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Autumn Storms

9/15/2020 (Permalink)

Storm clouds with lightening 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)

9/1/2020 (Permalink)

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

7/23/2020 (Permalink)

A dog in a fire fighters uniform 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

6/23/2020 (Permalink)

An installed sump pump 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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

6/23/2020 (Permalink)

A replaced sum pump, with the failed one sitting next to it. A replaced sum pump, with the failed one sitting next to it.
  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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

6/22/2020 (Permalink)

First Aid Kit with bandages, wraps, tweezers, scissors.   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
  • Tweezers
  • Emergency first aid guide.

Lightning Safety

6/1/2020 (Permalink)

Mountains with streaks of lightning flowing across the sky 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.

Hotel's First Impressions

6/1/2020 (Permalink)

A hotel room with a freshly made bed with a tv, desk, and a beautiful view.  A hotel room with a freshly made bed with a tv, desk, and a beautiful view.

When operating a hotel you know that first impressions are everything! What does a guest see when they first walk into your lobby? What do they see (or smell) when they step into their hotel room for the first time? It is very important it is to make sure your guest rooms and facility are clean, and look their very best. By having a facility that looks and smells good, you are well on your way to developing a guest that will come back time after time, and possibly refer their friends and family to stay at your place. SERVPRO of Casper offers a variety of services to help freshen up your hotel, and strengthen your first impression.

There are a wide variety of materials and surfaces in your hotel that we can clean and deodorize. Here’s a list of some of the things we can clean:

  • Carpets
  • Upholstery
  • Area Rugs
  • Drapes
  • Tile
  • HVAC and Duct Cleaning

If your hotel needs some freshening up, have some comfort knowing that SERVPRO of Casper has the training and tools to get your hotel looking and smelling its very best!

Tips on Extinguishing a Grease Fire

6/1/2020 (Permalink)

A pan that caught on fire from grease A pan that caught on fire from grease.

Cooking is the number one cause in home fires and injuries. Annually, there are 160,000 cooking fires caused by ignition of food or cooking materials.

Knowing how to smother a grease fire can help keep you, your family, or friends from getting hurt or having a severe house fire.

If A Grease Fire Starts:

  1. Cover the flames with a metal lid or cookie sheet. Leave the cover on until it has cooled.
  2. Turn off the heat source.
  3. If it’s small and manageable, pour baking soda or salt on it to smother the fire.
  4. As a last resort, spray the fire with a Class B dry chemical fire extinguisher.
  5. Do not try to extinguish the fire with water.
  6. Do not attempt to move the pot or pan outside.

DO NOT use flour, baking powder, or other cooking powders that resemble baking soda or salt. They act differently, and could make the fire worse.

If You Are Unable To Extinguish The Grease Fire:

  1. GET OUT!! You need to leave as soon as possible to prevent injury or loss of life
  2. When you leave, close the door behind you. This will help contain the fire inside.
  3. When you get to a safe distance from the fire, call 911 right away.
  4. Don’t re-enter your home until it has the “all clear” from the fire department.

Tips To Prevent Grease Fires:

  1. Stay in the kitchen while you’re cooking. One of the leading causes of kitchen fires is unattended cooking.
  2. Don’t cook if you’re exhausted or inebriated.
  3. Keep anything that can catch on fire away from your stovetop.
  4. Remove as much moisture from the food, and don’t add frozen foods to hot oil.
  5. Keep an eye on the temperature of your oil. If you see smoke or smell oil, that means your oil is too hot. Turn off the burner and let it cool down.
  6. Heat the oil slowly.
  7. Add food gently, so there is no splashing.
  8. Keep a lid in arms reach in case of a fire.
  9. Always keep children and pets away from the stove while cooking.

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.