Flood Hazards for First Responders
If suffering from storm damage follow these tips to stay safe
When a flood hits Cookeville, TN, a first responder is the hero of the day as he or she works to protect lives, property and the environment. It is important for these trained professionals to look after themselves as well, and this work comes with its own set of potential risks. Rather than put yourself or others at risk, follow these simple steps to stay safe.
3 Steps You Should Follow to Stay Safe.
Flood response has its own set of hazards. Prior to heading out to help others, take time to review personal safety procedures.
- Immunizations for Hepatitis B and tetanus must be up-to-date.
- Protective clothing should include chemical-resistant outer clothing, goggles, boots and plastic or rubber gloves.
- Layer latex gloves over puncture-resistant gloves and discard them after use.
After cleaning, don’t wear contaminated clothes in your personal vehicle. Remember to shower and change into uncontaminated clothes when your shift as a first responder ends. Wear a disposable N95 mask to protect yourself from inhaling mold. Clean wet surfaces with clean water and disinfectant. Properly vent portable generators and avoid the risk of electrocution.
Be aware of your surroundings, especially when working near traffic. Watch for sinkholes and areas where the terrain has sustained damage. Seek medical care if you are exposed to raw sewage or chemicals. Frequently wash your hands in soap and clean water or with alcohol-based gel, especially before meals and after handling potentially contaminated materials.
The major cause of loss of life in floods is being trapped in a vehicle. It takes only a foot of water to float many cars and trucks, and once the wheels are off the road, rolling, flipping, or colliding with anything downstream can happen quickly.
A first responder is a welcome sight to flood victims and is the person who will lead the way to recovery and damage remediation. Though staying dry may be impossible, staying safe doesn’t have to be.
What Types of Assistance Can You Expect From FEMA?
Federal Emergency Management Agency
What Types of Assistance Can You Expect From FEMA?
When you're affected by heavy storm damage, you can get emergency help from the government through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Financial assistance can be used to help you get back on your feet. Before getting into the services FEMA provides, take a look at who qualifies:
- Was your home damage a direct result of the storm?
- Is your home uninhabitable?
- Did you need to stay in a hotel because of power or water loss?
- Have you checked with your insurance provider?
- Do you live within a mandatory evacuation zone?
If your insurance company covers your losses, the agency won't pay for any covered costs for repairs or hotel bills.
Structural Repairs to Your Home
The grants from FEMA are intended to pay for minimal repairs that make it safe for you to live in your home. The financial assistance should go to the structural repairs your home needs. These repairs may include the foundation, walls, doors, cabinetry, and roof of your home, for example. If you aren't sure how much money you'll need, get an estimate from flood damage repair and recovery experts.
Sometimes, such as during Hurricane Harvey, it's not safe to remain in your home. Whether the dangers are related to power and water outages or structural damages, you may get help paying for a hotel room. If your insurance provides this type of cover during the flood, the agency won't cover the costs. If you do qualify, you'll need to find a hotel participating in the government's transitional housing program.
When you require a generator for medical devices, the government agency may reimburse you for the cost. To get this reimbursement, you must save your receipt and get a letter from your doctor. With this information, follow the registration process and wait to be contacted.
FEMA offers several services to help you out when flooding and other emergencies have made it impossible to remain in your Algood, TN, home. Determine whether you qualify and then take the appropriate registration steps for financial assistance, loans, and reimbursement.
How To Prevent a Dryer Fire
Clean the lint after every load
Many appliances in your home that you use on a daily basis can result in a home fire in Baxter, TN, if broken or not maintained correctly, including your clothes dryer. While a fire damage cleanup company can help if this situation does arise, there are several important steps for preventing a lint fire in your home.
Have Your Dryer Professionally Installed and Maintained
Having a professional technician install your dryer and service it at least twice a year is a great start to making sure your dryer is set up to perform optimally. There are many areas of your dryer where lint can cause dangerous blockages, and a technician can check if any repairs are necessary.
Fully Remove Lint
Many people know that they are supposed to clean the lint filter after they do a load, but not everyone is aware they should also clean out their vent pipes regularly to prevent a lint fire. Make sure to never neglect cleaning the lint filter before starting a new load and clean the inside your dryer from any remaining lint. If you feel your dryer is getting too hot or there is no air escaping from the dryer vent, clean the air exhaust vent pipe from all lint and debris.
Practice Good Habits
When doing laundry, be aware of potential fire hazards that can result in a dryer fire. Keep flammable objects off the surface of the appliance and avoid overloading your dryer. It is also a good idea to never do laundry when you’re asleep or away so you can address an issue right away.
While you might assume that your dryer will always work as it should, a lint fire can happen with improper maintenance. Make sure to get the help of a professional when needed and try to remove as much lint as possible from your dryer in between cleanings.
Maintaining Your Fire Sprinkler System
Maintain, test, and inspect your sprinkler system
Maintaining Your Fire Sprinkler System
As a commercial business owner or property manager, you’ve made long-term investments for both yourself and your employees. Keeping those assets safe from the real possibility of fire requires taking the time and effort to inspect and maintain the mechanics of your business’s fire sprinkler system. NFPA 25 is the Standard for the Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems, and it should be referred to, along with Monterey, TN, codes and regulations. Additionally, you should keep in mind the following items.
1. Keep Maintenance Dates Handy
When your sprinkler system is installed, a tag is attached displaying in detail the inspection, test and maintenance service performed. A new tag will be attached each time a service has been completed. Although the tag confirms dates of service, have a calendar within reach to remind you of the scheduling of future inspections and tests. Having a backup means fewer chances of receiving violations and costly penalty charges for forgetting to maintain your sprinklers.
2. Be Aware of Hazards
Always keep an eye out for all possible fire hazards, in addition to whatever objects could prevent the fire sprinkler system from working properly. Avoid placing tall objects beneath sprinklers to ensure water is distributed evenly throughout the space. A room packed to capacity could impede the sprinkler head and essentially cause more fire damage.
3. Enlist Professionals To Clean Up After Sprinkler Use
It’s a given that a sprinkler system is used to put out fires, but the system itself could cause water damage to the premises, not only to furniture, fabrics, and equipment, but also beneath the surface if left untreated. A water damage restoration specialist can help to clean up the aftermath if your system is ever engaged.
The state fire marshal’s office, local fire departments, and certified fire sprinkler contractors are available to answer any questions you might have concerning the maintenance and use of your sprinkler or fire suppression system. Be proactive. Maintain, test, and inspect your sprinkler system according to the codes and standards as directed.
Dealing With Leaky Pipes at Your Commercial Property
Commercial water damage cleanup in Woodbury,TN
When it comes to running your commercial building in Woodbury, TN, you probably know that time is money. Being forced to close in order to orchestrate a pipe burst cleanup isn't ideal for your business. It's a good idea to have a plan in place to make the process as efficient as possible.
Spot Sources of Water Damage
If your commercial real estate is old or hasn't been properly maintained, your plumbing might not be in the best shape. Something like your supply line leaking or a sewer backup can cause serious water damage. Water damage can compromise the structural safety of the building. There are common signs to keep an eye out for, including:
- Pooling water in the kitchen or bathroom areas
- Consistent dripping from a particular spot in your ceiling
- Overflowing toilets
- Backed up drains
Mitigate Water Damage
If you find evidence of potential water damage, it's best to turn off your water completely. Clean up what you can and call in the professionals, to avoid causing further damage. Certified commercial water restoration technicians follow strict protocols to ensure the area is properly cleaned, dried and restored- especially when it comes to a pipe burst cleanup. They also know how to specifically handle upholstery and odor control.
Prevent Water Damage
To keep another big water cleanup from happening again, you may want to organize a maintenance schedule for all of your water-related systems. That way you can catch issues early and replace what you need to before the mess. You don't need to keep track of all of this yourself, there are plenty of companies out there that provide support for commercial buildings.
Managing commercial property can be a lot of work, especially when encountering seemingly inevitable obstacles like a pipe burst cleanup. If you know what to look for and have a plan prepared, you can make it easier for your future self.
4 Steps for Preventing Unexpected Water Damage While on Vacation
Remember to shut off the main water valve while you're away
Follow These Four Steps Before Leaving for Vacation
The last you want to come home to after a long, relaxing vacation is a flooded house. However, water damage can easily occur to your home in Gordonsville, TN, if a necessary water pipe repair or leaking faucet is left unattended for a long period of time. Left to sit long enough, flood waters can cause extreme damage to the structure of your house and will need to be addressed by a water damage restoration company. To prevent flooding from occurring to your home and damaging your belongings while you’re away, follow these four steps before leaving for vacation.
1. Clean Gutters
Make sure to remove all dead leaves and debris from gutters before heading out on vacation. If it rains while you are gone, a clogged gutter can lead to a leaky roof which can ultimately cause extensive water damage to both the interior and exterior of your home.
2. Check Water Pipes
Make sure to examine your home’s water pipes to check for any existing issues. If you do notice a problem with your water heater, pipes, or connecting hoses, make sure to perform a water pipe repair before departing to avoid a broken pipe.
3. Shut Off Water
If possible, shut off the main water valve while you’re away as an extra precaution. If you still need some water to run the sprinkler system or water plants, then turn off any water supply valves that won’t be used while you’re gone.
4. Get Help From a Friend
Ask a trusted friend or family member to check on your home occasionally while you’re gone. In addition to asking someone to water the plants and take out the trash, ask them to keep a look out for possible leaks.
It might seem convenient to put a off water pipe repair until after you get back from vacation. However, your future self will be thankful that you were proactive in protecting your home from water damage by following these five steps.
Prepare Your Business for a Fire
Prepare your Business for a Fire by having an evacuation plan.
Running a business in Cookeville, TN, is difficult enough, not to mention the potential issues you may run into that don't even involve your day-to-day business transactions. Thousands of businesses in the U.S., both small and large, have been destroyed by fires. Unfortunately, fire safety isn't a top priority for many business owners, so they're not prepared when an incident occurs. Not only can this threaten the lives of their employees, but it also increases the chances of the business becoming a complete loss. Here are a few ways you can create a contingency plan for your business to avoid a devastation like this.
3 Steps To Prepare for a Fire
- Invest in Fire Insurance
Most businesses don't have the finances to make a comeback after a serious fire, because losses often include the building (walls, flooring, roofing, etc.), inventory, important documents and equipment. Luckily, many business insurance plans include fire coverage. Take a close look at your policy to make sure fire coverage is included. If it's not, it may be worth paying extra for it.
- Install Fire Alarm and Sprinkler Systems
Fire damage can be significantly decreased with proper alarm systems. Find one that will immediately notify authorities of the emergency so firefighters can put out the fire before it spreads. Automatic sprinkler systems can be a good investment to help slow down a fire until help arrives.
- Create an Employee Evacuation Plan
Without proper planning and organization, chaos can quickly ensue during an emergency, putting many people in danger. Create an evacuation plan so your employees know where to go (and where not to go) when they hear the fire alarm. Practice it twice a year and revise it as necessary.
It's still possible to be impacted by a fire, even with a solid contingency plan in place. In these cases, look for a reputable fire restoration company in your area to help get your business back up and running as quickly as possible.
Identifying the Type of Mold Growing In Your Home
Aspergillus is a type of mold you can find in your Smithville, TN home
Not all molds are created equal. In fact, like any species, there are a variety of types of mold growth that may invade your dwelling. Some of the more common types of house mold you may discover in your Smithville, TN, home include the following:
- Stachysbotrys chartarum, otherwise known as "black mold"
Though all molds thrive in high humidity, many house molds prefer certain types of materials. For instance, penicillium prefers insulation and furnishings while Chaetomium prefers drywall with water damage. Black mold prefers dark, wet environments such as air conditioning pipes and ducts.
Treating Common House Molds
Regardless of the type of mold growth you discover in your home, it is essential that you contact a mold remediation professional to assess the extent of the issue and to provide a customized treatment plan. Despite needing very little to grow and thrive, remediating mold is a complex and dangerous undertaking that requires extensive knowledge of the fungus and specialized equipment.
If you fail to rid your house of its mold problem the first time around, you risk giving the fungus room to spread. Your home has already likely suffered considerable damage after the first infestation, so there's no telling how much damage a recurrent issue can cause. A professional knows all of the various types of molds' hiding places and can thoroughly inspect and test your home to ensure he or she gets rid of it before embarking on the restoration process.
Common Misconceptions About Mold
Controlling mold and preventing recurrent infestations begins with understanding mold. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there regarding the fungus. It's time to lay those misconceptions to rest.
For one, mold is not only found in homes in which there is water damage. Mold can grow on any surface on which there is any amount of moisture.
Two, black mold is not the only harmful type of mold. Any type of mold can wreak havoc on your home and its belongings.
Three, mold cannot be treated with DIY methods—at least, most mold can't. Unless the mold growth is on a nonporous surface, it's best to contract a mold cleanup crew for swift and effective remediation.
2 Fire Causes Not Covered By Insurance
Vacant home fire in Carthage, TN
Two Types of Fires that Are Not Covered By Insurance
Homeowners insurance covers the majority of home fire causes. The main exceptions are houses that are vacant, such as vacation homes, or intentional fires. An insurance policy should also shield the named insured and other residents from liability unless there is any proof of arson. Find out more about the two types of fires that are not covered perils and how to increase the overall level of protection from fire risks at a residence in Carthage, TN.
1. Vacant Home Fire
The terms of most standard homeowners policies define a residence that has not been occupied for 30 consecutive days as vacant. A vacant home endorsement, rider or a separate policy will be necessary to cover any type of fire that breaks out in this structure. Vacancy policies may be added to a primary property policy as an endorsement or rider or be obtained in the form of a supplementary policy. This coverage will apply during any periods of time in which the residence is vacant.
A deliberate home fire is not covered by any insurance policy. Starting a fire may be related to an attempt to commit insurance fraud, damage property or endanger the residents of a home. If an investigation discovers evidence of an intentional fire, criminal charges may be brought against the named insured or another party. Penalties may range from mischief all the way up to a misdemeanor or felony. Aggravated or first-degree arson can result in a prison sentence of up to 25 years or longer.
Owners of vacation homes should maintain vacancy coverage. It is also a good idea to confirm the extent of home fire liability protection on a standard homeowners policy. No coverage will apply to intentional fires. If a fire damages building materials and contents at a residence in Carthage, TN, the owner should contact cleanup and restoration professionals.
What If This Is Your Business?
Would you be ready?
As many as 50% of businesses never reopen after a disaster. In case you misread that, FIFTY PERCENT of businesses never reopen. In just two years’ time, over 50 % of businesses experienced an unforeseen interruption, and the vast majority (81%) of these interruptions caused the business to be closed one or more days. An estimated 95% of disasters are man-made or internal, such as fire or internal flooding.
Now that the statistics are out of the way, what can you do about it?
I'm sure your business has evacuation plans and basic emergency plans:
- Do you know where they are?
- Do all of your employees know where the gas shut off is?
- Would you have access to all of your primary contact numbers should the office catch on fire?
SERVPRO of Cookeville / Carthage / Smithville / Woodbury provides free Emergency Ready Profiles for all commercial properties. These ERP's provide facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas, and priority contact information. It is a startup approach that provides critical information needed to begin mitigation and emergency services, saving you time and money. All of this in one folder for easy access.
But wait! There's more! (You better have said that in a Billy Mays voice.) Once all of your facility's information has been captured, SERVPRO of Cookeville will provide you with a digital copy via our mobile app. The app is password secured, but has the abilty of profile sharing should you want to delegate it to some of your team.
So I ask you again, what if this is your business? Would you be part of the 50% that never reopens? Would you know who to call? By working with SERVPRO of Cookeville to develop your personalized EMERGENCY READY PROFILE your business will receive the benefit of over 40 years of experience in reducing the impact of any man-made or natural disaster. SERVPRO of Cookeville / Carthage / Smithville / Woodbury is a leader in water and fire damage response and can help you quickly get your property back in working order.