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You Can Avoid Fire Hazards in the Kitchen

5/23/2019 (Permalink)

Even though the kitchen can be a wonderfully versatile place where family and friends gather to catch up or enjoy preparing and eating a meal together, it is also a place where many home fires occur.

Cooking fires are the No. 1 cause of home fires and injuries. The leading cause of these kitchen fires is unattended cooking.

State Farm paid out a whopping $130 million for homeowners insurance claims related to grease and other cooking fires in 2017. According to the insurance company, these are the worst states for kitchen fires:

  • North Carolina
  • Texas
  • Pennsylvania
  • California
  • Ohio
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • New York
  • Alabama
  • Georgia

<h4fire-hazards">Avoiding Fire Hazards

Staying in the kitchen while cooking is not the only fire safety precaution you should observe. Take a look at these other helpful tips to observe while cooking:

1. What type of clothing are you wearing? Does your outfit have long, flowing sleeves or is it big and baggy? It could catch on fire if you aren’t careful while cooking over the stove. It’s best to wear short or close-fitted sleeve shirts and make sure any baggy shirts are tucked in or tied back.

2. What type of items are you placing around or on the stovetop? Make sure you don’t have kitchen towels, oven mitts, appliance cords or even curtains too close to the stovetop when cooking. Ideally, anything flammable will be moved away from it.

3. Do you have a fire extinguisher in/near the kitchen? Hopefully you have at least one fire extinguisher located in your home, ideally one that is near your kitchen. Make sure you know how to properly use the extinguisher, just in case it is ever needed.

4. How are you disposing of hot grease? While the grease may not be on fire, it could be hot enough to cause something in the trash to burn. You should let the grease cool a bit and then dispose of it in an old coffee can. Also, know the smoke points of the oils you cook with. Be sure to never subject a low-smoke point oil to high heat when cooking, as it could catch fire.

5. Do you have a fire escape plan established? Thinking about the worst-case scenario is never fun, but it’s better to be prepared than unprepared if an emergency were to occur. Go over exit routes and designated meeting points with your family, making sure that everyone knows what to do.

Fire safety in the kitchen is an absolute necessity, as it can help prevent dangerous and destructive cooking fires. If your home has experienced damage from a cooking fire, know that SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County is here to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Is Your Business Prepared to Handle Potential Disasters? | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County

5/7/2019 (Permalink)

Is Your Business Prepared to Handle Potential Disasters? | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County - SERVPRO OF NORTH KENOSHA COUNTY Blog

Business owners have many things to think about, but emergency preparation should be near the top of the list.

Having an emergency preparedness plan in place will not protect your business from all disasters or emergencies. However, it can offer peace of mind knowing that you have put together a plan to ensure that you have given the safety of your employees priority should a disaster or emergency situation occur.

Creating a Plan

Have you prepared an emergency preparedness plan that encompasses various disaster situations? If not, it should be a priority!

There are numerous emergencies your business should have a preparedness plan in place for, including:

  • Fire
  • Severe weather, including thunderstorms and winter storms
  • Other natural hazards like floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes
  • Human-caused hazards, including accidents or acts of violence
  • Technology-related issues like power outages and equipment failure

A disaster is a disaster, and an emergency is an emergency. It doesn’t matter if it’s a man-made incident or a natural disaster. If you have no emergency plan for your business, you are opening your business and your employees up for more problems than you would need in a stressful situation.

You should make sure that safety training and familiarization of emergency preparedness plans are included in the company onboarding process, team-building activities and continuing education opportunities. By helping employees familiarize themselves with proper safety protocol and emergency procedures, you’re not only giving them the tools to protect themselves, but you are also setting them up to help protect guests/visitors and the business itself.

Where to Start

As you are beginning to set up an emergency plan for your business, you should first perform an evaluation as to which scenarios are most likely to occur—and even consider the longshots. After all, it’s better to be prepared for all the worst-case scenarios and not be caught off guard.

There are plenty of online resources to help guide you through this process, including Ready.gov, the American Red Cross, FEMA and the CDC.

Perform a business impact analysis (BIA), which will help predict the potential effect a disaster may have on your business. This would include lost or delayed sales and income, increased expenses from repairs, and delayed implementation of business plans. Don’t forget to make sure a crisis communications plan is in place, too.

After you have done all of the above and have prepared an emergency preparedness plan, be sure to go over it and practice with employees. Reviewing and rehearsing various scenarios can help ensure the process remains fresh in their minds and can help employees feel more empowered.

Disaster can strike when you least expect it, but by being prepared and having a plan in place, your business will be better suited to handle whatever Mother Nature has in store. If the worst should happen and your business is damaged, know that SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County is here to help make it “Like it never even happened.”

Tips for Keeping Your Family Safe During a Tornado | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County

4/30/2019 (Permalink)

Tips for Keeping Your Family Safe During a Tornado | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County - SERVPRO OF NORTH KENOSHA COUNTY Blog

Springtime brings balmy weather that can sometimes be unpredictable. So it’s always a good idea to be prepared for the chance of severe thunderstorms that lead to the perfect conditions for a tornado.

April and May are the months of spring that, traditionally, have the highest occurrences of tornadoes at 30% and 24%, respectively. This means we are currently right in the midst of tornado season throughout the United States.

Read on as we share some tips and information on tornadoes that can help keep your family prepared for the worst possible scenario.

The Right Conditions for a Tornado

Roughly 1,200 tornadoes occur in the United States every year, and they are a direct result of severe thunderstorms known as “supercells.”

A tornado comes into being when changes in wind speed and direction create a horizontal spinning effect within a storm cell. This is then tipped vertical by rising air moving up through the thunderclouds.

You will usually not see the tornado’s signature funnel cloud at first because it is transparent, but it becomes more visible when water droplets from the storm’s moist air condense or when dust and debris are picked up.

A typical tornado can grow to be 660 feet wide and will move at 10 to 20 miles per hour, although larger and faster tornadoes have been observed. Hail and intense winds of more than 200 mph can accompany tornadoes.

Typically, tornadoes occur in the spring and summertime during the late in the afternoon, but that isn’t the only time. So it is important to remember that they can occur anytime and anywhere.

What to Do in Tornado Weather

Make it a point to understand the difference between tornado watches and tornado warnings. Tornado watches are issued when the conditions are favorable for tornadoes, while tornado warnings are issued when a tornado has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar.

If a warning has been issued for your area, it is vital to take action to find safe shelter, especially if you are in the path of the tornado. Shelter options include:

  • Underground options like a basement or storm shelter.
  • The lowest part of your home, in an area that is away from outside walls, doors and windows. Interior closets and bathrooms can be ideal options.
  • If you are outside, try to get to a sturdy building. Mobile homes and trailers are not a safe option.
  • If on the road and no building access is available, do not get under an overpass or bridge. Instead, find a low, flat location and use your arms to protect your head and neck.

You should make sure that you have flashlights, a battery-powered weather radio and extra batteries in your selected tornado shelter at home. When you are taking shelter in your home, furniture items like couch cushions, mattresses or blankets can be used to protect your head and neck.

If you find yourself caught in a tornado out on the road, DO NOT try to outrun it.

Tornadoes can be devastating and life-threatening in the areas they touch down. While meteorologists and weather services can provide some advanced warning to potential threats, tornadoes can still occur with little to no warning at all.

If your home or business has been damaged by a tornado, know that SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County is ready and waiting to jump into action and get cleanup and restoration of your property underway.

How to Prepare for Unpredictable Spring Weather | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County

4/22/2019 (Permalink)

How to Prepare for Unpredictable Spring Weather | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County - SERVPRO OF NORTH KENOSHA COUNTY Blog

Welcome to long-awaited spring! Now we can enjoy spring-like weather…and all that Mother Nature has in store for us during this season.

Spring and Increased Severe Weather Threats

We can now enjoy longer days and more sunshine with the arrival of spring, but unfortunately, spring also brings with it the threat of severe weather throughout the country. You never know what kind of weather a spring day is going to bring, which means the weather may change at moment’s notice.

Spring brings unstable temperatures, which cause changes in the weather, going from warm to cold even in the same day. Those temperature changes can result in extreme weather changes as well.

Thunderstorms become more prevalent throughout the spring and are the main cause of severe weather. A thunderstorm can occur whenever warm, moist air collides with cool, dry air, which is most common in the spring and summer.

Severe thunderstorms were the most common cause of natural catastrophe losses in the U.S. for 2017 and produced some of the costliest results. Out of 50 events, there were 85 fatalities and an estimated total of $25.4 billion in overall losses.

With these storms comes the threat of flooding, high winds and even tornadoes if the conditions are right. It has been found that in modern history, 10% of all violent tornadoes have occurred in March, with April, May and June taking the top spots at 30%, 24% and 15% respectively.

Preparing for Spring Weather

Even though we may not be able to predict the weather with 100% accuracy, forecasters do have the technology at their disposal to at least warn us of severe weather that could occur. Advanced warnings, along with the right preparation, can greatly improve overall safety for your family.

Here are some things you can do to your home to prepare for the chance of severe weather:

  1. Clear out your home’s gutters, drains and downspouts.
  2. Trim trees of precarious limbs or branches that could break off in a storm.
  3. Secure or store outdoor belongings if severe weather is in the forecast.

Having an emergency kit on hand is always advised. These kits should include the following:

  • Battery-operated flashlight and NOAA weather radio, with extra batteries for both
  • Emergency evacuation or shelter plans
  • Important personal info, like telephone numbers of neighbors, family and friends, insurance and property info, numbers for the utility companies, and medical info
  • A first-aid kit with things like non-latex gloves, adhesive bandages, tweezers, sterile gauze pads, aspirin packets, adhesive cloth tape and scissors
  • 3–5 day supply of bottled water and nonperishable food
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Blankets or sleeping bag

Despite its unpredictability, there is one thing that always remains true of the spring weather season: It always happens. If your home or business is damaged in a storm, you can depend on SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County to get the cleanup and restoration process started fast.

The Right Equipment

4/5/2019 (Permalink)

Using the right equipment makes a substantial difference in reducing claims loss expense. When time means everything, technology and equipment must be counted on to perform. Our water damage professionals here at SERVPRO of North Kenosha County thoroughly understand how to dry a structure and personal property effectively.

Psychrometrics is the study of the air and its properties. The properties of temperature, humidity, vapor pressure and dew point are measured to evaluate air conditions in a structure enabling our technicians to create the proper atmosphere for more efficient drying. Water can damage materials both by absorption through direct contact with water and through absorption of moisture from the air.

Here is the equipment we use here at SERVPRO of North Kenosha County at various stages of the mitigation process.

                Detection Equipment

                                Moisture Sensors – used to detect moisture in carpets, baseboards and walls

                                Moisture Meters – used to determine the actual moisture content of various materials

                                Thermohygrometers – measures both temperature and relative humidity

                Extraction Equipment – both portable or truck-mounted, extractors are used in cleaning carpets and upholstery and in removing water from floors following water damage

                Air Moving Equipment – used in water damage restoration to enhance evaporation at the surface level, thereby reducing drying time. As airflow at the surface level increases, the moisture in the air increases.

                Dehumidification Equipment – by extracting water vapor from the air, dehumidifiers lower the relative humidity, which in turn increases the rate of evaporation. Dehumidifiers pull in the moist, humid air and then discharge dry, warm air. The dry air acts like a sponge, absorbing moisture from wet materials. SERVPRO of North Kenosha County uses two types of dehumidifiers:

                                Refrigerant Dehumidifiers – work similarly to air conditioners

                                Desiccant Dehumidifiers – use chemicals, called desiccants, that readily absorb moisture from the air

                Deodorization Equipment

                                Ultra Low Volume (UVL) Foggers – will atomize liquid deodorizing agents, producing a fine mist that easily penetrates sites where odor-causing residues accumulate. This device can also be used to inject fungicides and disinfectants into wall cavities and other difficult to access areas

                                Thermal Foggers - dispenses solvent-based products in large volume, dense fogs suitable for confined areas. The fog consists of tiny particles of deodorant solution that pair and neutralize odor-causing particles.

When it comes to mitigating water damage in your home or business, you can rest assured that the team here at SERVPRO of North Kenosha County has the knowledge and equipment to get the job done right.

We’re Here to Quickly Respond to a Disaster at Your Property | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County

3/22/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO We’re Here to Quickly Respond to a Disaster at Your Property | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County Faster to any size disaster

We’re Here to Quickly Respond to a Disaster at Your Property | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County - SERVPRO OF NORTH KENOSHA COUNTY Blog

When disaster strikes your home or business, time is of the essence when it comes to cleanup and restoration. When it is your home or livelihood on the line, you don’t have the luxury of waiting for help—you need it right away.

We understand that a fast response is crucial, which is why responding faster to any size disaster is more than just a slogan to us.

Why a Fast Response Matters

When it comes to your belongings or business, time is not a luxury you have regarding disaster cleanup. This is especially true when water damage has come into play, which can be through various means such as flooding, appliance and/or plumbing failures, storm damage and fire damage, as water is used to put out the fires.

It only takes a matter of minutes for water to begin spreading throughout your property, where it will saturate everything in its path. Everything from the walls, the floors, upholstery and your belongings become water damage casualties.

The effects of water damage within the first 24 hours include:

  • Drywall beginning to swell and break down
  • Metal surfaces beginning to tarnish
  • Furniture beginning to swell and crack
  • Dyes and inks from cloth and paper items spreading and staining
  • The beginning of a musty odor

The damage continues to worsen as time goes on. Between 48 hours and a week later, you could begin to see:

  • The growth and spreading of mold and mildew
  • Swelling and warping of doors, windows and studs
  • Metal beginning to rust and corrode
  • Paint beginning to blister
  • Wood flooring swelling and warping
  • The possibilities of serious biohazard contamination

Water damage that is left to stand for more than a week leads to much higher costs and restoration times, and it can impact structural safety.

We’re Here to Help

We can provide an immediate response to any size disaster, which can help minimize the damage and help keep the cleaning and restoration costs manageable.

Our trained cleanup and restoration specialists can be dispatched to your property or business at any time, no matter what day or time it is.

We are a locally owned and operated franchise close by, ready to respond whenever the call comes in. As a major perk of being part of a national network of over 1,700 franchises, we have access to more resources for the cleanup and restoration projects that may be larger or stem from major storm situations.

Remember, if you need us, we’ll be there—no matter the time or day. The team of highly trained restoration experts at SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County is available for emergency cleanup and restoration services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Is Spring Finally Here?

3/12/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Is Spring Finally Here? Schedule your Spring cleaning appointment for your home with SERVPRO of North Kenosha County today! 262-764-7231

Maybe the groundhog didn’t lie after all. This week has given us a little taste of Spring after a very long, snowy, frigid winter. I don’t know about you, but doesn’t this sunshine and snow melting make you want to start thinking about Spring cleaning in your home? Did you know that SERVPRO of North Kenosha County does so much more than just water mitigation, mold remediation and fire restoration?

We offer a number of residential cleaning services to spruce up your home and rid it of all the dirt and grime that can be tracked inside throughout the winter months.

Residential Cleaning Services:

  • Air ducts and HVAC
  • Carpet & Upholstery
  • Ceilings, floors and walls
  • Drapes & blinds
  • Odor removal

Think of how great it will feel to have your home cleaned from top to bottom without having to do any of the work. Not to mention those hard to reach areas that we all avoid like the plague. We can give your home a deeper clean than your basic house cleaning service.

Call SERVPRO of North Kenosha County today to schedule your residential cleaning appointment and let us make the dust and dirt from the winter “Like it never even happened.”

Fire Safety Tips for Your Business | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County

3/7/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Safety Tips for Your Business | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County

When you are a business owner, there are plenty of safety factors that you must take into consideration regarding risks to your business, staff and visitors. One of those risks you need to spend some time on is planning for and working toward preventing a fire.

Top Causes of Commercial Structure Fires

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that the leading causes of structure fires in office properties from 2007–2011 were (in order):

  1. Cooking equipment, 29% of fires
  2. Electrical distribution and lighting equipment, 12% of fires
  3. Heating equipment, 11% of fires
  4. Intentional, 10% of fires
  5. Smoking materials, 9% of fires
  6. Exposure, 4% of fires
  7. Electronic, office or entertainment equipment, 3% of fires

Three of those causes—intentional, exposure, and electrical distribution and lighting equipment—were responsible for the most property damage with 20%, 18% and 15% respectively.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that in 2007, fires and explosions accounted for 3% of all workplace fatalities.

The NFPA estimates that in more recent numbers during the period from 2007–2011, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 3,340 fires in office properties per year. Those fires were solely responsible for an annual average of four deaths, 44 injuries and $112 million in direct property damage.

How to Protect Your Business

So what are some of the many steps you can take to protect your business from the risk of fires? By focusing on fire risk assessment, fire prevention and staff education, you will be working to reduce the chance of a fire breaking out.

First, you must assess the risk of fire hazards. In some areas, the local government may even offer a visit from a fire marshal to help identify these risks and provide guidance on your fire prevention plan.

You’ll want to make sure that the right fire protection equipment is in place. This includes an automatic sprinkler system, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers on each floor.

Finally, you must provide for the safety of your employees. By creating a fire plan and regularly reviewing it with your staff, you’ll be taking steps to ensure everyone knows what to do in the case of a fire. Conduct fire drills at least once a year to keep the fire safety protocol fresh, and take time to review evacuation plans and where the first-aid kits are.

Despite best efforts with fire prevention and safety tips, the worst could always happen at your business. If a fire has damaged your business, SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County is available to help make it "Like it never even happened."

Do You Know How Water Damage Is Classified? | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County

2/25/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Do You Know How Water Damage Is Classified? | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County Clean, gray or black water?

Do You Know How Water Damage Is Classified? | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County - SERVPRO OF NORTH KENOSHA COUNTY Blog

When there is a flood, it is easy to think that all water causing damage is the same. However, that is not the case because there are three different classifications of water involved with flooding: clean, gray and black. It is a good idea to understand the differences in these types of water so that you can understand how to handle the situation.

The most important thing you need to do after a water damage situation is remove all moisture and damp items quickly to inhibit the growth of mold. Understand, too, that no matter what type of water has caused damage, there will always be a cleanup and restoration process that follows.

This Is Clean Water

Much like the name indicates, this water is considered “clean” because it is not the type to pose an immediate health threat. This water is free of contaminants and can come from:

  • Broken water lines
  • Malfunctioning appliances
  • Toilet holding tanks
  • Snow melt and rainwater

If this is the type of water that is involved in a water damage situation, it will be the easiest type of water damage to clean up after as there will be fewer microbes living in the water. That will not be true, however, after 48 hours and following contact with the surfaces of a building, as clean water can move up to category two, which is gray water.

This Is Gray Water

In a gray water situation, water damage cleanup and restoration becomes a bit more serious. Gray water will contain slight contamination from chemical or biological elements and may pose a health risk. The slight contamination involved with gray water means that it will need to be thoroughly treated before being safe to consume.

Gray water is the type of water that can come from dishwashers, aquariums, showers, etc. Here also, the 48-hour exposure time applies, since gray water will become black water if not quickly and properly treated.

This Is Black Water

Black water poses the highest danger and is the most serious of the three classifications because it is considered highly contaminated by harmful chemicals and biological matter. This would include floodwaters that contain soil and sewage waters.

Sewage is highly contaminated with microbes, including bacteria, protozoans, molds, fungi and more, which pose a great health risk to humans.

Some of the diseases that can be transmitted by black water are:

  • Cholera
  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis
  • Gastroenteritis-type illnesses

It is important to remember that when it comes to floods, all waters are to be assumed to be black water since it picks up contaminants along its path.

All of the above classifications of floodwater are recognized by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Remediation Certification (IICRC), which is an organization that certifies and sets the standards for the cleaning and restoration industries. Our technicians all study IICRC standards and best practices in water restoration and are available to help determine the steps to take to get your home back to normal.

It doesn’t matter what type of water has caused damage to your home or business, SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County is here to help get the situation under control and make it "Like it never even happened." Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need emergency cleanup and restoration services!

Don’t let Water Damage Impact Your Home | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County

2/15/2019 (Permalink)

Don’t let Water Damage Impact Your Home | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County - SERVPRO OF NORTH KENOSHA COUNTY Blog

Water damage from burst pipes, malfunctioning appliances or even storm damage is one of the most common and costliest disasters your home may experience.

But there are plenty of ways to safeguard your home from this common issue that homeowners deal with. Read on for some helpful suggestions.

<h4your-home">Protecting Your Home

Not only will you be dealing with the damage caused by water, but it can have a long-term impact on your home. Since mold begins to grow 24–48 hours after moisture exposure, mold is one of the most common side effects of water damage.

When coming up with ways to protect your home, it may be helpful to break your plan down by areas of impact, such as by basements, kitchens, bathrooms, flooring and ceilings.

You can help prevent water damage in the basement by making sure water drains away from our home’s foundation and preventing water seepage. To prevent water seepage, reseal vulnerable areas of the basement. Also look into installing a backwater valve if your home does not have one.

Your kitchen and bathrooms can experience water damage due to plumbing issues and appliance failures.

Be sure you:

  • Regularly inspect all appliances, checking hoses and faucets
  • Ensure that your tubs and showers are watertight by checking the seals and caulking around them
  • Know the location of the main water shut-off valve is in your home
  • Run your washing machine and dishwasher when you are home

It will be difficult to protect the possessions in your home from water damage, but there are things you can do to at least decrease the amount of destruction. The use of waterproof bins for storing items is always advised, as is storing items up off of the floor on shelves, especially in basements and garages.

<h4from-water-damage">Recovering From Water Damage

In the unfortunate event your home does experience a water damage situation, you can stand a good chance at salvaging items if they can be dried out within 48 hours.

Make sure that you immediately contact your insurance agent and evaluate the extent of the water damage in your home. You will need to identify the type of water that is involved.

The three types of water are:

  1. “Clean” water. Can be from rain, condensation, leaky pipes, etc.

  2. “Gray” water. Slightly dirty water from dishwashers, washing machines, clean toilets, etc.

  3. “Black” water. Water from sewage or serious flooding from nearby rivers, etc. This water can cause serious health problems.

Following a water damage disaster, you will need to remove wet objects, get your home dried out, dehumidify the area and disinfect any remaining materials.

Pro tip: Place any wet books, photos and papers in a frost-free freezer, which will allow you time to get your home back in order, preventing mold and mildew from developing and causing more deterioration. Once able, you can remove them from the freezer and air-dry or fan-dry the pages.

It may seem like recovering from water damage is an overwhelming and slightly impossible task, but it doesn’t have to be. You can call on the highly trained experts at SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County, who are here to make it "Like it never even happened."