National Preparedness Month - Storm Prep
September is National Preparedness Month. When it comes to preparedness we could write an endless number of blogs. Our service area is effected by natural disasters such as severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding each year. We also see a high number of isolated disasters where flood or fire effects just one home or business. Past blogs and blogs we will publish in the future will discuss many different disasters that effort our area. Today we want to touch on general preparedness that can help when any sort of disaster strikes.
Ready.gov has a whole outline of things people can do each week to be better prepared. Week one’s theme is “Make a plan for yourself, family, and friends”. There are suggestions to be found everywhere. We will even cover a few as well. But all the suggestions in the world cannot form a personalized plan for you and your family. The best person to make a plan for you, is YOU! Take action during this month. Put pen to paper a form a real plan for your family. If you are a business owner reading this, make sure your plans for the work place are clear, concise, and readily available.
During a disaster, you will always need to seek shelter, but depending on the disaster that shelter will differ. If your home or business is threatened by fire your shelter will obviously be outside of the structure. Do you have a plan to exit the structure orderly? Do you have a plan of exit for each bedroom of your home? How about a backup plan if the first route is blocked or cutoff? Once safely out and away from the structure is there an established rendezvous point? Do you have functional smoke alarms that will alert your family when something is wrong?
During other disasters such as a tornado you need to shelter in place. Have you established the safest place in your home or business to seek shelter in this event? If a storm strikes and you are separated from your family do we have a plan to locate the rest of the family and a designated meeting spot? Once sheltered, how long can you survive there if trapped? Do you have a preparedness kit that includes food, water, and needed medications for your family and pets for at least three days?
Drawing a map of your evacuation or shelter plan and having a family discussion is great first step. Now practice the plan! See if the plan is feasible, time the plan in action. See where you can improve and make needed adjustments.
The last suggestion is to stay informed. Be aware of your surroundings. Use technology to your advantage by signing up of weather alerts.
All of this may be a little overwhelming. We have asked a lot of serious question that demand serious consideration. Take it one question at a time! Use the many resources out there to help you from ready.gov and fema.gov. Our social media accounts, which you will find a link to at the bottom of this article will provide many great suggestions as well as links to practical exercises and documents useful to putting a plan together over the next few weeks. Don’t delay. Start implementing a plan of action today, it could mean your life, or the life of your family.
Char Your Dinner, Not Your Home!
Summer time for many of us means spending time with family and friends outdoors. SERVPRO of Carthage – Joplin wants to make sure these activities are conducted in a safe way. Each year we respond to property damage claims caused by grills or outdoor fires. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission over 8,700 of Americans are injured annually by mishaps with outdoor grills. Each year grills are linked as the cause to over 8,900 structure fires with property damage totaling millions of dollars. Here are a few tips from the National Fire Protection Association that can help you enjoy outdoor fire in a safe way.
BBQ purest will tell you charcoal is the only way to go and these type of grills and smokers are common because of that. Never use any product other than starter fluid designed specifically for charcoal grills. Once the charcoal has been lit, the starter fluid needs to be put away; never add fluid to coals after they are lit.
Gas or propane grills offer their own safety issues. Always check hose connections to insure there are no leaks. It is probably a good idea to use soapy water to periodically check the hose for leaks. No matter which style of grill you are using always make sure the grill is a safe distance from any structure. Weber Grills recommends a minimum of two feet between your grill and any combustible materials on their website. Always be aware of hot coals or ambers that may escape the cooking area or fire box.
When enjoying a fire pit or any other outdoor fire follow the same guidelines when lighting the fire as you would when using a charcoal grill. Remember to keep in mind wind speeds and direction before enjoying an outdoor fire.
We hope these tips help you enjoy a fun and safe summer of grilling and evenings around the fire. Mishaps do happen even when precautions are taken. If you experience damage to your home because of fire of any kind please call us immediately. SERVPRO has the training and experience to make it "Like it never even happened.”
Did Spring Showers Leave You With Unwanted Growth?
Spring storms may bring unwanted moisture into your home or business. Storms may damage roofs which may leak, or basements are unable to keep water out during high rainfall events. No matter the reason how, moisture not properly mitigated cause problems and many times that problem in mold. Now we are into the summer season and the phone has begun ring with people realizing they have mold issues that probably started back in the spring.
Mold can cause a variety of health issues and can significantly damage your property. It is a serious situation which demands serious consideration. Mold damage scenarios very from one occasion to another but some basic processes remain in place for every job.
Step one is a call to SERVPRO of Carthage-Joplin. We are the local experts in mold remediation and have over 30 years of experience. We have the training and equipment needed to thoroughly and safely restore your home or business.
After a professional inspection we look to set containment. Containment allows us to isolate the area contaminated and prevent contamination to other parts of the structure. We will also bring in filtration equipment that captures airborne mold spores. Air scrubbers and HEPA vacuums are also used to capture spores from the air and surfaces.
Antifungal and antimicrobials are used to kill mold colonies and prevent new growth. Porous materials like sheetrock or carpet may need removed and properly disposed of depending on the level of contamination. If materials needed to be removed then the final step is to replace these materials.
While the steps are fairly straight forward remember every situation is different. SERVPRO professionals have training and technology to locate hidden mold and moisture to completely eliminate the problem. Mold spores can be harmful so protection of those exposed to it is a priority. Don’t make the mistake by trying to handle this task on your own. This is a job most defiantly needs to be left to the pros.
Upcoming Continuing Education Classes
We just wanted to give an update to local insurance agents on the remainder of the continuing education schedule for the year. We have had great turn outs to the classes we have had already this year in Joplin Missouri and Pittsburg Kansas. If you have already spent the day with us in class we thank you for letting us help with your professional education.
If you are in need of continuing education credits, this is great way to get them. Our classes are 100% free of charge and we even provide lunch. All classes start at 8:30am and end at 3:00pm, lunch is served at 12:30pm.
Here is the list of remaining classes this year:
June 15, 2017
Community Meeting Room
200 E Broadway St
Monett, MO 65708
July 13, 2017
302 E Wall St
Fort Scott, KS 66701
August 17, 2017
Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce
320 E 4th St
Joplin, MO 64801
October 26, 2017
Holiday Inn Express
311 S Johnson Dr
Nevada, MO 64772
November 9, 2017
Sleep Inn and Suites
202 W 11th St
Coffeyville, KS 67337
Call our office or email for more information or to reserve your seat.
Water you don't see can cost you money.
Water is the single most amazing substance on the planet. Over 70% of the planet’s surface is covered by water. Our bodies are made up of over 60% water. Life as we know it is not sustainable without water. If you’re in the water damage restoration business what may amaze you the most is water’s incredible ability to travel. Water has an uncanny ability to travel around, over, and through about anything. For this fact, we at SERVPRO of Carthage-Joplin often talk about the water you don’t see. Hidden moisture can cause serious damage to your home or business and even your health. That is why even perceived “small” water damages should be handled by professionals.
To protect your investment you really need to view every water intrusion as a real threat. SERVPRO has the experience, training, and the tools to properly scope water damaged property. Today we want to focus on the basic tools we use track the moisture.
- Moisture Sensors are used to detect moisture. They can detect moisture in drywall, carpets, moldings, and other building materials. This tool is used to map out the full extent of the affected areas. What may appear dry or be dry to the touch may be affected and this tool helps us find all the moisture.
- Moisture Meters are used to actually measure the amount of moisture in the materials. This is a vital part in determining a drying strategy. Moisture meters are used throughout the drying process as areas are monitored daily to document the progress in drying.
- Thermohygrometers measure temperature and relative humidity. SERVPRO techs use this information to create an environment in which materials can dry. As with the meters, this tool is used throughout the project to measure and document the progress of drying.
With a full and complete understanding of the severity of a water intrusion SERVPRO can eliminate the possibility of secondary damage resulting from a flood. A call to SERVPRO brings immediate action with our full arsenal of tools to prevent the further spread of water and the possibility of further damage such as rot and mold.
Dealing with Summer Heat.
Dealing with Extreme Heat
The heat of the mid-west summer is just around the corner. Temperatures have already reached the 80’s and we know extreme heat is on its way. Extreme heat affects us all, but especially the elderly as well a small children. If possible those people would want to stay out of the sunlight, and in a perfect world indoors where it is air conditioning. But let’s be real… That is not real life!
In the area we live we have little choice but to work and play in extreme heat. But there are some precautions we can make to stay safer and healthier. You always want to wear loose-fitting and light colored clothing if possible. To protect from burns generously use sun screen. Watch for signs of heat exhaustion. Signs of heat exhaustion according to the Center for Disease Control include heavy sweating, clammy skin, weakness, nausea or vomiting, and even fainting. These symptoms should be taken seriously as heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, which can be life threatening. If you suspect someone is suffering a heat stroke call 911 immediately, get them somewhere cool and try to reduce their temperature with wet towels or a cool bath.
Our part of the county is also known for humidity. Humidity can make the temperature feel up to 15 degrees hotter. This measured in the heat index. Always be aware of the heat index when you are working or playing outdoors this summer.
Please don’t forget about the four-legged family members this summer either. Make sure they have plenty of water. Refresh the water daily as water will get very warm in the elements. Consider bring them indoors if possible on extremely hot days. Never leave an animal in a vehicle for any length of time.
Emergency READY Plan...Save money by preparing now!
No one ever plans ON a disaster, but you can plan FOR one. Nationwide, 50% of businesses never re-open following a disaster. The key to re-opening and surviving a disaster as a business is having a solid plan and mitigating damage. SERVPRO’s Emergency READY Plan can assist in that?
Customers from Carthage and Joplin, even Parsons and Pittsburg Kansas as well as Neosho, Monett, and Aurora Missouri have all found real value in the ERP program. Our ERP is a comprehensive collection of data aimed at minimizing the time your business is down. Let me ask you; if a pipe bursts, how much damage can be avoided if the main water valve is closed shortly after discovering the leak? Do your employees know where that shut-off is? Would a document either in hard copy in the office or a digital copy accessible from a mobile devises with that information be valuable in that situation? That is just an example of how our ERP can help you as a business owner.
We determine the main decision makers in your company to locate to make critical decisions fast. We identify priority areas unique to your company or building that require immediate attention, security, or safety needs. All of this is designed to minimize interruption of business if all possible, and that is money in your pocket.
This is a free service to any business owner, but it is certainly not limited to just them. Schools, churches, apartment complexes, hotels, assisted care facilities, and many more have taken advantage of this invaluable service.
There is much we can do to help you prepare for a disaster but the real value comes if you do suffer a disaster. Your local SERVPRO of Carthage-Joplin franchise takes this information and combines it with over three decades of experience to put you back in business “Like it never even happened.”
Are You Ready For Sever Weather?
Severe weather has already touched parts of our service area this spring. SERVPRO of Carthage-Joplin wants you to be safe so we wanted to share some severe weather preparedness tips.
Weather Radios: Weather radios are the most reliable way to receive notifications of severe weather. Many of us rely on television or radio updates in the event of severe weather. More and more people depend on their cellular phones these days and get updates as well from weather apps, personalities on social media, or wireless emergency alerts (WEA’s). All those are great but have their limitation during sever weather. TV and radio broadcasts can be interrupted. Mobile devises rely on towers and those towers can be damaged and cease to function during sever weather. A weather radio, WITH CHARGED BATTERIES is the most reliable way to be informed of severe weather. Be sure to properly program your weather radio so you only receive the alerts you want for the counties you want.
Emergency Supply Kit: Having an emergency kit can be a life saver. Most emergency management agencies recommend supplies for up to three days. The following is a list you can use as a guideline:
- Water – 1 gallon per person per day
- Food – non-perishable
- Manual can opener
- Battery operated radio, preferably a weather radio
- Extra batteries for radio and flashlight
- Frist Aid kit
- Whistle to signal help
- Clothing, blankets
- Dust mask or bandanas
- Plastic sheeting, garbage bags, and duct tape
- Wrench or other tools to shit off utilities
- Hygiene items
- Important documents. (Copy of insurance policy, bank account info, identification, etc.)
- Fire extinguisher
- Matches in waterproof case
Make family plan: Make sure all in the home knows where to go in the event of severe weather. If for some reason the family is separated in the event of a severe storm, have a meeting place established as to aid in finding each other amidst devastation.
Next week will discuss being prepared as a business with our Emergency Preparedness Program.
What is In Flood Water?
Not all water damages are the same. Many of our friends in Jasper and Newton counties have found that out after recent flooding. The cleanup caused by recent flooding in much different than say a burst pipe you may have experienced in the past. In this blog we will look at the different water types.
What we call “clean” water when referring to water damage is water from a broken supply line for example. Clean water is pretty self-explanatory; it comes from a clean source. Rain water CAN be considered clean water if it is an isolated incident not related to wide spread flooding.
The second type of water is “grey” water. Grey water is slightly contaminated water. A good example of grey water is drain from a dishwasher. Keep in mind that water types can change. Clean water left too long without cleanup becomes grey water as bacteria and other contaminates can begin to grow.
The final classification is “black” water. Black water is highly contaminated as it is the result of encountering sewage, chemicals, or harmful bacteria. The tragic flooding we experienced this spring would be considered black water. Yes, we said earlier rain water was considered clean but as this water flowed out of control through farms and cities it picks up contaminates. Flooding to this extent has mixed with local sewage systems, as well as been in contact with an endless list of chemicals and contaminates.
SERVPRO of Carthage- Joplin always recommends you leave water damage cleanup to the professionals but we cannot stress enough how harmful black water can be. The type of water determines our protocol for proper cleanup. When handled improperly, it is easy to contaminate other areas of your home or business and instead of mitigating damage you may accidentally increase it. Black water should always be left to the pros.
Do I Need to Have My Air Ducts Cleaned?
A professional air duct inspection will determine if your system needs cleaned.
Spring is the season we are asked the most about air duct cleaning. Getting our home or business at optimal cleanliness is on our minds but many are motivated to ask because of allergens. Others see high energy bills looming in the coming summer months and are looking for ways to reduce those cooling bills. All are good reasons to explore having your air ducts professionally cleaned by SERVPRO of Carthage-Joplin.
Let’s take a look first at the health benefits. Our everyday activities create contaminates in the home. Dust, dander, mold, and other pollutants fill our indoor air. Outdoor pollutants such as pollen are easily introduced into our indoor environment with open windows on a cool evening or just the normal opening of doors in daily activity. These contaminates are pulled into our HVAC system and recirculated through our home many times over on a daily basis. As the pollutants are continually pulled into the system much of it can start to collect inside the system. The EPA estimates indoor air is 3 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor.
Removing these pollutants from your home makes since and can help relieve symptoms related to some allergen contributed respiratory issues. While maintaining a clean home is crucial to good health, there is no scientific studies that guarantee’s better health after air duct cleaning. Let’s be real for a minute though; if pollutants and allergens bother you or your family, and are visibly present in your home, chances are you will get relief from their effects if they are removed!
Now let’s talk cold hard cash. The US Department of Energy reports 20 to 40 percent of energy used to heat and cool homes in this country is wasted. There are a lot of reasons your HVAC is not running at optimum efficiency but one reason could be because dirt and other contaminates force the unit to work harder to do its job. A clean HVAC unit is an efficient unit which could save you money. That makes most people happy.
We have established why duct cleaning is a good idea but how often does it need done? That varies based on your circumstances. A farm house on a dirt road who burns wood in a fireplace all winter and the occupants smoke cigarettes will need cleaned more often than a home in a more urban setting who haven’t introduced as many possible pollutants into their environment. SERVPRO of Carthage and Joplin can give you a free evaluation to see we if believe duct cleaning in your home or business is necessary.
When was the last time you had your air ducts cleaned? If the answer is never, which is the answer we get from most folks we talk to, call today. 417-623-1388