Join your community in preparing for emergencies and disasters of all types, and leading efforts to encourage the community as a whole to become more prepared. “Disasters happen” and not only devastate individuals and neighborhoods, but entire communities. Learn how to be prepared.
Make and Practice Your Plan Do you have an evacuation and shelter-in-place plan? Do you have a plan to communicate with your family before, during and after an incident? Do you have an emergency supply kit? Make sure your family is informed and practiced in your emergency plan. Be sure to sign up for alerts and warnings for your area, and download other necessary apps to stay informed, such as the FEMA app.
Learn Life Saving Skills Do you or someone in your family know CPR? Could you turn off your natural gas if necessary? Do you know how to take cover in an earthquake? Knowing these life saving skills could mean life or death in an emergency situation for you, your family or your neighbors.
What to do until help arrives:
A fire can leave behind soot, smoke damage and a host of other problems. Ceilings, walls, woodwork, carpeting, and floors will often need a thorough professional cleaning. If your home or business suffers a fire, it is important to take the appropriate steps to prevent further damage until your local SERVPRO of Birmingham South arrives. The following tips may help reduce damage and increase chances of a successful restoration.
-Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpet.
-Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork. n Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
-If electricity is off, empty freezer/ refrigerator completely and prop doors open to help prevent odor.
-Wipe soot from chrome kitchen/ bathroom faucets, trim and appliances, then protect these surfaces with a light coating of lubricant.
-If heat is off during winter, pour RV antifreeze in sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks and tubs to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures.
-Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system.
Fungal organisms can grow and multiply wherever suitable conditions of moisture and a food source exist. Common sources of indoor moisture that may lead to mold problems include flooding, leaky roofs, plumbing leaks, overflow from sinks or sewers and damp basements or crawl spaces. Warping floors and discoloration of walls and ceilings can be indications of moisture problems. Unchecked moisture problems can lead to extensive mold contamination in your home, workplace or school.
- American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA-LAP) Proficient Mold Laboratory
- Preliminary Indoor Mold and Bacterial Assessments
- Post Remediation Mold and Bacterial Assessments
- Black Water/Sewage Screen Assessments
- Cause and Origin Insurance Assessments
- Remediation Project Management/Oversight
- Remediation/Design Specifications
- Food Service Assessments
If mold spore concentrations are high, people can become sensitized and develop allergic reactions. Symptoms of mold-overexposure include respiratory problems, eye irritation and skin rashes. In addition, if mold growth is left unchecked, structural damage to the facility can occur.
Safety, Environmental Laboratories and Consulting Services, Inc. specializes in assessing mold growth and contamination. We have performed indoor air quality assessments for residences, businesses and schools throughout the United States. In addition, we can make recommendations for the remediation of your mold problem and perform turnkey project management to insure the problem is corrected.
Extended power outages may impact the whole community and the economy. A power outage is when the electrical power goes out unexpectedly. A power outage may:
Disrupt communications, water, and transportation.
Close retail businesses, grocery stores, gas stations, ATMs, banks, and other services.
Cause food spoilage and water contamination.
Prevent use of medical devices.
PROTECT YOURSELF DURING A POWER OUTAGE:
Keep freezers and refrigerators closed.
Only use generators outdoors and away from windows.
Do not use a gas stove to heat your home.
Disconnect appliances and electronics to avoid damage from electrical surges.
Have alternate plans for refrigerating medicines or using power-dependent medical devices.
If safe, go to an alternate location for heat or cooling.
Check on neighbors.
HOW TO STAY SAFE WHEN A POWER OUTAGE THREATENS:
- Take an inventory of the items you need that rely on electricity.
- Talk to your medical provider about a power outage plan for medical devices powered by electricity and refrigerated medicines. Find out how long medication can be stored at higher temperatures and get specific guidance for any medications that are critical for life.
- Plan for batteries and other alternatives to meet your needs when the power goes out.
- Sign up for local alerts and warning systems. Monitor weather reports.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors with battery backup in central locations on every level of your home.
- Determine whether your home phone will work in a power outage and how long battery backup will last.
- Review the supplies that are available in case of a power outage. Have flashlights with extra batteries for every household member. Have enough nonperishable food and water.
- Use a thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer so that you can know the temperature when the power is restored. Throw out food if the temperature is 40 degrees or higher.
- Keep mobile phones and other electric equipment charged and gas tanks full.
Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters. Conditions that cause floods include heavy or steady rain for several hours or days that saturates the ground. Flash floods occur suddenly due to rapidly rising water along a stream or low-lying area.
Know the Difference
Flood/Flash Flood Watch—Flooding or flash flooding is possible in your area.
Flood/Flash Flood Warning—Flooding or flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area.
What to do:
Listen to area radio and television stations and a NOAA Weather Radio for possible flood warnings and reports of flooding in progress or other critical
information from the National Weather Service (NWS).
- Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
- When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
- Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.
- If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
- Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.
- Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.
- Because standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding, it’s important to have protection from the floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rains and other conditions that impact the U.S. For more information on flood insurance, please visit the National Flood Insurance Program Web site at www.FloodSmart.gov.
Defense Against Mold Growth
Keep the humidity between 30 to 60 percent.
Provide for proper drainage away from building foundations.
Regularly inspect plumbing and appliances for leaks.
Keep gutters and drains clear of debris.
Respond to all water intrusions immediately.
Inspect the roof, windows and other areas where water might enter the building and perform necessary maintenance.
Contact SERVPRO® of Birmingham South for assistance after a water damage or if you discover mold.
It's the water you don't see [Part One]
Even small water damages have the potential to cause serious structural and indoor air quality issues over time. The key to avoiding costly future restoration is to handle every water problem as a real threat to your property. SERVPRO® of Birmingham South have the equipment, training and experience to find and dry unseen water before secondary damages occur. The proper equipment makes a measurable difference in reducing the damage expense during a fire or water loss. When time matters, technology and equipment must be counted on to perform. SERVPRO® of Birmingham South will answer your call with fast action and a full arsenal of drying equipment. Here are a few of the tools used by SERVPRO® of Birmingham South:
Moisture Sensors are used to detect moisture in carpets, baseboards and walls.
Moisture Meters are used to determine the actual moisture content of various materials. The moisture tester provides accurate readings, allowing SERVPRO® of Birmingham South to monitor the drying process.
It's the water you don't see [Part Two]
Thermohygrometers measure temperature and relative humidity. When armed with this information, SERVPRO® of Birmingham South can calculate and create an environment most conducive to drying. When facing a contaminated water loss, it is not only important to dry the structure, but the structure must also be disinfected and often deodorized.
Ultra Low-Volume (ULV) Foggers will atomize liquid deodorizing agents, producing a fine mist that can easily penetrate the site where odor-causing residues may accumulate. This device can also be used to inject fungicides and disinfectants into wall cavities and other hard-to-reach areas.
Thermal Foggers dispense solvent based products by creating a dense fog. The fog consists of tiny particles of deodorant solution that attach to and neutralize odor causing particles to deodorize structures, garments, automobiles and other places where cleaning cannot reach.
The bottom line? SERVPRO® of Birmingham South has the training and equipment to make it “Like it never even happened.”
In early October, a pipe broke in the ceiling over the weekend, causing water to flood and damage much of our 5,000 sq. ft. training center. We had a leadership seminar scheduled there in just a few days with clients flying in from as far as Australia. Our property manager called SERVPRO® and I coordinated with the local Franchise to work out the repairs to be done to our offices. The crew chief and his staff were prompt, professional and kept every commitment they made to us. This was essential as our offices are called “The Elite Center” because of the high-end furnishings and decor we have throughout. They listened and understood the importance of our deadlines and were able to get the offices in working order for the upcoming seminar, and then returned to do the “heavy lifting” and complete the work for an even larger seminar that began in three weeks: all was done on time. I have purposely waited to make sure all the repairs they did held up before writing you, and to see if we have any aftercare problems that we’d need addressed, but there weren’t any. They got it right the first time. As you’re aware, the stress one endures going through a catastrophic loss experience can either be elevated or diminished, based on the quality of the people one is working with to rectify the matter. To that end, SERVPRO® excelled. I recommend them to everyone I find that needs their services, and will continue to do so.
How To Prepare For Hurricane Season
Hurricanes are massive storm systems that form over ocean water and often move toward land. Threats from hurricanes include high winds, heavy rainfall, storm surge, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents, and tornadoes. The heavy winds of hurricanes can cause damage or destroy homes, buildings, and roads, as well as cause power, water, and gas outages. These effects can injure or kill people, disrupt transportation, and pollute drinking water. Hurricanes cause deaths and injuries primarily from drowning, wind, and wind-borne debris. The impact from hurricanes can extend from the coast to several hundred miles inland. To find your risk, visit FEMA’s “Know Your Risk Map.” Be better prepared for this hurricane season, and learn more at ready.gov/prepare.
- Stayed informed
- Plan for evacuation
- Take action to protect your property from against wind and water damage
For more information check out www.fema.gov