Portable fire extinguishers can be life and property saving tools when used correctly. In order to operate an extinguisher, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggests remembering the word PASS:
- Pull the pin. Hold the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.
- Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
- Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
- Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.
Read the instructions on the fire extinguisher and become familiar with them before a fire breaks out. Remember, extinguishers do have limitations. It is also important to ensure you have the correct type of extinguisher for your facility. To find more information on choosing the appropriate class of extinguisher, please visit the NFPA website at nfpa.org.
*Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 30, Iss 2
Safety in Your Home
Severe Weather Safety and Survival
Safety Where You Live
Jump to "What to Do Without a Basement or Safe Room"
Jump to Apartments and Mobile Homes
Again, the key to tornado survival is a safety plan. Your plan at home should be known by everyone in the home and practiced at least twice each year. Children who may be at home alone should know what to do and where to go even if no adults are there.
Your selection of a tornado shelter in your home will depend on many factors. Use the basic guidelines and the information below to find your tornado safety area. When selecting your shelter area, remember that your goals should be:
- Get as low as possible - completely underground is best.
- Put as many barriers between you and the outside as possible.
It is not the wind inside and around a tornado that kills and injures people - it's the flying debris that's in the wind. Items can fly through the air (broken glass, etc) or fall down (could range from small objects to objects the size and weight of cars)
Storm Cellars and Basements
Being completely underground is the best place to be in a tornado. If you have an underground storm cellar, use it. Make sure the door is securely fastened.
If the entrance to your storm cellar is outside, you should allow plenty of time to get to the shelter before the storm arrives. If you wait until the storm is upon you, you may be exposed to wind, hail, rain, lightning and maybe even flying debris as you go to the cellar.
A basement is also a good shelter in most cases. If your basement is not totally underground, or has outside doors or windows, stay as far away from them as possible. Items from above could fall into the basement, so it's a good idea to get under a stairwell or a piece of sturdy furniture. If possible, avoid seeking shelter underneath heavy objects on the floor above. Use coverings (pillows, blankets, sleeping bags, coats, etc) and helmets to shield your head and body and to protect yourself from flying debris.
A reinforced safe room (or above-ground tornado shelter) is as good as an underground shelter in most situations. Safe rooms are specially-designed reinforced tornado shelters built into homes, schools and other buildings. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, in close cooperation with experts in wind engineering and tornado damage, has developed detailed guidelines for constructing a safe room. For more, go to the FEMA Saferoom webpage.
If No Underground or Reinforced Shelter is Available
If you're like most people, you don't have an underground shelter. In this case, you need to find a location that is...
- As close to the ground as possible
- As far inside the building as possible
- Away from doors, windows and outside walls
- In as small of a room as possible
If you don't have a safe room, basement or underground storm shelter, what should you do? Remembering the basics of tornado safety, you should look around your home to determine the best place.
Here are Some Ideas
Bathrooms MAY be a good shelter, provided they are not along an outside wall and have no windows. Contrary to popular belief, there is nothing magically safe about getting in a bathtub with a mattress. In some cases, this might be a great shelter. However, it depends on where your bathroom is. If your bathroom has windows and is along an outside wall, it's probably not the best shelter.
Bathrooms have proven to be adequate tornado shelters in many cases for a couple of reasons. First, bathrooms are typically small rooms with no windows in the middle of a building. Secondly, it is thought that the plumbing within the walls of a bathroom helps to add some structural strength to the room.
However, with tornadoes there are no absolutes, and you should look closely at your home when determining your shelter area.
A small interior closet might be a shelter. Again, the closet should be as deep inside the building as possible, with no outside walls, doors or windows. Be sure to close the door and cover up.
If a hallway is your shelter area, be sure to shut all doors. Again, the goal is to create as many barriers as possible between you and the flying debris in and near a tornado. To be an effective shelter, a hallway should as be far inside the building as possible and should not have any openings to the outside (windows and doors).
- Under Stairs
The space underneath a stairwell could be used as a shelter.
Generally speaking, you should not leave your home in your vehicle when a tornado threatens. In most cases, you will have a better chance of surviving by staying put in your home. Every home is different - there is no absolute safe place in every home. Use the guidelines. Unless you are deep underground, there is no such thing as a 100% tornado-proof shelter. Freak accidents can happen.
The basic tornado safety guidelines apply if you live in an apartment. Get to the lowest floor, with as many walls between you and the outside as possible.
Apartment dwellers should have a plan, particularly if you live on the upper floors. If your complex does not have a reinforced shelter, you should make arrangements to get to an apartment on the lowest floor possible.
In some cases, the apartment clubhouse or laundry room may be used as a shelter, provided the basic safety guidelines are followed. You need to have a shelter area that's accessible at all times of the day or night.
Even an EF-1 tornado, typically considered a "weak tornado", will most likely severely damage a mobile home and/or roll it over. This is why tornado safety plans are so crucial for residents of mobile homes!
Pictured below is a destroyed mobile home southeast of Wewoka from a tornado in 1998. This is an example of what an EF-1 tornado can do to a mobile home.
* Courtesy of https://www.weather.gov/oun/safety-severe-homesafety
Hoarding: A Serious Problem
According to The Mayo Clinic, “Hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. A person with hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items. Excessive accumulation of items, regardless of actual value, occurs.” Many people with hoarding disorder do not find their habits to be a problem.
Hoarded items are often things others would throw away or look at as junk or garbage such as old newspapers, junk mail or packaging.
Hoarding can lead to homes filled with extreme clutter to full capacity from years of accumulation, making living conditions unsanitary and crowded. Bugs, fleas, rats and other vermin may be present, at which point an exterminator would need to be called. At times, hoarding may spread to outside the home as well, to storage facilities, or even the garage or yard.
SERVPRO® of Floyd County encounters hoarding situations several different ways. Often, SERVPRO® of Floyd County is called for a fire or water loss and find the hoarding situation when they arrive on-site. One of our trained professionals will communicate with the insurance company regarding their contents coverage, and after approval, contents can be packed out and possibly cleaned, dried, and stored by SERVPRO® of Floyd County, or relocated to a storage facility so work on the fire or water loss can begin.
Another way SERVPRO® of Floyd County encounters hoarding jobs is through calls from landlords, case workers, real estate agents, or family members, often after the death of a loved one. In these situations, the crew will see if they should look for any items of importance while they clean the job. Sometimes, family members will come and try to help the hoarder sort through their contents as well.
Each case is very different, and hoarding jobs are often sensitive situations, but SERVPRO® of Floyd County is here to help make it “Like it never even happened.” If you encounter a hoarding situation at one of your properties, or with your insureds, call SERVPRO® of Floyd County today at 706-802-1085.
*Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 29, Iss 4
Tips to prevent Winter Water Damage
During the winter months, your building is susceptible to water damage due to the colder temperatures. Once the temperature drops below freezing, the pipes of your building could become frozen and possibly burst. Additionally, the formation of ice dams on the roof can cause damage to walls, ceiling, and insulation. Taking the proper precautions can help safeguard your organization against frozen pipes and ice dams.
These preventive measures can help avoid frozen pipes:
- Wrap any water pipes that are exposed to freezing temperatures and cold drafts, and those located in unheated or non-insulated areas, with pipe insulation.
- During cold temperatures, leave open the doors of cabinets where water pipes and drains are present to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes.
- During extremely cold weather, turn faucets to a slow drip to reduce the chance of the pipe freezing.
- Consider installing an automatic detection system that can monitor the temperature of a specific pipe. If the temperature of the pipe drops below a pre-set temperature, the unit will automatically shut off the main water valve. This will not prevent the pipe from freezing, but it will protect the pipes from bursting. To determine the best system to install for your building, contact a qualified plumber.
- Set the thermostat to 50 degrees or above when the building will be unoccupied for a prolonged period of time during cold weather. If possible, ask someone to check the building daily to see that the heating system is working properly.
- Insulate the outside walls and unheated areas of the building.
- Heat the basement, and consider weather-sealing the windows.
- Close windows near water pipes and cover open-air vents. Freezing temperatures and wind drafts are a combination that can cause pipes to freeze more frequently.
- Disconnect any garden hoses, and install covers on the outside faucets.
If a pipe freezes, contact a licensed plumbing contractor as soon as possible. If a pipe bursts, shut off the water at the building’s main water valve, if possible, then contact a licensed plumbing contractor as soon as possible. A licensed plumbing contractor should be listed in your emergency contact information.
Ice dams can be prevented by taking the following safety measures:
- Make sure the attic has adequate insulation and ventilation. Rust spots, rusty nails, or the odor of mildew could be an indication of insufficient ventilation.
- Consider installing soffit vents to increase ventilation.
- Seal openings in the attic, such as heat ducts, light fixtures or vent pipes.
- Keep the gutters, eaves and downspouts clean.
- Clear snow two to three feet from the roof edges with a snow rake to allow melting snow to drain and not be trapped under snow and ice.
Cold temperatures and the weather that comes along with it are unavoidable. It is important to follow the recommended tips above to prevent damage caused by frozen pipes and ice dams. In doing so, you may not only be saving money, but your organization will be able to carry on without any disruptions.
**Courtesy of https://www.guideone.com/blog/winter-water-damage
The Dangers of DIY Water Damage Restoration
People often think that taking control and doing things on their own is sufficient. We are told that we can do anything we set our minds to, so in the case of a water disaster in our home, why not rely on water damage cleanup tutorials on YouTube? It can’t be that hard. Wrong! There are a lot of things that people can do just fine on their own or by following tutorials and guides, but when it comes to water damage restoration, there is a reason the professionals are certified and insured. It is a difficult job that MUST be done the right way to make sure that your home does not suffer more damage and is safe to live in.
In San Tan Valley, many might think that because of the hot and dry climate, there is no reason to worry about water damage. But, water damage can happen in many forms, such as faulty appliances, plumbing issues, and occasional floods. With this in mind, it is important to know why you should always leave water damage clean-up to the professionals instead of yourself.
Here are some reasons why:
Equipment & Knowledge
Professionals have the necessary tools and specialized equipment to remove the water and dry out the area properly. Most people don’t have this kind of equipment laying around just in case they have a water problem. Without the correct tools, it will not get done right. Professionals are also called professionals for a reason. They have been extensively trained to know how to restore your home to their original state, or better. You don’t have to worry if it’s being done right or not.
Hiring pros will decrease or completely get rid of issues in the future if it is cleaned by professionals. For example, there can be water in places that are not visible to the naked eye that the everyday person would miss. Issues that could arise from such things are mold growth, weakness to the structure, health hazards, and many other things. But professionals already know to make sure those spots are restored.
If you hire a professional, you don’t have to worry if you are doing the job the right way. The training and experience that professionals have allow them to make your home clean and safe. Water disasters are already stressful situations for homeowners. Don’t make the situation increasingly stressful by trying to figure out the right way to fix the problem, only to end up with bigger problems in the future.
**Courtesy of https://contactrestoration.com/2019/02/water-damage-cleanup-san-tan-valley/
The Dangers of Fire Damage Restoration: Why Getting Professional Help Is a Smart Idea
If your home has recently been damaged by fire, you’re probably more than eager to kick-start the restoration process. After all, you can’t wait to resume your normal life again!
So you roll up your sleeves as you get ready to enter your fire-damaged home. You already have a game plan in your mind. But you should know a DIY approach isn’t the solution to your problems!
Wondering why you shouldn’t clean up yourself and opt for professional help instead? Here’s why!
Causes More Damage
If you’re taking out your cleaning supplies to clear away the aftermath of the fire incident, you might want to take a step back. Cleaning up after fire damage isn’t a walk in the park. It needs more than a face mask and a vacuum cleaner! It requires you to wipe away all the walls and floors to remove the soot and the residual elements thoroughly. So if you don’t have any professional equipment, you can’t expect to make any significant progress. Instead, attempting to clean it yourself will only result in more damage to your upholstery and property.
Exposes You to Toxic Substances
You might be tempted to clean your fire-damaged home yourself. But cleaning up requires you to come directly in contact with hazardous substances. From smoke to soot particles and asbestos, these toxic elements can take a major toll on your overall health.
Even if you wear a dust mask, you can still inhale the soot and asbestos particulates. These can then enter your bloodstream to cause a number of health problems. To protect yourself and your loved ones from the dangerous effects of toxic substances, always enlist the help of a professional fire damage restoration company.
Adds To the Costs
If you’re going for a DIY clean up session to save some bucks, you might want to reconsider. Although it’s true that fire damage results in heavy costs for you as a homeowner, attempting a DIY job will only increase the costs.
It’s possible that you might end up throwing belongings that are salvageable. However, with the help of a professional fire damage restoration company, you’re able to save belongings that aren’t a lost cause. This way, you’ll only have to spend money on items that actually needed to be replaced.
**Courtesy of https://amnmasonry.com/blog/2019/5/20/the-dangers-of-fire-damage-restoration-why-getting-professional-help-is-a-smart-idea
Severe winter storms can have a tremendous impact on individuals, animals, and communities. Cold temperatures, snow, ice, blizzard conditions with high winds and dangerous wind chills can all occur, leading to personal injury and possibly deaths. High winds combined with cold temperatures speeds the rate of heat loss to the body making serious health problems, such as frostbite or hypothermia more likely. Additional fatalities may occur from vehicle accidents, fires or carbon monoxide poisoning following the misuse of heaters. Dangerous driving conditions can lead to travelers being stranded on the road. Accumulations of snow and ice can result in road closures or blockages – isolating homes and farms for days. The heavy weight burden may cause roofs to collapse or knock down trees and power lines resulting in power outages and subsequent loss of heat in homes. Animals are also at risk during severe winter weather and are subject to wind chill factors, hypothermia and frostbite. Deaths can also occur due to dehydration, when water sources freeze and become unavailable. Winter conditions may make getting food and water to animals more difficult. Unprotected livestock may be lost. Businesses must also make preparations for winter storm situations. Protection of their employees will be necessary to ensure their safety. Employees that must work outdoors during extreme situations should be provided the necessary education on risk and measures to stay safe.
*Courtesy of: http://www.prep4agthreats.org/Natural-Disasters/winter-storms
9 THINGS TO DO WHEN IN A HOUSE FIRE
Prevention is always the first step in all instances. To prevent a house fire from causing severe damages you truly need tips and tricks that could come in handy in times of a house fire. Fire is disastrous, and you have to be cautious because in as little as two minutes, a house fire can turn into a rapid movement and life-threatening disaster.
According to FEMA, each year thousands of Americans die in fire related incidents with billions of properties lost. In fact, the heat and smoke from the fire causes more deaths. Here are some tips and tricks you will need during a house fire:
- Get The Fire Extinguisher.
If you hear the sound of the fire alarm in your home do not ignore it, go for your fire extinguisher as a one stop preventive measure. This singular act can help curb the fire instantly, but if your effort proves abortive after using the fire extinguisher, leave the scene immediately. Fire extinguishers are very important and should be installed in every house, no matter if private or commercial.
- Raise an Alarm.
Inform others in the house of the fire situation by screaming out loud; do not rely on smoke detectors and alarm to inform others, they might sometimes malfunction due to battery faults and other reasons.
- Call 911.
Pick up your phone and call the fire department after leaving the property, do not stop inside the house searching for your mobile device as you could get caught up in the flames. Rush out, and ask neighbors or passer-by to help you call the fire department.
- Leave Valuables behind.
When in a fire, never delay to find the best possible escape route from a burning house to find valuables. You could always notify the fire safety officers when they arrive of such valuables describing their last known location.
- Stop, Drop and Roll.
If your clothes catch fire, do not run, simply drop to the floor and roll over your back to extinguish the fire. Always crawl and remain close to the ground to keep you away from the high temperature, and thick smoke from the fire. Stay low, until you escape the burning house.
- Cover Your Nose.
Cover your nostril with a shirt or a damp towel during a house fire; this will prevent smoke from entering your lungs. Also cover the faces of children as much as possible, especially when helping out to get them to safety.
Lastly do not run into a room filled with smoke or flames, doing that means running into massive danger.
- Close doors.
Once you crawled out of a room, close the door behind you. Research has proven that closing doors prevents fire from spreading, which simply means the fire will be relegated to a spot for a while.
- Rest Out.
Once you are out of the house, stay out. Even if you left your animals or property behind, do not enter a burning house. Notify the fire department officers immediately if you believe people or pets are still in the house and direct them to where they could be.
- Safety Evacuation Spot.
After the evacuation, meet the rest of the family members in a predetermined location and remain there until everyone in the household is rescued. This is done to prevent fire officers from searching for people who are already out of the fire.
*Courtesy of: https://www.lifehack.org/487224/9-things-to-do-when-in-a-house-fire
Be Prepared (Tsunamis)
Did you know tsunamis can hit any U.S. coast? While they are more likely to hit states on the Pacific coastline or in the Caribbean, it is good to know what to do if a tsunami does strike where you live or even where you may vacation.
Ready.gov says, “tsunamis, also known as seismic sea waves (mistakenly called “tidal waves”), are a series of enormous waves created by an underwater disturbance, such as an earthquake, landslide, volcanic eruption, or meteorite.” Areas within a mile of the coast and less than 25 feet above sea level have a greater risk of being affected.
As with any emergency, be sure you have a plan in place prior. Know the evacuation plan, move inland or to higher ground, and avoid the beach. “The first wave may not be the last or the largest,” according to the National Weather Service.
After a tsunami, do not return to the affected area until officials deem it safe. While drowning is the most common hazard, there are many aftereffects, like flooding and contaminated drinking water.
Restoration Newsline Volume 30 Issue 8
Most Common Causes of Fire in Commercial Buildings
Fires due to equipment failures might make headlines but 85 percent of the fires that occur in commercial buildings are due to human error or intent, reports Maine Municipal Association Risk Management Services (MMARMS).
Over 3,000 fatalities and 18,000 injuries occur every year in the US because of fire and fires consume $10 billion in property damage costs annually. MMARMS reports that 70-80,000 workplaces experience fire every year, causing disruption of public services and utilities and the loss of valuable property and information.
Arson is the leading cause of damage, death and workplace injuries that occur in commercial buildings. Arson doesn’t just financially affect a business owner or company, it injures or kills workers and fire fighters; it results in job loss for many; and fire can easily spread to other buildings and damage public utilities.
The motive for arson might be a way to camouflage other crimes, it can be instigated by an unhappy worker or client, or arson may occur due to mental instability. Economic and political grievances may lie behind an arson attack and arson may be committed in cases of insurance fraud. Simple vandalism is another common cause of arson.
FM Global hazards manager George Capko points out that fires in warehouses are rare compared to those that occur in commercial buildings where people work. A smoldering cigarette, a forgotten coffee pot or a paper-laden computer are common causes of commercial fires.
Fire risk increase the higher the number of people that work in a building: it’s the use of equipment rather than the equipment itself that is usually the cause of a commercial fire.
Electrical appliances or systems can start a commercial fire but often, according to Donan’s Engineering Company, people are the origin of the problem. Unqualified individuals often modify electrical circuitry. Electrical code violations committed by unreliable builders or shoddy work by repairmen can start a fire in a commercial building. Electrical equipment that is misused or overloaded can cause fires and lack of proper maintenance can have disastrous results.
Boilers, Furnaces and Water Heaters
There are strict codes and regulations concerning the installation, use and maintenance of boilers, furnaces and water heaters. Improper installation can trigger a fire in a commercial building as can lack of regular maintenance. Boiler rooms and the like are often used as storage areas, increasing the risk of fire. Combustible materials should never be stored in such areas.
*Courtesy of: //bizfluent.com/list-7653819-common-causes-fire-commercial-buildings.html