Springtime Fire Safety
Spring is here! Make sure to keep an eye on those fires and make it a safe one!
As we continue to move into warmer weather and spend more time outside with friends and family, it is a perfect opportunity to look around and take note of the various fire risks in our everyday life. Although fire damage is more likely in the winter months with the use of heaters and indoor lighting, springtime brings a new batch of dangers in the form of BBQs, fire pits, fireworks and other spring/summer activities that can quickly lead to fire damage in a number of ways.
To start, I must touch on grill safety as almost everyone knows of someone who accidentally dropped hot coals on a new deck or used way too much lighter fluid and ended up with a few fewer eyelashes. Grills are very safe when used properly, and here are a few hints to keep you safe:
- Before and during cooking, check the gas supply, lines, burners, and any other parts of the grill that may be damaged. Keeping your grill working properly could mean the difference between nice steaks or thousands of dollars of damage.
- Clean your grill: flash fires are much more common in the presence of built-up grease or oil, so keeping your grill shiny and clean will help to avoid this.
- Make sure your grill is set up out in the open (never inside a closed space) and is not near anything flammable. It sounds like common sense, but every year homes are lost to fire due to someone wanting to grill in their garage or thought the grill was clear of hazards when it was not. Be aware and stay safe.
The grandfather of modern grilling, fire pits are also commonly used during the spring and summer and can come with many of the same dangers. Due to the non-standard nature of fire pits, some may only be small campfires while others are built in backyards to be ten feet in diameter and some 20 feet high. Mix this with irresponsible behavior (or alcohol) and you have a recipe for a potential disaster. Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to fire pits this year:
- Never leave young children or animals unattended near the fire.
- Always have water nearby: make sure to keep a filled bucked of water next to the fire, and having a few fire extinguishers handy can't hurt either.
- Do not burn trash or other foreign material in the fire. Even natural material like pine needles can cause the fire to smoke and flair up unexpectedly. Stick to wood and newspaper and you'll be much safer.
- After putting the fire out, make sure to stir the embers and reapply water multiple times until you are completely sure the fire is extinguished. Many forest fires have been started by bonfires that were not fully put out and then reignited by the wind once there was no one around.
Along with worrying about grills and bonfires, spring is also a great time to check your smoke alarms, update fire extinguishers, clean chimneys, and a number of other things that you and your family can do to keep your home safe. As always, if you do experience fire or smoke damage, please do not hesitate to call SERVPRO of Bend today for your consultation!
Don't rush into any post-storm cleanup!
Our friends in the Valley found for themselves recently that a storm can leave a large amount of debris in it's wake. From fallen branches and leaves, to blown-in trash and organic matter, even a small yard may mean hours-worth of work after a large enough storm. If this happens to you, here is some info pulled from the CDC when it comes to safe outdoor cleanup practices:
Get the Right Safety Gear
Not surprisingly, it's a good idea to gear up before cutting down tree branches and handling possibly hazardous material. The following would all be something to consider.
- Hard hats
- N95 mask or respirator
- Heavy work gloves
- Waterproof boots with a steel toe
- Earplugs or other hearing protection
- Fire extinguishers and a first aid kit
If sewage is involved, know that the cleanup process could be much more dangerous than usual. Hiring a bio-remediation company could be a good idea, though if you're determined to do it yourself make sure to have rubber boots and gloves, along with full eye protection. Make sure to clean these thoroughly after use.
It's OK to ask for help. In fact, it could save you a lifetime of back pain! Do not try to lift or carry anything over 50 pounds at most, and always find someone to help you if you're unsure. There can also sometimes be hanging branches or other overhead hazards after a storm, and having a second person with you will ensure that you're not trapped under something alone in your yard.
After seeing your beautifully-landscaped yard turned into a junk pile, you may feel the need fix it as quickly as possible. Even so, it is easy to become overwhelmed with the workload and ending up doing more harm than good. Make sure to take frequent breaks, ask for help when needed, and try to organize your cleanup in such a way where you're taking on one thing at a time and nothing all at once.
Be Careful with Power Tools
When using any kind of power tool, it's always imperative that you follow the manufacturers instructions and always wear protective gear. Especially when using chainsaws, it is very easy to cut though a branch onto your foot or even accidentally sever a power cable laying nearby. Also, make sure to always be aware of your surroundings!
Lead in Central Oregon Homes
Watch out for peeling paint in older homes... something dangerous could be underneath.
Although we live in an area where many brand new homes are built every year, there are still those that are much older, even built in the early part of the 20th century. In these homes (especially pre-1940) there is a much higher likelihood that lead could be present. The pipes were likely replaced years ago, and the original lead paint covered multiple times, though there could still be lead within the home that could become exposed due to damage or construction. Being aware of whether or not your home contains lead, especially if children are present, is not something to be taken lightly.
Here is the percentage of homes likely to contain lead at different ages:
- Built between 1960-1978 (24%)
- Built between 1940-1960 (69%)
- Built before 1940 (87%)
As you can see, the chances of your home built in 1996 or 2009 containing lead are very low. That being said, we still will at times discover small amount of lead or asbestos even in more modern building materials. Just because your home was built after 1978, it doesn't mean that there is no possible way that it can contain lead, but you can rest easy knowing that it most likely doesn't.
If you or your family live in a pre-1978 home (this is the year the Federal Government banned lead paint) here are some things you can do to keep everyone safe.
- Be aware if paint starts to peel, and if you rent, notify the landlord right away.
- Clean any paint chips regularly
- Regularly clean flat surfaces, including floors, counter tops, window sills, and other areas. Use warm water with a general cleaner or even a cleaner made specifically for lead.
- Clean all mops and sponges after use. Especially after cleaning dusty areas.
- Keep children and animals from chewing on window sills, molding, or any other parts of the home.
- Wash hands and toys frequently.
We here at SERVPRO of Bend follow all CDC guidelines when dealing with lead paint. If there comes a time where you you unfortunately experience a water or fire loss, you can know that our technicians are trained in lead-safe work procedures, as well as CDC-recommended containment practices. Regardless of if your home was built 3 months ago or almost 100 years in the past, SERVPRO of Bend is here to help!
Top Commercial Plumbing Problems
Commercial plumbing issues can be costly and hard to diagnose.
Businesses and other commercial facilities experience leaks and clogs just like the rest of the world does. Though the pipes may be larger and the number of gallons flowing through the system greater, commercial facilities do experience water losses which in many cases can be much more extensive and costly. It can also sometimes be more difficult for business owners to diagnose problems with their plumbing as there are many more faucets, drains, pipes and other plumbing features compared to the average household. If you own a business or manage a commercial facility, here are the most common plumbing problems to keep an eye on:
1) Running Toilets
Everyone has came across a toilet that seems to always be running or even draining and filling at random intervals. Even when not visible to the eye, sometimes the quiet sound of water trickling can be heard coming from behind the toilet or inside the tank. One toilet doing this at your home is bad enough, but imagine a large business with 50 of them! If even a handful are running around the clock, you could be looking at increased water bills and a greater likelihood that something may fail with the toilet or plumbing in the future. Make sure to check the toilet components and call a commercial plumbing service if unsure.
2) Silent Leaks
The scourge of large commercial facilities, silent leaks can be very hard to isolate or even notice in the first place. These are usually small to mid-sized leaks tucked somewhere below your building or inside you walls, and can go on for months before physical signs are seen. Make sure to keep a close eye on your water bill; unusual spikes or a gradual increase over time with no clear cause could be a sign that you have a leak somewhere in the system. Check those hard-to-see places yourself or call a plumber for a consultation!
3)Water Temperature Issues
No one likes to have scalding-hot water blasted onto their hands. Not many people like drinking warm water from a fountain, either. Water temperature problems can not only be an inconvenience to your workers or customers, but could even be dangerous in the case of water being too hot or far too cold. If you're experiencing fluctuating temperatures or insufficient heating, you may try flushing and cleaning your water heater to see if the issue resolves, and if not, plan to call a plumber to diagnose the problem. Scheduling routine maintenance is also a great idea.
4) Unpleasant Smells
Plumbing-related smells could be a large number of things. You may encounter a "musty" odor that could be indicative of mold or mildew (and most likely a leak), a similar smell related to standing stagnate water, or even a sewer smell coming from the bathroom or even other parts of the building. The sewer smell would rank as most concerning as it may be a sign there is a clog somewhere in the main line which could lead to a backup. If you're walking though your building and notice any new or strange odor, make sure to pay attention and call a plumber for an inspection.
5) Low or High Water Pressure
Another problem that seems more prevalent than it needs to be, water pressure issues can affect a number of things and leave you more likely to experience a water loss. Also, if your business relies on water heavily for day-to-day operations, a drop in water pressure could even lead to a halt of production until the problem is addressed. Keep an eye on any changes and don't wait until the issue has become worse.
As always, if your business or commercial facility has experienced a water loss, please do not wait to call SERVPRO of Bend today for a consultation. From the smallest home to largest business, we are here to assist anytime, day or night, with any size disaster.
Common (Preventable) Workplace Accidents
Workplace accidents account for thousands of injuries and even deaths each year. Stay aware and be safe!
Many of us who work in offices may not think as much about workplace safety compared to a roofer or someone working an oil rig. And although some professions are on average much more dangerous than others (1 in 5 of all private workplace deaths occur in the construction industry, for instance) it's no reason to disregard the things that are most likely to injure you or those around you at work. You don't need to work on scaffolding to be badly injured by a trip and fall; stairs exist in many commercial buildings, and I guarantee you that soft drink dispensers and swivel chairs injure many more people per year than you might think. So to make sure that the shocked look on your boss's face isn't the last thing you'll ever see, here is a list of the most common workplace accidents as compiled by OSHA, the National Safety Council and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics:
1) Slip and Fall
Not surprisingly, the slip and fall is a very common workplace accident and takes place across all industries. Anything from a wet floor to an uneven boat deck to out-of-code stairways can cause a fall, which in many cases could be more serious than you would think. Even small falls from chairs can result in serious head or neck injuries.
2) Struck by Object
Number two is almost the opposite of the first, as instead of falling on the object the object falls on you! These objects may have been set in motion by gravity by being improperly stacked or secured, or thrown by another person or piece of machinery. These incidents can again be very serious, as many "struck by object" accidents involve a head injury. Always be aware of your surroundings and remember to look up when entering new spaces.
Especially in heavy industry, entanglement can lead to a variety of accidents and injuries. Moving rollers, cables, or conveyor belts can easily snag clothing or jewelry, leading to workers being trapped, cut or crushed by machinery. Less seriously, workers can also become entangled in exposed cords or wiring which could also lead to a fall.
4) Repetitive Motion
Anyone who has ever had carpal tunnel can tell you this is true. Though these "cumulative trauma" injuries rarely result in anything as serious as a head injury or broken bones, they can very negatively affect the life of workers both at home and in the office. Education of ergonomic work techniques can greatly reduce repetitive motion injuries, and can even help prevent other accidents such as falling objects dropped by work-weakened hands.
Since electricity is used in most every business in the country, it should come as no surprise that many people are hurt or killed by it each and every year. Workers in the construction industry are again more likely to experience this, though electrocution-related accidents can happen anywhere at anytime. Like many other accident types on this list, shocks and electrocutions can be greatly reduced by safety training and identifying all electrical hazards.
Any action involving physical activity can lead to injury. Overexertion accidents can either occur all at once or be the product of years-worth of strain that eventually manifests in some type of chronic pain. Proper instruction on how to safely lift or carry, along with ample break time given to workers who need it, will help guard against these accidents that can be so debilitating.
Workplace violence is a main contributor to workplace accidents every year and can take a number of different forms. Sometimes the violence may occur between employees, between employees and family members, or (especially in the case of retail) between the employee and a member of the public. Deescalation techniques can be helpful before these situations, and having sufficient security if needed is also important. Also, creating anonymous communication channels can help employees voice their concerns about workplace violence without being singled out.
In many cases, accidents happen with seemingly no cause, as if nothing could have been done to prevent them. Even if it may seem that way, though, there are very likely a number of things that could have been done to make the accident less severe or to stop it altogether. Next time you're in your office or standing on your loading dock, look around try to isolate any number of things that could lead to an injury. Sometimes something as simple as picking up a wet rag from the floor could prevent a life-changing injury, or something as easy as posting a "high voltage" sign could save a life. Being aware of our surroundings and looking out for those we work with could bring these accident numbers down and create a safer world for us all to live in.
Mold: the Basic Facts
No one likes mold in their home or business. Stay aware and keep it that way!
Mold is very common in both commercial and residential properties. You might not like hearing that, but it's true. Even if you can't see or smell it, the likelihood of there being some mold in your attic, basement, HVAC system or bathroom is relatively high. But don't panic: in most cases mold is not a hazard to your health or the building. Though that being said, it is always something to be aware of.
So how does mold enter your home or business? Mold can enter structures through doorways, windows, ventilation systems and any other open airways with ease. Likewise, mold spores can also attach themselves to your shoes or clothing, waiting for a nice damp spot where they can grow. Unfortunately for home owners, there are many materials that are perfect for this growth; cellulose materials like wallpaper and cardboard, ceiling tiles, wood paneling, and even carpets, drywall and upholstery can easily become slightly damp and begin to support a rapid spread of mold.
Now that you know a little bit about mold and how it spreads, what can you do to stop it? Luckily, there are some simple things to take notice of: controlling the humidity, promptly fixing any leaks from the ceiling, windows or pipes, thoroughly cleaning and drying after water spills, and properly ventilating bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms are all easy ways to keep mold growth from starting. Also, in many cases, you may be able to catch a small patch of mold before it gets too large and even treat it yourself without having to hire a mold mitigation company who at that point would likely have to take more invasive measures.
If you have a mold problem that has gotten out of hand, or are worried you may have mold but aren't sure, please contact SERVPRO of Bend today for a consultation!
Why SERVPRO of Bend? Ask our Customers!
The SERVPRO difference: straight from our customers.
It's easy for me to open up this blog and say any number of nice things about our company and the services we provide. I work here, after all. And even if I believe what I say with all my heart, which I do, it may not mean as much to you as a direct referral from a family member or close friend. That is why (even though you likely don't know these people) I would like to post some reviews from the last half year or so, to show you a little of what SERVPRO of Bend is all about:
"Covid interrupted our lives like so many others. Knowing we needed help from a company that knew what they were doing, we reached out to SERVPRO. Their team with was there to help from the start, without hesitation. Alex scheduled us promptly, they showed up on time and had impeccable customer service. Nick was extremely knowledgeable. He was able to help us with Covid disinfection so we could start to get back to normal. I highly recommend them if you have a need anywhere in Central Oregon. Call SERVPRO of Bend they have a fabulous team that really cares." -J.L.
"I felt the manager Alex was clear, professional, paid attention to my requests and runs a very smooth team. Shout out to Nick, David and Daniel for their step by step explanations and not going straight to the doomsday scenarios, which, fortunately the damage never got to that point. While this is a day to day life for them, it's important to remember that this is a shock and traumatic for the homeowners and their household. I appreciated that they remembered that, when it could very easily turn into "routine." Thank you." -Margaret B.
"Melissa of SERVPRO of Bend was an absolute life saver. 4pm kitchen fire on July 3rd, 5 fire trucks, spraying down the building. Most people are planning their holiday. Melissa got a crew in that night to stop the damage from worsening. The mitigation and repair became a months long process. I was extremely lucky to have had Melissa to run point. From securing subcontractors, to organizing the 4 room project, to working with insurance, it was a massive endeavor. Melissa was so responsive to calls and texts and in hindsight, I really don't know what I would have done without her. The work was performed professionally, timely, and at appropriate pricing. Her team was professional. Highly recommend!" -Dan S.
"David from SERVPRO of Bend came to our home to get rid of some staining in our attic. He was very professional and so pleasant to deal with! They took care of the issue the day I called and I would totally recommend them!" -Johnita C.
"Alex and Nick with SERVPRO of Bend did a fabulous job assessing our mold damage, and promptly repairing the problem. I would highly recommend using SERVPRO of Bend for all your mold, fire, or water mitigation needs." -Mike H.
"Everyone who rescued us from an awful mess caused by a faulty kitchen faucet was terrific! They quickly came to begin the mitigation process, explained it thoroughly and got right to it! They were on time, considered our daily schedules in scheduling their visits and were always professional and friendly. We would definitely recommend this organization!" -Joan G.
We here at SERVPRO of Bend know we are only as good as our last job. Especially in a community such as Central Oregon, word travels fast and our commitment to excellence is something that we reaffirm every single day. If you would like to experience the SERVPRO difference, please give the office a call today and schedule a consultation!
The SERVPRO Story
From small painting company to national brand: SERVPRO through the years.
Although we here at SERVPRO of Bend have been at it for over ten years, did you know SERVPRO as a company has been in business since 1967?
Started as a painting company in Sacramento, California, by the founders Ted and Doris Isaacson, SERVPRO soon began to offer cleanup and restoration services as well. Not long after, in 1969, the first franchise was sold and SERVPRO began to slowly expand into other parts of the country. This was greatly supplemented in 1979 when SERVPRO acquired the Bristol-Myers Domesticare Division and its 175 franchises.
in 1988 SEVRPRO decided to relocate their headquarters from Sacramento to Gallatin, Tennessee. This move was prompted by Ted Isaacson who wished to be located within 600 miles of 50% of the US population. At the time of the relocation, the SERVPRO system included 647 franchises.
The company's headquarters quickly became a large contributor to the small community and in 1991 was named Small Business of the Year by the Nashville Business Journal. At this point, SERVPRO continued to grow quickly, eventually selling their 1000th franchise in the year 2000, 33 years after the small painting company in Sacramento was formed.
In 2005, SERVPRO moved to a much larger 140,000-sq-ft complex in Gallatin, which included state-of-the-art facilities and additional room to expand. This is where they remain today, servicing their many franchises throughout the United States and Canada.
Presently, there are over 1,700 operating SERVPRO franchises in North America, with more being added all the time. Due to the recession-resistant nature of the cleanup and restoration industry (there will always be water, fire and mold), SERVPRO has been able to expand during economic downturns and now, even during a pandemic, continue to assist those in need around the country.
We at SERVPRO of Bend draw from this impressive history, and benefit from the decades of trial and error, innovation, and development that precedes our time here in Central Oregon. If you or someone you know is considering hiring a cleanup or restoration provider, please contact locally owned and operated SERVPRO of Bend and see for yourself what sets us apart.
Emergency Ready Profiles at No Cost
Don't wait until it's too late. Prepare yourself with an Emergency Ready Profile today!
Picture this: you're sitting at a desk in your home or business, reading the newspaper or returning emails, maybe wondering what you'll have for lunch or if you remembered to turn off the stove. Everything is how it always has been, and your window promises another perfect Central Oregon day to come, surely like all the others. This day, though, will be a very different one; and the violent geyser of water about to erupt from your ceiling is going to prove it.
These situations (sudden water or fire losses) are not the time to decide what you are going to do. Thoughts such as "where is the water shut off" and "is that a gas or electric appliance" could cost you time, and in turn money, because every second the source is not dealt with additional damage is being done. To illustrate this point, I will relate to you a story that was told to me by a fellow SERVPRO employee from another part of the country. It underlines the need for a contingency plan in case of property damage, and how even if you yourself know the building like the back of you hand, some of your employees (or family members) may not.
In a different state in a past year, there was a privately-owned sporting goods company which carried everything from footwear to soccer balls, running apparel and exercise equipment. This smallish store, in keeping with many others around the country, employed younger high school and college students who were left to close up the shop at the end of the night after the owner had long since gone home. After locking the doors, a few of these employees thought it would be fun to toss a football back and forth across the now-empty retailer, which they did--sending the ball spiraling by the ceiling and eventually directly into an overhead fire-suppression spigot. Having broken the small glass vial normally designed to react to flames and heat, every single sprinkler in the store began to spew the grey-stinking water that had sat in the lines for years, beginning to soak almost every square foot of the building. The young employees, thoroughly distressed by this strange new turn of events, proceeded to do what is usually never advisable in these moments: they panicked. No one knew how to shut the water off. No one even knew who to call. With the fire alarm screaming and water continuing to pour from the ceiling, the employees decided to contact the fire department who by this time were most likely already on their way. At a loss of what else to do (no one seemed to want to call the owner), the employees exited the store and waited out front for the fire fighters to hopefully shut the water off as the contents continued to saturate behind them. The fire department did, with some difficultly, and almost an hour after the water began to fall the alarm finally stopped sounding and the indoor monsoon ceased. Not surprisingly, the entire stock of contents besides some metal items were a total loss, and the building itself had to be treated for extensive water damage.
As the blog photo states, 50% of all businesses who experience a disaster may never reopen. In some cases, such as the aforementioned sporting goods store, the reason for this is because the damage could not be stopped quickly and what would have only been a small cleanup soon became an emergency. If the employees had known how to shut the water off, the outcome would have been very different; thousands of fewer gallons of water would have made it from the pipes to the sales floor, and many of the contents could have been saved. With no plan in place, they never had a chance.
For these reasons, I wish to introduce you to the SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile which we will happily provide to your home or bushiness at absolutely no cost or obligation. These function as contingency plans and list all of the important information when dealing with emergencies: a floor plan and exit strategy, water and gas shutoff locations, emergency contacts, building background and insurance information. These ERPs can be produced physically and added to existing contingency plans, or even shared digitally to every one of your employees cellular phones or computers. If a water or fire loss does occur (or any other kind of disaster) you, your employees, or family members, will be able to easily access this information and guide themselves to shutoffs or breaker boxes with provided photos and descriptions. This will help you keep your family or employees safe, and allow you the peace of mind of knowing that you would not act as a bottleneck in the event of an emergency when every second counts.
If you would like to view an ERP, or have one completed for your home or business, please do not hesitate to call SERVPRO of Bend and ask for Brad. We can come to your location in a time that works for you, and will likely take less than half an hour. Be prepared for the worst and you'll easily deal with the rest!
SERVPRO of Bend: Here to Help
If you need help, look no further: SERVPRO of Bend is only a phone call away.
It can seem like a challenge to choose a disaster restoration company. There may be dozens appearing online within 30 miles of your home, hundreds of reviews ranging from joyful praise to incoherent rage to sift though, and a slew of marketing purporting that this company or that is definitely right for you.
At SERVPRO of Bend, we follow time-tested restoration protocols and adhere to all CDC guidance during the pandemic. Besides our past work as evidence, here are some facets of our operation for you to consider when asking yourself "why SERVPRO"?
Emergency Response to Claims
Whether in the middle of the day on a Tuesday, or at 2am on Christmas morning, SERVPRO of Bend trained technicians are available to respond to any size disaster, day or night, 24/7/365. Getting your home or business back in order is our first priority, and we will always make contact and arrive on site in a timely manor.
Pretesting Reduces Claims Expense
The cornerstone of our entire industry is that it is less expensive to repair than to replace. Accordingly, we make sure that we perform moisture pretesting when applicable and establish a baseline from which to proceed on every job. Determining the "restorability" of a material or item right away can save you money down the road and shorten work times.
Electronic Claims Information
Our Claims Information Center provides fast, accurate information you need to make sound decisions. This includes a complete electronic job file (first notice of loss; detailed estimate; digital loss photos; scanned forms and paperwork), online access to all files, informative reports and a performance comparison to industry standards. We will do everything we can to keep the client informed of the job progress, and document every step of the process.
Vendor Qualification Compliance and Professionalism
If you call SERVPRO of Bend, we will use only qualified vendors to service your home or business. This means that if a plumber or roofer is needed to assist with the job, that you can rest assured that not only are they bonded, licenced and insured, but that their quality of work and professionalism meets only the highest standards.
If you're in need of water, fire, mold or bio remediation, please call SERVPRO of Bend and schedule an estimate today!