Generator Safety Tips
We are here to help with any storm damage needs!
If you have a generator on hand for power outages during storm damages, follow the safety tips below provided by the American Red Cross!
- Never use a generator, grill, camp stove, or other gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawl space, or any partially enclosed area.
- To avoid electrocution, keep the generator dry and do not use it in wet conditions. Operate it on a dry surface under an open canopy like structure, such as under a tarp held up on poles. Do not touch the generator with wet hands.
- Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent carbon monoxide (CO) buildup in the home. Although CO can't be seen or smelled, it can rapidly lead to full incapacitation and death. Even if you cannot smell exhaust fumes, you may still be exposed to CO. If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air immediately.
- Install CO alarms in central locations on every level of your home or property and outside of sleeping areas to provide early warnings.
How to Avoid Snow Storm Damages
We are here 24/7/365 to help with any of your water or storm damage cleanup and restoration needs!
Typically, you don’t think of floods or basement water damages in the middle of winter. SERVPRO is here to let you know they do exist and happen more than you think. After snow storms with large accumulating amounts of snow, when the snow melts flooding will occur after quick changes in temperature. The temperature change can cause snow to melt and could potentially flood your basement. Basement flooding during the winter is mostly caused by melting snow entering the home because of faulty gutters, cracks in foundations, and improper or blocked runoff.
To illustrate this, ten inches of snow can melt into one inch of water and it is already in and soil. The heavier the snowfall, the more snowmelt. A quick temperature change can cause a significant amount of water on the soil around your home. If the water cannot flow away from your home’s foundation, it can ultimately enter your home and cause water damages or secondary mold damages if left untreated.
Snowmelt flooding can damage the floors, walls, furniture and personal items in your basement. It also introduces moisture and water in your basement which could lead to secondary mold damages.
Snowmelt Safety Tips:
- Shovel snow away from your home when safe to do so.
- Keep snow and ice buildup off and away from drainage areas.
- Inspect basement walls for cracks.
- Check your roof for ice and snow buildup.
- Clear snow from your roof to prevent buildups if it accumulates.
- This could also help you avoid ice dams.
- Inspect your gutters and downspouts.
For any of your water damage or storm damage needs, SERVPRO is here to help 24/7/365!
Fire, Smoke, and Soot Restoration Services
Structural Cleaning - After a smoke or fire damage, ceilings, walls, woodwork, carpeting and floors will often need a thorough cleaning. Your experienced local SERVPRO® Franchise Professional will pretest to determine the extent of damage, and then use the specific equipment and cleaning products required to clean and protect the different types of surfaces found in your structure. Depending on the amount of soot, your local SERVPRO® Franchise Professional may even be able to reduce the cost of recovery by cleaning lighter soot deposits found on some surfaces, eliminating the expense incurred with repainting or refinishing. In other cases, SERVPRO® will clean to “prepare for painting”. This process deodorizes and ensures the new paint will adhere properly to the surface.
Contents Cleaning – All of the restorable contents in affected areas will be professionally cleaned and deodorized. This includes area rugs, furniture, draperies and upholstery. SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals begin by carefully inspecting and testing all fabrics in the structure to determine which cleaning methods are most appropriate. SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals can provide wet or dry cleaning services. Additionally, all the other restorable contents will be cleaned and deodorized to preloss condition. This includes electronics, art, wood furniture, kitchen items, clothing, bedding, bric-a-brac and much more. Finally, SERVPRO® can provide an inventory list of all “to be claimed” items if requested.
Deodorization – SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals provide specialized services that rid your home or place of business of offensive odors left by fire or smoke damage. SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals do not merely cover up lingering odors with a fragrance, they seek out the sources of the odor and remove them. Ask your SERVPRO® Franchise Professional to explain the various deodorization methods available and which will work best for you.
Post Fire Cleanup Professionals
We are here to help with any of your post fire cleanup and restoration needs!
If you suffer a fire in your home, putting the flames out is just the beginning. As time goes on, the smoke and soot that has accumulated has the potential to cause more damage. To prevent any further damage from occurring, you should contact the professionals at SERVPRO who have the expertise to help prevent any further damage. Every second counts and our professional help will aid in preventing further damage. Many believe that the flames are the only source of damage that occurs during a fire, but the majority comes from smoke, soot, ash, and secondary water damages from putting the fire out. Ash and smoke can cause extensive corrosion, etching, discoloration, and powerful odors around the house. The damage starts with the discoloring of most surfaces. Within minutes, anything that is made of plastic or was close to the fire will start to discolor. Within hours, fiberglass and finishes on any appliances will begin to yellow and metals may tarnish. Within a few days, walls, clothing, and upholstery will permanently discolor, wood and vinyl will need refinishing or replacement, and metals will start corroding. Due to the quick progression of damage that can occur to most of the objects around the house, you’ll need to contact the IICRC-certified professionals at SERVPRO. The soot and dirty water that collects in the home from putting out the fire can contain dangerous bacteria. It’s important to allow the professionals to handle this before re-entering the home. Furthermore, coming into contact with fire damaged materials can be hazardous. Give the professionals at SERVPRO a call if you are in need of any postfire cleanup or restoration!
We are here to help with any of your fire damage cleanup needs!
Have you ever plugged in too many devices into one outlet at once? Everything at first seemed fine and then all of a sudden, the power goes off. You more than likely created a circuit overload in your home.
All electrical circuits are designed to handle a certain amount of electricity. When you bring in more electricity than a circuit can handle, a circuit overload will occur, potentially causing a fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association, electrical fires are one of the leading causes of structure fire annually. Which is accounted for nearly 13% of reported home fires and results in 420 fatalities, 1,520 injuries and nearly $1.5 billion in property damage.
How can you prevent a potential house fire by an overloaded circuit? Follow the tips below:
- Never plug more than two devices into an outlet at once.
- Know the amount of power you are putting on an outlet or circuit.
- Large appliances like refrigerators and dryers should be plugged into their own outlet since they are heavy power users.
- If you see that you have been overloading an outlet or circuit in your home, you should consider contacting a professional to help resolve the problem.
If an electrical fire does occur, we are always here to help 24/7/365. We specialize in and are industry leaders in fire and water damage cleanup and restoration. We have extensive fire damage cleanup and restoration training to get your property back to pre-fire condition.
For more information about how to prevent electrical fires in your home, visit nfpa.org.
Household Cleaning Tips to Avoid Fires
House fires are more common than you may realize, with potential fire starters like dust, laptops and lint traps hiding in plain sight throughout your home. While the thought may never cross your mind, many household items that go misused or uncleaned can be disguised as harmless but ultimately deadly.
Are you guilty of these bad habits that could start an unexpected fire in your home?
Misusing electric blankets: A warm and cozy electric blanket is a undeniable source of comfort in the winter but, it also poses a potential fire hazard. Never allow pets to snuggle on top and do not pile extra covers over the electric blanket. Excessive heat buildup may lead to fire. Never bend the coils, always keep your blanket at its lowest setting and always turn it off in the morning.
Piling up dirty rags: A wood stain may be the perfect finishing touch on a DIY project, but later, that pile of oil-soaked rags you tossed in the corner could trigger the perfect storm. Those rags are a very real fire hazard if left unattended. The rags could oxidize and spontaneously combust, causing a house fire. Two proper ways to dispose of oily rags are to lay them flat outside to dry or to put them in a metal can filled with water and a tight-fitting lid.
Lingering dryer lint: We're sure you know emptying the lint screen increases your dryer’s efficiency, but did you know that lint is flammable? The combination of lint buildup and excessive heat is a recipe for disaster. Make sure to clean the interior of the dryer frame as well as the dryer vent and exhaust duct regularly to clear away lint and clogs and to reduce the risk of fire.
Letting your laptop overheat: If you own a laptop, you know how hot it can get after hours of use. You increase the risk of restricting airflow through the cooling vents when you leave your laptop computer on your bed, rug, chair or other soft flammable surfaces. This can cause your laptop to overheat and possibly catch fire. Keeping your laptop on a desk or table will help prevent fires.
Using too many extension cords: Extension cords are meant to be a temporary response to a lack of electrical outlets; not a permanent solution. The reason for this is that connecting many cords for a significant amount of time causes an overload that will lead to a short circuit - which could start a fire. Hiring a qualified electrician to install additional outlets could help you avoid this problem altogether.
Disregarding dust: Built up dust can be a fire hazard if it collects in and around electrical sockets, electronics and even floor heaters. Vacuuming on a regular basis, especially behind electronics, will significantly reduce the chance of dust particles catching fire.
Improperly storing batteries: Storing 9-volt batteries in your kitchen junk drawer might be putting your home and family at risk. When loose batteries roll around with other metals such as paper clips or screws, the two terminals could short out, possibly generating enough heat to ignite flammables nearby. If storing the batteries in the original package is not an option, place a piece of electrical tape over the terminal to prevent this possibility.
Unwanted guests: Rodents like mice and rats like to chew on electrical wires to control the length of their teeth. Over time, they can remove the sheathing which leaves the wires exposed. The electrical current travelling through the wire generates heat and if the wire is exposed this could lead to sparks and ultimately ignite the surrounding surface. Call an exterminator if you suspect you have rodents.
Forgetting the chimney sweep: There are common causes of chimney fires, such as, dead birds, raccoon nests, cracked mortar and built-up creosote. The National Fire Protection Association recommends a professional chimney sweep at least once a year. Also, when building a fire in your fireplace, never light it with kerosene. Always use an approved fire starter.
Overlooking the range hood: Ovens and cook tops are the most common sources of kitchen fires. But range hoods are also a potential threat. Grease builds up over time and can drip down onto the cook top, possibly starting a fire. These flames could easily reach your cabinets and before you know it your kitchen could be engulfed. Regularly clean and maintain your range hood to keep your kitchen out of harm’s way.
Furniture arrangement: Furniture placed too close to a wood stove could spontaneously ignite. Pyrolysis is the chemical decomposition of a combustible item. This occurs when an object is continually exposed to a heat source and dries out. This leading-yet seldom considered cause of fires does not even require a direct flame. It only takes heat and time.
Why Choose SERVPRO
Fire and secondary smoke damages are extremely destructive and catastrophic experiences. In many instances, your property will also suffer secondary water damages from firefighting efforts. We are industry leaders in both fire and water damage cleanup and restoration. SERVPRO of Gaylord & Cheboygan has specialized equipment, specific training, and certifications that allow us to restore your home to pre-fire condition "Like it never even happened."
Post Storm Roof Leaks
A major storm in Northern Michigan can do serious damage to many properties, including the roof of your home or business. When it comes to a leaking roof, you will need a professional not only to fix the exterior but to repair your attic and ceilings. A roof leak may seem small, but it can potentially cause severe long term damage to your property.
Here is what you can do once a leak has been discovered:
Check the Roof
If your property has a shingled roof, check for missing shingles. That may give you an idea of how water is getting in. If water is coming through, puncture a small hole that will allow the water to flow out freely. If you leave it intact, water will spread over the ceiling which could cause it to sag and possibly collapse. A hole gives the water somewhere to go. Put a bucket underneath to catch the water and move furniture and other items out of the way.
Move Wet Items
Once belongings are wet, they need to be dried and disinfected. If there are no electrical dangers, launder furniture covers, bedding, and other washable items. Air out and clean furniture and rugs. Check for irreparable damage. If something is in poor condition, throw it away.
Dry Everything Well
From the attic on down, everything needs to be as dry as possible. Run fans or heaters or open windows to get air circulating through the area. Once everything is completely dry, then restoration work for the roof leak begin.
A roof leak can cause substantial damage in hard-to-reach areas. Call the experts to evaluate the safety of your building before you attempt any repairs yourself. It is important to have everything dry and disinfected to prevent future problems. A damaged roof can cause extensive issues for your property. Cleaning up properly after storm damage ensures that you have a safe environment to reside in.
At SERVPRO of Gaylord & Cheboygan, we are available 24/7 so that when a disaster strikes, we are the experts you can count on!
Wind Damage Tips
SERVPRO of Gaylord & Cheboygan hopes that you are all safe and sound with the high winds we have been experiencing in Northern Michigan. We wanted to take a moment to provide some tips for any wind storm damages.
- Vacate the premises in the event of major roof damage – Safety should be your primary concern!
- Avoid electrical hazards. Stay away from electrical lines that may have fallen.
- Initial roof assessment should be done from the ground as damage is not always visible.
- Contact the utility company to ensure lines are de-energized.
- If you suspect damage to your shingles or structure, contact SERVPRO immediately.
- Don’t enter rooms where overhead damage may be a safety hazard.
- Don’t attempt to install a tarp during a storm.
- Don’t climb on roof. Roof may have unseen structural damage.
- Don’t walk on tarped surfaces.
- Don’t climb on roofs that may be wet or icy.
- Do not use a metal ladder near power lines or in close proximity to energized electrical equipment.
- Don’t attempt to remove debris from roof.
Call SERVPRO of Gaylord & Cheboygan with any of your storm damage needs at 989-705-2400!
Winter Water Damages
Northern Michigan winters are known to be brutally cold and accompanied by large amounts of snow. With below freezing temperatures, snow, and ice, your home or business could be in jeopardy for water damage. It is crucial that you are aware of the hazards and so you can be proactive in preparing, preventing and acting quickly if faced with any winter water damages.
A frozen pipe can burst at the point where the ice blockage inside the pipe is located, but typically the rupture is caused by the backflow pressure between the water source and the blockage. A burst pipe can cause considerable damage to your property if not addressed quickly.
Ice dams can be a major problem during the winter season. They form when heated air melts roof snow downward into water dammed behind still-frozen ice. When the trapped water cannot safely flow or run into the gutter system, it can backflow under the roof ’s shingles and into the structure’s interior areas.
PREPARE YOUR HOME
- If you own a home which is unoccupied during a cold period, ensure you have ample heating fuel and that the indoor thermostat, in all areas of the home, is minimally kept at 55 degrees and ensure that you have a trusted person check the home periodically during your absence.
- Keep cabinet doors open during cold spells. This allows warm air to circulate around pipes.
- Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets, especially if the pipes for faucets run through unheated or uninsulated areas of your home.
- Consider shutting off outdoor faucets. Find the shut-off valve in the basement or crawl space and turn it to “off.”
- If you follow the previous step, then open the outdoor faucet to help ensure it drains completely and the inner valve is shut off.
- Ensure gutters are clean and secure. Leaves and debris accumulate, causing a damming effect on gutters, which could lead to roof problems and water damage.
PREPARE YOUR BUSINESS
- Check your business property for downed tree limbs and branches. Weather, such as wind, heavy rain, ice, and snow, can cause branches to fall, which could cause damage to the property and potentially cause
- Inspect property, especially walkways and parking lots, for proper drainage to alleviate flood hazard potential.
- Inspect all handrails, stairwells, and entryways to address and correct potential slippery or hazardous areas. Install mats or non-slip surfaces and post caution signs where water could be present.
Cold weather, snow, and ice storms can cause severe damage to your home or business. When these types of disasters strike, immediate action is necessary to prevent additional damage to your property. Our team has the winter storm experience, expertise, and the resources to remediate damage caused by winter weather. If disaster strikes your home or business during the winter months, know that SERVPRO of Gaylord & Cheboygan has your back.
Winter Car Emergency Kit
We wish you all safety and wellbeing this winter season!
Here at SERVPRO we pride ourselves on being proactive, which is why we want to give you tips on how to prepare a winter car emergency kit for the upcoming winter season! The NSC (National Safety Council) recommends that you include the following in your emergency kit:
- Nonperishable, high-energy foods
- Drinking water
- Reflective vest in case you need to walk to get help
- Car cell phone charger
- Jumper cables
- Fire extinguisher
- Duct tape
- Rain poncho
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Cold weather items: snow brush, shovel, windshield washer fluid, warm clothing, cat litter for traction
- A properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench, and tripod jack
- A tool kit and/or multipurpose utility tool
- Reflective triangles and brightly colored cloth to make your vehicle more visible
- First aid kit with gauze, tape, bandages, antibiotic ointment, aspirin, a blanket, non-latex gloves, scissors, hydrocortisone, thermometer, tweezers, and instant cold compress
When assembling your emergency kit, though we're specifically focusing on prepping for the winter season, do consider what you might need on a regular basis, and assess what you should add or remove, depending on your destination, weather conditions, or duration of trip. You should check your kit at least every six months, and restock items that you use or that have expired. If interested in learning more, the following link will take you to the NSC (National Safety Council) website.
NSC Emergency Car Kit