Spring is Tornado Season
Keeping informed about the weather is the best way to avoid being caught in a tornado or severe thunderstorm. Your local National Weather Service Forecast Office provides information about dangerous weather in your area, and you should keep a close eye on this information whenever storms threaten your area. A battery operated NOAA Weather Radio with a warning alarm feature should be a part of your information system!
It’s also critical that you think about tornado safety long before there’s a storm on the horizon, and plan what you will do to stay safe no matter where you may be when storms threaten.
When a severe storm or tornado threatens, remember these basic guidelines:
GET IN - get as far inside a strong building as you can, away from doors and windows
GET DOWN - get to the lowest floor
COVER UP - use whatever you can to protect yourself from flying or falling debris
- A reinforced underground storm shelter, storm cellar, enclosed basement or safe room are usually the safest places in a tornado. Underground shelters get you out of the way of flying and falling debris, which is a tornado’s most lethal weapon.
- If you cannot get underground, remember the basic guidelines. Get as far inside the strongest building you can find. Stay away from doors, windows and other openings to the outside. Put as many walls between you and the outside as you can.
- Get as low as you can. Go to the lowest floor of the building you’re in.
- Cover up to protect yourself from flying and falling debris. Use whatever you can find - pillows, blankets, sleeping bags, mattresses. Wearing a helmet or hardhat will help protect your head from debris.
- Being outdoors, in a mobile home, or in a vehicle are all unsafe in a tornado or severe thunderstorm. Find stronger shelter before the storm arrives and remember to get in, get down and cover up.
Why SERVPRO for Residential Restoration Services
Residential Restoration Services
As a trusted leader in the restoration industry, you can depend on SERVPRO, whether you need emergency flood damage restoration or your upholstery cleaned. We have the training, experience, and equipment to make your house feel like home again.
- 24-hour emergency service
- Highly trained restoration technicians
- Faster to Any Sized Disaster
- A trusted leader in the restoration industry with more than 2,000 franchises
- Advanced restoration and cleaning equipment
Residential Restoration Services
Fire, water, and mold restoration are the cornerstones of our business. SERVPRO is dedicated to responding to your emergency fast. Our focus on training ensures we have the expertise and skills needed to promptly restore your property right the first time. Our restoration services include the following:
- Water Damage Restoration
- Fire Damage Restoration
- Mold Remediation
- Storm and Major Events
Residential Cleaning Services
Life happens. Kids spill drinks, pets have accidents, and homes get dirty. SERVPRO offers cleaning services ranging from air duct cleaning to removing biohazard contaminants. Their residential cleaning services will not only ease the burden of the constant maintenance of your home, but will also create a safe, clean, and comfortable living environment for your family. Our cleaning services include the following:
- Overview of Residential Cleaning
- Air Ducts & HVAC
- Carpet and Upholstery
- Ceiling, Floors & Walls
- Drapes and Blinds
- Odor Removal
- Sewage and Toilet Overflow
- Trauma and Crime Scene
- Vandalism and Graffiti
Sewer backups should be considered an emergency since the water may contain viruses, bacteria, and other microbes that cause serious illnesses. SERVPRO has the specialized training and equipment to quickly and safely clean contaminants like sewage.
Water damage can be classified by the three types of contaminated water. SERVPRO will inspect your home or business to determine the appropriate plan of action for the type of water encountered.
The three types of contaminated water:
Category 1 water is from a clean source like a broken water supply line or leaking faucet. If not treated quickly, this water can turn into category 2 or 3, depending on length of time, temperature, and contact with surrounding contaminants.
- Water from a clean source like a broken water line
- If left untreated, can degrade into category 2 or 3
Category 2 water is contaminated and could cause discomfort or illness. Examples include washing machine overflow; toilet overflow with some urine, but no feces; or dishwasher overflow.
- May contain bacteria and viruses
- Can quickly degrade into category 3 if left untreated
Category 3 water is grossly contaminated and could cause severe illness or death if ingested and any contact should be avoided. Examples include flooding from rivers or streams, water from beyond the toilet trap, water from the toilet bowl with feces, or standing water that has begun to support microbial growth.
- May contain untreated sewage, harsh chemicals, and microbes
- Water from flooding rivers or sewer backup
24-Hour Emergency Service
Water contaminated with sewage backup should be considered an emergency situation and dealt with as quickly as possible. SERVPRO of Mayes & Wagoner Counties is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They are water damage restoration specialists with specialized training, equipment and protective gear to safely restore your home or business.
Mold In Crawl Spaces
Mold in your crawl space?
What Causes Mold in a Crawl Space?
Excessive moisture can cause mold growth in your crawl space. That moisture can occur naturally from the soil and dirt underneath your home. A leaky pipe or condensation can also contribute to higher moisture levels. Without proper ventilation, moisture can build up and cause mold growth.
6 Ways to Prevent Mold Growth in Your Crawl Space
You can be proactive and prevent mold growth by taking a few precautionary steps. We’ve included six tips that can help avoid mold from forming in the first place.
Tip 1: Inspect your foundation walls.
The first step in crawl space mold prevention is to inspect the foundation walls. Look for cracks or leaks in walls, as well as holes or cracks in the ceilings. Even the smallest gap can allow moisture to seep in.
Tip 2: Check your gutters and downspouts.
You want to make sure to channel rainwater away from your house properly. If it’s flowing toward your home, then it’s a surefire recipe for mold. Ideally, you should direct water flow at least six feet from your home to prevent rainwater from pooling at or near your foundation.
Tip 3: Look for any leaks.
You might have to get your hands dirty for this one, but we recommend checking your crawl space two to three times per year. Inspect the pipes to ensure that none of them are leaking. You should also look for any plumbing leaks above ground too. Since water travels downward, a leak upstairs can easily make its way into your crawl space.
Tip 4: Insulate crawl space pipes.
Earlier, we mentioned that condensation collecting on pipes from fluctuating temperatures could elevate moisture levels in your crawl space, leading to mold. One way to prevent this from happening is to insulate the pipes.
Tip 5: Consider a vapor barrier.
Vapor barriers are unique materials that keep moisture out of your crawl space. Vapor barriers are made of a plastic or foil sheet designed to resist water through the floor, ceiling, wall, or roof. They prevent both the invasion of moisture and the condensation on surfaces.
If you already have a vapor barrier (also referred to as crawl space encapsulation), ensure you remove the original barrier to prevent odor or moisture from being trapped between the two layers.
Tip 6: Adequately ventilate your space.
Good ventilation airs out your crawl space, and in conjunction with a vapor barrier, is very effective in keeping everything perfectly dry. There are multiple ways to ventilate the area, such as:
- Divert a minimal amount of heated air from your HVAC system to the crawl space.
- Install a dehumidifier. Humidity levels shouldn’t be above 30-50%.
- Install an exhaust fan to move crawl space air outside.
- If you have a clothes dryer in your home, ensure the vent flows outside the crawl space.
Preparing for a Winter Storm
To keep yourself and your loved ones safe, you should know how to prepare your home and your car before a winter storm hits.
Make a Plan
Be prepared before a winter storm hits by planning ahead. If you are in an area prone to winter weather, be sure to create a communication and disaster plan for your family ahead of time.
Weatherproof your home.
- Insulate any water lines that run along exterior walls so your water supply will be less likely to freeze.
- Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
- Insulate walls and attic.
- Install storm or thermal-pane windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside.
- Repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on your home or other structure during a storm.
Have your chimney or flue inspected each year.
If you plan to use a fireplace or wood stove for emergency heating, have your chimney or flue inspected each year. Ask your local fire department to recommend an inspector or find one online.Featured Resource
Check out our infographic, Be Ready! Winter Weather for tips on getting your family, home, and car ready for a winter storm.pdf iconMore >
Install a smoke detector and a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector.
- If you’ll be using a fireplace, wood stove, or kerosene heater, install a smoke detector and a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector near the area to be heated. Test them monthly and replace batteries twice a year.
- Keep a multipurpose, dry-chemical fire extinguisher nearby.
- All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside.
- Each winter season have your furnace system and vent checked by a qualified technician to ensure they are functioning properly.
For older adults, keep an easy-to-read thermometer inside your home.
If you or a loved one are over 65 years old, place an easy-to-read thermometer in an indoor location where you will see it frequently. Our ability to feel a change in temperature decreases with age. Older adults are more susceptible to health problems caused by cold. Check the temperature of your home often during the winter months.
Create an emergency car kit.
It is best to avoid traveling, but if travel is necessary, keep the following in your carexternal icon:
- Cell phone, portable charger, and extra batteries
- Items to stay warm such as extra hats, coats, mittens, and blankets
- Windshield scraper
- Battery-powered radio with extra batteries
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Water and snack food
- First aid kit with any necessary medications and a pocket knife
- Tow chains or rope
- Tire chains
- Canned compressed air with sealant for emergency tire repair
- Cat litter or sand to help tires get traction, or road salt to melt ice
- Booster cables with fully charged battery or jumper cables
- Hazard or other reflectors
- Bright colored flag or help signs, emergency distress flag, and/or emergency flares
- Road maps
- Waterproof matches and a can to melt snow for water
Christmas Tree Safety Tips
Christmas Tree Myth: A Christmas Trees is a fire hazard.
Use of lights that produce low heat, such as miniature lights, will reduce drying of the tree.
Always inspect light sets prior to placing them on the tree. If worn, replace with a new set.
Do not overload electrical circuits.
Always turn off the lights when leaving the house or when going to bed.
Monitor the tree for freshness. After Christmas or if the tree is dry, remove it from the house.
Find a recycling program near you.
Never burn any part of a Christmas Tree in a wood stove or fireplace.
Provided by the National Christmas Tree Association: It's that time of year again. We'll all probably see the local TV news team do a Christmas Tree fire story. It'll show a dramatic image of a tree burning and the reporter will say with consternation, "If you get a Real Christmas Tree, this could happen to you….blah blah blah.”
Watching those stories every year, I can only wonder at the ethical standards of the TV station. This is clearly an example of sensational and misleading journalism. While I applaud efforts to teach people how to properly care for their farm-grown Christmas Tree and warn people about potential fire hazards, journalists have a responsibility to get the facts right.
A natural tree, especially a tree that is kept watered, is extremely difficult to ignite from an accidental ignition source found in a home. In fact, newspapers, magazines, boxes, bags and drapes are far more likely to be involved in a fire, but mentioning these before natural trees would still “miss the mark.” Media focus should be on the source of the fire in the first place. Educating the public about unattended or poorly placed candles, overloaded circuits and faulty wiring should be your priority. A cut Christmas Tree has NEVER, ever, ever in history CAUSED a fire. Fires are caused by sparks, flames, heat or chemical reactions. A plant (which is what a Christmas Tree is) can NOT cause a fire.
According to published reports of the National Fire Protection Association, a confirmed average of 111 fires per year in the U.S. were ones in which a cut tree was the first item ignited in a residential fire. During the same period of the report, an average of 28 million cut Christmas Trees were displayed. Divide 111 by 28 million. You get 0.0000039. Or 0.0004% rounded up. But watching local news reports on the topic, one would think it happened all the time.
Another item in the NFPA report you might find interesting is that fire officials state clearly that artificial trees also catch on fire every year. There is no testing lab or standards for those products to meet in order to print the words "flame retardant" on their packaging. They're really just words on a box. Fake trees catch on fire every year. Not very many, just like farm-grown trees. However, according to the NFPA report, 28% confirmed residential fires where a Christmas tree was the first item ignited involved a fake tree.
I hope these journalists realize just how erroneous and misleading and dramatized their stories like this are, and how scaring people with dramatic images of trees burning doesn't help to constructively provide tree care tips. It only hurts local farmers who grow the trees. Media stories that exaggerate the danger of a consumer item – or worse yet media stories that intentionally fake an event such as pouring gasoline over a Real Christmas Tree to demonstrate its flammability – can influence consumer behavior in a way that is unfair and unfortunate. It is journalistic sensationalism and does a disservice to the public and the product. Don't think they fake it? Just a few years ago, on The Tonight Show, Jay Leno showed a clip of a fireman pouring four gallons of gas on a tree just prior to doing one of those "this could happen to you" Christmas Tree fire stories for local TV news.
My hope is that consumers are not fooled by media who show these news reports. You can get the facts, including proper tree care practices, at www.realchristmastrees.org Have a safe and Merry Christmas!
Space Heater Safety Tips
On average, fires caused by portable heaters cause 65 deaths and 150 injuries a year.
Heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires in the United States. More than 65,000 home fires are attributed to heating equipment each year. These fire result in hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries and millions of dollars in property damage.
Portable electric space heaters can be a convenient source of supplemental heat for your home in cold weather. Unfortunately, they can pose significant fire and electric shock hazards if not used properly. Fire and electrical hazards can be caused by space heaters without adequate safety features, space heaters placed near combustibles, or space heaters that are improperly plugged in.
Safety should always be a top consideration when using space heaters. Here are some tips for keeping your home safe and warm when it’s cold outside:
- Make sure your space heater has the label showing that it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory.
- Before using any space heater, read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels carefully.
- Inspect heaters for cracked or broken plugs or loose connections before each use. If frayed, worn or damaged, do not use the heater.
- Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when you’re leaving a room or going to sleep, and don’t let pets or children play too close to a space heater.
- Space heaters are only meant to provide supplemental heat and should never be used to warm bedding, cook food, dry clothing or thaw pipes.
- Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home and outside all sleeping areas and test them once a month.
- Proper placement of space heaters is critical. Heaters must be kept at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including papers, clothing and rugs.
- Locate space heaters out of high traffic areas and doorways where they may pose a tripping hazard.
- Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. Do not use an extension cord or power strip, which could overheat and result in a fire. Do not plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater.
- Place space heaters on level, flat surfaces. Never place heaters on cabinets, tables, furniture, or carpet, which can overheat and start a fire.
- Always unplug and safely store the heater when it is not in use.
Tips for cooking with a fryer without causing a dangerous fire this Thanksgiving
When it comes to deep frying turkey, you want to take every precaution to keep your family and your home safe.
Thanksgiving is a time for family and holiday traditions including taste tested, Thanksgiving recipes. It's also a time where family members may want to join in the food preparation so fire safety is important. With the speed of deep-frying a turkey, the irresistible flavor, and juiciness that results, turkey frying has become a Thanksgiving tradition for some. But turkey fryers have the potential to cause fire and serious injury, which is why organizations like Underwriters Laboratories and the National Fire Protection Association advises against using them. If you plan to deep-fry your holiday bird, be sure you know how to safely use the fryer, and take these precautions to protect yourself, your guests and your home.
Tips to help prevent deep fried turkey accidents
- Keep outdoor fryers off decks, out of garages and a safe distance away from trees and other structures.
- Make sure the turkey is thawed and dry before cooking. Ice or water that mixes into the hot oil can cause flare-ups.
- Watch the weather. Never operate a fryer outdoors in the rain or snow.
- Place the fryer on a level surface, and avoid moving it once it's in use.
- Leave 2 feet between the tank and the burner when using a propane-powered fryer.
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions to avoid overfilling. Oil can ignite when it makes contact with the burner.
- Choose a smaller turkey for frying. A bird that's 8 to 10 pounds is best; pass on turkeys over 12 pounds.
- Never leave fryers unattended.
- Purchase a fryer with temperature controls, and watch the oil temperature carefully. Cooking oil that is heated beyond its smoke point can catch fire. If you notice the oil is smoking, turn the fryer off.
- Turn off the burner before lowering the turkey into the oil. Once the turkey is submerged, turn the burner on.
- Wear goggles to shield your eyes, use oven mitts to protect your hands and arms and keep an "ABC" or grease-rated fire extinguisher close by. Do not use water or a garden hose on a fire related to turkey fryers.
- Skip the stuffing when frying turkey, and avoid water-based marinades.
- Keep children and pets away from the fryer at all times.
- Once finished, carefully remove the pot from the burner, place it on a level surface and cover to let the oil cool overnight before disposing.
- Opt for an oil-less fryer. This uses infrared heat, rather than oil, to cook the turkey.
After your turkey is prepared, remember these Thanksgiving food safety tips to help ensure your family has a safe, enjoyable holiday
Ideas on how to prevent pipes from freezing
Freezing and Bursting Pipes Due to Cold Temperatures
Frozen pipes could be a big problem and can be prevented.
In addition to conducting regular winter home maintenance, protecting pipes from freezing is important. Even a tiny crack in a pipe can spew hundreds of gallons of water causing flooding, damage to your furnace and serious structural damage. It also presents an immediate potential for mold.
Frozen water pipes are a problem in both cold and warmer climates, affecting families each winter. It can occur in homes with both plastic and copper pipes. By taking the preventative measures below, you may help reduce the risk of frozen water pipes and the resulting property damage.
Tips to help prevent pipes from freezing
The three central causes of frozen pipes are quick drops in temperature, poor insulation and thermostats set too low. You can prepare your home during the warmer months.
- Insulate pipes. Pipe insulation in your home's crawl spaces and attic helps even if you live in a climate where freezing is uncommon. Exposed pipes are most susceptible to freezing. Remember, the more insulation you use, the better protected your pipes will be.
- Use heat tape or heat cables. Heat tape or thermostatically controlled heat cables can be used to wrap pipes. Be sure to use products approved by an independent testing organization, such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc., and only for the use intended (exterior or interior). Closely follow all manufacturer's installation and operation instructions.
- Seal leaks. Locate and thoroughly seal leaks that allow cold air inside. Look for air leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents and pipes, and use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out.
- Secure outdoor hoses, valves and faucets. Before winter hits, disconnect garden hoses and, if possible, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets. This reduces the chance of freezing in the short span of pipe just inside the house.
- Let water drip. A trickle of hot and cold water might be all it takes to keep your pipes from freezing. Let warm water drip overnight when temperatures are cold, preferably from a faucet on an outside wall.
- Adjust the thermostat. Keeping your thermostat set at the same temperature during both day and night also reduces the risk of frozen pipes. During extreme cold, this also helps reduce the strain on the furnace.
- Open cabinet doors. This allows heat to get to un-insulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.
5 Signs of Moisture Damage in Your Home
The professionals at SERVPRO are always available for a moisture damage estimate!
Throughout the years of providing water damage restoration services, we have found that moisture damage is common in many Atlanta homes without homeowners' awareness. Moisture damage can cause many problems in a home, including permanent structural damage. Therefore, identifying the five most common signs of moisture damage early on is essential to protect your home and prevent future issues.
The five common signs of moisture damage are:
- Water stains or discoloration on walls, ceilings, or floors
- Peeling paint or wallpaper
- Growth of mold or mildew
- Warping or buckling of floors, walls, or ceilings
- Bug infestation If you have any questions or want immediate water damage assistance, get in touch with SERVPRO of Mayes and Wagoner Counties. We are always here to help!
What is moisture damage?
Moisture damage is any water-related damage that can occur in your home, including damage caused by a leaky roof, a broken pipe, or flooding. If left untreated, moisture damage can cause permanent structural damage to your home and other significant problems.
The five most common signs of moisture damage
Now that you are familiar with what moisture damage is, let's take a closer look at the five most common signs that moisture damage has occurred in your home.
1) Water stains or discoloration on walls, ceilings, or floors
One of the most common signs of moisture damage is water stains or discoloration on walls, ceilings, or floors. If you notice any water stains in your home, it's crucial to investigate the cause and take steps to fix the issue. In addition, leaks usually cause water stains, so it's essential to find and repair the source of the leak as soon as possible.
2) Peeling paint or wallpaper
Another common sign of moisture damage is peeling paint or wallpaper. If you notice that the paint or wallpaper in your home is peeling, it's a good idea to check for moisture damage. Peeling paint or wallpaper can be caused by high humidity levels, so it's crucial to ensure that your home is well-ventilated.
3) Mold or mildew growth
Mold and mildew growth is another common sign of moisture damage. If you notice mold or mildew in your home, it's essential to take steps to remove it and prevent it from coming back. Mold and mildew can cause serious problems, so ensuring your home is clean and moisture-free is essential.
4) Warping or buckling of floors, walls, or ceilings
Warping or buckling floors, walls, or ceilings are another common sign of moisture damage. If you notice any warping or buckling in your home, it's crucial to investigate the cause and take steps to fix the issue.
5) Bug infestation
A common sign of moisture damage is a bug infestation. If you notice bugs in your home, it's essential to take steps to remove them and prevent them from coming back. Bugs are attracted to moisture, so it's vital to ensure that your home is clean and free of moisture.
Preventing moisture damage
As you can see, moisture damage can cause many problems in your home. Keeping your home dry and well-ventilated is essential to prevent moisture damage. Some tips for preventing moisture damage include:
- Fixing any leaks in your home as soon as possible.
- Checking for moisture regularly and taking steps to dry wet areas.
- Ventilating your home to reduce moisture buildup.
- Using a dehumidifier to control humidity levels.
- Keep gutters clean and free of debris.
The professionals at SERVPRO of Mayes and Wagoner Counties can help combat moisture damage
We covered a lot of information on moisture damage, including the common signs that moisture damage has occurred in your home. Those common signs are:
- Water stains or discoloration on walls, ceilings, or floors
- Peeling paint or wallpaper
- Growth of mold or mildew
- Warping or buckling of floors, walls, or ceilings
- Bug infestation
We also discussed ways to prevent moisture damage in your home because prevention is the number one best way to keep moisture damage from happening. However, if moisture damage occurs in your home, don't hesitate to contact SERVPRO of Mayes and Wagoner Counties.
SERVPRO of Mayes and Wagoner Counties is an IICRC accredited firm, and our team of professionals has the training and experience necessary to help you combat moisture damage. We are available 24/7, 365 days a year, so don't hesitate to contact us.