How dangerous is flood water?
Floodwaters can be mixed with sewage and other contaminants.
It certainly can be, especially if it mixes with sewage and other contaminants. It’s another reason why you should always leave mitigation to the professionals. As we noted earlier in this piece, the IICRC defines flood water in three categories: 1, 2, and 3. Category 1 water is clean water as if it was right out of a faucet. Category 2 water is mostly clean, but likely contains some contaminants. And Category 3 water is highly contaminated water, often containing raw sewage. If you don’t have the necessary PPE to handle hazardous water, you risk becoming very ill. The professionals at SERVPRO of Kendall County know how to properly assess water conditions and proceed accordingly. The contaminant level of the water will also likely influence restoration efforts.
Fire Extinguisher Cleanup
Are all fire extinguishers created equal?
Are all fire extinguishers created equal? The answer is no. Fire extinguishers are similar to cars. There are many different makes and models that differ in design, quality, durability, serviceability, and function. However, they all have one common purpose: to quickly and effectively stop a fire from spreading.
The different types of fire extinguishers have specific requirements for cleaning the extinguishing agent after discharge. Below we’ve identified a few types of fire extinguishers and how to properly dispose of any residue left behind.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF EXTINGUISHERS INCLUDE:
- Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher – Compact and portable designs make these extinguishers best qualified for the protection of minor hazards in industrial and commercial settings.
- Wet Chemical Fire Extinguisher – By incorporating a flexible design and effective liquid agent, this extinguishing system quickly reduces flames and cools hot surfaces specifically in foodservice kitchens.
- Clean Agent Fire Extinguisher – This extinguisher is commonly used in areas with sensitive computer equipment (e.g. server rooms) because the discharge dissipates into the atmosphere.
- Class K Fire Extinguisher – With the ability to hold in vapor and steam from a fire, this extinguisher is used in commercial kitchens for grease fires.
While fire extinguisher discharge does not usually present health hazards, the experts at State Systems want you to be prepared. That being said, do you know how to properly clean up the leftover residue after your fire extinguisher is put to use?
DRY CHEMICAL FIRE EXTINGUISHER
- Sweep or vacuum any residue that has settled on the affected area.
- To break down the silicone in the dry chemical, spray the affected area with a solution of 50% isopropyl alcohol and 50% warm water. Allow the solution to penetrate the residue for a few minutes, then rinse with warm water.
- To neutralize sodium bicarbonate and potassium bicarbonate-based dry chemicals, wash the affected area with a solution of 98% hot water and 2% vinegar. Allow the solution to sit for a few minutes; then rinse with warm water.
- To neutralize mono ammonium phosphate-based dry chemical, wash the affected area with a solution of hot water and baking soda. Allow the solution to treat the excess agent for a few minutes, then rinse with warm water.
- Wash the area with a mild soap and water solution; then rinse.
- Blow the area dry to remove excess water.
WET CHEMICAL FIRE EXTINGUISHER
- Confirm all fuel sources to the equipment have been shut off.
- Make sure to wear rubber gloves. If the liquid or fire extinguishing agent comes into contact with your skin or eyes, flush thoroughly with water.
- Use hot, soapy water and a cloth or sponge to wipe away the foamy residue. Scrub all surfaces that have come into contact with the excess agent.
- Once all surfaces impacted with the residue are cleaned, rinse and allow time to dry before returning power back to the equipment.
CLEAN AGENT FIRE EXTINGUISHER
No special precautions need to be taken after the fire extinguisher is used.
CLASS K FIRE EXTINGUISHER
Rinse the affected area with a solution of soap and water.
ADDITIONAL CLEANING TIPS
- Items such as artwork, tapestries, and electrical equipment need to be professionally cleaned to avoid further damage.
- Be extra cautious when treating cooking equipment and food storage during the cleanup process.
- Immediately recharge or replace your fire extinguisher
What to Do Following a Flash Flood
How to Manage after a flash flood
Floods are often unpracticable and unlike a hurricane, leave little to no time to prepare. This list outlines how to safely get your property clean, safe, and dry directly following a flood.1. Personal Health and Safety - Avoid exposure to harmful toxins that could be in the floodwaters with both respiratory AND contact precautions with the following Personal Protective Equipment:
Contact Precautions- Latex gloves, Rubber Boots, Coveralls, and Eye Protection to avoid any flood waters from getting into your eyes.
Respiratory precautions - N95 is ok in most circumstances but you may want to consider heavier duty respirator during flood clean up.
2. Gross removal - Remove everything that is unsalvageable in the home or property.
Unsalvageable Items - Remove porous contents and building materials like drywall, particleboard, most types of flooring BEFORE you start cleaning.
-Any sort of furniture - Sofas, Mattresses - that's been impacted by floodwaters should be tossed out as it's not worth the effort in cleaning.
Salvageable Items - Non-porous building materials like concrete or steel can be cleaned in place so no need to remove them.
3. Pressure clean - Use a pressure washing gun to clean the areas where the floodwaters touched. For walls and ceilings that were not touched by floodwaters, you'll want to still thoroughly clean by wiping down with disinfectant.
4. Disinfecting- Apply a broad application of antimicrobial disinfectant once everything is clean in order to remove all microbes and toxins that were in the floodwaters.
5. Dry Everything - Before a professional water damage restoration company can access your home to begin the restorative drying process, you'll want to do your best to dry everything to the best of your ability. SERVPRO of Kendall County has the specialized equipment to dry materials efficiently and properly.
6. Mold - Because mold can start to grow in 72 hours following a flood, Continue to clean, clean, clean! Mold is readily aerosolized so it's important to clean everything from top to bottom, left to right to avoid mold growth.
7. Testing - An environmental mold assessment following the cleaning and drying process will ensure that you've eliminated any concerns regarding harmful microbials left in your home. Especially if there are children or immune-compromised living in your home, we recommend professionally testing your home.
Please reach out to the team at SERVPRO of Kendall County to answer any questions you may have and to provide emergency response when and if needed.
Being prepared is the first line of defense against storm damage.
1. Stay informed. Being prepared means first and foremost to know what kind of weather is on the way. The National Weather Service provides a map of the U.S. with the latest warnings; simply click on your location to get more detailed information. Of course, you can also listen to your local weather forecast or use a weather app. In addition, keep your phone charged and on, as that will allow you to receive local weather alerts such as flood warnings.
2. Don’t leave vehicles and other expensive items outdoors. Cars, motorcycles, outdoor furniture, and even children’s playground toys, can easily get damaged due to high winds. They can also blow away and cause damage to your home. Place your vehicles in your garage or carport and put the outdoor furniture and toys inside your home or in a shed.
3. Prepare your yard. Trees, plants, and shrubs take quite a beating during storms. Most will recover by themselves, but you’re best advised to take certain precautions. If you have any plants in pots, bring them indoors to prevent them from being blown over. You should also prune back any tree branches that are close to your home and cut down dead or dying trees.
4. Install storm shutters. During high winds, your windows are vulnerable to branches and other debris blowing around. You can protect them by installing storm shutters. Make sure the shutters are properly secured before the storm starts. If you don’t have enough time to install storm shutters, you can also protect your windows by affixing sheets of plywood in front of them.
5. Clean out the gutters and storm drains. Storms can bring a lot of precipitation. Your gutters are intended to lead that water safely away from your home so it doesn’t collect and cause water damage. Check them thoroughly paying particular attention to the joints and downspouts where buildup can occur. You should also make sure your storm drains are free of leaves and other debris so water doesn't pool there.
6. Check your generator. If you rely on a generator during power outages, then you need to make sure it’s in good working order before the storm starts. Do a manual test to make sure it runs properly. In addition, make sure you have sufficient fuel to last for a few days.
7. Create an emergency kit. Your emergency kit should include at the minimum items such as bottled water, a flashlight, a first aid kit, non-perishable food, blankets, and warm clothing, phone chargers and batteries, and a radio. You should also consider placing copies of important documents such as passports, insurance policies, and medical records in your kit.
Hiring a Commercial Cleaning Service Promotes Productivity
A Clean Space is a Clean Mind
As people continue to receive Covid-19 vaccines, reentering the corporate office space will begin to happen for many companies. The shift from slow-paced work-at-home life to the traditional fast-paced office environment may be a struggle for many company employees.
Company owners and office managers everywhere must do their due diligence to set their staff up for success. One of the best ways they can do this is by creating a work environment that motivates their staff and boosts productivity. A clean space is crucial for these reasons.
If you’re curious as to how commercial cleaning services can help promote office productivity, then continue reading.
A Clean Space is a Clean Mind
Have you ever been trying to focus on a task and no matter how hard you try, you simply can’t do it? During that task, were you constantly distracted by the things surrounding you, even if they were small? Does a speck of dust on the floor and old smudges on the windows keep catching your eye?
An unclean space can lead to a cluttered and clouded mind.
By enlisting the help of commercial cleaning services, like SERVPRO of Kendall County, you’re setting your office staff up for success. They’ll be able to focus on their task without worrying about distracting messes.
Time Saved Equals Time Focused
Have you ever been stressed at work because on top of all of your meetings and project deadlines, sometimes that day you have to perform office cleaning chores? This feeling can become distracting and pull time away from more important things.
When you’re trying to focus on daily projects and meetings, the last thing you or your staff need to be concerned with is office chores.
Knowing you have a SERVPRO of Kendall County coming in to take care of these tasks for you is a weight lifted from you and your staff’s shoulders. By saving time on cleaning, you can focus on your daily tasks.
It’s a Fresh Start
And last but certainly not least, a clean space gives the feeling of a fresh start for everyone in the office.
It’s no secret that a bright and airy environment can help people feel more awake, refreshed, and happier. The workplace should always strive for this feeling.
One of the easiest ways to do this is by cleaning every evening before closing. It allows your staff to walk into a fresh and clean environment to start their workday. That can be a major motivator.
But let’s be honest, who wants to stay after their workday to clean cubicles, windows, and carpets? No one. That’s where a commercial cleaning company can come in and save the day. Daily and weekly office cleanings are no longer of your concern – it’s their duty to ensure you have a clean workspace.
When cleaning mold you need a trusted source, like SERVPRO of Kendall County.
What causes mold?
Mold spores are all around us all the time. Mold spores can lay dormant for long periods, just waiting for the conditions to be right before they can grow. So, what do they need?
- Something to grow on and to provide food for their growth. These are your family heirlooms, such as drawings, wedding dresses, christening gowns, leather, letters, tape cassettes or vinyl records, films, photographs, and many other items which are precious to you.
- Mold needs the air to be damp; to have a high moisture content. Conservators call this Relative Humidity or RH for short. An RH of over 70% is generally agreed to be the point at which mould will grow on your heirlooms. However, mold can grow at an RH of 60% or lower, especially if the item has been affected by mold in the past. There are many different causes of a high RH in the home, this could be from the bathroom, cooking, poor ventilation which allows pockets of damp air to build up, a disaster like a burst pipe or flood and even your own breath.
Mold growth is can also be encouraged by dark conditions and lack of air movements, such as behind wardrobes and cabinets, or even inside them! You can easily monitor the RH of your storage area using a thermohygrometer which will highlight peaks in humidity.
Mold is very damaging
Mold growth can lead to the complete destruction and loss of your treasured possessions and collections due to discoloration, staining and weakening, spoiling your treasured wedding dress, rare book, or vinyl record forevermore. It can cause photographs and papers to stick together. It can be very difficult, and sometimes impossible, to get such damaged objects apart.
Why do I need a restoration company?
Benefits of Hiring a Water Damage Professional
Benefits of Hiring a Water Damage Professional
Water damage is one of the most stressful things that a business owner in Kendall County can face. The bad part of water damage is that it can continue to cause damage as long as it remains untreated for quite some time. For instance, the development of mold, wood rotting, rusting of metallic materials, as well as the development of other toxins, can subject the business owner or persons working or living in such premises to a serious health threat.
When in such a situation, it is important to seek professional water damage cleanup services from a professional restoration company such as SERVPRO of Kendall County. As a business owner, you have to make an immediate decision and find the right contractor to help you out. Although the cleanup can be a DIY exercise, it is very important to consider seeking cleanup services from an experienced and reputable water damage cleanup and restoration company. Every job requires expertise and skills for it to be done quickly and smoothly.
So why do you need professional water damage cleanup company help?
The cleanup and restoration after a water damage emergency is much easier and faster whenever a professional contractor does it. A majority of professional contractors have the necessary tools to help them do the cleanup and restoration work quickly without difficulties or hassles. In addition to modern equipment, they employ a lot of manpower to speed up the cleanup process. You can rest assured that your business will be ready for normal operations within the shortest time possible.
Prevent Secondary Destruction
Although a business owner can manage to get rid of water and do some bit of cleaning, it is much more difficult to prevent the development of mold and mildew growth on the walls, cabinets, doors, basements, windows, and other places that were in contact with water. Professionals have the necessary tools and safe disinfectants to protect your property.
Eliminate Health Threats
Depending on the source of the flood or the water damage, the chances of a disease outbreak are high. There could be potentially harmful bacteria, among other microorganisms, that can cause adverse health effects. For instance, floodwaters and sewage need to be addressed by professional water damage from SERVPRO of Kendall County. A professional has knowledge of what more actions and precautions to take to protect your business from potential health hazards.
6 Water Damage Restoration Do’s and Don’ts
BE informed. Know what to do and not to do when presented with water damage.
Water and Flood Damage Restoration: Things to Do
- Secure the area
First, ensure that it’s safe to be where the water is. Depending on the extent of the damage, you could be faced with a situation that’s dangerous to be in. Turn off the water supply and power supply, and disconnect appliances or mechanical tools that could conduct electricity or cause additional water to fill the area. Cover any holes in the roof or walls with a tarp so that the elements are kept out. Look for rodents and other pests that may have decided to come in or have been brought with the water. Secure heavy furniture or equipment that could collapse, or – better yet – take it out of the building completely. Immediately decide if it’s a place you can continue to be in until help arrives, being mindful of staff or customers that could get into harm’s way while you wait.
- Call your insurance
The next thing you should do is reach out to your insurance company. Even if your damage was caused by flooding, and you don’t have a flood policy, it’s worth investigating. Depending on the cause of the water, there may be a way for a policy to cover it, especially if it’s the fault of someone else who has insurance coverage.
- Remove valuables
Some things may have already been damaged beyond repair, but if you can move expensive items from the building, do so. Special equipment, computers and, and financial documents should be relocated off-site, if possible. Even if they can be put up above the waterline, natural disasters and building damage can attract criminals. You don’t want people taking advantage of the weakened structure of your office to steal from you.
- Put up the things you can
Equipment and furniture that hasn’t already been damaged should be moved to the highest level in your building or set on top of other furniture. Remember that the entire room will be humid and damp, even if items are above the waterline. Just being in a flooded building can cause them to grow mold or become musty, so do this only if you can’t take them out of the structure completely.
Water and Flood Damage Restoration: Things to Avoid
- Don’t remediate on your own
The biggest thing to remember when dealing with water damage, whether it came from a storm or an exploded toilet, is that you can’t handle much of the process by yourself. Even if you weren’t so already overwhelmed with losing your home or office to water, you don’t likely have the tools and industry-accepted resources to put the area back to a healthy, stable condition. In addition to water pumps, fans, and dehumidifiers, there may be materials that need to be demoed and reinstalled. The entire process of water damage remediation is a long one, and every step must be handled with care to ensure it doesn’t come back as a new problem. Home and office owners frequently try to handle water problems on their own, but the truth is that it can be difficult to know the extent of the damage just by looking at it.
Also, if it’s your personal business, you’re likely to be emotional and feel sentimental about the items damaged. You may not be able to reasonably assess if things need to be replaced. Everything from the carpet to the paint has a history; having a third-party expert team come in and give it to you straight is the best possible outcome. They can let you know just what can remain, and what has to go. In the end, removing everything that is beyond repair is best to avoid further health effects from mold or a collapsing structure.
- Delay getting help
As you’ve read above, the consequences of trying to handle too much of the restoration process can have expensive outcomes. Doing things wrong is costly! Another way to add to the total bill for fixing the water problem is by waiting too long. If you try a “wait and see” approach, your building may be silently crumbling underneath the moisture, or mold may be starting to take hold. If you’re convinced it’s a job for the professionals, don’t wait a minute. As soon as you see that it’s going to be a problem, make the call.
10 Simple Tips to Help You Avoid Fires
Be proactive with these simple tips to avoid fires
A home is often referred to as a safe haven. Make sure your home is protected from (and your family is prepared for) a fire. Here are 10 simple tips to help you avoid fires and reduce the risk of injury should one occur:
- Smoke Alarms – These are still a very important addition to your home. Smoke alarms are widely available and inexpensive. Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home and test it monthly.
- Prevent Electrical Fires – Don’t overload circuits or extension cords. Cords and wires should never be placed under rugs or in high-traffic areas. Avoid loose electrical connections by checking the fit of the plugin in the wall outlet. If the plug loosely fits, inspect the outlet right away. A poor connection between the plug and the outlet can cause overheating and can start a fire in minutes.
- Keep Plugs Safe – Unplug all appliances when not in use. Follow the manufacturer’s safety precautions and use your senses to spot any potential disasters. If a plug is overheating, smells strange, shorts out or sparks – the appliance should be shut off immediately, then replaced or repaired.
- Alternate Heaters – Make sure there is ample space around any portable heating unit. Anything that could catch fire should be at least three feet away. Inspect your chimney annually and use fire screens to help keep any fires in the fireplace.
- Fire Safety Sprinklers – When combined with working smoke alarms, home fire sprinklers greatly increase your chance of surviving a fire. Sprinklers are affordable and they can increase property value and lower insurance rates.
- Create An Escape Route – Create and practice your escape plan with your family from every room in the house. Practice staying low to the floor and checking for hot doors using the back of your hand. It’s just like a routine school fire drill – but in your home.
- Position Appliances Carefully – Try to keep TV sets, kitchen, and other appliances away from windows with curtains. If there is a wiring problem, curtains can spread a fire quickly. Additionally, keeping your appliances away from water sources (like rain coming in from windows) can help prevent wiring damage which can lead to a fire.
- Clean Dryer Vents – Clothes dryers often start fires in residential areas. Clean the lint filter every time you start a load of clothes to dry or after the drying cycle is complete. Make sure your exhaust duct is made of metal tubing and not plastic or foil. Clean the exhaust duct with a good quality dryer vent brush to prevent blockage & check for lint build-up behind the dryer at least twice a year.
- Be Careful Around the Holidays – If you fill your home with lights during the holiday season, keep them away from anything that can easily catch fire. Check all of your lights prior to stringing them up and dispose of anything with frayed or exposed wires.
- Conduct Regular Inspections – Check all of your electronic equipment and wiring at least once a month. Taking a little time to do this each month can really pay off.
Why Raw Sewage Cleanup is Not a DIY Project
Once your home has been contaminated, raw sewage clean-up is a specialized process that doesn’t belong in the DIY category.
Raw sewage cleanup imposes all the complications of indoor water damage but adds substantial serious health hazards, as well. Sewage backflow into your house from a number of causes including a blockage in your own sewage line or a widespread problem in the municipal sewer system such as inundation due to flood water. Once your home has been contaminated, raw sewage clean-up is a specialized process that doesn’t belong in the DIY category. Here are some reasons why it’s a job for professionals with the knowledge, training, and specialized equipment to do the job competently and completely.
- Sewage is a toxic biohazard. Raw sewage contains harmful bacteria including fecal coliform and E.coli, viruses, and any and all other toxic substances including chemicals and poisons that may have gone into the municipal sewer system. Crews that specialize in raw sewage clean-up often look like any other toxic clean-up professional, fully clothed in resistant protective garb including eye shields and high-quality breathing protection designed specifically for the purpose. A pair of overalls and a dust mask from the hardware store are not sufficient equipment to ensure personal safety.
- Contamination is on the move. During clean-up, a major concern is limiting the spread of contamination. Specific precautions are required to prevent toxins present in sewage from migrating to other areas of the house, including sealing off the contaminated area and fully ventilating to the outdoors.
- Deep decontamination techniques are required. Just as water penetrates to the deepest recesses in a house, sewage does, too, along with the pathogens it contains. Simply mopping up or disinfecting surface evidence of raw sewage is not effective cleanup.
- DIY disinfectants may not be sufficient. The do-it-yourself disinfectant of choice—household bleach—may not always be the most effective option against infectious microorganisms found in sewage and/or may not provide lasting disinfection potency.
- Odor matters, too. The pungent, penetrating odor of raw sewage is difficult to clear from any enclosed structure. Special odor absorbents and high-volume ventilation equipment are usually required.