A Business Plan For Fire Emergencies
Do you have a fire emergency plan for your business?
You may have taken measures to help prevent fire in your office, but are you prepared in case fire does break out? According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 3,340 fires in office properties each year. Make sure your business is prepared for fire.
Check Fire Alarms
The first key is to have functioning fire alarms in your property. Smoke alarms save lives when properly installed and maintained, according to the NFPA.
Test smoke alarms monthly using the test button. Smoke alarms with non-replaceable batteries need the entire smoke alarm unit replaced every ten years. Other alarms need batteries replaced every year, and the unit replaced every ten years. If the alarm chirps signaling low battery, take the proper steps to replace the unit or the batteries immediately. Never disable or remove the battery from an alarm. Almost half of fires where smoke alarms were present but did not activate had missing or disconnected batteries (NFPA).
In larger commercial facilities, hard wired or wireless smoke alarms offer benefits such as not needing to be tested as often and activating throughout the entire building if smoke is detected in just one area (NFPA).
If you need help installing, testing or changing batteries in your smoke alarms, contact your local fire department, an electrician or the American Red Cross.
Create and Implement an Office Evacuation Plan
An emergency escape plan is not required for all businesses; however, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends building an emergency action plan to protect yourself, your employees, and your business during an emergency. OSHA suggests the following steps when developing such a plan.
- Organize an Emergency Preparedness Procedures review with employees to review your company’s emergency plans. You may wish to select an individual or team of individuals to lead and coordinate your emergency plan.
- Once a plan is developed, post evacuation procedures, including routes and exits, where they are easily accessible to all employees. Ensure all exits and routes are clearly marked and well lit, wide enough to accommodate the number of evacuating personnel, and unobstructed and clear of debris at all times.
- Conduct office evacuation exercises and drills. Designate a safe spot outside of the facility where employees can regroup, recover, and conduct a head count. Once completed, evaluate how well the plan worked and if additional training or exercises are needed.
Create a SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile®
At SERVPRO® of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe, we can create an Emergency READY Profile (ERP) for your business. When disaster strikes, you don’t want to spend time trying to figure out whom you should contact for what. Our ERPs include a detailed assessment of your facility along with a profile document and guide to getting you back to business faster after an incident. We even offer a mobile app for convenience. If you want to set up an Emergency READY Profile, call us today at 360-243-8313.
It is important to be prepared before a disaster like a fire hits your property. For the sake of your employees and your property, make sure your office is safe and prepared. If disaster does strike, SERVPRO of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe is Here To Help. Give us a call at 360-243-8313.
When You Have Fire Damage, Call SERVPRO of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe
The faster our technicians arrive on-site to perform fire, smoke, and soot cleanup and restoration, the better the results.
Mitigation requires quick action. The faster our technicians arrive on-site to perform fire, smoke, and soot cleanup and restoration, the better the results— including lower claim costs. Within four hours of loss notification, SERVPRO of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe will be on-site to help ensure your fire damage is handled by utilizing the following services.
After smoke or fire damage, ceilings, walls, woodwork, carpeting, and floors will often need a thorough cleaning. Our experienced technicians will pretest to determine the extent of damage, and then use the specific equipment and cleaning products required to clean and protect the different types of surfaces found in your structure.
All of the restorable contents in affected areas will be professionally cleaned and deodorized. This includes area rugs, furniture, draperies, and upholstery. We can provide wet or dry cleaning services. Additionally, all the other restorable contents will be cleaned and deodorized to preloss condition. This includes electronics, art, wood furniture, kitchen items, clothing, bedding, and much more. Finally, our technicians can provide an inventory list of all “to be claimed” items for your insurance claim.
SERVPRO of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe provides specialized services that rid your home or place of business of offensive odors left by fire or smoke damage. We do not merely cover up lingering odors with a fragrance; we seek out the sources of the odor and remove them.
SERVPRO of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe is dedicated to restoring your property and getting your life back to normal. Contact us at 360-243-8313 before any further damage occurs to your property and belongings.
How to Use Your Fire Extinguisher
Do you know how to properly use your fire extinguisher?
Portable fire extinguishers can be life and property saving tools when used correctly. In order to operate an extinguisher, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggests remembering the word PASS:
P: Pull the pin. Hold the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.
A: Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
S: Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
S: Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.
You can also check out this video to see how to best use your fire extinguisher.
Read the instructions on the fire extinguisher and become familiar with them before a fire breaks out. Keep your fire extinguisher somewhere you will remember and be able to access easily. Make sure your extinguisher is up to date and charged.
Remember, extinguishers do have limitations. It is also important to ensure you have the correct type of extinguisher for your facility. To find more information on choosing the appropriate class of extinguisher, please visit the NFPA website at nfpa.org.
It’s important to be prepared before disaster strikes. If ever you do need to use your fire extinguisher, have SERVPRO of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe take care of the cleanup. We can clean up any fire or smoke damage as well as the mess created from the fire extinguisher. Give us a call at 360-243-8313 and we’ll make it “Like it never even happened.”
Why You Should Clean Your Dryer Vents
Be sure to clean your dryer vents to reduce the risk of dryer fires in your home.
According to FEMA, failure to clean dryers and dryer vents causes 34% of home dryer fires. Home dryer fires cause $35 million in property loss and can even cause injury or death.
To reduce the risk of these fires happening in your home, clean dryer vents regularly. Every few months be sure to wash the lint filter with detergent to get rid of residue buildup that might be impeding airflow. Also clean the whole exhaust duct line yearly to reduce clogs and risk of fire.
Other tips for keeping your dryer vents clean from the National Fire Protection Agency include cleaning the lint filter before and after each load, and making sure the outdoor vent flap will open and is not restricted by snow, a bird’s nest, or other potential obstacles.
If you have a high efficiency dryer, look for easy-access panels and check inside for any additional lint buildup.
For more fire prevention tips, check out our other fire blog posts here.
Protect Your Home While You Are Out
Are you headed out of time any time soon? Be sure you know how to prepare your home before you leave.
Do you have exciting plans to head out of town this summer? Do you know how to prepare your home before you head out of town? Follow these tips to help prevent possible damage while you are gone.
The last thing you want to find on your return from a relaxing vacation is flooding and water damage in your home. There are a variety of potential causes of water damage. Plumbing and appliances in your home can malfunction and leak while you are away. When you leave consider turning off your water, or have someone come check your home regularly and have them flush your toilets and run several faucets to ensure they are working.
Make sure windows are closed and sealed, and check to make sure there are no small leaks before you leave the home. A small leak can lead to significant water damage and potential mold growth.
To help reduce the risk of mold growth while you are gone, make sure to clean your kitchen and bathrooms before leaving. Clean out your refrigerator before you leave and get rid of any food that might spoil while you are gone, such as milk, meats and produce. Spoiled food can cause bad smells and even lead to mold growth in your refrigerator and freezer. Also, clear out any perishable foods in your pantries, and don’t leave any food open. Be sure to take out your trash, especially if it contains spoiled food or other smelly items. Clean your sink drain and disposer to get rid of food buildup.
Along with cleaning before you leave, check for any water leaks or wet spots. Wet, damp areas create a perfect environment for mold growth.
Make sure your smoke detectors are in working order before you leave. Also unplug appliances like computers and TVs to reduce power usage, the risk of power surges damaging your devices and of cords shorting out and starting a fire. Finally, make sure your oven and grill are off before you leave.
This is one of the big concerns when leaving town. One of the biggest keys is to make your home look like it’s still occupied. Set lights on a timer in your home and have your mail and newspapers put on hold while you are out. Don’t say you are out of town on your answering machine or on social media. This tells the world that you are gone and that your home is unoccupied. Have a friend come check in on your home regularly. Make sure your doors are locked and windows closed and locked before you leave.
We all want our homes to be safe while out of town. These tips can help prevent potential damage to your home. If things do happen while you are out, give us a call and we can get your home back to normal in no time. SERVPRO of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe can clean and restore most damage, from broken windows and other vandalism to water and smoke damage. Give us a call at 360-243-8313 to start the restoration process. We’ll make it “Like it never even happened.”
Tsunamis and How to Prepare
Tsunamis are most likely to hit the Pacific coastline or in the Caribbean, so it is good to know what to do if one occurs.
Did you know tsunamis could hit any U.S. coast? Though the risk for tsunamis is low, they are more likely to hit states on the Pacific coastline or in the Caribbean, so it is good to know what to do if a tsunami does strike here, or where you may vacation.
Ready.gov says, “Tsunamis, also known as seismic sea waves (mistakenly called “tidal waves”), are a series of enormous waves created by an underwater disturbance such as an earthquake, landslide, volcanic eruption, or meteorite.” Areas within a mile of the coast and less than 25 feet above sea level have a greater risk of being hit.
As with any emergency, be sure you have a plan. Create a 72-hour kit ahead of time so you can be ready to leave quickly. Know the evacuation plan and move inland or to higher ground and avoid the beach. “The first wave may not be the last or the largest,” according to the National Weather Service.
After a tsunami, do not return to the affected area until officials deem it safe. While drowning is the most common hazard, there are many aftereffects such as flooding and contaminated drinking water.
For more information on preparing for a tsunami, visit ready.gov/tsunamis.
Be Prepared with an Emergency READY Profile
Get prepared with an Emergency READY Profile.
Will you be ready when disaster strikes? The SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile® (ERP) will help ensure you and your business are “Ready for whatever happens.”
In the event of an emergency, the SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile can help minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action in place for your facility. The ERP is a comprehensive document containing critical information about your business, including emergency contact information, shut-off valve locations, and priority areas. The ERP is also accessible online using your computer or tablet; download SERVPRO’s free Ready Plan app to access this information at any time using your smartphone or tablet.
The ERP establishes SERVPRO of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider, giving you access to 50 years experience and a system more than 1,700 Franchises strong. Knowing what to do and who to call in advance is key to quick response and timely mitigation. Having a plan in place may help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive and get you back in the building following a disaster.
Preparation is the key to making it through any size disaster, whether it is a small water leak, a large fire or an area flood. The best time to plan for such events is not when the event happens, but well before it happens. No one ever expects a disaster, but now is the time to plan for it.
In review, the SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile is:
- A no-cost assessment of your facility.
- A concise Profile document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
- A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.
- Establishes SERVPRO of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
- Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.
- Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas, and priority contact information.
The ERP is a no-cost assessment; all it requires is a little time, making it a great value that could save a lot of time in the future. Call SERVPRO of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe at 360-243-8313 to start your Emergency READY Profile today.
4 Tips for Spotting Mold in a Potential Home Buy
It’s important to be able to identify potential mold growth before buying a new home.
Mold spores can exist just about anywhere inside or out. Unfortunately, that means it’s easy to develop a mold growth problem wherever moisture and a food source are present.
It’s important to be able to identify potential mold growth before buying a new home. Follow these four tips to help identify possible mold risks in a new home.
Tip 1: Use Your Nose
Of course, some mold is hidden from view. Fortunately, your sense of smell can help point you in the right direction. If you notice a strange odor in the home, particularly if the smell is stronger in certain areas of the home, this may indicate there is mold.
Mold has a musty, distinct odor. The smell could also be described as stale, wet, and earthy. Use your nose as the first sign that there may be mold in the home.
Tip 2: Look Around
While touring a potential home buy, it’s important to keep an eye out for potential mold growth. Mold tends to accumulate in moist, dark areas, so be sure to take a look in these areas. Common places you should check include:
- Window sills
- Beneath counters and under sinks
- Bathtub grout
- Inside toilets
- Attics and crawlspaces
There are other visual indicators of possible mold, even if you don’t see the mold itself. Look out for water stains on ceilings or walls. Look for leaking pipes and faucets as well.
Tip 3: Ask Questions
Be sure to ask the current homeowners about past water damage and flooding. Also look into whether the home is in a flood zone. If there has been water damage in the past, pay extra attention to whether there is mold currently present in the home. Also inquire about how they remediated past water damage. Also ask as if water damage has been reoccurring or not. This can be a sign of future water and mold problems.
Tip 4: Have the Home Inspected
Home inspectors are trained to spot water damage and signs of mold in a home. Look to see if any signs of mold were noted in the inspection report. Also see if they provide any kind of mold guarantee.
If after buying a new home you find mold, give SERVPRO of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe a call. We can start the mold remediation process immediately and fix any other water damage the structure may have. Give us a call today at 360-243-8313.
Cleaning Contaminated Water Vs. Clean Water
When your home has flooded, it is important to know the difference between clean and contaminated water.
When your home or business suffers from water damage, understanding what type of water you are dealing with is critical to ensuring proper cleanup.
There are three types of water.
Clean water is water from a broken pipe, or other water source; rainwater is also considered clean. The term gray water is used to classify slightly contaminated water. Clean water becomes gray water when it is left untreated, allowing bacteria and other contaminants to begin growing, making the water hazardous. Black water is highly contaminated and filled with fungi, bacteria, chemicals and more. Black water is typically caused by sewage damage, flooding or any type of natural disaster. Black water should always be handled by trained professionals.
Consider taking the following precautions to help minimize damage or prevent further damage while waiting for help to arrive.
Damage from Clean Water:
- Shut off the water source if possible or contact a qualified professional to do so.
- Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building if access to the power distribution panel is safe from potential electrical shock. Do not enter rooms with standing water, as electrical shock hazards may exist.
- Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting. Wipe excess water from wood furniture.
- Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions to allow more even drying.
- Start drying the affected area and keep in mind that clean water becomes contaminated after about 48 hours.
Damage from Contaminated Water:
- Avoid all contact with sewage and items contaminated by sewage. Wash your hands thoroughly if you come in contact with contaminated items.
- Do not walk through contaminated areas, as you could spread damage to unaffected areas.
- Do not turn on the HVAC system if there is a possibility of spreading contaminated air.
- Do not use household fans to dry the structure; airflow could spread contaminants.
- Discard any food and/or products for personal hygiene and cleanliness if exposed to the contaminated areas.
When you have water damage, don’t leave your property to chance. Call SERVPRO of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe at 360-243-8313. We will properly clean and dry your property and ensure it is safe.
What to Do and Not Do After Your Basement Floods
Here's an example of a flooded basement we took care of in Monroe a while back.
A flooded basement can be an overwhelming experience. It’s hard to know where to even start! But you don’t need to worry. SERVPRO of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe is Here To Help. While you wait for help to arrive, here are some Dos and Don’ts to follow.
What to Do After Flooding:
- Stop the source of flooding.
- Remove excess water by mopping and blotting.
- Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items.
- Remove and prop wet upholstery and cushions to dry.
- Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
- Turn air conditioning on for maximum drying in summer.
- Remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
- Remove art objects to a safe, dry place.
- Gather loose items from floors.
What Not to Do After Flooding:
- Don’t enter your basement if water is high enough to cover outlets or other appliances.
- Don't leave wet fabrics in place. Hang furs and leather goods.
- Don't leave books, magazines or other colored items on wet carpet or floors.
- Don't use your household vacuum to remove water.
- Don't use television or other household appliances in the flooded area.
- Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet, and keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging.
When your home’s basement has water damage from flooding or leaks, we have the expertise and equipment to properly restore your property. The water removal and water cleanup process is completed by our highly-trained technicians who will document the drying process. This validates that your property has been dried properly and thoroughly.
Trust SERVPRO of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe to return your property to its preloss condition and make it “Like it never even happened”. Give us a call at 360-243-8313.