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Spring Cleaning 2 of 2

3/18/2020 (Permalink)

Cleaning Supplies for Spring Cleaning Cleaning Supplies for Spring Cleaning

In the last blog, we talked about strategy when it comes to commercial spring cleaning. In this blog, I’ll give you a list of services that are recommended. Most of these items are commonly thought of during spring cleaning in a commercial setting. But some of them are often forgotten.

Flooring

  • Deep-clean carpets to remove stains.
  • Deep-clean floor mats before storing.
  • Move file cabinets, conference tables, desks, and other large furniture items to clean the whole floor.
  • Clean baseboards and corners with a high-powered vacuum.
  • Buff and scrub tile and concrete.
  • Consider re-finishing and re-sealing floors for a renewed appearance.
  • Look for fire or safety hazards on the floor. Remove any floor or stairway blockages.
  • Inspect tile for breaks, dents, or cracks.

Walls

  • Look for chips or cracks. You will have to evaluate if a small coat of paint will fix the problem, or more work will be necessary.
  • Clean all windows inside and out to remove dust and marks. If some of the windows are too high, you may have to hire a window cleaning company.
  • Dust and wash all blinds and drapes. This is usually forgotten during the weekly cleanings.
  • Dust light fixtures and door tops.
  • Knock down “dust bunnies” and spider webs from high corners and sides.

Furniture  

Deep-clean upholstery. Not only does it remove dirt and stains, but it helps with the appearance and smell.

Wipe down and sanitize all desks.

Wipe down conference room tables, trophy cases, and other shelving units.

Bathrooms

  • Deep clean the floor and baseboards. If the flooring is tile, scrub the grout.
  • Sanitize and deep clean all surfaces with bleach-based products.
  • Replace toilet paper, paper towels, and soaps.
  • Clean all trash cans, including the small ones in the stalls.

Breakroom

  • Clean all trash cans.
  • Deep-clean all appliances inside and out, including refrigerator, microwave, and coffee maker.
  • Clean and disinfect all surfaces on tables and chairs.
  • Sort all items in the refrigerator. Remove old, expired foods and condiments.

Other

  • Dust and clean computers. Unplug the keyboards and shake them upside-down over a trash can. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe down screens.
  • Disinfect surfaces that people touch on a regular basis, such as door handles/knobs, elevator buttons, and handrails.

Commercial Spring Cleaning 1 of 2

3/4/2020 (Permalink)

Road sign saying Spring Cleaning Ahead Road sign saying Spring Cleaning Ahead

Spring Cleaning Checklist For Your Commercial Building (1 of 2)

Commercial spring cleaning is different from residential spring cleaning. There is typically more square footage to clean, and more organization and participants is necessary.

You should start off by creating a checklist for each room you want to have cleaned, and what day you want to do that cleaning. Once you have compiled your list, you should communicate it to all parties involved (email is a great way of doing this). Your employees should have advance notice when their area will be cleaned, and what is going to be done in their area. This will also give them enough time to get their stuff cleaned up, and if necessary, removed and boxed up from their shelves and desks. By being organized and staying in contact with the proper people, your cleaning will get done more efficiently.  Please check out my next blog on some ideas on what type of spring cleaning to do.

Flood Alerts

3/4/2020 (Permalink)

The National Weather Service Logo For flood advisories you should look to, The National Weather Service website

When it comes to weather alerts, there is always confusion on what flood watch, flood warning, and flood advisories, and flash flood warning mean. It’s good to know the difference so you can take the appropriate course of action for each event. According to the National Weather Service, here is the meaning of each of these alerts.

Flash Flood Warning: Take Action! A flash flood warning is issued when a flash flood is imminent or occurring. If you’re in a flood prone area, move immediately to higher ground. A flash flood is sudden and violent, and it could take anywhere from minutes to hours to develop. It’s even possible to experience a flash flood in areas not immediately receiving rain.

Flood Warning: Take Action! A flood warning is issued when the hazardous weather event is imminent or already happening.

Flood Watch: Be Prepared: A flood watch is issued when conditions are favorable for a specific hazardous weather event to occur. A flood watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding. It does not mean that flooding will occur, but it is possible.

Flood Advisory: Be Aware: A flood advisory is issued when a specific weather event that is forecast to occur may become a nuisance. A flood advisory is issued when flooding is not expected to be bad enough to issue a warning. However, it may cause significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised, it could lead to situations that may threaten life and/or property.

Hardwood Drying

2/26/2020 (Permalink)

A specialty mat system and an air mover drying out the wet hardwood flooring A specialty mat system and an air mover drying out the wet hardwood flooring

There’s a misconception that when hardwood flooring gets wet, it must be removed because it’s ruined. Frequently, that’s not the case. SERVPRO of Casper has the tools and training to evaluate and dry out hardwood flooring. We use specialized drying mat systems and balanced dehumidification to dry hardwood quickly, saving you the time and expense of flooring replacement. When evaluating water-damaged hardwood flooring, the length of time it has been wet is a critical factor. If the flooring is allowed to dwell in water for too long, it is possible for the boards to cup, warp, and possibly break. Rapid response is critical to success in saving hardwood.

When we respond to a water damage with affected hardwood flooring, we perform a preliminary inspection. What areas are wet? How long have they been wet? And specifically how wet is it? We use a combination of flooring extraction mats, and a powerful truck-mounted extraction unit to pull as much free water out of the flooring system as possible. After that’s done, we set up our drying equipment, and start the drying process. We return to the site daily to monitor the progress of the drying, using meters specially-designed for hardwood. Once the moisture level in the wood reaches an acceptable level, the hardwood flooring can be inspected by a flooring contractor.

Inventorying Your Fire Loss

2/26/2020 (Permalink)

Inventorying Your Fire Loss Inventorying Your Fire Loss

How to complete a total loss inventory list after a house fire

If you have a major fire that destroys your home, you will have to start the contents inventory process. Documenting your personal property will be necessary to ensure you get fully compensated for what you lost. Doing this full inventory is a high-stress task, but it must be done correctly and accurately. It is important to know ahead of time that the inventory process will be messy, time-consuming, and will require a lot of patience. You will be documenting a large portion of your family’s life, which can be emotionally difficult.

Before entering your home after a fire, you should always get permission from the fire department. They need to confirm that the scene has been released, and is no longer being investigated. When you have approval to enter your home, you want to make sure that you are wearing the proper protective gear. A long-sleeved shirt, long pants, close-toed shoes or boots, work gloves, hard hat, and safety glasses can help protect you from hazards. A disposable respirator with a NIOSH rating of N95 will help protect your respiratory system from inhaling ash, soot, and other toxic materials that may be present in the air.

  • Start the inventory by making a diagram of your house and label all the rooms. In the rooms start drawing big furniture, and electronics. By doing this it will help jump start your brain into remembering what was in the rooms.
  • Start one room at a time. Gather your smaller stuff. Place them on flat surfaces like some sort of tabletop. This is so you can get a good picture of your items. Make sure you do this with all the items so you have photos for everything. Once that room is done, then it’s time to move on to the next.
  • When you are done photographing, then it’s time to start making your list. You will want to include brand, age, quantity, cost and condition. Model numbers and serial numbers, when available, should be documented. You need to be specific as possible to make sure you get the proper compensation.
  • Note the price you paid for each on your inventory sheet, and include the receipts, if available. If you can’t remember what the value of an item is, sometimes you can research the valuation on the internet. If you find a price on the internet, be sure to note the cost to replace your damaged item with a new item of like kind and quality.

Fire Place Maintenance

2/24/2020 (Permalink)

A fireplace with burning wood. Keeping the room nice and warm. A fireplace with burning wood. Keeping the room nice and warm.

When your home has a fireplace, there is a lot of responsibility in maintaining it. Before you use it, make sure it is in good working order, and cleaned out properly. If it’s not maintained regularly, it could cause a structure fire, smoke could puff back in the house, or it could cause carbon monoxide poisoning. We’ll provide a few easy steps to take to make sure your fireplace is safe.

  1. Your chimney should be swept inside at least once a year, and it should be at the beginning of the year. By sweeping the chimney, it will help remove soot and debris. When you’re sweeping you should look for any animals that may have crawled in and died.
  2. Before you start the fire, check the structure of your chimney. You want to make sure there are no cracks, loose bricks, or missing mortar. Also look for any deterioration. Cracks and spalling are signs of deterioration.
  3. Use a wire-mesh cap on top of the chimney to keep the birds, squirrels, rain and other debris from entering.
  4. Check the damper; the damper is a movable plate that sits above the fireplace before the flue. Make sure the damper is working properly. There should be no debris preventing it from opening and closing.
  5. When cleaning the chimney, you want to keep an eye out for creosote buildup. Creosote is a chemical mass of carbon formed when wood, tar or fossil fuels are burned. Even though you can’t see it from the outside doesn’t mean that the buildup is not on the inside. When it’s not properly removed, it can build up in the flue and chimney, potentially causing a chimney fire.
  6. Make sure there isn’t anything hanging over the chimney, such as tree limbs, flags, etc. They could be a fire hazard, and it could interfere with proper draft airflow.
  7. Clean out ashes regularly. You should clean out the ashes from the last time you ran your fireplace. You can simply sweep or vacuum the cold ashes and dispose of them. Be aware that there could be hot coals in the mix. Hot coals can stay hot for up to 3 days.

 If you don’t have experience in cleaning or maintaining your fireplace or know what to look for, call a local professional. They have the tools and resources to make sure that your chimney is up and running safely for the winter time.

Fire Sources To Watch Out For

2/24/2020 (Permalink)

Pictures of some of the main sources of fires. Pictures of some of the main sources of fires.

Whether you live in a house, trailer, or an apartment, you are always at risk for a fire, or smoke damage. It’s a good idea to know what some of the main sources are.

  1. Cooking equipment – Cooking is one of the leading causes of house fires. When you get a pan of oil or grease too hot on the stove, it makes it very flammable and it can flash. Holiday cooking is another cause. When cooking during the holidays you’re preparing multiple dishes at once, while entertaining guests at the same time. If you’re not paying attention, a simple mistake such as laying a towel too close to the stove flame can cause a fire. Another source would be kitchen appliances, such as crockpots, toasters, and griddles. An electrical short from a damaged cord, or putting a hot appliance away before it has fully cooled, can cause damage.
  2. Candles – If a candle is allowed to burn too closely to curtains or flammable items, they could catch on fire. Also, leaving candles burning unattended can lead to a mishap.
  3. Smoking – If a cigarette or cigar is not completely snuffed out, the embers could still be a risk to ignite a fire.
  4. Children playing with fire – Most children are curious with fire, and what can cause it. They see someone light a match, or a lighter, or even the gas stove, they want to get ahold of it and light it themselves. Because they don’t understand the risk of what could happen, sometimes an accidental fire can happen.
  5. Barbeque – During the summer, there is a lot more outdoor cooking. Most outdoor cooking is done on a gas appliance, or using a charcoal or wood fire. You never want to leave a grill unattended on a wooden porch. And it is important to avoid grilling too closely to a house or fence.
  6. Wiring – When it comes to the wiring in your home, you don’t want to take any short cuts. It should be up to date, and installed by a professional. Overheating or an electrical short can quickly start a fire inside the walls of your home.
  7. Christmas tree – The Christmas tree is everyone’s favorite, whether it’s a real tree or artificial. If it’s a real tree, you want to make sure that the stand is full of water so the tree doesn’t dry out. With both artificial and natural trees, placing them too close to a heat source (such as a fireplace or baseboard heater) can be a fire hazard.
  8. Heating Equipment – During winter, it is a common practice to use a space heater to warm up a cold area in a house, or to add heat to a garage. It is critical that space heaters are kept a safe distance from any combustible materials. Walls, clothes, curtains, and furniture can ignite if they are too close to a space heater. The same holds true for electric baseboard heat registers. A safe radius of at least six inches from the front and sides of the unit should be kept clear of any combustible materials.

Some fires are accidental and beyond your control. But most can be easily prevented through basic safety precautions. Always be aware of the steps you can take to prevent a fire.

Frostbite Stages and Treatments

2/14/2020 (Permalink)

A list of frostbite treatments, protection, signs & symptoms, and frostbite cautions. A list of frostbite treatments, protection, signs & symptoms, and frostbite cautions.

Frostbite is very dangerous, and should be treated seriously. There are 3 stages of frostbite, and the appropriate treatment for each stage is different. The three different stages are:

Frostnip – Frostnip is a mild form of frostbite. Continued exposure leads to numbness in the affected area. As your skin warms you may feel pain and tingling. This type of frostbite doesn’t permanently damage the skin.

Superficial frostbite – Superficial frostbite appears as reddened skin that turns white or pale. The skin may begin to feel warm; this is a sign of serious skin involvement. If you decide to treat the frostbite with rewarming at this stage, the surface of your skin may appear splotchy. There also may be some stinging, burning, and swelling. Fluid-filled blisters may appear around 12-36hrs after rewarming.

Deep (severe) frostbite – When frostbite progresses, it affects all layers of the skin, including the tissue that lies below. The skin will turn white or a bluish gray, there could be numbness, and loss of sensation of cold, and there will be discomfort. The joints and or muscles may no longer work. Large blisters from 24-48hrs after rewarming. Afterward, the area turns black and hard, because the tissue has died.

When to see a doctor –

If you have any of these symptoms you should seek medical attention:

  • Signs of superficial or deep frostbite
  • Increased pain, swelling, redness or discharge in the area that was frostbitten
  • Fever
  • New, unexplained symptoms

If you have been affected by any of this, and are waiting for emergency medical or a doctor’s appointment, there are a few things you can do in the meantime.

  • Protecting the affected area from further cold
  • Not walking on frostbitten feet
  • Reducing pain with ibuprofen

If you suspect hypothermia, get emergency medical help right away. Hypothermia is a condition where your body loses heat faster than it can be produced. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Intense shivering
  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness and loss of coordination

Water Damage Sources

2/13/2020 (Permalink)

A water heater with a hole in the pipe and water bursting out. A water heater with a hole in the pipe and water bursting out.

When a water damage happens in your home, several factors must be evaluated quickly. One of the key factors is the source of the water intrusion. When it comes to finding the source, it is good to start checking pipes.

  • Sink pipe
  • Toilet supply line
  • Water heater
  • Water softener
  • Washing machine lines and connections
  • Ice maker line
  • Dishwasher

Another source could be flooding, or ground water.

  • Is water coming in from the foundation?
  • Is it coming from the window, or around a window frame?
  • If you have a sump pump, is it coming from the hole where the sump is?

When you have a water loss, it’s important to find where the source is. It helps not only the contractors address the issue quickly, but it also helps the insurance adjusters that are investigating the claim. If the source is a pipe break, you should shut off your water as close to the source as possible.

Once you have figured out where the water is coming from, and you have stopped it from coming in, you should contact a qualified plumber. Then you need to call your insurance company, and a qualified restoration company to start the water removal and structural drying processes.  

Winter Storm Precautions

2/13/2020 (Permalink)

Handling the Winter Storm Months Handling the Winter Storm Months

Throughout most of the country, the winter season can result in the occasional severe winter storm. Heavy snowfall, strong winds, and extremely cold temperatures can cause entire cities to shut down. Winter storms sometimes last for a few hours, but can extend into a number of days. These severe conditions can cause interruption in heating and power in homes and businesses, as well as knocking out telephone and internet communications. The risk of car accidents, frostbite, and hypothermia can increase in severe weather events. Fortunately, local media (such as TV, radio, and online news sources) can normally give a few days’ notice prior to the arrival of the winter storm.

If you know that a winter storm is approaching, it is best to be prepared as possible:

  • Stay off roads
  • Stay indoors and dress warmly
  • Prepare for power outages
  • If you have generators, use them outside only, and away from windows
  • Listen to the TV or Radio for emergency updates
  • Keep watch for hypothermia and frost bite, if you must go outdoors
  • Check on your neighbors, especially if they are older or sick

Please check out my next blog on signs and symptoms of frost bite.