Stories Winter Storm 2018: Pools in the Attic
There was so much standing water in the attic of a Greenville, SC business that it was pooling behind the paint on many of the walls.
There is never a good time to discover that you have a leak in your roof. That being said, there is also never a good time to discover that you have several leaks in your cigar shop’s roof. Add several inches of melting snow and ice to come running down your walls and through your light fixtures, and you’d have a pretty bad day.
Luckily when the business owner called his landlord, his landlord called SERVPRO of East Greenville County, we were already in the area handling another emergency call. Our production team leader rushed over to scope out the full situation, and our team was there with air movers, drying mats, and ready to extract the standing water in less than 90 mins after getting the call.
Our production team leader noticed that the shop’s ceiling was shallow compared to the height of the building, and even though repairing roofs is not our specialty, he thought he better check on how severe the damage is and try to identify the source. This was when he discovered that there were several pools of standing water in the attic of the building and took swift action to extract the water and prevent a potential catastrophe if the ceiling was to cave in or more spots began to leak on the merchandise in the store. The drying process took several days, so, unfortunately, the business did have downtime, but because our team was able to respond quickly and take swift action, several thousand dollars of inventory and sales equipment was able to be saved. So the store may have a week with no sales, but they will only have to replace a minimal amount of inventory, and that is a drastic reduction to the negative financial impacts.
Our team’s rapid response and experience limited the potential impacts to both the business and the building.
Stories Winter Storm 2018: The Mini Flood
Packed snow combined with melting snow and ice created a mini flood down this sidewalk causing water to flow into a Greer, SC business.
We did it Greenville! We made it through one of the biggest winter storm events to hit our area in years. Our office was closed on Monday, but our team was #Ready: from taking calls from their homes and our crew was out on the icy roads to be where you needed us to be.
One particular call was for a medical facility in Greer that had almost a half an inch of standing water over a few hundred square feet of office space. The office manager had gone out to test the roads to determine if it was safe to open can call in the staff, and while he was out he figured he stop in to take some pictures of downtown covered in the snow, and when he opened the office door and heard splashing, he knew something was wrong. Was it a busted pipe? Overflowing sink or toilet? No, the source was packed snow clogging a sidewalk drainage grate causing the water from the melting snow and ice to flow right into the building. Our team worked to extract the standing water, dry the carpet, and even shoveled the snow off of the grate to keep it from happening again. Because the office manager took swift action and called SERVPRO of East Greenville County, we were able to get the office floor dry quickly and ready for them when they felt it was safe to open. They did not lose any extra time waiting for the floor to dry and were able to begin to provide service to their clients ASAP.
Our team is always #Ready to assist you no matter what the condition, we may even the give the post office a run for their money.
How You Can Help Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing
A frozen over outside faucet can be a bad omen for your Greer, SC property. Make sure to take steps to protect your plumbing, inside and out.
Winter is coming. (Always wanted to say that in the right context.) And it is coming to the Greenville, SC a few weeks early. A blast of cold air is headed our way, and although there is uncertainty for ice or snow, one thing that is for sure is that temperatures are going to drop. Meteorologists are predicting lows in our area to be in the 20s for a few days next week, and the highs are not much warmer. So, make sure to stock up on bread, milk, batteries, and board games. But don’t forget to prep your pipes.
As a water damage mitigation company, we see a barrage of water losses during winter weather events. And these particular loses come with their own unique set of challenges, water from burst pipes can spill into a home and freeze or the power may be out for days. But the SERVPRO of East Greenville Team has the training and equipment to overcome these challenges and help you and your property recover quickly.
But that doesn’t mean that we can’t share some tips on how to help prevent pipes in your home, business, or facility from freezing and possibly causing major problems.
Keep your thermostat set at the same temperature during the day and night. If you grew up with a penny-pinching family member you might remember phrases like “Turn the heat down during the day, the sun will keep us warm,’ or “Turn the heat down at night and use extra blankets and put on two pairs of socks to keep warm.” My uncle said those exact statements frequently and many times during the same day. But trying to save a few cents can wind up costing a lot. It is a good idea to keep a warmer temperature consistent to help keep indoor pipes from getting too cold. Speaking of…
Open cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around indoor plumbing. Keeping indoor pipes warm can prevent them from being the culprits if you do have a pipe burst, and that can limit the damage to crawlspaces or the exterior of the home. Make sure to put any harmful chemicals out of reach of small children or pets.
If you are planning to spend the cold weather somewhere other than home, set your thermostat to 55° or higher, you may not be at home, but your pipes are.
Use insulation to protect pipes in basements, crawlspaces, attics, and the exterior of your home. Insulation tape and water faucet covers can help protect any external faucets, just make sure to disconnect the hose for maximum protection. If a few items at $5 can prevent spending $1000s, sign us up. These can work in the short term, but you may want to contact a professional to install long-term insulation to your pipes under a house or in a basement or attic.
Turn the faucet on. You hear it a lot, but it works. Moving water is harder to freeze than still water. Even a slow drip can be enough to make a huge difference. Running the water in multiple rooms can help even more.
We hope that these tips are helpful, and if you have any additional best practices that you’d want to share, head on over to our Facebook and leave us a comment.
Celebrating Safety During the Holidays in Greenville, SC
It is the beginning of December, and we are seeing some fantastically decorated homes for the holiday season. From the tasteful white lights on a few trees to enough lights and color to be seen from space, it is all wonderful. We can’t wait to pack the family the car and tour various neighborhoods and enjoy all of the hard work and start to feel festive. But the desire to have the best-decorated house on the block can lend itself to a few safety issues.
The American Red Cross has several holiday safety tips on their website to help ensure that your holiday season is a safe one. What’s great is that they think of things that are easily overlooked during the winter season (New Year’s Eve fireworks anyone?).
Three is the magic number! Place all trees, candles, and other decorations at least 3ft from fireplaces, portable heaters, and other heat sources.
Make room. Cooking for family gatherings or parties can be a “stressful joy,” but be sure to keep flammable items like oven mitts, food packaging, and paper recipes away from the stove top. It may be a good idea to invest in a tablet to store classic family recipes, just remember that they are flammable too.
Stay away from frays. During the arduous process of untangling the lights, be sure to check each string for frayed electrical cords. You may have to toss them out and replace them, but it is less costly than any disasters that may happen.
The designated walker. It is a great idea to assign a someone the honor and duty of walking your property to make sure all candles and lights are extinguished each evening or after guest leave holiday parties.
The same rules apply in the cold too. If you plan to celebrate the new year with fireworks, keep the same safety precautions in mind. Just because its cold outside doesn’t mean that a stray spark can start a fire and you have to invite the fire department to your New Year’s Eve get together. Keep the display away from buildings and outside decorations.
Emphasizing safety during the holidays can give you the chance to enjoy them worry-free. And even if something was to go awry, SERVPRO of East Greenville County’s team is always #Ready. Any day. Any time.
Essential Items to Keep in Your Vehicle During Greenville’s Winter Months
Getting stranded during a winter storm can be a dangerous spot to be stuck in. Make sure that you are prepared if you have to be on the road.
While it is true that we do not get a significant amount of winter weather here in Greenville, SC, when we do get it everything shuts down. Well almost everything, thanks Waffle House. Our area is notorious for false start winter storm warnings, empty bread aisles and milk shelves, and school cancelations. Just to get cold rain. And because of this, many folks around the area do not heed the warnings so when we do get a 4-inch blizzard, or even worse an ice storm, they are caught unaware, especially on the road.
Getting caught in heavy snow or ice while driving can be a challenge, after all, the Upstate does not get enough of it to become adapted to those conditions. And many facilities may hold off on closing or sending employees home until conditions are no longer safe to drive. You’ll see 85 and 385 dotted with abandoned vehicles the day after a winter event and you hope that everyone is OK and be happy that was not you.
But what do you do when it IS you? Do you chance it and walk a mile or two in the snow or ice, what if you have children or those with mobility issues? You may have to stay in the vehicle until conditions clear up, if they are clearing up soon. And that is why keeping the following items in the car during the winter months is a fantastic idea that can help to keep you and your family safe.
Flashlight: Keeping a flashlight in your car is always a good idea no matter what season, but if you are stuck during a winter storm you can use the flashlight to get the attention SHEP trucks or other good Samaritans and save your cell phone battery for trying to call for help. Speaking of which…
Cell phone battery pack: Having an external cell phone charger handy is a life saver. You may have to call for help or use GPs to locate a safe place to wait out the storm. These can be a little tricky because you do have to remember to keep them charged and put them back in the car too, but are still worth the investment.
Gloves, an extra set of warm clothes, and blankets: You may have to get out and push or try to dig out of a bad situation if you slide off the road. The gloves will keep your hands warm, but if there is still precipitation falling or deep snow having an extra set of clothes to change into can help prevent possible health concerns like frostbite or hypothermia. Depending on your situation you may be there a while, blankets will help keep you warm.
Kitty litter: Find the coarsest kitty litter you can and keep a bag or two in the trunk, but stay away from the scoopable variety. You need the rough litter to help give your tires traction if you are stuck. Spreading the litter near your tires and in front of the vehicle can help you to get out of a potentially dangerous scenario.
Reflectors, reflective clothing, and road flares: Visibility may be limited during, and after a storm, flares can help get others attention, the reflectors will help others to see your vehicle, and if you are risking the walk, reflective clothing like a vest can help other drivers to see you and avoid accidents.
Tow rope or chain: Remember the good Samaritans from earlier, they have stopped to help you but they do not have a way to help pull you out of the ditch and pushing is not working either. If their vehicle is built for working, they may be able to pull you out of the ditch. Just be sure of where to safely tie the chain or rope to both vehicles. (If you have a cell phone battery charger and are still have a signal you can look up the optimal spots on each car is for emergency towing.)
Water and non-perishable food: Being stranded is not fun, being stranded and hungry and thirsty is even less fun. Keeping water along with granola bars, jerky, or trail mix will give you the calories you need to stay warm. And if you have children with you, a snack can stave off crankiness and prevent a bad situation from getting worse. Just don’t eat out of boredom or stress eat, and check the expiration dates on your items.
There are many more things that you can keep in your car for the winter months, or all year (*cough cough* first aid kit) based on where you live. These are just a few ideas from our team based on some real-life experiences that we hope you never need but will be happy that you have.
Employee Holiday Recipes Part 2
This isn’t a picture of Jason’s recipe (because no one is willing to wait for a photo), but everyone should see ACBP in all of its glory.
SERVPRO of East Greenville County offers all kinds of great information about prevention, safety, and procedures during fire and water disasters. But during this time of year, we want to share some of our team’s favorite recipes. So please enjoy Jason’s Apple Cinnamon Bread Pudding.
Apple Cinnamon Bread Pudding
3 cans of cinnamon rolls
¾ cup milk
1 ½ Tbs cinnamon
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbs of butter
2 Granny Smith Apple
1 Red Delicious Apple
1 cup brown sugar
Mix eggs, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla in a bowl until slightly creamy, and set aside. Dice each Uncooked cinnamon roll into 6-9 pieces and set aside. Dice the apples (dealer’s choice if peeled or unpeeled). Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add the butter, apples, and brown sugar. Cook until the apples are tender and the butter and sugar have caramelized and allow to cool for 10-15 mins.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a medium sized casserole dish with butter or cooking spray and add the diced cinnamon rolls and spread evenly. Then pour milk mixture making sure to get even coverage. Spread the apples over the top, but do not press them into the cinnamon rolls, and then finally pour the icing over the uncooked bread pudding. Bake for 30-45 mins. Use the toothpick method to make sure is done.
Add any topping you like or eat it plain. It makes a great dessert or a fantastic breakfast.
Clean Gutters Can Help Prevent Flooded Basements
It has been a rough few days this week as far as weather goes in the Upstate. This week alone the area averaged over 6 inches of rain, that is a month and a half worth of rain per local meteorologists. The storm brought with it flooding, downed trees, auto accidents, and even sinkholes. We were happy to do what we can to assist those that were impacted by the rain.
SERVPRO of East Greenville County was called out to several homes to extract inches of standing water in finished basements. The emergency calls started coming in before 4 AM and continued throughout the day until late into the evening. In many cases, the flooding was from water pooling at a home’s foundation line and then wicking through the walls or cracks. A proper drainage system on the roof of a structure can help to prevent water from pooling next to the wall and potentially causing severe issues.
But what does “proper drainage system mean,” you ask…
Gutters, more specifically well-maintained gutters. That’s right, the bane of the weekend, the yard work that no one sees or compliments, cleaning out the gutters. Climbing up and down a ladder, carrying a bag that gets heavier each and every time, sticking your hand into who knows what, and it is so easy to say “just forget it.” But the thing is all of that can help to prevent a flooded basement.
If the gutters are clogged, water cannot move freely through them into the spouts pointed away from the home. Leaves and sticks can build up creating dams causing hazardous overflow, or they can weigh down a gutter and pull it away from the roof and generate a whole new set of problems.
Everyone has what they consider the best method or tool to clean out gutters, and there are lots of preventative items available too. So, you have to figure what works best for you. But if spending two weekends a year, once in the Spring and once in the Fall, can help prevent spending thousands of dollars and tons of headaches, isn’t it worth it?
If your home, business, or facility has had water damage because of clogged gutters or any other reason, SERVPRO of East Greenville County is here to help. Give us a call at 864-292-3495.
Employee Holiday Recipes Part 1
The first batch of soup for the season. A tasty addition for a cold Saturday tailgate or weeknight meal.
SERVPRO of East Greenville County offers all kinds of great information about prevention, safety, and procedures during fire and water disasters. But during this time of year, we want to share some of our team’s favorite recipes. So please enjoy Jason’s Chicken, Sausage, and Pepper Soup
The holidays are coming up and with them lots of parties along with tons of fabulous friends and fantastic food. You may find yourself scrambling to find something to bring, or so busy being social that you do not have time to cook for yourself at one. Luckily, we have a soup recipe that is easy to make, even with all the ingredients. And best of all it is actually healthy. It can be its own meal, or an appetizer, which is why it can be great for parties. Adding the cheese sauce listed at the end thickens it up and makes a perfect for bread bowls.
Chicken, Sausage, and Pepper Soup
2lbs pork sausage (any flavor but maple)
3/4lb slow cooked chicken (with butter and coconut oil)
1 green pepper diced
1 can Rotel
1 bag frozen pepper stir-fry
1 10oz bag spinach or spinach kale mix
4 cups beef STOCK (not broth)
2Tbs cayenne pepper
2Tbs Italian seasoning
2Tbs onion powder
2Tbs season salt
2Tbs kosher salt
1Tbs chipotle garlic salt
2Tbs olive oil
Gather all spices in 1 container
Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over med heat. Add sausage (don’t break up yet and let seer for 1 min). Break up sausage and cook through (don’t drain grease). Add peppers, wait 3 mins then add chicken, Rotel, and spices. Mix well. Add spinach and cover for 10 mins to wilt. Mix everything together. Add stock. Stir. (If you are going to add the cheese sauce, do it before bringing the soup to a boil). Bring to boil, cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for 30mins.
1 small container heavy whipping cream
1 stick unsalted butter
8oz shredded cheese (your choice)
1 cube chicken bouillon cube
1Tbs black pepper
Stir chicken cube into the cream. Add butter then place over med heat. Keep stirring to melt butter. After butter has melted, slowly add cheese in small amounts until it melts. Place heat on low and simmer for 10 mins.
We hope that you enjoy this delicious soup, and if you do make it share it with us on Facebook, we’d love to see it.
Fry the Turkey, Not Your Yourself: Turkey Frying Safety Tips
Fried turkey is delicious, but it can be disastrous if safety is not a priority during the preparation process.
It took a while, but Fall has finally come to Greenville. The temperatures are getting cooler, the leaves are changing, and you may even have to warm the car up before heading to work some mornings. But the best parts of the season, to me, are the all the holiday foods. Each year I start planning my Thanksgiving menu weeks in advance, and that includes doing a test run of some of the foods that are only brought out for the big day to make sure it will be just right.
But this year I am thinking of changing it up a little and frying the turkey. I'm talking acutally doing it myself, not ordering one from a restaurant the day before and fighting the temptation to dig in. I admit I am a little nervous about frying the bird, after all when you work in the restoration industry you see and hear about fires and other disasters that can happen if the proper safety steps are not followed. Luckily, there are several reliable sources for techniques and safety protocols that can help to ensure that the only worry will be impressing the in-laws.
StateFarm.com has several safety tips to secure a “scorchless” celebration, including:
- Keep outdoor fryers off decks, out of garages and a safe distance away from trees and other structures.
- Make sure the turkey is thawed and dry before cooking. Ice or water that mixes into the hot oil can cause flare-ups.
- Watch the weather. Never operate a fryer outdoors in the rain or snow.
- Place the fryer on a level surface, and avoid moving it once it's in use.
- Leave 2 feet between the tank and the burner when using a propane-powered fryer.
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions to avoid overfilling. Oil can ignite when it makes contact with the burner.
- Choose a smaller turkey for frying. A bird that's 8 to 10 pounds is best; pass on turkeys over 12 pounds.
- Never leave fryers unattended.
- Keep a fire extinguisher nearby during the heating, cooking, and cooling process.
Food Guru Alton Brown has designed a Fry Derrick that can help ensure your safety and the safety of your property. You can see a brief instruction video here.
Remember to be thinking about safety when working in a kitchen, or cooking outdoors in this case, and then you and your loved ones can focus on enjoying the meal, and no one has to take a to-go plate to the emergency room.
If you have a turkey fryer incident or any other accident in the kitchen SERVPRO of East Greenville County specializes in Fire and Smoke Damage Restoration and we can help you ANY day of the year.
SERVPRO of East Greenville Observes Fire Prevention Week
Each year the week of October 9th is recognized as Fire Prevention Week by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. More than 250 people died, 100,000 homes and businesses were destroyed, and thousands of acres were burned, and that disastrous event changed the way that civil engineers and firefighters viewed fire safety. Since 1922 Fire Protection Week has been sponsored by the NFPA, and President Coolidge declared it a national observance in 1925 making FPW America’s longest-running public health observance. During FPW firefighters provide public education to children and adults to promote fire safety and reduce fire-related casualties.
The campaign for Fire Prevention Week 2018 is “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere,” and focuses on teaching people three necessary steps to reduce the likelihood of a fire and how to escape in the event of a fire.
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.
For more information including printable materials and videos for fire safety and prevention visit NFPA.org. And contact your local fire department to see if they are hosting any Fire Prevention Week events.