Summer Bonfire Safety
With the heat of the summer, please keep in mind that the sun and winds will have dried out a lot of the surrounding plants and bushes. So, if you plan on a bonfire, follow these tips in order to prevent a property or brush fire.
- Rake your yard or bag your grass clippings before starting a fire.
- Remove yard waste and dead branches around your property.
- Follow your local laws and regulations pertaining to burning and open flames.
- Dampen the ground around your fire pit and under it as well if you have a free-standing pit.
- Place your fire pit on pavers or cement.
- Keep a hose nearby.
- Never throw trash into the fire
- Don’t ever leave a fire unattended.
- Make sure children and pets stay 3 feet away from the fire.
- Fully extinguish the flames with sand and a bucket of water when the evening is over.
Embers stay hot for hours when extinguished. When the fun is over, walk through the yard to clean up chairs and garbage that could easily ignite. Run water on the pit until you are confident the heat won’t pose a risk. Be mindful that you don’t spray the fire with a strong jet of water. Doing so may cause embers to shower the area and ignite your belongings.
Is It Water Damage? What To Look For
Water damage is not always visible on the surface. You might be able to see a flooded basement or a busted pipe in your bathroom, however, you might not see a slow leak inside your wall that can lead to big problems later on. In order to avoid these big problems with water damage in the future, you will need to watch for signs of issues as soon as they come up. Here are some important indicators of water damage in your home:
High Water Bills--If you notice that your water bills are unusually high, that might be due to a leak in your piping that you cannot see at this time. The water is slowly seeping out through your pipes, and you have to pay for every drop that you’re not using. It might be wise to get a plumbing inspection at this time to identify where the leak might be coming from and what you can do to fix it.
Decreased Water Pressure--If the pressure coming from your faucet and your shower head doesn’t feel as powerful as it used to be, you again might have a leak in your system. This is the water is escaping through the leak and not shooting through the pipe as powerfully as it normally would. Other factors to consider are a change in your faucet or showerhead itself, as that may result in less water trickling through to you. If you haven’t made any changes in your home, find a professional that can help you identify the problem.
Difficulty Breathing--If you or someone in your home is having a hard time breathing, that may be the result of mold built up on the inside of your walls. It’s always a good idea to have your house regularly checked for mold because it is a problem that can grow rapidly and be very difficult to control.
Mold Spores--If you notice mold on your walls, that is most likely a sign of excess moisture underneath the drywall or somewhere in the room. This mold might not penetrate far and it might not be an indication of an inner problem, but if you cut into the drywall and see that it is spread all along the back, chances are you have a leak in your piping that you don’t know about yet. If the mold has traveled from the back of your drywall to the front, the problem is pretty large needs to be dealt with right away.
**Keep a close eye on everything that happened in your home, and you will be able to prevent extensive water damage before it happens.
Protect Your Business in Elkhart With an ERP!
SERVPRO of North Elkhart County provides The Emergency Ready Plan service. One of our managers will come to your business, large or small and develop a Ready Plan in the event of a water, fire or storm emergency.
These Ready Plans are a detailed compilation of points of contact, locating and documenting emergency shut offs for all utilities, and mapping of emergency entrances and exits. Our team will keep all information on file in case of emergency the information is readily available.
Every business owner has many things to worry about, let us take the worry out of what to do if there was a fire, water or storm emergency at your place of business.
SERVPRO of North Elkhart County's highly trained and caring team is available 24 hours a day in the event of an emergency.
To find out more about this free service we provide click on the link https://ready.SERVPRO.com/home/readyprogram
Call us today for an appointment to get started on your business's Emergency Ready Plan.
Storm Tips For All Ages
- There’s a strong possibility that the lights could go out during storm; here are some tips to keep you safe while playing in the rain.
- Stay inside during thunderstorms, lightening and wind can damage power lines and trees.
- Remind grown-ups to stay away from downed power lines, especially when they are outside cleaning up after a storm.
- Use flashlights instead of candles they are a lot safer.
- Try not to open the refrigerator or freezer unless you have to; it could take a few days for power to be restored.
- Ask grown-ups to unplug appliances, this will prevent damage when the power comes on.
And if your home or business is ever affected by a storm remember to call SERVPRO of North Elkhart County 574-343-1397
Commercial Disaster Through the Eyes of a Technician
I recently sat down with our technician Carol to get an account of a recent commercial water loss we handled. This is what she had to say:
"This was a very good "first-time" learning experience for me. First and foremost was to "be prepared for anything" and was excellent preparation for handling water damages on a much smaller scale.
The previous day and night had brought heavy rainstorms to our area and multiple service calls were coming into the office. I had only been with SERVPRO of North Elkhart County for a few months. When this call came in one of our most experienced technicians took the call. It was relayed to her that the days' previous rains had brought water down into a small commercial office space. The technician and I being the only ones in the shop went to evaluate the loss.
When we got on site, this small commercial office space ended up being a 22,000 sq ft building with large production and warehouse spaces as well as a large showroom with multiple offices and at least 12 additional offices, complete with employee breakroom, testing labs, conference rooms, storage rooms, and bathrooms. The water had been too much for the roof drains to handle and the water came through the HVAC ducts like a waterfall affecting every area of the building.
I was overwhelmed, to say the least, but it was a great learning experience for me. It taught me not only the basics but the much more complex aspects of water damage. How to prioritize while efficiently doing the maximum amount of work while minimizing the client's concerns and anxieties over how to keep their company up and running.
This job is not just about the physical work it's about selling your services, getting the job done effectively and efficiently while maintaining a professional attitude and gaining the clients' confidence and trust. Which can ultimately lead our company to more jobs and building the business while maintaining a standard of excellence.
SERVPRO of North Elkhart County is an IICRC firm
SERVPRO of North Elkhart County is an IICRC firm. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) creates the standards for the restoration industry and provides training and certification to restoration companies. IICRC Certified Firms have the right to display the IICRC Certified Logo.
IICRC Certified Firms must
• Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.
• Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.
• Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.
• Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.
• Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.
The IICRC Develops The Standards For The Restoration Industry
The IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals.
Every five years, the standards are reviewed and updated. The water damage restoration field changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science, and therefore the standards must evolve to keep pace.
About SERVPRO of North Elkhart
SERVPRO of North Elkhart County specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. We believe in continuous training: 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.
Click the link below to meet our crew!
SERVPRO of North Elkhart County
House Fires: Why They Happen & How To Prevent Them
Cooking Equipment--The kitchen is a source of intense heat in a home, from the stove to the oven and beyond. A splatter from a hot pan can lead to a fire under the wrong circumstances. Most fires in the kitchen happen because people get distracted and walk away while cooking.
*To prevent this: Stay in the kitchen while you are cooking, and keep flammable products away from hot surfaces at all times.
Smoking Cigarettes--Cigarettes can easily lead to fires because they are literally burning on one end. Whether you smoke inside or outside, you could be putting your home at risk. This is especially true during the dry months of the year when fires are more likely to erupt.
*To prevent this: Avoid smoking in the home, and make sure you dispose of all cigarettes in a deep ashtray. Keep the ashtray away from anything flammable, and never stomp out your cigarette on the grass.
Electrical Equipment--The appliances in your home can ignite a fire if they are not wired properly, or if they are too close to flammable materials. If you have older appliances in your home, it would be wise to replace them to avoid fires.
*To prevent this: Watch for loose or frayed wires on the electrical equipment in your home. Avoid draping towels or curtains over plugs, and do not plug in too many appliances to one extension cord.
Children--If a child is old enough to reach a set of matches and/or a lighter, he’s going to see what it does out of curiosity. You must be careful about leaving your children near a possible cause of fires, and you must keep an eye on them even if they are old enough to play on their own.
*To prevent this: Make sure all fire starters are put away in a place your child cannot access. Also be careful about open outlets and electrical equipment in a child’s room.
Flammable Liquids--Fuels, paints, thinners, solvents, and other flammable liquids can easily ignite a fire in your home. This could happen in the heat of the summer or from a simple spark of static electricity, depending on how the chemicals are stored.
*To prevent this: Store all flammable liquids in approved containers, and keep them away from heat sources. Ideally, keep them outside in a well-ventilated area.
Staying Safe This Summer BBQ Season
Whether you live in an apartment, condo, villa, or single family home with a large yard, it is important to understand how fire damage to a home occurs due to a BBQ grill. Here's what you need to know to prevent fire damage to your property and/or rental this summer:
- Only use your propane or charcoal barbecue grills outside;
- Place your barbecue away from your house, any deck railings, and well away from any overhanging palm tree branches or other greenery in your backyard;
- Regularly remove grease and fat buildups from your grill trays and below the grill to prevent a grease fire;
- Keep children and pets "at least three feet away" from where you have set up your BBQ grill;
- Always open the lid to a propane grill before you light it; and
- Do not leave your grill unattended.
If you use a propane grill, you should heed the following advice:
- Before you use your propane grill, check the tank hose for any leaks by applying a "light soap and water solution to the hose." If you have a propane leak, the hose will release bubbles.
- In addition to the "soapy bubbles test," you might also smell gas-this can also be a sign of a leak.
- If there is no flame when you try to start your grill, turn off the gas tank and the grill immediately, because the lack of a flame can also indicate that you have a gas leak.
- If at any point you smell gas while you are barbecuing food, move away from your grill and contact your local fire department.
If you use a charcoal grill:
- Only use a charcoal starter fluid to get your grill going, and do not add additional fluid or other flammable materials once the fire has started.
- Do not allow your children to have access to charcoal fluid.
- Allow your charcoal coals to cool completely before you dispose of them. You should always dispose of them in a metal container for safety.
Don't Let the Warm Weather Fool You!
Don't let the warm weather fool you!
Many people assume that during the summer months water damage is not an issue that they need to think about, but don’t let the high temperatures fool you. Water damage can happen at any time in the year and you need to be ready to deal with it.
It is unlikely that you will experience water damage due to the weather during the summer months but water damage doesn’t always happen because of outside conditions. If something goes wrong with your plumbing system you could have a large problem on your hands. Often even small problems can become big ones if you’re on vacation and your home is left empty for a few days, weeks or months.
Turning off your water main when leaving your home for long periods of time will help avoid water pressure from building up in your pipes. By doing this you remove a lot of the chance of a leak since usually leaks happen when there is a stoppage in the pipes.
Once your water main is turned off you can turn on all the faucets in your home to let any built-up water out. This will ensure that the pipes are relieved from pressure and if you have a leaky fitting or faucet it will not cause problems.
Turning off your water heater while on vacation will not only save energy but it prevents the chance of the water heater having a problem. Admittedly the odds that your water heater will cause problems is low, especially if it is a newer model and is well taken care of it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Also it is always a good thing to save energy.
One of the easiest steps that you can take is asking a friend or family member to check on your home every once in a while if you are planning to be gone for a long time. These are just a few tips to help make sure that your home survives the summer season. If you do experience any kind of water damage be sure that it is properly taken care of by experts.
Protecting Your Home From Water Damage
If there are large trees near the structure of your home, inspect them to remove loose or dead branches. Also check to see if the tree is strong enough to withstand high winds. If your rof is not in good shape, repair it. If it's not strong and resilent you'll have to deal with massive leaks, flooding or even water damage.
Keeping the gutters clean is also a great way of protecting your home. Clogged gutters help drain rainwater and stop leaks or other such problems. Keep them clean and in good repair before the storm season hits. Make sure all windows, doors, and garage doors are strong and can withstand the storm to some extent. While you can’t predict the kind of damage a storm might cause, you can minimize it to some extent by being prepared and making sure your home is ready for it.