Hurricane Tips for the Workplace
While most individuals are aware of safety at home during a hurricane, many overlook the importance of safety in the work place during a hurricane. Here are some preventative measures a business owner or employer can make to help ensure the safety of the property and staff.
If you live in an area that you know is prone to hurricanes or tropical storms it would be a good idea to install the proper roofing, doors, and windows. Have sandbag’s readily available to prevent flooding in the building. Keep all utilities such as water heaters on higher ground to avoid water damages. If possible try to turn off utilities prior to a hurricane making landfall.
Most business’ have files that contain important information such as documents, banks, suppliers, etc. It is important to have a system in which these documents are well protected. Backing up documents on to a different hard drive off site or even protecting paper documents with waterproof containers can save a lot of trouble after the storm passes.
- Battery operated radio or television
- Non-perishable three day food supply for you and your employees
- Three day supply of water for you and your employees (One gallon of water per person, per day)
- Coolers and containers for water and washing
- Blankets, pillows, cots, and chairs
- First Aid Kit and first aid manual
- Flashlights, batteries, light-sticks
- Tool kit (basic tools, gloves, etc.)
- Camera and film for documenting damages
- Whistle/signal flare to signal for help
- Tarps, plastic bags, duct tape
- Cleaning supplies, including mops, towels and garbage cans
- Smoke alarms and fire extinguishers
- Electric generator
- Gas for vehicles, generators and other equipment
- Cash, ATM cards, credit cards proper identification
- Emergency contact information such as the nearest hospital and police
We here at SERVPRO of Garden City/Hempstead strongly encourage all employers to go over these important tips as they can help protect employees in the event of a hurricane. It only takes a small amount of effort in properly preparing for a storm to save your company large amounts of damage!
Commercial Mold Prevention
In this blog we would like to go over mold prevention in commercial buildings and why it is so important. The main reason you’ll want to prevent mold in your building is the health issues and allergic reactions that are often a result of mold growth. Even people with strong immune systems can become affected by prolonged exposure to spores. Irritated skin, nasal -congestion, itchy eyes, and difficulty breathing are just some of the symptoms you may experience if exposed to mold.
- Vigilance – By routinely inspecting your building for sins of mold you will be able to catch and treat the problem area before it is able to spread. Be sure to check damp or moist areas and take notice of any musty odors.
- Repairs – Unsealed windows, leaky roofs, and cracked foundations can all allow moisture to enter the building and make it quite easy for mold to grow. If possible, try to catch and remediate any water damage to prevent mold growth.
- Moisture – If your building is located in an area of high humidity you may want to look into having dehumidifiers on site. Damp air makes it quite easy for mold to begin to grow, so running smaller units in the basement or attic can help to keep everything dry.
- Clean - Air conditioning, ventilation, and heating systems can actually blow around mold spores. You can reduce the damage by make sure your HVAC system and ducts are routinely cleaned and maintained by a licensed professional.
- The Professionals – If you are concerned about mold growth in your commercial building, do not hesitate to have a mold remediation specialist come and properly diagnose and treat any existing mold problems. These issues should be responded to quickly to ensure that occupants of your building are not exposed to mold for a prolonged period of time.
At SERVPRO of Garden City/Hempstead we have several years of experience in commercial mold remediation. Should you find your commercial property in need of our services do not hesitate to contact us 24/7 as we would be happy to help!
Different Types of Mold
At SERVPRO of Garden City/Hempstead we specialize in mold remediation. We have encountered several types of mold throughout the years as well as various levels of severity. In an earlier blog we discussed how you may be able to identify mold in your home. Here we would like to go one step further and break down the different types of mold that you may see in your home or business.
This mold should be easy to recognize as it is usually green, fuzzy, and produces a musty odor. It’s most commonly found on wallpaper, fabric, or carpets containing moisture.
This mold is usually black and fuzzy growing in very damp areas of your home. While it is a plant mold, it can easily gain access to your home. More specifically, areas around window frames, underneath sinks, or near showers is where you will find this mold.
This mold is unique in that it has a surface appearance of a lighter yellow-green color, but a dark red or brown appearance underneath. You will find Aspergillus lingering in areas of extreme dampness or near areas containing a great deal of dust.
This mold will be easy to spot as it is generally a dark olive green color that can even turn black. While its most commonly found outdoors it can be picked up and carried indoors quite easily. Wood or textiles are where you will see Cladosporium as it is known to grow on porous surfaces.
Last but not least, we have the very easy to identify black mold. While the color can vary slightly it will almost always appear black. The odor is very distinctive and musty. It can appear wet or dry and almost powdery depending on the water source from which it grew.
If you suspect that you have mold in your home do not hesitate to call us 24/7!
Home Fire Safety
With fire damage remediation being one of our specialties, we have seen our share of tragic home fires. In this block we’d like to discuss a few ways in which you can prevent a fire from occurring in your home. Proper preparation is key in avoiding an event as devastating as a house fire.
Be sure that you have the proper amount of smoke alarms for the size of your home. In addition, you’ll want to regularly test them to be sure they are in proper working condition. Fire alarms are responsible for saving countless lives so make sure to change the batteries when they have expired.
Be sure that all people occupying your home are aware of the locations of the fire alarms. Make sure everyone knows exactly what they sound like so that in the event that they go off nobody is caught off guard or left confused.
Everybody in your home should be informed of how to safely exit each and every room. If there are multiple ways to exit a room, be sure to go over them thoroughly. In addition you’ll want to make sure all occupants of your home are aware of the safest meeting spot to locate each other once the home has been evacuated. There should also be a plan of contact in case loved one’s become separated during the ordeal.
Practice Makes Perfect!
Practice fire drills at least twice a year. Press the smoke alarm test button on your smoke alarm or yell “Fire” and have everyone exit the home as if an actual fire was discovered. While this may seem insignificant, knowing your exit strategy well is a simple way to save your life!
It’s important to teach everyone in the home, especially children, that should they catch fire they must STOP, DROP, and ROLL. This will smother any fire burning on clothing. Make sure everyone also knows how to dial 9-1-1 in case of a fire or any other home emergency.
While we hope we never have to clean up fire damage in your home, should a fire occur, contact us here at SERVPRO of Garden City/Hempstead 24/7! We take pride in arriving on the scene promptly and completing all necessary work in a timely fashion so that your home can return to normal as quickly as possible!
When Your Sewer Back's Up...
In this blog we’d like to discuss sewer backups and how to properly protect your home. A backed up sewer can cause thousands of dollars in damage. Preventative measures, proper maintenance, and knowledge of what causes sewer backups are all ways to ensure that this is never a problem you have to deal with.
Your sewer lateral (the pipeline in the street between the city sewer main and the building) is your responsibility to maintain. A cracked or eroded line, or one in which tree roots have grown though can allow groundwater to seep into the system. Contact your insurance company to inquire about available coverage options.
An aging sewer system as well as the amount of homes connected to them contributes to sewer back up’s, flooded basements, and overflows. Some pipelines combine sewer and storm into the same line which exposes the line to more volume than it can handle. Tree roots seeking moisture may find their way into the sewer line causing cracks or blockages. In this case, the cost of the clean-up would fall into the tree owner’s responsibility. Depending on the situation the city may split the cost with the property owner. Sometimes a blockage in a city sanitary main can also cause a back up to occur. If you see seepage at floor drains this could indicate a problem with the main and you should contact a plumber for further assistance.
To prevent backups from occurring, be sure to properly dispose of grease and cooking oils. Washing these substances down the drain could cause blockage as it cools. Dispose of them in a proper container. Paper towels and other paper goods should be properly disposed of as well, not washed down the drain. Maintain tree roots in your lateral by having them cut by a professional service.
If a sewage backup does occur, disease, destruction of property and valuables, and even electrical malfunctions are likely to happen if the issue is not handled correctly. We here at SERVPRO of Garden City/Hempstead are always available to assist in the proper cleanup of a sewer backup or answer any of your questions!!
Frozen Pipe Bursts
As winter fast approaches bursting water pipes are a major concern for many Long Islanders. As temperatures drop, pipes will freeze causing water molecules to expand. This causes water pressure within the pipe, which in turn leads to an eventual rupture from the buildup of pressure.
Protection and Prevention:
Below we will list some tips for preventing your pipes from freezing.
- Drain water from pools and sprinklers. Unless directed, do not use antifreeze as it is environmentally harmful
- Drain and store any hoses used outdoors. Allow water to drain out prior to storage.
- Add insulation to spaces in your home such as basements, crawl spaces, and attics to maintain a higher temperature
- Go through your home and property to make sure all hot and cold water pipes are properly insulated
- Consider the installation of “heat tape”, “heat cable”, or “pipe sleeve” to help insulate and protect exposed pipes
- If possible, consider relocating any exposed pipes to ensure proper insulation
- When the temperature drops, run some water through exposed pipes. Even a small amount can prevent freezing
- Keep your thermostat set to the same temperature day and night. The bill for a frozen pipe burst cleanup is likely much higher than a slightly higher heating bill
- ***If you are going way, leave the heat on in your home no lower than 55 degrees
- Run water through the pipe or at least open the faucet as any amount of water will help to thaw a frozen pipe
- You can apply heat to a pipe by wrapping a heating pad around the affected area. Towels also work when soaked in hot water
- Continue to apply heat until full water pressure is restored
If you find your pipes are frozen and you are unable to thaw them, we recommend you contact a licensed plumber. Should your pipes burst causing a water damage in your home or business do not hesitate to contact SERVPRO of Garden City/Hempstead at (516) 620-4579 as our experienced technician’s would be happy to help!!!
Here we would like to discuss some safety tips for the fast approaching winter season. If you’ve read our previous blog posts then you are already informed on how to stay safe in wet weather and how to safely keep warm in cold weather. Now let’s go over how to safely prepare for winter storms.
While nobody wants to enter the battlefield that is the super market right before a storm, it is of the upmost importance to make sure you have a good supply of dry and canned foods as well as water. It’s also a good idea to make sure you have an emergency medical kid nearby as well as several candles and matches. It doesn’t hurt to make sure your heating system is running properly either.
Aside from being extremely cold, going outside during a blizzard can also be extremely dangerous. Very few things can justify driving or attempting to take public transportation during a storm, assuming roads are even open. If roads are still open please also keep in mind how the weather may change while you are out. The last thing you want is to find yourself snowed in someplace other than the safety of your home.
Frostbite and Hypothermia:
If you decide to go outside make sure to dress appropriately! Keep in mind even the warmest of clothing becomes ineffective if it gets damp from absorbing sweat. Those who have poor circulation are more likely to experience frostbite. Hypothermia will begin to set in if your body temperature drops below 95 degrees. Pale skin, blue nails, shivering, confusion, and dizziness are some of the symptoms. The elderly are at a higher risk.
While many people add alcohol to their shopping lists when stocking up for a storm, drinking actually poses many health dangers. Alcohol is dehydrating which is problematic because people are generally less aware of their hydration in the cold weather. Your body cannot tell how cold it is. Signs of coldness such as shivering are delayed and can therefore result in the loss of more body heat.
Once the storm has passed and it is safe to come out of hibernation, be sure to layer up accordingly before heading out to shovel your path to civilization. Stay hydrated, and take as many breaks as needed to ensure the body stays warm enough.
The result of heavy snowfall can be a various range of damages to your home. SERVPRO of Garden City/Hempstead will be readily available to help extract or dry any water that enters your home as a result of a winter storm. Any questions, give us a call 24/7!!!
Hurricane's - What to Know!
We here at SERVPRO of Garden City/Hempstead have had the unfortunate experience of handling storm and water damage caused by hurricanes. While the damage caused by such natural disasters to material objects is often devastating, we would like to share some tips to keep yourself and your loved one’s safe.
To remain safe during a hurricane or tropical storm it is strongly encouraged that you remain indoors. Stay clear of beaches or places near bodies of water. Refrain from using candles if the power goes out as this can create a fire hazard. Instead, opt for flashlights. If possible follow the storm reports broadcasted on the TV or radio. If flooding occurs try to avoid contact as it may contain hazardous waste. Please listen to, and follow, all directions given by authorities.
The Great Outdoors:
If you find yourself outdoors when a hurricane begins, steer clear of flood water. Do not attempt to walk, swim, or even drive as it only takes a small amount of water to sweep away a vehicle. Be aware of, and avoid, areas where flooding can commonly occur. This could include underpasses, low spots, dips, and canyons as they could easily fill with water.
After the Storm:
One of the most important things is to alert your loved one’s that you are safe and sound. This can be done via accessing the Safe and Well website. If you have been ordered to evacuate do not attempt to return home until instructed by authorities. Continue to follow the storms progression as well as rainfall updates through local news or radio. Keep any animals under strict control. Always offer help to infants, elderly people, etc. if you are able.
Upon returning home you may find that some repairs or clean-up is required. It is recommended you seek out a professional service to assist you as water damage could contain hazardous materials. Be sure to take pictures and contact your insurance company if need be.
If you find yourself in the wake of a devastating hurricane rest assured that SERVPRO of Garden City/Hempstead is here for you 24/7. We can arrive on the scene promptly and help with all of your mitigation needs!
Flooding Information and Safety
Here we discuss some information regarding flooding. Flooding is as common as it is dangerous. The more you know the better! While flooding can occur anywhere, those living near bodies of water such as rivers, lakes, or oceans should take extra precautions to ensure that in the event of a flood they are well prepared.
What is a flood?
Flooding is the overflowing of water onto a space that is normally dry. Flooding can vary from only a few inches to water levels rising to the height of an entire home! Rain, snowmelt, costal storms, and waterway overflow can all be causes of flooding. While some floods occur over an extended period of time they can also occur quite rapidly in which case they are flash floods.
Basic Safety Tips:
- Turn around, don’t drown!
- Avoid traveling through flood waters
- Stay off bridges over fast moving water
- It only takes 6 inches of water to knock you down!
- 12 inches of water will sweep your car away
- Seek higher ground
- Pay attention to flood watches
- Have a plan in case of emergency
After a flood:
After a flood you may want to return home immediately but refrain as it is important for authorities to give the okay first. When returning home, always be sure to look out for debris and erosion on the road. Beware of standing water as it could be holding and electrical charge from down or underground power lines. It will also be a good idea to take photographs for insurance purposes. As always, in the event that a flood occurs rest assured that SERVPRO of Garden City/Hempstead is here to help 24/7!!!
How to Properly Use a Fireplace
Here we would like to share some information on proper usage of a fireplace in your home. When the weather gets colder nothing beats cozying up to the warm fire, however, one mistake can cause a fire or smoke throughout your home. Here are some safety tips everyone using a fireplace should know.
Always make sure your fire extinguisher, smoke detector, and carbon monoxide detector have been recently tested and are in working order. You’ll want to remove any flammable materials within 3 feet of your fireplace. Make sure you keep regular maintenance of your chimney to be sure there is no blockage in the flue.
Opening the Damper and Priming the Flue:
The damper inside the flue when opened will allow the smoke to travel up and out of the chimney. You can adjust the damper as needed by using the handle located inside of the chimney. You can check that it opened by sticking your head in the flue and looking upwards. If you feel cold air then you must prime the flue or in other words pre-heat the flue. The draft could otherwise blow smoke into the room. To warm the flue, simply light a roll of newspaper and hold it against the open damper.
Building the Fire:
Always use the proper gloves and a fire poker when preparing the fire. Start by placing pieces of wood at the bottom of the fireplace in a row and continue to pile the wood on in layers alternating directions. The stack should take up the height of the fireplace. Make sure smaller pieces are at the top and proceed to light the stack with a single match. The fire should travel downward.
A bed of ashes between 1-2 inches in the fireplace will act as insulation for the next fire. Beware that coals may take several hours or even days to cool down. To remove ash, use a metal shovel to scoop ashes into a metal container with a tight lid and keep it outside away from the house, garage, and deck.
If ever there is the unfortunate event of a fire please keep SERVPRO of Garden City/Hempstead in mind as we are available 24/7 to help you in your time of need!