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Plan for Fall With Fire Safety in Mind | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County

10/11/2021 (Permalink)

a small campfire burning bright in the dark night Be mindful about fall fire safety. Always remember that SERVPRO of North Kenosha County is the trusted leader in the restoration industry.

The Pack is back on the field, mornings and evenings are brisk once again, and suddenly everything is flavored with pumpkin spice. Yes, all the signs are here—fall has arrived in Kenosha.

Campout opportunities abound, fall decorations come out of storage and you’ve finally got good reasons to wear your favorite hoodie again.

But with each new season we should remind ourselves of basic fire safety needs, and fall is no different. Let’s go over a few of the most important things to remember this fall.

Campfire Safety

When you head out to the campsite, it’s equally important to know both how to build and how to put out your fire.

Any campfires should be at least 25 feet away from cars, tents or any structures, and not underneath any low tree branches. Use only safe ignition tools like matches or lighters with kindling—never use kerosene or lighter fluid. They may burn fast, but they can quickly get out of control.

Don’t leave your fire unattended at any point, and definitely don’t break camp until it’s completely extinguished—that means every last ember needs to be soaked through until any wood and all ash is cool to the touch.

Open Burning

Leaves are changing and falling, and when you end up with a yard full of dry, brown ones you may choose to burn them. You’ll need to check with your local fire department and get a permit first.

Only include organic yard waste like leaves and sticks in your burn—anything else is illegal and potentially toxic. Keep your burn pile at least 50 feet from your home, and never leave it unattended.

Space Heaters

Portable space heaters are always a risk because of their electrical draw and intense heat. Make sure your heater is a newer model with tip-over and overheat sensors, and keep it away from anywhere children might be active.

Operate your heater on a flat, level surface. Plug it directly into an outlet, as it can short an extension cord. Turn it off whenever you leave the room, and always unplug it when you go to bed.

Halloween

We’ll discuss this later in more detail, but decorating with candles, cobwebs or hanging lights can all be dangerous. Celebrate big, but celebrate safely.

If a fire hazard should turn from potential to reality in your home, remember the trusted leader in the recovery industry and contact SERVPRO to get your property fully restored right down to the smell of smoke.

Copyright © 2021 SERVPRO OF North Kenosha County

Where to Find Potential Water Threats at Home | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County

9/7/2021 (Permalink)

a leak in ceiling creating water lines running down an interior wall A water leak can turn into a big problem. Contact the SERVPRO of North Kenosha County team if you are dealing with any water damage

The water in your home is out to get you. You think you’ve got it under control, because you have it contained in your plumbing system.

But in every hose, pipe and appliance, that water is looking for a way out, and it will seize any available opportunity to escape and cause damage.

Your best chance of avoiding these potential problems at home is keeping an eye on a few strategic areas. From time to time, examine your home for signs of these impending leaks.

Toilets. Rubber seals are likely to be your issue when it comes to the toilet—keep an eye on the valve seal under the main tank and the flapper, which raises when you push the handle.

Appliances. Toilets, refrigerators and any appliances that use hoses to send water from one place to another are prone to develop leaks because of worn-out washers or problems with the hoses. And mind the age of your water heater—older tanks are liable to explode.

Clogged gutters. You have more control over this than any other water situation, because it’s really up to you to keep this from happening. Without your occasional presence on a ladder, this will happen, and it will eventually send water backing up into places in your home you don’t want it to be flowing.

Roof damage. This is a broad topic, but for our purposes today, let’s say you should visually inspect your roof regularly and after any major storm. Damaged shingles, flashing or sealants can allow water to damage your roof and cause structural weakness or mold in your attic.

Pipes. Even new pipes with poor insulation or badly installed joints can fail, and older pipes are prone to oxidation. If that’s not enough, outdoor pipes can actually be invaded by tree roots.

Blocked garbage disposals and sinks. Too much food, or the wrong kinds of food, can stop up your disposal or dam up your pipes, causing backups or issues under your sink. And never put any non-food items down the disposal—it doesn’t often end well.

Keeping up with the state of these areas may be able to help you see some household leaks before they happen. You can’t prevent everything, but getting a leg up where you can helps you lessen the likelihood and frequency of water damage in the home.

If a water leak erupts into a big problem at home, you’ve got the best team in the business on your side. Contact SERVPRO today so we can get started.

Why to Trust SERVPRO With Your Cleanup and Recovery | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County

8/25/2021 (Permalink)

damaged furniture and other home items sitting outside of red brick house When you are dealing with any damage, immediate action is crucial. SERVPRO of North Kenosha County is your local restoration expert.

Think about all the hats you have to wear as a home or business owner to keep things running smoothly. There’s the Finance Officer hat you put on when it’s time to pay bills or plan a budget, the Carpool Leader hat for getting the kids to school on time, the Meetings hat, the Laundry hat…the list is nearly bottomless.

But there’s a hat you probably don’t have, and it’s the one you need when a flood takes over your house or a fire sparks up in the wiring behind that old paneling. You need a Disaster Recovery Expert hat for that. You may not have one, but SERVPRO does.

Here’s why you should make us your choice you need cleanup and recovery from disaster.

We’re Always Ready and Faster to Any Size Disaster

All day, every day, there’s an elite team of SERVPRO emergency service professionals standing by to be where you need us.

We know that waiting for cleanup to start means worse buildup of toxic mold, baked-in smoke smell or another set of soured belongings. A rapid response makes all the difference, and having a SERVPRO franchise right here in North Kenosha County means you get the double advantage of having a lively, local team familiar with the needs of the area plus the mammoth nationwide network of SERVPRO resources.

We’re Trained to Handle Residential and Commercial Services

Homes and business have different setups, materials and needs, and we’re fully equipped to take care of both. We’ve spent decades forging techniques and developing methods to take the sting out of any disaster in any setting.

We’ll Make It "Like it never even happened."

While our methods are sophisticated, our methodology is simple: We’ll provide you with excellent service, expertly executed, and we’ll leave your work area uniform and pristine. You’ll get fast, seamless recovery that focuses on restoring your original property and possessions.

We Offer the Services You Need in a Changing World

In a heightened era of disease consciousness, business owners have to show customers that they’re putting consumer welfare above all else. That’s why we pioneered the Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned program. Now you can let your customers know before they even walk in that they’re safe inside, and they’ll thank you with repeat business and loyalty.

Regardless of why you need cleanup or disaster recovery, SERVPRO has the tools, the technicians and the training to get your situation under control. When you’re ready to get help from the best, get in touch with SERVPRO.

Summer Storm Readiness | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County

8/25/2021 (Permalink)

a large lightning strike in a dark stormy sky If storms cause damage to your home or business, SERVPRO of North Kenosha County is on the line, ready to make things right.

It’s summer in Kenosha, and many of us have a calendar full of plans. The longer, sun-filled days beckon us to outside activites—maybe you’re heading to Milwaukee to catch some baseball (you wouldn’t sneak south to Chicago for that, would you?), or maybe you’re taking the kids to the Kenosha Splash Pad for some cooling off.

Whatever your plans are, though, you might want to pack an umbrella.

It definitely sounds strange, but the sunniest portion of the year is also a very active time for thunderstorms. The highest month of rainfall in Kenosha is August, and the atmospheric conditions of humidity and warm air are more likely to produce thunderstorms as part of that rain.

Be Storm-Alert

Storms can pop up on about any summer afternoon. Pay attention to local alerts or notifications from your weather app. An NOAA Weather radio can keep you up on the latest information as well, even if power or cell service drop out.

If flood watches or warnings are issued, you should rethink those travel plans and postpone outdoor activities. Make a check around the house as well, because there may be items which need to be tied down or moved so they don’t blow away or get washed down the street.

Preparing for a storm is much less exciting than watching Christian Yelich swat, but it’s essential if you want to stay safe. Storms result in a number of deaths every year, and most of those fatalities could have been prevented with some extra caution or prevention.

Be Storm-Safe

Being outdoors is dangerous during a storm, so keep it inside. Lightning is a threat until the storm has moved 10 miles or so away. You’ll know you’re safe when you haven’t heard thunder for a full half hour.

Showers and baths are dangerous inside, because the water and metal can conduct electricity if lightning strikes the house. Windows are sketchy as well, as they can shatter because of lightning (or even debris in heavier storms).

Keep an emergency kit stocked and ready, with supplies, food and medicine you may need if power loss is extended. A mobile kit in the car can keep you ready as well if evacuation becomes necessary.

In the case of flooding, stay inside and stay on high ground. Don’t risk driving in floodwater, because it can cause or conceal all sorts of danger. Avoid coming in contact with flood water as well, because it is full of contaminants.

There are any number of dangers that can come into play in a thunderstorm, and it’s always best to be cautious and put things on hold until storms safely pass. If storms cause damage to your home or business, SERVPRO is on the line, ready to make things right again.

The Increasing Cost and Frequency of Severe Storms | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County

8/5/2021 (Permalink)

a large yellow warning sign stating that there is stormy weather ahead When storms do damage, we go to work to make things right. Contact SERVPRO of North Kenosha County to start the restoration process.

2020 was a year that inflicted all sorts of punishment. Many of us were affected by the pandemic in one way or another, and almost all of us felt the effects of an extended national quarantine.

And on top of all that, the year also turned into one of the most violent in history in regard to extreme weather. In fact, 2020 saw more weather disasters than any previous year for which we have data.

Storms or weather events are officially classified as disasters when they cause a billion dollars in damage. There were 22 of these unfortunate occurrences in 2020, crushing the previous mark of 16, which was set just a few years prior.

And of course there were many other weather calamities that didn’t reach the billion-dollar threshold—there were so many cyclones in the Atlantic, for example, that the National Weather service ran out of names and had to use Greek letters to name the rest of the year’s storms.

Not Just Hurricanes

It’s common to point the finger at hurricanes when it comes to financially disastrous storms. But last year, it happened that the most expensive disasters of 2020 in the contiguous United States were thunderstorms and tornadoes: More than 60% of the disasters on record were thunderstorms or storm-related events.

In August, a single storm system that began in Nebraska took out over 100 million acres of corn fields—an area more than 150,000 square miles—jeopardizing over 11% of the entire country’s corn production, and half the crop of the state. That same storm reached us all the way in Kenosha and Racine, causing flooding, downed trees and a sizable sinkhole at Quarry Lake Park.

Not Just 2020

While we certainly hope for gentler years to come, it does seem that 2020 was part of an unfortunate trend of extreme weather years. Every year since 2011 has brought at least eight billion-dollar events, and several of those years have set records of their own, including 2017, when storms caused over $300 billion in total damages.

Thunderstorms and extreme weather are possible year round, and precautions against storm and water damage should be a regular part of every homeowner’s preparations. But if extreme weather overwhelms your preparation or causes other damages, remember SERVPRO is on call 24 hours a day for emergency help.

When storms do damage, we go to work to make things right. Contact SERVPRO today to see how we can help.

Defensible Space: Star Wars or Wildfire Protection? | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County

7/29/2021 (Permalink)

a gated long brown pebble driveway tucked next to a large brick home If your home is damaged by fire or any other reason, SERVPRO of North Kenosha County is ready and able to repair any damage.

One of any home or property owner’s greatest fears is having things go up in flames, and wildfires are a more frequent perpetrator of property loss than you might imagine. Wildfires are seemingly inexhaustible, and with so much of our world being made of organic or combustible material, it’s quite a feat that we can even manage to contain them.

But there are some passive ways we can protect our homes and stop wildfires, aside from the simplest and most impactful, which would be simply being more careful.

Let’s look at a concept called “defensible space.”

What Is Defensible Space?

It’s not a new Star Wars movie—“defensible space” is a series of buffer zones you can create around your home by getting rid of wildfire fuel like brush and dead trees, adding gravel, concrete or flame retardant plants near your house, pruning your plants to prevent fire from spreading easily between them, and keeping trees and shrubs at a safe distance from one another.

Think of it as a protective barrier (aka defense), designed to shelter your home in the event of a wildfire by depleting a fire’s fuel sources as it comes near. Defensible space also gives firefighters their best chance of stopping a wildfire before it breaches your home’s perimeter.

Defensible space isn’t required by law in Wisconsin, but it’s a good fire safety principle to consider all the same.

Why Defensible Space Matters

You may think of wildfires as primarily a problem in western states, but they can happen anywhere. There were over 59,000 wildfires across the United States in 2020.

Even if we negate California’s 10,000+ fires, the average number of wildfires per state in 2020 was almost 1,000, and every state experienced at least a few.

Wisconsin suffered 781 wildfires last year, destroying almost 1,800 acres of land. And there has been a 25% increase in the number of fires so far in 2021.

We should take any opportunity to make it more difficult for wildfires to consume our property, and defensible space is a reasonable step to take that could yield home-saving results.

If your home is damaged by fire of any sort, wild or not, SERVPRO is ready and able to repair the damage caused. Get in touch today to get the pros on your team.

 

Creating Confidence in a Post-Pandemic Business Environment | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County

7/11/2021 (Permalink)

a SERVPRO employee placing a CSC sticker on building glass If you’re business has sanitation and cleaning needs, get in touch with the SERVPRO of North Kenosha County team.

With major metro areas like Milwaukee and Chicago finally making significant progress in the area of COVID-19 recovery, hopes are rising that “real life” will be reemerging soon, and business owners are highly anticipating a return to normalcy in the economy as well.

But customers returning to physical locations to shop, as well as employees coming back to the office for on-site work, are freshly aware of the need for a healthy business environment, and it falls to business owners to make sure one is provided.

That’s why your business needs to be Certified: SERVPRO® Cleaned.

Get Certified: SERVPRO® Cleaned

The Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned program uses high-grade biohazard solutions and technologies far beyond what typical cleaning and janitorial services can offer to give your customers the assurance they need when they return to your location. By removing worries about sanitation, we can provide your teams and patrons with valuable and loyalty-building peace of mind. They’ll feel good about returning to your business without having to worry about potential contagious diseases of any kind, not only COVID-19.

What makes this program stand out? It’s the three C’s:

Consult. We’ll work together to customize a sanitation plan that adapts to the needs of your business context. It helps that SERVPRO of North Kenosha County is locally owned and operated, so we are already accustomed to many of the complexities of southeastern Wisconsin.

Clean. Once our plan is in place, we’ll get to work right away giving your business a cleaning your clients and employees will notice and value. We’ll be equipped with proprietary, hospital-grade cleaning solutions that have already proven effective against dangerous threats like anthrax and MRSA, and your building will receive a thorough cleaning that meets or surpasses CDC’s guidelines. And it’s more than COVID-19 prevention; we focus on a holistic solution to make sure your business environment minimizes the transition of a host of diseases and viral pathogens.

Certify. Now you can display the Shield. The Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned shield tells employees and customers before they even walk inside that you’ve gone the extra mile to provide a safe shopping or working experience for them, and they’ll value the fact that you’ve put their health in the forefront of your business strategy. You’ll be equipped with other physical and digital goods as well, for display inside and on your website or social outlets.

If you’re ready to get serious about sanitation and have your business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, get in touch today to get the best team in cleanup and restoration on your side.

Fire Safety for Barbecue Season | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County

6/25/2021 (Permalink)

flames and smoke from a bonfire Restoring fire and smoke damage is one of our specialties. Contact SERVPRO of North Kenosha County to learn more.

So much about spring and summer months are wonderful. The air is warm, the days are long, and nature is putting on an absolute show.

And maybe one of the best reasons to love these months is the fact that they give us an excuse to spend long hours at the grill in the backyard.

Yes, the season of barbecue is upon us once again, and once again men and women all over the country are trying out new rubs and sauces in search of the perfect brat, steak or chicken recipe. But all this extra activity at the grill and around the fire pit brings with it an unfortunate rise in accidental home fires.

In fact, spring sees more daily fires on average than any other time of year. So what can you do this barbecue season to avoid these kinds of incidents? Let’s look at a few things to take care of.

The grill. The grill presents the greatest risk for fire, because it combines a number of combustible elements. Make sure your grill is on stable ground and in good working condition, with no leaks of gas or grease. Never leave the grill going without your steady hand nearby (those patties are going to need a flip soon anyway). And don’t forget to give it a good cleaning! Almost 20% of grill fires are due to poor cleaning.

The fire pit. When you congregate around the backyard fire pit, make sure you’re operating with extreme caution—it is, after all, a literal open flame. Keep a full bucket of water close, with which you can douse any errant flames or accidental ash spills. Use this same bucket to extinguish the fire at evening’s end, but do it slowly, so as not to create any flying embers. Speaking of embers, don’t add leaves, paper or pine needles to the fire, as they present a great risk of uncontrollable embers that put your property in danger. And of course, never leave the fire pit unattended or allow children or pets near without supervision.

Chimneys and dryer vents. A couple more things while we’re talking fire safety—now that you’re done with your fireplace for the time being, have it cleaned so you’re not setting your first fall fire in a giant tube full of ash and soot. And check your dryer’s pipe vent, because sometimes lint can sneak past your lint trap and create an easily combustible hazard in the vent.

Your local SERVPRO technicians are on hand 247 for emergencies. If you encounter fire damage at your home or business, no matter the cause, we will be there faster and have it cleaned up sooner. Call or click today and experience the SERVPRO difference.

 

How Can I Tell if My Basement Has Water Damage? | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County

5/28/2021 (Permalink)

a grey basement showing signs of water damage SERVPRO of North Kenosha County is a restoration company. Our team of experts are on call and ready to help you determine the best course of action.

Having a basement in one’s home can be a great addition (or perhaps, rather, a great foundation). You can choose to finish and furnish, and it becomes additional living space or a hangout room for the kids. Or perhaps they’ve moved out and it’s time to build that dream home theater you’ve always wanted.

Versatile though they may be, however, basements run an inherent risk of taking on water and thus water damage, due to the fact that they are dug out of the moist soil in the building process.

While there’s no guarantee your basement will ever have this issue, it would do well for any homeowner to know the risks and signs of water damage if the time should come that it becomes apparent. So let’s look at the most typical signs you might find that water has invaded your basement—and if you need someone to take a look, our water restoration technicians are always here to take your call.

Typical Symptoms of Basement Water Damage

Unpleasant, musky odors. You know the smell. Almost everyone does. Many people have the misconception that all basements smell musty, but this really should not be the case. This smell will only arise when mold and mildew are present in the environment, and while these are often hard to see, they are easy to smell.

Flaking paint on masonry or walls. Waterproof paint may sound like a once-and-for-all solution to keeping moisture out of your home’s interior, but truthfully this isn’t the case. Over time, water seeps in anyway and causes the paint to bubble, crack and flake—the waterproof paint just holds it back longer, so that when the water does break through you’ve got a bigger problem.

Foundational cracks. Homes are known to shift over time, but significant cracks in your foundation may point toward a significant water leak that has gone unnoticed or unhandled. Cracks can show up in the floor, the ceiling or in your walls, and are often an indicator that your structure is under undue pressure because of a crack in your foundation. Hairline cracks on the ceiling are no cause for alarm, but if they become any larger, you should call for assistance immediately.

If you notice any of these signs in your basement, let us take a look. Our expert water restoration technicians can help you determine what is causing these issues and how to treat it properly. Contact us today to learn more.

How Thunderstorms Impact Wisconsin | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County

5/23/2021 (Permalink)

a large lightning strike just in front of person driving down road Thunderstorms can pop up at any moment. Contact SERVPRO of North Kenosha County if you experience any damage.

The dark, gray clouds and rumble from the sky only means one thing: A storm is coming our way. But how serious is the storm expected to be and what necessary precautions do you need to take? This all depends on the classification of the storm: thunderstorm or severe thunderstorm.

A thunderstorm is defined as any storm that has thunder and lightning. These types of storms are commonplace, happening about 40 days of the year in Wisconsin.

However, a severe thunderstorm not only has thunder and lightning, but also contains hail that is at least one inch in diameter and has straight-line winds of 58 miles per hour, at minimum. The National Weather Services issues on average five to 10 severe thunderstorm warnings per county per year in the southern counties. How does this type of storm affect your home and how can you keep it safe?

The 3 Major Elements That Make a Severe Thunderstorm Dangerous

Lightning. These bolts are commonly considered the most dangerous element of a thunderstorm because of its unpredictability. They have been reported to cause about 300 injuries every year, and that doesn’t even include the damage it can do to homes, like starting a house fire or felling trees.

Damage from hail. Due to its size (at least one inch or larger) and speed, hail can do damage to just about anything, particularly vehicles that are exposed, people or pets that are not under a sturdy shelter, and the sidings and roofs of houses. Statistically, Kenosha County doesn’t experience as much hail as the rest of the state, but the damage is still felt when it does happen.

Flash flooding. Flash flooding can occur at any time for a variety of reasons, including heavy rain, a backed-up storm drain or overflowing ditches on the roadside. These things can turn flooded roadways into a life-threatening scenario in a matter of minutes. Damage to vehicles is common if someone tries to cross a flooded road, but it’s also possible for a car to be taken away with the tide in a little as 12 inches of water.

While severe thunderstorm season is approaching, it’s time to prepare your business or home. But if these dangerous storms cause damage to your property, we will be there to help. Contact SERVPRO of North Kenosha County to restore your home back to pre-storm condition.