SEPTEMBER IS NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS MONTH
Different types of disasters and emergencies happen in communities across the country, but there are key steps that every household can take to be better prepared for them. If you do nothing else this month, take time to create a disaster plan including an emergency escape plan.
Make a clear plan of what to do in an emergency and in case of an evacuation.
Identify clear roles for everyone in the house.
Discuss how to prepare and respond to emergencies that can happen at home, work, and school.
Make a list of all the important things you may forget when in an emergency.
Have a disaster kit assembled for everyone in the house.
Have an out of the area emergency contact person saved on a smartphone.
Practice evacuating your home twice a year, especially if you have kids or pets. This makes it a routine and can make a real emergency situation less stressful.
According to the Red Cross there are many disaster apps now available for smartphones and tablets that can be downloaded to help with emergencies. Some of these apps include a full emergency app, tornado, hurricane, earthquake, wildfire and flood apps. If any of these disasters are common in your areas I would recommend downloading the corresponding app. With these apps you can know when to evacuate, where a shelter may be located, and exactly where the disaster occurred.
Go to: http://www.redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/mobile-apps for more information
Tips on Cleaning and Organizing Workspaces
Divide Your Workspace Into Zones:
Determine how you want and need to use the space and set up zones for your daily functions. You may require a workspace for your computer, a library area for your research, a storage area for supplies and a filing area for your archives. This will provide a foundation for a more efficient use of space.
Keep Only What You Need at Arm’s Length:
Boxes of pens, stacks of papers and old coffee cups need to go. Rid your desk of visual clutter by paring down the items on top to the essentials only. Supplies, paperwork and personal items should be kept in the zones you’ve established for them.
Sort Your Catch-All Drawer:
Use drawer dividers to give everything a place, like compartments for paperclips and rubber bands. Go through the drawer every six weeks and clear out anything that is out of place or isn’t being used.
Eliminate Digital Clutter:
Digital clutter can be just as stressful as physical clutter. Organize digital files and your e-mail inbox just as you would paper files – with a system of logical and clearly labeled folders. Also, keep the icons on your desktop to a bare minimum, and trade in sticky notes on your monitor of calendar reminders.
Create A Daily Paper System:
Consider creating hanging files or baskets labeled “To Read,” “To Do,” and “To File.” Establish set days for each, so that you don’t get behind or feel the overwhelming need to do everything at once.
Prevent the buildup of dust, dirt, food stains and fingerprints. Wipe down your desk, phone, keyboard, and monitor once a week with disinfecting wipes.
Tips provided by Forbes, The Dangers of a Messy Desk.
What Causes Mold?
Common Source of excessive mold-causing moisture
Flooding from storms coming from outside
Sump pump overflow
Roof leaks from damaged roofs, ice dams or blocked gutters
Rain from storms through window frames, exterior walls, or doors
Leaking pipes, sewer back-ups or overflows
Damp basements due to high water table or badly managed water drainage
Condensation on cold surfaces
Mold needs these 3 main things to thrive and stay alive.
Warm or temperate Temperature
Mold is easier to prevent than it is to clean so keeping a watch on common sources of mold and maintaining a dry, ventilated home and drying homes from water damage within 24 hours of the incidence is the best way to prevent mold from happening in the first place. If you have a mold problem and you would like information about how to get it professionally cleaned, please call us and we will direct you on the companies that we use to test for mold.
SERVPRO of Washington DC, specializes in mold cleanup and restoration, in fact, it’s a cornerstone of our business. Our crews are highly trained restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your mold problem quickly and safely.
Different Types of Mold
The most common types of mold include aspergillus, cladosporium and stachybotrys atra (also known as black mold).
Aspergillus is a fairly allergenic mold that is commonly found on foods and in home air conditioning systems. Cladosporium is typically a black or green "pepper like" substance that grows on the back of toilets, painted surfaces and fiberglass air ducts. While this mold is nontoxic to humans, it can trigger common allergy symptoms, such as red and watery eyes, rashes and a sore throat.
Mold that appears to be orange or red in color is typically found outdoors, given its nature to thrive on decaying plants or moist wood. This type of mold, which can appear slimy, is harmless and should only be removed for aesthetic purposes.
Mold Vs Mildew
When it comes to mildew vs. mold, homeowners often have trouble identifying the differences between these two fungi. Knowing their different characteristics will help you when preparing for the battle against these household culprits.
Mold and mildew are both members of the fungi kingdom.
Mildew is common and will grow on damp materials like paper, leather and fabrics in addition to walls and other wet surfaces. Because of this, mildew is most commonly found in bathrooms, kitchens and basements. Mildew usually gives off a musty smell.
Unlike mildew, certain types of toxic molds can result in serious health problems for you and your family. Black mold can lead to serious respiratory complications.
Once mold is found in your home it is important that you make the call to SERVPRO to have the experts come and remove from your home.
Frozen pipes are often those exposed to the cold weather, mainly ones outside of your house or in cold areas. It is great to be aware of the areas that pipes can burst from freezing such as; basements, attics, garages or kitchen cabinets. To prevent pipes from freezing it is good to:
Be sure to drain water completely from swimming pools, sprinkler lines and outside hoses.
Open kitchen cabinets to let warm air near the plumbing.
When it is extremely cold, let the water drip from the faucets that may come from exposed pipes.
Keep your heat set to the same temperature both day and night.
These things are very important when winter temperatures kick in as freezing pipes can cause you time, money and become an inconvenience.
Get Your Property Winter Ready
Check your property for downed tree limbs and branches. Wind, heavy rain, ice and snow can cause damage to the property and potentially cause personal injuries.
Roofs, gutters and water pipes should all be inspected before a snow storm may occur. Gutter downspouts should be directed away from the building. Clear gutters of debris that may have gathered during the fall. Leaves and other obstructions can cause a damming effect, which can lead to roof damage and interior problems.
Inspect walkways and parking lots on properties for proper drainage to alleviate flood hazard potential.
Inspect handrails, stairwells and entryways to address and correct potential slippery areas. Install mats or non slip surfaces.
Protect pipes from freezing by allowing water to drip when temperatures dip below freezing.
Is Your House Ready For Santa?
As we start December and get excited because the holidays are upon us, we must also keep in mind the importance of safety. Here are some tips to remember during the holidays.
Never use lighted candles near trees, boughs, curtains/drapes, or with any potentially flammable item.
Stand your tree away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources. Make sure the tree does not block foot traffic or doorways.
If you use an artificial tree, choose one that is tested and labeled as fire resistant. Artificial trees with built-in electrical systems should have the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) label.
If using a natural tree, make sure it is well watered to avoid dry branches from catching fire from the heat of light bulbs.
Turn off all lights on trees and decorations when you go to bed or leave the house. Unplug extension cords when not in use.
When putting up holiday decorations, always use the proper step stool or ladder to reach high places. Don’t stand on chairs, desks or other furniture.
Prepare your car for the winter by checking items such as the brakes, spark plugs, battery, and tires. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended interval for a tune-up.
Refer to the link below for more safety tips.
Did you know that 3 out of 5 home fire deaths are due to non- working smoke alarms? Have you checked yours? It is as simple as looking on the back of the smoke alarm for the date of manufacture.
It is recommended that you try and change smoke alarms every 10 years if not sooner to avoid problems.
To find out more information on fire safety week visit the website of Fema:
SERVPRO of Washington, DC is locally owned and operated—so we’re a part of this community too. We are also part of a national network of over 1,700 Franchises, which enables us to respond quicker with more resources. For major storms and disasters, we can call upon special Disaster Recovery Teams strategically located throughout the country.
August Ladder Safety
As the summer comes to an end and people are having work done to get ready for fall such as; paint jobs, cleaning gutters, one should pay careful attention to the following ladder safety tips.
Ladder climbing takes place in almost every home and workplace.
Falls off ladders are near the top in causes of fatal work related injuries in the construction industry and the third leading cause in all industries combined.
- Be sure to inspect the ladder before using it. Check for broken or missing parts, as well as grease, oil or other substances that could result in a slippery surface.
- To ensure stability, place the ladder on firm, even ground. Make sure it is not near any electrical wires or power lines.
- When setting up the ladder, use the 4 to 1 rule. For example, if the ladder touches the wall 16 feet above the ground, the feet of the ladder should be 4 feet away from the wall.
- Before climbing the ladder, make sure the braces are fully extended and locked in place. Never climb higher than the third rung from the top of the ladder, and never try to “jog” or “walk” the ladder to a new location. Descend and relocate the ladder instead.
-When working from a ladder, stay in the center and do not reach more than a comfortable arm’s length away. Keep your feet braced against the side rails and lean slightly forward.
-Always face the ladder when ascending or descending.
-Whenever possible, work within sight of someone who could provide assistance in the event of an emergency.