Campfire safety tips!
It's important to stay safe around campfires!
Having campfires and making smores are common summertime staples in the great state of Michigan! However, camp fires can quickly get out of hand if they are not monitored or properly managed. Here is a list of tips and tricks to keep in mind this summer while sitting around the campfire!
1. Be aware of your surroundings by making sure the campfire is set up away from dry grass and leaves. Dried out grass and leaves catch fire easily, and they spread fire quickly too. Also, make sure your campfire is far away from hanging free branches that could catch on fire.
2. Keep the size of the fire relatively small. Large fires are riskier, and pose a greater chance of getting out of control.
3. It’s always a good idea to keep a shovel and water close by when you’re having a campfire, so you can safely put the fire out when finished. According to smokeybear.com, to put a fire out, follow these steps: Pour lots of water on the fire, and drown ALL embers, not just the red ones. Pour water until hissing sound stops. With your shovel, scrape any remaining sticks and logs to remove any embers. Make sure that no embers are exposed and still smoldering. Continue adding water, dirt or sand and stir with a shovel until all material is cool. If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave.
4. If you are enjoying your fire at a campground or RV park, make sure to follow park rules for starting and putting out fires.
5. Never leave a campfire unattended.
6. Do not put anything other than wood into the fire.
7. Do not pull sticks out of the fire when blazing
8. Check out the weather before starting a campfire, and do not make one if the forecast shows wind. Wind can cause the fire to spread!
We hope that by sharing these tips, you will feel confident hosting a campfire for your friends and family! However, if fire damage does occur, we are here to help and are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Enjoy the smores, everybody!
Why you should have a sump pump in your home!
A helpful diagram of how a sump pump works in your home!
Dealing with water damage in your basement is no laughing matter. A home owners’ basement is an important part of their home. It can be used for a variety of reasons including an additional bedroom, a lounge area, and storage. Important items in your life can get damaged if you have a water loss down there.
One of the main things protecting your basement from water is your home's sump pump! You may not know what sump pump is and what its use in your home is. Here's some helpful information on what it is, and what it does!
What is a Sump Pump?
A sump pump is in charge of pumping water that enters your basement out of your home and into an area where it is safe to drain. The device sits in a "sump" which is a pit dug into the lowest point of your home, generally this is either the basement or a crawl space. When it rains the soil around your home becomes oversaturated. When excess groundwater funnels toward the sump pump and begins to fill with water, the pump activates and begins to remove the water from the pit.
Do I need a Sump Pump?
Many Michigan homes already have a sump pump installed. Sump pumps are recommended for homes that are in areas that receive heavy rain or snow, built on a flood-prone plot, or have had water issues in the past. A sump pump is also recommended for homes that have a finished basement. Even though they may not be high risk, it’s important to protect the livable area.
How often should I check my sump pump?
It is recommended you should check your sump pump every 3 to 4 months to ensure that it is working properly! This is very important for insurance purposes. On most standard home owner insurance policies water damage caused by sump pump failure isn't covered. You can add coverage for an additional cost, but if you aren't willing to go that route, regularly checking that your sump pump works is your best bet!
Dealing with water damage in your basement? Give us a call! (616) 647-4300
Fire extinguisher tips in the work place
A fire extinguisher in in the work place.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the most common emergency small businesses must plan for is a fire. Fire extinguishers can be invaluable tools to help fight smaller fires in the workplace. Here are some tips on how and when to properly use a fire extinguisher!
There are certain legal requirements for fire extinguishers that every business has to follow. These rules can vary from state to state and city to city, so it's important to look up your local ordinances to ensure you're operating within fire code. There are general OSHA guidelines that require a fire extinguisher within 75 feet of locations where employees work, and one in stairwells.
When using a fire extinguisher it's important to remember the simple training technique, the PASS method.
P - Pull the pin on the extinguisher
A - Aim the hose nozzle low toward the base of the fire
S - Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent
S - Sweep the nozzle from side to side at the base of the flames until extinguished.
Fire extinguishers are meant to handle only small fires. If a fire becomes too large, or the environment becomes too dangerous, employees should know when and how to evacuate the area safely; and if appropriate, sound the fire alarm or call the fire department immediately.
Dealing with fire damage in your business? Give us a call! (616) 647-4300
Dealing with a biohazard in your commercial building
Portions of an office quarantined due to a biohazard.
Owning a business means dealing with situation you may not have considered before. For instance, handling a biohazard in your building. A biohazard is a biological substance that's dangerous to people or the environment, such as blood or fecal matter. Because accidents are bound to happen, you may find yourself wondering what to do in case of a biohazard in your commercial building.
Anytime a business is dealing with a biohazard, there are procedures to follow set in place by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards. These guidelines were made to keep employees safe. According to Spaulding.co, the most common type of biohazard that happens in the work place is spilled blood. If a small amount of blood is spilled on a hard surface, it is possible to take care of the cleanup without calling a professional. However, to be compliant with OSHA standards, any employee who regularly handles the cleanup must have completed Bloodborne Pathogen Standards training. The employee must also be provided with personal protective equipment, and they must be using an approved disinfectant product. Lastly, any biohazard waste needs to be clearly marked and properly disposed of.
If you are still unsure of when to call for help, consider the dinner plate theory. If the size of the blood shed is grater than the size of a dinner place, it's best to call a professional. Also, if the blood/biohazardous chemical spills on carpet, calling a professional right away is the safest option.
When it comes to biohazards, anybody who comes into contact with the affected area is at risk for blood born pathogen exposure. If there is any doubt in your ability to take care of the biohazard yourself, call SERVPRO. Our teams are expertly trained, use state of the art equipment, and are faster to any disaster.
Dealing with a biohazard in your business? Give us a call! (616) 647-4300
Preparing for Spring storms!
An extreme example of flooding that can be caused by spring storms!
Like the old saying goes "April showers bring May Flowers", but April showers can also bring along serious disaster to home and business owners. With winter and the snow long behind us (hopefully!) and spring in full swing, thunder storms and potential floods are on their way in. Just because it's about to start raining, doesn't mean you shouldn't be prepared to prevent all the water damage you can! Here are some helpful tips to keep your house dry and your wallet stuffed all spring long!
1. Regularly check on your sump pump to ensure it can remove water at a sufficient pace during heavy rain fall.
2. Make sure you have digital copies of all your important documents in case they get wet or destroyed.
3. Inspect your basement windows by making sure they are properly sealed and caulked. This greatly reduces the chances of rainwater entering your home! If your basement windows have seen better days, consider getting them replaces. Newer windows generally have stronger and longer lasting seals.
4. If your West Michigan home or business is in an area where flood risks are high, consider purchasing sandbags! If water is approaching your home or business, sandbags can prevent water from coming in low basement windows or doorways.
5. If flood water does end up entering your home, act fast to put all valuable and electronics in a high place out of reach of the water.
If your house or business ends up with water damage from a Spring storm this year, don't delay, give us a call! (616) 647-4300!
Fire safety tips for the home
One of a home owner's worst nightmares!
A house fire can be one of the most devastating things a home owner can go through. The fires can range from a small kitchen fire to an entire inferno that consumes the whole house. While fires can cause a massive amount of money to the home owner, the most important issue during a fire is personal safety. When a fire starts you may only have a minute or two to escape safely after smoke alarms start to go off. Here are some tips to help make sure you are prepared in case of a fire in your home.
Smoke alarms are an essential piece of home safety, and are critical when it comes to fire safety. The faster you are alerted to a fire, the quicker you can respond appropriately, and the quicker you can escape a potentially life threatening situation. Its recommended by the National Fire Protection Association to keep a smoke alarm on every level of the house, and one in every bedroom. They also recommend checking the batteries once a month.
Having an escape plan is incredibly important when it comes to fire safety. As mentioned earlier when your smoke alarm goes off you may only have a couple of minutes or less to get out of your house safely. Preparing an escape plan with planned routes out of the house is of the utmost importance. An understanding of your house layout is important as well in case your original exit plan is blocked by fire or debris, that way you can make an adjustment on the fly if need be.
Dealing with a fire in your home? Give us a call! (616) 647-4300
Be careful heating your home in the winter!
A demonstration of a space heater catching fire
During the cold winter months we experience in West Michigan, people are doing just about everything they can to keep warm inside of their homes and apartments. While it's important to stay warm, making sure you are doing it safely is just as important. Many of the tactics people use to keep their house warm are also serious potential fire hazards. Here are some of the things you should keep in mind when heating your home.
Space heaters are an extremely popular method of heating areas of your home that trend colder than the rest of the house. Between 2014 and 2018 space heaters accounted for 14% of all home fires, and 19% of fire related deaths. Space heaters need 3 feet of open space around it to help prevent fires. Never place shoes or other items in front of a space heater to warm them up. As well space heaters should not be plugged into an extension cord, as this can cause them to overheat and start fires. Make sure as well to never leave a space heater on an unattended.
Fire places in homes can be a huge draw for home buyers and while they can make a living space feel comfy and warm during the winter months, they can also be a huge fire hazard. Obviously a fire place will have an open flame, so make sure to keep anything flammable at least 3 feet away at all times. If you use your fire place regularly, you should make sure to have your chimney cleaned at least once a year. Burning wood produces a thick, oily, substance called creosote that builds up in the chimney and is highly flammable.
A well maintained gas furnace is usually the safest and most effective way to heat your home. If your furnace is old or hasn't been properly maintained you could be at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. With gas furnaces you may also be at risk of natural gas leaks. Gas leaks can cause fires and explosions if ignited.
Dealing with the aftermath of a fire in your home? Give us a call! (616) 647-4300!
The danger of ice dams
This diagram shows how an ice dam is formed
With winter fully upon us in West Michigan, the chances of dealing with a devastating water loss in your home are significantly higher than the rest of the year. Michigan winters bring challenges to homeowners that aren't seen in warmer parts of the country, and this can cause severe damage to your home or business if you are not careful. One of the biggest causes of winter time water damages are ice dams on your roof.
What is an ice dam?
An ice dam is a large build up of ice on the roof of a building that prevents water from melted snow or ice from draining safely off of your roof. Its formed when heat from the home escapes through the roof of the house and melts snow into water. This water will refreeze into solid ice and block further melted water from draining. With nowhere to go, standing water will start to find its way inside the building by seeping underneath the shingles. This water can cause massive damage to the ceilings and walls in your home, and can end up being very costly to repair.
How to remove an ice dam?
When an ice dam forms on your roof it is imperative that you take action to remove it immediately before it can cause any internal damage. One way to do this is to use a blunt mallet to break up the ice in chunks and remove it entirely. This is dangerous work and should only be done by a professional with roofing experience. Another way you can remove an ice dam is by filling a tube of pantyhose with calcium chloride. If you lay this tube horizontally across the dam it will melt over time and allow standing water to flow freely off of the roof.
How to prevent an ice dam?
Prevention is the best defense against an ice dam, and can save you a lot of trouble and money. Scraping snow off the roof is a good preventative measure, preventing it from ever melting and forming ice. Proper insulation will also help in preventing ice dams. Heat escaping through the roof of a building is the main cause of ice dams. Proper insulation will also have the added benefit of lowering the cost of heating your home.
If you have water damage from an ice dam be sure to give us a call! (616) 647-4300
SERVPRO First Responders Bowl!
Air Force and Louisville are set to face off in the 2021 SERVPRO First Responders Bowl!
SERVPRO is set to host the fourth annual SERVPRO First Responder Bowl, a great college football game honoring the everyday frontline heroes in towns and cities across the nation. This year's game will be played Tuesday, December 28, 2021 at SMU's Gerald J. Ford Stadium, located on the campus of Sothern Methodist University (SMU) in University Park, Texas. Kickoff for the game is set for 2:15pm (CT) on ESPN.
Each year, SERVPRO asks their franchises nationwide to submit the name of a first responder in the local community to be considered for special recognition at the game. SERVPRO selects one first responder from this group of nominees to be honored with an award.
In previous years, through the generosity of corporate partners, the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl has been able to provide thousands of free tickets for first responders to attend the bowl game with their families.
Rick Isaacson, CEO of SERVPRO Industries, LLC says it best, "SERVPRO deals with the aftermath of the unexpected every day, but first responders deal with the unexpected when it's happening. They are the first on the scene, putting themselves in harm's way to protect people and property. The SERVPRO First Responder Bowl is our opportunity each year to say 'thank you' on a national stage to these brave men and women - and their families - who set an example of courage and sacrifice for all of us."
So please join us on December 28, 2021 to honor first responders everywhere!
What is soda blasting?
A SERVPRO Technician soda blasting in a house!
No matter the age or specific location, most homes in West Michigan, are prone to mold growth. What many homeowners don't realize, however, is that some mold cleanup strategies work better than others. If the crawlspace, attic, or other hard-to-reach area in your home has fallen victim to fungal spreading, mold soda blasting may be the answer.
What Is It?
A powerful technique indeed, mold soda blasting is a process that uses different types of media to clean mold from surfaces. While baking soda is the most common material used in combating mold damage, dry ice and sand are also used. This strategy is relatively new and can take less time and work than older methods.
How Does It Work?
Using a high-pressure compressed air spray, the mold cleaning professionals remove mold from tricky spots. Although baking soda is soft in texture, its granules have a scratchy surface that can break up mold. Afraid of inflicting damage on your home itself? Not to worry; mold soda blasting is tough on the fungal culprit but easy on mold-affected surfaces.
What Are the Steps?
The experts stress the importance of addressing a mold issue quickly. Once you’ve put the cleanup plan into motion, the pros will inspect your home to determine areas of mold growth. Be sure to inform the mold cleaners of any past flooding or other water damage so they can pick the right solutions. The crawlspace is usually a hot spot for mold issues in most homes. After the cleanup process has reached its end, the professionals may vacuum the area and wipe off surfaces.
Whether you have a mold-infested crawlspace, or you suspect the spores may have extended into other parts of the house, it is crucial to delve into cleanup beyond surface-level. Not only is mold soda blasting a heavy-duty form of cleaning; it is also an innovative strategy that aligns with busy lifestyles and tight schedules.