Help people decide when to use a fire extinguisher
Fire extinguishers can be helpful on a small fire. Consider providing a checklist to help people prepare to use a fire extinguisher on a potential fire.
- Have I alerted others in the building that there’s a fire?
- Has someone called the fire department?
- Am I physically able to use a fire extinguisher?
- Is the fire small and contained in a single object (like a pan or a wastebasket)?
- Am I safe from the fire’s toxic smoke?
- Do I have a clear escape route?
Use a fire extinguisher when all of these questions are answered “yes.” If you’re unsure about whether or not it’s safe to use a fire extinguisher, and for all other situations, alert others, leave the building, and call 911 from a mobile or neighbor’s phone. It is not recommended that children use fire extinguishers.
Mold Prevention Tips
- Keep humidity levels as low as you can—no higher than 50%–all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. Bear in mind that humidity levels change over the course of a day with changes in the moisture in the air and the air temperature, so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day.
- Be sure your home has enough ventilation. Use exhaust fans which vent outside your home in the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home.
- Fix any leaks in your home’s roof, walls, or plumbing so mold does not have moisture to grow.
- Clean up and dry out your home thoroughly and quickly (within 24–48 hours) after flooding.
- Add mold inhibitors to paints before painting.
- Clean bathrooms with mold-killing products.
- Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried promptly. Consider not using carpet in rooms or areas like bathrooms or basements that may have a lot of moisture
Mold Clean up Tips
The tips and techniques presented in this section will help you clean up your mold problem. Professional cleaners or remediators may use methods not covered in this publication. Please note that mold may cause staining and cosmetic damage. It may not be possible to clean an item so that its original appearance is restored
Fix plumbing leaks and other water problems as soon as possible. Dry all items completely. ¦ Scrub mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water, and dry completely.
If you suspect that your home or business has a mold problem, SERVPRO of Norridge/Harwood Hts. Franchise Professionals can inspect and assess your property. If mold is found, SERVPRO of Norridge/Harwood Hts. has the training, equipment, and expertise to handle the situation.
Understanding Flood Hazards
There are several flood principles that should be considered to determine your facility’s exposure to flood waters and the type of protection to be deployed:
- Duration: It is important to know if flood waters are expected to recede quickly or may be trapped due to the slope of the land. The longer a facility is exposed to flood waters, the greater potential for flood-proofing failures due to a breach in the protection.
- Depth: Flood waters greater than 3 feet create hydrostatic pressure on walls that can cause cracks in masonry and greatly increase the potential of collapse to unreinforced masonry. When estimating the potential depth of flood waters, it is always best to include a safety factor to account for inaccuracies in the estimate.
- Velocity: As flood water velocity increases, so does the pressure exerted on flood protection. River flooding can be very fast moving water at first and then may settle down. Coastal locations may be exposed to wave action from storm surge.
- Water Condition: Many times flood waters are dirty, brackish or contaminated with biological and chemical materials including waste water, sewage, pesticides, industrial waste, toxic and non-toxic chemicals, or oils. Debris that is churning in the water can impact buildings and flood protection systems, create breaches in the protection and cause extensive damage.
Fire Escape Plan
Tips for a fire escape plan from SERVPRO of Norridge/Harwood Hts.
- Draw a map of your home with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
- Practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.
- Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
- Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
- Close doors behind you as you leave – this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
- Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.
The Vulnerable Basement
Basements are prone to floods because water may flow down into them. They also may have an increased hydrostatic pressure exerted upon them when the surrounding ground is saturated. Recognizing that elevation is the best form of mitigation, there are a number of additional measures business owners can take to reduce the likelihood and scope of basement flood damage.
- Thoroughly inspect your basement and the surrounding property for evidence of water entry and sources of water flow and leakage.
- Correct potential problems—for example, extend and redirect downspouts, re-grade sloping landscape, and caulk any interior wall cracks.
- Basement walls should be designed to resist hydrostatic pressure.
- Use flood-resistant materials where possible, including floor coverings, wall coverings, and wall insulation. Most flood-resistant materials can withstand direct contact with water for at least 72 hours without being significantly damaged.
- Do not store valuable equipment, documents, or inventory in any crawlspace or basement where flooding is possible.
The best way to learn more about flood insurance benefits, costs, and options is to contact your insurance agent. Finally, take steps now so you can quickly resume operations should a flood or other hazard damage your property. Although flood insurance may cover losses to your structure and contents, many businesses that are severely damaged never fully recover financially due to the loss of management focus, employees, and market share. Planning tools helps small- and mid-sized businesses resume their critical business operations and work processes and deliver the goods and services expected by customers or clients–consider it a vital part of your flood preparation planning and practice.
SERVPRO of Norridge/Harwood Hts. works with all insurance companies to insure prompt response to flood situations.
Proximity to water is the number 1 risk factor for flooding, but property owners should not assume being out of the floodplain will help you entirely avoid the possibility of flooding. It is always a best practice to locate your property as far away from bodies of water as possible. Flood maps available from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) identify 100-year and 500-year flood zones throughout the United States. The flood zones also delineate participation in the NFIP, as well as permitting and other requirements that communities adopt in order to meet NFIP standards and qualify their citizens for lower flood insurance rates. By definition, the 100-year and 500-year flood zones mean there is a 1 (.20) percent chance of flooding annually in an area based on topography and historical data; it does not mean that flooding will occur only once in a century (or 500 years). There also are other important points to consider.
Protecting Your Home Tips From the Red Cross
- If you live in a floodplain, elevate and reinforce your home to make damage less likely during a flood.
- Check with a professional to:
- Raise your furnace, water heater, and electric panel to floors that are less likely to be flooded. An undamaged water heater may be your best source of fresh water after a flood.
- Install check valves in plumbing to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home. (As a last resort, when floods threaten, use large corks or stoppers to plug showers, tubs, or basins.)
- Construct barriers such as levees, berms, and flood walls to stop floodwater from entering the building (if permitted by local building codes).
- Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage through cracks.
- Use sand bags when flooding is expected:
- It takes two people about one hour to fill and place 100 sandbags, creating a wall one foot high and 20 feet long.
- Make sure you have enough sand, burlap or plastic bags, shovels, strong helpers, and time to place them properly.
- If a flood is expected, some communities will offer free sandbags to residents. Be sure to watch or listen to the news so you can access these resources.
How Floodwaters Affect Your Home
Once contents and debris have been cleared, the next step is to get the water out of the ceilings and walls. How you drain and dry your ceilings and walls depends on what they are made of. Wallboard. Most ceilings and walls are covered with wallboard, especially in newer homes. Wallboard will act like a sponge, drawing water up above the flood level. It becomes very fragile if it stays wet for long and will fall apart when bumped. When the wallboard finally dries, there will still be mud and contaminants dried inside. Wallboard that has been soaked by floodwater presents a permanent health hazard. Therefore, this book recommends that you throw out flooded wallboard. On the other hand, if the wallboard was soaked by clean rainwater, it can be dried in place with plenty of fresh air moving through the area. Plaster. Plaster will survive a flood better than wallboard. It should not have to be replaced but it will take a very long time to dry. Sometimes the plaster will separate from the wood laths as it dries. Then the wall will have to be removed and replaced. Insulation. There are 3 main types of insulation and each reacts differently to floodwaters. Styrofoam survives best; it may only need to be hosed off. Fiberglass batts should be discarded if they are muddy. If soaked by clean rainwater, remove them so the rest of the wall can dry. They can be put back in the wall, but it will take a very long time to dry. Cellulose (loose or blown-in treated paper) insulation will hold water for a long time. It can also lose its antifungal and fire retardant abilities. Therefore, flooded cellulose insulation should be replaced. Wood. If allowed to dry naturally, wood will generally regain its original shape. Different layers of laminated wood, such as plywood, may dry at different rates, causing the layers to separate