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How to Fix Freezing Water Pipes

1/15/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage How to Fix Freezing Water Pipes Frozen water pipes

These tips will help you thaw your freezing pipes — and avoid extensive damage

The best way to deal with freezing pipes is to prevent them in the first place. 

But if the unthinkable does happen, you’ll have to act fast to minimize the damage and cost of repairs.

Related: How to Keep Your Pipes From Exploding This Winter

Why Freezing Pipes Burst

Not all freezing pipes burst, explains Paul Abrams, spokesman for Roto-Rooter. But when one does, it’s because water expands when it freezes, adding considerable pressure on unyielding plumbing pipes. That pressure can cause a tiny leak at a joint or crack on a length of pipe, unleashing the full flow of water inside your home.

Water damage from bursting pipes is one of the most common homeowners insuranceclaims, with an average claim cost of about $5,000.

How to Identify Freezing Pipes

A water line coated in frost (or bulging like a well-fed python) is a good sign that it’s frozen, but not all plumbing pipes are visible.

“If your faucets won’t flow and your toilets won’t refill following a flush, that’s a good sign your pipes are frozen,” says Abrams.

How to Thaw a Frozen Pipe

Before doing anything, shut off the water supply to that section of plumbing (or the entire house if that’s the only option) because the real trouble begins after the thaw. That’s because the frozen water may be acting as a plug, preventing water from spilling out of the cracks in your pipes. When that plug is thawed, water gushes out. It’s a good idea to be ready with a mop, bucket, and towels in case there’s a plumbing leak.

“It’s not the frozen pipes that really get plumbers’ phones ringing,” adds Abrams. “It’s the thawing pipes that leak and spew water after a hard freeze.”

Use a space heater, heat lamp, or hair dryer to thaw the frozen length of pipe. Wrapping freezing pipes with thermostatically controlled heat tape (from $50 to $200, depending on length) is also an effective way to quickly thaw a trouble spot.

Don’t thaw pipes using a propane torch, which presents a fire risk.

What to Do if a Pipe Bursts

If you walk in to discover Old Faithful in your basement, the first thing you should do is shut off the main water supply to minimize flooding. Next, call your plumber.

Immediately dry out by removing as much water as possible using mops, sponges, towels, and a wet/dry vacuum. To minimize mold, mildew, and other moisture-related problems, run a dehumidifier in the space until it’s very dry.

For big messes, call your insurance agent. The good news is that most homeowners insurance covers burst pipes and the resulting water damage.

A Few Words About That Main Water Shut-Off Valve

“Everybody should know where it is,” says Abrams. “The sooner you can shut off the water, the less it will cost you down the road.”

Not only should home owners know where the valve is located, they should have it inspected the next time a plumber is on site. If your home has an older gate-style valve, it might be worth the money ($200 to $400) to have it replaced with a more reliable ball valve.

Gate valves are prone to sticking when you need them the most, so it’s a good idea to exercise them once a year by rotating them back and forth.

Source: https://www.houselogic.com/organize-maintain/diy-repair/freezing-water-pipes/

Happy Valentine's Day

1/9/2018 (Permalink)

General Happy Valentine's Day Happy Valentine's Day from SERVPRO of McMinn, Monroe, and Polk Counties.

We love our customers! Happy Valentine's Day! 

How to Use Space Heaters Safely

1/8/2018 (Permalink)

General How to Use Space Heaters Safely Space heater in the home.

When Jack Frost comes nipping at your nose, it's time to turn up the heat. For many people, this just means raising the temperature on the central heating system's thermostat. In many cases, though, you only need heat in a small area for a brief time, and it makes more sense to use a space heater than to heat the whole house.

The best way to use a space heater to save money is to only heat one room, but leave the rest of your home cooler. That said, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reminds us that space heaters account for 1/3 of all home fires and 4 out of 5 home heating fire deaths, so paying close attention to safety is a must.

Whatever your reasons for using a space heater, here are tips to help you choose, use, and maintain yours so you can stay safely toasty warm, even when the weather outside is frightful.

Safety First

No matter what type or brand of space heater you opt to use, follow these safety tips from the NFPA to reduce the chances of fires and injury:

  • Keep anything that can burn, including bedding, furniture, and curtains at least 3 feet away from a space heater.
  • Have a three-foot "kid-free zone" around space heaters and never use a space heater in a child's bedroom.
  • Run power cords on top of carpet and step over them to avoid abrading the cord. Do not use extension cords.
  • Turn off space heaters when going to bed or leaving a room.
  • Don't use a space heater in a damp or wet area unless it's specifically made for that purpose.
  • Turn space heaters off before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Never put a space heater on a countertop unless it's specifically designed for it.
  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and test monthly.
  • Only purchase "UL Listed" heaters which display the UL mark on their label. This is an independent organization which tests for safety.
  • Don't use gas- or oil-burning space heaters indoors, only outdoors or in spaces open to the outdoors like tents or porches.
  • Read and follow all manufacturer's directions for your space heater.
 

How They Work

 

Space heaters heat you and the room they occupy in two ways: through radiant heat and convection. Radiant heat is like the warmth you feel when sunlight hits your skin. The closer you are to the space heater, the more of the radiant warmth you'll feel. Convection happens when air surrounding the heater is heated. That hot air rises toward the ceiling, pulling surrounding cool air toward the heater, where that air is heated and also begins to rise. Air at the ceiling then begins to cool and fall, until it's drawn toward the heater once again. This is called a convection loop and, while air toward the ceiling will tend to feel warmer, the convective loop will eventually help to heat the whole room. A heater with an integrated fan will naturally spread more of the heat farther from the heater than relying on convection alone, warming a room more evenly and quickly.

Gas- and Oil-Burning Space Heaters

Gas/propane/kerosene space heaters, due to the fact that they produce dangerous combustion gases from burning fuel, should only be used in well-ventilated areas open to the outdoors. This includes areas like tents, screened porches, or new construction homes before the windows and doors are installed. It's best to find a model with a low-oxygen shut-off or oxygen depletion sensor. This safety feature automatically detects when oxygen levels are getting dangerously low in a space, and stops fuel from flowing to the heater, shutting off the flame.

Output for gas- and oil-burning space heaters is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). Smaller heaters may have outputs of 4,000 to 9,000 BTUs, which is enough to heat a 200 square-foot tent. Medium-sized heaters will have outputs of 12,000 to 30,000 BTUs, which will heat a space of 600-800 square feet. Larger, commercial grade propane heaters combine propane heat with a powerful electric fan to heat much larger spaces. These units can reach 150,000 to 200,000 BTUs and can heat spaces over 3,000 square feet.

Caution: While "vent-free" gas heaters for residential use do exist, they are only safe if very carefully monitored and maintained. The safety of vent-free units relies on all of the catalytic and safety elements to be clean and in good working order to function properly at all times. If sensors or elements become dusty or dirty, the performance of a vent free unit can be compromised. Even with a properly maintained unit, burning of gas creates not only dangerous combustion gases, but also a surprising amount of water vapor. Aside from safety issues, excessive use of a vent-free gas heater indoors can result in moisture problems like mold, mildew, and condensation damage of wooden windows. Ideally, all gas heaters for indoor use should have sealed combustion chambers which are properly vented to the outdoors.

Electric Space Heaters

 

For indoor use, electric models come in many shapes and sizes, but all work in a similar way. They pass electricity through a poorly conducting substance, which resists the electricity passing through it, producing heat. That's why this type of heat is also called "resistance heating." Regardless of whether the heater uses wire, ceramic, quartz, or radiator-type elements, they all work essentially the same way. Some will use a highly reflective backing to concentrate radiant heat in one direction. Ceramic and quartz heaters aim to keep the surface of the heater cool to the touch.

The best electric space heaters employ safety features like a tip-over switch, overheat sensor, and touch sensor (which shuts the unit off if the grill is touched, to prevent burns), to make them as safe as possible. A space heater that features a longer, heavy-duty power cord will mean you won't need an extension cord. Under-sized and frayed power cords are a major source of fire danger.

To determine how much heat an electric space heater will produce, look at the output, which is measured in watts. Generally speaking, outputs range from 400 to 1,500 watts. Most modern models will allow you to adjust the output over a given range.

One of the more advantageous features on an electric space heater is a built-in fan. A built-in fan will spread heat over a wider area as it circulates air through the heater and the room. An integrated fan also means that a heater will heat up an area faster. Space heaters with a thermostat will automate the heater's operation, so you don't have to continually turn it on and off manually to keep a space from getting too warm for comfort. Larger units may even include faux wood cabinets and faux flames for a warmer, fireplace-like look.

The Long Run

 

If you've turned to a space heater because your home is constantly cold and drafty in the winter, you may end up spending more money on energy in the long run than necessary. Electric space heaters are inherently inefficient as a heating source. As a matter of fact, the Department of Energy's EnergyStar program doesn't certify space heaters in the EnergyStar program for this reason. A central heat pump or gas furnace, even an older model, is likely much more efficient at heating your home. That's why it's important not to use a space heater as anything more than a temporary bandage for spot heating. Instead, solve the real problem: the poor efficiency of your home's shell. Spend a modest amount of money to insulate and air-seal your home to stop cold air infiltration and retain heat from your existing central heat system. Improving the energy efficiency of your home's shell will save you money and make your home a more comfortable and safer place to live in the long run.

Source: http://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/skills-and-know-how/electrical-and-wiring/tips-on-using-space-heaters

Resolve To Keep Your Home Cleaner This Year

1/1/2018 (Permalink)

Cleaning Resolve To Keep Your Home Cleaner This Year New Years Cleaning Schedule

If you’ve found yourself saying this a time or two, you probably had the best intentions, but not a plan to follow through. As with any resolution, you start out strong, but slowly fizzle out as time goes on.

This cleaning plan will help you distinguish a daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal cleaning schedule, and help you set organization goals. The best part about this plan is that even if you start to veer off course, you can jump back in at any time. The key to your success lies in the calendar. You must write out your cleaning plan for a month on a calendar, laminate it and post it somewhere where you will see it daily.

Daily
There are a few quick, basic chores that need to be done on a daily basis to keep your home looking and feeling clean. I try to do tiny bits of cleaning as I go about my day, so I don’t have to do them later.

Examples of Daily Chores:
Morning: Make bed, put dirty clothes in hamper, wipe down sinks and counters in the bathroom.
Evening: Open mail and toss or organize as needed, wipe down sinks and counters in the kitchen, wash dishes, spot vacuum or sweep high traffic areas (if needed), and pick up toys and extra clutter around the house.

You can refer back to the “A Game Plan for Daily Cleaning” blog, for more tips. http://blog.maids.com/2012/a-game-plan-for-daily-cleaning/

Weekly
Weekly chores usually have a specific day assigned to them. At my house, Saturday is laundry day and Sunday designated for the kitchen. By assigning a specific day to certain chores, you are creating a routine and will be more likely to keep up with your duties..

Examples of Weekly Chores:
Day 1 – Bedrooms: Laundry, including linens
Day 2 – Kitchen: Clean appliances (microwave, toaster, coffee maker), bleach the sink, scrub stovetop and disinfect counters, knobs and handles.
Day 3 – Bathroom: Wipe down mirrors, wash curtains and rugs, deep clean shower walls and tub, bleach the sink, disinfect counter tops and scrub the toilet.
Day 4 – Entire House: Dust furniture, deep vacuum, mop and sweep floors, and wipe down light switches.
Day 5 – Paperwork: Sort out bills, throw away clutter, file important documents in a filing cabinet and take out the trash. Go through extra paperwork and toss or organize as needed.
Day 6 –Organization Day

Monthly
Once a week, you’re going to have to get down and dirty, and really clean something. Most monthly chores tend to get overlooked, which is why it’s great to have a visual reminder.

Examples of Monthly Chores:
Week 1: Clean windows, floorboards, ceiling fans and decorative mirrors.
Week 2: Clean the refrigerator (inside and out).
Week 3: Vacuum furniture, walls and air vents.
Week 4: Clean kids’ toys. Organize play areas, bookshelves and toy compartments. Or, clean office areas. Wipe down keyboard, mouse, and other desk supplies. Organize loose paperwork and files.

Organization Goals:
If you have areas in your home that you desperately want organized, but can’t find the motivation to start a big project, then you’ll need to set an organization goal. Part of developing your goal is planning which days will be devoted to the task.

Example of an organization goal:
I will go through the boxes in the attic.
Frequency: I will spend 2 hours every Friday going through boxes.
Estimated Timeframe: 3 months

Source: https://www.maids.com/blog/new-year-cleaning-resolution/

Merry Christmas

12/25/2017 (Permalink)

General Merry Christmas Merry Christmas

We wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Fire Safety Tips

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Fire Safety Tips Fire Safety

Tips For Fire Safety:

  1. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.

  2. Test smoke alarms every month. If they’re not working, change the batteries.

  3. Talk with all family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.

  4. If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL FOR HELP. Never go back inside for anything or anyone.

    We partner with the American Red Cross and also our local fire departments so fire prevention is VERY important to us! These tips are from REDCROSS.ORG

Here are some tips on WHAT TO DO AFTER A FIRE:

  1. Call 9-1-1. Give first aid where needed; cool and cover burns to reduce the chance of further injury or infection.


  2. Let friends and family know you’re safe.


  3. People and animals that are seriously injured or burned should be transported to professional medical or veterinary help immediately.


  4. Stay out of fire-damaged homes until local fire authorities say it is safe to re-enter.

Caring for Yourself & Loved Ones
  • Pay attention to how you and your loved ones are experiencing and handling stress. Promote emotional recovery by following these tips. Discard any food that has been exposed to heat, smoke or soot.
  • Watch pets closely and keep them under your direct control.
  • Help people who require additional assistance- infants, elderly people, those without transportation, large families who may need additional help in an emergency situation, people with disabilities, and the people who care for them.

Also from REDCROSS.ORG, check it out for more information and make sure you are prepared in case an emergency happens in your Tennessee home!

Source: http://www.SERVPRObirminghamsouth.com/blog/post/32231/fire-smoke-damage-restoration/fire-safety-tips

Winter Storm Safety

12/11/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Winter Storm Safety Winter Storm Safety

Each year, hundreds of Americans are injured or killed by exposure to cold, vehicle accidents on wintry roads, and fires caused by the improper use of heaters. Learn what to do to keep your loved ones safe during blizzards and other winter storms!

Take immediate precautions if you hear these words on the news:

  1. Winter Storm WARNING: Life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours.

  2. Blizzard WARNING: Sustained winds or frequent gusts of 35 miles per hour or greater, plus considerable falling or blowing snow reducing visibility to less than a quarter mile, expected to prevail for three hours or longer.

More winter storm words to listen for:
  • WIND CHILL Temperature: How cold people and animals feel when outside. As wind increases, heat is carried away from your body at a faster rate, driving down your body temperature and making you feel much colder. The wind chill temperature is not the actual temperature but rather how wind and cold feel on exposed skin.
  • Winter Storm OUTLOOK: Winter storm conditions possible in the next two to five days. Stay tuned to local media for updates.
  • Winter Storm WATCH: Winter storm conditions possible within the next 36 to 48 hours. Review your winter storm plans and stay informed about weather conditions.
  • Winter Weather ADVISORY: Winter weather conditions expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous but not life-threatening if you are cautious.
 

Before

 

VIDEO: 3 Easy Steps to Prepare

 

Prepare in Advance

Be sure you’re Red Cross Ready. That means:

How to Prepare for a Winter Storm

Protecting your family
  • Talk with your family about what to do if a winter storm watch or warning is issued. Discussing winter storms ahead of time helps reduce fear, particularly for young children.
  • Have your vehicle winterized before the winter storm season to decrease your chance of being stranded in cold weather.
  • Have a mechanic check your battery, antifreeze, wipers and windshield washer fluid, ignition system, thermostat, lights, flashing hazard lights, exhaust system, heater, brakes, defroster, and oil.
  • Install good winter tires with adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate but some jurisdictions require vehicles to be equipped with chains or snow tires with studs.
  • Keep in your vehicle:

- A windshield scraper and small broom

- A small sack of sand for generating traction under wheels and a set of tire chains or traction mats

- Matches in a waterproof container

- A brightly colored (preferably red) cloth to tie to the antenna

- An emergency supply kit, including warm clothing.

  • Keep your vehicle’s gas tank full so you can leave right away in an emergency and to keep the fuel line from freezing.
  • Keep a supply of non-clumping kitty litter to make walkways and steps less slippery.
  • Service snow removal equipment before the winter storm season and maintain it in good working order.
  • Keep handy a warm coat, gloves or mittens, hat, water-resistant boots, and extra blankets and warm clothing for each member of the household.
Protecting your pets & animals
  • Bring your companion animals indoors.

- Ensure that you have supplies for clean up for your companion animals, particularly if they are used to eliminating outdoors (large plastic bags, paper towels, and extra cat litter).

  • Create a place where your other animals can be comfortable in severe winter weather:

- Horses and livestock should have a shelter where they can be protected from wind, snow, ice, and rain.

- Grazing animals should have access to a protected supply of food and non-frozen water.

  • Be aware of the potential for flooding when snow and ice melt and be sure that your animals have access to high ground that is not impeded by fencing or other barriers. You may not be able to get to them in time to relocate them in the event of flooding.

- Ensure that any outbuildings that house or shelter animals can withstand wind and heavy snow and ice.

- Install snow fences in rural areas to reduce drifting snow on roads and paths, which could block access to homes, barns, and animals' feed and water.

Protecting your home
  • Learn how to protect pipes from freezing
  • Make sure your home heating sources are installed according to local codes and permit requirements and are clean and in working order.
  • Make sure your home is properly insulated. Caulk and weather-strip doors and windowsills to keep cold air out.
  • Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside to provide an extra layer of insulation to keep cold air out.
  • Consider buying emergency heating equipment, such as a wood- or coal-burning stove or an electric or kerosene heater.

- Stoves must be properly vented and in good working order. Dispose of ashes safely. Keep a supply of wood or coal on hand.

- Electric space heaters, either portable or fixed, must be certified by an independent testing laboratory. Plug a heater directly into the wall socket rather than using an extension cord and unplug it when it is not in use.

- Use a kerosene heater only if permitted by law in your area; check with your local fire department. Use only the correct fuel for your unit. Properly ventilate the area. Refuel the unit outdoors only, and only when the unit is cool. Follow all of the manufacturer's instructions.

  • Consider storing sufficient heating fuel. Regular fuel sources may be cut off. Be cautious of fire hazards when storing any type of fuel.
  • If you have a fireplace, consider keeping a supply of firewood or coal. Be sure the fireplace is properly vented and in good working order and that you dispose of ashes safely.
  • Consider installing a portable generator, following our safety tips to avoid home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Consider purchasing flood insurance, if you live in a flood-prone area, to cover possible flood damage that may occur during the spring thaw. Homeowners' policies do not cover damage from floods. Ask your insurance agent about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) if you are at risk. More information on NFIP is available at www.fema.gov/nfip.
Right before a blizzard / winter stormIf you do nothing else:
  • Listen to local area radio, NOAA radio or TV stations for the latest information and updates.
  • Be prepared to evacuate if you lose power or heat and know your routes and destinations. Find a local emergency shelter.
  • Check emergency kit and replenish any items missing or in short supply, especially medications and medical supplies. Keep it nearby.
  • Be sure you have ample heating fuel.
  • If you have alternative heating sources, such as fireplaces, wood- or coal-burning stoves, or space heaters, be sure they are clean and in working order.
  • Check that your fire extinguisher(s) is in good working order, and replace it if necessary.
  • Bring your companion animals inside and ensure that your horses and livestock have blankets if appropriate and unimpeded access to shelter, food, and non-frozen water.
 

During

Stay Safe During a Winter Storm

Staying Safe During a Winter Storm or Blizzard
  • Stay indoors and wear warm clothes. Layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing will keep you warmer than a bulky sweater. If you feel too warm, remove layers to avoid sweating; if you feel chilled, add layers.
  • Listen to a local station on battery-powered radio or television or to NOAA Weather Radio for updated emergency information.
  • Bring your companion animals inside before the storm begins.
  • Move other animals to sheltered areas with a supply of non-frozen water. Most animal deaths in winter storms are caused by dehydration.
  • Eat regularly. Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat.
  • Keep the body replenished with fluids to prevent dehydration. Drink liquids such as warm broth or juice. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine, a stimulant, accelerates the symptoms of hypothermia. Alcohol, such as brandy, is a depressant and hastens the effects of cold on the body. Alcohol also slows circulation and can make you less aware of the effects of cold. Both caffeine and alcohol can cause dehydration.
  • Conserve fuel. Winter storms can last for several days, placing great demand on electric, gas, and other fuel distribution systems (fuel oil, propane, etc.). Lower the thermostat to 65° F (18° C) during the day and to 55° F (13° C) at night. Close off unused rooms, and stuff towels or rags in cracks under the doors. Cover the windows at night.
  • Check on relatives, neighbors, and friends, particularly if they are elderly or if they live alone.
Staying Safe OutsideIf you must go outside, protect yourself from winter storm hazards:
  • Wear layered clothing, mittens or gloves, and a hat. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Mittens or gloves and a hat will prevent the loss of body heat.
  • Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from severely cold air. Avoid taking deep breaths; minimize talking.
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia and frostbite.
  • Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses much of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly away from the body.
  • Stretch before you go out. If you go out to shovel snow, do a few stretching exercises to warm up your body. This will reduce your chances of muscle injury.
  • Avoid overexertion, such as shoveling heavy snow, pushing a vehicle, or walking in deep snow. The strain from the cold and the hard labor may cause a heart attack. Sweating could lead to a chill and hypothermia.
  • Walk carefully on snowy, icy sidewalks. Slips and falls occur frequently in winter weather, resulting in painful and sometimes disabling injuries.
  • If you must go out during a winter storm, use public transportation if possible. About 70 percent of winter deaths related to ice and snow occur in automobiles.
Driving in Winter Conditions
  • Check your vehicle emergency supplies kit and replenish it if necessary.
  • Bring enough of the following for each person:

- Blankets or sleeping bags

- Rain gear, extra sets of dry clothing, mittens, socks, and wool hats

- Newspapers for insulation

- Plastic bags for sanitation

- Canned fruit, nuts, and high energy snacks (Include a non-electric can opener if necessary)

- Warm broth in a thermos and several bottles of water

- Keep a cell phone or two-way radio with you. Make sure the battery is charged.

- Plan to travel during daylight and, if possible, take at least one other person with you.

  • Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your vehicle gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
  • Before leaving, listen to weather reports for your area and the areas you will be passing through, or call the state highway patrol for the latest road conditions.
  • Be on the lookout for sleet, freezing rain, freezing drizzle, and dense fog, which can make driving very hazardous
If You Become Stranded
  • Stay in the vehicle and wait for help. Do not leave the vehicle to search for assistance unless help is visible within 100 yards (91 meters). You can quickly become disoriented and confused in blowing snow.
  • Display a trouble sign to indicate you need help. Hang a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) on the radio antenna and raise the hood after snow stops falling.
  • Run the engine occasionally to keep warm. Turn on the engine for about 10 minutes each hour (or five minutes every half hour). Running the engine for only short periods reduces the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and conserves fuel. Use the heater while the engine is running. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and slightly open a downwind window for ventilation.
  • Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running so that you can be seen.
  • Do light exercises to keep up circulation. Clap your hands and move your arms and legs occasionally. Try not to stay in one position for too long.
  • If more than one person is in the vehicle, take turns sleeping. If you are not awakened periodically to increase body temperature and circulation, you can freeze to death.
  • Huddle together for warmth. Use newspapers, maps, and even the removable floor mats for added insulation. Layering items will help trap more body heat.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Severe cold can cause numbness, making you unaware of possible danger.
  • Drink fluids to avoid dehydration, which can make you more susceptible to the ill effects of cold and to heart attacks.
  • Avoid overexertion. Cold weather puts an added strain on the heart. Shoveling snow or pushing a vehicle can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse.
 

After

After a Winter Storm
  • Continue listening to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio for updated information and instructions. Access to some parts of the community may be limited or roads may be blocked.
  • Help people who require special assistance—infants, elderly people, those without transportation, large families who may need additional help in an emergency situation, people with disabilities, and the people who care for them.
  • Avoid driving and other travel until conditions have improved.
  • Avoid overexertion. Heart attacks from shoveling heavy snow are a leading cause of death during the winter.
  • Check on your animals and ensure that their access to food and water is unimpeded by drifted snow, ice, or other obstacles.
  • If you are using a portable generator, take precautions against carbon monoxide poisoning, electrocution and fire.
Identifying & Treating Frostbite and Hypothermia

Frostbite and hypothermia are cold-related emergencies that may quickly become life or limb threatening.

 

Take these steps to avoid frostbite and hypothermia:

  • Be aware of the wind chill. Dress appropriately and avoid staying in the cold too long. Wear a hat and gloves when appropriate with layers of clothing. Avoid unnecessary exposure of any part of the body to the cold.
  • Drink plenty of warm fluids or warm water but avoid caffeine and alcohol. Stay active to maintain body heat.
  • Take frequent breaks from the cold.
  • Get out of the cold immediately if the signals of hypothermia or frostbite appear.
Frostbite

Frostbite is the freezing of a specific body part such as fingers, toes, the nose or earlobes.

 

Signs of frostbite:

  • Lack of feeling in the affected area
  • Skin that appears waxy, is cold to the touch, or is discolored (flushed, white or gray, yellow or blue)

 

What to do for frostbite:

1. Move the person to a warm place

2. Handle the area gently; never rub the affected area

3. Warm gently by soaking the affected area in warm water (100–105 degrees F) until it appears red and feels warm

4. Loosely bandage the area with dry, sterile dressings

5. If the person’s fingers or toes are frostbitten, place dry, sterile gauze between them to keep them separated

6. Avoid breaking any blisters

7. Do not allow the affected area to refreeze

8. Seek professional medical care as soon as possible

Hypothermia

Hypothermia is the cooling of the body caused by the failure of the body’s warming system. The goals of first aid are to restore normal body temperature and to care for any conditions while waiting for EMS personnel.

 

Signs of hypothermia:

  • Shivering
  • Numbness or weakness
  • Glassy stare
  • Apathy or impaired judgment
  • Loss of consciousness

 

What to do for hypothermia:

1. CALL 9-1-1 or the local emergency number

2. Gently move the person to a warm place

3. Monitor breathing and circulation

4. Give rescue breathing and CPR if needed

5. Remove any wet clothing and dry the person

6. Warm the person slowly by wrapping in blankets or by putting dry clothing on the person.

  • Hot water bottles and chemical hot packs may be used when first wrapped in a towel or blanket before applying. Do not warm the person too quickly, such as by immersing him or her in warm water.
  • Warm the core first (trunk, abdomen), not the extremities (hands, feet).
Recovering After a Winter Storm

Once you are physically safe, take time to ensure your family’s emotional and financial well-being.

Source: http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/winter-storm#About

Restoration specialist SERVPRO cautions homeowners to take common sense precautions throughout the holiday season

12/4/2017 (Permalink)

General Restoration specialist SERVPRO cautions homeowners to take common sense precautions throughout the holiday season Have a safe holiday season with SERVPRO.

Most homeowners are aware holiday decorations should be used with care. Each year, statistics tell the story of the fire danger resulting from frayed wires, proximity to heat sources, and lights left on unattended. But disaster recovery specialist SERVPRO wants homeowners to know that the danger of fire caused by holiday decorating, and by Christmas trees specifically, actually increases after the holiday. Citing research from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the fire and water damage experts at SERVPRO say while four out of five Christmas tree fires happen in December and January, the 10 days with the highest average number of fires were all after Christmas Day.

"For many families, preparing for the holiday season is a very busy time," said Sue Steen, SERVPRO Industries, Inc. chief executive officer. "Come December 26, it’s tempting to relax and stop watering the Christmas tree, replacing bulbs in outdoor lights and tucking indoor garlands back into place. Dry greens, open sockets and decorations that slip dangerously close to light sockets or fireplaces can all increase the risk of fire in the days after the Christmas holiday."

The American Christmas Tree Association quotes Nielsen research that says Americans purchased 21.6 million live Christmas trees in 2011. That number is significant because, according to the NFPA, Christmas trees remain the number one culprit in holiday fires. Forty-three percent of Christmas tree fires happen in December, but January is close behind, claiming 39 percent—numbers that demonstrate the danger of allowing Christmas trees to dry out during and after the holiday season. Tragically, Christmas tree fires are particularly deadly, claiming on average one life in every 40 fires compared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home fires.

Steen encourages homeowners who choose to decorate with live Christmas trees to be diligent about watering their trees both before and after the holidays. "When a Christmas tree dries out, it takes only a single spark from the fireplace, a draft that blows a candle flame too near, or a carelessly held cigarette to turn your holiday celebration into a tragedy," says Steen . "Beyond the damage from the fire itself, a Christmas tree fire, like any fire, can result in extensive smoke and water damage throughout your home, and can even be deadly."

As the holiday season moves into full swing, SERVPRO reminds homeowners to take common sense precautions based on a clear understanding of the potential danger to help prevent holiday traditions from turning into a holiday nightmare. For more fire prevention tips and information about fire and water damage restoration services, please visit www.SERVPRO.com.

Source: https://www.SERVPRO.com/141205

Post Thanksgiving Dinner: How To Clean Your Over Naturally

11/27/2017 (Permalink)

Cleaning Post Thanksgiving Dinner: How To Clean Your Over Naturally Clean your oven naturally.

Cleaning your oven doesn’t require harsh chemicals or a self-cleaning oven. You can get a naturally clean oven using just a few household ingredients.

There is a common misconception that getting your oven clean requires the use of harsh chemicals and a lot of time. The truth is, you only need a few ingredients that you already have in your kitchen pantry to make a super effective oven cleaning paste that works wonders on the inside of an oven.

INGREDIENTS FOR NATURAL OVEN CLEANER PASTE

1 Cup of Baking Soda 

2 Tablespoons of Castile Soap 

15 Drops of Orange Essential Oil 

2 Tablespoons of Water

To start, spray the entire inside of the oven and the oven door down with distilled white vinegar to moisten the area and get it ready for scrubbing.

Add some of the Oven Cleaner Paste to a scrub sponge.

Scrub the inside of the entire oven and door with the oven cleaner paste.

The paste will work with the scrub sponge to remove any burned on foods or spills. If you have tough to remove spots, let some of the paste sit on the spot for 10 minutes, then come back and scrub the spot away.

Use a cloth or dish rag to remove all of the dirty paste, then wipe the inside of your oven down with warm water.

Sit back and admire your sparkling clean oven!

Source: https://www.mom4real.com/how-to-naturally-clean-oven/

Happy Thanksgiving!

11/23/2017 (Permalink)

Community Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Thanksgiving!

We're thankful for wonderful clients that keep us rockin' and rollin' all year. 

From all of us at SERVPRO of McMinn, Monroe, and Polk Counties, we wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!