Whether or not you know it's coming, a power outage can be a major disturbance. It never hurts to know what to do once the lights go out.
Power outages can happen at any time and are unavoidable, but the costs associated with them can be lessened by installing a home backup generator at a home or business.
Have a place in your home where flashlights, a battery-powered radio, and extra batteries can be easily found.
If you know the outage is coming, set aside extra water and buy or make extra ice. You can use the ice to keep perishable items cool.
Make sure the battery in your smoke detector is fresh. Test the smoke detector on a monthly basis to make sure it's working.
Keep an appliance thermometer in the freezer. If the freezer is 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder when the power returns, all the food is safe.
If possible, use flashlights instead of candles for emergency lighting. Candles used in unfamiliar settings can be dangerous fire hazards.
Turn off or disconnect any appliances, equipment, or electronics that were on when the power went out. When power comes back on, it may come back with momentary "surges" or "spikes" that can damage equipment such as computers and motors in appliances like the air conditioner, refrigerator, washer, or furnace.
Leave one light on so you know when the power returns.
Avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer. This will help keep your food as fresh as possible. Be sure to check food for signs of spoilage.
Use generators safely. If you have a portable generator, only run it outdoors with adequate ventilation. Never use a generator indoors or in attached garages. The exhaust fumes contain carbon monoxide, which can be deadly if inhaled.
If your home was built before 1978, it likely contains lead-based paint. Deteriorated lead-based paint is present in as many as 24 million residences
No safe levels
Lead is dangerous to people of all ages, but children younger than 6 years old are particularly susceptible. Some of the effects of lead exposure — even low levels — in children and adults can include:
Damage to the kidneys and nervous system
Issues with speech, language and behavior
Slowed physical growth
High-risk pregnancies and fertility issues
High blood pressure
Problems with digestion
A simple blood test at the doctor's office can detect lead poisoning. The best way to treat lead poisoning is to remove or minimize exposure to lead.
Reducing the risk
Hire a certified inspector or risk assessor to test your home. If your home has lead-based paint, take these steps to keep your family safe.
Check surfaces. Lead-based paint in good shape is not a threat. But wear and tear is likely, particularly with painted window frames, doors, doorframes and stairs. Regularly inspect surfaces for peeling, chipping or damage.
Keep it clean. Even a few particles of lead-based paint can be hazardous. Regularly wipe down floors, windowsills and other paint-covered surfaces to keep them free from lead dust.
Remodel with care. Home improvements that involve scraping or disturbing paint may release toxic lead dust. If you're the DIY type, learn as much as you can about lead-safe practices. Or, better yet ...
Hire a pro. Enlist a Lead-Safe Certified renovation firm to help with your next project, or hire a certified lead abatement contractor to ditch lead for good. Find certified inspection, risk assessment, abatement and renovation firms on the EPA's website.
Look past the paint. Lead also may be present in soil tracked into the house, on some children's toys and even in older pipes and plumbing. Is there lead in your tap water?
Your drinking water may not be as safe as you think especially if your home has lead plumbing. Corrosion in your home's plumbing and water-supply syst
Know the risks
Lead can affect family members differently depending on their age and development. Children and pregnant women are most at risk.
Infants: Delays in physical and mental abilities
Children: Brain and nervous system damage, behavioral and learning problems, lower IQ, issues with hearing, slowed growth and anemia
Adults: Nervous system impairment, high blood pressure, hypertension, kidney problems, and reproductive issues
Test your water
You can't see, smell, or taste lead, so how do you know if your water is contaminated? The answer: regular testing. If your home was built before 1986, there is a greater risk that your plumbing has lead-containing materials. But regardless of your home's age, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends testing your water regularly if it comes from a private water system. Most public water systems test for contaminants annually. However, these tests reflect the water quality of the entire system not individual homes.
Testing kits are available at most home improvement stores. To get the best results, the EPA recommends sending your sample to a certified laboratory in your area.
If your water tests positive for lead, there are things you can do to reduce risk in the short-term and long-term. But first, visit your doctor to make sure no one in your family has high levels of lead in their system.
Here are some things you can do at home:
Use the cold-water tap it has lower levels of lead than warm water.
Flush your pipes by running your tap for at least one minute until the water becomes cold if it hasn't been used for the last six hours.
Replace lead plumbing pipes. According to the EPA, lead is a dull gray metal that can be easily scratched.
Use bottled or distilled water.
Use a filter certified to remove lead from your water.
A recent carpet cleaning service completed by SERVPRO Of East Greenville County.
Today I wanted to talk about the upcoming ending of Winter and the start of Spring. If you are in the Northern Hemisphere, Winter technically ends March 20th. With Spring quickly approaching, I wanted to talk a little about "Spring Cleaning." This post primarily focuses on getting your carpets cleaned this spring.
A study shows that nearly 79% of soil in carpet is considered dry soil. Owning and using a quality vacuum is a key process in cleaning & maintaining your carpets. Carpets tend to act as a filter. They trap everything from dust to animal hair, to dead skin cells.
Professional Cleaning: Professional cleaning can address moderate and heavy soil conditions in your carpets. How often you'll need professional cleaning depends on soil build-up, traffic, type and color of the carpets. Dirt typically accumulates in layers, and when carpet looks dirty to the eye, you are typically only seeing the dirt at the tips of the fibers. Even the highest quality items can show soiling. SERVPRO Of East Greenville County Professionals will get the job done right. For a cleaning backed by state-of-the-art equipment and over 40 years of experience and professionals trained to the highest standard, protect your investment by giving us a call at 864-292-3495. We look forwards to the opportunity to do great work for you.
This was a great article from Restoration & Remediation Magazine. Written by Michelle Blevins
Women in the workforce: a consistently hot topic. Times have changed. Today, it is the norm for a household to have two working parents. Thirty or forty years ago, it was not – it was believed women belonged in the home, and men in the workforce. Generation X, and now millennials, and the up and coming Generation Z are changing the landscape of the workforce in big ways. That must be why the topic of women in the workforce is so popular this presidential election year, perhaps more so than ever.
Did you know 70 percent of women in the U.S. with children younger than 18 work? And according to The Occupational Safety & Health Administration, the number of women in the U.S. construction industry grew by more than 81 percent from 1985 to 2007? Despite that staggering increase, however, only 9 percent of U.S. construction workers are women – which is obviously a very low number compared to other industries.
While we don’t know the exact number of women in the restoration industry specifically, it is very safe to say women are rising in the ranks of restoration companies – and doing it quickly. Women bring a new way of doing things to the table … a sort of quiet strength and the ability to help build others up, and bring out the very best in everyone around them.
When Restoration & Remediation launched the 2016 Recognizing Women in Restoration campaign, we really didn’t know how it would go. All I knew was in my short time in the industry, I have met a number of truly remarkable women who have a bit of a different take on restoration. While most understand this industry is all about helping other people on their worst day, not everyone has the ability to comfort and connect like a woman! They are also shedding more light on the importance of using safe, clean products – especially around children, the elderly, those who are sick, and so on. The women who come to my mind are also strong and not easily intimidated. They know this industry, they know their niche, and they will not back down.
I had the opportunity to attend Violand Management Associates’ Women in Leadership event in June of this year and sat in a room full of women who left me in awe. Each was so intelligent, and full of fresh, innovative ideas on how to tackle everyday problems in a restoration business. As the staff at Violand would say, these women are ready to “kick some glass!” Thank you very much, Violand, for being such a strong supporter of the campaign this year and for your work to help women rise in the ranks of restoration companies around the country.
The Judging Process
A lot of work, planning, and organization went in to this year’s Recognizing Women in Restoration campaign. It was vitally important to R&R that the process be fair and unbiased. To the right, you can “meet” two of the three judges (the third being myself) who thoroughly read and scored every single one of the 40 (yes FORTY!!!) entries and nominations. Each entry was graded based on six categories:
Thoroughness of the entry
Journey & experience
Job growth & future reach potential
Worthiness of recognition
Advice to others
Each of those categories was weighted (with some categories being worth more than others), and the judges plugged in numbers on a score sheet to come up with a final score for every entry. There was little to no room for bias as the scores were truly based on every woman’s individual journey, knowledge and wisdom they had to share, credentials, and so on.
Bottom line: this was a well-developed process judged by three women heavily involved in the restoration industry – myself, Susan Pinto, and Ashlee Carpentier. We all have varying degrees and lengths of involvement in the industry, but in the end our scores for every entry came out very similar – and when added together, established a pretty clear winner.
Susan’s master’s degree in educational leadership proved very useful in the business world as she migrated from an elementary school teacher to president of Wonder Makers Environmental alongside her husband, Michael Pinto. For 28 years, she has focused on the business aspects of the company including personnel management, customer service, distributor relations, marketing, and financial management. Wonder Makers has a mission of serving God and society by helping people solve environmental, health, and safety problems and Susan works with each client with unparalleled kindness and integrity.
Ashlee is married to her best friend and business partner, Shaun Carpentier. Together, they own Complete DKI and 1-800-Packouts of the Gulf Coast. Ashlee has a huge heart for those experiencing a disaster, and put that passion in action serving as the Board Chair for a local Red Cross Chapter. She is also an avid supporter of the Escambia County Professional Fire Fighters Charity and Complete DKI volunteers time and resources for the Trauma Intervention Program. Ashlee also serves as Board President for the Gulf Coast Association of Insurance Professions, is the membership chair for her local chapter of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association and an active board member of NAIOP of Northwest Florida.
Winner: Annissa Coy
Who: Annissa Coy
What: Owner and founder of Firehouse Education and Mobile Clean Systems
When: She has been in the restoration industry since 2000.
Where: Based in Spokane, Wash.
Why: “I truly love helping people and there is no better place to do this than the restoration industry, in my opinion.”
How: Annissa runs both a mobile contents cleaning business, and a school for cleaners and restorers.
From Bookkeeper to Owner
Annissa got her start in the restoration industry in 2000, hired in as a bookkeeper for a company grossing about $360,000 a year. She quickly worked her way up to office manager and began taking on some of the marketing as well.
“Within three years, I helped increase the gross revenue to about $900,000,” Annissa explained. “At this point, the owner incorporated and I became the CEO and ran the business overseeing all operations, purchases and marketing.”
In 2006, the owner sold the business to Annissa and her husband, Kevin. Two years later, they started Mobile Clean Systems – an onsite, 34-foot trailer that is specially designed and engineered to clean contents as efficiently and effectively as possible, even at a home in the middle of nowhere.
Then in 2009, they launched Firehouse Education – a hands-on school teaching contents restoration and systems management, plus marketing.
Today, Annissa and her crew travel to CAT losses all over the country, and do residential contents restoration (mainly fires) in the Western U.S.
“I went from an employee and having zero restoration experience, to owning the restoration business in just six years,” Annissa said. “Then within two years of owning the company, we grossed $1.3 million in revenue and increased our net profit by 1,003 percent.”
Annissa takes pride that Mobile Clean’s business is 100 percent referral-based. She does not hesitate for a second to ask a customer for a testimonial after a successful contents cleaning job.
“I truly love helping people and there is no better place to do this than the restoration industry, in my opinion,” she said. “I am good at creating systems and helping others feel comfortable and cared for. My biggest contributions to the industry would be my natural ability to teach and to help others see things differently and encourage them to challenge the status quo.”
She admits when she first came into the industry 16 years ago, she shook things up a bit by challenging the way things were done, and suggesting better, more efficient ways to clean contents. She is also first to admit the path into this tight-knit industry, especially the niche of contents, wasn’t easy as she was surrounded by people who had been doing restoration for decades. But she also felt she had some insights that could help.
Through Firehouse Education and her YouTube channel, Annissa was able to create a voice for herself.
“I was the first one to take my camera on CAT losses and out on job sites and film what was happening step-by-step,” she said. “I was also one of the first to capture video testimonials onsite from homeowners and adjusters and post them to my website, blog, and throughout my marketing.”
“Don’t think you have to do things the way they have always been done. Constantly ask yourself ‘can this be done better, faster, and with more care?’” she said. “And never stop asking yourself how you can serve your clients better. Bring your heart to the game every single day. It’s what your clients and your team need and want from you most.”
Who: Jessika James
What: Certified Indoor Industrialist | Owner, JMJ Consulting and Inspections
When: A lifetime! She joined her family’s construction and restoration business when she was just 10 years old, and her high school graduation gift in 1978 was a Chevy van with a truckmount. The note from her dad said: “Congratulations! You are a carpet cleaner! Rent is now $300.” For Jessika, this was a dream come true.
Where: Jessika works nationwide as a consultant and previously had a variety of roles in the industry including restoration company owner, ProChem’s education director, IICRC instructor, and more.
Why: “My father was very work-oriented. As a child, my weekly allowance wasn’t for setting the table or doing the dishes, but helping out in the family construction and restoration business,” Jessika said. “I would do everything from setting up equipment to fire damage packouts to filing in the office on the weekends.”
Jessika’s journey is far too impressive to do justice in a short write up, but she has worn a number of hats over the years, and earned a number of IICRC and other certifications.
“I have had the incredible opportunity to work with and learn from some of the industry superstars! Carl Williams, Jeff Bishop, Ron Toney, Tom Hill, Steve Marsh – they all played a major part in my in-field experiences, then my movement into the education area,” Jessika recalled. “Teaching classes and seminars is always my favorite thing to do, and what I feel is my largest contribution to the industry.”
“Although it is still a largely male-dominated industry, women are seen more and more frequently in all different jobs, from packing out houses on fire damage jobs, to remediating water and mold projects, to independently running their own businesses! The biggest piece of advice I could give would be- spread the news! This is a great industry for women!”
She also said: “It is amazing how just in the past 10-15 years, we have seen so many strong, independent, educated, professional women joining the workforce in the cleaning and restoration fields – and kicking some serious behind!”
Who: Kris Rudarmel
What: President, Anchor Restoration
When: Anchor Restoration was created in 2005
Where: South Jordan, Utah
Why: Kris and her husband, Frank, had an unpleasant experience with an emergency flood service in the early 2000’s, inspiring them to start their own restoration company to better serve the needs in their community.
“I had a dream to create an experience for my clients that was about more than just flood damage cleanup,” she said. “I wanted to stand out and provide an eclectic customer experience and build a company that my team members would be proud to work for and share a vision with what I had created.”
Kris’s business has won a number of awards, including being named to Utah Business Magazine’s “30 Women in Watch” in 2013, NAWBO’s “Woman Business Owner of the Year” Award in 2013, and the Enterprise 7 Award: Woman Business Owner (for the seventh time!) and a number of others.
“It is vitally important to savor your successes and appreciate your failures. Our failures teach us a lot and make us strong,” she said. “Believe in yourself! Your beliefs become your reality! Do not be afraid to dream BIG! Find or create passion in whatever you do and stay out of your comfort zone by feeling the fear and doing it anyway.”
This is Only the Beginning!
R&R has big plans for the Recognizing Women in Restoration campaign for 2017! Be on the lookout for a call to action in the beginning of the year, and some exciting announcements and evolutions in the campaign! We hope this is only the beginning of recognizing women who are truly “kicking some glass” and hope those who didn’t win this year (including our runners-up) will continue to be involved in future!
To all the women who participated this year, and the people who took the time to nominate a woman in the industry who they respect, thank you!
This photo shows just how serious the drought is in South Carolina.
SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – Despite the flooding for the low country of SC the drought is getting worse for the Upstate.
We are more than 8 inches below average rainfall for the year at GSP due to missing out on the two tropical cyclones to come up the coast.
The United States drought monitor shows the Upstate ranging from severe to extreme drought in a few spots. But the state climatologist, Dr. Hope Mizzell says our drought monitor in SC is based on several factors, not just precipitation. Forest fire threat, rainfall, and water supply are some of the factors taken into account when considering the drought status. Regardless, Mizzell says the upstate is in Severe Drought and expects that to be upgraded during this week’s meeting with the South Carolina Drought Response Committee.
Dr. Mizzell says the water supply for the upstate is fine for now, but need to be monitored as we move through our driest months of the year. She says that drought relief is not expected for November, but that is normal. However, Mizzell stressed that the Winter months is when we replenish the reservoirs before the hot and dry Summer conditions approach. Winter is the time we need normal rainfall, not necessarily above normal precipitation.
Mizzell says our drought monitor at the state level is geared more towards water supply problems and the committee normally meets every 8 weeks to avoid the windshield wiper effect of changing the drought status frequently. However, as conditions prove needed she says the committee will meet every 4 to 6 weeks.
At this time Mizzell says she does not see any indication of any state level water restrictions and that would have to come at a local level.
She encourages everyone to be good stewards when it comes to water resources. A full list of ways to conserve water on a daily basis is found at the SC DNR website listed below.
The reason you may see more updates from NC is that they meet every week and use their drought monitor directly off of the United States Drought Monitor.
Please call SERVPRO before your problem gets this bad.
In as little as 48 hours, mold can quickly become a problem in your home or business when there’s a water intrusion, like a roof leak or leaking water line. Mold can cause health effects and can also cause significant damage to your property. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals have the training, protective gear, and specialized equipment necessary to handle your mold problem.
Have a Mold Problem? Call Today 1-864-292-3495
If you have a mold problem in your home or business, your primary focus should be safety:
Significant mold growth can occur in 48-72 hours.
Mold may present a greater risk to children, the elderly, and anyone with respiratory problems.
A strong, musty odor may indicate hidden mold behind drywall or under carpeting.
What to Do:
Stay out of affected areas.
Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
Contact a SERVPRO Franchise Professional for mold remediation services.
What NOT to Do:
Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.
IICRC sets the standard in the water and mold cleanup industry. Always use a IICRC certified firm.
In the realm of water and mold, what makes someone an expert? I get asked that question a lot. When I go out behind another mitigation company, I can tell by the questions a homeowner ask, whether they have talked to someone that is knowledgeable or just someone looking to turn a dollar. To often in a field of work that is unregulated, we have people or even companies that claim to be the expert, but have never taken one course on the subject.
One of the first questions that a homeowner should ask is, are you a IICRC certified firm and what certifications does the person onsite have. IICRC sets the standards for both water mitigation and mold remediation. They administer the training and produce the protocols that we in this industry follow.
So why is this so important? If your loss is a self pay loss, you could be throwing thousands of dollars out the window to someone that claims to be an expert.
Structural Drying: Moisture content in structural components must be a concern in all water damage situations. After evaluation of carpet and pad, a careful evaluation of structural materials must be done. Replacement of structural components if damaged beyond repair will be much more costly than replacement of contents such as carpet and pad. Thus consideration and inspection of any structural component that has the remotest possibility of being wet is vital (dirt to sky inspection). If moisture is detected, rapid drying of the structure must be the primary concern. Thus use of a hygrometer to measure the extent of saturation of porous materials is considered standard procedure in all water losses. SERVPRO is the Greenville areas leading water mitigation company. We are an emergency service company serving the Greenville SC area 24 hours per day, 7-days per week, 365 days per year. As an IICRC certified firm we use the latest techniques in structural drying and can handle any size disaster. Call us at (864) 292-3495 should your home or business experience a water emergency.
Content from SERVPRO of Carbondale/Clarks Summit/Old Forge
You often hear that this is a great time to buy a home because rates are low and home prices are still attractive. But the majority of Americans think housing is still unaffordable, a recent survey shows.
About 6 in 10 Americans say it's challenging to find affordable, quality housing in their community, regardless of whether you want buy or rent. The findings come from an annual survey on housing attitudes commissioned by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and conducted by Hart Research Associates.
Struggling to make housing payments
More than half of the respondents in the survey say they have had to make at least one sacrifice in the last three years to pay for their mortgage or rent. The sacrifices included taking a second job, deferring retirement savings, accumulating credit card debt, cutting back on health care and healthy foods and moving to a neighborhood where they felt less or one with worse schools.
The public's perspective on the housing recovery also is pretty pessimistic, according to the survey.
"The American people do not see the housing crisis as something that is behind us," says Geoff Garin, president of Hart Research Associates.
About 7 in 10 respondents said that we are still in the midst of the housing crisis or that the worse has yet to come.
I want a home!
Still, the American dream of owning a home isn't dead.
Even though a growing number of people say that renting is becoming more appealing than buying, according to the survey, about 70 percent of respondents say the aspire to own a home.
But they don't always look at it as an investment.
About half say it's an "excellent long-term investment," and about 43 percent say that's no longer the case.