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.
Portable Generator Safety in Greenville, SC
If you followed along with our blogs last month, you would remember that the theme was National Preparedness Month. One of the blogs was about making a plan, and I practice what I preach. So with the changes that were happening daily to the projected path of Hurricane Florence, I jumped the gun and purchased supplies. In fact, I went overboard. Water, food, first-aid, pet supplies; I bought it all, including two generators. Luckily, Greenville was spared from the torrential rains, at one point meteorologists were calling for 6 inches and a foot, and I didn’t need any of the emergency supplies (and I hope that you did not as well). All the food, water, and other supplies will be put to use, “Winter is Coming” and all that, but what am I going to do with two generators, because the location at which I purchased them is strictly adhering to a “No returns on emergency supplies” policy, even if said supplies are unopened. Now I am twice as prepared.
Keeping in line with being prepared I researched how to properly and safely use a generator so here are some safety tips from the American Red Cross.
- Never use a generator, grill, camp stove, or other gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawl space, or any partially enclosed area.
- To avoid electrocution, keep the generator dry and do not use in rain or wet conditions. Do not touch the generator with wet hands.
- Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent carbon monoxide (CO) buildup in the home. Although CO can’t be seen or smelled, it can rapidly lead to full incapacitation and death. Even if you cannot smell exhaust fumes, you may still be exposed to CO. If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air immediately.
- Install CO alarms in central locations on every level of your home or property and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.
Please keep these tips in mind if you have to use a generator due to severe weather, and I guess now that goes double for me.
National Preparedness Month Week 4: Save For an Emergency
The FEMA app is an excellent source of information like real-time alerts and locations of emergency shelters.
You have put in the effort, and you have the supplies, you have the skills, and you are adequately insured for a disaster. But are you financially ready for the challenges that go along with recovering and rebuilding after an emergency?
Financial planning is more than just setting money aside; it also means keeping essential documents and records in a safe and secure place. Ready.gov has a guide to make securing and retrieving these documents easier, the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK), that when used along with a secure mobile app, safety deposit box, or external hard drive, makes starting the recovery process even faster. Take advantage of these services to safeguard your critical documents:
- Photo ID to prove the identity of household members
- Birth certificate to maintain or re-establish contact with family members
- Social security card to apply for FEMA disaster assistance
- Military service
- Pet ID tags
- Physician information to provide doctors with health information if medical care is needed
- Copies of health insurance information to ensure existing care continues uninterrupted
- Immunization records
Legal and Financial Documents
- Housing Payments to identify financial records and obligations
- Insurance policies to re-establish financial accounts
- Sources of income to maintain payments and credit
- Tax statements to provide contact information for financial and legal providers & apply for FEMA disaster assistance
Preparation is a very time-consuming process, and you may miss crucial items if you wait until the last minute to start. Staying prepared will prevent you from having to get prepared, and will allow you to be able to handle any emergency that comes your way.
National Preparedness Month Week 3: Check Your Coverage
A few facts about flood insurance.
If the last few weeks have been any indication, weather can be unpredictable. Hurricane Florence’s path and impacts to the Greenville area have changed multiple times a day, and that has been frustrating when trying to figure out the best ways to prepare. One step in the preparation process that is consistent is checking your insurance coverage.
All insurances are not the same, each carrier and policy have their own specifications, requirements, and limitations of coverage. Reviewing policies and looking for gaps can be overwhelming and confusing, but Floodsmart.gov has several tools and resources that will help you to understand how and when to buy and renew, help you to file a claim, and help to understand your insurance policy to determine if you do have flood insurance.
Your insurance agent is also an excellent resource for understanding your policy, but it is a good idea to talk with them about your policy before you need to utilize your policy.
National Preparedness Month Week 2: Learn Life Saving Skills
Mini first aid kits like this one are perfect for keeping in vehicles and can assist you if an emergency during travel.
Think back to your high school days, (way back for some of us), did you ever have nightmares about a test that you had not studied for? I’d wake up in a panic, and scramble to study more and be as prepared as I can be. Full disclosure: I still have these things, and I graduated high school in 1998. But the anxiety that caused the nightmares stemmed from a feeling of being ill-prepared, and that same anxiety can cause you to freeze or panic during an emergency. The best way to overcome the sense of not being prepared is to learn as much as you can so that you can handle anything.
Week 2 of NPM focuses on learning life-saving skills so that you can be able to quickly respond to and assist with emergencies with the proper knowledge. Taking the correct action right away, until medical help arrives, can save a life. Follow these steps from Healthfinder.gov now to be prepared in the future.
Know when to call 911
Even if you are fully trained in first aid or CPR always alert 911 right away during an emergency situation including:
- Serious injury
- Sudden violent illness (poisoning)
911 operators are trained to assist in any way possible, so it is important to answer their questions as best as you can, listen to them carefully, and do NOT hang up.
Take a class
Several types of courses available will teach first aid, CPR, and how to utilize an AED correctly. The American Red Cross’ website has a tool to help locate classes based on your city, and help you learn to handle:
- Cuts, burns, head injuries, and broken bones.
- Someone who cannot breathe
- When a person’s heart suddenly stops beating
Make a First Aid Kit
First aid kits have all that you need for rapid response to many situations to treat those that require medical attention. It is incredibly important to have a kit nearby including in your home, at work, and even in the car. A well-stocked first aid kit should include the following:
- Directions on how to treat basic injuries and when to call for more help
- Gloves to prevent contamination risks
- Antiseptic solution or wipes
- And more.
Be sure to check and restock your first aid kit regularly.
The knowledge and experience you will gain from learning these skills can empower you to make the right decision and take swift action in the event of an emergency.
National Preparedness Month Week 1: Make a Plan
The only certain thing about disasters is that nothing is certain about disasters. Natural or manmade, a disaster can happen at any time, and your family may not be together when they strike. Having a plan in place can help your family reconnect with one another and maximize their safety. But you have to plan to make a plan, and Ready.gov has the steps that you need to do so.
Step 1: Answer these questions
- How will we receive emergency alerts and warnings?
- What is our shelter plan?
- What is our evacuation route?
- What is our family communication plan?
The discussions that these questions will lead to can build the foundation of your family’s disaster strategy.
Step 2: Know the needs of your household
Your family’s daily living needs can dictate parts of your plan. Do you have pets or service animals? Do any family members require special medication or medical equipment? Etc.
- Dietary needs
- Cultural and religious considerations
Step 3: Fill out a Family Emergency Plan and Practice
You have worked hard with your family to create a plan, but it is paramount to have the plan written down and that all of the family members are comfortable with it. There are examples of Family Emergency Plans on Ready.gov’s website. And make sure to schedule family practices regularly, this will make sure that every member of the family knows the plan or you can find and overcome obstacles that may cause problems.
Disasters cannot be prevented, but planning can make sure that your family or employees are as #ready as they can be.
SERVPRO of East Greenville County Observes National Preparedness Month 2018
September is National Preparedness Month (NPM), and it is a month dedicated to the idea that preparation is a critical factor in protecting ourselves and our families. NPM has been celebrated since 2004, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) dedicates the month to educating and promoting information that helps Americans take action to prepare their schools, communities, businesses, and homes. The information provided by FEMA helps the general public be prepared for and ready to respond to emergencies such as natural disasters.
National Preparedness Month 2018’s overall theme is: Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How. Each week will focus on different ways that you can prepare for disasters.
- Week 1: September 1-8 Make and Practice Your Plan
- Week 2: September 9-15* Learn Life Saving Skills
- Week 4 September 16-22 Check Your Insurance Coverage
- Week 4: September 23-29 Save For an Emergency
- September 15 is National Day of Action
Make sure to follow SERVPRO of East Greenville County on Facebook and Twitter as we will be sharing information provided by Ready.gov all month long.
Understanding Soot Deposits in your Taylors, SC Home or Property
Chains of ionized particles called soot webs can build up in your home after a fire.
Recently we assisted a family in Taylors by cleaning up their home after a small grease fire. The family took swift action and was able to contain the fire damage to the kitchen. But, smoke, soot, and extinguisher deposit can quickly disperse through a home. Which is where SERVPRO of East Greenville County comes in, we safely remove the smoke and other chemicals from your property so that your family can rest easy and focus on getting things back to normal after a fire.
While our team was doing a pre-clean walk through and taking photographs of impacted the impacted structure, furniture, and other belongings, one of the homeowners looked up into the ceiling of a stairwell and began to cry out. “Please don’t think I keep a dirty house! Both my mother and my grandmother would be so angry with me if they were to see this,” she had seen black cobwebs clinging to the walls. “I am so embarrassed. The smoke from the fire has colored the cobwebs and dust and now I can see that I was not cleaning my house well enough.” But what she did not realize was is that black cobwebs after a fire is not just smoke and soot attaching itself to cobwebs that are already there. They are something else entirely.
Black cobwebs, smoke webs, or soot webs are actually a side effect of the smoke and debris of a fire. As materials burn their particles disperse into the air and they become ionized or develop a positive or negative charge, they then attract other molecules that have the opposing charge type. The airflow can carry these small bonds throughout an entire house can they will grow and attract more particles. And often deposit themselves in cooler spaces and do NOT require preexisting cobwebs to form. Soot webs are not the only type of particle distribution patterns that you may see after a fire.
Many variables impact the deposit pattern, and there are a few different types:
Nail Pop: An optical illusion when charged soot particles are attracted to metal nails and deposit on the outside of building materials.
Ghosting: The Shadowly outline around electrical outlets or other wall mounted items form when the hot, kinetically charged air moves to cooler air, depositing the particles around the objects as it slows.
No matter what type of soot pattern you may see, please do not attempt to clean or disturb them, as they may have trace deposits of harmful chemicals from burnt materials of extinguishers. Please contact a professional like SERVPRO of East Greenville County to make sure your home is properly cleaned after a fire no matter how big or small.
Rapid Response to a Storm Event at a Greenville, SC business.
A water extraction in progress. It pulls water from a carpet before it can absorb into the padding.
Over the past few weeks, the Upstate received several inches of rain. Single day totals were broken in some cities and flash flood, and storm warnings were a daily occurrence. The final days of the deluge proved to be too much for a roof of a Greenville business as a small section of their roof gave way to a significant amount of water.
The office had closed for the weekend, but the water was pouring in and rushing across the floor so rapidly that it set off the motion detectors and a manager was alerted. (Which is lucky for them, because if this amount of water had sat for the entire weekend, there is no telling how much damage could have been done.) The business had used SERVPRO of East Greenville County for commercial cleaning services in the past and knew that we were the people to call for this emergency. Almost every member of our production crew was on site in less than two hours to start the water extraction and drying process. All the standing water was removed
The office space is over 20,000 square feet and is requiring 140 air movers, over a dozen dehumidifiers, and scores of man hours to get this business back into a working state. As of this posting, we expect the flooring to reach dry standard by August 15, and we will then begin inspecting for any secondary issues that can arise from water damage.
SERVPRO of East Greenville County is always ready to help your business recover as fast as possible to limit downtime and reduce the loss of productivity and profit. If your home or business experiences any disastrous event, give us a call at 864-292-3495, and we will be there to help you.
Dealing with Marijuana Residue and Odor in Your Greenville, SC Rental Property.
Similar to cigarette smoke, marijuana residue can build up over time and have drastic impacts on a structure.
The past few years have seen many states legalize marijuana for recreational or medicinal use, and property managers in those states are facing the challenge of removing marijuana residue and odor after a tenant moves out. South Carolina has yet to legalize marijuana at any level of use, but property managers in Greenville still have to face those same challenges.
Marijuana residue can enter the ventilation system of the structure; it can seep into carpeting or other soft contents, walls can be severely stained just like with cigarette smoke. And the length of the tenants’ tenure may have an impact on the level of contamination and processes that are needed to clean and restore the structure. Marijuana smoke and residue may also be combined with incense and other items used to mask the odor, and that may cause even more staining and penetration of the materials inside of a structure. A simple wipe down with retail cleaning solutions may be enough to clean the walls in an apartment that had a tenant with a twelve-month lease. But if the resident had been living there for multiple years, it may be time to call in a professional.
One of SERVPRO of East Greenville County’s specialties is the remediation of smoke damage, and we have the specialized resources to remove the damage, stains, and odor that smoke can cause. So, we can treat structures with marijuana residue with the same care and expertise as those with other types of smoke. Our cleaning solution can be increased or diluted to adjust to the level of staining without damaging the walls. Our air movers, ozone machines, and carpet cleaners are powerful enough to deodorize and remove residue from the air inside of structures and can help reduce the need to have the carpet replaced.
Marijuana cleanup is a sensitive subject, and it is what it is, no judgment from us. So if you are dealing with the impacts of marijuana use on your structure SERVPRO of East Greenville has the experience and resources to clean it up and give you peace of mind.