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KITCHEN CAUTIONS

11/14/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage KITCHEN CAUTIONS Fire Safety

Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.  The leading cause?  Unattended cooking.

Each November, families gather to celebrate Thanksgiving by preparing a delicious feast, but if you don’t practice safe cooking habits, your holiday could become hazardous very quickly.  According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. It’s important to be alert to prevent cooking fires.

  • Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don’t use the stove or stovetop.
  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food.
  • If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the kitchen while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire—oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels, or curtains—away from the stovetop.

If you have a cooking fire, consider the following safety protocols to help keep you and your family safe.

  • Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
  • Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
  • For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
  • If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
  • Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services.

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How To: Use a Fireplace

11/3/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage How To: Use a Fireplace Fireplace Safety

Add ambience and save on heating costs by utilizing your fireplace this winter. Here's all you need to know about the proper technique and safety precautions.

By Katelin Hill

Source: https://www.bobvila.com/

During the colder months, nothing beats warming the house with a crackling fire. But while wood-burning fireplaces should give you long-lasting and evenly burning flames, one simple mistake can fill your living room with smoke—or even spark a dangerous house fire. Here’s the proper technique for how to use a fireplace, with safety precautions every homeowner should know.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS Available on Amazon
– Smoke detector
– Carbon monoxide detector
– Batteries
– Fire extinguisher
– Flashlight (optional)
– Hardwood or softwood kindling
– Newspaper (optional)
– Matches
– Fireplace gloves
– Metal fireplace poker
– Metal fireplace shovel
– Metal box for fireplace ashes

STEP 1: Stay Safe
Before bringing out the lighter, it’s vital to understand safety precautions for using a fireplace. First, always double-check that your fire extinguisher, smoke detector, and carbon monoxide detector are each in working order (check those batteries!). Remove anything flammable within three feet of the fireplace in case stray sparks escape the hearth, and use a fireplace screen as well. Make sure the flue isn’t blocked by obstructions like an animal’s nest, especially if this is your first time using the fireplace. If the system hasn’t been recently inspected, hire a chimney sweep certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America(CSIA) to do the job.

STEP 2: Gather the Kindling
Gather kindling in a variety of sizes (small, medium, and large) for the proper fire-building technique that is outlined below. To emit less smoke and soot, make sure the wood is dry, well-seasoned, and split a minimum of six months ago. You can choose either hardwood or softwood for the fire; while hardwoods like oak or maple burn longer and create more sustained heat, softwoods like cedar or pine start fires easier because they ignite quickly. Whatever you don’t use can return to the firewood rack, best stored outdoors in an elevated and covered location.

Note: Never burn trash, plastic, painted materials, or anything with chemical treatment like scraps of pressure-treated wood—these materials can release harmful chemicals into your home.

STEP 3: Open the Damper
The damper is a movable plate inside the flue. When opened, it allows the smoke and ash to travel safely up the chimney. If you start a fire with a closed damper, however, the smoke will have no escape route and circle back into the house.

Adjust the damper as needed with the handle located inside of the chimney. It will move either front to back, left to right, or in a clockwise or counterclockwise rotation. Check to make sure you opened it properly by sticking your head in the flue and looking upwards, using a flashlight if necessary. You should see up the flue without any obstructions if the damper is open; a closed damper will block your view entirely.

STEP 4: Prime the Flue
Now, gauge the temperature. If you feel a rush of cold air (which usually occurs if the chimney is built on the outside of the house), then you need to prime the flue—in order words, you need to preheat it. Otherwise, the cold draft may cause smoke to blow into the room. Light a roll of newspaper and hold it against the open damper to send warm air into the flue. The draft should reverse after a few minutes, making your fireplace ready for action.

STEP 5: Build the Fire 
While there are multiple ways to build a fire, the CSIA recommends the top-down method, which produces less smoke and requires less tending. Start by donning thick fireplace gloves and grabbing a metal poker. Position large pieces of wood in the bottom of the fireplace in one row, perpendicular to the opening of the fireplace. Next, take mid-sized pieces of wood, and stack four or five rows on top of the base layer in alternating directions. Make sure the stack takes up no more than half the height of your fireplace. Now add your smallest pieces of wood, making sure these pieces are very dry. The tiniest bits (which can take the form of wood shavings or bunched-up newspapers) should be at the very top.

Light the top of the stack with a single match. The fire should travel down, igniting the pieces underneath without prompting. Let the fire burn for as long as you’d like. Don’t close the damper until the fire is completely out and all the embers have stopped burning.

STEP 6: Clean the Ashes 
The CSIA says you can leave a bed of ashes between one to two inches in the fireplace as an insulating layer, which helps the next fire to burn. But when you need to dispose of ashes, proceed with caution. Coals may take several hours or several days to completely cool, and ash could still be burning during that time. Using a metal shovel, scoop ashes into a metal container with a tight-fitting lid. Store the container outdoors away from the house, and not in garages or on decks.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services.

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Dealing with Mold and Humidity Threats in Vacation Residences

10/31/2017 (Permalink)

A closed-up vacation house can be a breeding ground for mold in the summer months. Moisture from a nearby lake or river, or the humidity in the air, can lead to that musty odor vacationers have come to expect upon arriving at their weekend getaway.

Mold is a particularly stealthy foe. It exists nearly everywhere in an inactive state, and all it needs to grow is a food source (drywall will do nicely), and a source of moisture, such as high humidity.

To get rid of the damp odor, most homeowners will turn on the air conditioner and maybe a dehumidifier and wait for the smell to go away. While much of the odor may dissipate in a few hours, the mold is still there. And, when they leave for a week, it’s back again when they return.

That smell is more than just unpleasant; it’s an indication that mold is actively growing, triggering allergies and affecting health. Left untreated, mold will continue to grow and spread and can damage walls, ceilings, carpeting, and more. Every time the house is closed up and the a/c is turned off, the moisture creeps back in and the mold begins growing again.

MOISTURE SOLUTIONS

What can HVAC contractors do to help? First, it’s important to stress to customers that the key to preventing mold is to eliminate moisture. The first step is to address any leaks in roofing, chimneys, and foundations. Perhaps you can recommend someone who can do a thorough check and perform the repairs necessary to stop the leaks. If mold remediation is necessary, your customer should get bids from several companies that specialize in this, as it can be costly.

Reducing humidity through air conditioning is a key to controlling mold, but, of course, leaving the a/c on all summer long will run up utility bills. Fresh outside air is also critical, but vacation homeowners won’t want to leave windows open while they’re not using the property.

Some relatively new offerings in air conditioning systems can help manage mold problems. One example is a small-duct, high-velocity air handler, which has a unique cooling coil that removes 30 percent more humidity from the air than a traditional system. Eliminating moisture is critical in avoiding mold growth, so this feature is particularly important.

Another helpful technology is a continuously operating outdoor inverter unit that works so efficiently that homeowners can leave it on while they’re away without breaking the bank. It runs on various speeds — typically a very low speed — always striving for the most efficient operation by making small, incremental changes to keep a constant temperature. In a traditional system, every time the system cycles on it must ramp up to full operating power, requiring a tremendous amount of energy. You won’t have this issue with the inverter unit.

When cooling a summer home, the inverter technology is a great way for customers to keep air conditioning going when they’re gone, but at a lower cost.

Another great option is a ventilation system operated by a programmable control board. Based on the size of the home, the control board calculates how much fresh outside air to bring in at all times, opening and closing dampers as needed to maintain a healthy level of fresh air. Look for options that meet ASHRAE 62.2 standards for IAQ.

These newer technologies can go a long way toward reducing energy consumption while letting fresh air in and keeping mold problems at bay. More savings and fewer molds mean a healthier and happier vacation for everyone. 

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services.

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WHEN DISASTER STRIKES

10/31/2017 (Permalink)

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 local SERVPRO® Franchises. 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 than 17,000 acres and about 2,500 structures in November 2016. The 12 crews that were dispatched worked a total of 78 jobs, where they mitigated over $1 million in damages. 

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. These crews took on more than 1,050 jobs and over $7.5 million in damages.

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 to 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, mitigating over $3 million in damages.

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 over $4.3 million in damages while assisting the local Franchises.

2014 Polar Vortex: Record low temperatures caused by a break in the North Pole’s polar vortex resulted in an WHEN DISASTER STRIKES 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 System.

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 the 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.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services.

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Solved! What To Do About a Leaky Roof

10/6/2017 (Permalink)

Q: Help! I woke after last night’s storm to find a discoloration on the kitchen ceiling and a puddle beneath. What do I do about this new leak?

A: There’s nothing quite like an indoor puddle to put a damper on your rise-and-shine routine, is there? The first thing to do is mitigate any moisture damage. That can get complicated, since a leaky roof doesn’t always appear as a puddle on the floor (or at least not immediately). Occasionally, the only sign of a leak is that subtle discolored patch on your ceiling or wall, caused from water pooling behind it. When you’re lucky enough to spot it early on, intervene as soon as possible following these steps.

Secure the scene. If water has only dripped onto the floor, consider yourself lucky and move a bucket to catch the falling droplets. (While you’re at it, save your sanity by propping up some scrap wood inside the container to mute the annoying drip-drip-drip sound.) Otherwise, move as much out of the water’s path and cover items that are too heavy to relocate with thick plastic sheeting.

Photo: istockphoto.com

Drain the water. Using a ladder or a sturdy chair, climb up and puncture the water-damaged patch with a screwdriver. Making a hole might sound counterintuitive, but skipping this step will allow more moisture to seep in. The weight of the water might even cause your ceiling to sag or collapse—one more thing to add to your list of necessary repairs. Ultimately, patching up a small, 1/2-inch drainage hole is a lot easier and cheaper than dealing with structural damage.

Start sleuthing. So where’s the source of that pesky leak? Water travels down trusses or flashing until it finds a weak spot, so the entry point into the house isn’t necessarily directly underneath the part of the roof you’ll have to fix.  If you have attic access, head up there first during daylight hours. Turn off the lights and look up for any small opening that allows sunshine to stream through—an obvious source for your leaky roof.

Fight water with water. Can’t spot any signs of damage from the attic? Your next step is the water-test method, where someone stands outside on the roof and, using a lengthy hose, showers the roof until the drip returns—giving you a second chance to locate the source.

Phone a professional. Sometimes, finding what is in need of repair is not as easy as spotting a hole in your attic’s ceiling. From failing flashing to clogged gutters to crumbling shingles, the list of potential causes is very long. If you’ve conducted a thorough inspection and you’re still not certain what has led to your leaky roof, it’s time to call in a pro to both deduce the problem and recommend a fix. The actual repair will depend on many factors, including shingle type and pitch.

Meanwhile, lay out a tarp. When you’ve determined the source of the leak but can’t get a same-day repair, you’ll have to find temporary measures to protect your roof and home from snow, rain, and more water damage. If the roof is dry enough for you to carefully climb, try covering the affected area with heavy plastic sheeting or a tarp (at least 6 millimeters thick) and some 2×4s. Start at least 4 feet beneath the problem area and slowly roll the plastic over it, past the ridge of the roof, and 4 feet down the opposite side to cover your leaky roof completely. Place one 2×4 at the “top” of the tarp (the opposite side of roof) and one at the bottom to weight it down, folding the tarp back over each plank and fastening it to the wood with a staple gun. The bottom board should rest in an eave or flat area against the roof. Lay a third 2×4 on the top board (which is wrapped in plastic sheeting) and secure it to the wrapped board with nails to help anchor the covering. Use more 2×4s resting on the plastic’s perimeter if you’re worried about wind.

While you work outside, remember: Proceed carefully and—unless you want to compound the problem with a few more leaks—do not puncture your roof by nailing or screwing boards directly to it.

When fire or water damage strikes, you need professional help to get your property back to preloss condition.  SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County provides 24-hour emergency service and is dedicated to being faster to any size disaster.  Our highly trained technicians can respond immediately to your residential or commercial emergency.??

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services.

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10 Unexpected Places Where Mold Creeps Into Your Home

10/6/2017 (Permalink)

The Smith’s didn’t notice the mold and mildew smell in their home until they came home from vacation.

“What’s that smell?” John asked.
“Mildew. Maybe mold. Maybe I left some clothes in the washer,” Kathy said.

After an hour-long search, the couple couldn’t find a leak. So they called John’s brother David — a plumber. He came right over.

“The number one rule for checking for mold and mildew?” David said, “If it uses water, chances are it’s going to leak.”

These are 10 places many homeowners overlook when checking for mold:

Dishwasher


Unless a dishwasher stops working or needs replacing or servicing, most of us don’t think about it as a potential source for mold. There are two connections under each dishwasher that have the potential for mold and mildew to get started–the water supply and the discharge connection. The water supply needs to be lubricated with the right sealant and properly tightened  periodically. The discharge connection involves a rubber hose and clamp, and installing the hose before the dishwasher is installed ensures it is done properly. Hoses wear out over time. If you’re buying an older house, it doesn’t hurt to check the dishwasher connections — especially if there’s an odd smell when you open the door.

Icemaker Connections


Refrigerators often get moved, either for cleaning or other projects. This can weaken or break the water line connection to the ice maker, causing leaks behind the refrigerator.

“It seems like a simple job, so in the real world the plumbing contractor doesn’t install the water line, another contractor does,” Hoffman said. “The connection is a compression fitting and it must be installed properly to ensure there are no leaks.”

Washing Machine Connections

When installing a washing machine, always install a brand new washing machine hose, using the rubber washers the manufacturer recommends. Also, use Teflon tape and make sure to tighten the connection with vice grips so there are no drips or leaks. After all, it doesn’t take many drips to create an environment for mold.

Hot Water Heater


“Many states have laws regarding the installation of hot water heaters, and most of them involve overflow pans that are piped to drain outside the house. The pan must be tilted ¼ inch to ensure the water does drain. Newer heaters with quick connect connectors should be properly lubricated and tightened so the shut-off valve doesn’t leak,” Hoffman said.

Plastic P-Traps

Under every sink in your home is a “P-Trap,” almost always made of PVC pipe, which expands, and contracts. This process eventually loosens the connection and allows water to leak onto the base of the cabinet. If you look under sinks in every room you’ll easily spot the stains and discoloration commonly caused by leaking P-Traps. Use Teflon tape to seal every P-Trap and check them periodically, tightening them by hand to ensure their connections don’t loosen and leak. Over tightening PVC can cause it to crack, so be careful.

Toilet Connections

“I’m amazed at how many steps the DIY home improvement shows leave out when they explain about how to install a toilet,” Hoffman said. “The base of the toilet is where most mold grows. Toilets should be installed with a horned wax ring, and then the base of the toilet grouted in with tile grout,” he said. “The grout serves as a filler between the bowl and the floor to keep the bowl from rocking. Rocking bowls are the number one reason for the wax ring being compromised, which then allows mold to get a foothold.”

Shower Doors

Shower doors should probably be installed by plumbing contractors, Hoffman said. “They know how to keep them from leaking.” Mold growing at the base of the tub may be from leaking or improperly installed shower doors. Shower doors need caulking on all three rails — the two side rails as well as the bottom rail.

Tub

A properly caulked tub isn’t just nicer looking. It keeps water and moisture from dripping down under the tub and causing mold issues. Slab floors can create more problems — especially if installed by a DIY’er. The hole(s) in concrete slabs under tubs should be filled with a liquid tar, or expandable foam insulation to ensure moisture does not wick up from the ground through the slab.

Exterior Hose Bib

If you have a home, you have an exterior hose bib — a place where the water connection sticks out from the house. If you’ve used a hose, you know a poor connection or missing rubber washer, or loose hose can result in water spraying the house. This uncontrolled spray allows water to enter the space between the sidings, or into the wall, leading to mold growth. Make sure all holes, gaps and areas around every outdoor water connection are properly caulked and sealed.

Outdoor Water Sprinklers

Siding is engineered to shed rain falling down, not sprinklers shooting water up. Make sure your sprinklers are well away from the house when turned on. If you have children or teens that are watering the yard or garden, make sure they know not to spray the house with the hose. If power washing your home, hire a professional, or take care that water is not forced up under the siding as you wash.

As a homeowner, if you take the appropriate precautions and are vigilant about upkeep, you should be able to avoid mold, or catch it at it’s outset. While mold can be a huge problem in homes, even causing health issues, it is easily preventable.

When fire or water damage strikes, you need professional help to get your property back to preloss condition.  SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County provides 24-hour emergency service and is dedicated to being faster to any size disaster.  Our highly trained technicians can respond immediately to your residential or commercial emergency.??

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services.

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter, Google+, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Proper Air Duct Cleaning in Businesses

10/6/2017 (Permalink)

What You Need to Know About Air Duct Cleaning

Air duct cleaning is a misnomer. In actuality, the entire HVAC system should be cleaned. Failure to clean all components of the system can result in recontamination of the entire system, thus minimizing the benefits of cleaning.

Just as you wouldn’t clean only half of your living room floor, you also would not want to clean only part of your HVAC system. NADCA recommends cleaning the entire HVAC system, including the following components:

  • air ducts
  • coils
  • drain pan
  • registers
  • grills
  • air plenum
  • blower motor and assembly
  • heat exchanger
  • air filter
  • air cleaner

There are two key components to HVAC cleaning: breaking contaminants loose, and collection of contaminants.

Breaking Contaminants Loose

Properly cleaning HVAC systems requires removing the sources of contamination. Source removal begins with the use of one or more agitation devices designed to loosen contaminants from the surfaces within the heating and air conditioning system. Examples of agitation devices include: brushes, air whips and compressed air nozzles or “skipper balls.” Agitation can also be achieved through hand-brushing or contact vacuuming.

Collection of Contaminants

During cleaning, the entire HVAC system is placed under continuous negative pressure (a vacuum) to prevent the spread of contaminants. Continuous negative pressure allows very fine particles to be removed from the system as they become airborne, ensuring that these particles are not released into the living space when the system is turned on after cleaning. This negative pressure also serves to extract the loosened contaminants, which are collected and removed from your home.

System Access

HVAC system cleaning is not a complex process, but each job is unique. Where possible, access to duct interiors should be made through existing openings such as supply diffusers, return grills, duct end caps and existing service openings. Cleaning technicians may need to cut access holes in the duct work in order to reach inside with various cleaning tools. Creation of these service openings, and their subsequent closure, requires craftsmanship and professional skills.

Equipment Requirements

There is a wide variety of equipment available to HVAC cleaning professionals. Both truck-mounted and portable vacuums can be used to stop the spread of contaminants and get the system cleaned to the NADCA Standard.

Antimicrobial Chemicals

Antimicrobial chemicals include sanitizers, disinfectants and deodorizers that can be applied to nonporous surfaces in HVAC systems to address microbial contamination and help control odors. Only chemicals registered with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can be used. These products should only be considered after mechanical surface cleaning has been performed and if the need for such treatment has been deemed necessary. Review the NADCA White Paper on Chemical Applications in HVAC Systems for more information. 

When fire or water damage strikes, you need professional help to get your property back to preloss condition.  SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County provides 24-hour emergency service and is dedicated to being faster to any size disaster.  Our highly trained technicians can respond immediately to your residential or commercial emergency.??

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services.

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter, Google+, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Workplace Fire Prevention

10/6/2017 (Permalink)

A fire can happen anywhere and anytime. Here are some tips on things we can do to help prevent a fire in the common workplace.

  1. Accessibility
    Always ensure accessibility to electrical control panels. Material or equipment stored in front of the panels would hinder the shutdown of power in an emergency. Also, never block sprinklers, firefighting equipment or emergency exits and observe clearances when stacking materials.

  2. Good Housekeeping
    Clutter not only provides fuel for fires, but also prevents access to exits and emergency equipment. Keep your workplace as clutter-free as possible.

  3. Proper Waste Disposal
    Discard fire hazards like oily rags by placing them in a covered metal container and emptying it on a regular basis.

  4. Maintenance
    Make sure the machines in your workplace are properly maintained to prevent overheating and friction sparks.

  5. Report Electrical Hazards
    Unless you are qualified and authorized, you should never attempt electrical repairs. Faulty wiring and malfunctioning electrical equipment are key contributors to workplace fires.

  6. Safe Chemical Use & Storage
    Always read the label and the Material Safety Data Sheet to assess flammability and other fire hazards of a substance. When using and storing chemical materials, always do so in an area with adequate ventilation.

  7. Precautions In Explosive Atmospheres
    Follow all recommended and required precautions to prevent ignition in potentially explosive atmospheres, such as those containing flammable liquid vapors or fine particles. These precautions include non-sparking tools and proper static electricity control.

  8. Maximum Building Security
    To help prevent arson fires, always lock up as instructed, report suspicious persons or behavior and never leave combustible garbage outside near your building..

  9. Smoke Areas
    Always ensure that there is a smoke area available and that all workers who smoke on the job are using it. Proper extinguishing of smoking materials should always be enforced.

  10. Fully Charged Fire Extinguishers
    Check fire extinguishers often by looking at the gauges and making sure they're fully charged and ready for use. If they're not fully charged or if the attached tag indicates that the last inspection occurred more than a month ago, call for maintenance. Also, encourage all workers to learn how to use a fire extinguisher.

  11. Emergency Numbers
    Emergency phone numbers, as well as your company address, should be posted by the phone station for quick access.

11.5 OSHA Guidelines
Adherence to OSHA's fire safety guidelines is crucial for fire prevention. Read through these regulations and make sure your workplace is in compliance.

Making sure your workers return home safely is our mission and passion. Take these 11.5 tips to your workplace and practice true fire safety, which begins before the fire even ignites.

When fire or water damage strikes, you need professional help to get your property back to preloss condition.  SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County provides 24-hour emergency service and is dedicated to being faster to any size disaster.  Our highly trained technicians can respond immediately to your residential or commercial emergency.??

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services.

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter, Google+, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Flood Insurance 101: What Homeowners Need To Know

10/5/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Flood Insurance 101: What Homeowners Need To Know Flooding

Flood Insurance 101: What Homeowners Need To Know

Source: Homes.Com

Author: Becky Blanton

The fact is – any property can flood. Your home doesn’t have to be under five feet of water from hurricane flood surges to suffer flood damage. Normal amounts of rainwater can drain under your home, and flood your basement or the lowest floor level, causing flood damage. This kind of flooding can cause mold, increase the risk of termites and cause electrical problems.

More than 75% of homeowners devastated by flooding unfortunately discover they should have had flood insurance. The sad thing, experts say, is that flood insurance is not that expensive – typically $450 to $600 a year for the average home. When you weigh the cost of flood insurance against replacing your entire home $100,000 to $500,000, it only makes sense to buy it, whether you believe you’ll need it or not.

“People may say things like, ‘I live on a hill, I don’t need flood insurance’,” Diana Herrera, a FEMA flood insurance specialist said. “If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that, and those homes were flooded…”

Other common reasons people give for not buying flood insurance include:

  • “I’m not in a flood zone.”
  • “I’m not anywhere near water.”
  • “I’ll never need it, it’s money wasted.”
  • “My homeowner’s insurance will cover it.”
  • “It’s not available.”
  • “My realtor told me the property would never flood.”

Unfortunately, water tables may fill up. There may be a landslide or a dam miles away can burst or overflow due to rain. Drainage systems in your neighborhood may become blocked. Low spots in your yard, or a neighbor’s, can collect water rather than distribute it away from your home. Poor drainage is a number one reason for flooding for homes on a hill.

Your Insurance Agent’s Responsibility

By law, it’s your realtor’s responsibility to make sure you, the home buyer, are aware of any and all risks to the property you are buying – that includes telling you that you are, or are not in a flood zone, and if your property is in a high-risk area for earthquakes, tornadoes, landslides, hurricanes or other natural disasters. They’re not telling you that bad things will happen, but that they could. If your realtor doesn’t disclose this information, ask them. It is their responsibility to identify what risks you may be exposed to. If you choose not to purchase insurance after being informed of the risks, your realtor or insurance agent may ask you to sign a disclaimer to protect them and their agency in case you do suffer damages from a natural disaster.

Property Checklist

“When you’re buying a home, any home, anywhere, you should check certain basic things before buying,” Herrera said.

  1. Check first with your realtor,” she said. “States have disclosure laws. If the property has ever flooded for any reason, it must be disclosed.” This not only lets the homebuyer know flooding is possible, but that it has happened before. Check to see if the property is in a low, medium or high risk and what those terms mean.
  2. Talk to your community’s floodplain manager. These officials are typically found in the zoning, planning, permitting or mapping offices of your city or county.
  3. Talk to your insurance agent. They should know what is happening in your community regarding flood insurance. They should also be able to explain the National Flood Insurance Program, what the rules and requirements are, and what documents they need (elevation certificate, etc.) to write a flood insurance policy.
  4. Whether you’re building a new home or buying one, get a copy of your site elevation plans. If your lowest floor is higher than the average requirement for flood insurance, you can save money on your insurance. For insurance rating purposes, a building’s flood proofed design elevation must be at least one foot above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) to receive full rating credit for the flood proofing. If the building is flood proofed only to the BFE, the flood insurance rates will be considerably higher. “For every foot higher your floor is above the BFE, you can save as much as 50% on your insurance premium,” Herrera said.
  5. Get a flood proofing certificate. This certification is issued by a registered professional engineer, or architect. It certifies that “the construction of a structure is in accordance with accepted practices for meeting the flood proofing requirements in the community’s floodplain management ordinance.” This documentation is needed for both floodplain management requirements and insurance rating purposes.

Additional Resources

If you own or are buying a home, check out the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). NFIP is not just an insurance program. According to the NFIP, “the program is a comprehensive flood risk management program that maps floodplains, issues hazard mitigation grants, and helps community’s implement safe local floodplain ordinances. The NFIP communicates flood risk and promotes community practices to mitigate that flood risk. Strong awareness tools combined with smart and safe floodplain management practices can help guide communities towards less risky development, and result in floodplains that have more room for rivers to safely flood.”

When fire or water damage strikes, you need professional help to get your property back to preloss condition.  SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County provides 24-hour emergency service and is dedicated to being faster to any size disaster.  Our highly trained technicians can respond immediately to your residential or commercial emergency.??

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services. 

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter, Google+, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

What To Do After a Fire

9/28/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage What To Do After a Fire Fire Damage

Now that the fire is out, there are a few things you need to know. Here is a check list to follow:

Step 1 - Securing the site

  • Protect the fire site from any further damage by weather, theft or vandalism. Do not leave the site unsecured.
  • If you are the owner it is your responsibility to see that openings are covered against rain and entry. Make sure outside doors to the property can be locked and secured. The Fire Department will help secure the premises until responsibility can be handed over to the tenant or insurance company.
  • If you are the tenant, contact your real estate agent or landlord and inform them of the fire. If you cannot contact them and you need professional assistance in boarding the premises, a general contractor for or fire damage restoration firm can help. Check your telephone directory.
  • If you plan to leave the site, try to remove any valuable remaining in the building.
  • Contact your own insurance agent to report the loss.

Step 2- Cautions

  • Household wiring which may have been water damaged should be checked by a licensed electrician before power is turned back on.
  • Check for structural damage caused by the fire. Roofs and floors may be weakened. The local Municipality's Building Inspector may be able to help.
  • Food, drink and medicines exposed to heat, smoke or soot may be discarded in the appropriate manner.
  • Refrigerators and freezers left unopened will hold their temperature for a short time. However do not attempt to refreeze thawed items.
  • The Fire Department will call for the services of the local gas, fuel and electricity suppliers to disconnect services before they leave the site.
  • If a utility (gas, electricity or water) is disconnected, it is your responsibility to have the services checked and reconnected by a licensed trade person. Do not attempt to reconnect the service yourself.
  • Start collecting receipts for any money you spend. These are important because you can use them to show the insurance company what money you have spent relating to your fire loss and also verifying losses claimed.

Step 3 - Insurance Claims

  • Make personal contact with the insurance claims manager.
  • Advise the claims manager of loss or damage and give him, or her, a forwarding address and telephone number if the circumstances have forced you to leave the damaged fire building.
  • The sooner the insurance company is alerted, the quicker the insurance claim can be processed, as the company has to alert the insurance adjuster to carry out the inspection.
  • Try to form an inventory, as soon as possible, of household items either inside or outside the buildings which have been damaged by fire. The inventory of damaged items will further speed the claim when the loss assessor makes contact. Do not throw away any damaged goods until after the inventory is made by the insurance adjuster.

Step 4 - Leaving your home

  • If you have to leave your home because the fire has left it unsafe, contact the local police. They may be able to keep an eye on the property in your absence.
  • Check with your insurance company to find out whether you are entitled to stay in hotel as part of a temporary housing clause in your policy, or how soon you might get an advance on your eventual insurance claim settlement.
  • Provided it is safe to do so, try to locate the following to take with you:
    • Identification
    • Vital medicines, such as blood pressure regulating drugs or insulin.
    • Eyeglasses, hearing aids, prosthetic devices or personal aids.
    • Valuables such as credit cards, check-books, insurance policies, savings account books, money and jewelry.

Notify these people of your new address

  • Your employer.
  • Family and friends.
  • Your children's schools.
  • Your Post Office. Have them either hold or forward your mail, depending on the length of time you expect to be relocated.
  • Delivery services like newspapers.
  • Telephone company and the suppliers of gas, electricity and water.

When fire or water damage strikes, you need professional help to get your property back to preloss condition.  SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County provides 24-hour emergency service and is dedicated to being faster to any size disaster.  Our highly trained technicians can respond immediately to your residential or commercial emergency.??

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services. 

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter, Google+, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.