Keeping Your Pets Safe in a Home Fire
While fires are scary to think about, it is necessary to take the right steps in prevention and preparation to ensure your furry friend is safe.
While it is every pet owner's nightmare to have their animal trapped in a fire, unfortunately these circumstances do occur. According to the National Fire Protection Association, pets and other animals are responsible for about 750 fires in the home each year, including involving cooking equipment, fireplaces, chimneys, space heaters, lamps, bulbs, electrical wiring, and candles. Because there are many times when pets are left in the house alone, monitoring and preventing potential fire hazards in your home could save your pets life.
As a responsible and loving pet parent, it is important to understand these circumstances and utilize the following steps to prevent a tragedy.
Prevention for Pet Fires
While it is not always possible, hands down the best way to protect your pet from a fire is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Your pet should never be unattended in any areas that contain an open flame, like fireplaces, lit candles, or the kitchen. In fact, in a pet household, a flameless candle is often in much safer alternative to an open flame. Even if the tail of an animal knocks it over, it will be safe from preventing any harm.
Mitigate Hazards in the Kitchen
As the most common place for open flame to occur in the home, it is absolutely crucial 2 fireproof your kitchen. One of the biggest ways to do this is to use stove knob covers that prevents your pets from accidentally turning on the burners of your stove top. If you do not have knob covers, you can also just remove the knobs when you are not home to prevent any curious pets from climbing in the kitchen and starting a fire.
Ensure First Responders Know You Have a Pet
Having a pet alert decal in your front window alerts firefighters that there is an animal in the home they need to protect. Especially if you are not home when the fire occurs, this window decal will tell the firefighters how many pets are inside of the home. If you crate your animal while away, it is a good idea to keep the crate close to the front door in case of an emergency.
Consider a Monitored Smoke Alarm
While you obviously need to have a working smoke detector in your home, some pet owners take it a step further by investing in a monitored smoke alarm. This monitored smoke alarm can alert the fire department quicker, which is crucial if your pet is still inside the home.
While this tragedy is often scary to think about, it is necessary to take the right steps in prevention and preparation to ensure your furry friend is safe in a fire. As always, SERVPRO of Pompano Beach is here for you should a fire occur in your home or business. Our fire damage experts are on call and ready to help immediately in the event of an emergency.
Facts about Mold Growth in South Florida's Humidity
The key to preventing mold growth is reducing and controlling the amount of water and moisture in your home.
In a place with as much humidity as South Florida, it is inevitable for mold to exist. Because it is very possible to be exposed to mold in South Florida, it is very smart to be properly educated on the topic. Here are some of the most common questions and fast facts about mold:
What is mold?
Mold is a type of fungi that is naturally produced both inside and outside. As a fungus, mold helps decompose materials that are already dead such as soil, plants, food, along with other items found in nature. Through their “spores”, mold can easily spread through the air and multiply in other places. Mold thrives in humid environments, which is why it is commonly found indoors in places like basements and showers.
How does mold grow?
As mentioned above, humid environments provide a place for mold to flourish. In order to grow and multiply, mold only needs three things: nutrients, a surface to grow on, and moisture. Oftentimes, building materials such as wood and sheetrock provide the nutrients that are required for mold to grow. As long as there is enough moisture, there is a potential chance of mold.
What are some of the common causes of mold?
Anywhere that brings moisture, is a place that can cause mold. Some examples of this include:
- Outside flooding (storms, overflowing lakes, streams, etc.)
- Indoor flooding (sinks, tubs, toilets, sewage systems, etc.)
- Poor ventilation in the kitchen or bathroom from steam
- Plumbing leaks or broken/clogged piped
- Buildup of condensation on metal pipes, concreate surfaces, tiles, or even brick
- Wet and damp clothing
- Leaking air-conditioning system
How can I tell if there is mold growth in my home?
Usually, any indoor mode growth can be seen or smelled. Some of the most common characteristics of mold include:
- Visible growth that may have a cotton, velvet, rough, or leathery texture and colors such as white, gray, black, brown, yellow, or green
- An odor that smells earthy or musty
- Concentrated around signs of water damage (leaks, standing water, water stains, condensation, etc.)
Additionally, the Florida Department of Health does not encourage mold testing or sampling. Testing for mold can be a very expensive endeavor and is often not worth it if it's very clear that a problem already exists. According to their rule, you should investigate a mold problem not test it.
How can I prevent mold growth?
The key to preventing mold growth is reducing and controlling the amount of water and moisture in your home. To do this, you should ensure to clean up any spills as soon as possible, dry out any wet building materials or carpets, use a dehumidifier or air conditioning system to keep the humidity level below 60%, and avoid any carpeting in the bathrooms or basements.
In the Aftermath of Hurricane Ida, We are Here to Help
At SERVPRO of Pompano Beach, we wasted no time in taking action as soon as the storm passed.
Louisiana, and New Orleans specifically, is still reeling from Hurricane Ida. As the second major hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, coastal residents throughout the southeast region of the United States have been on high alert. Ida’s path in Louisiana was destructive, leaving over 1 million people without power. In addition, many areas suffered from serious flooding as well as infrastructural damage throughout the state. Early reports are showing that the storm has cost $50 billion and counting, which already puts Hurricane Ida as the 6th costliest storm on record.
At SERVPRO of Pompano Beach, we wasted no time in taking action as soon as the storm passed. We were one of the first ones on site, working diligently to help with any and all storm damage and water removal. When disasters like this strike, we take pride in our ability to mobilize quickly and efficiently to ensure that we are as helpful as possible in the shortest amount of time.
Our SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team has the resources, skills, and experience to make a big difference right away. As such, we make it our business to be on-site in the aftermath of any major storm in Florida and beyond. The SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team can provide help for those dealing with a tornado, hurricane, blizzard or flood. The SERVPRO System has a network of strategically positioned storm teams on standby should a disaster strike near you. Available 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, we are prepared for the unpredictable.
Contact our Pompano Beach office today to learn more about our storm damage team.
Preventing Water Damage in Your Kitchen
Besides being costly to repair, dealing with water damage can disrupt your lives, especially if the water damage is in the kitchen.
Many would say that the kitchen is the most important room in the home. From the center of activity amongst family and friends to the place where food and memories are made, a home’s kitchen is sacred. As such, protecting your kitchen from water damage is extremely important. The problem with water damage in the kitchen is that a lot of issue start small and go undetected for quite some time. In South Florida, homeowners need to be even more aware of water damage, as weather and climate can contribute even further to potential issues.
Some water damage in the kitchen is obvious, such as a major leak coming from the sink or dishwasher. Other kitchen water damage, however, is far more difficult to detect, such as water damage behind the refrigerator. The biggest areas for concern in the kitchen include:
The best defense against kitchen water damage is a good offense. This means being proactive in preventing water damage from forming altogether.
Tips To Prevent Kitchen Water Damage
While some leaks, malfunctions, and bad luck are inevitable, there are certainly things that can be done to alleviate the risk of water damage in your kitchen. Some tips may seem obvious, but when people get into their routines they often forget to do even the most basic things to keep their homes in the best shape possible. The following tips are important for all homeowners to read and apply to keep their kitchens free from water damage:
- Have your dishwasher regularly serviced
- Check your garbage disposal for leaks once a month
- Ensure that the refrigerator’s water supply line is not bent in any way
- Pay attention to any deteriorated or missing caulk around the sink
- Avoid putting grease or oils down the drain as they are known to lead to sewer backups
- Pay attention to any funky smells
- Check behind any movable appliances like the fridge and even the stove
- Check the base of the dishwasher for excess water
- Check the grouting around the kitchen countertops, particularly near the sink area
Water damage is something that every homeowner wants to avoid. Besides being costly to repair, dealing with water damage can disrupt your lives, especially if the water damage is in the kitchen. With this in mind, it is critical that you take the above tips and apply them to your own kitchen.
At SERPVRO of Pompano Beach, we have many years of experience in repairing and restoring kitchens following water damage. We know how much of a hassle water damage in the kitchen can be, so we work fast and efficiently to tackle the problem right away. Our 24/7 water damage restoration experts are available to help you today. Call our office at (954) 970-4942 to get water damage help now.
Surviving Slow Season as a Small Business Owner
Slow seasons provide a variety of opportunities for small business owners.
The summer season is often a challenge for small business owners in South Florida. As snowbirds head north, the reduction in foot traffic really hurts companies’ ability to draw new customers through the door. Beyond less populated areas, the pandemic has also put a big hiccup in small business owners’ plans for growth. While things like seasonal traveling and an unexpected pandemic are difficult to navigate and impossible to predict, keeping the foot on the gas for new business is critical to surviving. Far too many business owners fail to plan for the worst and are thus stuck in a precarious position during the slow season.
Slow seasons provide a variety of opportunities for small business owners. Remaining open to new ideas, prospective partnerships, and creative strategy is essential for small business owners to remain competitive during rough patches in sales. Below we go over some useful tactics that have worked for small business owners to keep numbers up during a slow season.
Improving Small Business Profit Opportunity During Slow Months
Anticipating slow months means hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. Keeping your staff motivated during slower months can be difficult, but combining creativity with incentive serves as a great method of encouragement. When there is a lull in business, the best leaders turn inward and show (by example) how to thrive in challenging times. The following are some great ideas for maintaining a steady flow of business during any kind of slow season:
- Adjust marketing plans to account for slow months – offering discounts on popular items
- Host a special event in your store
- Utilize social media to entice new business and encourage repeat customers
- Promote your store’s safety policies in relation to COVID preparedness
- Consider sponsoring an event in the local community
- Create an incentive program for your staff where the highest sellers are eligible for an additional day off
- Establish a loyalty program for past customers and promote it via social media and email marketing
- Partner with another likeminded local business and cross-promote each other’s products/services
- Be a true leader – get to the store early and leave late, be motivational, and keep spirits high
- Use downtime to pinpoint internal inefficiencies and plan future marketing strategy
Slow seasons do not have to be scary for small business owners. Use this time to revamp current practices, up your customer service game, and motivate your employees to be their best at all times. Things like promotional events and employee sales incentives will go a long way in combating the dreaded slow season. As a business owner, it is important to plan ahead and prepare your business and its staff to not only survive, but thrive during slow months.
Fire Safety Tips for Restaurant Owners
Accidents happen, but the most prepared restaurant owners are best able to protect their staff and their property.
Restaurant kitchens are filled with open flames, electrical equipment, and fast-moving employees, which unfortunately can all serve as fire hazards. In fact, the National Fire Data Center reports that the United States suffers from approximately $165 million in damages every year, with the cost of each fire ranging from an average of $1,000 to $60,000, depending on the severity. More than just property damage, fires threaten the safety of your employees, customers, and profitability of your business as a whole.
Even though accidents happen, you want to make sure that you and your team are best suited to prevent a disaster before it occurs and minimize any possibility of harm.
Here are some of the top fire safety tips for restaurant owners:
Know The Risks of Your Facility
You should take time to inspect any unique risks or hazards in your facility. This includes taking note of potentially flammable liquids, electrical equipment, or combustible materials. When inspecting your property, make sure that all fire safety equipment, like fire extinguishers, are up to date and in the correct place.
Regularly Inspect Fire Extinguishers and Equipment
For fire extinguishers, you should check their functionality at least once a month and up to fire code standards. It is important to test fire alarms and make sure they are functioning properly to alert your staff and customers in case of an emergency. This also includes inspecting your exit signs and emergency lights to ensure they work if the power is cut off. Making sure all of these measures are functioning properly can ensure the safety of everyone.
Conduct Staff Training
Around 75% of Americans have never actually operated a fire extinguisher. For fire safety, all of your staff should go through hands-on training, so they know what to do in an emergency. In some cases, local fire departments may be willing to conduct fire safety training with your team. Your staff should also be aware of basic kitchen fire safety tips such as never throw water on a grease fire, clean up grease regularly, and the proper storage of flammable liquids.
Install a Fire Suppression System in the Kitchen
Due to the fact that over half of restaurant fires occur as a result of mishandling of equipment, a fire suppression system is necessary to control these accidents. A fire suppression system is used to control or extinguish fires and release clean gases to put out a fire when a hazard is detected. Your fire suppression systems should be inspected and maintained by a professional at least twice a year. These automatic systems can be a literal life saver during an emergency.
At SERVPRO of Pompano Beach, we have decades of experience in fire damage repair and restoration. When disaster strikes, we are the local company that you can count on.
Types of Biohazard Scenarios Requiring Cleanup
A biohazard cleaning consists of a team with regulated plan and procedures, dressed in personal protective equipment, and an intense training process
What is a Biohazard?
A biohazard, short for a biological hazard, is just any biological material that poses a risk or threat to human or animal health. Some examples of biohazards include mold, human bodily fluids, animal waste, industrial chemicals and much more. These dangerous biological materials may contain deathly viruses, bacteria, and parasites which can potentially lead to diseases such as tuberculosis, E coli, Lyme disease, and salmonella.
What is a Biohazard clean up?
Because these wastes can present serious harm to human health, it is important to be aware of which biohazard situations require professional cleaning. A biohazard cleaning consists of a team with regulated plan and procedures, dressed in personal protective equipment, and an intense training process to keep professional safe.
Here are some of the most common biohazard scenarios that require a cleanup:
Presence of blood/other bodily fluids:
In the unfortunate case of suicide, homicide, or a deathly incident, often a biohazards cleanup is required. However, for small accidents, like bleeding from accidentally cutting your finger while cooking, a biohazard cleanup is not required. If the pool of blood is larger than a typically dinner plate, a professional is needed to take care of the cleaning. In addition to the physical dangers of biohazard waste, there are also intense emotional and psychological consequences that may come with viewing an unattended death. In this case, it is important to let a professional take control of the situation.
When dealing with an intense hoarding situation, you likely have no idea what lies beneath the surface. An intense cleanup from hoarding should not be taken lightly, as human waste, dead animals, bug infestations, and mold are likely discovered in these situations and should be treated with immense professional biohazard care.
Any type of animal carcass or feces are a spot where harmful pathogens and other viral organisms can thrive. Because this animal waste may contain dangerous biological material and can present a serious health hazard, it is important to remove it safely.
Industrial and workplace accidents (chemical spills)
While most labs and locations dealing with chemicals have protocols in place to deal with minor spills, for any major industrial or workplace chemical spill, biohazard professionals should be contacted to clean up.
Criminal activity/crime scene cleanup (meth labs, tear gas residue)
You should never attempt to clean up a site where chemical materials have been discovered, as chemicals used in illegal drugs, such as meth production, can contain serious health risks. Let professional handle the biohazard clean up!
At SERVPRO of Pompano Beach, we have years of experience in biohazard cleanups. Our biohazard team is trained to safely remove biohazards and dispose of them according to OSHA and health regulations. Contact us today for all of your biohazard cleanup and restoration needs.
Keeping Your Backyard Free from Storm Damage
Properly preparing your backyard for a storm is critical, as failing to do so can actually put your home in additional danger of storm damage.
Floridians know all too well how much of an impact storm damage can have during the summer months. While hurricane season can be unpredictable, summer showers are inevitable. This means that homeowners can expect heavy rainstorms frequently throughout the season. The severity of hurricanes and rainstorms ranges significantly, but it is important to take steps to prepare regardless of what size storm is expected. In fact, many homeowners find comfort in preparing for the worst, knowing that their home is protected no matter what.
When people think about hurricane or storm preparation, they typical consider to do list items like putting up hurricane shutters and making a run to the grocery store for essentials. But what about the backyard? Properly preparing your backyard for a storm is critical, as failing to do so can actually put your home in additional danger of storm damage. When a thunderstorm is coming, it is important to get into the habit of accounting for your backyard’s needs. The following advice is highly recommended for keeping your backyard free from storm damage:
Be Aware of Drainage Areas
Gutters, downspouts, and any storm drainage areas are some of the most overlooked areas of storm prep, but they are extremely significant. In the event of heavy rains or even flooding, drainage areas should be cleared of any debris to ensure that water runoff has a place to go.
Clean Up Shrubs and Trees
Inspect all of your home’s shrubs and trees to ensure that there is no rotting or damage on the branches or roots. Remove any dead branches, large palm seeds, or coconuts, as all of these things can quickly become hazards during heavy wind and rain.
Secure All Outdoor Items
Storm preparation is not simply taking in lawn chairs, it must also include any and all items that can serve as flying hazards during a big storm. From pool toys to patio furniture and from flower pots to tools, items left outside can create projectiles that can break windows, damage property, or even make their way to a neighbor’s property.
Plant Trees Strategically
Florida homeowners must consider the type of trees that they plan to plant in their backyards. A research team from the University of Florida recommends that shallow rooted trees not be planted in soft soil, as they can easily topple over during high winds. Trees that are not properly secured can cause a ton of storm damage to the backyard.
As we find ourselves in the heart of hurricane season, daily afternoon showers can make us numb to the real threat of a storm. While we have been lucky thus far, it is important for South Florida homeowners to take the above pieces of advice into considerations. As always, SERVPRO of Pompano Beach is dedicated to providing unmatched storm damage repair and restoration. We take pride in serving the Pompano Beach, Lighthouse Point, Coconut Creek, and Hillsboro Beach areas. Call our storm damage restoration team today if your home has sustained any water damage.
Detecting Water Damage Behind Your Walls
If you notice any of these signs in your home, you should seek the help of a professional to examine and fix the potential water damage or mold damage
While there are many obvious causes of water damage, such as floods and burst pipes, there are other potential culprits, such as water leaks behind walls, that can cause significant amount of damage before a homeowner notice.
The excess moisture from hidden water leaks can be absorbed by the flooring, drywall, ceilings, and even wooden support beams which can cause serious structural damage to your home. Additionally, water leaks can lead to mold growth in the walls of your home, and if left unaddressed, can damage your home long before the leak is even discovered. The longer the problem goes undetected, the harder it will be to repair.
In order to prevent these mishaps, it is crucial that homeowners are aware of how to detect water damage behind your walls.
How To Detect Water Damage Behind Walls
If water is leaking behind the wall, eventually there will be a stain or discoloration on the surface. The shape of this stain is most likely going to be irregular. If the strain grows in size, it is often a sign that there is a hidden plumbing leak.
Visible Mold Growth
If there is visible mold growth on the outside of your wall, that is a clear sign that your wall has a water leak. This often will appear as a dense cluster of black or brown dots and can cause health effects. Remember, mold can still be growing behind your wall even if you don’t see it.
If you can’t see any mold, you may be able to smell it. Be on alert for a humid or musty odors, that may be as a result of a water leak that was never able to dry fully. Mold growth also gives off a pungent musty odor. If there are any suspicious smells, be sure to have a water damage professional take a look.
Peeling and/or Bubbling Paint and Wallpaper
A telltale sign of water damage behind walls is a change in texture. Walls in front of a water leak will often form visible bubbles and the paint will be twisted or distorted, forming rips or bubble-like shapes.
If sheetrock absorbs too much water, it can become easily malleable. In this case, often times the wall will appear bent or curved. If any warping is detected, it is a clear sign of water damage behind your walls.
Buckled ceilings and floors
If you notice any space between the floor or ceiling, it can mean that the wall is full of moisture. Any signs of buckling floors or celling can usually lead to a problem.
If you notice any of these signs in your home, you should seek the help of a professional to examine and fix the potential water damage or mold damage. At SERVPRO of Pompano Beach, our water damage restoration team has years of experience in quick and efficient repair. Contact us today for any and all of your water damage repair and mold removal needs.
Preparing For Commercial Storm Damage In Pompano Beach
SERVPRO of Pompano Beach (954) 970-4942
Intense storms can cause big problems for commercial property owners. There are some things you can do for your business in advance. By taking certain precautions, managers could minimize damage and help keep people and property safe.
Before a major system strikes, put together an emergency binder, thinking about storm damage. In it, keep records of insurance information and various suppliers. If evacuation must occur or the building is closed, take the folder with you to ensure that it is readily available and not harmed.
Have the following paperwork inside:
Lease or mortgage agreements
You should have information for a reputable water restoration team that can assess the property before you reopen, checking for damage and the need for repairs. SERVPRO of Pompano Beach (954) 970-4942.
Prepare the Facilities
As the winter storm picks up, spend time checking the place for potential issues. Have someone evaluate the roof, looking for loose shingles or peeling sides. You want to close up any possible cracks or holes, decreasing the chance of leaks or water stains. Don't forget to cut back trees or branches. They can be hazards that are capable of breaking through roofs or windows. The gutters should also be clear. Finally, go inside and make sure the generator is in proper working condition.
Try your best to emphasize safety. Have an annual meeting discussing employee expectations and emergency procedures. Remind everyone to avoid windows and doorways. Try to have a location designated for bad weather, preferably a spot with no glass and lots of space. Inside, provide food, drinks and an emergency kit. Should a pipe break, have a protocol in place. Workers should know how to shut off the main lines and who to call.
Your company is valuable, and so are your employees, don't underestimate the power of a winter storm. Spend time now gathering paperwork and devising plans.
If you have storm damage to your commercial property, don't hesitate to call restoration experts, SERVPRO of Pompano Beach (954) 970-4942.