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How to Create a Fire Evacuation Plan for Your Business

8/23/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO logo with fire background. We can help with any fire damage that may occur at your commercial property. Give us a call at 573-756-5191.

Few people expect to see their commercial property engulfed in flames. No one expects to see a grease fire in the break room, either. No matter what size fire occurs at your place of business, having a contingency plan can help save lives, valuable records and equipment, and money. Here's how to make one.

  1. Assign Roles

    Delegating tasks and responsibilities now, when things are calm, can reduce the confusion and chaos accompanying an event such as an office fire. Consider assigning roles such as the following:
  • Fire extinguishers that'll use the actual fire extinguishers to snuff out small blazes.
  • Get-out guides that'll keep exit routes clear and make sure everyone is out of the building before they leave.
  • Attendance takers that'll perform a roll call outside to ensure that everyone is accounted for.

Having a job to perform and having others point you in the right direction may reduce the urge to panic.

  1. Plan, Post, and Practice Your Evacuation Route

    It's important to have multiple ways to exit your building if a fire occurs. Plan these escape routes ahead of time so that your contingency plan can be posted and regularly practiced by all employees. That way, if the unthinkable happens, you and your staff will know exactly where to go, thanks to your well-rehearsed evacuation plan.
  2. Set Up a Clear Chain of Communication

    In a fire, knowledge is power. To keep misinformation from spreading, it's often wise to devise a clear communication plan. A straightforward method is to create a chain of command, unlike an old school phone tree, where individuals are tasked with relaying information to those underneath them on the tree. It's smart to have a single spokesperson who communicates with the public or news outlets.

A fire doesn't have to spell catastrophe for your commercial property. By creating a plan in advance, you can better protect your employees' safety. After everyone is safe, you can leave the fire cleanup to the professionals. Contact SERVPRO of Southern and Central Jefferson County at 636-467-5444.

Solar Panels and Storms

8/16/2021 (Permalink)

Photo of a house with solar panels on the roof Here's an example of solar panels on a roof. Photo credit: reenergizeco.com

You may be wondering what will happen to your solar panels during a major storm. After all, while your panels are durable, they are not indestructible.


In general, panels should be able to survive harsh weather conditions. However, panel damage can still occur during storms. Below are some common causes of harm to these panels.

Lighting

Lightning strikes can destroy your panels. Thankfully, there are products available that can protect the panels from electrical harm. For instance, you can install a surge protection device for the panels.

Fire

Lightning can also spark fires that cause solar panel or roof damage. It is not just the flames themselves that can harm your panels. Extreme heat alone may cause them to malfunction. Adding fans or another form of ventilation may help.

Snow

Of course, destructive storms do not just include lightning. They can also bring heavy rain or snow. Snow can build up on top of the panels. To prevent panel damage, this snow should be removed immediately.

Falling Debris

Storms may also cause large branches to strike your panels. While this debris might not break the panels, the falling objects may make your panels less efficient over time.

Still, solar panels are strong. If the anchor and racking can survive high winds, your panels should be secure during hurricanes and rainstorms. In fact, a 2017 hailstorm that pounded the Denver area only broke one solar panel at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in nearby Golden. The lab has more than 3,000 panels on its campus. Researchers from the NREL have developed tests to ensure that various panels on the market can withstand harsh conditions.


Your panels should be able to withstand storms. Best of all, any solar panel damage that does occur may not be permanent! If we can assist you in any way, give us a call at 636-467-5444.

Tips for Keeping Your Home Dry During Heavy Rain

8/16/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO logo with storm in the background Need help with storm damage? Give us a call.

Water damage can happen to your home in a variety of ways. Many homeowners think that only severe storms and floods or a major appliance malfunction involving your washing machine or dishwasher cause water damage.

But heavy rains are a significant water damage threat, too. These drenching storms frequently happen in our area during the spring and summer months. If your home is not prepared, these storms can cause costly damage.

Water Damage Is Common

Millions of Americans file claims to repair home water damage every year. Insurance industry experts estimate that as many as one out of every 50 homeowners will file a water damage claim this year.

Depending on how many people live in your neighborhood, that can mean someone you know will have to deal with water damage this year.

Homeowners can’t always avoid water damage. For example, severe storms can cause significant damage to many homes in the community. And homeowners can’t avoid these natural disasters.

But sometimes more common problems, namely heavy rains, can cause water damage to your home. Homeowners can avoid this type of damage if they ensure your home is well-maintained.

Getting Ready for Wet Weather

Our teams are prepared to help homeowners repair water damage. We’re experts, and that means we see many of the issues that cause the damage in the first place.

Because we know how the damage happens, we’ve put together some ideas to help you avoid it:

Check your yard. Knowing how your yard drains is vital to protecting your home. If you notice that your yard is draining toward your home, then you might want to connect with a landscaping expert to look for ways to protect your yard.

Choose the right type of landscaping. Many people choose plants and flowers for aesthetic effect. But choosing landscaping items carefully can ensure your home is prepared for heavy rains. Native plants, trees and bushes can be vital in protecting your home from water damage. Talk with landscaping experts in the area or visit a native plant sale for tips and ideas.

Look into sealing your roof. Experts estimate that almost 95% of damage is caused by water finding its way through gaps in your shingles, which can be prevented with this step. It’s worth considering!

If you need help dealing with damage caused by water, fire or any other issue, we’re here to help you restore your home. We have crews who are available 24⁄7 in the event of an emergency. Contact us at any time to learn more about us and how we can help you restore your home to its original state. Call us at 636-467-5444.

Weather Facts

8/16/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO logo with storm in the background If you have any weather related damage, give us a call, anytime! 636-467-5444.

The highest temperature ever recorded in Antarctica is 14.6 °C (59 °F), recorded on January 5, 1974.

The most rainfall ever recorded in 24 hours is 182.5 centimeters (71.9 inches) in Foc-Foc, La Réunion, during tropical cyclone Denise on January 8, 1966.

The most rainfall ever recorded in one year is 25.4 meters (1000 inches) in Cherrapunji, India.

The highest snowfall ever recorded in a one year period was 31.1 meters (1224 inches) in Mount Rainier, Washington State, United States, between February 19, 1971 and February 18, 1972.

The fastest wind speed ever recorded is 484±32 km/h (301±20 mph). This was a 3 second gust recorded by a Doppler on Wheels (DOW) radar unit in Oklahoma City on May 3, 1999.

The heaviest hailstone ever recorded weighed 1.0 kg (2.25 lb) and landed in Gopalganj District, Bangladesh on April 14, 1986.

Clouds can be categorized into a number of different types; these include cumulus, stratus and cirrus.

The Earth experiences millions of lightning storms every year, they are incredible discharges of electricity from the atmosphere that can reach temperatures close to 54,000 °F (30,000 °C) and speeds of 60,000 m/s (130,000 mph).

The USA has more tornadoes than any other country in the world, averaging around 1200 a year. This is due largely to its unique geography which forms an area in central USA called “Tornado Alley” which is frequently hit by tornadoes.

Tropical cyclones (often referred to as hurricanes or typhoons) feature strong winds, driving rain, rough seas and areas of low atmospheric pressure. They frequently form in tropical areas of the globe and can do considerable damage to populated areas. Examples of this include the 1970 Bhola cyclone, Typhoon Nina which hit China in 1975 and more recently in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina which caused great devastation and loss of life when it hit southern parts of the USA.

http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/sciencefacts/weather.html

4 Common Plumbing Repairs Needed in Older Apartment Complexes

7/19/2021 (Permalink)

Large apartment complex with SERVPRO trailer No job is too big or small!

4 Common Plumbing Repairs Needed in Older Apartment Complexes

Older apartment complexes are sometimes notorious for the complexity and obsolescence of their plumbing systems. It's just a fact of life for landlords. Therefore, it takes a bit of ingenuity to manage some of these antiquated systems. For example, units constructed in the time period of the 1970s to the 1990s sometimes still contain polybutylene piping, a material that has grown so out of favor in the plumbing industry that it is no longer recognized in building codes. Here are four common plumbing issues landlords of older rental units may need to face.

1. Clogged Drains. Since this can result in water backing up and flowing onto the floor, it should be addressed fairly quickly. Options for clearing a clogged drain include using a drain snake, employing a plunger, cleaning out the drain trap, and using a chemical cleaner.

2. Blocked Toilets. The methods for clearing a clogged toilet are similar for those fixing a clogged drain. However, since this could involve the overflow of contaminated water, the services of a reputable water remediation company should be considered if raw sewage spills out onto the floor.

3. Poor Plumbing Designs. This often involves the use of improper materials for pipes, such as polybutylene. If not replaced, this type of piping can result in burst pipes and extensive water damage. Poor design can also refer to the actual physical configuration of the pipes and might include an excessive number of twists and turns and elbow joints that impede water flow.

4. Damaged Discharge Lines. This refers to the lines that lead away from the property and join the municipal water lines. Over time, these lines not only age and weaken, but they also are vulnerable to damage from tree roots and other obstructions.
Some plumbing issues in older units are easier to fix, while others, such as the presence of polybutylene pipes, require major renovations. The services of a water restoration company can be a big help with water damage.

Storm Damage in Jefferson County, Missouri

7/14/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO disaster recovery team Storm Damage? Call us!

SERVPRO of Southern and Central Jefferson County specializes in storm and flood damage restoration.  Our crews are highly trained and we use specialized equipment to restore your property to its pre-storm condition.

Faster Response

Since we are locally owned and operated, we can respond quicker with the right resources, which is extremely important. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces the restoration cost. While we are physically located in Farmington, MO we provide service to a large portion of southeastern Missouri, officially servicing Jefferson County and surrounding counties.

Resources to Handle Floods and Storms

When storms hit our communities, we can scale our resources to handle a large storm or flooding disaster. We can access equipment and personnel from a network of 1,650 Franchises across the country and elite Disaster Recovery Teams that are strategically located throughout the United States. There is no loss too large for our teams. 

Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today – 636-467-5444

Why Does My Commercial Building Smell Like a Forest?

7/13/2021 (Permalink)

Servpro employee with business owner We can help! Call us anytime.

Why Does My Commercial Building Smell Like a Forest?

The way a property smells tells a lot about the condition of its construction materials. A musty, forest smell is a clear signal that there is mold growing somewhere in the building. When fungus is given the conditions to grow, the chemical compounds it releases in its various stages of growth will give off an odor. These are known as microbial volatile organic compounds, or MVOC's. Property owners describe it as the smell of dirt or wet dog. Mold thrives on:

  • Wood
  • Grout
  • Concrete
  • Insulation
  • Drywall

If a musty smell circulates when the HVAC system turns on, it is likely the mold is inside of the air ducts. Here are three ways a professional HVAC cleaning service will keep your building mold-free:

  1. Improved Air Quality
    Mold spores are airborne microscopic particles that will circulate throughout the building with each use of the HVAC system. The air quality of a building is measured by how much pollution is recorded. This is determined by the number of particles traveling the air. Having your cooling system cleaned regularly will lessen the number of particles in the air, improving the overall air quality.
  2. Controlled Humidity Levels
    Your HVAC system protects your building from the natural elements that threaten to decompose it. Mold thrives in dark, damp spaces that offer the right nutrients. Keeping the humidity levels at 40-60% will ensure the construction materials remain dry, protecting them from an invasion of fungus.
  3. Prevents Hidden Mold
    The dust inside of your HVAC air ducts is an excellent source of nutrition for fungus. The ducts also provide a damp, dark environment, giving mold optimal conditions to develop. An HVAC cleaning service will ensure your air ducts are cleaned, preventing a mold problem from circulating.
    Cleaning vents and having your HVAC system serviced at least once a year will contribute to a healthy, longer-lasting building. Hire an HVAC cleaning service to keep your system from spreading fungus. If your commercial property smells like mildew, you can contact a professional mold remediation service to help clean and restore the building.

How to Protect Your Business From Being Robbed

7/12/2021 (Permalink)

Servpro employee with business owner Did you know we offer vandalism clean up? If this happens to your business, call us. We will walk you through the process.

Robbery Prevention Tips

If you own a business, particularly one that deals in cash, there is a good chance that one day it may be robbed. If you are lucky, the robbery will occur after the business is closed and all of your employees have gone home. If not, you, your employees and possibly your customers could be faced with a very dangerous situation.

There are effective measures that business owners, managers, and employees can take that will protect the assets of the business and make it safer for employees.

  • Always have two or more employees open and close the business.
  • Install an effective alarm system that is monitored.
  • Use surveillance cameras behind the cash register and facing out to the front of the counter.
  • Also, install surveillance cameras in areas where a person could hide.
  • Keep the outside doors in backrooms locked when not in use.
  • Have lockers or locked desks so employees can lock up any personal valuables, purses, or medications.
  • Do not release personal information about employees to strangers and shred all past employee records when trashing it.
  • Keep a low cash balance in the cash registers.
  • Make regular bank deposits of excess money or lock it in a safe.
  • Vary the times and the routes used to go to the bank to make deposits.
  • Avoid sending one person to the bank with a deposit.
  • Avoid making deposits late at night.
  • Do not carry the deposit openly in a deposit bag.
  • Avoid hanging signs or putting displays on windows or around the sales counter that will obstruct the view of the register.
  • In areas that are blocked by shelving, walls or other obstructions, hang concave mirrors.
  • Do careful reference checks on employees that are hired.
  • Have policies in place concerning employees' friends or relatives hanging around the business.
  • Customers should be greeted when they enter the business and train employees to make eye contact and engage with the customers. An alert staff can quickly deter a would-be robber.
  • Train employees not to take risks, but to call the police if they see suspicious people inside or lurking outside of the business.
  • Keep your business well lit both inside and out and focus on areas where someone could hide.
  • Trim trees and bushes so that they do not become hiding places for robbers by blocking light.
  • Become friends with the local police officers. Encourage them to stop by your business.
  • If possible, use only one cash register at night. Leave the drawers on the other cash registers opened and tilt the money tray so that it will show that it is empty.
  • Do not tempt robbers by balancing the cash register by the cash desk. Take it to a back office to count it.
  • Train employees to be alert when handling money. It is easy to make a one dollar bill look like a twenty dollar bill to an employee that is not paying attention.
  • Do not completely cover the windows of the business by closing blinds are pulling curtains at closing time. Always leave them only partially closed.

Article source: https://www.thoughtco.com/robbery-prevention-tips-for-businesses-972958

Fire Safety Tips for Your Business

7/12/2021 (Permalink)

Fire damage in a business Fire damage? We can help you.

Fire Safety Tips for Your Business

Remove Clutter That Could Potentially Fuel a Fire

Keep your working areas clear of paper, trash and anything else that could act as kindling for a potential fire. You should make your garbage cans easily accessible, and be sure to empty them regularly. Similarly, you should make a conscious effort to ensure that there are no obstacles blocking access to emergency exits. Overall, you should perform a close inspection of your workspaces with an eye toward removing anything that could create sparks or fuel a fire.

Pay Special Attention to Extension Cords and Frayed Wiring

Extension cords are a common fire hazard because they're not intended for permanent use. The extension must be properly rated for the intended use, or it can cause frayed and exposed wires, thereby creating a fire hazard. Many local fire codes require extension cords to have surge protectors in case electrical circuits get overloaded. These surge protectors will automatically shut the power off if the electricity shorts out. To be on the safe side, you should always try to plug items directly into wall outlets, rather than relying on extension cords. And if you do have to use extension cords, you should inspect your wiring at least once a month to identify and fix any frayed wiring.

Escape Routes and Meeting Places: Determine and mark the fastest and safest paths to safety. Post maps (with “you are here” marks) in breakrooms and near exits — which should be clearly indicated with signs. Put up reminders that elevators cannot be used during most emergencies. Check emergency lighting in stairwells and make sure they aren’t used as storage areas. Create a procedure for evacuating employees and patrons with special needs, especially if the escape route includes stairs. Select a meeting place far enough away from the building to allow full access to the property by firefighters and other emergency personnel.

Emergency Procedures: Make sure employees know that the safety officer is in charge during emergencies. Identify by name and title (whenever possible) the people responsible for contacting the fire department, accounting for employees at the meeting place and assisting emergency personnel with information on equipment or chemicals housed in the building. Keep an up-to-date list of emergency contact information. Outline who notifies the next of kin of injured parties, and designate one person to notify emergency responders of people still in the office or unaccounted for.

Most “business and mercantile” fires occurred when the premises were less populated. One-third of the fires (31 percent) occurred between 7:00 pm and 7:00 am, but created two-thirds (67 percent) of the direct property damage. Nineteen percent occurred on weekends and created 31 percent of the damage. A lot of fires also broke out between noon and 2:00 pm.

Twenty-nine percent of commercial blazes were caused by cooking equipment and resulted in 6 percent of the direct property damage; 22 percent began in the kitchen or cooking area, causing just one percent of direct damage.

Prevent

  • Follow manufacturers’ recommendations for maximum volt/wattage load for surge protectors, power strips and adapters, and ask your electrician to periodically inspect these items and outlets for potential overload
  • Replace frayed power cords; never run them under rugs or carpeting, use cord protectors instead
  • Unplug appliances (coffeemakers, microwaves) and other equipment not in use at the end of the day and over the weekend
  • Replace appliances that feel warm or hot to touch
  • Ask the fire marshal to inspect chemical and equipment storage areas periodically to ensure proper ventilation and stowage
  • Store hazardous materials according to manufacturers’ instructions and OSHA regulations. Clearly mark these items to help emergency personnel identify and stabilize them
  • Don’t prop fire doors open or block exits with furniture or boxes
  • Don’t allow paper and other trash to accumulate outside of garbage or recycling receptacles, and never store this material near hot equipment, electrical outlets or the smoking areas
  • Don’t permit employees to burn candles, scented oils, etc., even in their personal work areas
  • Following the four P’s is the best way to protect your business and your employees.

Overcoming Kitchen Fires in Your Resturant

7/12/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO logo with fire background. Fire in your restaurant? No problem, call us 636-467-5444 to let us take the stress out of the situation.

From the time that your restaurant first opens its doors for the day, your kitchen and its staff are off to the races. You have a steady flow of customers that demand the kitchen appliances and personnel to constantly keep a quickened pace to meet the expectations of these patrons and to increase your reputation throughout the region. A risk of this fast-paced environment is the potential for accidental kitchen flare-ups that can cause fast, yet destructive fires to spread throughout a small portion of your building.


No matter how fire damages come about in your restaurant, you need professional assistance to get your business running at its full capacity as promptly as possible. We have an experienced fire restoration crew with accreditations through the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) as both Fire and Smoke Restoration Technicians. Our SERVPRO professionals can utilize this training and hands-on experience to overcome the damaging effects of your loss incident.

With a swift response to these emergencies, our professionals can work tirelessly to prevent your business from closing its doors. In restaurants, you want effective containment strategies to prevent detrimental effects like soot, smoke residues, and even harsh odors from reaching the dining area where customers could get affected. Our SERVPRO team can help with the installation of physical plastic sheeting and the use of advanced equipment like hydroxyl machines and air scrubbers.

We understand how devastating closing your doors can be for your business, so if this is necessary to restore your building, we can work around the clock to overcome the effects of the fire loss incident to get you back up and running right away.

There are many levels to even small kitchen fires that can occur in your restaurant, and our SERVPRO of Southern and Central Jefferson County professionals have the skills and expertise to address them all. With our equipment and extensive training in fire recovery, we can make these loss incidents “Like it never even happened.” Give our experts a call anytime at 636-467-5444.