Spring Break Water Safety Tips
Spring break season is upon us. While the point of the many vacations is to relax and have fun, it’s important to be vigilant and stay safe. This is especially true when it comes to water fun and beachside vacation spots. To keep you safe, we want to be sure to share some Red Cross safety tips for water fun.
- “Don’t Drink and Dive” - Nearly 70% of water-related deaths among teens and adults involve alcohol. Many of those injuries occur after diving and other foolish stunts. Alcohol affects your judgment and coordination and when boosted with high temperatures and hot sun there could be some terrible consequences. Make sure you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and keep your drinking time and swimming time separated.
- “Buddy up” - Pools and parks may be supervised, but sometimes things and people can slip through the cracks. Never go anywhere without a friend and never let your kids swim without a buddy. If you or someone you know is not a strong swimmer, whether they’re a child or an adult make sure that the “arms-reach” buddy system is in place along with other precautions like floaties or other life-preserving tools.
- “Enroll before you go” - Take a Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED class. Be ready for the unexpected so if something does happen you can take care of the situation before it gets worse.
- “Pack tools, not toys” - While foam pool noodles and floaties can be helpful, there’s nothing that will protect better than actual lifejackets. These can be found and purchased at many stores including sporting goods stores. If for you are unable to purchase one of these flotation devices yourself, make sure that Coast Guard-approved life vests are available and worn wherever you are having your water fun.
- “Steer clear of breath-holding games” Breath holding and hyperventilation (fast shallow breathing) games while swimming can be severely dangerous. It is really easy to lose consciousness and start sinking. Don’t risk it. Breathe normally. Hold your breath only when necessary.
- “If the thunder roars, get indoors” - Any outdoor water sources can be a point of electrocution. You should always exit the water and go indoors when the sky gets dark and you hear thunder. If you happen to see lightning, there is no speed fast enough to get indoors and out of harm’s way.
The last thing you want to happen on any trip is to have to take a trip to the hospital. Safety should always come first, and the fun will just follow after that.
Information retrieved from:
For your cleaning and restoration needs, you can always contact SERVPRO® of Peoria at 309-637-7300.
Tornadoes are not unheard of in the Central Illinois area. The tornado that hit in Washington, IL in 2013 was a tragedy for many families. Homes and properties were demolished and lives put in danger. This was a wakeup call for many Illinois residents. It is clear now how important it is to be prepared for an event like a tornado. While making sure that you have enough supplies to sustain you and your loved ones are important, it is crucial to have a place to go and wait out the worst of the storm; and what better place for that than a safe room.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, “a safe room is a hardened structure specifically designed to meet the FEMA criteria and provide near-absolute protection in extreme weather events, including tornadoes and hurricanes.” These rooms are made to withstand the effects of a tornado or other severe storms better than a basement would. Things that should be considered when building a safe room include:
- The Safe Room must be adequately anchored to resist overturning and uplift.
- The walls, ceiling, and the door of the shelter must withstand wind pressure and resist penetration by windborne objects and falling debris.
- The connections between all parts of the Safe Room must be strong enough to resist the wind.
- Sections of either interior or exterior residence walls that are used as walls of the Safe Room must be separated from the structure of the residence so that damage to the residence will not cause damage to the Safe Room.
It is important to keep your family as safe as possible in severe weather situations. Should you decide to build a safe room for your home, there are plenty of tips and guidelines provided on the FEMA website. There are funding options for residential and commercial properties that can help create a safe spot for people to go when disaster strikes. It is important for you to follow your local weather forecasts and pay attention to weather alerts when they come out. Preparation and paying attention are the key to staying safe and happy.
Information retrieved from:
Remember – if you do experience loss due to a tornado or other severe weather in the Peoria area call SERVPRO® at 309-637-7300.
Contents Restoration for Commercial Loss
A loss in any situation can be devastating, no matter what the cause or the setting is. When you suffer damages and loss in a residential setting, it can mean the loss of personal property like memories, clothing, family heirlooms, and more. It could easily mean the loss of the home as well, which can be a struggle for the residents. On the other hand, when commercial property and its contents are damaged it can affect the business, the employees, and other businesses associated with the damaged business. In these situations, business owners should be willing to replace what needs to be replaced and know how to go about restoring what can be restored. SERVPRO® of Peoria can play a big part in that restoration process.
Commercial contents that are of a high priority for restoration include:
- Cash registers
- Phones/Fax Machines
- Retail Equipment
- Kitchen Equipment
- (Some) Factory Equipment
- Furniture (ie; displays)
- Documents (paper/electronic)
There are plenty of other high priority contents for commercial property. However, the truth is when any of these items are damaged, it can hinder a business.
SERVPRO® has equipment made specifically for the restoration of the aforementioned items. Our UltraSonic Cleaning System and our Esporta Cleaning System are top of the line. We can clean soft and hard content. Electronics are as good as new and uniforms and other contents look and smell new by the time we’re done with them.
A business ends up with damages from a small electrical fire. The building is in the process of being repaired, but the damage to the structure isn’t the problem. The computers, furniture, and security systems are covered in smoke/soot residue both inside and out. Before you can fully get back into working order they need to be cleaned. Not only can our team clean out your electronics without damaging the insides, but we can remove the smoke smell and stains from your furniture. You don’t have to replace your contents because they’ve been fully restored instead!
We have the ability to clean your contents and the understanding of why the items are so important to you to make the transition from damage to restoration less painful. Why would you choose anyone else?
To learn more about our contents process check out our videos at:
Remember, if you fall victim to commercial contents loss, you can call SERVPRO® of Peoria at 309-637-7300.
Kitchen Fire Safety
The kitchen is one of the more dangerous rooms in both residential and commercial properties. The difference though is that commercial kitchens give special training to the people who will be working within them. Residential kitchens are left in the hands of both adults and children, raising the risk for injuries and other accidents.
The following is a set of tips provided by the NFPA to help lower the chances of accidents that will cause fires or severe burns.
- Be alert. Do not attempt to cook if you are tired or under the influence of medicine, drugs, or alcohol.
- Keep anything flammable away from the stovetop. Keep the stovetop, oven, and burners clean of grease, oils, and other contaminants that might catch fire.
- Stay in the kitchen when cooking. If you must leave the kitchen for any reason, turn off the stove. Check what you’re cooking regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you of how long the task will take.
- Make sure there is at least one oven mitt in the kitchen to prevent burns from pots and pans.
- If an oven catches fire, turn off the heat and keep the door. Leaving the door open could allow flames to burn you or catch your clothing on fire. The oven should be checked and/or serviced before being used again. It should be replaced if it can’t be fully fixed.
- Plug microwaves directly into an outlet. Using an extension cord can overload the circuit and cause a fire.
- If your microwave or something in it catches fire, turn it off and keep the door closed until the fire is completely out. Don’t use it again until it is serviced. If needed, replace it.
- Keep pot handles away from the stove’s edge and burners. Use the back burners whenever possible.
- Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves to avoid catching your clothes on fire. However, if they do catch fire just remember to stop, drop, and roll!
- To avoid burns from steam, open food that you’ve heated in the microwave slowly and away from your face.
- Always remember the “three-feet” rule. Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the cooking area (in all directions). This will prevent burns from spilled food or contact with the stove.
- When in doubt, just get out. For fires you’re not sure if you can handle, leave the house and call the fire department.
- Treat burns as soon as possible. Put it in cool water and continue to cool the burn for three to five minutes. When cooled, cover with a clean, dry cloth to prevent infection. For burns bigger than your fist or for any burn that you’re not sure you can care for, go to the emergency room.
There are plenty of fire and burn risks in the kitchen. However, there are even more things that you can do to prevent those risks from becoming very real problems.
Information received from:
If you do experience a kitchen fire, you can contact SERVPRO® of Peoria for the cleanup and restoration of your residential or commercial property. 309-637-7300
Mold Damage After Water Loss
When water damage occurs, it’s easy to assume that fixing everything will only require drying and cleaning the immediate damage. The fact of the matter is that water damage isn’t just about the water. In many instances, the water will result in mold. Many of the water loss jobs we are faced with here at SERVPRO® are coupled with mold jobs; and vise-versa. Much like any sources of water or moisture must be addressed before mold remediation can begin (to avoid returning mold) mold should always be checked for after water sources are dealt with; because mold might be in a spot where it’s difficult for an untrained eye to see and could eventually develop into a larger issue. While the issue of mold is usually handled by professionals, there are a few things you can remember about mold to help you when you are faced with possible mold in your home or in a business.
Water damage that causes mold generally comes in the form of a leak, flood storm damage, etc.; but higher than usual humidity constitutes as water damage and can increase your chances of mold as well. Much like humidity can have effects indoors or out, mold can be inside or outside of a structure and is not limited to either place. Mold requires moisture, and moisture can be both indoors and out. Speaking of limitations, mold is not limited to growing on objects or in walls. Microscopic mold particles can float through the air, making the air in your home or business unfit to breathe. The smell of mold travels through the air, too, and is generally musty and strong. This smell is one of the key methods for finding mold in spots where it may not be visible.
SERVPRO® of Peoria has seen its fair share of mold jobs. These jobs have ranged from mold in crawl spaces to homes that have simply not been taken care of regularly, to leaky pipes in bathrooms or kitchens, and far more. Recently, a job was started at a residential property where exhaust from a water heater in an attic caused an excess of water to damage the ceiling in one of the bedrooms. The client was worried that the water build up might have caused mold, so she called us to get it checked out. She did the right thing knowing she would not be able to identify anything herself.
Due to the fact that some mold issues may require more professional solutions than others, FEMA has set a basic process to help people decide whether or not to deal with a mold situation on their own. These steps for solving mold issues include
- Identifying if there is visible mold.
- Are the Walls and Ceilings Discolored?
- Identifying the smell of the mold.
- Could identify if there is hidden mold.
- Note how much mold is present.
- Visible Sq. Ft.
- Hidden Sq. Ft.
- Total Sq. Ft.
- Identify and Remove the source of the moisture.
- Determine the course of action.
- If less than 25 Sq. Ft., follow the instructions in the booklet provided online by FEMA (link will be below).
- If over 25 Sq. fT., consult a professional contractor.
If you find yourself in the position that you need to call a professional contractor, there are many businesses out there that you can call. Just remember that none of them will have the training and the empathy that you will find if you decide to go with SERVPRO®. Our teams have the skills to help you with your water, mold, and just about any other damage that could take place in your home or business.
Information and FEMA Mold Booklet retrieved from:
You can always contact SERVPRO® of Peoria for your cleaning and restoration needs. 309-637-7300.
Residential -vs- Commercial
There is a clear difference between residential and commercial properties. There are also a few important differentiators that might not be as obvious, but are important, especially when it comes to handling the property when it comes to damage and loss.
Residential buildings are living spaces. These buildings include:
- Single-Family Home
- Multi-Family Home
Adversely, commercial buildings fall into the following categories:
- Small Office Buildings
- Large Office/High-Rise Office Buildings
- Apartment Buildings
- Small Retail Stores
- Large Retail/Big-Box Stores
- High-Rise Residential
- Manufacturing & Industrial
Knowing the types of residential and commercial buildings makes it easier to understand the way they are insured as well.
When insuring a home:
- the named insured will be an individual or a married couple
- agents are typically looking to cover homes and their contents
- primarily premises liability exposure
Whereas with commercial insurance
- entities like sole proprietor, partnership, limited liability corporation, corporation, etc. could be listed as the named insured; and depending on ownership structure, there may be multiple on a single policy
- Property coverage for commercial consumers can cover a myriad of different building types and contents such as inventory, furniture, property of the business’ customers, and/or machinery.
- four different liability exposures - premises, operations, products, and completed operations
With all of these differences, it’s hard to believe that there would be any similarities between residential and commercial properties. However, those similarities appear in the types of damages and losses that can be handled by SERVPRO® for the properties and the contents they hold.
For both residential and commercial properties SERVPRO® can assist with cleaning and restoration from:
- Air Ducts and HVAC
- Biohazard and Sewage
- Trauma and Crime Scene
- Carpet and Upholstery
- Drapes and Blinds
- Ceilings, Walls, and Hard Floors
- Odor Removal and Deodorization
- Commercial and Residential Water Damage Restoration
- Commercial and Residential Fire Damage Restoration
- Commercial and Residential Mold Remediation
- Commercial and Residential Storm Damage Cleanup
- Disaster Recovery Team
The fact is, even though there are so many differences between residential and commercial space, there is a company out there who is “Here to Help”® with either property type.
Information retrieved from:
You can always contact SERVPRO® of Peoria for your cleaning and restoration needs. 309-637-7300
Red Cross Thunder Storm Safety Tips
In Central Illinois, we are aware of the severity of some of the storms that pass through the area. When bad storms blow through, it is important to have an idea of how to stay safe. The American Red Cross has a vast knowledge of how to do just that, and we are sharing some of that knowledge with you here.
- The difference between a thunderstorm watch and a thunderstorm warning is that a watch means you need to stay alert and be prepared if something happens and a warning means it’s time to take action due to a reported incident.
- A thunderstorm is considered severe if
- Hail at least one inch in diameter is falling.
- 58 miles per hour winds or less are present.
- Flash flooding occurs.
- Put together an emergency preparedness kit
- Pick a safe place away from windows, skylights and glass doors that could be broken by strong winds or hail for everyone in your home to meet during a storm.
- Protect your animals by ensuring that any outside buildings that house them are protected in the same way as your home.
- Make trees and shrubbery more wind resistant by keeping them trimmed and removing damaged branches.
- Get trained in first aid and learn how to respond to emergencies
- If thunder roars, go indoors!
- Avoid electrical equipment and telephones. Use battery-powered TVs and radios instead.
- Do not take a bath, shower or use plumbing.
- If you are outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground; water; tall, isolated trees; and metal objects such as fences or bleachers. Picnic shelters, dugouts, and sheds are NOT safe.
- Never drive through a flooded roadway. You cannot predict how deep the water may be.
- If lightning strikes
- Call for help. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
- After calling 9-1-1, check for burns and other injuries. If the person has stopped breathing begin CPR. If the person is breathing normally, look for other possible injuries and take proper action. People struck by lightning do not retain an electrical charge and can be handled safely.
These are only a small portion of the tips and facts offered by the American Red Cross. If you visit their site you can find much more information that could save your life or the life of someone you love. Check them out and remember that the key to staying safe is being prepared.
Information retrieved from https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/thunderstorm.html
If your home or business sustains storm damages, you can always call SERVPRO® of Peoria for cleaning and restoration services. 309-637-7300
When choosing a company to help with the cleanup and restoration after damages or loss, it is important to know who offers what you need and how well they’ll get the job done. SERVPRO® is a global leader in cleaning and restoration, but each franchise has its own list of certifications for both the employees and the equipment used. These certifications put SERVPRO® ahead of the competition.
The following is a list of all the certifications earned by SERVPRO® of Peoria.
- Esporta Wash System Certified Operator
- IICRC Remediation for Mold Sensitized Individuals
- IICRC Certified Mold Remediation
- IICRC Water Damage Restoration Certification
- IICRC Fire and Smoke Restoration Certification
- IICRC Water Restoration Technician and Applied Structural Drying
- IICRC Carpet Cleaning and Upholstery/Fabric Cleaning
- OTSI Lead Safety for Renovation, Repair, and Painting
- Restoration Science Academy RSA Trauma Scene Clean Up MR211
- Esporta Wash System
- Ultra Sonic Cleaner
- Electronic Equipment Dryer
- Ozone Room and Machines
- Air Movers and Dehumidifiers
- Air Scrubbers and Hydroxyl Machines
- Wood Floor Drying Mats
- Water Extractors - Portable and Truck Mount
- Carpet Extractors and Shampooers
- Diesel Portable Heaters
- Water Extraction Trucks
- Carpet Cleaning Vans
- Cleaning and Restoration Vans
- Content Moving Trucks
- Carpenter and Painter Vans
With our knowledge base and these tools at our disposal, we have the ability to make your cleaning and restoration process swift and painless.
Remember - You can always contact SERVPRO® of Peoria at 309-637-7300.
Smoke Alarm Installation
Fire alarms are a necessity for all buildings, especially homes. As we all know, these small devices can help identify a fire in time to save a building and the content in it. Smoke alarms are also the difference between waking up at night and escaping a house fire or being trapped by engulfing flames. However, just having smoke alarms in the house is not enough. They need to be installed properly, in the correct places and tested. The National Fire Protection Association put together a list of information to assure that you do things right the first time around.
- Choose smoke alarms approved by recognized testing labs.
- It’s important to place smoke alarms
- Inside each bedroom and at least one outside the bedrooms
- Each level of the home, including the attic and basement.
- In the living room, den, or family room
- Near the stairway to upper levels (Basement alarms should be installed on the ceiling at the bottom of the stairs.)
- Place smoke alarms at least 10 feet (3 meters) from cooking appliances to minimize false alarms when cooking.
- Because smoke rises, smoke alarms should be mounted in higher spots, like walls or ceilings, but never more than 12 inches away from the ceiling.
- If you have ceilings that are pitched, install the alarm within 3 feet of the peak but not within the apex of the peak (four inches down from the peak).
- To avoid a breeze or a draft throwing off the accuracy, don't install smoke alarms near windows, doors, vents, or any other ducts.
- Paint, stickers, or other decorations could interfere with the functionality of an alarm.
- Interconnecting all smoke alarms through hard-wiring or wireless technology (so when one smoke alarm sounds they all sound) is the most effective way to set them up. This means if the basement alarm sounds in the middle of the night, then the one in your bedroom will sound as well, waking you and alerting you to the smoke/fire.
- There are two types of smoke alarms – ionization smoke alarms (responsive to flaming fires) and photoelectric smoke alarms (responsive to smoldering fires). A combination of ionization-photoelectric alarms (dual sensor smoke alarms) is recommended for the best protection.
- Keep manufacturer’s instructions for reference.
- It is always worth it to test the alarms once a month and maintain them in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Make sure everyone in the home understands the sound of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond.
- Keep smoke alarms clean and working. The instructions are included in the package or can be found on the internet.
- If alarms with 10-year batteries chirp, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away. Smoke alarms with any other type of battery will also chirps, warning the battery is low, and you should replace the battery right away. It should be replaced at least once a year either way.
However, you should continue to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, which are specific to the batteries (brand and model) that must be used.
Whatever the case may be, you should never be caught without smoke alarms in your home (or business). Safety should always come first, and smoke alarms are one of the best tools for fire safety.
Information retrieved from https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Smoke-alarms/Installing-and-maintaining-smoke-alarms
If smoke alarms go off in your home or business and alert you to fire damages, be sure to contact SERVPRO® of Peoria for the cleaning and restoration of your property. 309-637-7300
Recovering After Loss
When a disaster strikes your business, every second between damage and restoration matters. It is important to not only to have a plan on how to handle a catastrophic event while it is happening, but it is just as important to have a solid plan of what to do and who you’ll need to work with once the problem has passed.
Here at SERVPRO®, we like to call this preparation an Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) and it helps to make the recovery process move swiftly and smoothly. Of course from our standpoint, we would love it if every business would take advantage of our no-cost ERPs. However, we understand that sometimes building a professional relationship requires a little convincing. So the following is a list of steps that can be taken post-disaster that could help save a business from needing to shut down; all of which would be easier with an ERP.
- As soon as the disaster has ended, change the business/company mindset to recovery. Make temporary repairs, especially to minimize further damage and (If you haven’t already) relocate salvageable equipment and property to a safe, protected location.
- Make sure employees communicate and act appropriately in regard to the circumstances while also providing them with support and assistance. They’re going to be affected by the damages to the business as well.
- Implement your disaster plan. Assess damage, consider if a backup location is needed and make sure that there is a communication strategy in place to get facts to employees, suppliers, customers, and media outlets.
- Inspect your property thoroughly. Document damage, file insurance claims, and track recovery (i.e. keeping receipts).
- Once proper documentation is completed and your insurance professional has been contacted, clean the property to the best of your ability. The exception to this would be if the mess contains hazards that would be detrimental to you or your employees’ health.
- Cultivate partnerships in the community with businesses, government, and nonprofits. You can also connect with chambers of commerce, economic development, and other community support organizations.
- Remember to take everything that happened during and after the event and use it to make updates to future plans (or ERPs).
SERVPRO® is determined to help businesses, big or small, avoid falling into the hole that most businesses do after water, fire, storm, or any other damages occur. Recover fast, recover completely, and get back to work.
Information received from:
If you are faced with business slowing damages or are curious about setting up an ERP, you can contact SERVPRO® of Peoria to get more information about how we are “Here to Help®.” 309-637-7300