Be Prepared: Tsunamis
Did you know tsunamis can hit any U.S. coast? While they are more likely to hit states on the Pacific coastline or in the Caribbean, it is good to know what to do if a tsunami does strike where you live or even 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 affected.
As with any emergency, be sure you have a plan in place prior. Know the evacuation plan, 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, like flooding and contaminated drinking water.
Sewage Cleanup and Restoration
Sewage backup should be considered an emergency since the water may contain viruses, bacteria, and other microbes that cause serious illnesses. We have specialized training and equipment to quickly and safely clean contaminates like sewage.
Sewage is considered category 3: “Black Water”
Category 3 water is grossly contaminated and could cause severe illness or death if ingested and any contact should be avoided. Examples include flooding from rivers or streams, water from beyond the toilet trap, water from the toilet bowl with feces, or standing water that has begun to support microbial growth.
Exposure to biological and chemical contaminants can pose serious health consequences. A failure to properly remove such substances can contribute to unhealthy and dangerous environments. SERVPRO of Lawrence/Ottawa is trained to safely remove biohazards and dispose of them properly in accordance with OSHA and health regulations.
Equipped with the necessary safety apparatus and cleaning products, we can help transform these unhealthy environments back into clean, safe homes and offices.
24 Hour Emergency Service
Water contaminated with sewage backup should be considered an emergency situation and dealt with as quickly as possible. We are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We are water damage restoration specialists with specialized training, equipment and protective gear to safely restore your home or business.
Toilet Overflow or Sewer Backup? Call Today 785-690-7373
What is Water Restoration
Imagine you come home from work on a Wednesday afternoon and you walk into your living room covered with 8 inches of water.
What do you do?
Who do you call?
Do you call your family friend local contractor or Water Restoration Company?
What is the difference?
There are many differences between contractors and Water Restoration Companies. Here are a few:
- A contractor’s job is to replace everything that is affected. This will include all flooring, walls, cabinets and even furniture. SERVPRO is certified in drying water damage to industry standards. We will not remove materials unless it is necessary. This prevents further interruption to your daily life.
- A contractor will have to replace all of the materials they took out of your home. This can take weeks waiting for material decisions, insurance approval, shipping, and installation time. SERVPRO’s average drying time is only 3 days. We have crews available 24/7/365 and someone to monitor your job daily.
- Replacing flooring, drywall, and all of your furniture is expensive. Restoring your home is a lot less expensive than replacing everything in your home.
When you call SERVPRO of Lawrence/Ottawa you can expect a First Responder on site within an hour and your home to be restored quickly by certified, professional technicians.
Be Prepared: Flooding
Did you know flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States? A flood is classified as a temporary overflow of water on normally dry land. There are many different causes of flooding, including rain, snow, and overflowed water systems. Here are some tips about preparing for floods from ready.gov:
- Know flood risk types in your area
- The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) Weather Radio can provide emergency alerts as well as any community alert systems in your area.
- If your area has a risk of flash flooding, make sure to look for and monitor potential signs, like rain. It can happen very quickly so always be alert.
- Gather supplies in case you have to leave immediately or services are cut off. Remember things like medications, extra batteries, and pet supplies.
- Keep important documents in a water proof container, like a water proof lock box.
Preventing Electrical Fires
Preventing Electrical Fires with Nine Easy Tips
In today’s society, people are working overtime to meet the pressures of daily life. With technology and electronic accessories being an inescapable part of day-to-day activities, it means that electricity is in high-demand, and it is working around the clock in the home setting.
Children need their cell phones charges at all times to keep in touch with their parents, and adults use their computers late into the night to complete work assignments. When work and school are done, dinner needs to be cooked with the appliances in the kitchen and the family likes to unwind with television, video games, music, and a multitude of various electronic devices. In addition, electricity is needed to heat and cool the home and run light fixtures.
Undoubtedly, homes today are generating a tremendous amount of electricity, and the greater the electric load, the greater the risk of electrical-related fires. It should be noted that, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), electrical fires cause approximately 51,000 fires in the home that result in close to 500 deaths and more than 1,400 injuries, and approximately $1.3 billion in property damage per year. Following are nine safety measures one can adhere to in order to reduce the risk of electrical fires in one’s home:
- On a regular basis, have the home inspected for loose wires, shorts, and faulty wiring that increase the risk of potential electrical fires, as electrical wiring eventually needs to be replaced. This is especially pertinent if one lives in an older home. Signs that faulty wiring is a pressing issue and can include flickering lamps, buzzing outlets, or outlets that spark when an electronic device is plugged in. If one of these indications occurs, do not delay in hiring a certified electrician to give the home an inspection to determine if the wiring is safe or if it is in need of rewiring.
- Install a smoke detector on every level of the home and inside each bedroom. It is vital to make sure the smoke detectors are working properly by testing them every month. Test the detectors to ensure that all members of the home knows the sound of the smoke detector. Also, create a plan so that the entire family knows what to do in case of an actual fire. Once a plan is in place, practice each aspect of fire-escape strategy to guarantee its success.
- Utilize safety measures with electric cords. This includes replacing cords that are loose, frayed, or contain cracks. Never place cords in areas that receive a large volume of foot traffic, such as under mates or carpeting. Avoid tacking cords to surfaces with nails or staples. If an extension cord is being used on a long-term basis, consider having outlets installed by a certified electrician nearer to your electronic devices.
- Only use the correct wattage light bulbs in all fixtures. If the wattage is higher than the requirement noted on the lamp or appliance, replace the bulbs immediately. Firmly secure light bulbs in the socket to safeguard them from overheating.
- Use surge protectors to guard appliances and other electronics in your home. ESFI says it is important that homeowners use a surge protector that is equivalent to the equipment one has while keeping in mind that they only protect the items that are directly plugged into them. Note that there are two basic types of surge protectors: the power strip accompanied by a surge protector and the wall-mount surge protector. When buying a surge protector, locate one that has the Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) mark of approval and always avoid overloading it. As with wiring, surge protectors will eventually need to be replaced, especially if the home experiences a large surge or frequent power surges.
- Store flammables away from electrical appliances. It is helpful to establish a safe, designated area for flammable chemicals in your home.
- As the average daily temperature declines, portable space heaters run a high risk of electrical fires. Other risks include lamps, blow dryers, hair straighteners, and clothing irons. Any object made of fabric, such as towels and bath mats, can quickly ignite and spread fire rapidly.
- Place a fire extinguisher is all major rooms of the home, such as kitchen, bedrooms, and laundry room. The National Fire Protection Association suggests a multi-purpose extinguishers that carry an “A, B, C” combination classification while also carrying the label of an independent testing laboratory. Have all family members read the instructions on how to use the fire extinguisher. Extinguishers are useful in containing small fires until the fire department arrives, but the first priority should be getting one’s family out of the home safely.
- Arcs cause numerous electrical fires every year, but this can be combated by installing Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) breaker in the home. Arcs in the home’s electrical system occur when an electrical current flows through an inadvertent path generating a sudden, high temperature in electrical wires. When this happens, the extreme temperatures can easily ignite other combustible materials surrounding it, such as wood or insulation. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association says having an AFCI breaker offers greater fire protection for homeowners than a standard circuit breaker. An AFCI monitors the circuits in your home for the presence of hazardous arcing conditions and instantly disconnects the damaged circuit before the arc has time to build enough heat to cause a fire. As of 2008, the National Electrical Code has required new homes to have AFCI protection, but the code varies from state to state, and older homes are at a greater risk due to aging electrical wiring. As always, have a qualified electrician install the AFCI breaker.
Reducing the risk of electrical fires in one’s home is relatively simple, but the safety benefits are worth a great deal of peace-of-mind.
Water Damage and Your Washing Machine
According to research studies, flooding washing machines are amongst the top 10 causes for insurance claims files every year. This included all home related damage claims. Water damage frequently occurs from this underappreciated and overworked home appliance. SERVPRO offers some information and preventative tips.
Washing machine flooding is problematic for several different reasons. The water source is known as white water, potable and safe. If the leakage source is from the washing machine drum or the drainage hose, then gray water is the result. This is called category 2 water and holds contaminants from soiled clothing, detergent chemicals, and possibly debris contacting the water. This can lead to illness upon exposure to skin or ingestion. Once excessive water pooling has transpired, your property can be subjected to unwanted structural damage or mold infestation.
What Makes Washing Machines Malfunction?
Washing machines break down for several reasons, but one of the most common causes is a water supply line connection that loosens or bursts. When you turn your washing machine on, you likely feel a slight jolt because of the water flowing through the line. This causes a pop of pressure within the hoses. Eventually, the hoses will start to weaken from normal wear and tear. A large bubble in the hose may be the first indication of a washing machine “aneurism”. Inspect periodically and consider replacing hoses every 5 to 6 years.
Another reason that your washing machine may start to flood results when a drain hose becomes disconnected. Your drain hose enables water to exit the machine under pressure. This flow is stronger than gravity flow, thus allowing for wider dispersion of water. A simple knock can dislodge the drainage hose from the back wall housing the drainage pipe. SERVPRO suggests securing the hose to the housing of the drainage system.
How to Prevent Washing Machine Flooding From Causing Water Damage.
The best way to prevent your washing machine from flooding is to be diligent regarding preventative maintenance. You could spend over $150 for an electronic flood stopper mechanism. However, if there have been drainage problems caused by the sewage line, then install a flood-guard float (about $25.00) that acts as a check valve. This will prevent sewage water from backing up into the house. Black water, that is Category 3 water, that contains dangerous raw sewage and contaminants must be blocked from flowing into your home.
Call SERVPRO for Excellent Water Damage Services.
Although learning how to prevent your washing machine from flooding is important, you could still find yourself subjected to water damage at some point. When this happens, it’s important to call a team of professional water damage restoration experts to your property. The professionals at SERVPRO have extensive industry experience and also offer 24/7 emergency services.
Highly-Trained Water Restoration Specialists
As leaders in the water damage industry from SERVPRO of Lawrence/Ottawa, we have advanced equipment, training and expertise, not to mention a tremendous amount of hands-on experience. Our process includes documentation of the drying process to validate your property is dry. Learn about our water damage training and certificates by visiting our website, www.SERVPROlawrenceottawa.com. Call us for help at 785-690-7373.
Water from sewer backups should be considered very dangerous. The water is grossly unsanitary and may contain bacteria and viruses that could cause serious illness. Special training and equipment is necessary to safely clean this type of contaminant.
There are three major types of contaminated water. SERVPRO of Lawrence/Ottawa will inspect the contaminated water to determine the type of water and them plan the appropriate response to safely restore your home or business.
The Three Types of Contaminated Water:
Category 1 : “Clean Water”
This is water from a clean source, such as a broken clean water supply line or faucet. If left untreated, category 1 water can quickly degrade into Category 2 or 3 water depending upon such factors as time, temperature, and contact with contaminants.
- Water from a clean source like a broken water line
- If left untreated, can degrade into category 2 or 3
Category 2 : “Gray Water”
This water has a significant level of contamination that could cause discomfort or illness if ingested. Sources for category 2 water may include washing machine overflow, toilet overflow with some urine, but no feces; or dishwasher overflow.
- May contain bacteria and viruses
- Can quickly degrade into category 3 if left untreated
Category 3 : “Black Water”
This water is grossly unsanitary and could cause severe illness or death if ingested, and any contact should be avoided. Sources for category 3 water could include flooding from rivers or streams, water from beyond the toilet trap, water from the toilet bowl with feces, or standing water that has begun to support microbial growth.
- May contain untreated sewage, harsh chemical, and microbes
- Water from flooding rivers or sewer backup
24 Hour Emergency Service
Sewage backup should be considered an emergency and dealt with as quickly as possible. We are the water damage restoration specialists with specific training and expertise to safely restore your home or business.
Winter Weather Worries
If you live where temperatures sink below freezing level, you are at risk for frozen pipes and ice dams, which can create major disaster at your home or property. Frozen pipes often occur when they are exposed to the cold weather, such as those outside your house, or in cold areas such as basements, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. A frozen pipe can burst at the point where the ice blockage inside the pipe is located, but typically the rupture is caused the backflow pressure between the water source and the blockage. Here are a few steps that you can take to prevent your pipes from freezing:
- Be sure to completely drain water from swimming pool and sprinkler lines, as well as outside hoses.
- Open kitchen cabinets to let warm air near the plumbing.
- When the weather is extremely cold, let water drip from faucets that may come from exposed pipes.
- Keep your heat set to the same temperature both day and night.
Ice dams can become a major problem during the snowy season. They form when heated air melts roof snow downward into water dammed behind still frozen ice. When the trapped water cannot safely flow or run into the gutter system, it can backflow under the roof’s shingles and into the structure’s interior areas, as well as causing gutters and shingles to move or fall. Icicles can be an indicator of an ice dam according to Travelers.com. To spot ice dams inside, “check for water stains or moisture in your attic or along the ceiling of exterior walls of your house. Water stains or moisture may be an indication that an ice dam has formed and water has penetrated the roof membrane.” Removing the ice dam as soon as possible is vital to helping prevent damage to your property and can be done using heated cables, a roof shovel, or calcium chloride ice melter.
If winter weather causes water damage to you and your insured’s property, your localSERVPRO professionals are only a call away 24/7, ready to restore to preloss condition.
The Science of Drying
Did you know there is actually a science behind the process of drying? Having the knowledge of psychrometrics is essential to restoring a water damaged structure to its preloss condition. If your business or home suffers a water damage, the team here at SERVPRO of Lawrence/Ottawa will:
- Inspect the building to detect every component that is wet to help prevent secondary damage from happening.
- Measure how much moisture is in wet materials and monitor whether the materials are drying properly.
- Speed up Mother Nature by using professional drying equipment.
What exactly does it mean to help “speed up Mother Nature”? A wet building can often dry naturally because the environment always seeks equilibrium. When materials are wet, moisture will naturally move to drier air at the surface of the material-but only if the air is drier. The only problem with nature is, nature often takes too long and secondary damages may occur while the building is drying out. SERVPRO of Lawrence/Ottawa has the professional training and equipment to help make water damage “Like it never even happened.”
Having a Plan During a House Fire
Teach your kids these tips about fire.
Does your family have a plan during a house fire?
Your kids’ safety is of utmost importance. You teach your children to look both ways before crossing the street and to stay away from strangers. But, as a parent and homeowner in Lawrence/ Ottawa, do you educate your children on what to do in a home fire? When a fire emergency occurs, every second counts. Have a fire escape plan and practice it with your children. Review the tips below to educate your family.
Practice a Fire Escape Plan
Teach and practice the following techniques with your children during a non-emergency, so your family knows what to do in the case of a home fire:
• If the smoke alarm sounds at night, roll to the edge of the bed face down, place the closest hand to the floor and slide off the bed.
• Crawl to avoid smoke in the air on knees and forearms with head down, or crawl like a snake.
• Check doors before opening by feeling for heat. If hot, find another way out of the room. If warm or cool, open slowly and check for fire. Close doors as you go.
• Create and practice an escape route and agree on an outdoor meeting place. If trapped, go to the window, open it, climb out if possible or yell for help. Once out of the house, do not return inside for any reason.
Preventative Measures for Kids
Aside from teaching and practicing the above techniques, follow these kids’ safety tips:
• Maintain at least one functioning smoke detector at each level of your home. Teach your children that the alarm sound means there is fire and smoke in the house.
• Keep lighters and matches out of the reach of young children. Instruct older children not to play with these or other flammable objects, such as candles.
By teaching and practicing the above tips with your children in Lawrence/ Ottawa, your family is prepared for a home fire. Once your kids’ safety is secured and the fire is out, contact a fire restoration specialist and your homeowner’s insurance agent to begin the process of returning your home to preloss condition.