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Business Contingency and Evacuation Planning in a Fire

8/30/2022 (Permalink)

Contingency Plan Your contingency plan must be executable not only by you, but also by everyone in your company.
You never want to think of a fire breaking out at your Charleston, TN, business, but it’s better to plan for the worst and never see a moment’s danger than it is to hope for the best and face catastrophe without a plan. That’s why you need a fire contingency plan and safe evacuation strategy for your business – to protect yourself, your property, your employees, and your customers.

Steps to Create a Contingency Plan

It’s not enough to just have a contingency plan in place. Your contingency plan needs to be executable not just by you, but by everyone in your business.

• Establish a designated evacuation plan and alternate routes. Determine the fastest, safest way to leave the building. Chart the route as part of documented procedures, but also ensure that each route has an alternate route in the event that others are blocked by fire or falling debris.

• Post evacuation and safety procedures near all exits and thoroughfares. Employees and customers alike should be able to immediately find a map of the safest evacuation route no matter where they are on your premises. Ensure that easy graphical instructions are available; most don’t have time or presence of mind to stop and read written instructions during a fire.

• Designate evacuation leaders. Your business should have two or more employees per shift who are designated as evacuation leaders, preferably more for backups. Your evacuation leaders are tasked with taking control of the situation and guiding others, especially customers who may not be familiar with drills.

• Ensure all employees have a handout with contact information for emergency personnel and documented safety procedures. Provide this information immediately on hire, and periodically reiterate.

• Conduct safety training drills. At least once per month, do random safety training/fire drills to reinforce protocols in an emergency.

• Periodically test all sprinklers and fire safety equipment. Smart planning will safeguard your people. Smart protections will safeguard your inventory and property. Make sure all fire extinguishers, sprinklers, and other fire safety equipment are operational and functioning up to spec.

IICRC Restoration Industry Certification Programs

8/23/2022 (Permalink)

People in a meeting. IICRC Logo Our technicians undergo extensive water restoration training and certification through an IICRC-approved school.

The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), is a non-profit organization that serves the cleaning and restoration industry. Originally founded in 1972, the Institute now has more than 60,000 active certified technicians around the world. In addition to maintaining industry standards and offering continuing education and disaster resources, the Institute offers a variety of certification programs for both restoration firms and individual technicians.

Certifications Offered

Certification programs help ensure that restoration technicians have the necessary skills to complete their work safely and effectively. The Institute offers certification programs on a variety of topics relevant to the restoration industry:

  • Applied Microbial Remediation Technician
  • Applied Structural Drying Technician
  • Building Moisture Thermography
  • Commercial Drying Specialist
  • Fire and Smoke Damage Restoration
  • Technician
  • Health and Safety Technician
  • Trauma and Crime Scene Technician
  • Water Damage Restoration Technician

A technician who wishes to move beyond the standard mitigation certificate may be able to pursue a master track in textile cleaning, fire and smoke restoration or water restoration. The Institute also offers the continuing education courses required to maintain these certificates.

Benefits of Certification
IICRC certified technicians are trained to perform at a high level in their field, which helps to build trust with employers, insurance companies and customers. Certification can serve to demonstrate that a technician has a high level of competence and commitment to maintaining their skills according to industry standards. Certification can also benefit employers by motivating employees to learn the latest technologies, providing advancement opportunities and increasing job and customer satisfaction.

How To Become Certified
A technician can become certified by taking an approved course and passing an exam. To maintain their certificate, technicians will need to pay a renewal fee and complete continuing education courses. Technicians may be able to pursue a master certification after at least three consecutive years of being a certified technician.
IICRC certification offers many benefits for both technicians and their employers. Interested technicians can begin their path towards certification by taking an approved course at a school in East Cleveland, TN.

How Ozone Gets That Cigarette Smell Out of Your Home

8/18/2022 (Permalink)

Ozone generator A typical ozone machine is an excellent tool for removing cigarette smells.

What Are Ozone Machines?

Ozone machines are among the top tools used by professionals in Hopewell, TN, for home deodorization. They’re especially prominent when it comes to cigarette removal, as they eliminate the baked-in scent of tobacco smoke from walls, floors and ceilings more completely than any other product out there. However, there are some things you should know about these deodorizing tools:

  • They don’t just push smoke out of your home
  • The amount you must use depends on the size of the issue
  • They can be dangerous

Ozone's Power

Ozone machines don’t just create a breeze that pushes smoke out of your home. Rather, ozone gas is powerful enough to destroy particles and microbes that lead to the formation of foul odors. When you smoke, it’s the tar and other particles that built up on the walls that create the smoke odor, so using ozone to remove these unwanted substances is the best way to remove the odor altogether.

The Right Amount

As you might expect, the amount of ozone you’ll need to use in a room to thoroughly deodorize it depends on both the size of the space in question and the severity of the issue. For example, a small room with only slight smoke damage will require far less ozone gas to resolve than a sprawling room with heavy damage.

Necessary Precautions

You can certainly rent one of these machines to use on your own, but ozone gas is not without its dangers. If it’s strong enough to destroy particles in cigarette smoke, imagine the damage it can do to an unprotected set of lungs. That’s why it’s usually best to leave this part of your home deodorization process to the professionals in most cases.

A typical ozone machine is an excellent tool for removing cigarette smells and other smoke odors from a home. However, before you look for one, you should always perform research to ensure you’re doing things safely.

How To Clean Up After an Overflow

7/27/2022 (Permalink)

Hole on wooden floor, toilet removed Sewer backup in a Wildwood Lake, TN bathroom.

How To Clean Up After an Overflow

A leaking or overflowing toilet can make a big mess in a short amount of time. It can lead to sewer damage in your floor and walls, and if it's not dealt with properly, it may even compromise the structural integrity of your home. Fortunately, sewage mitigation experts in Wildwood Lake, TN, can determine what kind of remediation you need and fix the problem quickly.

Identify the Source
Assessment starts with figuring out where the leak is coming from, which informs the rest of the mitigation process. The source of the water determines its contamination level:

  • Category 1 – supply line leak
  • Category 2 – overflow containing clean water or urine only
  • Category 3 – overflow containing feces

The technicians from the sewage company should inspect the area for damage. A small leak of clean water may just require the replacement of a few tiles. More extensive sewer damage, however, makes multiple steps necessary.

Disinfect the Area
If the water from the flooded toilet is contaminated, the remediation team has to do more than just get rid of the moisture. Technicians remove material that isn't salvageable and use industrial cleaners to disinfect the remaining structure. Getting rid of bacteria and other contaminants helps prevent secondary damage from occurring. Once the space is clean, it must thoroughly dry before fixtures can be replaced.

Restore the Bathroom
Remediation of damage is only half the job. SERVPRO technicians make your bathroom look "Like it never even happened," by rebuilding the parts of the structure that were damaged. They match the new materials with the existing flooring so that no one can tell you had a flooding disaster. Once the toilet is reinstalled, the process is complete.
Sewer damage requires more than just mopping up the wet floor. To fully mitigate the damage, the whole area must be inspected and disinfected. A thorough cleanup prevents secondary damage and gets your home back to normal.

Preparing Your Business for Severe Storms

7/20/2022 (Permalink)

Hard drive connected to a computer. Keep computer files backed up on an external hard drive or cloud in case of flood damage
A hurricane, a tropical storm, or even heavy rain can critically damage your South Cleveland, TN, business if you do not prioritize disaster preparedness. Creating a plan to fortify your establishment against strong weather can mitigate the impact, especially when it comes to unexpected severe weather. Take these important steps to craft an effective storm plan.

Create a Planning Team

Even with your leadership position, you cannot prepare your business alone. Create a task force team that can handle important elements such as:

  • Employee and client safety
  • Data recovery
  • Property protection
  • Communication system

Depending on the team size and the complexity of these areas, you can either delegate these sections to one team or split them up between smaller groups that meet later. Build a team where members vary in experience, work shifts, and locations, as they may have different perspectives on how a storm impacts their day.

Take Advantage of Technology
Today's technology is particularly helpful for disaster preparedness. For instance, wireless communication makes it faster and easier to send emergency messages to team members and clients about any sudden situation via phone call, email, text, or social media. Your data is also crucial to your business, so use advancements like the cloud system to move it to an offsite facility. This move ensures that important information is safe from any physical storm damage.

Practice for the Situation
A detailed and careful plan never matters without a successful execution, and business preparedness is not an exception to this. Once you have created plans for safety, evacuation, and property protection, it is time to practice them to ensure everything runs smoothly during an unexpected event. Assign roles to employees, such as leading the evacuation of certain areas to ensure an orderly procedure. You can both schedule drills and run some surprise ones to test the organization's readiness.
Disaster preparedness allows you to protect both your employees and your building from unexpected storms. Enact these safety measures now and stay in contact with helpful organizations like the insurance company and storm damage remediation to handle the aftermath effectively.

Protect Your Home Against Flood Damage

7/14/2022 (Permalink)

Water gauge pressure, hand shut off main valve, close-up. If you are going on vacation make sure to shut off the main water line.

Clean Your Downspouts and Gutters

Make sure to clean out your gutters at least once every six months or more often if you have a lot of trees near your Bradley County home. When water collects in the gutters it can cause damage to your roof and the gutters themselves. Down-spouts that aren’t clean and checked to ensure the water is running off properly and is running away from your house can cause damage to walls and even your foundation. At SERVPRO of Bradley County, we have seen this issue from many customers. Clean those gutters and spouts!

Switch off the mains

If you are going on vacation or you are going to be away for a length of time, switch the water off at the main. This will stop any dripping or other water issues while you are away. You wouldn’t want to come home to water rushing out your front door to greet you! If you have a drip system or sprinkler system, it may make sense to ask a neighbor, house sitter or your landscaper to turn these on and off manually. There are some systems you can control from your phone to water your landscaping too!

Keep your garden in check

While we’re on the topic of landscaping, trees and shrubs can cause damage to your pipes from the roots wrapping around the pipes. Keep your garden maintained and avoid planting large plants near piping if at all possible.

Take care of those small leaks immediately

Found a little leak? It may seem like a harmless drip, but a small leak can become a big water damage problem if not dealt with as soon as possible. Even tiny drips can cause mildew and mold in your home and even lead to structural damage and dry rot over an extended period of time. If you fix the leaks as they occur, you have less likelihood of the small issue becoming a huge problem later. If you have a sudden spike in your water bill, make sure you investigate for underground water leaks as well.

Check the appliances

Most people think toilets are the cause of most home floods but don’t forget about your appliances! Monitor appliances for leaks and replace any cracked and brittle piping. Things like a dishwasher or washing machine can flood your house out quickly if the appliance is not maintained adequately.

Flood damage in our homes is something most of us experience at some point in our lives. It could be caused by something as simple as an overflowing bathtub or something more serious such as a burst pipe or sewerage pipe rupture.

Flood damages to your home can range from minor to severe and dealing with the issue can be overwhelming. While some water issues cannot be foreseen, there are a few things you can do to prevent flood damages to your home from factors you have some control over.

How To Inspect Your Sump Pump

6/27/2022 (Permalink)

A sump pump installed in a basement of a home with a water powered backup system. It is a good idea to inspect your sump pump on a quarterly basis.

Sump Pump Inspections

Your basement may be a fun place to entertain or give you a lot of extra storage. Whatever its purpose, it can’t serve it well if it gets flooded. Regular sump pump inspections are necessary to ensure that, if extra water does flood your basement, it won’t stay there long. A reliable pump can significantly lower the cost of water remediation services if your basement floods. Here are some things to check off your list during the inspection.

Get Rid of Debris

A big part of pump maintenance is just cleaning it out. There are several places dirt, rocks and other debris like to hide in your pump:

  • Discharge pipe
  • Vent hole
  • Intake screen
  • Pit

Any obstruction in these areas can cause your pump to malfunction when you need it the most.

Check Cord and Power Supply

Over time, cords can wear out, especially if they are in an area like the basement where they may be trapped under boxes or twisted around other obstacles. Check the cord to make sure it is not broken. You also want to ensure that the sump pump is hooked up to a working power supply. It is a good idea to connect it to a generator so that if it is needed during a power outage in a storm, it will still function.

Test the Pump

Every time you inspect your pump, it’s a good idea to simulate a flood scenario to see if it works. Flood the basin with a bucket of water. If your pump is working, it will activate and drain the water. If it does not do this, you need to contact a repair technician in Cleveland, TN, to fix it.

It is a good idea to inspect your sump pump on a quarterly basis. This ensures that all debris is removed, it is connected to a reliable power source and it actually does what it’s supposed to do. Then when storms come, you know your basement is protected.

After the Storm: Roof Repair Expectations

6/18/2022 (Permalink)

Tree fallen on the roof of a property. Roof damaged by storm, big hole on the roof a home The roof of a home destroyed by a storm in Charleston, TN

Roof Repair Expectations

Once the storm calms, it’s vital to check the roof of your Charleston, TN, damage. Any signs of missing shingles or leaks in the attic mean a roof repair is needed. After filing a claim with your insurer, the next step is mitigating the damage while you wait and secure the services of a trusted water damage cleanup and restoration company.

What To Expect
The first step, which is often required by insurance companies, is to complete any temporary repairs. When wind damage has torn off shingles or a branch has punctured the roof, those areas need to be tarped over to protect against any other bad weather while you wait. Once the roof repair company arrives, you can expect the following:

An assessment will be completed of the damaged areas both on the roof and inside the home.
Any wet materials or items in the attic will be removed, as well as any saturated materials on the roof.
The source of the water damage will be replaced, which may mean removing framing or other roof components.
Sheathing and underlayment will be inspected and replaced if necessary.
Damaged flashing or shingles will be replaced.

Roof Damage Prevention
While bad weather, especially hail and high winds, may not be avoidable, there are ways to prevent damage from happening.

Have the roof inspected prior to and after storm season. Look for missing or damaged shingles, mold or mildew growth and potential animal activity. Be sure to check the attic for any signs of a leak.
Keeping your gutters clean is the best way to eradicate standing water on the roof. They should be cleaned at least twice a year.
If you have trims near the home, ensure they are trimmed. A branch rubbing against the roof will slowly cause damage and creates the potential for it to fall on the home.

After a storm, it's important to ensure a roof repair is done quickly. This helps minimize secondary damage and gets your home back to being protected.

5 Important Fire Prevention Tips for Your Home

6/3/2022 (Permalink)

Man Installing Smoke Or Carbon Monoxide Detector Install smoke alarms for optimal fire safety.

Fire Prevention Tips For Your Home

A home fire can be devastating to any family, but there are many ways to prevent one from happening in your East Cleveland, TN, home. Follow these five tips to protect your home from an unexpected blaze. 

1. Install Smoke Alarms for Optimal Fire Safety
Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of a residence and outside each sleeping area. Having alarms in place is a crucial fire preparation step, but don't neglect their upkeep either. Test out smoke detectors monthly and if battery operated, be sure to replace the batteries annually.

2. Be Mindful of Flammable Items and Their Surroundings
Any items that could catch on fire should be kept a safe distance away from anything that gets hot, such as a space heater or stove. 

3. Don’t Use Open Flames in the House
One of the best fire preparation tips is to limit any sort of flame in your home. Even the small flame of a lit candle presents a risk of a house fire, so instead use a safer alternative such as a battery-powered candle. 

4. Take Caution in the Kitchen
A cooking mishap can quickly become a disastrous kitchen fire if you don't know the right precautions. Always keep closeby when grilling, broiling or frying food. If a fire breaks out in a pan whilst cooking, place a lid over the pan and turn off the stove. Do not pour water over it or move the pan until it has completely cooled. 

5. Keep Electrical Wiring in Check
Electrical malfunctions are one of the leading causes of a house fire. In many cases, homeowners need the help of a fire damage restoration company in the aftermath of an electrical fire. Prevent one from happening by not overcrowding outlets or cords, covering any exposed wiring, and replacing faulty or damaged wires. 
Practice these essential fire preparation tips to ensure the highest level of safety for your home. 

3 Effects of Mold on a Commercial Building

5/24/2022 (Permalink)

Dirty ducting When ducts are not cleaned regularly they fill with dust and mold.

Three Mold Effects on a Commercial Building

Mold is a major contributor to the decomposition of a building and, if left untreated, can cause heavy damage to a commercial property in Hopewell, TN. It does not take much for fungus to thrive and begin consuming the natural construction materials that compose the building. Favorable materials for fungus include:

  • Drywall
  • Concrete
  • Insulation
  • Wood

Your HVAC system can contribute to the spread of these harmful airborne particles if it is not routinely inspected and serviced. HVAC cleaning includes removing dirt and grime from the condenser unit and dust from air ducts. Here are three effects of mold on the natural construction materials of a building:

1. Rotting Wood
Mold functions as a cleaning agent for the wild by decomposing rotting substances. Your commercial building provides it the necessary nutrients to survive. Paired with a humid and dark environment, the wooden structure will give mold spores an opportunity to grow into colonies.

2. Mildew Odor
Mold spores will travel through your HVAC system and circulate into the rooms. They can also feed off the dust accumulated in the air ducts. When mold grows inside of the ducts, a musty smell will spread throughout the building every time the system turns on. HVAC cleaning is a preventative measure that should be added to the routine maintenance plans of your commercial building. This will decrease the number of mold spores that circulate, lessening the chances of a greater fungus problem.

3. Decomposition of Drywall
Drywall is another source of nutrition for mold. It is especially attractive for fungus because it provides a dark environment. If water from leaks or humidity dampens the drywall, it will meet all the criteria for it to grow. The problem may go unnoticed until it develops on the surface of the wall. In this case, the drywall is irreparable and must be replaced.
A mold problem can be avoided by hiring a professional HVAC cleaning service to improve the air quality of your commercial building. Frequently cleaning vents and using good air filters will also decrease the chances of microbial growth.