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Dealing with water damage

9/2/2021 (Permalink)

Marine City homeowners know that water damage can be especially troublesome. Water flows in almost every direction, and can even seep uphill when there is an absorbent material that facilitates this movement. Where water can flow to, damage can be found.

When water makes contact with metal, rusting can start taking place. Outlets, being near the floor, are often impacted this way by flooding. If the metal is part of an electrical system, this can lead to problems with electrical shock or even fire. Both can be deadly and need to be prevented by replacing anything affected. Other metal items in your home might be door hinges, screen doors, drawer tracks, cabinetry knobs and handles, and much more.

In situations where water has seeped into a home from a leaky roof or other reason, water can discolor walls and ceilings, and cause plaster to crumble and pose choking hazards to younger children and toddlers. Pests that may have been present but largely unnoticed within the walls or attic can find their way into your living space. While their presence means they are no longer hidden and can now be dealt with, having them around your family is not healthy.

Carpeting, upholstery and longer drapes can also become damaged. Affected textiles become weak and brittle. High levels of humidity can bring this on, and often the culprit is an absence of a dehumidifier. Other ways that increased humidity might happen are poor or incorrect venting of the clothes dryer or the bathroom fan.

The first step to mitigating any amount of damage is discovering the source of the excess water. Flooding does not need to be present for a home to have water damage. Contact your local experts who can assist you every step of the way. SERVPRO of Marine City/Romeo is available 24/7 at (586) 336-7373.

Homeowners dealing with water damage

9/2/2021 (Permalink)

Have you ever experienced water damage in your home or business? If so, you know that there are hundreds of companies out there advertising water damage restoration services. So what differentiates SERVPRO from all the rest? 

Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property. With a nationwide system of qualified franchises, no damage is too large or too small for SERVPRO of Marine City/Romeo.

We pride ourselves on our knowledge, experience and continued education. So what does it mean to be IICRC certified? Who is the IICRC? The IICRC is a nonprofit certification and Standards Developing Organization (SDO) for the inspection, cleaning and restoration industries. The IICRC is recognized internationally as a knowledgeable industry voice and resource. The IICRC has led the way in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, upholstery and fabric cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation. Each IICRC standard takes years to develop along with the coordination of experts in the field.

If you or someone you know experiences water damage in their home or business now you know who you can call. SERVPRO of Marine City/Romeo is here to help 24/7. We can be reached at (586) 336-7373.

Storms and insurance

9/2/2021 (Permalink)

As a leader in fire and water cleanup and restoration, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals offer your insurance company an array of competitive advantages. Our goal is to restore both your customer’s property and their peace of mind through timely mitigation and adherence to IICRC standards. The result? Lower claims costs and satisfied customers – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Why Choose SERVPRO: The SERVPRO Difference - SERVPRO Franchise Professionals are uniquely qualified to keep claims costs down while still providing the best services possible for your customers.

Large Loss Response: No Restoration Project Is Too Large Whether it’s a large commercial project or a major storm event, the SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team can provide help quickly.

Training: From initial training at SERVPRO's Corporate Training Facility to IICRC certifications, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals are highly trained in property damage restoration.

Call SERVPRO Marine City/ Romeo Today: 586-336-7373 From initial training at SERVPRO's Corporate Training Facility to IICRC certifications, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals are highly trained in property damage restoration.

Emergency planning for fires in your home.

9/2/2021 (Permalink)

Fires in the home are some of the most dangerous events that can occur. Although we do not like to think about it, they are a possibility, so all family members in your household should know ahead of time what to do in case you experience such an unfortunate event.


1. Have An Escape Plan 
You should first ensure that your entire family knows what to do in case of a fire in your home. Make an escape plan and practice it several times per year with your family. Make sure your family members know not to put their lives in danger to save possessions. Always take the route that gets you outside the fastest. If you must exit through smoke, know to drop down under it and try to cover your mouth to keep from breathing smoke. If a door is hot to the touch, do not open it or go through it. 
 
2. Rope Ladders 
If you live in a two-story home, every bedroom should have a rope ladder which is readily available so family members can climb down outside instead of being trapped. A meeting spot outside your home needs to be designated, and ensure you take attendance, so you know who is out safely. This will keep people from endangering themselves by going back in and looking for someone who is already out. If someone is missing, make sure to alert the firefighters – do not ever reenter the home yourself. 
 
3. Stop, Drop, Roll 
Everyone should know how to do this if fire catches on your clothes. Drop to the ground right away, cross your hands over your chest, and roll forward and back until you smother the flames completely. Cool the area that is burned with water and call for medical attention right away for serious burns. 
 
4. Fire Extinguishers 
Places such as your workshop, fireplace, and kitchen should have fire extinguishers nearby. Every family member should know how to use it as well. Extinguishers need to be regularly recharged, inspected or replaced as necessary. 
 
5. Stove Fires 
A small fire in your kitchen should be able to be handled by all. Suffocate the fire by putting a lid on the pan, turning the stove off and letting the pan sit unmoved until the flames are smothered. Extinguish small grease fires by putting baking soda on them, but do not ever use water. 
 
Call SERVPRO as soon as any fire is out so that they can clean up damages and prevent any further damage from happening. 
 
SERVPRO of Marine City/Romeo is available to help you clean up fire damage at any time. We know how important it is to act quickly, so the sooner you call us at (586) 336-7373, the sooner we can stop further damage from soot and smoke.

Portable Space Heater Safety Tips

9/2/2021 (Permalink)

Space Heater Placement 

It's generally suggested that space heaters be placed at least 3 feet away from furniture, window treatments, bedding, clothing, rugs, and other combustibles.

These items can cause a risk of fire if they come in contact with a unit's electric heating element or too-hot surface.

Other Placement Tips

  • Never sit or drape anything on top of a portable heater.
  • In addition, be sure that the heater is placed on a hard, level surface.
  • Review your owner's manual for specific instructions on your heater. 
  • Safety Tips
  • Look for Safety Features
  • Today's portable heater models include a variety of safety features that help take a lot of the worry out of using them: 
  • Overheat Protection
  • Room heaters with overheat protection detect when internal components become too hot. When an unsafe temperature is detected, the switch automatically shuts off the unit to prevent overheating.
  • Tip-Over Protection
  • A heater equipped with a tip-over protection switch will automatically shut off if it's tipped over for any reason.
  • Cool-Touch Housing
  • Cool-touch housing prevents accidental burns by touching the exterior of a heater. This is particularly useful safety features, particularly in areas with active children or pets.

·         2. Plug Directly into an Outlet

  • As a rule of thumb, plug a portable electric heater directly into an outlet with sufficient power capacity. Attaching an extension cord to the unit increases the chance of overheating, fires, and electrical shock injuries.

·         3. Regular Inspection and Maintenance

  • Occasionally inspect your space heater, particularly when you first purchase it. Frequently clean and maintain it to ensure it's working safely.
  • Wiping yours down will also help reduce the amount of dust and allergens that may be dispersed around your space. 

·         4. Shut Off and Unplug if Not in Use

  • Upon leaving an area, turn off the portable space heater and unplug it. Many models, like Vornado heaters, feature programmable timers that can be used to program automatic on and off times for when you sleep or head to work.

·         5. Keep Heaters Away From Water

  • Unless it is specifically designed for use in damp spaces, refrain from running a heater in a bathroom or a humid basement. Don't touch the heater if you are wet or have wet hands, as this increases the risk of electrical shock.

Outdoor Safety

9/1/2021 (Permalink)

OUTDOOR SAFETY TIPS

A FIRE WEATHER WATCH: means warm temperature, and very low humidities, and stronger winds may combine to produce a significantly increased risk of fire danger.

When conditions become very dry, make sure all burn barrels are covered with a weighted metal cover, and  holes, no larger than ¾ of an inch.

Don’t throw your cigarettes or matches out of a moving vehicle. They may ignite dry grass on the side of the road, and produce a wildfire.

Extinguish all outdoor fires properly. Drown fires with plenty of water and stir to make sure everything is cold to the touch. Dunk charcoal in water until cold. Do not throw live charcoal on the ground and leave it. NEVER LEAVE FIRE UNATTENDED. Sparks or embers can blow into leaves or grass and ignite a fire, and quickly spread.

RED FLAG WARNING: means warm temperature, and very low humidities, and stronger winds are expected to combine, and produce and increased risk of fire danger.

If you are able to burn in your area, all burn barrels are to be covered with a metal cover with holed no bigger than ¾ of an inch.

Don’t throw your cigarettes or matches out of a moving vehicle. They may ignite dry grass on the side of the road, and produce a wildfire.

Extinguish all outdoor fires properly. Drown fires with plenty of water and stir to make sure everything is cold to the touch. Dunk charcoal in water until cold. Do not throw live charcoal on the ground and leave it. NEVER LEAVE FIRE UNATTENDED. Sparks or embers can blow into leaves or grass and ignite a fire, and quickly spread.

Stock Up

9/1/2021 (Permalink)

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Assoc) recommends stocking up on some emergency supplies in the event your business is affected by a catastrophic event.

Recommended emergency supplies include the following:

  • Water, amounts for portable kits will vary. Individuals should determine what amount they are able to both store comfortably and to transport to other locations. If it is feasible, store one gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First Aid kit Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust or filter masks, readily available in hardware stores, which are rated based on how small a particle they filter
  • Moist towelettes for sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape to "seal the room"
  • Garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation

Flooding Tips

9/1/2021 (Permalink)

WATER DAMAGE TIPS

What you can do until help arrives

After any water damage situation, your primary focus should be safety:

  • Is it safe to stay in the house?
  • Electrical and "slip and fall" hazards are some of the most prevalent concerns.
  • Only do activities that are safe for you to perform.
  • Wet materials can be VERY heavy. Be careful!

With over 1,650 Franchises nationwide, there’s a SERVPRO Professional nearby and ready to serve you.

What To Do After Flooding

  • Remove excess water by mopping and blotting.
  • Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
  • Remove and prop wet upholstery and cushions.
  • Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
  • Turn air conditioning on for maximum drying in summer.
  • Remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
  • Remove art objects to a safe, dry place.
  • Gather loose items from floors.

What NOT To Do After Flooding

  • Don't leave wet fabrics in place. Hang furs and leather goods.
  • Don't leave books, magazines or other colored items on wet carpet or floors.
  • Don't use your household vacuum to remove water.
  • Don't use television or other household appliances.
  • Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet, and keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging.

Planning For the Worse

9/1/2021 (Permalink)

Your plan for disaster preparedness should include flood information and outline how to prepare for floods. Read on for information about floods and flood safety tips, and how to make them part of your emergency preparedness plan as you prepare for a flood.

Types of Flooding

Topography and weather conditions play a prominent role in the impact different types of flooding have on specific locales. The following are some examples of specific types of flooding.

  • Rising water may be the greatest risk to inland areas away from a river bed after a heavy snow pack begins to melt or after heavy rainfall.
  • Moving water is a serious risk in areas near rivers or in coastal storm surge areas because it creates significantly larger lateral forces on a building.
  • Overtopping, breaching or opening of dams, levees, and other flood control mechanisms, which are designed to divert the flow of water to provide protection, can lead to flood damage that may be more significant than if the levees were never installed. The Mississippi and Missouri River floods of 2011 included breaches of levees, as well as controlled flooding by the opening of various flood gates on levees. The result was thousands of acres of farmland, crops, livestock and fish farms being destroyed to protect urban areas.
  • Flash flooding can occur in every region as a result of slow-moving thunderstorms or excessive rainfall from any storm system.
  • Large, slow-moving tropical storms can dump excessive amounts of rain on coastal locations and then move inland to continue the devastation, resulting in widespread flood damage. Tropical Storm Allison (2001): A Case Study in Flooding Understanding Your Flood Hazard
  • There are several flood principles that should be considered to determine your facility’s exposure to flood waters and the type of protection to be deployed:
  • Often, businesses and homeowners let down their guard when a tropical weather system does not result in hurricane-force winds. Tropical Storm Allison is a good example of how rains associated with a tropical system can be equally devastating. The storm dumped approximately 32 trillion gallons of rain (enough to meet U.S. water needs for an entire year), according to the Tropical Storm Allison Recovery Project. This included 28 inches of rainfall during a 12-hour period just northeast of downtown Houston, and rainfall amounts ranging from 10, 20 and 30 inches in locations throughout the Southeast—earning Allison the infamous distinction as the costliest tropical storm in U.S. history.
  • Floods can occur anywhere, often with little or no warning, and with devastating consequences. Protecting the bottom line in order to remain open, or to re-open quickly after a flood disaster, requires taking steps now to prevent or reduce flood damage should your business be in the path of rising water. Below is a brief overview of issues that small businesses must address to reduce the likelihood of flood damage and to prepare financially and operationally should a flood occur. Many of the topics covered here involve complex issues that are best addressed by hydrological, engineering, regulatory or insurance experts; the goal here is simply to outline the basics in order to help business owners understand why they need to mitigate against flood risk and some of the challenges they may face.
  • Duration: It is important to know if flood waters are expected to recede quickly or may be trapped due to the slope of the land. The longer a facility is exposed to flood waters, the greater potential for flood-proofing failures due to a breach in the protection.
  • Depth: Flood waters greater than 3 feet create hydrostatic pressure on walls that can cause cracks in masonry and greatly increase the potential of collapse to unreinforced masonry. When estimating the potential depth of flood waters, it is always best to include a safety factor to account for inaccuracies in the estimate.
  • Velocity: As flood water velocity increases, so does the pressure exerted on flood protection. River flooding can be very fast moving water at first and then may settle down. Coastal locations may be exposed to wave action from storm surge.
  • Water Condition: Many times flood waters are dirty, brackish or contaminated with biological and chemical materials including waste water, sewage, pesticides, industrial waste, toxic and non-toxic chemicals, or oils. Debris that is churning in the water can impact buildings and flood protection systems, create breaches in the protection and cause extensive damage. Proximity to water is the number 1 risk factor for flooding, but property owners should not assume being out of the floodplain will help you entirely avoid the possibility of flooding. It is always a best practice to locate your property as far away from bodies of water as possible. Flood maps available from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) identify 100-year and 500-year flood zones throughout the United States. The flood zones also delineate participation in the NFIP, as well as permitting and other requirements that communities adopt in order to meet NFIP standards and qualify their citizens for lower flood insurance rates. By definition, the 100-year and 500-year flood zones mean there is a 1 (.20) percent chance of flooding annually in an area based on topography and historical data; it does not mean that flooding will occur only once in a century (or 500 years). There also are other important points to consider.
  • Location, Location, Location
  • Floods can and very often do occur outside the 100-year flood zone. In fact, approximately 25 percent of all flood damages occur in relatively low risk zones commonly described as being “outside the mapped flood zone.”
  • Specific boundaries on some flood maps may be arbitrary or include inaccuracies. For example, a property lying just outside the 100-year flood zone is almost equally likely to be flooded as one just within.
  • Obstructions or landfill can change the topography, storm-water drainage patterns, and flow of water over natural floodplains. Although permits are required for flood zone fill (and must be based on engineering assessments demonstrating “no impact”), it is possible that non-permitted work has occurred near your property.
  • Floods show no respect for the estimated probabilities. As Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Director Craig Fugate observed following a spate of natural disasters, “It just seemed like it was back-to-back and it came in waves. The term ‘100-year event’ really lost its meaning this year. ”When it comes to flooding, there really is no better solution than adequate elevation, aside from choosing a location well outside of a 500-year flood plain. If such a location is not possible, the best way to increase the safety margin against flood damage is to raise the elevation of your building above the 500-year flood elevation. Flood-proofing your building is another option to reduce damage. Through the NFIP, there is extensive regulation of floodplain development at the community level. For example, IBHS’s FORTIFIED for Safer Business™ Standards, a package of enhanced voluntary construction standards that greatly increase a new light commercial building’s durability and resilience to natural hazards, requires FORTIFIED buildings to be at least 3 feet above the BFE or above the 500-year flood elevation. There are also ways to retrofit your existing building so that it meets or exceeds BFEs. While only a structural engineer/design professional can determine what is right for your property, the options include raising foundation onto pilings or columns or adding landfill, as long as “no impact” floodplain requirements are met.
  • Permits are needed for a wide range of activities including construction of new buildings, additions to existing buildings, and substantial improvement to the interior of existing buildings that are within the most hazardous flood zones. Part of the permitting process involves whether your building site is higher than the base flood elevation (BFE), which is the elevation at which your property has a 1 percent chance of flooding annually, as indicated on the NFIP flood maps. Major storms and flash floods can cause waters to rise higher than the BFE—therefore, it is always a good investment to build in a safety factor several feet above the BFE. This safety zone is called “freeboarding.”
  • The Importance of Elevation
  • When elevating a building so that the walking surface of the lowest floor is at the minimum elevation, areas under the BFE can be used only for parking and limited storage—under-floor bathrooms, utilities, and ductwork are not allowed.
  • Equipment, utility connections and all interior utility systems including ductwork must be elevated above the BFE. In addition, fuel and propane tanks must be properly anchored, since they can become buoyant even in shallow water. Sealing a building so that water will not enter is called “dry flood-proofing” or “flood-proofing.” Flood-proofing protects your building by coating the exterior with a membrane to prevent flood waters from entering. NFIP regulations allow flood-proofing as an alternative to elevation above the BFE for newly constructed or substantially improved non-residential structures only—new and improved homes must be elevated above the BFE to meet NFIP requirements. It is important to determine whether dry flood-proofing will provide the protections your property needs before choosing this option. This also applies if your business is located outside the 100-year flood zone, but you want to invest in additional flood protection. Dry flood-proofing is a complex procedure that should be done by professional experts. If done incorrectly, it may not protect your property and can lead to decay, mold, or termite damage:
  • What is “Dry Flood-Proofing”?
  • As a general matter, dry flood-proofing is best suited to areas with clay soils where floods are short in duration and less than 3 feet deep.
  • Buildings in poor structural condition should not be dry flood-proofed, as the exterior walls will be under extreme pressure during a flood.
  • There are a variety of dry flood-proofing measures; a professional can help to determine whether any of them are right for your situation:
  • Applying a waterproof coating or membrane to exterior walls
  • Sealing all wall penetrations including where utilities enter the building
  • Installing waterproof shields over all openings, including windows and doors
  • Anchoring the building to resist flotation
  • Strengthening walls to withstand flood water pressures and flood debris. Even above the BFE or outside the floodplain, basements are prone to floods because water may flow down into them. They also may have an increased hydrostatic pressure exerted upon them when the surrounding ground is saturated. Recognizing that elevation is the best form of mitigation, there are a number of additional measures business owners can take to reduce the likelihood and scope of basement flood damage.
  • The Vulnerable Basement
  • Thoroughly inspect your basement and the surrounding property for evidence of water entry and sources of water flow and leakage.
  • Correct potential problems—for example, extend and redirect downspouts, re-grade sloping landscape, and caulk any interior wall cracks.
  • Basement walls should be designed to resist hydrostatic pressure.
  • Use flood-resistant materials where possible, including floor coverings, wall coverings, and wall insulation. Most flood-resistant materials can withstand direct contact with water for at least 72 hours without being significantly damaged.
  • Do not store valuable equipment, documents, or inventory in any crawlspace or basement where flooding is possible. In addition, there are steps you can take now to reduce health and environmental damage should a flood occur.
  • The “Green” Factor
  • Anchor fuel and propane tanks to prevent them from being swept away. When they break away, the contents may leak, creating fire, explosion and pollution risks that can adversely affect health and the environment.
  • Install sewer backflow valves to block drain pipes from sewage back-up, which can occur if there is flooding in your area.
  • If you are supplied by well water, protect your well from contamination. A licensed well drilling contractor can inspect your well and suggest improvements. The NFIP makes flood insurance available to commercial owners and renters. As is the case with residential property, costs vary depending on how much insurance is purchased, what it covers, and the property’s flood risk. NFIP coverage limits are up to $500,000 for a commercial building, and up to $500,000 to protect its contents. Insurance coverage also may be available from private insurance companies, depending on your business’s location, building and business characteristics, and property value.
  • The best way to learn more about flood insurance benefits, costs, and options is to contact your insurance agent. Finally, take steps now so you can quickly resume operations should a flood or other hazard damage your property. Although flood insurance may cover losses to your structure and contents, many businesses that are severely damaged never fully recover financially due to the loss of management focus, employees, and market share. IBHS’ Open for Business® planning tool helps small- and mid-sized businesses resume their critical business operations and work processes and deliver the goods and services expected by customers or clients–consider it a vital part of your flood preparation planning and practice.
  • Financial and Operational Protections

    The NFIP makes flood insurance available to commercial owners and renters. As is the case with residential property, costs vary depending on how much insurance is purchased, what it covers, and the property’s flood risk. NFIP coverage limits are up to $500,000 for a commercial building, and up to $500,000 to protect its contents. Insurance coverage also may be available from private insurance companies, depending on your business’s location, building and business characteristics, and property value.

    The best way to learn more about flood insurance benefits, costs, and options is to contact your insurance agent. Finally, take steps now so you can quickly resume operations should a flood or other hazard damage your property. Although flood insurance may cover losses to your structure and contents, many businesses that are severely damaged never fully recover financially due to the loss of management focus, employees, and market share. IBHS’ Open for Business® planning tool helps small- and mid-sized businesses resume their critical business operations and work processes and deliver the goods and services expected by customers or clients–consider it a vital part of your flood preparation planning and practice.

Fire Management

9/1/2021 (Permalink)

According to St Clair County Emergency Management Department every year 5,500 Americans die in fires and more than 30,000 are injured. Most fire deaths occur in the home and many can be prevented. Your local fire departments work to keep citizens informed and practiced in fire safety training. To protect yourself and your family it is important to understand the basic characteristics of fire.

  • Fire spreads quickly; there is no time to grab valuables or make a phone call.
  • In two minutes a fire can become life threatening. In five minutes a house can be engulfed in flames.
  • Fire's heat and smoke are more dangerous than the flames. Inhaling the super-hot air can sear your lungs.
  • Fire produces poisonous gases that make you disoriented and drowsy.
  • Request an inspection of your home or business by your local fire department.
  • Install smoke detectors. Place detectors on the ceiling or high on the wall of every level of your house, outside bedrooms, at the top of open stairways, at the bottom of enclosed stairs, and near (but not in) the kitchen.
  • Clean and test smoke detectors once a month and replace batteries at least twice a year.
  • Install a fire extinguisher in your home and teach family members how to use it.
  • Plan two escape routes from every room in your home or office. Choose a place outside for everyone to meet after escaping from a fire.
  • Have a practice fire drill at least once a year; teach children how to report a fire, and when to use 911.
  • Keep a whistle in each bedroom to awaken the household in case of fire. Teach family members to stay low to the floor (where the air is safer) when escaping from a fire.
  • Teach family members never to open doors that are hot. In a fire feel the bottom of the door with the palm of your hand. If it is hot, do not open the door. Find another way out.
  • Make sure windows are not nailed or painted shut.
  • Safeguard your home against fires by keeping storage areas clean, check wiring and outlets, and use caution with flammable liquids and materials.