Power Outage Tips
Weather-related power outages are a fact of life in North Alabama. Fortunately, most utility departments are able to respond quickly and return power as soon as possible.
Here are some tips to help you get through a power outage.
To Help Preserve your Food During a Power Outage
Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. First use perishable food from the refrigerator. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if the door is kept closed. Keep the door closed as much as possible. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and leftovers) that have been above 40 °F for over 2 hours.
Protecting Electrical Equipment During a Power Outage
Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics. Turn off or disconnect equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment. Leave one light turned on so you’ll know when the power comes back on. Turn all other light switches off.
Don’t forget about Carbon Monoxide, Be Careful!
Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
It’s always good to be prepared in the event that the power goes out. Your emergency kit should include items such as flashlights, flameless candles, matches, canned foods, water, granola bars, etc.
What To Do Immediately After a House Fire
- Ask whether it is safe to enter the home. Do not enter if the fire department hasn't deemed it safe.
- Know who to call.
- Contact family members and let them know you are safe, and unharmed.
- Contact your insurance agent. They will be able to talk you through the necessary steps, including proper documentation and emergency lodging and living expenses (keep all of your receipts!) The insurance company may assist in securing a company to help with clean up options.
- You may request SERVPRO at this time for contents cleaning, restoration etc.
- Another call may be to your landlord if applicable, and to your local American Red Cross.
- Secure the property to prevent possible looting. We are available to assist with securing the property, including boarding up windows and doorways.
- If the fire department used water to put out the fire, drying your home is critical. Water damage can lead to mold damage if not dried properly. SERVPRO is an approved restoration contractor for many major insurance carriers and adheres to the highest standards in the restoration industry.
- Seek counseling if needed. Children and adults can feel a traumatic sense of loss, and may need help to avoid a lasting sense of sadness and disorientation after a house fire. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. A house fire is a traumatic event and individuals need to be treated with respect and compassion by those close to the process of rebuilding.
For more information on fire damage cleanup, call SERVPRO of the Quad Cities at (256) 383-4470.
How to Prevent Water Damage During Christmas Vacation
During the holidays, many people travel, potentially leaving their homes vulnerable to water damage. Nothing puts a damper on vacation mode like coming back to a flooded home. Here are some top ways to avoid issues with leaks and moisture so you won’t have to call for water damage restoration upon your return.
1. Turn off the Water
If you don’t want to shut down all your plumbing, just switch off the water source to toilets and faucets by turning the knob on each fixture where the water pipe meets the wall or floor. Otherwise, turn off everything at once at the water main. Homeowners who use wells should switch off the electrical power to the well to prevent it from pumping.
2. Assess Your Gutters & Downspouts
Take a walk around your house before leaving, looking at every gutter to ensure it’s connected to the roof and doesn’t have any corrosion issues. Then assess the downspouts to see if they’re properly attached to the gutters and exterior walls. If these home features are incorrectly installed or damaged, rain will pool around the foundation and result in the need for water damage restoration.
3. Have Someone Check In
Have a trustworthy neighbor or friend check on the house in your absence. Ask them to inspect each room from outside two or three times a week to make sure everything is normal. They’ll be able to spot signs of water damage so you can contact a restoration team as soon as possible. Not only will this give you peace of mind, but they can also water your plants and grab the mail.
If you return from the holidays to find your home has incurred water damage, contact the skilled technicians at SERVPRO of the Quad Cities. Their expert water damage restoration team is available 24/7 to make your house feel like home again after a natural disaster or accident. Call (256) 383-4470.
The Correct Way to Handle Mold Damage
In Florence, mold damage is a common problem. It affects all kinds of homes and businesses. It is not something to be scared of; it happens to almost everybody, at some time in their lives. However, it does need to be treated with caution. Mold damage, though common, can be both expensive and can cause health effects.
This is why the only effective solution for dealing with chronic mold damage in Florence is to call in the experts. Qualified mold damage restoration teams have the necessary skills and expertise to make sure that all of the damaged areas of a property are safely removed. If you do not seek professional advice, you risk the problem becoming a recurring one.
This guide to the importance of professional mold damage restoration will help you get to grips with the best possible solution.
Fix the Source of the Issue
While homeowners can go some way to removing the superficial signs of mold damage (visible marks and blemishes), it is much more difficult to pinpoint the cause. And this is vital if the problem is to be eradicated for good. Mold damage restoration experts are trained to look for patterns and uncover the source of the destruction. More often than not, the mold is being caused by an unidentified leak within the building or humidity issues.
Recognize the Type of Mold
It is a common misunderstanding to assume that all mold is the same. In fact, there are more than 10,000 different varieties. As they all require a slightly different approach, identification is key to tackling mold damage. Nobody expects you to be able to distinguish between the characteristics of a thousand mold samples, so take the job to somebody who is specially trained for it.
Use the Right Equipment
Another important benefit of using a professional mold damage restoration service is access to specialized equipment. You might have a basic dehumidifier in your home or workplace, but this won’t be strong enough to tackle a serious problem. If there is evidence of high level mold in the building – which causes negative health effects – protective clothing is needed to ensure safety.
Common Causes of Commercial Water Damage
When business owners visualize water damage, they often picture a massive storm wiping out power lines, flooding offices, and shutting down businesses for days at a time. It is true that commercial water damage is often the result of floods and water that stems from weather events and storms.
However, many entrepreneurs and business space renters forget that storms and severe weather aren't the only causes of floods and water damage. Here are some of the typical causes of water damage to commercial buildings.
1. Malfunctioning sprinkler systems
Some older office and retail buildings still have outdated sprinkler systems that work in conjunction with fire protection systems. While such sprinklers can come in handy during a fire emergency, they can also cause commercial flood damage if they are faulty or in need of replacement. This could easily damage inventory and business assets.
2. Damaged appliances and equipment
This cause of commercial flood damage is more common in restaurants and catering facilities, as well as any business that have appliances and equipment that make use of water. If the appliance fails and sends water across your building, especially during late hours when no one is around, you may come back to work and face a water emergency.
3. Broken pipes and plumbing
Just like in a residence, if the plumbing system in your workplace fails water damage could be the result.
4. Backed up sewer lines
This is another cause of commercial water damage that often catches business owners by surprise. Should the sewer line to your building back up or become damaged, realize the potential dangers of contaminated Black Water which can cause health effects and ruin products and office furnishings.
If your business has suffered commercial water damage, SERVPRO of the Quad Cities will get you back up and running again. Call us anytime 24/7 at (256)383-4470 for fast help.
Locally Owned Company with National Resources
SERVPRO of the Quad Cities is locally owned and operated, so we are part of this community too. When you have a cleaning or restoration need, we’re already nearby and ready to help. We take pride in being a part of the Florence/Muscle Shoals community and want to do our part in making it the best it can be.
Water Damage Can Cause Mold Growth
Did You Know?
Water damages can cause mold growth in your home or business; therefore, it is important to have your water damage cleaned promptly and professionally.
Signs of the presences of excessive mold include:
- Visible mold
- Strong, musty odors
- Excessive humidity in your home or office
Mold is most likely to occur in the following areas:
- Dark spaces that receive very little light
- Spaces already predisposed to high levels of humidity such as in your bathroom
If you have any of these signs of mold, then call us immediately and we can access the damage. We are here to promptly clean-up any water damage that you may have from a leaking roof to a completely flooded home. Call us today at (256) 383-4470 to prevent water from turning into mold growth.
Heating Safety Tips
Heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths. Half of home heating equipment fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February. Some simple steps from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) can prevent most heating-related fires from happening.
- Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
- Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
- Never use your oven to heat your home.
- Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
- Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
- Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
- Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
- Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
- Test smoke alarms at least once a month.
For most, the kitchen is the heart of the home, especially during the holidays. From testing family recipes to decorating cakes and cookies, everyone enjoys being part of the preparations.
So keeping fire safety top of mind in the kitchen during this joyous but hectic time is important, especially when there’s a lot of activity and people at home. As you start preparing your holiday schedule and organizing that large family feast, remember, by following a few simple safety tips you can enjoy time with your loved ones and keep yourself and your family safer from fire.
Thanksgiving by the numbers
- Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, and the day before Thanksgiving.
- In 2016, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,570 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving, the peak day for such fires.
- Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths.
- Cooking equipment was involved in almost half of all reported home fires and home fire injuries, and it is the second leading cause of home fire deaths.
- Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
- Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
- Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.
- Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
- Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
- Keep knives out of the reach of children.
- Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
- Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
- Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
- Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
Source: NFPA's Fire Analysis & Research Division
How To Prepare Your Business for Severe Weather
SERVPRO crews are working to clean up damage at the field house in Colbert Heights.
Unpredictability is sometimes the only predictable thing about the weather in North Alabama. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prepare your business for severe weather threats such as flooding from powerful storms or tornadoes.
During high winds and torrential downpours, storm damage to the exterior of your commercial property may be unavoidable. Take the following steps to minimize potential damage:
- Clear all drains and gutters from debris to allow for heavy rainfall to flow freely.
- Prune bushes and trees near the building.
- Ensure that lightning rods, if applicable, are maintained.
- Make sure the power generator is fueled or charged and is operational.
- Bring in or secure all loose objects near the building or on the roof.
- Board up glass windows.
- Place sandbags in front of ground floor doorways or secure plastic sheeting with duct tape.
Take measures to protect building contents from flood damage. When flooding is anticipated, prepare the inside of the property in the following ways:
- Move all important inventory and documents away from windows.
- When possible, move furniture and equipment to a higher floor of the building. Remove papers housed in the bottom drawer of ground level file cabinets.
- Box up loose papers and small objects and remove items from walls.
- Unplug, wrap and store electronics off of the ground. Before moving, back up computer data.
- When you leave the building, take insurance paperwork and crucial records with you. Lock the doors, close the windows and turn off power, gas and water.
When a severe weather event approaches in Florence, AL, your first priority is ensuring the safety of your employees and yourself. Then take the above steps to protect the exterior and interior of your commercial property from flooding and high winds. In the aftermath of the storm, make sure it is safe before returning to the property. If flood damage or storm damage is evident, it's smart to contact your insurance agent and a storm restoration specialist as soon as possible.
Types of Storm Damage
Here in the Florence/Muscle Shoals area, we can suffer from many types of storm damage. Some of those are wind damage, flood damage, and hail damage. Here are a few quick tips to consider should storm damage hit your home or commercial property.
Wind Damage Restoration
Storms often cause severe wind damage. Your roof is particularly susceptible. Roof damage from strong winds may lift roof shingles, cause cracks, or remove part or all of the roof. Harsh winds and rains can shear away asphalt tiles. Flying debris can also cause cracks and holes in your roof and siding. Correcting roof damage may challenge homeowners and business owners after a disaster, especially because a roof leak may not be obvious.
Why are many roof leaks and roof damage hard to detect? The storm may loosen flashing without creating a problem that’s easily visible to the eye. Loose flashing can cause another roof leak even weeks after the initial storm damage. A small roof leak can produce damp, moldy conditions inside your home or business. You best bet is to secure roof repair immediately after the wind damage. Doing so can prevent long term interior damage.
Flood Damage & Recovery
If your home or business is near water or in a low-lying area, flood water damage is a risk. Heavy rains and flooding may cause water damage many miles from the coast or from any large body of water. If the land around your home or business cannot absorb the additional water flooding may happen. Even homes and businesses at higher elevations can sustain flood damage if frozen pipes break. Flood pump failures contribute to basement flooding and contaminated ground water in some locations, too.
Flooding may also disrupt your municipal water system. Experts need to assess ground water and evaluate the condition of pipes following flood damage. Hiring a storm restoration firm, like SERVPRO of the Quad Cities may allow you to begin your cleanup process even before water restoration occurs.
By relying upon a trained water damage restoration specialist, you'll usually obtain faster storm remediation. These experts may suggest ways to help mitigate flood water damage in the future, for instance, by requesting backup flood pump installation.
Hail Damage & Recovery
Hail may be the most overlooked cause of major storm damage. Hail can damage not just your roof but also your siding, exterior walls, and any detached sheds or outbuildings. You may think you’ve survived a hail storm but do know that hail damage is difficult to identify. Again, you’re wise to hire a storm damage restoration professional to inspect your roof, exterior walls, and outbuildings for damage. Dark spots on your roof are areas where the roofing granules have been knocked away. These weakened spots can lead to other more extensive problems such as leaks and cracks. Cracked and chipped siding is also a sign of hail damage.
Impact Damage & Recovery
In a major storm practically anything can become a creator of damage to your home or business. Think about trees. Your home may survive storm damage only to have a tree on your property succumb to the wind, hail, or rain and fall onto your house. A neighbor’s outdoor lawn furniture can become wind-blown projectiles. Extreme wind pressure turns regular outdoor items into tools of destruction.