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.
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.