Recent Why SERVPRO Posts
ICC Building Safety Month Week 2
The Building Safety Industry is a field ripe with opportunities for those looking for a new career. The ICC has many tools to help you get started.
Week two of the International Code Council Building Safety Month’s theme is Ensuring a Safer Future Through Training and Education. The week highlights the various careers that are a part of the building safety industry and the education and training paths that are available to join the industry.
In 2014 the National Institute of Building Sciences conducted research and determined that the building industry will lose 80% of its skilled workforce over the next 15 years. So, there is a tremendous opportunity for job seekers to start a successful career. There are many specialty positions in the building safety industry including:
- A building inspector inspects structures to determine compliance with the various building codes and standards adopted by the jurisdiction.
- A building official manages the development, administration, interpretation, application, and enforcement of the codes adopted by their jurisdiction.
- A special inspector provides a specialized inspection of structural material fabrication and placement, such as poured concrete, structural steel installation, and fasteners, etc.
- A permit technician assists in the issuance of construction and development permits to ensure compliance with the provisions of a jurisdiction’s adopted regulations and codes.
- A fire marshal develops and delivers fire prevention and implements public fire safety programs that provide for inspections of occupancies for life safety and fire issues in accordance with codes and standards adopted by their jurisdiction.
- A plumbing inspector inspects the installation, maintenance, and alteration of plumbing systems complete with their fixtures, equipment, accessories, and appliances.
The International Code Council also has several tools to help you learn about the various careers and see which one is right for you.
When Do You Replace The Batteries In Smoke Alarms
Testing a smoke alarm once a month will help to determine when the batteries need to be replaced.
Daylight Saving Time began a few weeks ago, and hopefully, you and your family have adjusted by now. Everyone is feeling as rested as they can, eating at the “right” time, and felling “normal.” But do you have a nagging sensation that you have forgotten something? Have you changed the batteries in your smoke detector since the time change? Since the last time change? In the past 365 days? When was the last time you changed the batteries or at least checked them?
There once was the idea that you should change out the batteries in your smoke detector every six months, and you used the changing of the clocks as a reminder. But batteries have changed, and smoke detector technology has also changed. So, are every six months guidelines even applicable anymore? That depends on who you ask.
In 2015 Consumer Reports answered a reader’s question about how often they should replace their smoke alarm’s batteries, and the answer was a little vague: “It’s true that a lithium 9-volt battery will probably last longer than an alkaline 9V (which in turn should last longer than a carbon-zinc 9V). But how much longer depends on a smoke alarm’s power drain.” But they also stated that the conservative six-month time frame was out of caution and safety and that is why it still a good idea, and if the old battery still has power use it for something that is not related to safety. That is good advice; you are still changing out the batteries but saving cost elsewhere. But you may want something a little more concrete for an answer.
On the other hand, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) have a few different recommendations and best practices to maintain the smoke detectors in your home. They recommend replacing the batteries in smoke alarms with removable batteries at least once a year, and smoke detectors with non-removable ten-year batteries are completely replaced after ten years. Testing the alarms once a month is recommended to ensure that they are working correctly, no matter what type of smoke alarm you have. And if you hear a smoke alarm chirping that indicates a low battery and it needs to be replaced (not just removed, so the chirping stops).
So the “every six months” rule may be antiquated because of changes in technology, but safety doesn’t change. Testing the batteries once a month and replacing them once a year can help to ensure your family’s safety and peace of mind. Besides, you can still use the beginning or end of Daylight Saving Time to schedule the replacement.
Carpet Delamination: A Serious Secondary Issue
Carpet delamination can be caused by not correctly treating materials after a water damage event in your Greer, SC home or business.
Heavy rain, flooding, or malfunctioning appliances can cause a great deal of damage to your home and property. Ruining hardwood floors, paint, furniture, and carpet, especially carpet. We receive many calls asking what steps can be taken without having to use a professional restoration and mitigation service. The answer is “a lot.” But, the benefits of using a highly trained, experienced, and accredited service provider significantly outweigh the savings of a DIY effort. One of the most significant benefits is the proper treatment and drying of materials, including carpet. Quick and correct action can be the difference between spending a little now and paying a tremendous amount later because some of the effects of water damage are not instant, some take their time. And if not accurately handled they can accumulate a cost many times of the original incident. One such issue is Carpet Delamination.
What is it?
Carpet delamination is when the primary and secondary backings of a carpet separate.
How does it affect carpet?
After a carpet becomes delaminated, it is no longer securely attached to the floor. In fact, it is technically two sperate elements: the top layer, which is the visible portion of the carpet, and the bottom layer that contacts the pad or another flooring. Since the layers are no longer secured to each other, they can shift and move apart. This causes wrinkles or the carpet to pull away from the wall, or other non-aesthetic issues like safety hazards.
What causes it?
There are many causes of delamination including improper installation, heavy weighed traffic, and moisture. We are going to focus on the various moisture related instigators of damage to carpet.
Whether it comes from heavy rains, plumbing, or an appliance, over saturation of water on carpet can end up being devastating. And it is not just the immediate damage of the standing water that requires concern; pollutants in the water can negatively affect the adhesive that bonds the primary and secondary backing. Cleaning solutions such as dishwasher liquid, laundry detergent, and other cleaning products can dissolve adhesive, sometimes quickly based on concentration. Microbial growth from absorbed water can feed off the adhesive, breaking it down over time.
If any of your furry family members have an accident on the carpet it paramount to take action as fast as you can. Urine starts out acidic and eats away at the carpet fiber and latex. But over time it turns alkaline and causes even more damage to the threads and glue.
Cleaning Supplies and Treatments
Cleaning solutions that come from malfunction appliances are one thing, but what about the chemicals that you often use on your carpet? You know the ones that you use to clean up pet or wine accidents. It just as important to properly utilize those items and follow the directions and recommended treatment times. If you leave a spot remover on too long, it can begin to dissolve the adhesive, even if it is only that spot. Powdered odor remover can lead to issues as well, foot traffic can push the powder to the base of the carpet, making it harder to remove and that can potentially become food for microbial growth even in the smallest amounts of water. If you clean your carpet yourself, it is a must to make sure that it is dry, there isn’t a lot of light that gets between the layers of carpet making it ideal for microbial growth if there is moisture.
Knowing some of the causes of carpet delamination can make you feel like you have to be vigilant 24/7 and not allow anyone or pet on your carpet. But it does not have to be that way. Proper care for your carpet, including the occasional cleaning by a professional, can extend the life of your carpet and prevent it from being cut short. If you there is a water event in your home or office contact an experienced mitigation specialist to ensure that carpet and other materials reach the dry standard and focuses on restoring what can be saved. Now relax, take your shoes off, clench your toes and feel the carpet between them. After all, it isn’t there just for looks.
Winter Weather May Make Its Return to Greenville, SC
2019 is two weeks old, and it still feels like 2018 for some reason. I think because it has been wet. Well, brace yourself Greenville, because this weekend looks to be a re-run. Or is it?
Currently, meteorologists are saying that there may be a slight chance of snow. Not sleet, not freezing rain, not ice, but the fun stuff. The stuff that you can make forts, people, and projectiles out of. The stuff that is less likely to knock out your power so you can still binge watch that show about the dragons and drink hot chocolate. You know SNOW.
So, let’s all get prepared folks. Buy your milk, bread, and eggs. Order your sleds online with express shipping. The more we hope and prep the higher the chances are right, right? Slim chance or not, like Han Solo said: “Never tell me the odds.”
Just do not forget to make preparations in your vehicle and around your home or office. Check out some of our past blogs for vehicle essentials and tips on how to help keep your pipes from freezing. If it does snow, focus on enjoying it rather than worrying.
In the event that something goes wrong making the hot cocoa, your kids track so much snow onto your carpet, or if your pipes do freeze and burst, give us a call. We’ll be #ready no matter rain, sleet, and yes even in the snow.
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.
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 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.