Are you Prepared?
How quickly your company can get back to business after a tornado, fire, or flood often depends on the emergency planning done today. The regular occurrence of natural disasters demonstrates the importance of being prepared for any emergency. While each situation is unique, your organization can be better prepared if you plan carefully, put emergency procedures into place, and practice for all kinds of emergencies.
The following are common sense measures business owners and managers can take to start getting ready. A commitment to begin planning today will help support your employees, customers, the community, the local economy, and even the country. It also protects your business investment and gives your company a better chance for survival. Review the following questions to learn if your company is prepared.
Do you know what kind of emergencies might affect your company? Do you know what you will do in an emergency situation?
Develop a Business Continuity Plan
Do you know which staff, procedures, and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep operating? Do you have backup plans for those operations? Do you know what you will do if your building or plant is not accessible? Do you know what you will do if your suppliers are impacted by a disaster? Are you ready for utility disruptions?
Prepare Your Emergency Plan
Do you have your evacuation and shelter-in-place plan? Do you have a plan to communicate with employees before, during, and after an incident? Do you have copies of building and site maps with utilities and emergency routes marked? Are your employees trained for medical emergencies?
Practice the Emergency Plan
Have you practiced your plan recently? Do you practice and coordinate with other businesses in your building or industrial complex? Have you reviewed your plans in the last 12 months?
Review Insurance Coverage
Have you reviewed your insurance coverage recently to see if you’re covered in a disaster?
Secure your Facility and Equipment
Have you secured all the ways people, products, and supplies get into your building? Have you conducted a room-by-room walk-through to determine what can be strapped down?
Do you regularly install patches to your software? Have you installed a firewall on your computer? DO you regularly update your antivirus software?
Promote Family and Individual Preparedness
Do you encourage employees to have a personal emergency supply kit and a family communication plan?
If you answered “NO” to any of these questions, please visit ready.gov and learn how to better prepare your business.
Carbon Monoxide: A Silent Killer
You can’t see or smell carbon monoxide, but at high levels, it can kill a person in minutes. Often called the silent killer, carbon monoxide, or CO, is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas, created when fuels, like gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas and propane burn incompletely.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning. It is estimated another 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized due to CO poisoning. All people and animals are at risk for CO poisoning, with some groups—including unborn babies, infants, and people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or respiratory problems—being more susceptible to the effects of carbon monoxide.
An excess of CO, leading to CO poisoning, can result from faulty furnaces, or other heating appliances, portable generators, water heaters, clothes dryers, or idling cars left running in garages.
Symptoms of CO Poisoning:
- Dull headache
- Nausea or vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- Blurred vision
- Loss of consciousness
Taking some basic, precautionary steps can help eliminate the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Protect yourself by reviewing the following tips, provided by the United States Fire Administration.
- Have fuel-burning appliances, like oil and gas furnaces, gas or kerosene heaters, fireplaces, and wood stoves inspected by a trained professional every year.
- Open the damper for proper ventilation before using a fireplace. Never use your oven or stove to heat your home.
- Make sure all fuel-burning vented equipment is vented to the outside to avoid CO poisoning. Keep the venting for exhaust clear and unblocked.
- If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Never run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if the garage doors are open. Make sure exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not blocked with snow, ice, or other materials.
- Make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow and other debris.
- Only use barbecue grills outside, away from all doors, windows, vents, and other building openings. Some grills can produce CO gas. Never use grills inside the home or garage, even if the doors are open.
- Use portable generators outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from all doors, windows, vents, and other building openings to prevent exhaust fumes from entering the home.
Be Storm Smart, Be Storm Ready!
Severe weather can happen anytime, anywhere. Each year, Americans cope with an average of the following intense storms:
- 10,000 severe thunderstorms
- 5,000 floods or flash floods
- 1,000 tornadoes
- 2 land falling deadly hurricanes
Approximately 98 percent of all presidentially declared disasters are weather-related, leading to around 500 deaths per year and nearly $15 billion in damage. Knowing your risk of severe weather, taking action and being an example are just a few steps you can take to be better prepared to save your life and assist in saving the lives of others.
Know Your Risk. The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you, your business and family. Check the weather forecast regularly, obtain a NOAA Weather Radio, and learn about Wireless Emergency Alerts. Severe weather comes in many forms and your shelter plan should include all types of local hazards.
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 papers 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 and family and friends on Facebook or Twitter. Your preparedness story will inspire others to do the same.
Build an Emergency Kit
- Water (one galloon per person per day)
- Food (non-perishable 3-day supply)
- Manual can opener
- Battery operated radio, preferably a NOAA Weather Radio
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust makes or bandanas
- Plastic sheeting, garbage bags and duct tape
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Hygiene items
- Important documents; copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account information
- Fire extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
Contact SERVPRO of Lewiston Auburn for more readiness tips and tools, including SERVPRO’s Emergency READY Profile (ERP) at no cost. Having an ERP in place for your facility can help minimize business interruption in the event of a disaster.
WEATHER ALERTS: Tools to keep you safe
One of the best precautions you can take is to purchase a good quality weather radio. A weather radio is designed to alert you to potentially dangerous weather situations, like an approaching tornado. It allows you to be warned ahead of storms, providing you time to seek shelter. A weather radio is the most reliable source for weather alerts.
Weather radios have made many advancements over the years and are very affordable. Most basic weather radios average around $30 and can be programmed to only alert you for the weather alerts you chose.
When shopping for a weather radio, look for the following key features.
- Reviewable alerts (you can scroll through alerts and turn off the siren for alerts you do not wish to hear).
- Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) alert programming (alerts when specific counties are threatened, ensuring you only receive alerts for your county).
- Ease of programming
If you need help programming your weather radio, you can always contact your local National Weather Service Office or additional information, including county codes for you state, visit the NOAA Weather Radio website at www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr.
Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are emergency messages sent by authorized government alerting authorities through your mobile carrier. Government partners include local and state public safety agencies, FEMA, the FCC, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Weather Service. Alerts received at the right time can help keep you safe during an emergency. With WEA, alerts can be sent to your mobile device when you may be in harm’s way, without need to download an app or subscribe to a service. WEA may share:
- Extreme weather warnings
- Local emergencies requiring evacuation or immediate action.
- AMBER Alerts
- Presidential Alerts during a national emergency
A WEA will look like a text message. The WEA message will typically show the type and time of alert, any action you should take, and the agency issuing the alert. The message will be no more than 90 characters.
Visit www.ctia.org/wea to learn more about Wireless Emergency Alerts, including how to determine if your mobile device is WEA-capable.
Lightning Safety Tips
Lightning is one of the leading causes of weather-related fatalities. Though the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are only around 1 in 500,000, some factors can put you in a greater risk for being struck. Here are a few lightning safety tips.
Be aware. Check the forecast before participating in outdoor activities. IF it calls for thunderstorms, postpone your trip or activity, or make sure adequate safe shelter is available.
Go indoors. Remember the phrase, “When thunder roars, go indoors.” Find a safe, enclosed shelter when you hear thunder. Safe shelters include homes, offices, shopping centers, and hard-top vehicles with the windows all rolled up.
Avoid windows, doors, porches, and concrete. Do not lie on concrete floors and avoid leaning on concrete walls. Lightning can travel through any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring.
Avoid water. Do not bathe, shower, wash dishes, or have any other contact with water during a thunderstorm because lightning can travel through a building’s plumbing.
Avoid electronic equipment. Do not use computers, laptops, game systems, washers, dryers, stoves, or anything connected to an electrical outlet. Lightning can travel through electrical systems, radio and television reception systems, and any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring. Equip homes and offices with whole-house surge protectors to protect appliances.
The Science of Drying
Did you know there is actually a science behind the process of drying? Having the knowledge of psychometrics 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 of Lewiston Auburn is trained in the science of drying and follows strict industry-approved standards to help lower the chances of secondary damages, like mold. If your home or business suffers water damage, SERVPRO of Lewiston Auburn will:
- Inspect the building to detect every component that is wet, to help prevent secondary damage from happening.
- Measure how much moisture is in wet materials and monitor weather the materials are drying properly.
- Speed up Mother Nature by using professional drying equipment.
What exactly does it mean to help “speed up Mother Nature”? A wet building can often dry naturally because the environment always seeks equilibrium. When materials are we, moisture will naturally move to drier air at the surface of the material—but only if the air is, indeed, drier. The only problem is, nature takes too long and secondary damages may occur while the building is drying out.
SERVPRO of Lewiston Auburn has the tools and equipment to help Mother Nature along, including equipment to help dry hardwood floors, tough-to-reach spaces, inside walls (pictured below), and much more. SERVPRO also uses state-of-the-art monitoring equipment, and a proven scientific process to help speed the drying process of your home or business.
The bottom line? SERVPRO of Lewiston Auburn has the training and equipment to help make your water damage “Like it never even happened.”
SERVPRO is “Ready for whatever happens.” YOU CAN BE TOO THIS SUMMER
Each year, families and friends across the country enjoy the summer months with barbecues, camping trips, or by cooking off in a pool or lake. To enjoy these occasions, it is important to keep safety top of mind to ensure you have fun in the sun.
According to recent study by the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission, nearly 11,900 Americans were injured by fireworks in 2015, with the majority happening in the month surrounding the Fourth of July. Another 8,700 are injured by charcoal/wood-burning and propane grill fires. A grill should always be supervised when in use. Keep children and pets a safe distance from the grilling area to prevent accidental burns or tipping the grill.
Grills also cause an average of 8,900 home structure or outdoor fires. :These fires caused an annual average of 50 civilian injuries and $2 million in direct property damage,” according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
If you enjoy lounging by the pool or going for a boat ride to cool off from the summer sun, make sure you exercise caution, especially when children are present. Only swim in approved areas and supervise children at all times when near the water.
The summer season should be a time to make memories and enjoy the great outdoors. Don’t become a statistic. Take precautions to prevent these events from putting a damper on your summer months!
When Disaster Strikes
When a storm or disaster strikes, SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Team is poised and “ready for whatever happens.” With a network of more than 1,700 Franchises, the SERVPRO System strives to be faster to any size disaster. Strategically located throughout the United States, SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Team is trained and equipped to handle the largest storms and highest flood waters. Providing experience, manpower, equipment, and other resources, the Disaster Recovery Team assists SERVPRO of Lewiston Auburn. SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Team has responded to hundreds of disaster events. In the aftermath of a disaster, there is only one objective: to help you make it “Like it never even happened."
2016 East Tennessee Wildfires:
One of the largest in the history of Tennessee, the Great Smoky Mountains wildfires burned more tan 17,000 acres and about 2,500 structures in November 2016. The 12 crews were dispatched worked a total of 78 jobs.
2016 Hurricane Matthew:
Following the East Coast from Florida up to North Carolina, this hurricane caused major flooding, primarily as rivers rose in Eastern North Carolina. SERVPRO had 169 crews dispatched and took on more than 1,050 jobs.
2016 Louisiana Flooding:
Catastrophic flooding occurred in Southern Louisiana where rainfall measured 20 inches or more total, falling at a rate of more than 2-3 inches per hour in some places. This caused rivers and inland waterways to rise record levels. The Disaster Recovery Team responded to over 830 jobs with 185 crews.
2016 Houston, TX Flooding:
In April, a nearly stationary mesoscale convective system developed over Houston, resulting in widespread rainfall rates of 2-4 inches per hour. This was a historic flooding event for Harris County, which saw a total of nearly 18 inches of accumulated rainfall. The Storm Team dispatched 81 crews to over 360 jobs.
2015 Siberian Express:
Record sub-zero temperatures caused major problems for a large portion of the country stretching from Florida to Maine. The Midwest also experienced record-breaking low temperatures, resulting in frozen pipes and ice dams causing major problems for residents. The Storm Team dispatched a total of 257 crews from 108 Franchises to assist local SERVPRO Franchises completing nearly 2,000 jobs.
2014 Mid-Atlantic Flooding:
Rainfall rates up to 2 inches per hour caused major flash flooding stretching from Northeast Ohio all the way to Portland, Maine. Eastern Michigan and Baltimore, Maryland, were also impacted, creating over 1,381 jobs for the Storm Team to produce. A total of 82 SERVPRO Franchises and 173 crews mitigated.
2014 Polar Vortex:
Record low temperatures caused by a break in the North Pole’s polar vortex resulted in unprecedented freezing event, spanning from east of the Rocky Mountains to as far south as central Florida, affecting all or part of 39 states and 70% of the SERVPRO Franchise Systems.
2013 Colorado Floods:
Heavy rainfall, with amounts up to 17 inches in some areas, resulted in widespread flooding in Fort Collins, Boulder, and surrounding Colorado mountain communities. The Disaster Recovery Team responded with 109 crews from 48 Franchises to assist the Local SERVPRO Franchises in emergency response.
2012 Hurricane Sandy:
Affecting more than 20 states, Sandy left widespread damage and flooding from Florida stretching the entire eastern seaboard to Maine. The Disaster Recovery Team placed nearly 1,000 crews in affected areas, representing over 300 SERVPRO Franchises from across the country. Teams traveled from as far as Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington.
What is Black Mold??
Stachybotrys chartarum is the type of mold often called “black mold” or “toxic mold”. Sensational news reports warn about the dangers of black mold and these stories can be alarming and confusing. Any mold in your home should be treated with caution – stay out of affected areas and don’t touch or disturb the mold.
How Do I Tell If It’s Black Mold?
Since many types of mold can produce allergens and irritants, you should contact a qualified mold remediation company regardless of the color or type of mold. In many instances, multiple types of mold can exist in the same house or structure. If you suspect that you have a mold problem, contact a SERVPRO of Lewiston Auburn at 207-783-2500.
When water intrudes into your property, mold growth can start in as little as 48 hours. Consider the following mold facts:
- Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
- Mold spores are microscopic, float along in the air, and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
- Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce toxins harmful to humans and pets.
- Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise the mold may return.
- Mold often produces a strong, musty odor, and that odor can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
- Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.
If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today 207-783-2500
The Mold Mitigation & Remediation Process
When there’s a water intrusion like a roof leak or leaking water line, mold can quickly become a problem in your home or business. Mold can affect your health and can also cause significant damage to your property. Fortunately, SERVPRO of Lewiston Auburn has the training, protective gear, and specialized equipment necessary to handle your mold problem. Although every mold damage scenario is different, requiring a unique solution, the general mold remediation process stays the same. The following steps illustrate a “typical” mold removal process.
Call SERVPRO of Lewiston Auburn
The mold cleanup and restoration begins when you call SERVPRO of Lewiston Auburn. One of our experienced staff will ask you a series of questions to help determine the necessary equipment, resources, and personnel needed.
Inspection & Damage Assessment
Your property will be carefully inspected for signs of mold using technology designed to detect mold and hidden water sources. Mold feeds on cellulose and water which can be hidden from plain view.
Various containment procedures will be placed to prevent the spread of mold and isolate the contaminated area with physical barriers and negative air pressure to keep the mold spores from spreading during the cleanup process.
Specialized filtration equipment captures microscopic mold spores out of the air. SERVPRO of Lewiston Auburn technicians utilize powerful air scrubbers and HEPA vacuums to prevent the spread of these mold spores while the mold remediation is in progress.
Removing Mold & Mold-Infested Materials
The mold remediation process depends on the amount of mold growth and the types of surfaces on which the mold appears. Antifungal and antimicrobial treatments will be used to eliminate mold colonies and help prevent new colonies from forming. Removing and disposing of mold-infested porous materials, like drywall and flooring, may be necessary to remediate heavy mold growth.
Cleaning Contents & Belongings
SERVPRO of Lewiston Auburn cleans your furniture, decorative items, curtains, and other restorable items affected by mold. They use a variety of cleaning techniques to clean and sanitize your belongings. They are also trained to remove odors and deodorize using fogging equipment.
Depending on the level of mold damage, drywall, subfloors, and other building materials may be removed. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new carpet, or it may entail major repairs such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business. Call SERVPRO of Lewiston Auburn today to understand mold, mold growth, and have the training and equipment to remediate mold in your home or business.