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Fall Fire Safety

10/6/2021 (Permalink)

flames under servpro logo with fall fire safety tips Trust the experts at SERVPRO of Paulding/Polk Counties should you have fire damage at your home or business.

The fall season brings cooler temperatures, beautiful colors, and an abundance of outdoor activities. Plan ahead this season to help ensure it is safe from potential fire hazards.

According to the National Fire Protection Agency, cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. Here are some helpful hints when cooking your fall family dinners.

• Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food.

• If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the kitchen while the food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.

• Keep anything that can catch fire, like oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, or hand towels, away from the stovetop.

If you have a cooking fire, consider the following safety protocols to help keep you and your family safe.

• Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the flames.

• Call 911 or the local emergency number after you get out safely.

• For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the oven door closed.

• If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear path out.

• Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.

If you are doing any outdoor cooking around a fire pit, consider the following to keep it a fun, but safe time for all:

• Check the wind conditions prior to starting the fire.  Wind can make it hard to light the fire or blow embers around to surrounding  brush or structures.

• Always have a fire extinguisher or water source nearby, like a water hose or water bucket.

• Never leave the fire unattended.

• Keep all children and pets at least three feet from the fire.

Family Fire Escape Plan

10/6/2021 (Permalink)

escape route on map Take all the necessary steps to prepare your family for a potential fire. Minutes of preparation now can save a life when it matters most.

Fire can spread rapidly through your home, leaving you as little as one or two minutes to escape safely once the smoke alarm sounds.

To make the most of what little time you have, be proactive and establish a fire escape plan.  Having a plan in place and practicing that plan will ensure everyone knows where to go when disaster strikes.

As a family, walk through your home and look at all possible exits, doors and windows.  Create a map of your home, so everyone can visually see two ways out of every room, a primary and secondary evacuation route.

As you develop your family escape plan, consider the following steps, provided by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA):

  • Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside every sleeping area on every level of the home.
  • Walk through your plans with the family, making sure everyone can access the exits easily.
  • Set an outside meeting point for the family once they've escaped.
  • Once you're out, stay out and wait for help to arrive, do not go back into the burning structure.

Once you have a plan in place make sure all your fire safety supplies are in place and up to date.   Smoke detectors need to be replaced every 10 years, also replace the batteries in your smoke detectors  every six months.  Fire extinguishers need to be replaced every 12 years.   Make sure you have fire extinguishers in the necessary areas of your home, the kitchen, utility rooms, garage, etc.

If your home has two floors, an escape ladder is a necessity for the safety of your family.  Practice setting up the ladder from a first-floor window, so everyone knows how to do it safely.  Escape ladders can be placed near the windows on the second floor, providing additional escape options. You don't want to be searching for it during a fire.

Take all the necessary steps to prepare your family for a potential fire.  Minutes of preparation now can save a life when it matters most.

*Restoration Newsline Vol 32, Iss 10

Protecting Your Property Against Vandalism

9/20/2021 (Permalink)

shattered glass doors Trust SERVPRO of Paulding/Polk Counties is ready to help you clean up should your business experience damage from vandalism.

Virtually all business properties are subject to vandalism. Vandals can strike anywhere: in cities, suburbs, and rural areas. Fortunately, there are steps businesses can take to discourage vandals from targeting their property.

What Is Vandalism?

While the definition of vandalism varies from state to state, the term generally means the intentional damage, destruction or defacement of someone's property without the owner's permission. Vandalism is a criminal act and is prohibited by state laws. It may qualify as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the amount of financial damage that's involved. Some states refer to vandalism as criminal mischief or malicious mischief.

Why and Where It Occurs

People may commit acts of vandalism for a number of reasons. Here are some of them:

  • Punish a business or industry
  • Express frustration
  • Communicate an ideology or political beliefs
  • Express hate
  • Show off artistic skills
  • Express gang affiliations

Vandals may target buildings, personal property or both. According to the Urban Institute, vandals typically strike in the late evening when business property is unattended. Juvenile offenders may commit acts in the afternoon after school has let out.

Vandals often target public or semi-public property like buses, train stations, and street signs. Such property is easy to access and is often poorly protected. Vandals may also hit private property that's in close proximity to public areas.

Effects of Vandalism

Vandalism can impact your business in a number of ways. First, it can damage your property. Damaged or defaced property requires time, effort, and money to repair. Secondly, vandalism may cause your business to lose income if the vandalized property cannot be used and is essential to your operations.

Thirdly, graffiti, trash, and other types of defacement can have a negative effect on your company's image. Such damage can deter potential customers from entering your premises. Fourthly, vandalism can lower the value of your property. Property that has been damaged or defaced may be unattractive to potential buyers or tenants. Finally, some types of vandalism, such as broken windows, can cause bodily injury to employees or visitors. 

Preventing Vandalism

While you cannot prevent all acts of vandalism, you can discourage vandals from striking your property by taking the steps outlined below. Additional suggestions for thwarting vandals are available from the Urban Institute's website.

  • Keep property tidy. Keep your premises clean, tidy, and free of trash. Disorder attracts vandals.
  • Maintain good lighting. Make sure your property is well-lit at night. Check light bulbs regularly.
  • Install cameras. Install video cameras to monitor activity on your premises. When crimes have occurred, police can use your recorded video to catch the perpetrators.
  • Consider shrubbery or fencing. Fencing or shrubbery can discourage vandals from entering your property. Shrubs that have prickly or scratchy leaves like holly and pyracantha can help keep intruders away.
  • Consider break-resistant glass. Glass that is break-resistant or coated with security film is stronger than regular glass and difficult for vandals to penetrate.
  • Don't ignore it! Vandalism tends to beget more vandalism and can encourage other types of property crimes. Thus, you should make repairs and remove graffiti promptly. Your quick response shows that you care about your property and won't tolerate its defacement.
  • Contact authorities. The police department can't respond to crimes it isn't aware of. Report all vandalism to your local police department. The department may increase patrols in your area or create a hotline for reporting incidents. 
  • Share information. Ask other business owners in your area if they have experienced acts of vandalism and share the information you collect with other businesses. The information may reveal patterns. For example, vandals may be striking at certain times of the day or on certain days of the week.
  • Join a business watch group. Business watch groups are similar to neighborhood watch groups. Group members work to reduce crime by keeping an eye on each other's property. If no watch group exists in your area, you can start one yourself. Tips on how to do this are available from the National Neighborhood Watch website. 

Property Insurance

Most commercial property policies purchased by small business owners cover "all risks," meaning they cover damage caused by any peril that's not specifically excluded. These policies rarely exclude vandalism, so this peril is covered. Most named perils policies also cover vandalism.

Most all-risk policies don't define the term vandalism. This word is defined in many named perils forms. In the ISO named perils forms, vandalism means willful and malicious damage to, or destruction of, the described property.

Two perils that may occur in conjunction with vandalism are riot and civil commotion. These perils are normally covered under both named perils and all-risk property forms. When people commit violent acts during a civil disturbance, they often target business-owned property. Property that has been vandalized by rioters may be subject to looting. Looting is normally covered in conjunction with riot and civil commotion.

Vacant Buildings

Vacant buildings are highly prone to vandalism. Consequently, many property policies contain a vacancy provision like the one found in the ISO property policy. It eliminates coverage for losses caused by vandalism (and several other perils) if the building has been vacant for more than 60 consecutive days.

The meaning of vacant varies depending on whether the insured is a tenant or a landlord. If the insured is a tenant, the unit or suite rented by the policyholder is considered vacant if it doesn't contain enough business personal property for the insured to conduct its ordinary operations. If the insured is the building owner, the building is vacant if less than 31 percent of it is being used by the owner or a tenant to conduct its customary operations. The vacancy provision appears in the policy conditions.

If a building you own or rent will be vacant for more than 60 days, ask your insurer for an endorsement called a Vacancy Permit. This endorsement suspends the vacancy clause for a period of time. It may be available only if you verify that the building is adequately protected from vandals, freezing, and other perils.

Wet or Dry Sprinkler Systems: Which is Right for your Business?

9/18/2021 (Permalink)

sprinkler head side view Trust the professionals at SERVPRO of Paulding/Polk Counties to help your business reopen following a fire disaster.

While there are many sprinkler system types, the two most commonly used are wet and dry sprinkler systems. Fire Systems, Inc. repairs, installs, and inspects all types of sprinkler systems for commercial businesses in Atlanta and the state of Georgia. Fire Systems can help you choose which sprinkler system is best for your fire protection needs.

Wet vs. Dry Pipe Sprinkler Systems 

Both wet and dry sprinkler systems extinguish fires using water, just in different ways.

In a wet system, the pipes are filled with pressurized water. When a fire occurs, the system immediately discharges water to extinguish the fire.

Conversely, dry systems are filled with pressurized nitrogen or air that keeps water at a riser.  When a dry sprinkler system goes off, the pressure in the pipes drops, a valve opens, and water flows through the pipes and out to extinguish the fire.

Wet Sprinkler Systems

The sprinkler heads in a wet system are connected to pipes that are filled with water. The system automatically goes off when a fire is detected. Wet sprinkler systems are the number one choice for most businesses because they’re simple to use and require little maintenance. This system type is also very reliable since the water is automatically dispersed when a fire occurs.

Dry Sprinkler Systems

Sprinkler heads in a dry sprinkler system are connected to pipes that are filled with pressurized nitrogen or air. The gas or gas holds back water until a fire is detected.

Dry systems are the second most commonly used system. They are ideal for unheated buildings, parking garages, and warehouses since these types of properties can experience temperatures below 40°F (4.44 °C). Dry systems are also recommended for protecting areas that store sensitive equipment to minimize damage.

When Storms or Floods Hit, SERVPRO of Paulding/Polk Counties is Ready!!

9/18/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Paulding/Polk Counties 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 are able to respond quicker with the right resources, which is extremely important. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces the restoration cost.

Resources to Handle Floods and Storms

When storms hit Paulding/Polk Counties, 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.

Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today 770-505-0555

Dispelling Myths About Lightning Strikes

9/13/2021 (Permalink)

lightning in thunderstorm If you have damage due to a storm or lightning strike, SERVPRO of Paulding/Polk Counties are here to help.

Lightning is an extremely common weather occurrence, but it is also an event that is typically
misunderstood. Every single thunderstorm contains lightning (in fact, lightning is actually what causes thunder), which means every single thunderstorm presents the risk for injuries and fires due to lightning strikes.

Though lightning strikes frequently, there are many persistent myths about its dangers, its
behaviors and its deterrents, which we will be dispelling below.

Lightning Myth 1: If It Is Not Raining, You’re Safe
Lightning is an extremely powerful force and has been known to strike up to three miles from a
storm’s center—meaning you can be far away from the rain and even the cloud cover and still
be threatened by lightning.

Lightning Myth 2: It Will Only Strike the Tallest Object
Lightning is not logical in its approach, and it will often strike objects that are much lower than
those around them. Lightning has been known to strike the ground next to a tree or a car next to
a house, so it is impossible to predict exactly where it will land.

Lightning Myth 3: Lie Flat on the Ground if You Can’t Find Shelter
While lying flat on the ground may seem like it would make you less of a target in a
thunderstorm, it is actually an extremely dangerous position to put yourself in. When lightning strikes, it can produce major electrical currents that can run through whatever it has hit—so if it strikes the ground, you can put yourself at risk for electrocution if you are lying down.

Lightning Myth 4: A Car’s Tires Will Protect You From Lightning
While sheltering in a car is not the worst thing you could do in a storm, the safety it provides has nothing to do with the rubber car tires. If lightning strikes a car, the car’s metal body will divert the lightning away from the passengers and pass it through to the ground. This also means that if you are in a vehicle with a fiberglass construction (such as an RV), it does not offer adequate protection.

If you have damage due to a storm or lightning strike, we are here to help. We can help with
water damage, fire damage and more—contact us today to learn all about our services.

Destroy Odors with Deodorization

9/13/2021 (Permalink)

Even a small fire can cause odors for years to come if the affected areas are not properly cleaned and deodorized. Fire, smoke and soot damage in your home or business can create unpleasant and potentially permanent problems.

As various materials burn, the smoke produced travels throughout the structure, leaving odorous residues and deposits on surfaces and in hard-to-reach places. Unless fast, professional action is taken, these residues and deposits can cause permanent damage to contents and may result in resurfacing odors.

With technicians certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration (IICRC), SERVPRO® of Paulding/Polk Counties professionals provide specialized services that can rid your home or business of offensive odors left by fire or smoke damage. SERVPRO® of Paulding/Polk Counties professionals do not cover up lingering odors with a fragrance; they seek out and remove the source of the odor. Once the source is found, SERVPRO’s own proprietary line of cleaning products is used to treat and prevent the odor from returning. Any restorable item in affected areas will also be professionally cleaned and deodorized, including furniture, draperies and upholstery, electronics, art, flooring, walls, ceilings, HVAC air ducts and more.

Ask SERVPRO® of Paulding/Polk Counties to explain the various deodorization methods available and which will work best for you.

If you or a customer suffer a fire damage or some other accident and require deodorization services, contact SERVPRO® of Paulding/Polk Counties. Whether it’s fire, water, or mold damage or just a stubborn odor that refuses to go away, we’ll help make it “Like it never even happened.”

Lightning Safety for Outdoor Workers

9/1/2021 (Permalink)

multiple lighting strikes coming out of dark stormy clouds SERVPRO of Paulding/Polk Counties here to help with any damage done by thunderstorms, whether it be from water, fire or lightning.

Lightning as an occupational hazard is often an afterthought, but it shouldn’t be. An average of 47 of all occupations require outdoor work at some point in the day.

That means almost half the American workforce is outside for some period of time every day, and many fields require a much higher percentage of outdoor time. When thunderstorms arise, those workers are at elevated risk of lightning strikes and other dangers.

Safety Best Practices for Outdoor Work

OSHA and NOAA recommend several broad safety practices for business who have workers outdoors. These include:

Being informed by NOAA weather reports. Employers and supervisors should be aware of reported and upcoming weather events before sending workers outside. Weather.gov and local outlets will make weather updates as inclement weather comes toward the area. Employers should consider rescheduling events, jobs or activities outdoors if thunderstorms are headed in. Darkening clouds and increased wind speeds can also be indicators of dangers weather afoot.

Seeking shelter in buildings. Workers should be informed before heading to outdoor jobs what nearby buildings they should seek out for shelter if they hear thunder or see lightning. These buildings should be fully enclosed and outfitted with plumbing and electricity. Once inside, workers should remain indoors at least a half hour after the last peal of thunder before returning to work. Remember, the fact that you’re not getting rained on doesn’t mean you’re not in danger—lightning can strike up to 10 miles away from the nearest rainfall.

Using vehicles as a second option. If safe buildings aren’t accessible, workers should be guided to hard-top vehicles with all windows rolled up, where they should remain for the duration of the storm and 30 minutes after thunder stops.

Practicing phone safety. Corded phones are still used in many buildings, but they shouldn’t be used in a building during a thunderstorm except in emergency situations. Cell phones are safe to use.

Business owners and supervisors should also have an emergency action plan for storms in place, with written protocols for lightning safety outlining company storm procedures. Lightning and storm safety training should also be implemented, so that workers know where to go in emergencies and what to expect regarding communication when storms approach.

We’re here to help with any damage done by thunderstorms, whether it be from water, fire or lightning. Call or click today to experience the SERVPRO difference.

What Is the Difference Between a Thunderstorm and a Severe Thunderstorm?

9/1/2021 (Permalink)

multiple lighting strikes coming out of dark stormy clouds If your home or business has been impacted by a recent storm, SERVPRO of Paulding/Polk Counties is here to help you get back on your feet.

We’ve all gotten the alerts on our phones before: “The National Weather Service has issued a Thunderstorm Warning.” And then a few hours later, a modified message: “The National Weather Service has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning.”

What changed that made this storm be upgraded to severe? What is the difference between these two categories and how serious does it mean this storm is?

The 2 Major Differences Between a Thunderstorm and a Severe Thunderstorm

Hail Damage. A thunderstorm brings rain, thunder and lightning. But one element of a storm that is required for it to be classified as severe is hail that is at least one inch in diameter.

Many people in north Georgia know what hail damage can do to their properties (especially since the most recent storms brought significant hail and heavy rains to our area).

Hail can become as large as a grapefruit and can fall at incredibly speed, so the opportunity for it to cause damage is very high. To prepare for a storm that is going to have hail, ensure all people and pets have sturdy shelter, move your vehicle to a covered area, and repair or replace any loose shingles on your roof.

High Winds. Thunderstorms can generate strong winds that can cause damage to your property, especially if there are loose outdoor items that haven’t been secured such as lawn furniture, patio umbrellas and children’s toys. However, for the storm to be considered a severe thunderstorm, there must be a sustained straight-line wind measurement of 58 miles per hour or more.

Some storms can bring wind gusts of more than 100 miles per hour, which can cause serious damage to permanent structures. These types of winds can topple trees, flip mobile homes, rip off a roof of a home and more. The most important thing to do in a storm of this magnitude is to find shelter as soon as possible.

While some storms pass through with little to no damage, others don’t and can leave behind them a dangerous and overwhelming amount of debris. If your home or business has been impacted by a recent storm, we are here to help you get back on your feet. Call us today to see how we can help.

Flooding Can Happen Anywhere

8/30/2021 (Permalink)

yellow rain boots in puddle When catastrophic water damage happens to you, SERVPRO® of Paulding/Polk Counties can help.
According to the National Weather Service (NOAA), “Approximately seventy-five percent of all Presidential disaster declarations are associated with flooding.” NOAA lists the most common flood hazards in the United States as:

• Flash Flooding

• River Flooding

• Storm Surge and Coastal Inundation from Tropical and Non-Tropical Systems

• Burn Scars/Debris Flows (Caused by Wildfires)

• Ice/Debris Jams

• Snowmelt

• Dry Wash (Caused by heavy rainfall in dry areas)

• Dam Breaks/Levee Failure

Just because you haven’t experienced a flood doesn’t mean you won’t in the future. In fact, 20% of all claims paid by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) were for policies in low-risk communities. On average, floods cost $3.5 billion in annual losses in the U.S., and commercial flood claims average more than $75,000 (NFIP).

When catastrophic water damage happens to you, SERVPRO® of Paulding/Polk Counties can help. They can help you prepare ahead of time with an Emergency Ready Profile® (ERP), or respond to any size disaster to begin cleanup and restoration to get you back in business as soon as possible. SERVPRO® of Paulding/Polk Counties is ready to help make it “Like it never even happened.”