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1/10/2020 (Permalink)

Supercell, thunderstorm approaching, lightning, dark clouds Supercell capable of producing damaging winds, hail and tornadoes

Supercells are storms that contain updrafts that rotate about a vertical axis.  This rotation is derived from shear in the environmental wind field surrounding the storm as it begins to grow.  Supercells often produce damaging wind, large hail and tornadoes.  Most of the strongest tornadoes are associated with supercells.

A supercell requires several very unique factors coming together in order to see one form.  All thunderstorms require moisture, instability and lift to form. Supercells require the same ingredients but must have wind shear as well to form.

  • Moisture: adequate amount of moisture has to present in order for a supercell to form.  On the Plains, the base line for good supercell thunderstorms is usually 50F. For supercells to be tornadic, the base line figures are usually dew points of 55F on the High Plains and 60F for the lower plains. These vary setup to setup though.
  • Moisture:Supercells require adequate moisture to be present in order to form. Instability and Lift: Unstable air is air that tends to rise when it is lifted. For air to rise, it has to be hotter than the air surrounding it, think about the old saying ‘hot air rises’. That saying is true for the atmosphere as well. Unstable air occurs when the air at the surface is warmed beneath cooler temps aloft. The faster the air tends to rise, the more unstable the atmosphere is.
  • Wind Shear: Supercells need to have the updraft rotating, this is accomplished through wind shear or wind which veers and speeds up with height.

If a storm that meets these criteria is possible for an area, the Storm Prediction Center will issue a severe thunderstorm watch or a tornado watch. If a storm with these criteria is imminent, your local Weather Service office will issue a severe thunderstorm warning or a tornado warning.

Over time (usually an hour or two), the supercells will completely break down and form into a strong line of thunderstorms. Since supercells usually form in the central Plains during the late afternoon hours, the supercells merge into a line by the late evening and nighttime hours and the line starts to race eastward. This is why parts of the south (especially Arkansas) often see a good portion of their severe weather in the middle of the night.

With the intensity of these storms getting prepared and remaining weather alert can save lives and property.  Stay tuned to your local news or NOAA Weather Radio for emergency updates.  If you have made outdoor plans move the activities to an inside location. 

Make plans to stay with a relative or friend if the structure of your home is not sustainable for high winds.  Mobile homes can blow over with high winds.  Arrive at your safe place well in advance to avoid being caught in your vehicle.  If you are driving pull over and stay in your vehicle.  Make sure your emergency flashers are on so are visible.

If your home or business is impacted by storms and emergency service is needed, SERVPRO of the Quad Cities is available 24 hours 7 days a week.  Our professionals are trained and equipped to provide your mitigation and restoration needs.  Serving our community and restoring loss to your property!

Kids and Fire Safety

12/16/2019 (Permalink)

3 children, wording Fire Safety, Red background Kids and Fire Safety

Fire Safety and Kids

 It is important to regularly review fire safety with kids, so they will be prepared in the event of a fire emergency.  Your childcare provider, teachers and parents should work together to teach children of all ages about fire safety. 

Talk to Children about Smoke Detectors and there importance

Discuss why smoke detectors are installed, how they work and the noise they make.  Children need to know the sound the detector makes is associated with a fire.  Be sure to change the batteries regularly to ensure the alarm is not going off due to low battery and causing panic in children.  Firefighters recommend changing your smoke detectors’ batteries every time you turn your clocks ahead or back for Daylight Saving Time.

Plan Escape Routes

If possible there needs to be two ways planned out of every room in your home.  Usually, this means a door and a window.  Evaluate your home and establish a plan especially for rooms that don’t have windows like offices and some media rooms. There should be a designated meeting space outside of your home for all members to meet and wait for you.  Make sure your children know to go outside and not to hide out of fear.

Practice Opening Windows

In the event of an emergency, older children should be able to complete the task of opening windows on their own.  Make sure all window screens can be removed quickly, windows are not stuck closed and security bars can be opened. 

Use Escape Ladders

Escape ladders should be installed near second floor windows.  Children should practice using them.  Practice a first floor window exit with younger children to give them some idea of what to expect.

Touch Door and Check for Heat

Instruct kids how to check doors to see if they are hot, and if so, how to find another way out.  Fire safety for children includes having them find a towel to use for handling, touching or grabbing items to avoid burns and to also use the towel or cover to protect their faces and cover their mouth.  If both exits of a room are blocked, kids should get as low as possible.  Lie on the ground, near the bed if possible that is where firefighters will look for them.

Use Your Hands, Not Your Eyes

Children should practice feeling their way out of the home in the dark or with their eyes closed.  This can be turned into a game by blindfolding your child and asking them to feel their way to a designated area.  Daycares and schools can set up an obstacle course to reach designated end points.  Using fun activities can teach children how to escape.

Stop, Drop and Roll

Teach children what to do in the event that their clothes catch fire.  Make sure they understand “stop, drop and roll”.  Act it out for them and have them practice with you. 

Out Means Stay Out

Teach children that once they are out of a burning house or building, they must go to the designated meeting place and never, ever venture back in. If a family member or a pet is missing, they should inform a firefighter or adult. There are too many tragedies where an individual who has gotten out safely ventures back into the home or building.

Practice Monthly

Practice your escape plan at least twice a year; monthly is even better. Just like schools, child care centers and homes should also practice fire drills.

Having your children well prepared can save lives.  Knowing what to do keeps them from panicking and keeping a mind set of getting out safely.  Remember that every household member needs to meet in the designated area that was established during your practice drill.  Create a chart with a layout of your home and list all exits, doors, windows and fire escapes.  Label rooms and add your meeting point.  Post your chart where it is visible to all on a daily basis.  

Winterizing Exposed Pipes

12/12/2019 (Permalink)

wording winterize, outdoor faucet, frozen precipitation Don't leave your outdoor faucet exposed to winter weather

Winterizing Your Exposed Pipes

Frozen pipes are the most common loss claim during the winter months.  As a general rule, temperatures outside must drop to at least 20 degrees or lower to cause pipes to freeze.  Pipes burst when water in the pipes freezes and expands.  If there is no water in the pipes they will not freeze.  There is no reason to turn off your water when leaving your home for an extended time if the heating system is left on. 

Unheated interior spaces like your garage, attic or basement are most at risk for frozen pipes.  The liberal use of insulation on any exposed pipes in these areas will help protect from freezing.  Other ways are to keep the garage closed as much as possible and don’t let your home fall under 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Running water through the pipe, even at a trickle helps prevent pipes from freezing.  Water has a unique property that it expands as it freezes.  This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes.  No matter the strength of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break.

If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe.  As the frozen pipe is treated leave the faucet open so water will flow through and help melt ice in the pipe.  The frozen pipe can be treated by applying an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer or portable space heater.  Apply heat until full water pressure is restored.  If unable to locate the frozen pipes or if not accessible a licensed plumber may need to be called.

If one pipe freezes in your home it is possible others have frozen.  Be sure to check all other faucets for water pressure.  Remember winterizing early while it is still warm and ensuring all exposed pipes have been insulated will greatly decrease the chances of frozen and broken pipes.  Broken pipes can lead to water damage to the structure of your home and contents creating costly repairs.  In the event of water damage to your home, please contact your Local SERVPRO for professional service.  Our services are available 24 hours 7 days a week including Holidays.

Tips On Protecting Your Business for Cold Weather

12/5/2019 (Permalink)

snow covered road, vehicles, power lines, sign wording yes we are open Keeping Your Business Running during Winter Weather


Plan, Plan and Plan some more.  Making sure each employee knows their role and what is expected of them will save time and money.  Go over with you staff on ways to prepare and what each person should be doing.

  1. Make detailed plans, well in advance. Schedule a meeting to discuss what needs to be done. Don’t just stick to what you’ve done in the past but try to think afresh about how to approach every aspect of bad weather planning. 
  2. Find out the legal situation. Read up on employment policies on severe weather conditions so that you know what’s reasonable to expect of your staff and what’s not. The policies cover issues including entitlement to time off; entitlement to paid or unpaid leave; working from home; flexible working hours to avoid hour traffic and travel; and other provisions relating to your business and operational requirements.
  3. Staying at home doesn’t mean staying in bed. Home workers are often more efficient than office-based workers – and certainly more efficient than people who turn up after a three hour journey. With the right rules – and technology – in place you can make sure work gets done and make staff very grateful to you too. 
  4. The right technology outside the office. You need to work this out in advance, or it won’t work. Make sure your employees know how to log onto the remote server.
  5. The right technology inside the office. Take in consideration if there is a power failure that will affect your internet service. Make sure to have up to date records of every member of staff’s mobile and home numbers so they can be reached in case you are not able to make it in.
  6. Communicate. Keep in touch with everyone throughout the course of the bad weather. Conference facilities and chat software can be really handy for keeping a “live” conversation going. 
  7. Contingency planning. It might be worth considering cloud based solutions, even just as a back up, to ensure staff can access enough information to keep a skeleton service running. 
  8. Encourage staff to plan ahead.  It’s important to take into consideration the advice set out by the emergency services. If the police have issued a warning not to travel unless absolutely necessary, then this should be seriously considered. It’s crucial to assess what is reasonable risk for your employees and to advise them accordingly.
  9. Buy decent equipment. Encourage staff to put together “winter packs” for their cars, in case they become stranded. Buying snow tires in bulk for your vehicles early in the season could save money.
  10.  Call in a Professional. You can’t know, or do, everything yourself. Sometimes it’s worth turning to the experts and listening to what they have to say. And do that early in the process, rather than in a last minute panic when people are trapped under snowdrifts trying to get to work, and you’re losing business because of it. 

Live Christmas Tree and Safety

11/26/2019 (Permalink)

Santa, red suit, line of pine trees, snow Even Santa looks for the perfect Christmas Tree

Fire Safety during the Holidays when a Real Tree decks the halls of your home…

When showcasing a live tree in your home, the combination of tree dryness, electrical malfunction with lights and poorly located heating sources can make for a deadly combination.  The safest option is to purchase a live tree and cut it down yourself.  If a pre-cut tree is purchased make sure you check the trunk for stickiness and the limbs for flexibility.  If the limbs break off easily it is not a good tree.

Always place your tree away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights, and keep the tree base filled with water to avoid a dry out.  Your tree needs to be a minimum of 3 feet from heat sources.  Christmas trees alone result in 13 million dollars, annually, in property damage.  Remember you tree will need care by providing water and not allowing the base to go dry.  Check the base frequently, especially if you have pets that like to visit the tree for a drink.

Lighting the tree is not always the easiest or most volunteered for project, but what a beautiful sight it is once they are strung.  To keep your live tree safe and fire proof make sure to not plug more than 3 strands of lights into each other.  Use a power strip to add additional strands. Be sure to turn the lights off when going to bed or leaving the house. 

Keep all of your holiday candles away from your tree.  Use electronic candles and non-flammable decorations.  If you have a fire place in your home use a fire screen and make sure the embers are extinguished before going to bed. 

When you home is filled with the joy pets bring there are precautions that need to be taken to keep them safe.  Make sure the tree can not be toppled over by the mischief pet pawing at the delicate ornaments that look ever so tasteful.  Loop twine or fishing line around the trunk and tie to a screw in the wall.  If there are cords on the floor they can be duct taped down to keep your pets from chewing on them.  Keep the needles cleaned up off the floor to keep your pets from licking them and possibly ingesting insecticides or flame retardants. 

What joy a live Christmas tree can bring and a tradition that has been long practiced.  With a few safety precautions to follow all can enjoy through out the Christmas holiday. Let the tree decorating begin!

Types of Fire Extinguisher

11/18/2019 (Permalink)

fire extinguisher, use instructions, wording pull,aim,squeeze, sweep Remember PASS when using your fire extinguisher

There are 5 main fire extinguisher types – Foam, Water, CO2, Dry Powder and Wet Chemical.  To meet current regulations you should have the right type for your premises. 

The fire risk from the class of fire will determine what type of fire extinguisher will be needed.  You will also need to make sure you have the right size and weight.  There are different versions of both the Water and Dry Powder fire extinguisher meaning there are 8 types to choose from.

  1. Water
  2. Water Mist
  3. Water Spray
  4. Foam
  5. Dry Powder – Standard
  6. Dry Powder – Specialist
  7. Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
  8. Wet Chemical

Water extinguishers are the most common type for Class A fire risk.  They are used for Organic materials such as paper, cardboard, fabrics, textiles, wood and coal.  They are not to be used on fires involving electrical, kitchen fires, flammable gas or liquids.  Water extinguishers work by having a cooling effect on the fuel, causing it to burn much more slowly until the flames are eventually extinguished.  Water spray extinguishers are equipped with a spray nozzle meaning a greater surface area can be covered more quickly. Water mist extinguishers release microscopic water particles.  The particles suffocate the fire and create a wall of mist between the fire and the person using the extinguisher. 

Foam extinguishers are most common for Class B fires but can work on Class A fires because they are water based.  They can extinguish the same type of fires as the water extinguisher plus flammable liquids, like paint and petrol.  They are not to be used on kitchen fires, fires involving electrical equipment nor flammable metals. Most buildings need either water or foam extinguishers.

Dry Powder extinguishers are also called ABC extinguishers because they can take care of Class A, B and C fires.  They are not recommended in enclosed spaces due to the residue being difficult to clean up and easily inhaled.  They are not recommended for use on fires involving cooking oil, electrical equipment over 1000v, in offices or residential properties.  Specialist Dry Powder extinguishers are used only on flammable metals, such as titanium and magnesium.  Dry Powder smothers a fire by forming a barrier between the fuel and the source of oxygen. 

CO2 extinguishers are predominantly used for electrical fire risks and are usually the main fire extinguisher type provided in computer server rooms.  They can also put out Class B fires involving flammable liquids such as paint and petroleum.  They are not to be sued on kitchen fires, combustible materials like paper, wood or textiles nor flammable metals.  CO2 extinguishers suffocate fires by displacing the oxygen the fire needs to burn.  All work vehicles should carry a smaller 2kg CO2 extinguisher

Wet Chemical extinguishers are designed for use on Class F fires, involving cooking oils and fats.  They can also be used on Class A fires.  They are not to be used on flammable liquid or gas fires, electrical fires or flammable metals.  Wet Chemical extinguishers work by creating a layer of foam on the surface of the burning oil or fat, preventing oxygen from fuelling the fire any further.  The spray also has a cooling effect.

Be sure to place your fire extinguisher near the source of fire risk.  Safety is first and being trained in proper use can reduce injuries.  If the fire is out of control you need to use your evacuation plan.  Close doors behind you and always pay attention.   

Preventive Cleaning for Your Commercial Carpet

11/1/2019 (Permalink)

Office entrance, glass door, carpeted hallway Commercial Carpeted Entrance

Up to 24 pounds of dirt can be tracked in by customers and employees entering your place of business in just a 20-day work period.  Based on what type of carpet and pattern each office has will determine what type of cleaning and how often to clean.  The more you properly clean the carpet the better it will look and last longer creating a lasting impression on customers. 

 Regular vacuuming is one of the most cost effective ways of removing dirt from your carpeting.  For best results when using a vacuum go slowly over the carpet in both east/west and north/south directions.  This should be done daily in high traffic areas like the entrance and halls   

Medium traffic areas like general offices areas or corridors should be vacuumed daily, or at least 3-4 times a week.  Lower traffic areas like         conference rooms and executive offices can usually be done on a weekly basis.

Removing dirt and getting out a stain can be a real challenge. The sooner you can treat the stain the better your chances of successfully removing it. Some stains may require professional services.

Regular monthly and quarterly maintenance of carpets will extend the life and enhance the appearance of your company while saving your company money. SERVPRO offers professional residential and commercial carpet cleaning. Showcase Carpet Cleaning features oil-free shampoo, no residue, won’t attract soil and stays clean longer with no re-soiling.   We vacuum your carpet before any cleaning begins to remove surface soils and use a pilating process so there is no matting and fibers dry in natural position. If your company has rugs they can be picked up and brought to our warehouse for cleaning and delivered back. 

Call your local SERVPRO of the Quad Cites to discuss your needs for Commercial Carpet Cleaning and learn of our features, advantages and benefits of preventive carpet cleaning.  We are a team of cleaning specialists and offer top quality services.

Derecho Storms

10/31/2019 (Permalink)

Shelf Cloud Black Shelf Cloud, cloud beneath storm,Derecho approaching

Derecho Storms

Derechos are home to the most incredible shelf clouds nature can produce. A shelf cloud is a thick cloud that juts down from the sky, like a shelf hanging beneath the bottom of the storm. There are two different types of derechos. The most dangerous type is a progressive derecho. This is the kind of storm you see in the summer that speeds across entire states and leaves tornado-like damage in its wake. A serial derecho forms along a cold front.  Serial derechos are most common during the fall and winter months. 

Derechos are associated with bands of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms variously known as bow echoes, squall lines, or quasi-linear convective systems.  The winds associated with derechos are not constant and may vary considerably along the path it takes.  Sometimes the winds are below severe level reaching 57 mph or less.  Severe winds from this storm can be from 75 mph to greater than 100 mph.

Derechos are most common in the central United States, but they can form just about anywhere around the world that experiences severe thunderstorms. A relentless summertime heat wave can trigger multiple derechos in one week if conditions are just right. They can leave behind more damage than a tornado, yet they're relatively unknown by anyone other than weather enthusiasts.

One of the reasons derechos can wreck such havoc is because they come on suddenly.  There usually isn’t much of a buildup to the strongest winds before they hit.  Conditions can go from calm to chaos in a matter of seconds.  The abruptness with which the winds can hit can even snap off the tops of trees.

The aftermath of many derechos looks like what you would see after a hurricane or tornado.  The winds destroy roofs, structures, barns and can cause wide spread power outages. The storm can produce wind damage over 200 miles long and last over 6 hours.  

Those involved in outdoor activities during the hot summer months are at a greater risk.  Campers or hikers in forested areas are vulnerable to being injured or killed by falling trees.  Occupants of cars and trucks also are vulnerable to falling trees and utility poles.  Even those indoors may be at risk from falling roofs.  Mobile homes in particular may be overturned or destroyed. 

Derechos are very powerful, destructive wind storms. The derecho initially starts as a cluster of storms that forms a squall line. This line of storms can eventually show a bowing structure, indicating stronger storms and more concentrated winds in those areas.  During the summer months when storms are predicted stay weather alert and move your activities inside if any way possible.  These storms are fast moving and approach suddenly. 

How to Prepare Your Car for a Storm

10/30/2019 (Permalink)

Basic Emergency Kit Supply List wording, Emergency Kit photo, supply list of items needed, Items to put in your Emergency Supply Kit

How To Prepare Your Car For A Storm

Having your car prepared will help you get home safely or wherever you need to go, when the weather is bad.  In case you can not get home due to road closures or storm damage to your home, you will have emergency supplies available.

 Keep your car in good condition by checking the tires, oil and water.  Make sure the lights and windshield wipers are in good working condition.  You do not want to find yourself stranded in the middle of a storm.  Ensure that your car has at least a half a tank of fuel in case the gas stations are closed.

First aid and emergency kits should consist of a multi-tool, flashlight and batteries and a visible jacket.  Any medication your family is taking should be included along with general pain medication.  

Keep an external battery charger fully charged for your cell phone, gps and other devices in the event you can not get home.  Store a map as well in case there is no service available for gps. Marking safe areas, motels and alternative routes in advance can save time and the worry of not being able to get home or to a safe location.

Keeping warm clothing such as waterproof clothes and boots is a good idea in case you have to abandon your car to walk.  It may be quicker to leave the car to walk to a nearby motel than trying an alternate route.  Abandoning your car should not be undertaken lightly. 

Cash on hand is recommended in case fuel, food or provisions need to be purchased.  During a storm the ATM may be out of service.  Have additional food and water in case there is a need to stay over night in your car. Make sure you have proper food for nutrition.  Having snacks available for children can keep them happier when having to spend an extended amount of time in a car. 

Keeping tools in your car will help assist with tires that may need to be replaced, changing bulbs or a shovel for digging.  Your emergency car kit should include items that can be put outside of your car to allow other oncoming traffic to visually spot you such as triangles.

Having the most important phone numbers you need in the car is recommended.  If your cell phone can not be charged or service is lost you will have a hard copy. Be sure to include your home owners and car insurance policy with emergency contact information. 

When we have the tools to wade the storm we come out safer and calmer. Make sure you car has all the recommended tools to keep you and your family safe if ever confronted with an unexpected emergency.  

To Restore or Replace Carpet after a Water Damage

10/21/2019 (Permalink)

sub floor, air movers, wet baseboards, electrical cords, mitigation Carpet and trim removal to allow air movers to dry sub-floor and wall

Water damage to any carpeted area must be dealt with immediately.  If flooded carpet hasn’t been properly dried after 24 to 48 hours, the remaining moisture creates the ideal environment for mold and harmful bacteria to grow. Mold-contaminated carpet is a health hazard. A particularly dangerous mold, Stachybotrys, is associated with wet carpet and can cause severe illness.

If water damage is from a clean water source and it was identified within 48 hours, then cleaning the carpet yourself is an option. If water damage is from a gray or black water source, call a professional. Recommendations for cleaning or replacing flood-damaged carpets and rugs will depend on the contamination level of the water and the length of time the carpet or rugs were saturated.

Water from toilets or other contaminated sources ruin your carpet for good. Carpet saturated with water considered to be “black,” such as groundwater or sewage, is definitely not salvageable and should be replaced at once.  If the sub-floor is particleboard, it will swell and disintegrate when it gets wet and will need to be replaced as well.

Getting to the water damage as quickly as possible will reduce the chances of mold developing and a greater chance of carpet being salvaged.  Listed below are tips to follow when carpet has been damage by a clean water source:

  1. Remove water as quickly as possible
  2. Use fans to speed up carpet drying process 
  3. Use a dehumidifier to dry out the room
  4. Sanitize walls and baseboards
  5. Check furniture

Carpeting can and should be saved after water damage whenever possible.  Extreme cases of black water flooding, proper restoration and sanitation should be done by professionals.  Your local SERVPRO can determine the level of contamination and recommendations on cleaning or replacing damaged carpet.  Dealing with the water damage immediately will determine if carpet and sub-flooring can be salvaged. Our professionals are available 24 hours 7 days a week to handle your emergency water damage.  We service upholstery cleaning as well when your furniture and contents have been involved in water damage. Call today to get an estimate or schedule your service.