Will Extension Cords Cause Damage or Injury At Your Business?
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that each year, about 4,000 injuries associated with electric extension cords are treated in hospital emergency rooms. About half of the injuries involve fractures, lacerations, contusions or sprains from people tripping over extension cords. CPSC also estimates that about 3,300 residential fires originate in extension cords each year, killing 50 people and injuring about 270 others. The most frequent causes of such fires are short circuits, overloading, damage and/or misuse of extension cords. The Do's and Don'ts of using an extension cords. Do's
- Use extension cords only when necessary and only on a temporary basis.
- Use extension cords that are the correct size or rating for the equipment in use. The diameter of the extension cord should be the same or greater than the cord of the equipment in use.
- Keep electrical cords away from areas where they may be pinched and areas where they may pose a tripping or fire hazard (e.g., doorways, walkways, under carpet, etc.).
- Always inspect the cord prior to use to ensure the insulation is not cut or damaged, exposed conducting wires can put you at risk for fire, burns and electrical shock. Discard damaged cords, cords that become hot, or cords with exposed wiring.
- Do not use extension cords in place of permanent wiring.
- Never unplug an extension cord by pulling on the cord; pull on the plug.
- Do not remove the prongs of an electrical plug. If plug prongs are missing, loose, or bent, replace the entire plug.
- Do not use an adapter or extension cord to defeat a standard grounding device. (e.g., only place three-prong plugs in three-prong outlets; do not alter them to fit in a two-prong outlet.)
- Do not run cords above ceiling tiles or through walls.
Extended exposure to outdoor conditions can cause cords to deteriorate, so whether they're rated for indoors or outdoors, store all extension cords inside when they’re not in use. Regardless of whether or not it's being used, as long as a power extension cord is plugged into an outlet, it's conducting electricity. To avoid potential safety hazards, always remember to unplug extension cords when they're not in use!
Protect Your Business From Frozen Pipes!
Beware the unexpected cold snap or deep freeze! Frozen water pipes are a serious risk during very cold winter weather. When water freezes in a pipe it expands and can exert pressure over 2,000 pounds per square inch. This pressure is enough to rupture most any pipe filled with water which provides no place for the ice to expand. When the pipe bursts, it will spill several hundred gallons of water per hour, and that equates to thousands of dollars of damage to your home. Pipes are most susceptible to freezing when located:
- In an outside wall
- Under a sink on an outside wall
- In an unheated crawlspace
Frozen But Not Burst? Then It's Time to Thaw! Pipe Thawing PreparationWhen pipes are frozen turning on the faucet may yield no water, or it will flow out in a trickle. As soon as you realize a pipe is frozen, you need to take immediate action.
- Shut off the water to the faucet locally or at the water main.
- Open the faucet that is supplied by the frozen pipe even if you do not yet know where it is frozen.
- Identify the frozen water supply pipe and find the location of the blockage
- Follow the pipe back from the faucet to where it runs through cold areas such as an exterior wall, unheated crawl space or in some cases an unheated basement if the pipe is near an outside wall.
- Often the frozen area of the pipe will be frosted or have ice on it. If the situation is getting critical, the pipe may be slightly bulged or look slightly fissured.
- When you find that the frozen (but yet un-burst) pipe serving the faucet is behind a wall or ceiling, you've got a challenge on your hands. You have three choices:
1. Turn up the heat in the building and wait. 2. Tear out the wall or ceiling section to get at the frozen pipe. 3. Use an infrared lamp to heat the wall section in front of the pipe. Techniques for Thawing an Exposed Frozen Pipe
- Hair Dryer
- Heat Lamp
- Small Portable Heater
- Electric Pipe Heat Tape
Preventing Frozen Pipes
- Leave the faucet drip slightly as a trickle. The dripping water will keep the water in the pipe from freezing.
- Open cabinet and let room air circulate.
- Open cabinet and place a small portable heater near or in it to heat the pipes
- Wrap the problem pipe with electrical heat tape.
- Insulate the problem pipes with foam insulation wrap, especially those that run through unheated spaces.
- Temper the currently unheated crawlspace by placing a heater in the crawlspace. You just need to elevate the crawlspace temperature to modestly above freezing, about 40°F.
Everything You Need To Know About MOLD!
Due to all the moisture that we have had in Southeast Nebraska, mold could be growing in your home!
What are molds and where do they grow?
Molds, like most fungi, break down plant and animal matter in the environment. They can grow almost anywhere there is moisture and organic material such as in soil, on foods and plants, and in people's homes. To reproduce, molds release spores, which can spread through air, water, or on animals.
What should I do to prevent mold growth in my home?
The key to preventing mold growth is to identify and control moisture and water problems. Mold spores are everywhere, including your home, and they can grow on any surface that has sufficient moisture.
Common sources of moisture are:
- Roof leaks
- Indoor plumbing leaks
- Outdoor drainage problems
- Damp basements and crawl spaces
- Steam from the bathroom or kitchen
- Condensation on cool surfaces
- Wet clothes drying inside the home
- A clothes dryer venting indoors
- Poor or improper ventilation of heating and cooking appliances
How do I know if I have a mold problem?
You can usually see or smell a mold problem. Mold can appear as slightly fuzzy, discolored, or slimy patches that increase in size as they grow. Most molds produce musty odors that are the first indication of a problem. Mold can grow anywhere there is adequate moisture or a water problem. The best way to find mold is to look for signs of mold growth, water staining, warping, or to follow your nose to the source of the odor. It may be necessary to look behind and underneath surfaces, such as carpets, wallpaper, cabinets, and walls. There are some areas of the home that are always susceptible to mold growth and should be part of routine cleaning to control mold growth. These are:
- Bathrooms especially shower stalls, bathroom tiles, and shower curtains
- Window moldings
- The seal on the refrigerator door
- Surfaces on and around air conditioners
How do I get rid of mold in my home?
PLEASE READ AND FOLLOW ALL LABEL INSTRUCTIONS FOR ANY CLEANING PRODUCTS
- The first step to mold cleanup is to control the moisture problem. The source of the water or dampness must be identified and corrected.
- Porous materials with extensive mold growth should be discarded (e.g., drywall, carpeting, paper, and ceiling tiles).
- All wet materials that can't be cleaned and dried thoroughly, should be discarded.
- Hard surfaces that are not decayed (rotten) can be cleaned. Small areas can be cleaned with detergent and water. An experienced remediation company should do the work if it is a large (greater than 10 square feet) mold problem or if you are highly sensitive to mold. Rubber gloves and an N95 dust mask are recommended for jobs other than routine cleaning.
- In areas where it is impractical to eliminate the moisture source, detergemt can be used to keep mold growth under control. In areas that can be kept dry, cleaning should not be necessary, as mold cannot grow in the absence of moisture. When using any cleaner, ensure that enough fresh air is available to prevent eye, nose, or throat irritation.
- Inspect the area for signs of moisture and new mold growth. These may indicate the need for further repairs or material removal. High moisture areas like bathrooms need extra attention to prevent excessive moisture and water problems from causing mold growth.
More information is available at epa.gov/mold
Protect Your HVAC Unit From Mold Growth
Across Seward, NE, we have experienced consistently high heat and humidity levels. This has wreaked havoc on the propensity of air handlers to keep up with customers’ demands. While a little dampness on a unit or a duct may sound harmless, the resulting effects on your insulation, drywall, and other building materials may be detrimental. Often times these issues go unnoticed and when they are discovered, mold growth is usually an issue. Please follow a few of these easy rules to make sure that you don’t end up with a larger problem.
- Inspect HVAC units often. We aren’t just talking about taking a peak up at your vents every once in a while, take a ladder and go inspect your return and handler frequently. Note any discoloration, corrosion or standing water. Look for water staining around the area that may have been caused by condensation or faulty components. Also make sure the condensation drain line is open and flowing into a drain that is working.
- Get Your AC Unit Serviced. Once a year, your unit should be serviced by an HVAC professional. They will be able to help identify any potential issues that you may encounter and curb water damage in your home or business.
- Get a moisture inspection using a hygrometer. Testing your indoor air quality can often times be as easy as knowing the indoor relative humidity and temperature. Any sharp fluctuations in relative humidity are a large indication that there may be a problem with your system. Regardless of where you set your thermostat, if you have relative humidity levels higher than 60% you are putting your home or business at risk of secondary damage including mold or condensation.
- Watch windows and vents. Mildew and condensation should not build up on these areas if your HVAC unit is properly sized for the area in which it is trying to condition. If you are seeing discoloration around your vents or noticing mold buildup on window caulking you may need to call a mold remediation specialist.
- Don’t ignore your senses. If you walk into your home and smell an earthy or musky odor you may have a mold issue. If you walk into your business and your skin instantly feels sticky and wet, your AC system may not be operating properly. If you see staining or discoloration that wasn’t seen before, don’t turn a blind eye. Using common sense and listening to your instincts are often the best ways to prevent further damage.
Call SERVPRO of Lincoln If You Have Storm Damage!
SERVPRO of Lincoln, NE specializes in storm and flood damage restoration. Our crews are highly trained and we use specialized equipment to restore your property to its pre-storm condition.
Since we are locally owned and operated, we are able to respond quicker with the right resources, which is extremely important. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces the restoration cost.
Resources to Handle Floods and Storms
When storms hit Lincoln, we can scale our resources to handle a large storm or flooding disaster. We can access equipment and personnel from a network of 1,650 Franchises across the country and elite Disaster Recovery Teams (http://www.SERVPROlincolneast.com/disaster-recovery) that are strategically located throughout the United States.
Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today at 402-466-4004
Think You Know Everything About Tornadoes?
What Causes Tornadoes?
Thunderstorms develop in warm, moist air in advance of eastward-moving cold fronts. These thunderstorms often produce large hail, strong winds, and tornadoes. Tornadoes in the winter and early spring are often associated with strong, frontal systems that form in the Central States and move east. During the spring in the Central Plains, thunderstorms frequently develop along a "dryline," which separates very warm, moist air to the east from hot, dry air to the west. Tornado-producing thunderstorms may form as the dryline moves east during the afternoon hours.
How Do Tornadoes Form?
Before thunderstorms develop, a change in wind direction and an increase in wind speed with increasing height creates an invisible, horizontal spinning effect in the lower atmosphere. Rising air within the thunderstorm updraft tilts the rotating air from horizontal to vertical. An area of rotation, 2 - 6 miles wide, now extends through much of the storm. Most strong and violent tornadoes form within this area of strong rotation
Tornadoes Take Many Shapes and Sizes
- 69% of all tornadoes
- Less than 5% of tornado deaths
- Lifetime 1-10+ minutes
- Winds less than 110 mph
- 29% of all tornadoes
- Nearly 30% of all tornado deaths
- May last 20 minutes or longer
- Winds 110-205 mph
- Only 2% of all tornadoes
- 70% of all tornado deaths
- Lifetime can exceed 1 hour
- Winds greater than 205 mph
MYTH: Areas near rivers, lakes and mountains are safe from tornadoes.
FACT: No place is safe from tornadoes. In the late 1980's, a tornado swept through Yellowstone National Park leaving a path of destruction up and down a 10,000 ft. mountain.
MYTH: The low pressure with a tornado causes buildings to "explode" as the tornado passes overhead.
FACT: Violent winds and debris slamming into buildings cause most structural damage.
MYTH: Windows should be opened before a tornado approaches to equalize pressure and minimize damage.
FACT: Opening windows allows damaging winds to enter the structure. Leave the windows alone; instead, immediately go to a safe place.
Tornadoes can occur at any time of the year
- In the southern states, peak tornado occurrence is in March through May, while peak months in the northern states are during the summer.
- Note, in some states, a secondary tornado maximum occurs in the fall.
- Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3 and 9 p.m. but have been known to occur at all hours of the day or night.
- The average tornado moves from southwest to northeast, but tornadoes have been known to move in any direction. The average forward speed is 30 mph but may vary from nearly stationary to 70 mph.
- The total number of tornadoes is probably higher than indicated in the western states. Sparse population reduces the number reported.
SERVPRO of Lincoln Wants You To Be Storm Ready!
Severe weather can happen anytime, anywhere. Each year, Americans cope with an average of:
- 10,000 severe thunderstorms
- 5,000 floods or flash floods
- 2 land falling deadly hurricanes
Approximately 98% of all declared disasters (by the president) are weather-related, leading to around 500 deaths per year and nearly $15 billion in damage*. Knowing your risk of severe weather, taking a few actions and being an example to others are just a few steps you can take to be better prepared to save your life and assist in saving the lives of others.
Know your risk. The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you, your business and your family. Check the weather forecast regularly, obtain a NOAA Weather Radio, and learn about Wireless Emergency Alerts. Severe weather comes in many forms and your shelter plan should include all types of local hazards.
Take Action. Take the next step in severe weather preparedness by creating a communication plan for your home and business. Put together or purchase an emergency kit. Keep important papers and valuables in a safe place.
Be an Example. Once you have taken action to prepare for severe weather, share your story with co-workers and family and friends on Facebook or Twitter. Your preparedness story will inspire others to do the same.
Build an Emergency Supply Kit:
- Water (one gallon per person per day)
- Food (non-perishable 3-day supply)
- Battery operated radio, preferably a NOAA Weather Radio
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Whistle to signal for help
- Plastic sheeting, garbage bags and duct tape
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Important documents; copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account information
- Matches in a waterproof container
NOTE: Statistics gathered from www.stormready.noaa.gov
How To Prevent Further Storm Damage
Prevent Further Storm Damage By Using Certified Technicians
While storm damage may have happened on only one side or corner of your home, that damage can quickly spread. Water that has been able to enter during the storm through any openings created by falling trees or broken glass can evaporate and find its way into other rooms, and even onto other levels of your home.
Removing Storm Damage and the Mess it Makes Should be Done Carefully and Professionally
Storm damage can cause unexpected hazards. If your Lincoln home or small business has experienced storm damage, you should not attempt to clean the debris up yourself. We have professional technicians who are trained in clearing away the debris. We have experience in extracting standing water, cleaning water damaged items and structures, and can help prevent mold growth.
Cleaning alone is often not enough, as storm damage and subsequent rainfall will damage interior structures. We can prevent much of the damage, and repair what has already taken place. Repairs and restoration work can be done so that the new materials match the original ones. We have training and certification in restorative work that makes this possible.
From removing the debris to final restorative touches, we can quickly make things look “Like they never even happened,” ensuring you and your family can return to your home safely. The same goes for your small business or office. Don't let storm damage ruin your home or your business.
For storm damage clean up and repairs, call SERVPRO of Lincoln 24/7 at (402) 466-4004. We will respond to your emergency as quickly as possible to start cleaning up the debris and repairing the damage.
September Is National Preparedness Month. Do You Have A Plan?
How quickly your company can get back to business after a tornado, fire, or flood often depends on the emergency planning done today. The regular occurrence of natural disasters demonstrates the importance of being prepared for any emergency. The following are basic measures business owners and managers can take to begin preparing.
Develop a Business Continuity Plan Your organization's risk needs will vary depending on the specific industry, size, scope and location. Begin by reviewing your business process flow chart, if one exists, to identify operations critical to survival and recovery. Carefully assess your internal and external functions to determine which staff, materials, procedures and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating. You should also establish procedures for succession of management. Review Insurance Coverage Inadequate insurance coverage can lead to major financial loss if your business is damaged, destroyed or simply interrupted for a period of time. Insurance policies vary; check with your agent or provider about things such as physical losses, flood coverage and business interruption. Understand what your policy does and does not cover. Prepare Your Emergency PlanYour employees and co-workers are your business' most valuable asset. Communication is central before, during and after a disaster. Include emergency information in newsletters, on your company intranet, in periodic employee emails and/or other communication tools. Practice the Emergency PlanSome disasters will require employees to leave the workplace quickly. The ability to evacuate workers, customers and visitors effectively can save lives. If your business operates out of more than one location, establish evacuation procedures for each individual building. If your company is in a high-rise building, an industrial park, or even a small strip mall, it is important to coordinate and practice with other tenants or businesses to avoid confusion and potential gridlock. Secure Your Facility and Equipment?? Install fire extinguishers, smoke alarms and detectors in appropriate places. Secure all entry and exit points and plan for mail safety. Plan what you will do if your building, plant or store is not usable. Secure valuable equipment. Improve Cyber SecurityProtecting your data and information systems may require specialized expertise, but even the smallest business can be better prepared. Use anti-virus software and keep it up-to-date. Don't open emails from unknown sources. Use hard-to-guess passwords. Protect your computer from intruders by using firewalls. Back up your computer data and download security protection updates known a patches regularly. Emergency Ready Program (ERP)In the event of an emergency, the SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile can help minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action in place for your facility. The ERP is a comprehensive document containing critical information about your business, including: emergency contact info., shut-off valve locations and priority areas. Knowing what to do and who to call in advance is key to quick response and timely mitigation. While each situation is unique, your organization can be better prepared if you plan carefully, put emergency procedures in place, and practice for all kinds of emergencies. A commitment to begin planning today will help support your employees, customers, the community, local economy, and even the country. It also protects your business investment and gives your company a better chance for survival.
How Fast Will Water Damage Affect Your Home in Lincoln NE?
There’s no such thing as a small disaster, especially when the water you don’t see contains bacteria or can cause mold. Flooding and water damage is very invasive. Water quickly spreads throughout your home or business and gets absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, and more. SERVPRO of Lincoln arrives quickly and starts the water extraction process almost immediately. This immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.
Water Damage Timeline
- Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.
- Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.
- Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.
- Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.
Hours 1 - 24:
- Drywall begins to swell and break down.
- Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
- Furniture begins to swell and crack.
- Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
- A musty odor appears.
48 Hours to 1 Week:
- Mold and mildew may grow and spread.
- Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.
- Metal begins to rust and corrode.
- Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.
- Paint begins to blister.
- Wood flooring swells and warps.
- Serious biohazard contamination is possible.
More Than 1 Week:
- Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
- Structural safety, mold growth, and bio hazard contaminants pose serious risks to occupants.
About SERVPRO of Lincoln
SERVPRO of Lincoln has professionals that know how disruptive water damage can be for your home or business. They are trained and equipped to manage the drying process. By utilizing the proper equipment and moisture measuring devices, your structure will be quickly and thoroughly dried to industry standards, and that will help prevent secondary damage.