Eliminate Heating Hazards This Winter
The winter season is in full swing! The days are shorter and the temperatures are lower. No matter where you live, winter brings a change in the weather. In an effort to keep our homes and workplaces cozy, many people use alternative heat sources like fireplaces, portable space heaters, and wood burning stoves. According to the Nation Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is responsible for an estimated $893 million in property damage annually. Heating is the second leading cause of residential fire deaths, making it important to review ways to help reduce the risk of a heating-related fire.
Keep anything flammable at least three feet from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or a portable space heater. Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel-burning space heaters.
Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
Test smoke alarms monthly.
Smoke alarms play a vital role in saving lives, and when properly installed, can reduce the risk of fire injury by half.
The National Fire Protection Association recommends smoke alarms be installed in every bedroom, outside all sleeping quarters and on every level of the house. Business owners should consult the local Fire Marshall to ensure specific building fire codes and smoke detector requirements are met.
Smoke alarms work best when paired with a fire escape plan. A plan allows your family, employees or clients to escape quickly and safely in an emergency situation.
Review the following tips regarding smoke detector installation and maintenance. For more on emergency preparedness, contact SERVPRO of Oak Ridge.
Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, including the basement.
Smoke alarms should be installed away from the kitchen to prevent false alarms. Generally, they should be at least 10 feet from cooking appliance.
Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.
Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm “chirps” the battery is low and should be replaced right away.
Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.
Understanding Water Damage In Oak Ridge, TN
Water damage in a Oak Ridge Home
Understanding Water Types
When your home or business suffers a water damage, understanding what type of water you are dealing with is critical to ensure proper cleanup. There are three types of water. Clean, gray and black water is usually from a broken pipe. The term gray water is used to classify slightly contaminated water. Clean water becomes gray water when it is left untreated allowing bacteria and other contaminates to begin growing, making the water hazardous. Blackwater is highly contaminated and can be filled with fungi, bacteria, chemicals, and more. Blackwater is typically caused by sewage damage, flooding or natural disasters. Blackwater should always be handled by trained professionals. When you have water damage, don’t leave your property to chance. Call SERVPRO of Oak Ridge. Consider taking the following precautions to help minimize damage or prevent further damage while waiting for help to arrive.
Damage from Clean Water
Shut off water source if possible or contact a qualified professional to do so.
Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building if access to the power distribution panel is safe from potential electrical shock. Do not enter rooms with standing water, as electrical shock hazards may exist.
Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting. Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items.
Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions to allow more even drying.
Move any paintings, art objects, computers, documents and other valuable items, that may be sensitive to moisture, to a safe place.
Do not leave books, newspapers, magazines or other colored items on wet carpets or floors as they may cause staining.
Do not use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water as there is potential for electrical shock or causing damage to a vacuum cleaner.
Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet; do not enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.
Damage from Contaminated Water
Avoid all contact with sewage and items contaminated by sewage. Wash your hands thoroughly if you come in contact with contaminated items.
Do not walk through contaminated areas, as you could spread damage to unaffected areas.
Do not turn on the HVAC system if there is a possibility of spreading contaminated air.
Do not use household fans to dry the structure; air flow could spread contaminants.
Discard any food and/or products for personal hygiene if exposed to the contaminated areas.
Be Flood Smart
Flood Damage In Oak Ridge, TN
BE FLOOD SMART
Floods are one the most common and widespread natural disasters in the United States. Whether your home or business is near a coastline, along city streets, in the mountains, near a river or even in the desert- there is always the potential for flood damage. Floodsmart.gov reports, in the last 5 years, all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods. Just because you haven’t experienced a flood in the past, does not mean you won’t in the future. In fact, nearly 20% of all flood insurance claims come from moderate-to-low-risk areas. On average, floods cost 3.5 billion in annual losses in the United States
According to the American Red Cross, floods cause more damage in the U.S. every year than any other weather-related disaster. The ARC offers the following flood safety tips
Stay away from floodwaters. If you come up on a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off your feet.
If you approach a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.
If a flood does strike your home or business contact your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals. Even minor floods have the potential to cause major damage to a structure when not treated quickly and properly, and the cleanup is often an overwhelming task. The SERVPRO System is prepared to handle any sized disaster. When fire and water take control of your life, your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional will help you take it back.
Be Storm Smart
Storm Damage In Oak Ridge
Be Storm Smart
Severe weather can happen anytime, anywhere. Each year, Americans cope with an average of these following intense storms.
10,000 severe thunderstorms
5,000 floods or flash floods
2 land falling deadly hurricanes
Approximately 98 percent of all presidentially declared disasters are weather-related, leading to around 500 deaths per year and nearly $15 billion in damage. Knowing your risk of severe weather, taking action and being an example are just a few steps you can take to be better prepared to save your life and assist in saving the lives others.
Know Your Risk. The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you, your business and your family. Check the weather forecast regularly, obtain a NOAA Weather Radio, and learn about Wireless Emergency Alerts. Severe weather comes in many forms and your shelter plan should include all types of local hazards.
Take Action. Take the next step in severe weather preparedness by creating a communications plan for your home and business. Put together or purchase an emergency kit. Keep important papers and valuables in a safe place.
Be an Example. Once you have taken action to prepare for severe weather, share your story with co-works and family and friends on Facebook or Twitter. Your preparedness story will inspire others to do the same.
Build An Emergency Supply Kit
Water (one gallon per person per day)
Food (non-perishable 3-day supply)
Manual can opener
Battery operated radio, preferably a NOAA Weather Radio
Flashlight and extra batteries
First aid kit
Whistle to signal for help
Dust masks or bandanas
Plastic sheeting, garbage bags and duct tape
Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
Important documents; copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account information
Matches in a waterproof contain
Holiday Fire Season
It's the holiday season again. Brightly lit decorations, elaborate meals, and large gatherings are all a part of holiday celebrations. Unfortunately, these annual traditions also cause an average of 230 homes fires each year, with an average of 4 deaths, 21 injuries, and $17.3 million in property damage.
There are about 3 times as many cooking related fires on Thanksgiving Day and almost twice as many on Christmas Day as there on no holidays. Luckily, homeowners can help keep their homes and their families safe during the holiday season by understanding the dangers.
Holiday Cooking Fire Facts from SERVPRO
- Thanksgiving Day has three times the average number of reported home structure fires involving cooking equipment.
- The two other peak days for cooking-related fires are Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.
Holiday Cooking Safety Tips from SERVPRO
- Supervise items on the stovetop. Fifty-eight percent of kitchen fires involve ranges; homes with electric cooktops have a higher risk of fire than homes with gas cooktops.
- Keep flammable items – potholders, packaging, wrapping, wooden utensils, loose clothing – away from the stovetop.
- Don’t let lack of sleep or alcohol consumption affect your ability to concentrate on preparing the meal.
Holiday Decorating Fire Facts from SERVPRO
- Half of all holiday decoration fires start because the decoration is too close to a heat source.
- On average, 32 candle fires are reported each day. December is the peak month for candle fires.
Holiday Decorating Safety Tips from SERVPRO
- Keep all decorations away from heat sources like radiators, portable heaters, and fireplaces.
- Use flameless candles.
- If you do use traditional candles, burn them in sturdy candleholders, well away from drapes and other flammable materials. Never leave them unattended and never allow them to burn down to less than one inch in length.
Christmas Tree Fire Facts from SERVPRO
- 50% of live tree fires occur between December 22 and January 5.
- 31% of tree fires are caused by electrical problems.
- 14% involve decorative lights.
Christmas Tree Safety Tips from SERVPRO
- Keep live trees well watered to reduce the chance of a fire.
- Check wiring on lights for breaks and wear, replace worn strings and don’t exceed manufacturer guidelines for connecting multiple strands of lights.
- Don't leave tree lights plugged in when you are away from home or asleep.
Prevent Frozen Pipes from Causing Water Damage
Frozen pipes are a leading cause of water damage in the colder months of the year. Why?
Water has the unfortunate property in that as it freezes, it expands. This can affect all types of water lines, whether metal, plastic, or PVC. Simply, all pipes are subject to bursting given the right amount of pressure. As the water freezes, it can expand the pipe, eventually, cause a hairline crack or a complete break. At that point the portion unfrozen will then provide a continual stream of water until shut off, causing water damage throughout the property.
How can I prevent my pipes from freezing or bursting?
• If possible, make sure that all pipes and supply lines on exterior walls are insulated. Exterior walls will be much colder than interior walls given their location. Additionally, all water lines in basements and crawl spaces need to be insulated as they will be subjected to very cold temperatures. Simple foam insulation wrap can help prevent your pipes from freezing.
• Make sure all outdoor hoses are removed from exterior hose bibs.
• Always keep your heating unit on and operational, even when away on vacation. If leaving for an extended period of time, set your thermostat to no colder than 55 degrees to ensure that your home has enough heat to properly keep interior pipes from freezing.
• Keep garage doors closed if you have water supply lines located in that area. In extreme cases of sever cold for extended periods of time, ensure that exposed pipes are insulated. Space heaters (placed away from anything flammable) can provide heat and warmth to combat cold environments in garage areas.
• If you notice very low water pressure from water supply areas, a frozen pipe could be the cause. Immediate action should be taken to identify the problem.
What should I do if my pipes are already frozen?
• Turn on all the faucets with warm water, not hot, to a slow drip. This will help in supplying warmer water to the area without causing an abrupt temperature change. It will also help you in determining the location of the freeze.
• Apply exterior heat to the frozen section of pipe. This can be done with a hair dryer, electric heating pad, space heater, towels soaked in warm water wrapped around the pipe. NEVER use open flame devices as this can be a major fire hazard.
• Keep continual heat on the area until water flow is restored to normal.
• Once restored, try to determine why the area froze. It may be as simple as adding insulation, sleeve wraps, UL-listed heat tape, or another form of insulation.
• If you cannot locate, find, or properly thaw your pipes, call a professional plumber to assist.
What if my pipes burst and caused damage?
If your pipes have busted, cracked, or began leaking, immediate action should be taken to ensure that water damage can be minimalized to your property. Soak up as much water as possible with towels or extract with a shop vac. It's often necessary to have professionals like SERVPRO come in and completely mitigate the water. Home drying efforts can help reduce damages, but will not get rid of all moisture and humidity. It's important to ensure that your property is completely dry and dehumidified to prevent secondary damage from ruining your home, flooring, furnishings, or building materials. Call SERVPRO today if you've had water damage from a pipe leak, and we'll work with you and/or your insurance company to make sure that your home is restored correctly!
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 lines. Mold can cause health effects and can also cause significant damage to your property.
Although every mold damage scenario is different requiring a unique solution, the general mold remediation process stays the same. The following steps illustrate a “typical” mold removal process.
Inspection and Mold Damage Assessment
Your property will be carefully inspected for signs of mold using various technologies to detect mold and hidden water sources. Mold feeds on cellulose and water and can be hidden from plain view.
Various containment procedures will be placed to prevent the spread of mold, like negative air chambers to isolate the contaminated area with physical barriers and negative air pressure to keep the mold spores from spreading during the cleanup process.
Specialized filtration equipment captures microscopic mold spores out of the air. SERVPRO technicians utilize powerful “air scrubbers” and HEPA vacuums to prevent the spread of these mold spores while the mold remediation is in progress.
Removing Mold and Mold-Infested Materials
The mold remediation process depends on the amount of mold growth and the types of surfaces on which the mold appears. Antifungal and antimicrobial treatments will be used to eliminate mold colonies and help prevent new colonies from forming. Removing and deposing of mold-infested porous materials, like drywall and flooring, may be necessary to remediate heavy mold growth.
Cleaning Contents and Belongs
SERVPRO Franchise Professionals clean your furniture, decorative items, curtains, and other restorable items affected by mold. They use a variety of cleaning techniques to clean and sanitize your belongings. They are also trained to remove odors and deodorization using fogging equipment.
Depending on the level of mold damage, drywall, subfloors, and other building materials may be removed. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new carpet; or it may entail major repairs such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business.
Science of Drying
Drying water in a Knoxville home.
Exploring the Science of Drying
Did you know, there is actually a science behind the process of drying? The knowledge of psychometrics is essential to restoring a water damage structure to its pre loss condition. While your initial reaction may be to grab a few towels to mop up the mess and places a fan or two around the damage are.
What exactly does “speed up Mother Nature” mean? A wet building can often dry naturally because the environment always seeks equilibrium. When materials are wet, moisture will naturally move to drier air on the surface of the material but only if the air is, indeed drier. The only problem is, nature takes too long and secondary damages may occur while the building is drying out.
SERVPRO of Oak Ridge have been trained to use top-of-the-line equipment to help Mother Nature along, including equipment to help dry hardwood floors, tough-to-reach spaces inside walls, and much more. Your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals also use state-of-the-art monitoring equipment and a proven scientific process to help speed the drying of your home or business.
SERVPRO is proud to utilize a newly developed tool SERVPRO DryBook.
The SERVPRO DryBook is a proprietary tool allowing us to capture and track the steps of restoration project according to industry best practices and standards. This ensures your restoration is done properly and efficiently. It also improves results and restores your property at a faster rate, getting you backing your home sooner.
RESIPE FOR SAFETY
Each November families gather to celebrate Thanksgiving by preparing a delicious feast, but if you don’t practice safe cooking habits, your happy holiday could become hazardous. According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking is the main cause of home fires and injuries, with Thanksgiving being the peak day for cooking-related fires. Review the following safety tips to ensure you can enjoy a safe holiday.
Never leave cooking food unattended-stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. If someone must leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, they should turn off the stove.
Check food regularly while cooking and remain in the home while cooking. Use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on.
Keep the kids away from the cooking area. Enforce a “kid-free zone” and make them stay at least three feet away from the stove.
Keep anything flammable-pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains- away from the stove, oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.
Do not wear loose clothing while cooking.
Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease build up
Purchase a fire extinguisher to keep in the kitchen. Contact the local fire department for training on the proper use of extinguishers.
Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens and small appliances are turned off.
Install a smoke alarm near the kitchen, on each level of the home, near sleeping areas and inside and outside bedrooms. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.