Business Hurricane Preparedness
As we are approaching the heart of hurricane season here in south Mississippi, a lot of businesses may be wondering what they should do to be prepared. Here are a few tips that may be helpful:
Step 1: Protect your physical property.
- If you are close to the water, try to invest in and install shutters or plywood in order to protect windows and doors from wind borne-debris.
- Have the roof of your building inspected to ensure it can withstand a storm. If there are any repairs that need to be made, make them ahead of time.
- Inspect the area around your building and remove any branches or trees near to your building that could potentially fall and damage it.
- Secure any large furniture (bookcases, shelves, filing cabinets) to wall studs.
- Relocate any valuable or fragile possessions.
- Secure all utilities including water heaters, gas tanks, and heaters and if necessary, raise them to higher locations to avoid water damages.
- Secure electronics such as computers and other office equipment with straps or Velcro.
- Turn off all the utilities prior to a hurricane making landfall if possible.
Step 2: Protect important documents and information
- Designate important contacts to save that are crucial to business operations, such as employees, banks, lawyers, accountants, suppliers, etc.
- Back-up documents that are not easily produced such as insurance documents, legal contracts, tax returns, and accounting statements to avoid water damage.
- Seal these documents in waterproof containers onsite.
- Save all your designated contacts and documents in an alternate, accessible off-site location.
Step 3: Keep A Preparedness Checklist
The below items should be gathered in one location at your place of business should a storm hit while you are on premises. This will help protect the safety of your employees should disaster strike during regular working hours and without ample notice.
- Battery operated radio or television
- Non-perishable three day food supply for you and your employees
- Three day supply of water for you and your employees (One gallon of water per person, per day)
- Coolers and containers for water and washing
- Blankets, pillows, cots, and chairs
- First Aid Kit and first aid manual
- Flashlights, batteries, light-sticks
- Tool kit (basic tools, gloves, etc.)
- Camera and film for documenting damages
- Whistle/signal flare to signal for help
- Tarps, plastic bags, duct tape
- Cleaning supplies, including mops, towels and garbage cans
- Smoke alarms and fire extinguishers
- Electric generator
- Gas for vehicles, generators and other equipment
- Cash, ATM cards, credit cards proper identification
- Emergency contact information such as the nearest hospital and police.
Fire Prevention Tips for the Workplace
We all know how it is.....work gets busy, the office is hectic and chaotic. And sometimes safety and prevention is the last thing on our minds. But when we get lax, that's when disasters happen.
Here are a few tips to help prevent fires in the workplace:
- Keep your work area free of waste paper, trash and other items that can easily catch fire.
- Check on your electrical cords. If a cord is damaged in any way, replace it. Try not to lay cords in places where they can be stepped on, as this will contribute to deterioration of the protective outside coating.
- Don't overload your circuits.
- Turn off electrical appliances at the end of each day.
- Keep heat producing equipment away from anything that might burn. This includes copiers, coffee makers, computers, etc.
It's always a good idea to develop a safety plan within your office, and appoint a safety manager or someone to monitor these things. This will help maintain a system of accountability.
And, in the worst case scenario, SERVPRO is always here to help!
Why You Shouldn't Use Bleach to Kill Mold
We've all been there.......as a homeowner, we spot something that needs to be fixed, and the first thing that comes to mind is doing it ourselves. We want to save money, and join the latest DIY phase. But sometimes DIY is the worse thing we can do. Lack of training and knowledge can lead to further damage, or recurring damage.
In the case of mold, the first thing that most people think of is to use Bleach. And to an untrained professional, that can seem like the most reasonable action to take.
But here are three reasons why Bleach is not the most effective choice to rid your home of mold:
BLEACH LOSES ITS EFFECTIVENESS OVER TIME.
Chlorine bleach rapidly looses its effectiveness. If you leave a glass of chlorinated water out on the counter for a few days, the chlorine will evaporate. This happens within the container as well. This evaporation process indicates that it will be hard to ascertain the true potency of your chlorine bleach solution, as the chlorine can escape through plastic. It may have been sitting at the store, or in your home for some time, diminishing the ability to perform.
BLEACH DOES NOT KILL MOLD ON POROUS SURFACES, AND CAN ACTUALLY CONTRIBUTE TO MOLD GROWTH.
Chlorine bleach can only kill surface mold. Because mold can grow deep roots within porous surfaces such as wood and drywall, bleach will not assist you in exterminating mold. The chlorine cannot penetrate to destroy the growth at its roots; it remains on the surface while the water component of the bleach reaches further, which can actually feed the mold growth.
BLEACH IS TOXIC.
Chlorine bleach produces fumes that pollute the air and can become harmful to humans and pets. Chlorine bleach also generates a by-product called dioxin, which is linked to cancer. Use over time builds up these pollutants in the environment.
If you notice mold growth in your home or business, call SERVPRO and let the professionals handle it.
Conditions for Mold
Mold begins as an airborne spore mass. Mold is microscopic with many smaller spores, so when something causes these spores to stir up, these thousands of smaller spores are set free. The spores will remain airborne until they settle onto a surface. These spores need an organic material, or food source, water, as little as two days time, and temperatures between 32 and 122 degrees Fahrenheit to grow.
Organic matter can be, paint, paper, insulation, natural fibers, plants, potting soil, caulk and many more items. Controlling the humidity in your home, will help with mold growth prevention. This is why SERVPRO of Tuscaloosa sends its employee's to WRT training for water damage restoration. The SERVPRO crew team will make sure the conditions in your home are correct to dry out the area after the damage and prevent mold from the beginning.
For all your Mold Remediation needs
3 Categories of Water
You have suffered a water damage in your home. Knowing where the water is flowing from will help you with safety precautions. Each category is a reflection of how "difficult" the mitigation and restoration process will be, but will also be how your Water Mitigation Specialists will know how to treat your home.
IICRC S500 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration - 2015 defines 3 Categories.
Cat. 1- water originates from a sanitary source and does not pose substantial risk from dermal, ingestion or inhalation exposure.
Cat.2- significant contamination and has potential to cause discomfort or sickness if contacted or consumed. i.e Water coming from dishwasher or washing machine overflow
Cat. 3- DON'T TOUCH IT! Commonly referred to a "black water" this water is grossly contaminated and can contain pathogens or toxic agents. i.e. sewage backup or flooding from rivers
Storm Response Team
Last October, Hurricane Matthew hit the Southeast coast of the U.S. leaving a trail of devastation and destruction. According to NationalGeographic.com, the hurricane’s storm surge and torrential rainfall caused severe flooding from Florida to North Carolina and inflicted damage in the U.S. estimated by analysts at a minimum of $10 billion. Many homes and businesses were left without power and sustained severe damage due to the high winds and flooding.
SERVPRO of Hattiesburg is proud to be part of the national SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team. This team provides help during events like tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards or floods. The national SERVPRO System has a network of strategically positioned storm teams on standby should a disaster strike. Available 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, the SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team is always prepared for the unpredictable. With the ability to mobilize local command centers, along with the resources of more than 1,700 Franchises nationwide, no disaster is too big.
During events like Hurricanes, our local SERVPRO of Hattiesburg crews are ready to quickly mobilize and help provide disaster relief to affected families and businesses in the area of the disaster.
Pet Protection During Storms
With the spring and summer seasons, severe storms become more frequent and tornadoes become a possibility. In the event of a tornado, most people consider the safety of their family, but many may forget to consider the safety of their pets. The Humane Society of the United States offers several tips to help keep pets safe during severe storms.
Tornado Safety Tips:
- Bring your pets inside – Any time a severe storm is in your area, bring your pets indoors. If it is not safe for you to be outside, then it is not safe for your four-legged friend!
- Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with identification or is microchipped – If you were to be separated from your pet during a storm, an identification tag or microchip will increase your chances of being reunited.
- Practice getting your pets into your safe place – When you practice your tornado safety plan with your family, be sure to include your pets as part of the practice plan!
- If you are forced to evacuate, take your pets with you – Even if you think you will only need to be gone for a short period of time, take your pets and some emergency pet supplies with you. Depending on the situation, you may be unable to come back for your pets at a later time.
These are just a few tips to take into consideration to help keep your pets safe during the stormy season. More information about tornadoes and pet safety can be found at the Humane Society website, http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/animal_rescue/tips/keeping_pets_safe_during_a_tornado.html.
SERVPRO employees wearing our Wilson's Warriors tshirts in memory of Mr. David F. Wilson.
SERVPRO of Hattiesburg was proud to represent the memory of David Wilson this morning.
The Importance of Cleaning Dryer Vents
According to FEMA, failure to clean home dryers causes 34% of home dryer fires. Home dryer fires cause $35 million in property loss and can even cause injury or death. To reduce the risk of these fires happening in your or your insured’s home or business, SERVPRO® can help clean dryer vents and ducts that may have lint buildup. Other tips for keeping your dryer vents clean from the National Fire Protection Agency include cleaning the lint filter before and after each load, and making sure the outdoor vent flap will open and is not restricted by snow, a bird’s nest, or other potential obstacles. For more information on cleaning dryer vents contact your local SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals
As always, SERVPRO is always here to help! Give us a call with all your emergency restoration needs!
Upon asking our Marketing Reps what stood out to them the most of all the jobs they have been on, one of our veteran reps immediately remembered a mold situation they were called out to. The home had been damaged during Hurricane Katrina and abandoned. They moisture had never been dealt with, so mold had grown throughout the entire residence. The mold was so severe that it was the worse case our reps had ever seen.
One of the worse things a home or business owner can do in this case is to leave it unattended. The mold damage increases extensively by not being dealt with as soon as possible, which increases both the amount of work need to remedy, as well as the cost to you.
If you see, or even think you see, mold in your home or business, call a professional immediately. Don't wait until it's so bad that you can't handle it on your own.