary to prevent heat loss.
- Replace screen doors with storm doors and window screens with storm windows
- Repair or replace wooden window frames if you see signs of rot or decay.
- Caulk these areas inside and out if you find any drafts.
Your yard will be affected by winter weather, of course, so here are some steps you can take to prepare this area for winter weather, too:
- Overgrown branches should be trimmed back from the house and all electrical wires. This will help to guard against loss of power or property damage that can be caused by icy or wind-blown branches during a storm.
- Aerate and reseed your lawn, and be sure to apply a winterizing fertilizer that will promote deep-root growth when spring comes.
- Clean and dry your patio furniture and use a heavy covering if it is staying outdoors. You can also bring it into the garage or shed for protection.
- All your clay planters and pots won’t last well during winter, so they should be emptied and brought indoors.
- Now is the time to dig up your bulbs, remove loose soil, and label them for spring. Store them in a bag or a box with peat moss in a cool and dry location.
- Store any hoses to prevent cracks and preserve their shapes so they can be used again next year. Make sure all outdoor pipes, valves, and sprinkler heads are drained to guard against burst pipes.
- Look for decay, insect damage, or splintering in your deck. Taking care of those issues ahead of winter weather will prevent further deterioration. Clean away leaves and dirt from between the boards so that mold has nowhere to establish itself.
Your heating systems - whether they are an HVAC or a fireplace - will need to be in the best condition possible. They will be seeing a lot of use in the coming months!
- Inspect your fireplace, chimney, and flue system to ensure they are clean of soot or creosote and look for any cracks that could cause a fire hazard. Check your fireplace for drafts. If it is cold even when the damper is closed, the damper itself may be warped, worn, or rusted.
- Clean or replace the air filter in your furnace for maximum efficiency and improved indoor air quality.
- Check that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order.
- If you have an older thermostat, consider replacing it with a programmable unit to save on heating costs.
- Make sure fans are switched to the reverse or clockwise position, which will blow warm air down to the floor for enhanced energy efficiency and comfort.
- Flush your hot water heater tank to remove sediment and check the pressure relief valve to make sure it’s in proper working order.
These are just a few helpful hints for you to use in preparing your yard/property for winter storms. If you need assistance with any of your projects, remember that the team here at SERVPRO of Huron/East Seneca Counties is always here to lend a hand. We are experts when it comes to clean up and repair after a weather event of any kind, and our team has the expertise and skills necessary to complete your projects quickly and professionally.
How To Prepare Your Roof For Winter Storms
Storm damage is something every homeowner is concerned about, and each season has its own specific issues. Winter brings the challenges of damage from ice, snow, and heavy rains. As a savvy area homeowner, we know you want to make sure that your property is in good shape and prepared for the freezing conditions of our winters, so today we are going to talk about how to prepare your roof for winter storms.
Here at SERVPRO of Huron/East Seneca Counties we love our beautiful, snowy landscapes and enjoying the company of loved ones during the holiday festivities. Unfortunately, these comforts can come at a price if we experience a strong storm that leads to roof damage. A damaged roof can affect your entire home, so it’s going to be crucial that you protect your roof before and after winter storms.
- The first thing you can do to prevent roof damage during winter storms is to monitor the weather. When a strong storm approaches, take time to prepare your roof in advance, and be ready for several consecutive days of freezing temperatures. Knowing the weather predictions ahead of time can help you identify and address those areas of your roof where ice is likely to build up.
- Snow will add extra weight, putting stress on framing and possibly warping the structure of your roof. If possible, use a tool like a snow rake or other grabbing mechanism to clean all debris off before a snowfall. If your roof isn’t easily accessible, call a professional to help you clear it.
- Fallen branches can cause everything from broken shingles to a complete roof collapse, so trim all overhanging branches well before the winter storm season begins.
- Check for any gaps and areas without proper insulation coverage in your attic, and verify that your baffle vents aren’t obstructed if you have a vented soffit. A well-insulated roof can help distribute heat evenly throughout its surface, ensuring that snow and ice don’t build up in one specific area. Proper insulation will also prevent condensation which occurs if the warm and cold air masses are allowed to meet.
- You’ll want to examine your roof before the storm to make sure there aren’t any weak points that will make it especially vulnerable.
If you need a professional consultation or repair work for your roof following a strong winter storm, contact SERVPRO of Huron/East Seneca Counties today. We provide work with all major insurance companies and provide a full range of roofing services. We can help you restore your roof to its full operational condition if you suffer damages from a winter storm, and we can also ensure it stays protected against future winter storm threats.