Always Inspect Fire Extinguishers!
When was the last time you checked the fire extinguisher that sits under your kitchen sink? Or the one hanging from a dusty hook in your garage? If you’re struggling to remember, it’s time to check it. Like any other piece of safety equipment, a home fire extinguisher should be inspected regularly to ensure it’s in proper working condition. A fire extinguisher in good working condition is your first line of defense when a home fire erupts.
Check the label or tag.
Every fire extinguisher, whether disposable or rechargeable, has a manufacturer’s label or tag. Read the tag and follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance suggestions.
Check the tamper seal.
If the tamper seal has been broken or is cracked, a disposable fire extinguisher needs to be replaced. If it’s rechargeable, it needs to be serviced professionally. Check the locking or pull pin as well to make sure it’s in the correct position. If the pin is missing, the fire extinguisher needs to be inspected or serviced by a professional.
Inspect for physical damage.
Physically inspect the fire extinguisher for obvious damage. This may include but is not limited to dents, corrosion, cracks and obvious leakage. If a fire extinguisher has leakage, it’s no longer under full pressure and may not work properly when you need it most. Check the fire extinguisher nozzle as well, to ensure it’s not clogged by grime, dust, bugs or leakage from the unit itself.
Check the pressure gauge.
Check that the pressure gauge needle indicates the fire extinguisher pressure is in the optimum operating range. Often the correct pressure range will be designated by green on the gauge.
Is the fire extinguisher full?
During your monthly check, lift the fire extinguisher and determine if it still feels full. If there has been a leak, it will feel light, and it won’t have the right amount of pressure to work correctly.
If you have a dry chemical fire extinguisher, it should be shaken once a month during your inspection. This helps prevent the chemical dousing agent from solidifying at the bottom of the unit.
Write inspection date on tag.
Keep track of every inspection date by writing it on the fire extinguisher tag.
Ensure easy access to your fire extinguisher.
Fire extinguishers should always be easy to access if there is an emergency. You don’t want to have to search for it once a fire breaks out. Don’t block fire extinguishers with furniture, boxes or any other items. Everyone who lives in the household should know where the closest fire extinguisher is located and how to use it in case of an emergency.
What Is FEMA And How Does It Work?
FEMA can help individuals recover after they have been impacted by a major natural disaster. If you live in an area that has been declared a disaster zone and have expenses not covered by your insurance, then you may be able to apply for and receive Disaster Assistance. There is a limited time to apply after a storm hits, so you need to know how this program works ahead of time and what it provides.
The Disaster Assistance program does not provide immediate relief, although there are some ways that the government can help you. For instance, FEMA can assist you in finding:
- Medical assistance
- Temporary shelter
- Trusted relief partners
If you have lost your home due to a presidentially declared disaster, FEMA can help you. Whether you are a renter or homeowner, the Disaster Assistance program can help cover any damage that your insurance company did not pay for. This includes structural damage, essential household items, vehicles, and storm clean up assistance. However, this only applies to your primary residence. This program will not pay for any damage caused to your secondary residence.
After you apply for assistance, the evaluation process will begin, starting with an onsite home inspection. After you report your damage, you will promptly be contacted to schedule your inspection. This visit will simply check for flood, wind, or other types of damage. If your damaged property was insured, you will need to submit a copy of your insurance settlement or denial before you can schedule your home inspection. After your inspection, the agency will decide if you need relief. If you qualify for assistance, you will receive a check or a direct deposit and a letter explaining how you are to use the money.
Dealing with flooding and other damages from a storm can be a stressful time. Fortunately, the Disaster Assistance program can provide immediate services and financial relief for your primary residence.
Reasons For A Fire In Your Home
You hate hearing about it and seeing it, but a tragic house fire is not an uncommon occurrence. Some of these incidents happen due to unforeseen circumstances or unavoidable mishaps. However, in many cases, you can prevent a home fire. As you learn more about the typical culprits in these tragedies, you can be better prepared to avoid them.
In the Kitchen
The kitchen is one of the most popular rooms in the house. It's a central gathering spot and also a leading cause of a house fire because of all the cooking that goes on. Fires can start here specifically when:
- People leave items unattended on a hot stove.
- People forget to turn off the oven or leave food in too long.
- Flammable materials are too close to the stove.
People love candles for their various smells and the ambiance they can create. When it comes to fire causes, they are near the top of the list. Never leave a candle burning when you leave a room. Also, keep candles up high so small children and pets can't get to them. All flammable items should be away from candles.
When is the last time you had an electrician inspect your electrical system? If it has been a while, it may be time to do one. Poorly wired homes can start large fires and lead to the need for fire cleaning from a professional disaster relief company. Also, be careful about how many cords you plug into outlets. Make sure you have surge protectors and power strips to accommodate your needs.
This habit isn't just bad for your health, but it can easily start a blaze at home. If you choose to smoke indoors, make sure you properly dispose of cigarette butts.
Dealing with a home fire isn't something anyone has to face. If you pay attention to these causes, you can take the necessary steps to reduce the risk of a fire in your house.
When Hurricanes Hit, We Are There!
THE NOAA is predicting around 13 to 19 named storms for the Atlantic this year. That being said the NOAA is predicting that there is a 60% chance for an above-normal hurricane season with a 30% chance that the hurricane season will be average.
With a possibility for an above-average hurricane season - we are here to remind you to reevaluate your Hurricane Preparedness Kits. When reevaluating your kit be sure to have a face mask and hand sanitizer to keep safe healthy practices in mind!
“Social distancing and other CDC guidance to keep you safe from COVID-19 may impact the disaster preparedness plan you had in place, including what is in your go-kit, evacuation routes, shelters and more. With tornado season at its peak, hurricane season around the corner, and flooding, earthquakes and wildfires a risk year-round, it is time to revise and adjust your emergency plan now.”
SERVPRO of Walker & Winston Counties is here to help you prepare for whatever happens!
When Do I Need to Buy a New Water Heater?
When was the last time you changed your hot water heater? Has it been a while? It’s one of those appliances that may be remained unseen or hidden away in the attic. However, it’s important to make sure to keep up regular maintenance for many reasons. Homeowners can wake up in the middle of the night or even come home to water all over their home. Depending on the size, it can possibly leave up to 50+ gallons of water. Below are a few telling signs that it may be time to change out the hot water heater in your home.
- Typically, a gas hot water heater can last about 8 to 12 years, while an electric model will last slightly longer from about 10 to 15 years. If your water heater is getting up in years, it may be time to replace it before it breaks
- If a puddle surrounds the base of the hot water heater, it is important to act immediately
- If there is no hot water while using the tap, this may be an indicator it’s time to get the hot water heater checked
- Signs of tinted water coming from your hot water tap means there may be rust in the hot water heater, which may show possible aging and a signal of an oncoming leak
- Gurgling or popping noises coming from your water heater are caused by the buildup of hard water sediment heating up and exploding inside your water heater tank
It is always good to be prepared, because disasters may strike when we least expect it. SERVPRO of Walker & Winston Counties is dedicated to helping you when disaster strikes.
Fire Damages in Walker & Winston Counties
Smoke and soot residue from a fire, no matter how small, have a way of getting into even the smallest crevasses within your home. Even after a kitchen fire, odors can permeate throughout the structure, impacting your entire home. The cleaning process for fires can be a complicated endeavor unless you have professional assistance.
If you need fire restoration for you home, the certified professionals at SERVPRO are ready to assist you at any time. Each fire and the cleanup afterwards is different, requiring the restorers to formulate a plan for your specific situation. Technicians locate, identify, capture, and remove residues from within your home.
There are four elements in effectively cleaning up residues following a fire. All four elements work together to attack smoke residues within the structure.
Temperature: Heating the cleaning solution increases the speed of chemical reactions allowing for faster cleanup.
Agitation: Using brushes, towels, air, vibrations, and even water to dislodge the lingering residues to distribute cleaning products evenly.
Chemical action: Using the correct cleaning products for the desired cleaning goal ensures the most effective residue removal. In some cases, restorers wish to emulsify, dissolve, or bleach the surfaces within the home and require different chemicals depending on the unique situation. This also includes fogging the home with a smoke-like chemical substance to attack the smoke residue at the micron level.
Time: Allowing for the correct amount of time for cleaning and deodorization is a crucial component. The time needed can vary significantly depending on the chemicals used and the type of residue. Too much time fogging, for example, can be detrimental to the restoration efforts. Too little time can leave lingering residue and odors.
SERVPRO technicians combine these elements to customize cleanup from your fire. Sometimes residues and odors can be challenging to remove, but restorers use the elements above to apply to each unique situation, ensuring the thorough removal of odors and residues.
Is Your Commercial Property Insured?
Commercial property owners want to cut costs and improve profits. However, when it comes to insurance, you should rethink that stance. We at SERVPRO of Walker & Winston Counties have found that water damage is among the most common issues businesses face, and without appropriate insurance coverage, the restoration expense is coming out of the owner’s pocket or the profits of the company. While it is true that business insurance does not cover every type of water issue, it does include many.
When you have old pipes, it is possible to end up with several leaks. Unfortunately, because of the nature of plumbing, these leaks may go undetected for weeks or even months, leading to water stained ceilings, crumbling drywall and even structural damage. Most insurance policies will cover leaky pipes, especially if you have your building regularly inspected.
Similar to leaks, cracks can cause the same types of water damage, but it may be on a grander scale. Cracks, or splits, in the pipe usually create more damage because the openings in the pipes are larger. As with leaks, if you can prove that you did not know about the damage early on, then your insurer should be willing to cover the cost.
Colder months can wreak havoc on a business, especially those operating out of warehouse facilities and garages. The reason for the issue is that warehouses and garages have pipes that are exposed to severe temperature fluctuations. If pipes freeze, then the excess pressure can lead to broken pipes. Thankfully, this too is covered by a typical business policy. However, you must prove that you try to maintain a steady temperature at your property throughout the year.
Sudden breaks should also be covered. In addition to the pipe repair, the water cleanup will likely be included as well. Your insurer may require estimates from several emergency remediation specialists in the Walker and Winston County area before funding the project.
While it is understandable that business owners want to cut costs, insurance is likely not the area to save money. Water damage can account for thousands in restoration costs alone, which is why business insurance is so necessary.
Help In The Palm Of Your Hand!
Your business needs to be able to serve your clients and customers. Its why you went into business and why you do what you do. So if your property suffers from property damage from a fire suppression system break or pipe rupture. Or even a fire in the building your business comes to a standstill and a complete stop.
SERVPRO offers a FREE Emergency Ready Profile App to help you and your team prepare for a property disaster. When setting up the app and your profile for your building or buildings, it walks you through documenting important information like where the water shut off is, where the gas shutoff is if there is gas in the building. If a disaster occurs its important that everyone on your team knows what to do and who to call when disaster strikes.
Call us today to set up a time to get started!
The 4 Classes of Water
Without warning, emergencies can strike. An immediate response is critical especially when it comes to water damages. Did you know there are different classes of water that can cause a loss in a home? The classes of water are defined as the following:
Class 1 – A single room is affected, with little to no wet carpet, with water only on surfaces like wood or concrete.
Class 2 – This class effects and the entire room, wetness along the walls (12” or more), and moisture still in the structure.
Class 3 – Ceilings, walls, carpet, and insulation are all saturated with liquid or water. This is often due to water coming from overhead.
Class 4 – Water saturates in materials with very low levels of permeation, like hardwood or stone.
Here at SERVPRO of Walker & Winston Counties we understand that dealing with a water damage is a very stressful situation. Our trained professionals are equipped with the knowledge and equipment to restore your property to its preloss conditions.
Fireworks are Fun, but Be Safe!
Independence Day is fast approaching which means a lot of people are gearing up for BBQs, swimming, and firework shows. Though fireworks are pretty and a fun way to celebrate, they also come with great dangers and risks if not handled properly. Here are a few simple steps that you can follow to keep you and your family safe during this summer holiday.
1. You need to make sure you have a source of water near by to put out any unexpected flames.
2. Never light a firework near dry grassy areas. This can cause a fire to start and spread quickly.
3. Do not wear loose articles of clothing when handling fireworks.
4. Be aware of wind conditions on the days and nights you want to light fireworks.
If the unthinkable happens and your home or business experiences a fire damage, don't hesitate to call the professionals at SERVPRO of Walker & Winston Counties. There is no job too big or too small for our crews to handle. You can reach our office at 205-387-7656.