Holiday Light Safety
Commercial Christmas Lights
The holidays are here, and everyone is excited to start decorating. People are putting up Christmas trees, decorations, and hanging up lights throughout the house. With all the excitement, safety precautions are often forgotten. Here are a few things you may not think of, but should consider when decorating for your holiday season.
- Inspect each set of lights, even if they are new. Check for broken or cracked sockets, loose connections, or frayed wires. Discard any damaged cords.
- Plug in and inspect the lights before hanging them up.
- Make sure your lights have the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) label on them.
- Watch young children around lights and decorations, as they can easily grab and swallow them.
- Unplug all decorative lights, such as the Christmas tree, and the outdoor decorative lighting, before leaving the house or going to bed.
- If you buy an artificial tree, make sure that it has the flame-resistant label on it.
- When shopping for lights, choose LED. They last longer, and the bulbs don’t get hot to the touch.
- When using an extension cord for your outdoor lighting, use a 3 prong grounded extension with a UL label.
- Never overload outlets or extension cords.
- Cords need to stay out of water, and away from metal objects.
- Before using an extension cord, make sure the cord is fully uncoiled.
- Never place extension cords under rugs and doors or through windows where they can get pinched.
There’s a lot to look for when inspecting Christmas decorations, but taking that extra couple of minutes could help prevent an accident from happening.
Trick-or Treating Safety
Kids dressed in their Halloween costumes, with their pumpkin baskets to be filled with candy.
Kids look forward to October because of Halloween. They get to go trick-or-treating and collect heaping bags of candy. But there are some safety measures that need to be put in place first to make sure everyone has a fun and safe night. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Don’t go out alone – Any child 12 and under should be accompanied by an adult. Pin a piece of paper inside the child’s pocket with their name, address, and phone number in case you get separated. Encourage older children to go with friends, or friends and their parents. Make sure someone in the group has a flashlight with fresh batteries.
Set Ground Rules – If your child will be going trick-or-treating without you, make sure they communicate where they will be, and that they stay with their friends. Make sure they know not to go into houses or cars for a treat, and to only visit houses that are clearly lit.
Inspect treats before eating - Make sure your child eats dinner before going out. Explain to them to not eat any pieces of candy until you can inspect them. Discard anything that’s not sealed, is torn, or anything that looks questionable.
Ration the loot - Keep an eye out for how much your child eats, and don’t let them keep their candy in their rooms.
We hope you and your family have a safe Halloween this year!!!
A homeowner on a ladder cleaning his gutters, with his wife holding on to the ladder for safety.
There’s a lot of safety risk when it comes to climbing on ladders. Falls from portable ladders are one of the leading causes of occupational fatalities and injuries. The following is a list of safety tips and suggestions to make sure you, and everyone around you, stay safe.
Make sure you read and follow the instructions on the ladder.
Look for overhead power lines before moving the ladder. Don’t use metal ladders near power lines or exposed energized electrical equipment.
Always do an inspection on your ladder before use. If something is broken or bent, either replace it, or get it repaired. If it’s a commercial ladder, make sure you tag it and pull it off line so another co-worker doesn’t grab it and use it.
You should always keep a 3-point contact when climbing (two hands and a foot, or two feet and one hand). Keep your body near the middle of the step and always face the ladder while climbing.
Make sure you use the right ladder and accessories for their designed purpose.
The ladder must be free of any slippery material on the rungs, steps, or feet.
Don’t use the top step/rung of a ladder as a step unless it was designated for that purpose.
Use a ladder only on stable/level ground, unless the ladder is secured to prevent displacement.
Don’t use boxes, barrels or other unstable bases to gain extra height for the ladder.
If the ladder needs moved or shifted, make sure that everyone and equipment is off of it.
The proper angle for setting up a ladder is to place its base a quarter of the working length of the ladder from the wall or other vertical surface.
If using the ladder in a place where it can get displaced by other work activities, make sure it’s secured.
Keep all traffic away from the area around the ladder.
Make sure that the locks on the on the extension ladder are properly engaged.
Be aware of the weight capacity of the ladder, and don’t exceed the maximum load. You need to take into account your weight and anything you carry on it.
Take a few minutes before getting on your next ladder by doing that inspection, and being mindful of its placement. By following these suggested ideas, serious injury can be prevented.
Storm clouds with lightening
Autumn storms are right around the corner. The effect of these storms can be good or bad. As much as we love the sound of thunder, the jolt of lightning going through the sky and the smell of rain, there are bad things that can come along with it. Power outages are often a risk associated with storms. It’s good to know what to do in case you lose power, because you never know how long it could be out. It could be out for a matter of seconds, or for several hours. Here are some tips on what how to be prepared, and what to do during a power outage.
Keep flashlights available around your house. Avoid using candles when possible.
Keep the opening of freezers and refrigerators to a minimum. When kept closed, refrigerators can stay cool up to 4hours, and freezers can stay frozen up to 48 hours. If need be, you can put ice in a cooler to keep your food cold.
Watch out for carbon monoxide poisoning. If you are running a generator, it should be used outside and at least 20 feet away from a window or door. Never use a gas stovetop, oven, camp stove, or charcoal grill to heat your home.
If it’s cold in your home, add more layers of clothes and blankets. Don’t use the oven or a grill as a heating source. If it becomes too cold, try to make arrangements to go to another location where heat is available.
Turn off and disconnect any appliances and electronics. The power may surge or spike when it is restored, and that may cause damage to the items.
If you have a sump pump, keep an eye on it so you don’t end up with a flooded basement.
If a storm occurs, the safety of you and your family is of the utmost importance. Be safe out there!
IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification)
IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification
In the fire and water restoration business, it is important to perform all work in accordance with industry standards. Standards create a set of best practices to ensure restoration work is effective, and protects the health and safety of both workers and occupants. In the restoration industry, the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is the certifying body in the United States.
The IICRC develops and maintains standards for many facets of property restoration. It is the most utilized technical information in the inspection, cleaning and restoration industries. IICRC is ANSI-accredited, and recognized by some local, state and federal authorities.
Certification classes are taught by IICRC-approved instructors. There are over 25 certifications and continuing education requirements to maintain certification. This helps us keep all certified technicians refreshed and updated on any changes that may arise in the industry. SERVPRO of Casper is an IICRC Certified Firm. We are listed in the IICRC global locator, which is accessed by consumers and industry professionals.
A list of Certifications that is offered:
Applied Microbial Remediation Technician
Applied Structural Drying Technician
Building Moisture Thermography
Commercial Carpet Maintenance Technician
Carpet Cleaning Technician
Commercial Drying Specialist
Color Repair Technician
Floor Care (Hard Surfaces) Technician
Fire and Smoke Restoration Technician
House Cleaning Technician
Odor Control Technician
Rug Cleaning Technician
Resilient Floor Inspector
Resilient Flooring Maintenance Technician
Carpet Repair and Reinstallation Technician
Senior Carpet Inspector
Stone, Masonry and Ceramic Tile Cleaning Technician
Trauma and Crime Scene Technician
Upholstery and Fabric Technician
Wood Floor Maintenance Technician
Wood and Laminate Flooring Inspector
Water Damage Restoration Technician
If you want to learn more about the IICRC, please visit IICRC.org.
Fire Pet Safety
A dog in a fire fighters uniform
When a fire happens at your home, it can be devastating. Your first thought is to get your family (including your pets) and get out. But what if you’re not home and there’s a fire? There are 40,000 pets that die every year from a house fire, and about 1,000 home fires are accidentally started by house pets.
Prevent Your Pets from Starting Fires:
- Extinguish Open Flames – Pets are curious critters, and they want to snoop and investigate everything. They want to check out the cooking appliances, candles, and even your fire place. It’s recommended that you don’t leave your pet unattended in any areas that have an open flame. Make sure everything is snuffed out and turned off before leaving your home.
- Remove Stove Knobs - Before you leave your home, consider removing the knobs from your stove or putting a cover over them. The stove or cooktop is the most common piece of equipment involved in fires started by pets.
- Invest in Flameless Candles – Flameless candles have use an electronic light bulb instead of an open flame. If it gets knocked over, there is no risk of it starting a fire. Cats are notorious for starting fires with their tails from knocking over candles.
- Secure Young Pets – Young pets, like babies, are still learning what is right and what is wrong. Until they have learned what to stay away from, it is best to keep them away from potential hazards by containing them with kennels or baby gates.
Help Firefighters Help Your Pets:
- Keep collars on your pets, and keep their leashes close to the front door so it’s ready in case the firefighters need to save your pets. Keep them contained in a room or area that’s near the front door so it’s easy to find them.
- Put a Pet Emergency Alert sticker in the front window by the door. On the sticker, you list how many pets and what kind of pets you have, and names. This will help the firefighters know what kind of animal and how many to look out for.
The best way to protect your pets from a fire is to include them in your family plan. This includes making them their own disaster supply kit, and pre-arranging a safe place for them to stay if you should have to leave your home. When you practice your escape plan include your pets, so they will come to you when they are called. If something should happen and you must evacuate it’s important to protect them, but remember if you are struggling to get them out, don’t delay too long in getting yourself and your family out.
Reasons for Sump Pump failure 1 of 2
An installed sump pump
Depending on where your home is located and how it is built, a sump pump may be an important part of protecting your home from water intrusion. In some homes, the sump pump may never need to operate, or may only operate annually during a wet, rainy season. In other homes that are located near a drainage or an area with a high water table, the sump pump may need to evacuate water frequently. It’s very important to keep your sump pump maintained, whether it runs regularly or not. You don’t want to get into a situation where you need it and it’s not working. Here are a few reasons why your sump pump could fail.
- Power Failure
Power failures can sometimes happen during a bad rain storm. If the rainfall is heavy, and your sump pump is not working, you could end up with a flooded basement or crawlspace. A good way to prevent this from happening is to keep a backup generator on hand. By doing this, you can continue to power your sump pump to keep the water at bay.
- Overwhelmed Pump
Your sump pump can get easily overwhelmed by the volume of water if your sump pump is too small.
If your sump pump is too big, it can overwork and it will have a shorter lifespan. If you have questions on what size of sump pump is best for your needs, contact a local plumber.
- Frozen or Clogged Discharge Pipe
If your sump pump discharge is frozen or clogged, flood water will flow back into your basement. Since you can’t keep that pipe from freezing, you can have a specialty discharge line installed that allows water to exit your basement. A way to keep your discharge line from clogging is to install a protective grate on it.
- Lack of Maintenance
Your sump pump needs a good cleaning and some quarterly maintenance. You can run vinegar solution through your sump pump, and making sure the float switch motion is not restricted. Clean all the vents on your sump pump and the air holes on your discharge line. If your sump pump rarely runs, it is a good idea to pour a five-gallon bucket of water into the sump on a quarterly basis. This exercises the pump, and prevents seizing from lack of use.
- Old Age
With years of use and wear and tear, eventually your sump pump will give out. Sump pumps should be replaced every 7-10 years.
Reasons for Sump Pump failure 2 of 2
A replaced sum pump, with the failed one sitting next to it.
- Did Not Install a Check Valve on the Discharge Line
When the check valve is not installed on your sump pump’s discharge line, a back flow of water can cause the pump impeller to rotate backwards and unscrew off the motor shaft. If this occurs, the motor in your sump pump will sound like it is running, but it will not be pumping any water out the discharge line. A check valve is the best way to prevent this type of back flow problem.
- No Air Relief Hole in Discharge Line
A hole should be drilled between the pump and the check valve to prevent air pressure from building up. Without the relief hole, pressure will build up in the discharge line and force the sump pump to work harder. This additional burden on the sump pump will result in a shorter overall life.
- Setting Your Sump Pump in Gravel or Dirt
Some will pack their sump pumps in gravel or dirt to make it a snug fit. The gravel or dirt may cause the sump pump to fail, because the on/off switch and the float arm will be interfered with.
- Product Defect
It’s unlikely, but your sump pump could be defective. If you install it yourself, you will want to test it immediately to make sure it’s working. If it’s not, take it back to the store where you bought it, and exchange it for a different one.
- Improper Installation
If you have ruled other problems out, you should look to make sure your sump pump is installed correctly. Having the installation inspected by a licensed plumber can help determine if the sump pump will work properly when needed.
We hope you never have a sump pump problem that results in water damage. But if something should happen, just know SERVPRO of Casper is here for you anytime, day or night.
First Aid Kits
First Aid Kit with bandages, wraps, tweezers, scissors.
Accidents happen when you least expect them. Because of this, you should always keep a first aid kit in your vehicle and home It is also important to know the location of the first aid kits in your workplace. A well-stocked first aid kit can help you provide critical assistance in an emergency.
When it comes to a first aid kit you can buy them commercially, or make one of your own. If you decide to buy them, they come in all shapes and sizes. You want to make sure that you keep an inventory of your kit. This is especially important of workplace first aid kits, where multiple employees may use some of the smaller items in the kit from time to time. If you get kits that have medicine in them, keep an eye on the expiration date for those products.
Whether you’re buying or making them yourself, the following is suggested by the American Red Cross for a family of 4:
- 2 absorbent compress dressings (5X9 inches)
- 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
- 1 adhesive cloth tape (10yards X 1inch)
- 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
- 5 antiseptic wipes packets
- 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
- 1 emergency blanket
- 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
- 1 instant cold compress
- 2 pair of nonlatex gloves
- 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
- 1 3in gauze roll bandage
- 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
- 5 3inX3in sterile gauze pad
- 5 sterile gauze pads (4X4 inches)
- Oral thermometer
- 2 triangular bandages
- Emergency first aid guide.
Mountains with streaks of lightning flowing across the sky
During the lightning season, you should always be prepared for changing conditions. Everyone is at risk if you have thunder and lightning where you live. You should know what to do if you get caught in a lightning storm.
Lightning and what you need to know:
- NO PLACE outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area.
- If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you.
- When you hear thunder, move to a safe shelter. Inside a building is best. If a building is not available, a metal topped vehicle with the windows rolled up is a good alternative.
- Stay in the shelter for at least 30 minutes after you hear the last roll of thunder.
Indoor Lightning Safety:
- Stay off corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity.
- Avoid plumbing, including sinks, baths, and faucets.
- Stay away from doors and windows.
- Stay off of porches and balconies.
- Don’t lie on concrete floors, and don’t lean against concrete walls.
Last Resort Outdoor Risk Reduction Tips:
If you are in a situation where there is no shelter nearby, following these actions will help reduce your risk.
- Immediately get off of a hill, mountain ridges, peaks, or anything that is elevated.
- Never lie flat on the ground.
- Never shelter under a tree.
- Never use a cliff or overhang for shelter.
- Immediately get out of any bodies of water, including ponds, lakes, or ocean.
- Stay away from objects that conduct electricity such as barbed wire fences, power lines, windmills, etc.
Lightning is very beautiful, but also very dangerous. A typical lightning strike yields about 300 million Volts and about 30,000 Amps. A household current is 120 Volts and 15 Amps. There is enough energy in a typical flash to light up a 100-wall incandescent light bulb for about three months. Taking the appropriate safety precautions against lightning can help keep you and your family safe.