It is with heavy hearts and deep concern that we post this morning that one of our own, SMR Travis Darby, has been diagnosed with Stage 4 esophageal cancer. This has come as a complete shock to him and his family. He was in Houston assisting with the Hurricane Harvey efforts and had some issues which caused him to go the ER. Once there, they were given this shocking diagnosis. Travis has been with the SERVPRO family for five years, and he is truly that - family. We will be starting some fund raisers soon to assist them in the financial strain that will accompany this illness. We will also be accepting donations to give to the family. Donations can be made at our office, and 100% will go to Travis. Please keep him in your prayers continually as he faces this storm.
With the recent storms in Texas, everyone is thinking about what has happened, and what could happen. Everyone tries to be prepared for before and during the storm, but very few people get far enough to think about what to do AFTER a storm.
Here are a few tips from the American Red Cross to help with post-hurricane chaos.
Continue listening to a NOAA Weather Radio or the local news for the latest updates.
Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding even after the hurricane or tropical storm has ended.
If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.
Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges.
Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
Stay out of any building that has water around it.
Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes.
Use flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles.
Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated.
Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out.
Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury.
Watch animals closely and keep them under your direct control.
Unfortunately, too many people are aware of what extensive damage a hurricane can do to their home or business. Once the initial shock of the storm was begun to fade, they are then left with the next big questions........what next? How do I rebuild? Where do I go from here?
Here are a few tips from the American Red Cross to help in that process.
As you rebuild
Secure double entry doors at the top and the bottom.
Strengthen existing garage doors to improve the wind resistance, particularly double- wide garage doors.
Protect windows with permanent storm shutters or one-half inch marine plywood that is pre-cut to fit your doors and windows.
Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts to prevent flooding and unnecessary pressure on the awnings.
Select trees that are not as subject to uprooting to replace damaged ones. A gardening or landscaping professional can give you excellent advice.
Identify a place to store lawn furniture, toys, gardening tools and trash cans that is away from stairs and exits to prevent them from being moved by high winds and becoming missiles.
Ask a professional to
Ensure roof sheathing is properly installed.
Ensure end gables are securely fastened to the rest of the roof.
Fasten the roof to the walls with hurricane straps.
Elevate your home if it is near the coast and subject to flooding from storm surge.
Take caution and treat all electrical lines, wires, equipment and fixtures as if they are energized until proven otherwise.
Immediately evacuate buildings if a gas leak or odor is detected, and notify the site supervisor or competent person.
Monitor local road conditions and obey closure signs. Don’t drive though flowing water. Six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle and two feet of water will carry most cars away.
Standing water may not carry you away, but you may not be able to tell how deep it is. Unless you know how deep it is, it’s best to not drive through standing water.
Be aware of seen and unseen road hazards such as building debris, tree limbs, and pot holes. Also floods bring mud and roads can become very slick.
Gasoline, propane and diesel-powered equipment (such as portable generators, power washers, compressors and pumps) should only be operated in well-ventilated outdoor areas to prevent the buildup of carbon monoxide gas.
Stay upwind of or away from dust-generating activities, in particular involving crystalline silica-containing materials like concrete, brick, tile, drywall, mortar, sand, or stone.
Identify building materials such as painted surfaces and pipes that may contain lead.
If an area is known or suspected to contain asbestos, ensure that an assessment has been done by a competent individual before entering the area; if asbestos is present, wait until it is removed or contained.
Notify the supervisor immediately if asbestos is identified at the site and stop work until it has been removed or contained.
Refrain from entering areas with extensive mold buildup.
Be aware of your surroundings. If there is evidence (sight or smell) of chemicals or their use, avoid that area and request an Industrial Hygienist accompany you.
Sharp, jagged debris
Construction or demolition debris.
Animal bites, both stray pets and wild animals.
Roofing and Working from Heights
Ensure the use of fall protection systems: guardrails, safety nets or fall arrest systems.
Identify areas of structural weakness.
Identify ladder hazards and ensure their safe use.
Ensure guarding on power tools is in good working order and always used.
Inspect all extension cords, remove from service those that are damaged, cut or have exposed wiring and inner insulation.
Use ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) or double-insulated power tools that are approved by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory.
Flood Waters (Drowning/Walking)
Same as with driving, six inches of moving water may cause you to lose your footing and two feet of water will carry you away. Stay out of moving water.
Even standing water can present similar hazards. The water most likely will not be clear; therefore you won’t see how deep even a small puddle is. Avoid walking in standing water unless you know it is safe to do so.
Be aware of seen and unseen hazards such as building debris, tree limbs, and pot holes. Also floods bring mud and walkways can become very slick.
Ensure the use of hearing protection when noise levels exceed 85 decibels. Generally, if you cannot hold a normal conversation at arm’s length due to noise, then hearing protection should be worn.
Always wash hands with soap and water before eating, drinking, smoking, applying lip balm or cosmetics to prevent contamination of the mouth, nose or eyes with hazardous materials or infectious agents. Use a waterless alcohol-based hand cleaner if water is not available.
Decontaminate raingear and rubber boots that have been exposed to potentially hazardous materials.
A Commercial Water Damage can happen at any time. The effects of a water damage can be devastating to a business owner who is now left with the responsibility of cleaning up the aftermath, and deciding what steps to take next.
If a water damage occurs in your business, do you know what steps to take? Do you know who you would call in the instance?
Some tips to help prevent a large scale water damage in your business:
Know where you water shutoff valves are.
Have a contingency plan if you are not available.
Create an emergency plan with a list of what to do in this circumstance, and a list of numbers of who to call.
Make sure to have someone you trust who is allowed to make decisions if you are unavailable.
It is the best idea to locate someone in your local area who handles water damage, and have that number listed along with your other emergency contacts. Know your insurance agent, and have that number available as well.
SERVPRO of Pearl River provides 24 hour, 7 days a week, 365 days a year emergency response for any time you have a water damage. We have crews on call specifically to handle this.
As we are approaching the heart of hurricane season here in south Mississippi, a lot of businesses may be wondering what they should do to be prepared. Here are a few tips that may be helpful:
Step 1: Protect your physical property.
If you are close to the water, try to invest in and install shutters or plywood in order to protect windows and doors from wind borne-debris.
Have the roof of your building inspected to ensure it can withstand a storm. If there are any repairs that need to be made, make them ahead of time.
Inspect the area around your building and remove any branches or trees near to your building that could potentially fall and damage it.
Secure any large furniture (bookcases, shelves, filing cabinets) to wall studs.
Relocate any valuable or fragile possessions.
Secure all utilities including water heaters, gas tanks, and heaters and if necessary, raise them to higher locations to avoid water damages.
Secure electronics such as computers and other office equipment with straps or Velcro.
Turn off all the utilities prior to a hurricane making landfall if possible.
Step 2: Protect important documents and information
Designate important contacts to save that are crucial to business operations, such as employees, banks, lawyers, accountants, suppliers, etc.
Back-up documents that are not easily produced such as insurance documents, legal contracts, tax returns, and accounting statements to avoid water damage.
Seal these documents in waterproof containers onsite.
Save all your designated contacts and documents in an alternate, accessible off-site location.
Step 3: Keep A Preparedness Checklist
The below items should be gathered in one location at your place of business should a storm hit while you are on premises. This will help protect the safety of your employees should disaster strike during regular working hours and without ample notice.
Battery operated radio or television
Non-perishable three day food supply for you and your employees
Three day supply of water for you and your employees (One gallon of water per person, per day)
Coolers and containers for water and washing
Blankets, pillows, cots, and chairs
First Aid Kit and first aid manual
Flashlights, batteries, light-sticks
Tool kit (basic tools, gloves, etc.)
Camera and film for documenting damages
Whistle/signal flare to signal for help
Tarps, plastic bags, duct tape
Cleaning supplies, including mops, towels and garbage cans
We all know how it is.....work gets busy, the office is hectic and chaotic. And sometimes safety and prevention is the last thing on our minds. But when we get lax, that's when disasters happen.
Here are a few tips to help prevent fires in the workplace:
Keep your work area free of waste paper, trash and other items that can easily catch fire.
Check on your electrical cords. If a cord is damaged in any way, replace it. Try not to lay cords in places where they can be stepped on, as this will contribute to deterioration of the protective outside coating.
Don't overload your circuits.
Turn off electrical appliances at the end of each day.
Keep heat producing equipment away from anything that might burn. This includes copiers, coffee makers, computers, etc.
It's always a good idea to develop a safety plan within your office, and appoint a safety manager or someone to monitor these things. This will help maintain a system of accountability.
And, in the worst case scenario, SERVPRO is always here to help!
We've all been there.......as a homeowner, we spot something that needs to be fixed, and the first thing that comes to mind is doing it ourselves. We want to save money, and join the latest DIY phase. But sometimes DIY is the worse thing we can do. Lack of training and knowledge can lead to further damage, or recurring damage.
In the case of mold, the first thing that most people think of is to use Bleach. And to an untrained professional, that can seem like the most reasonable action to take.
But here are three reasons why Bleach is not the most effective choice to rid your home of mold:
BLEACH LOSES ITS EFFECTIVENESS OVER TIME.
Chlorine bleach rapidly looses its effectiveness. If you leave a glass of chlorinated water out on the counter for a few days, the chlorine will evaporate. This happens within the container as well. This evaporation process indicates that it will be hard to ascertain the true potency of your chlorine bleach solution, as the chlorine can escape through plastic. It may have been sitting at the store, or in your home for some time, diminishing the ability to perform.
BLEACH DOES NOT KILL MOLD ON POROUS SURFACES, AND CAN ACTUALLY CONTRIBUTE TO MOLD GROWTH.
Chlorine bleach can only kill surface mold. Because mold can grow deep roots within porous surfaces such as wood and drywall, bleach will not assist you in exterminating mold. The chlorine cannot penetrate to destroy the growth at its roots; it remains on the surface while the water component of the bleach reaches further, which can actually feed the mold growth.
BLEACH IS TOXIC.
Chlorine bleach produces fumes that pollute the air and can become harmful to humans and pets. Chlorine bleach also generates a by-product called dioxin, which is linked to cancer. Use over time builds up these pollutants in the environment.
If you notice mold growth in your home or business, call SERVPRO and let the professionals handle it.
Mold begins as an airborne spore mass. Mold is microscopic with many smaller spores, so when something causes these spores to stir up, these thousands of smaller spores are set free. The spores will remain airborne until they settle onto a surface. These spores need an organic material, or food source, water, as little as two days time, and temperatures between 32 and 122 degrees Fahrenheit to grow.
Organic matter can be, paint, paper, insulation, natural fibers, plants, potting soil, caulk and many more items. Controlling the humidity in your home, will help with mold growth prevention. This is why SERVPRO of Tuscaloosa sends its employee's to WRT training for water damage restoration. The SERVPRO crew team will make sure the conditions in your home are correct to dry out the area after the damage and prevent mold from the beginning.