Frostbite Prevention and When to Take Action
The different steps for frostbite.
Frostbite is caused by freezing. The affected areas will have loss of feeling and color. The most common extremities that get affected are the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, and toes. Frostbite can permanently damage the body, and in the most severe cases, lead to amputation.
Who is most at risk?
- Poor blood circulation
- Not properly dressed for extremely cold temperatures
Signs and symptoms of frostbite:
If there is redness or pain on any parts of the skin, get out of the cold and protect the exposed skin. Some of these other signs may point to frostbite:
- white or grayish-yellow skin area
- skin that feels unusually firm or waxy
Someone may not know they have frostbite until it is pointed out. The frozen parts of their body are numb, and have no feeling.
When to take action:
If you see signs of frostbite on yourself or others, seek medical care. Make sure you also check for signs of hypothermia, as it can also be caused by exposure to cold temperatures. If anyone is showing signs, get emergency medical care.
- Get into a warm room as soon as possible.
- Do not walk on feet or toes that are frostbitten unless absolutely necessary. This could increase the damage.
- Don’t rub the frostbitten area or massage it, as this can cause more damage.
- Put the frostbitten areas in warm water, NOT hot water.
- If warm water is not available, use body heat. For example, if your fingers are frostbitten put them in your arm pit.
- Do not use a heating pad, heat lamp, stove, or fireplace. When areas are frostbitten, it is numb, and you can easily get burnt because you don’t realize how close you are.
Don't substitute these first aid steps for proper medical care. Frostbite injuries need to be examined by a qualified healthcare worker.
How to Help Prevent Frozen Pipes
A water faucet that is dripping water, with an explanation on how to keep pipes from freezing.
Living in Wyoming, it’s common knowledge that during the winter, freezing temperatures will happen. Depending on the duration and severity of a freeze event, frozen and broken pipes can be a common problem. But there are a few precautions that can help keep your pipes from freezing.
Leave faucets dripping-
Having a trickle of cold water flowing through your pipes will keep water moving. Moving water is more resistant to freezing.
Open Cabinet Doors-
When temperatures are freezing, opening the cabinet doors on sinks such as kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks, or laundry wash tubs will help reduce risk of freezing. This measure is especially important if the sinks are located along an exterior wall. Sometimes there could be a cool breeze finding its way in through the pipes, or a crack in the foundation. Opening the cabinet doors introduces heated air into the cabinet space, and warms the exposed plumbing.
Wrap Your Pipes-
Pipes that are at risk for freezing should be wrapped in heat tape, or pipe insulation. This will help add extra freeze resistance to your pipes.
Keep heat to 55F or higher-
If you plan on leaving your home for a day trip, vacation, or vacating your house for any reason, you should not leave your temperature any lower than 55 degrees F. This temperature provides a base level of warmth to prevent freezing in the home.
If your pipes freeze and break and it causes a water damage, SERVPRO of Casper is here for you 24/7. Call us anytime at 307-235-6558.
Vehicle Safety in the Winter and Winter Storms
A vehicle on snowy roads.
Before winter gets here, it is a good idea to start preparing your vehicle. You want to make sure your vehicle is in good working order before the snow starts flying. Here are a few things to check, and fix if needed:
1. It is best to start your inspection no later than November. You may want to start even sooner if you live in a colder environment. You don’t want to be stuck in the snow unprepared.
2. When the temperatures start dropping outside, so does the tire pressure on your vehicle. If the tire pressures drop too much, the performance of your vehicle goes down. When driving on ice and snow, proper air pressure will ensure maximum performance. To see the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle, check the data label inside your vehicle’s driver door, or refer to the owner’s manual.
3. Test your battery. Cold weather reduces the power your battery is capable of producing. At zero degrees F, your battery can only deliver half its normal amperage. If you do not have a battery tester, most auto parts stores will test your battery for you for free. It is also a good idea to keep a pair of jumper cables in your vehicle, in case you unexpectedly experience a weak or dead battery.
4. Check your windshield for cracks or chips. If you have any small chips, have them repaired by a local auto glass company. By having them filled in, this will keep the cracks or chips from spreading. You also want to make sure you have good windshield wiper blades.
5. Inspect your headlights and brake lights. If it is storming, you want to make sure your lights are in working order so you can see, and so people can see you.
6. In winter, it is very important to have an emergency kit in your vehicle. You will want blankets, warm clothes, winter shoes, flashlight, batteries, water, etc.
7. When traveling in winter conditions, always let someone know where you are going, and when you expect to arrive. Then check in when you get to your destination.
By following these tips, you can have a safer winter on the roads.
An inspector doing a chimney inspection.
Nothing is more comforting on a cold day than lighting your fireplace. A fireplace has a wonderful ambience that cannot be matched by a furnace. The beautiful colors of the flames, the smell, and the feeling of the heat is enjoyable. But there is a lot of responsibility when it comes to owning a fireplace. You need to have periodic inspections, cleaning, and more. Here are some things you should do before winter.
Hire a Chimney Sweep:
The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) recommends that all chimneys get swept at least once a year. Its best to find a certified sweep in your area to make sure it its done properly.
Check for Damage:
When you have your chimney swept, you should also request an inspection. They should look for cracks, loose bricks, or missing mortar. The chimney liners should be checked also for cracking or deterioration.
Cap the Chimney:
During the inspection looking at the chimney cap is important too. The cap helps keep out the rain, birds, squirrels, and debris from entering. If there is damage, or it is missing, make sure it is fixed or replaced.
Burn Seasoned Hardwood:
“Green” wood and certain soft woods like pine produce more creosote, a flammable byproduct of combustion that build up in the chimney. Excessive creosote buildup can cause a chimney fire. You want to burn dense hardwoods, like oak, if they are available. Before using any wood for fire, split it and store it in a high and dry place for at least six months.
Keep your fire small. Small fire creates less smoke, and creosote that can build on the walls of your fire place. Also, if your fire gets toolarge, it can get too hot and crack the walls of your chimney.
Build it Right:
When starting a fire, start with kindling instead of flammable liquids. Place the logs towards the back, and on a metal grate.
Use a Spark Guard:
It is best if a fireplace has a glass or mesh door. This will help any shooting embers from coming out and landing on your floor. Adding a fire screen outside the fireplace creates an additional layer of protection against sparks and popping embers.
If you experience a mishap with your chimney or fireplace, prompt cleanup of the resulting smoke damage is important. Call SERVPRO of Casper for a free assessment.
Ways to Prevent Sewer Backup
A pipe that is broken with tree roots.
There are several different kinds of water intrusions that can happen in your home. When it comes to damage caused by a sewage backup, it can be more complicated than a basic pipe leak. In some cases, there can be actual human waste on your floor. Affected materials need to be removed, which can be more costly. Here are a few ways that a sewer backup can cause flooding in your basement.
Blockage is the leading cause of sewer line backups. Items such as feminine products, paper products that are non-flushable, and grease are common culprits. Grease may be a liquid when it’s poured down the drain, but it can still solidify and expand when cooled. This can cause blockage in your pipes.
Collapsed Piping -
A collapsed pipe is not as common, but it is still possible. If you have clay piping, with time they can start to decay and fall apart. Tree roots can repeatedly puncture the piping, compromising the integrity of the pipe and causing a collapse. Collapsed sewer lines can be corrected by replacement, but it is both expensive and intrusive.
Tree roots can be a nightmare for a homeowner. If you live in an area were there are old trees, or a lot of trees, it is best to get your sewer line cleaned out once a year. Tree roots can puncture the walls of your pipes, or they can fill the pipe up to where there is no room for the waste to go, which can cause a back up.
If a sewage backup occurs in your basement, Call SERVPRO of Casper anytime for immediate assistance at 307-235-6558.
A Fire Free Halloween
Halloween decorations, there is carved pumpkins, skulls, and other Halloween decorations.
Halloween is right around the corner! People will be busy with parties, trick-or-treaters, and costumes. But one the most popular traditional activities during this time is carving pumpkins. You get to carve out funny or scary faces then add a candle in them so they light up at night.
If not done properly, there can be accidents, such as fires. There are a lot of Halloween-related items and materials that could catch on fire. Children’s costumes, decorations with loose fabric, or the dried cornstalks that are a popular fall accent, can all be very combustible. With the help of the National Fire Protection Association, I’m going to give you some tips on how to prevent a fire at Halloween.
- Use battery-operated candle or glow stick in the jack-o-lantern
- When choosing costumes, avoid long trailing fabric
- Teach your children to stay away from flames, such as a jack-o-lantern with a candle
- Keep dried decorations such as flowers, cornstalks, or crepe paper away from an open flame, or even light bulbs that can heat up, such as incandescent lighting
- Keep all exits clear of decorations so the escape routes are available if necessary, and make sure all smoke alarms are working
- Provide children with flashlights or glow sticks as part of their costume
By following some of these simple tips, you can have a happy and safe Halloween!!
Fatigue in the work place
A lady slumped over her desk feeling fatigued. She has her laptop, with cups of coffee.
Work place fatigue can be a serious problem. Taking the right steps to make sure you’re taking care of yourself is very important. The Centers for Disease Control says that under regular circumstances, adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night, along with opportunities to rest while awake.
Long hours, shift work, stressful or physically-demanding work can lead to poor sleep and extreme fatigue. Everyone is different on what their individual needs for sleep and rest, but here are some ideas to help manage fatigue.
Improving your sleep:
- You’ll sleep better if your room is comfortable, dark, cool, and quiet.
- It shouldn't take longer than 15 minutes to fall asleep. If it does, take some time before bed to try meditation, relaxation breathing, or muscle relaxation.
- When you know you’re going to work a long stretch of shifts, try “banking” some extra sleep.
- After you work your extended shifts, plan on getting extra sleep afterward so you can start to recover.
- Avoid sunlight or bright light at least 90 minutes before going to sleep. The light exposure before bedtime can cause you to feel more awake.
- If you work a graveyard shift and you’re going home in the daylight, wear sunglasses. This will help cut down your light exposure.
- In your bedroom, get some black-out curtains or blinds.
- Take naps when you have the opportunity.
- Before working a night shift, try taking a 90-minute nap. This will help keep you from feeling tired at work.
- Eating healthy foods and staying physically active will help improve your sleep.
- Avoid foods or drinks before bed that could make falling a sleep more difficult.
- Avoid alcohol, heavy meals, nicotine for at least 2-3 hours before bedtime.
- Avoid caffeine at least 5 hours before bedtime.
Feel Tired in the Workplace?
A worker sitting in his office at desk feeling tired with his head on his laptop.
Depending on your work shifts, how many continuous days you’ve worked, or the stress of your job, its easy to get too tired to work safely. There are many things someone can do to help stay awake.
- Use the buddy system: check in with each other, see how they are handling the work hours and the demands. Watch your coworkers for signs of fatigue, such as yawning, having a hard time keeping their eyes open, or difficulty concentrating. Also be mindful of yourself, and be aware if you’re showing any of these signs as well. If you see any of your coworkers having any of these problems, say something. They may not even realize they are doing it. By speaking up, this can help prevent workplace injuries and errors.
- Find out if your employer has a program to help manage fatigue on the job. Ask questions to see if there are policies and procedures for helping employees manage fatigue.
- If there were any near misses, or events that were caused by fatigue, tell a manager right away. This will help help prevent injuries or errors.
- Don’t work if your fatigue threats the safety of yourself or others. Talk to your manager right away if you feel you can not work safely.
4th of July BBQs
A table full of bbq food, hot dogs, and burgers.
The Fourth of July brings Barbecues, parades, concerts, and fireworks. Everyone loves fireworks. Who doesn’t love the sounds, lights, and colors? But there are some safety concerns that you need to be aware of when handling or being around fireworks. The Consumer Product Safety Commission states that in 2018, there were 9,100 reported firework injuries and 5 deaths.
If fireworks are legal where you live and you choose to use them, here are a few safety tips:
Never allow young children to handle fireworks
Older children should use them only under adult supervision
Never use fireworks if impaired by drugs or alcohol
Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear
Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands
Never light fireworks indoors
When using fireworks point them away from people, houses, and flammable material
Never point or throw fireworks at another person
Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting
Never ignite devices in a container
Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks
Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire
Never use illegal fireworks
Another 4th of July favorite is the sparkler. There is a misconception that they can’t hurt you because they don’t shoot off in the sky, but they can. The National Fire Protection Association states that sparkler injuries make up 25% of fireworks-related emergency room visits. Sparklers burn at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. That is hot enough to melt metal. If dropped on clothing, it can catch them on fire. It can also cause severe burns to the feet if wearing sandals, or if you are barefoot. Glow sticks, confetti poppers, and colored streamers are safer alternatives to sparklers.
We at SERVPRO of Casper hope you and your family have a fun and safe Fourth of July!
A coin jar with a tree coming out of the top.
When you own or operate a small business, you typically don’t have unlimited financial resources to stay afloat. It is critical to manage your expenses so you can control cash outflow from your company. If your business is in a commercial building, your utility bills can make up a large amount of your monthly expenses. Managing and reducing energy consumption is a sure way to lower your bills, and keep more money in your business.
- Insulation Saves Energy
One fairly inexpensive way to reduce energy costs is insulating your property. You can save up to 10% of your energy bill by installing proper insulation and sealing your building. Sealing drafty windows is a great start, as well as adding insulation to exterior walls. Additionally, sealing around plumbing penetrations and correcting leaks in HVAC ducts is helpful.
- Turn Off Lights and Computers
At the end of the business day, have your employees power down their computers, and turn off all lights. Modern laptop computers and LED lighting consume far less electricity than their older counterparts. However, they still use a small amount of energy. Fully shutting off computers and lights can still result in savings in the long run.
- Utilize Smart Building Technology
Modern building controls, including programmable thermostats, are a great way to limit energy consumption. Smart thermostats can help you build a heating and cooling schedule that keeps your employees comfortable during business hours, while cutting back on usage during times that nobody is present. Motion-sensing light switches turn lights on when people are in a room, and automatically turn them off when no motion is detected. This minimizes electrical consumption, and cuts down your electric bill.
- Maintain your HVAC system
Dirty HVAC systems consume more energy to operate than a clean, well-maintained system. Clogged filters, dirty refrigeration coils, and dust buildup in the supply and return ducts all add resistance to airflow. The blowers have to work harder to push air, and consume more power as a result. Changing filters regularly, and scheduling periodic duct cleaning, can save you money in the form of reduced utility bills.
SERVPRO of Casper can address your HVAC cleaning needs. We have the tools and training to keep your HVAC system running cleanly and efficiently, so you can keep a handle on energy consumption expenses in your business.