Severe Weather Safety
Severe weather can happen any time, and anywhere. According to NOAA.gov each year, we cope with an average of
- 10,000 severe thunderstorms
- 5,000 floods or flash floods
- 1,300 tornadoes
- 2 land falling deadly hurricanes
Approximately 98% of all presidential declared disasters are weather related, and cause nearly $15 billion dollars in damage. Knowing your risk of severe weather events, taking action, and being an example are just a few steps you can take to be better prepared to save your life and assist others during weather disasters.
Know Your Risk: The First step to becoming weather ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you work and live. Check the weather forecast regularly, learn about Wireless Emergency Alerts, obtain a NOAA Weather Radio especially if you live in a heavily impacted weather area.
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 documents and valuables in a safe place.
Be An Example: Once you have taken action to prepare for severe weather, share your story with co-workers, family and friends via social media. Your story will inspire others to do the same.
Watch vs Warning: Do you know the difference?
Watch: Conditions are favorable for severe weather and it is possible. Remain alert for possible further warnings.
Warning: Severe weather has been spotted or indicated by radar. Take Cover!
When Water Damage Strikes
The first 24 hours following a water loss are the most important in preventing secondary or permanent damage to your home or business. To help ensure a water damage is handled correctly complete the following steps:
Inspection: SERVPRO Technicians will inspect affected areas to determine the extent of water damage and will review the inspection with you to answer any questions before beginning any work.
Emergency Service: Technicians will take steps to help protect your home of business, as well as personal belongings and other contents, from further damages by extracting the excess water and preparing the area for drying. They will explain the needed emergency services to you step by step.
Monitoring: To help ensure your home or business and belongings are dried to appropriate industry standards, a technician will monitor the drying process. The updates will be consistently be communicated to you.
Restoration Services: Are available upon request. We will repair structural materials, reinstall carpets, and clean affected areas of your property. A final walk-through of the job-site will be conducted with you.
Emergency Water Damage Tips:
- Shut off the water source if possible or contact a qualified party to stop the water source.
- Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building when access to the power distribution panel is safe from electrical shock.
- Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping or blotting.
- Place aluminium foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
- Move any paintings, art objects, computers, documents, and other sensitive valuables to a dry place.
- Don't enter affected areas if electrical outlets, switches, circuit breakers or electrical equipment are exposed to water. Always avoid electrical shock hazards.
- Don't use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water *this could cause electrical shock and/or damage to the vacuum.
- Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet or enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water. Watch for a possible Ceiling collapse.
Plan Ahead: Build an Emergency Kit
Be Prepared at your home or business with an Emergency Kit. https://www.ready.gov/ suggests you have enough supplies to last for at least three days. Below are some suggested items to include in your kit.
- 3-day Supply of non-perishable food
- Water-One gallon per person per day
- First-aid kit
- Prescription Medication
- Sleeping bags and blankets
- Fire Extinguisher
- Hygiene products
- Extra Batteries
- Cell phone charger
- Change of clothes
- Matches in weatherproof container
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Whistle to signal for help
- Pet supplies
- Infant supplies
- Important documents in weatherproof container (insurance documents, bank records, IDs)
You can also keep a condensed Emergency Kit in your vehicle as well. For a more extensive kit go to ready.gov/
You Can Be Ruined, OR You Can Be READY!
With the Help of Technology
Technology can be a vital tool in preparing for emergencies or disasters. The following are tips to help you be ready and use technology in the event of an emergency disaster.
Store Information Online
There are many places to store information securely online. Services like Google Drive, and Dropbox offer a free way to store different types of files, from a Word document to images of important documents. Ready.gov suggests saving an electronic version of insurance policies, identification documents, medical records and information on your pets if neccessary.
Follow the News
Stay informed by following agencies such as FEMA, local news channels, and local government on Twitter for the most up-to-date information in a disaster situation. You can also alert responders if a rescue is needed through Twitter.
Mark Yourself Safe
The American Red Cross offers a Safe & Well Chick-in site to list yourself as safe or find family and friends in situations where communication is difficult to establish.
Facebook also has a feature called Safety Check that is activated after natural disasters or a crisis. You will receive a notification from Facebook if you're located in the affected area at that time.
Get in Touch
Make sure your contact information is up-to-date in your phone and e-mail for communication with family, friends, business contacts and others whom you may need to contact before, during and after a disaster. SERVPRO has the READY Plan APP, download the APP and be READY for any fire, water or mold disaster.
Keep a portable charger in your car and home in case of an emergency. You may need to recharge this from time to time, but you can also buy solar-powered chargers as well.
Get an Emergency READY Profile
SERVPRO offers an Emergency READY Profile (ERP) for free to help you prepare you, your property or your business for an emergency. By having an ERP done in advance you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely and cost effective mitigation. Call our office for more information regarding your ERP Profile for your property or business.
source: Restoration Newsline Vol 29, Issue 2
Halt Winter Heating Fire Hazards
Fire, Damage, Restoration
Did you know? 50% of all residential heating-related fires are reported during the months of December, January and February.
Keep the following safety tips in mind to help reduce your risk of a heating-related fire.
- Keep anything flammable at least three feet away 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.
- 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 a safe distance away from your home.
- 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.
- 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.
If your property does suffer fire damage, contact SERVPRO to help make it "Like it never even happened."
Carbon Monoxide: A silent Cold-Weather Killer
Fire Safety and Fire Restoration
Carbon Monoxide is a gas you cannot see, taste, or smell. According to ready.gov, an average of 430 Americans die each year from unintentional carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Often times, it is the result of faulty, improperly used, or vented consumer products like furnaces, ranges, water heaters, room heaters and engine-powered equipment such as portable generators. There are precautions you can take to help protect yourself, your family and your employees from deadly CO fumes. Reduce CO fumes exposure in your home or workplace by performing regular maintenance on equipment and appliances that can produce CO. Install carbon monoxide detectors on every level of the home, including outside bedrooms. Consider having all fuel-burning heating equipment and chimneys serviced annually by a professional. Use portable generators only in well ventilated areas away from openings to prevent fumes from entering the home/building. Visit usfa.fema.gov or osha.gov for more info on CO safety.
Restoring Commercial Property After a Water Loss
Commercial water loss cleanup
Flooding and water damage events at commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we're dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.
Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges
Our professional are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area of your business. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we'll be there fast with the help you need.
About SERVPRO Northwest Bergen
SERVPRO Northwest Bergen specializes in the cleanup and restoration of both large and small commercial property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO's corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.
Fire Escape Planning For Your Business
Fire Escape Planning
Can Your Employees Escape a Fire in Under 2 Minutes?
An emergency escape plan is not required for all businesses, however, OSHA recommends building an emergency action plan to protect yourself, your employees, and your business during an emergency. OSHA suggests the following steps when developing a plan.
- Organize an Emergency Preparedness Procedures review with employees to review your company's emergency plans. You may wish to select an individual or team of individuals to lead and coordinate your emergency plan.
- Once a plan is developed, post evacuation procedures, including routes and exits, where they are easily accessible to all employees. Ensure all exits and routes are clearly marked and will lit, wide enough to accommodate the number of evacuating personnel, and unobstructed and clear of debris at all times.
- Conduct office evacuation exercises and drills. Designate a safe spot outside of the facility where employees can regroup, recover and conduct a head count. Once completed, evaluate how well the plan worked and if additional training or exercises are needed.
*Tips provided by the National Fire Protection Association and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The Science of Drying
Did You Know there is actually a science behind the process of drying?
Having the Knowledge of psychrometrics is essential to restoring a water damaged structure to its preloss condition. While your initial reaction may be to grab a few towels to mop up the mess and place a fan or two around the damaged area, SERVPRO is trained in the science of drying and follow strict industry-approved standards to help lower the chances of any secondary damages.
- Inspect the building to detect every component that is wet, to help prevent secondary damage from happening.
- Measure how much moisture is in the wet materials and monitor whether the materials are drying properly.
- Speed up Mother Nature by using professional drying equipment.
SERVPRO technicians use the latest technology to help ensure your property is dried quickly and efficiently. DryBook™ is a proprietary tool that:
- Manages industry drying requirements.
- Provides real-time documentation on the drying process.
- Validates that services are executed to standards.
- Reports to all stakeholders involved.
- Allows real-time updates through DryBook™ Mobile Integration.
The bottom Line? SERVPRO has the training and equipment to help make water damage "Like it never even happened."
Winter Weather Worries
Winter weather and temperatures falling below freezing can bring about home water damage issues such as frozen pipes and ice dams. These damages are costly to repair and in most instances can be prevented.
Frozen pipes are not only those exposed to the cold weather, such as outdoor pipes, but also pipes in cold areas like basements, attics, garages and kitchen cabinets. A frozen pipe can burst at the point where the ice blockage inside the pipe is located, but the rupture is caused by the backflow pressure between the water source and the blockage. A burst pipe can cause considerable damage to your home if not properly and quickly fixed.
According to The American Red Cross here are some tips to prevent pipes from freezing:
- Drain water completely from swimming pool, sprinkler system and outside hoses.
- Open kitchen cabinets to let warm air near plumbing.
- In extreme cold, let water drip from faucets that may come from exposed pipes.
- Keep your heat set at the same temperature day and night. The temperature should not be set below 55°f
Ice dams can cause major damage during the snowy season. They form when heated air melts roof snow downward into water dammed behind still frozen ice. When the trapped water cannot run into the gutter system, it can backflow under the roof's shingles and into the structure's interior areas, as well as causing gutters and shingles to move or fall. Icicles can be an initial sign of an ice dam, (source Travelers.com) check for water stains or moisture in your attic or along ceiling of exterior walls in your home. These are indicators that ice dams have occurred and water has penetrated the roof membrane. Remove the ice dam quickly to prevent major water damage to your homes exterior and interior. Using heated cables, a roof shovel, or calcium chloride ice melt can be used to alleviate the ice dam problem.
If winter weather causes water damage to your property, SERVPRO has trained professional technicians ready to restore your property.