Being Prepared for a Fire: Have a Plan
Working in the Fire and Water Restoration industry, SERVPRO understands the devastating effects fire can have on a property. We also know too well that fires can be fatal. In many cases families do not have plans to follow in case of a fire. When fire strikes, you must act quickly to not only help reduce the extent of damage to your property, but also to keep your loved ones and pets safe from harm. For this reason, SERVPRO recommends all households have a plan set in place in case of a fire.
The first step is creating your plan. This will involve sitting down with your family, especially your children, so that everyone is aware of the plan. For each room in your home, there should be 2 specified exit points, such a doors or windows. Part of the plan will be explaining to your children that if one route is blocked—by smoke or fire—they should try the other route. The best way to do this is to draw a map that shows all exits. The plan should also specify a meeting place for everyone to gather after leaving the home. This meeting place should be a safe distance from your home. At this meeting place, you will then want to call 911—don’t stay in the home to call 911 and don’t go back inside.
Once you have your plan in place, reminders about your plan throughout the year can be helpful in remaining prepared at a moment’s notice. Practicing your fire drill with your children will help them better understand what to do and to keep calm if a fire occurs.
Of course, it is also import to teach your family about the importance of fire safety. This means teaching them that they should stop, drop, and roll if their clothing catches fire; crawl close to your baseboards to avoid smoke inhalation; and always listen to instructions from officials such as police or firefighters.
Call SERVPRO today for more fire safety tips!
Fire Caused by Lightning
When you think about how a fire may start, what first comes to mind? A stove burner left on, a clogged dryer vent, or faulty wiring? All of these instances are common. But what about lightning? According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), local fire departments in the United States responded to an average of 22,600 fires that were started by lightning—this data was gather between 2007 and 2011. While uncommon, they do happen, and especially around the summer months. In fact, fires caused by lightning strikes are most common between the months of June and August, taking place between late afternoon and evening.
Because our homes are made of wood and other highly flammable materials, they can be easily ignited by a lightning strike. This will often take place in the attic or roof of a home; this is because the lightning channel must pass through the roof to get to the conductive materials, such as piping and wires within our walls and ceilings. While it is most common for the fires to start on the roof or in the attic, if lightning travels through a home’s wiring system, fires can start anywhere.
If your home is struck by lightning, you will want to immediately call the fire department in case of a fire. Because lightning can travel through your home internally via pipes and wires, an ignited fire may not be outwardly apparent. This is why it is safer to have the fire department on their way to not only put out a possible fire, but to make sure your home is not at risk of a fire. In fact, it may be a good idea to contact an electrician to make sure that your wiring was not damaged by the lightning strike.
While fires caused by lightning are rare, it is still important to always be prepared!
Being Prepared for A Tornado
Tornado season is upon us once again and it is time to go over your family’s plan in case of severe weather. As Midwesterners, we know well how violent tornadoes can be and the widespread damage that can be done. While most damage is out of our control, being well prepared for these disasters saves lives.
The first thing you can do in preparation for a tornado is identify a safe place in your home where your family and pets can gather. This place will be located in your basement or cellar. If you don’t have a basement, make sure the safe room is on the lowest level in your home. If you live in an apartment complex, try to stay in the hallways near the center of the building and away from windows on the lowest possible floor. Mobile home owners should seek shelter at nearby safe structures. Mobile homes are never safe during a tornado.
Preparing your family for a tornado should take place long before a Warning is announced. Everyone in the household should be aware of the safest place to go during a tornado, especially children. This does not only apply to your home; because we are not always at home when a tornado strikes, everyone in your household should understand emergency plans at their place of work or school.
You should also have a supply kit prepared to use in your safe place while you wait out the storm. These should include emergency supplies, such as medications, flashlights, first-aid kit, and a battery operated radio to monitor the progress of the weather.
Call your local restoration professionals at SERVPRO for more information!
Annual Maintenance Checklist: Plumbing
The p-trap is the U-shaped pipe under your sink. Make sure to check these frequently, as they can become clogged and cause drain back-ups.
As the seasons change and the weather gets warmer, it’s time to reevaluate the conditions of our homes and check each system to ensure proper functioning. Your plumbing system should be checked annually by either you or a professional plumber, depending on your expertise. The following tips will serve as a guide in your efforts to keep your plumbing system functioning properly and healthy.
- Check the p-traps—the U-shaped pipes—under your sinks to prevent clogs. If it has debris or a clog, remove the p-trap and clean it out with a nylon brush.
- Check all faucets and under your sinks for leaks or signs of leaks.
- Check your showerhead for leaks or mineral buildups. If your showerhead has excessive leaking or mineral deposits, it may need to be replaced, or at least be cleaned with a special solution.
- Check all visible piping throughout your house. Pipes with visible discoloration may have corrosion or other issues. Also check for mold or mildew, which can be a sign of small leaks. These should be inspected by a plumber and possibly replaced.
- Test your garbage disposal to ensure it is functioning properly.
- Make sure that your water heater is set to a safe and optimal temperature. Water temperature should be no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which is safe for use and will ensure a longer water heater lifespan.
If you have water damage from a leaking pipe, or subsequent mold from water damage, call SERVPRO to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Why Does Flooding Occur?
Flood scene in downtown Davenport
There are few places in the world that do not have to worry about flooding. As it goes, ‘where there is rain, there will be flooding’. And, being a local business in the Quad Cities for over 25 years, we have seen our fair share of flooding on the Mississippi and Rock River, and we know the devastation it causes in our communities.
Technically, flooding is when typically dry land becomes overwhelmed and covered by a sustained water presence. But how does this process take place? What makes a river flood? Rain is a large contributor: as rain water pours into rivers from creeks and storm drains, the river is overwhelmed with water and its banks encroach on adjacent dry land, referred to as the floodplain. While river flooding can be caused by heavy rains, there are other causes. One of these include rapidly melting ice or snow that pours into storm drains and finds its way into streams and rivers; this will very quickly add to the normal amount of water flowing in a river and cause level rises as the water moves downstream. We experienced a great deal of this with record snow fall this year.
As we know in the Quad Cities, it can take several days for flooding to develop, giving our residents time to prepare for the incoming water. But this flood in particular was difficult to be ready for, as the flood water has stuck around for a record length of time, and was higher than any in history. As we recover in our communities from this devastation, SERVPRO is “Here to Help” with residential and commercial clean-ups. If you have experienced water damage, call SERVPRO at 563-386-3540 to make it “Like it never even happened."
How To Use A Submersible Pump
A submersible pump can keep rising water at bay and reduce the amount of damage to your home.
As we experience heavy rains here in the Quad Cities, SERVPRO receives an overflow of calls regarding water in basements. This may be due to seepage through the floor or foundation of your basement, or possibly a failed sump pump. Whatever the cause, water in your basement can lead to extensive water damage to your home and belongings, especially if you have a finished basement. For this reason, a submersible pump is a great product to keep on hand to slow the rising of water in your basement as it comes in, which will reduce the scope of damage, and to remove the remaining water once the rain or flooding has stopped. Once you have your submersible pump, it is important to follow a number of steps to ensure proper water removal. Below are tips on how to set up your pump:
- Along with your pump you will need a hose. This is sometimes a simple garden hose, sump hose, or possibly one that comes with your pump. You will want to make sure you have a long enough hose to get from your pump to your drainage site.
- Next you will need to connect the hose to your pump. Make sure that the connection is secure before starting your pump. Also consider that if the water you are removing is contaminated your hose may no longer be safe for other uses.
- You will then be ready to plug and your pump and start removing the water from your basement. Be sure to submerge your pump in the deepest water within your home. This will help you avoid running the pump dry. It will also allow your pump to keep working until a majority of the water is removed, as some pumps have floats that will automatically shut the power off once the water has reached a certain level.
- Keep an eye on your pump to make sure it is working properly. Also make sure that the area is free of debris to avoid clogs.
If you have water in your basement, call SERVPRO at 563-386-3540 to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Flooding - What To Do Until Help Arrives
Quad Cities communities know well the effects associated with floods. Every few years we have a really bad one. But this year has been no exception. In fact, we have broken records as the water continues to rise and has sustained major flood levels for several weeks. By all means, this will go down as one of the worst floods in Quad Cities history.
At SERVPRO, we understand how stressful and inconvenient the flooding season can be. If you are experiencing water damage from flooding, here are some things you should do before help arrives:
- Turn off your circuit breakers for wet areas in your home. Only do this if access to your panel is safe!
- Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
- Use wooden clothespins to keep furniture skirting off of damp floors.
- Enter rooms with standing water where electrical shock hazards may exist.
- Touch contaminated water or items that have come into contact with contaminated water.
- Leave books, newspapers, or other colored items on wet carpets or floors.
Call SERVPRO today at 563-386-3540 if you need assistance.
Understanding Different Water Types
When your home or business suffers from a water damage, it is important to understand the type of water present to ensure proper clean-up. This is because there are 3 types, or categories, of water, each having its own safety distinction. Water is considered “clean”, or a category 1, when it comes from a broken pipe or rain. If you suffer a water damage from clean water, make sure to do the following things until help arrives:
- Shut off your home or business water source, if possible.
- Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas. However, only do this if it is safe, and do not enter rooms with standing water to avoid electric shock.
- Once safe, try to clean up as much water as possible from floors and wipe down wood furniture.
Another water type is “gray water”, or category 2. Clean water can become gray water when it is left untreated, allowing bacteria and other contaminates to grow freely. This type of water is considered contaminated and hazardous. The 3rd water type is “black water”, or category 3, which is highly contaminated and filled with bacteria, fungi, chemicals, and more. This type of water is typically caused by sewage back up, flooding, or other types of natural disaster. Black water should be avoided and only handled by trained professionals. If you suffer a water damage from contaminated water, category 2 or 3, do the following things until help arrives:
- Avoid making contact with gray or black water. Make sure to wash hands thoroughly after coming into contact with contaminated items.
- Do not walk through areas contaminated by gray or black water, as you may spread damage to other unaffected areas.
- Do not turn on HVAC system to avoid spreading contaminated air.
- Do not use household fans to dry contaminated water damage.
- Do not keep any food that comes into contact with contaminated water.
For more information about water types, please contact your SERVPRO of Davenport/Bettendorf water damage professionals at 563-386-3540.
How to Have a Safe Fire Pit
How to Have a Safe Fire Pit
Fire pits are a great addition to your outdoor space and can be fun to gather around with family and friends. As the weather is getting nicer, they are a great excuse to get outside and enjoy spring. But as fun as fire pits can be, taking safety precautions is extremely important to avoiding possible fire-related disasters. Misuse use of fire pits can often lead to grass fires that can spread to neighboring properties, or worse: house fires. The following tips will help you enjoy your fire pit while also staying safe:
Placement of Your Fire Pit
- At least 10 feet away from homes, other structures, and neighboring yards
- Never place under a covered porch, low hanging tree branches, or mounted awnings
- Make sure the surface under your fire pit is non-flammable
Preparing for Your Fire
- Make sure no flammable materials are place near your fire pit
- Create a barrier of rocks or cement blocks to keep fire contained (if you are not using store-bought)
- If you are building your own fire pit, make sure the pit is at least 6 inches deep at center and at least 2 feet across
Starting Your Fire
- Be conscious of wind direction and move flammable materials accordingly
- Do not light your fire if it is exceedingly windy
- For extra safety, you can use fire-starter sticks instead of lighter fluid
For more information, call your fire professionals at SERVPRO of Davenport/Bettendorf.
Why Choose SERVPRO for Duct Cleaning?
Ducts can collect large amounts of dust and dirt build-up.
Your ventilation system is often the leading factor in poor indoor air quality. Routinely inspecting the ductwork at your home or business should be a high priority. Soiled air ducts can circulate odors, mold and irritating dust throughout your home or business. Rodents, insects or pests, dust, dirt, debris, bacteria, mold, or pollen: all of these factors can significantly reduce your air quality.
At SERVPRO, we provide cleaning services for your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning unit (HVAC). Keeping this system clean can potentially lengthen the life of your HVAC by allowing it to function at its peak condition; this can also save you money on utility bills and possible equipment repairs in the long run. We also offer sealing and coating to be sprayed in order to address odor issues or microbial concerns.
In other cases, duct cleaning is not always routine. Duct cleaning can become an essential service after a fire, smoke damage, or suspected mold growth. In case of a fire, smoke travels quickly through your ducts, especially if your HVAC system is running at the time. This can lead to ongoing odor issues in your home or business.
If you have a fire or need a routine cleaning service, SERVPRO of Davenport/Bettendorf is “Here To Help” with your duct cleaning needs 24/7!