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Protect Your Family From Fire and Burns

1/10/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Protect Your Family From Fire and Burns Be sure to place pots and pans on the back burner with handles turned away from the edge of the stove.

Burn injuries continue to be one of the leading causes of accidental death and injury in our county. Children, the elderly, and the disabled are particularly vulnerable to burn injuries, and almost one-third of all burn injuries occur in children. In 2014, there were over 3,000 deaths from fires and over 50,000 people were treated in hospitals for burn related injuries.

Though treatment for burn injuries has improved over the years, prevention is still the bets way to protect your home and family. Follow the tips below, provided by the American Burn Association, to help protect your family.

General Home Tips:

  • Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement. Smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a fire in half.
  • If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • If a pan of food catches fire, slide a lid over it and turn off the burner.
  • Stir and test food cooked in the microwave before serving. Open lids away from your face, to prevent burns from hot steam.

Tips for Homes with Children

  • Set water heater temperature to no higher than 120°F or just below the medium setting.
  • Create a "no kid zone" in the kitchen around stoves, ovens and hot items.
  • Keep hot drinks away from the edge of tables and counters.
  • Place pots and pans on the back burner with handles turned away from the edge of the stove.
  • Never hold an infant or child while cooking, drinking a hot liquid or carrying hot items.
  • Keep matches and lighters high out of the reach and sight of children, in a locked cabinet.
  • Closely supervise older children when using microwaves, or have them prepare non-hot food. Many burn injuries occur from children pulling hot foods and soups out of microwaves.
  • Teach children to stop, drop, and roll if their clothes catch fire.
  • Test the water before placing a child in the tub. Fill the tub or sink by running cool water first and then adding hot water. Seat the child facing away from the faucets.

If you or someone else sustains a burn injury be sure to:

  • Cool the burn with cool (not cold) water to stop the burning process.
  • Remove all clothing and jewelry from the injured area.
  • Cover the area with a clean dry sheet or bandage.
  • Seek medical attention.

If you would like to read more tips like these check out the American Burn Associations page here and the ABA National Scald Prevention Campaign page here.

*Statistics and tips provided by the American Burn Association

5 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Windstorms

11/30/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage 5 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Windstorms There’s not always a lot of warning before a large windstorm hits, so it’s important to prepare your home well beforehand.

Windstorms cause millions of dollars of damage across the Pacific Northwest every year. There’s not always a lot of warning before a large windstorm hits, so it’s important to prepare your home well beforehand. Small fixes now can prevent more costly repairs after a storm.

Trim Your Trees

Check your property for any tree branches that hang over your roof, cars, power lines, or shed. Overhanging branches can cause significant damage to your property if they fall, which you can easily prevent by cutting them down before a storm hits.

If you have dead trees or branches on your property, get them professionally removed.

Inspect the Roof and Garage

Any loose roofing material will be particularly susceptible during a windstorm. Further damage can occur when a windstorm rips loose material off the roof. Before the windstorm hits, check your roof for loose shingles, flashing, gutters, edging strips, etc. Make sure any problems you find are fixed ASAP.

Your garage door, if it is not in top shape, can be a liability as well. If you haven’t had it professionally inspected in a while, consider doing so.

Protect Your Windows

Strong winds and flying debris can damage windows, so make sure they are prepared before the storm comes in. If you don’t have stormproof windows installed, you can use aluminum or steel shutters or plywood to protect your windows from damage.

Secure Items Around Your Property

While wind can cause a lot of damage on its own, loose items around the yard can severely increase the damage potential. If you received a report of an impending windstorm, secure or safely store items like:

  • Grills
  • Patio Furniture
  • ATVs
  • Garbage and recycling bins
  • Container plants
  • Wind chimes and other decor
  • Trampolines
  • Swing sets and toys
  • Bicycles

Make sure to store cleaning chemicals, motor fuels, and pesticides in safe places as well. You don’t want chemicals to mix together or spread throughout your yard or home

Put Together an Emergency Kit

If the windstorm takes out the power, in some cases you may have to go without electricity for a few days until it gets fixed. Prepare emergency kits with food, water, and anything else your family might need to get through three days without power.

Even the most prepared home can sustain damage during a bad windstorm. Fortunately, at SERVPRO® of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe, we’re prepared to restore your home “Like it never even happened.”

We offer a wide range of services (like board-ups, water damage restoration, tree removal, tarp-ups, and other roofing services) to help repair your property after a storm. We’re there when you need us with our 24/7 emergency service, so give us a call at 360-243-8313.

8 Ways to Help Prevent Mold Growth in Your Kitchen

11/30/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation 8 Ways to Help Prevent Mold Growth in Your Kitchen Kitchens can contain spoiling food, water splashes, and crumbs, which can create an ideal environment for mold growth.

Cooking and eating both require a lot of food and moisture, which makes your kitchen a top-notch room for mold growth. Food spoils, water splashes, and crumbs can get everywhere. Implement the following 8 tips to prevent mold from growing in your kitchen.

  1. Keep surfaces dry: Mold loves moisture, so it’s important to keep kitchen surfaces dry. Immediately wipe up spills on the floor, countertops, or table. Rinse and wipe out the sink after doing dishes. Make sure your dishes and cutlery are dry before putting them into cabinets.
  2. Take out the trash: Leftover food, packaging, and other garbage makes your trash can a perfect place for mold to grow. Make sure to take out your kitchen garbage bin regularly to prevent mold growth.
  3. Use the exhaust fans: Humid environments are ideal for mold. When you cook on your stove, moisture can flood the air and condensate around the area. To cut down on humidity, use the exhaust fans when you use the stovetop.
  4. Clean the fridge: Old, spoiled food containers are one of the most common places to find mold in a kitchen. Clean out your fridge once a week to prevent food from spoiling and growing mold.
  5. Watch your fruit and potatoes: It doesn’t take long for fruit or potatoes to start growing mold, so it’s important to examine all fruit and potatoes on a daily basis, especially if you don’t keep them in the refrigerator.
  6. Clear the garbage disposal: Food can gather out of site within your garbage disposal. Even if your sink drains well, you should clean the disposal regularly. Remember to run it daily to clear out the debris. You should also pour vinegar down it weekly.
  7. Wash your cutting boards: Food particles and moisture can settle into your cutting boards, which gives mold everything it needs to grow. Use vinegar to wash your cutting boards at least once a week.
  8. Sweep and mop regularly: It’s easy for crumbs and other food particles to build up on your floor over just a few days. Sweep the floor every day, and mop it weekly.

If you find (or suspect you have) mold in your kitchen or any other room of your home, don’t hesitate to give SERVPRO® of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe a call.

Our technicians have the experience, knowledge, and training necessary to restore your home through our mold remediation process. We inspect your home to discover the full extent of the mold growth, work to contain the problem, and clean your home and belongings. Call us today at 360-243-8313 to start the mold remediation process.

7 Tips for Safe Fireplace Use

11/30/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage 7 Tips for Safe Fireplace Use If fireplaces are not properly cared for they can increase the risk of fire and smoke in your home.

Fireplaces can bring a warm and inviting atmosphere to any home. However, if fireplaces are not properly cared for, they can lead to an increased fire and smoke risk. Use these tips to keep your home safe and warm through the cold months of the year.

  1. Keep it clean: Before starting a fire, clear out ash from previous fires. Make sure there is no debris in the fireplace or flammable items, like newspaper, in the surrounding area.
  2. Cover it up: Glass panes may block the fire, but they also get hot. Install a safety screen to protect your family, particularly children and pets, from accidental burns.
  3. Inspect the chimney: Look at both the interior and exterior of your chimney. Watch for bird nests or other natural debris, like leaves, branches, etc. Make sure there are no tree branches that are above or close to the chimney. Examine the bricks and mortar to ensure they are in good repair. Inspect the chimney cap for damage.
  4. Stick to checkups: Have a professional check out your fireplace annually. They can identify problems you might not notice on your own.
  5. Use the right wood and starters: Use dry, aged wood. Green and wet wood don’t burn as well and cause more smoke. Never use wood that is painted or shows signs of rotting, mold, or disease. Don’t use particle board, cardboard, garbage, plastics, or foam either. Only start fires using newspaper or dry kindling. Don’t try to jumpstart a fire using gasoline.
  6. Stay by the fire: Don’t leave fires unattended, and do not leave children alone with a lit fireplace. Make sure all fires are completely out and cooled before sleeping or leaving home.
  7. Check and open the flue and/or damper: Examine the flue for debris like bird nests or leaves around the same time you check your chimney. Make sure the flue or the damper, which are used to let out gases such as smoke, is open before starting a fire in the fireplace. 

While you can take precautions to prevent problems, sometimes accidents happen. If your home suffers any fire or smoke damage, call SERVPRO® of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe.

After smoke or fire damages a home, it’s important to get it fixed as soon as possible. Call us at 360-243-8313, and we’ll assess the damage and make your home “Like it never even happened.”

Holiday Fire Safety Tips

11/17/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Holiday Fire Safety Tips Learn how to keep your family and home safe from fire during the holidays.

The holidays offer many opportunities for family and friends to gather, but they also come with an increased fire risk. With a little extra attention and care, you can help your family have a happy and safe holiday season.

Cooking

The holidays don’t feel like the holidays without delicious food. While cooking always presents potential fire hazards, home cooking fires always spike up around the holiday season.

When you have lots of cooks in the kitchen, it’s easy for things to get messy and confusing. However, a cluttered, chaotic kitchen is a hazardous kitchen. Make sure to keep flammable objects, like towels, packaging, and potholders, away from the stove. Communicate with everyone in the kitchen so you don’t leave the stovetop or oven on when it’s not in use. Wipe up spills quickly, and don’t let grease pile up around a burner.

If a deep-fried turkey is on the menu, make sure you fry it on a flat surface outside at least 10 feet away from the house.

Holiday Lights

While holiday lights can add a fun ambience to your home, it’s important to decorate safely. When you first open a package of new lights or crack open a box of previously-loved strands, take time to inspect each strand. If you find frayed or cracked wires or any broken sockets, return them or throw them away.

Don’t put more strands of lights on your tree than the packaging recommends. Overloading trees (and outlets) are a common cause of holiday fires. Unplug your holiday lights (and tree, if applicable) before you go to bed or leave the house.

If you want to hang lights outside, don’t use nails or staples as they can damage the wiring. Invest in quality hooks or hangers. Once the holidays are over, take down all outside lights. Small animals, like squirrels, may start chewing on the wires if you leave them up all year.

Menorahs

If your family uses menorahs for Hanukkah, you could consider using an electric one to cut down on fire hazards. If you prefer traditional candles, just be careful.

Keep the menorah at least three feet away from flammable items, and make sure you place a non-flammable surface, like an aluminum foil-lined tray, underneath the menorah to catch the melting wax.

Christmas Trees

Setting up the Christmas tree can mark the beginning of the Christmas holiday for many families. Unfortunately, if they are not properly set up and taken care of, they pose a large fire risk.

Keep the Christmas tree at least three feet away from fireplaces or heating elements in your home.

If you prefer a live Christmas tree, make sure to care for it properly. A dry tree can start to engulf a room in flames within a minute of ignition. Help reduce fire risks with the following guidelines:

  • Buy a fresh tree. When you first choose the tree, the pine needles should be green and not easily broken.
  • Cut off the bottom. When you get the tree home, cut two inches of the bottom to create a raw cut so the tree can soak in water.
  • Water the tree daily. Well-watered trees are less likely to catch fire.
  • Throw it out promptly. No matter how much you water it, your tree will dry out over time. Once the pine needles start to fall off and the tree starts to dry, it’s time to throw it out.

If you choose an artificial tree, consider flame-resistant or flame-retardant options.

Taking steps to prevent holiday fires can help reduce the risk, but there’s always a possibility of a fire. If your home suffers fire damage, SERVPRO® of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe can help.

We have the knowledge and experience to properly treat fire and smoke damage to make your home “Like it never even happened.” We offer 24/7 emergency service; call us anytime at 360-243-8313.

How to Prepare Your Home for Winter

10/27/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage How to Prepare Your Home for Winter It’s time to prepare your home for colder winter months. Preparing for the change in season can help save energy and prevent costly damage.

As winter fast approaches, it’s time to start preparing your home for the colder months of the year. Problems you may not have noticed during the rest of the year can become a bigger issue as the weather starts to shift. Properly preparing for the change in season can help you save energy and prevent costly damage.

Prepare Your Pipes

The last thing you want during the winter months is a frozen pipe. Water expands when it freezes, which can result in burst pipes, flooding, and major water damage.

Leaky pipes can lead to expensive problems if they’re left untreated when winter comes. Watch for telltale signs of leaky pipes such as unexplained high water use or water damage. If you suspect you might have a leak, get your home inspected.

If you have any pipes in unheated or uninsulated areas of your home, make sure to wrap the pipes with heat tape or pipe insulation.

If you plan to head south for the winter or go out of town for an extended period of time, you may want to consider shutting off the water completely and hiring a service to drain your pipes.

Shut Off Exterior Faucets

Don’t forget your exterior water systems. If you don’t properly drain water from your exterior faucets/pipes, they may freeze, expand, and cause damage. Disconnect garden hoses, and drain the water out of the faucets. Unless you have frost-proof faucets, you’ll need to use the shut-off valve located inside your house.

Inspect Your Heating Systems

Before the first frost, have your HVAC system inspected. This will allow you to identify potential problems early and enjoy energy savings throughout the winter months. Make sure to vacuum out the vents, replace furnace filters if needed, and check for issues like leaks, cracks, or an underperforming system.

Inspect and clean your fireplace and chimney as well. You’ll want both in top shape for those cozy nights next to the fire.

Reverse Your Fan

During the summer months, most fans turn counter clockwise, which allows the slightly angled blades to push air down. This creates a wind-chill effect, which cools down the occupants of the room.

Warm air rises, which unfortunately means the warmest part of a room is well above you. If you can force the cooler air upward, you can push the warmer air down to your level and not have to turn the heat on quite as high. If you reverse the fan to rotate clockwise, it will pull up the cooler air from the bottom of the room toward the ceiling, which will force the warmer air in the upper part of the room down.

Clear Your Gutters

It’s always a good idea to clean out the gutters, but it’s especially important right before winter. The fall months, while beautiful, come with a lot of natural debris. Unfortunately, fallen leaves, twigs, and pine needles can clog up gutters and cause ice dams and icicles in the winter. Regularly clear out the debris to prepare for winter.

Examine Your Roof

Even small leaks in your roof can cost you in both utilities and greater damage to your roof. Clear the debris off your roof, and take a look at its current condition. Watch for damaged or missing shingles, any pooled water, or other signs of potential roof damage.

Seal Your Doors and Windows

Check your weather stripping and re-caulk around doorways or windows as necessary. If gaps between siding and a window or doorframe are bigger than the width of a nickel, it’s time to re-caulk. Make sure you use caulk that’s recommended for home exterior use.

Whether you find problems while preparing your home or it sustains winter-related water damage, SERVPRO® of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe is here to help.

We offer 24/7 emergency service, and we can help prepare your home or restore water damage “Like it never even happened.” Call us at 360-243-8313.

What to Do When Your Business is a Victim of Burglary, Vandalism, or Arson

10/20/2017 (Permalink)

Commercial What to Do When Your Business is a Victim of Burglary, Vandalism, or Arson Do you know what you'll do if your business is a victim of a crime?

If your business is a victim of a crime, it can be costly both financially and emotionally. After law enforcement comes and goes, you might find yourself wondering what to do next to get your business up and running again. At SERVPRO® of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe, we offer a wide array of services to help you get back to business in no time.

Burglary

After a break-in, you might expect to feel uneasy or angry. You might not expect the mess or damage that can come along with a crime scene.

First, there’s the damage the actual break-in may have caused, such as broken windows, damaged entryways, etc. There may even be blood and other bodily fluids or pepper spray residue. However, crime-solving can leave a mess behind, too. Your property might have substances like fingerprint powder and evidence-gathering chemicals as well.

After you file the paperwork and report what’s missing to the police, we can fix your property so you can get back to running your business. Whether you need someone to clean and disinfect or someone to handle larger repairs, we have the knowledge and training needed to restore your property “Like it never even happened.”

Vandalism

Vandalism can range in severity from graffiti on a wall to destruction of property. You’ll want to take quick action to restore your business for both office morale and safety.

Graffiti may create an unprofessional atmosphere that could potentially drive away clients. At SERVPRO® of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe we can remove graffiti from most surfaces including, but not limited to:

  • Glass
  • Masonry
  • Wood
  • Plastic
  • Asphalt

More severe vandalism, like a broken window or entryway, can leave employees feeling unsafe, and it can leave your business open to weather problems and, potentially, more crime.

We have the tools and expertise necessary to get your business up and running in no time. We offer commercial cleaning services above and beyond what a maid service might provide. We can take care of everything from debris removal to board-up services to water damage restoration.

Arson

Even a small fire can cause significant fire and smoke damage to your property. Firefighting efforts may even cause water damage. While police can perform the important work of finding out who committed the crime, you’ll still need to get your business ready to open again.

Our trained professionals understand the urgency of restoring your workplace to professional standards. We work hard to efficiently restore your building and belongings to pre-fire condition. We even help manage the insurance claims process.

When you run a business, you know that time is money. We offer 24/7 service, so don’t hesitate to call us day or night to start the restoration process. If your business is the victim of a crime, call SERVPRO® of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe at 360-243-8313, and we’ll make sure your property is cleaned up and ready for business.

Using Your 3 Senses to Find Mold in Your Home

9/29/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Using Your 3 Senses to Find Mold in Your Home It’s important to be able to identify potential mold growth in your home; luckily, three of your senses can help you find the common signs of mold.

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. However, there are many things you can do to control mold growth in your home.

It’s important to be able to identify potential mold growth in your home; luckily, three of your senses—sight, smell, and touch—can help you find some of the more common signs of mold.

Sight

The most obvious indication you have mold is seeing the mold itself. Mold tends to accumulate in moist, dark areas. Common places you might see mold include:

  • Window sills
  • Spoiled food
  • Beneath counters
  • Bathtub grout
  • Inside toilet
  • Shower curtains
  • Attics and crawlspaces

Unfortunately, if the mold growth amount is small, many people assume it’s something else like dirt. If the mold is an unexpected color, some homeowners ignore it as well. Mold can come in a variety of colors like:

  • White
  • Green
  • Black
  • Yellow
  • Gray-brown
  • Pink
  • Orange
  • Purple

Pink, orange, and purple molds are less common, but they can show up behind wallpaper.

There are other visual indicators of possible mold, even if you don’t see the mold itself. Watch for water stains on your ceilings or walls. Look for leaking pipes and faucets as well.

Smell

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 your home, particularly if the smell is stronger in certain areas of your home, this may indicate you have mold.

Mold has a musty, distinct odor. The smell could also be described as stale, wet, and earthy. Moldy food may give off a more rotten smell.

Touch

Your sense of touch can help you identify mold risks. As mentioned before, mold flourishes in damp environments.

Pay attention to wet spots on your carpet. If your carpet feels soggy, do a little detective work and find out if anyone has spilled liquid in the area recently. If not, or if the spot consistently remains wet, you may have a leak, which can lead to mold.

Watch any wet, or warped, spots you feel on your walls as well, as they can also be a sign of water damage and mold.

Essentially, any time a surface in your home feels consistently wet without an immediate explanation, you might have a leak somewhere. Unfortunately, damp surfaces with food sources are perfect for growing mold.

Black Mold

Perhaps the most infamous of all mold is black mold. It’s important to note that not all mold that is black in color refers to the specific toxigenic variety that people worry about.

Stachybotrys Atra (or Stachybotrys chartarum) is commonly referred to as “black mold”. It has been linked by the Institute of Medicine to respiratory issues, like coughing and wheezing, in otherwise healthy people. It has also been linked with more severe symptoms in people susceptible to specific respiratory conditions.

It is often a dark green-black or gray color, and it may look slimy. It may also seem dry and powdery if it loses its water source. It gives off the typical musty, mildew smell common to other types of mold.

It is very easy to mistake black mold for other types of mold and vice versa. If you find signs of mold in your home, you should call SERVPRO® of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe to start the identification and remediation process.

We can help you locate both apparent and hidden mold in your home. We can also help find and fix sources of moisture that may have contributed to the mold problem in the first place. Call us at 360-243-8313 today.

How to Prevent Fires in Your Home

9/22/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage How to Prevent Fires in Your Home Seven people die every day from home fire. Read our tips to help prevent fires in your home.

According to the American Red Cross, seven people die every day from a home fire. While the causes of these fires vary, there are steps you can take to make your home safer. Apply these tips to help prevent fires in your home.

Install and Maintain Smoke Alarms

While smoke alarms will not prevent a fire from starting, they can save lives and potentially minimize property damage. You should install a fire alarm inside and outside of each sleeping area as well as on every level, including the basement.

Test the alarms monthly, and replace the batteries every 6 months. Replace the entire alarm every 10 years.

Space Out Your Heating Devices

It might be tempting to sit right next to a space heater while curled up in a blanket on a cold day, but it’s important to keep all devices with a heating element at least three feet away from flammable objects.

When your space heaters, curling irons, or other devices are not in use, make sure to shut them off and unplug them.

Be a Watchful Cook

It’s easy to get distracted while cooking, especially if you have children. However, kitchens are a high-risk area for household fires, so it’s important to remain diligent.

  • Never leave food unattended while cooking, especially working with oil. Hot grease can splash and ignite.
  • Keep flammable objects, like washcloths, pot holders, and paper towels, away from the stovetop.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen.
  • Don’t splash water on a grease fire—smother it with a lid.
  • Keep the door closed if a fire starts in the oven. Turn it off and wait for the fire to extinguish.

Smoke Responsibly

Smoking, if you aren’t careful, can create significant fire hazards in your home. To avoid fire hazards, it is best to smoke outside. When smoking, make sure the lit butts don’t fall beneath or near flammable materials such as furniture, debris, etc. Use a wide, sturdy ashtray and dispose of all butts and ashes properly.

While you always run a greater fire risk when you smoke indoors than out, it is particularly dangerous to smoke in bed. It’s too easy to fall asleep while lying in bed and start a fire.

Watch Your Candles

Candles can add a great ambience to your home, but if they aren’t watched carefully, they are a significant fire hazard. According to the NFPA, between 2009 and 2013 an average of 25 home candle fires were reported per day.

Minimize the fire risk with the following tips:

  • Never leave a lit candle unattended.
  • Blow out all candles before going to sleep, even for naps.
  • Keep candles at least 12 inches away from flammable items.
  • Make sure your candles are secure in their holders.
  • Don’t place candles on furniture that can easily tip over.

Check Your Wiring and Appliances

Electrical fires can cause damage before you realize there is a problem. Regularly inspect your electrical appliances. Check to make sure they are still functioning smoothly and that the cords are in good repair.

The electrical wiring within your walls, if damaged, can also cause a fire. If your electricity shuts off regularly or trips fuses or breakers, you likely have a problem. Faulty or old wiring and outlets can be hazardous. If you aren’t an electrician, it’s best to call in a professional to work on the wiring.

These methods will help minimize potential fire risks in your home; however, accidents still happen. If fire damages your home, call SERVPRO® of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe.

We offer 24/7 emergency service, and we can restore your home “Like it never even happened.” To start the restoration process, call us at 360-243-8313.

How to Prevent Fires in the Office

9/15/2017 (Permalink)

Commercial How to Prevent Fires in the Office Office fires lead to millions of dollars of damage every year. Simple changes in your office can prevent damage like this.

Have you reviewed your office’s fire prevention and safety procedures recently? Office fires lead to millions of dollars of property damage every year as well as employee injuries and deaths. Simple changes in your office can both prevent fires and prepare your employees for emergencies.

Avoid Overloading Circuits

Outlets were only designed to handle so much. You may be tempted to use power strips to plug in as many devices into each outlet as possible, but overloading your circuits can lead to fires.

Talk to your electrician to set rules for the outlets in your building, and communicate these rules to each of your employees.

Clear the Clutter

It’s easy to let paper, boxes, and the like clutter desks and other work areas. However, clutter provides easy fuel for fires to grow and spread faster. Boxes of papers near a stairwell or door can easily catch fire and block potential exits during an emergency.

Most accidental office fires start in the kitchen. It’s important to keep flammable materials away from kitchen equipment such as coffee machines and hot plates. Clean these appliances regularly so they can function properly.

Make sure all heat-producing equipment has room for air to circulate around it, especially copy machines, computers, space heaters, and coffee machines.

Shut Down Appliances & Equipment

While most office fires happen during the day, the most damaging fires happen while everyone is gone for the night. Choose a designated person to sweep through the office and turn off electrical appliances at the end of each work day.

Examine all electrical equipment employees bring in, such as space heaters and lamps, to make sure they are in good condition. Require employees to unplug these devices when they leave as well.

Establish a No-Flame Rule

Don’t allow employees to use lighted birthday candles or burn scented candles at their desk or in break rooms. Remember, accidents with small flames can lead to big problems.

Watch the Wiring

If any of your office’s electrical cords show signs of damage such as fraying or tears in the plastic covering, replace them immediately. Encourage your employees to report any defective wiring as well. Exposed wiring can encounter moisture, which may cause short circuiting and fires.

Don’t run cords across the floor where people may step on them or roll over them with carts or chairs. This leads to damaged cords, which can, in turn, lead to a fire hazard.

Secure the Building

Arson accounts for a significant portion of office fires. Lock up your building securely every night. Make sure any parking lots or alleyways near your building are well lit. You may want to invest in a security system as well.

Create and Implement an Office Evacuation Plan

Consider talking with your local fire department to create an office fire safety and evacuation plan. Identify all possible exits in your office, and establish an evacuation protocol including office safety officers and meeting places. Print out copies of the plan that highlight exits, escape routes, and meeting places.

Display your office evacuation plan in high employee traffic areas, like break rooms. Go over the plan with all new employees, and schedule fire drills every few months to practice.

Equip your office with fire safety items such as smoke alarms and fire extinguishers. Your fire department should know the exact requirements for your building.

At SERVPRO® of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe, we can create an Emergency READY Profile for your business. When disaster strikes, you don’t want to spend time trying to figure out who to 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.

Even small fires can leave significant property damage; smoke can enter your ventilation system and spread soot and debris throughout your building. We can accurately assess fire and smoke damage and help make your office “Like it never even happened.”

If you’ve had a fire in your office, or if you want to set up an Emergency READY Profile, call us today at 360-243-8313.