Protect Your Business From Fire
Five key things a business owner needs to know about fire safety to keep their employees, customers, and property safe from fire damage:
Building Fire Exits
If there is a fire, you need to be sure your employees and customers have a way to get out of your building. OSHA requires that all workplace buildings have at least two fire exits that are not located in close proximity to each other that can be used in a fire emergency. This can be a door, window, or other space large enough for a person to crawl through and access the outdoors.
OSHA also requires that you keep those fire exits clear. The only thing that is allowed to block or delay the opening of a fire door is an approved alarm system that is part of the fire door’s design. Also, exit routes from the buildings need to be free of any obstructions. Finally, all exit routes must be clearly marked with lighted exit signs.
Including Portable Fire Extinguishers
All workplace buildings are required by OSHA to have the proper type of fire extinguisher based on the type of fire hazards present. For instance, a building with a kitchen will need a fire extinguisher for grease fires, while a building with electrical fire hazards will need one for that purpose. Any employee who is in a position to need to use the fire extinguisher should be properly trained on how to use it. Once installed, fire extinguishers must be kept in good working order. It is not permissible for fire extinguishers to be left unchecked and untested. Make sure that you follow the recommended testing and inspection schedule from the extinguisher’s manufacture, and document those inspections.
Planning for Emergency Evacuation
Employers should provide written emergency action plans for employees to ensure everyone knows where exit routes are and what fire emergency procedures are in place. Employers and managers need a plan to account for all employees if the building is evacuated. This plan needs to be located somewhere that employees can review it. If your business has physically impaired employees, the plan must include steps to take to evacuate those employees quickly and safely. As part of this planning, make sure that you properly train your employees on what to do in the event of a fire. Do not assume that common sense will prevail and your employees will know what to do. Provide training and clear policies to be followed in the event of a fire, and review the training every six months to one year. As part of your plan, host regular fire drills. These allow employees to practice the evacuation procedures when there is no actual emergency. Make sure everyone is accounted for and all proper lockdown procedures are followed during drills, so your employees will be prepared for an actual fire event.
Planning for Fire Prevention
While having a plan for dealing with emergencies is good, the best plan is to prevent emergencies altogether. The National Fire Protection Association has a list of fire prevention regulations and tips that can help your business prevent any dangers that are common in the line of work you perform. Teach your employees proper fire prevention to ward off an emergency altogether. Keep in mind that prevention measures will vary depending on the type of business you run. A welding business is going to need different safety protocols than an office that uses computers for the majority of its work. A kitchen, where open flames are a daily occurrence, is going to have an even more lengthy set of guidelines.
Providing a Fire Suppression System
Finally, OSHA requires fire suppression systems in most workplaces, such as automatic sprinkler systems. When these systems detect a fire, they automatically spray water and sound the alarm to help suppress and control the fire while alerting the proper authorities. Like fire extinguishers, these systems need to be inspected and maintained to ensure they will work properly if a fire occurs.
Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today –847-983-4468
Summer Fire Safety
Safety Tips When Using Your Fire Pit
Fire pits are perfect for your outdoor gatherings. The fire pit is a beautiful addition to your landscaping and a great way to complement and add a relaxing ambiance to your property.
SERVPRO of Morton Grove/East Niles wants to make sure you are keeping you and your property safe by following these safety tips!
Fire Pit Location
Make sure to place your fire pit AT LEAST 10 feet away from any structures. This may help prevent sparks from hitting your home and excessive smoke from entering your or your neighbor’s home.
• Do NOT place your fire pit under tree branches or on a covered deck. Make sure your fire pit is in a location where the flames and sparks will not hit any objects.
Fire Pit Site Preparation
If your fire pit is not built into the ground, make sure you have stone, brick, gravel, or concrete under the pit. This will help prevent the area below the pit from burning.
• You should NEVER place your pit over dry grass or over a wooden deck. This is to prevent any overheating or causing of a spark a fire to the ground below it.
Do not use your fire pit if it is windy. Windy conditions may cause sparks from the fire to fall in an area that is flammable.
• When you are using your fire pit, you should observe what direction the breeze is blowing. You should move any object out of the way of where the breeze is blowing to help prevent a fire from occurring.
Lighting the Fire Pit
When lighting your fire pit, do NOT use lighter fluid or gasoline to light the pit or to relight fires.
• The easiest and safest way to light your fire pit is to place kindling under the wood. Kindling can be newspaper, dead leaves, pine needles, wood shaving and small pieces of tree bark. Place a small stack under the wood in your fire pit and try lighting it instead of the wood. Once the kindling catches fire, the rest of the wood should also ignite.
• You should always keep water nearby just in case the fire inside of the pit spreads.
Before you use your fire pit, you should check your town’s laws on fire pits. Some towns require a permit and an inspection. If the unfortunate happens, call the experts at SERVPRO of Morton Grove/East Niles 847-983-4468, and we will make it “Like it never even happened.”
Be Safe When Charging Electronic Devices
Technology is such an important part of our lives today. We often make it a priority to keep them as close to us as possible, and to ensure that they are charged and ready to use for the day. Because of our need to stay connected, we often forget about the potential dangers of keeping them so close to us, especially at night when we typically plug them in to charge.
Things to keep in mind when charging you phone or tablet:
- Electronic devices should not be charged on flammable surfaces. So, do not tuck your phone under your pillow, on your bed, or on your couch while it is charging.
- Use the charger and cord that is specific to your device.
- Ensure that the charging cord does not have any exposed wires and is working properly.
- If possible, charge your device during the day and turn it off at night.
Keep yourself and loved ones safe by following these fire-safe phone charging practices!
Accidents do happen, so if you need assistance after a fire make sure to contact SERVPRO of Morton Grove/East Niles today!
As the summer months near, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reminds everyone of basic safety tips and precautions to grill and celebrate safely.
NFPA data shows that from 2014-2018, fire departments responded to an annual average of 10,600 home fires annually involving grills, hibachis, or barbecues. This includes 4,900 structure fires and 5,700 outside or unclassified fires. These fires resulted in an annual average of 10 civilian deaths, 160 civilian injuries, and $149 million in direct property damage.
The peak months for grilling fires are July (18 percent of grilling fires), June (15 percent), May (13 percent), and August (12 percent), though grill fires occur year-round. Leading causes of grill fires include failing to clean the grill, the heat source being located too close to combustible materials, leaving equipment unattended, and leaks or breaks in the grill or fuel source.
“As grilling season approaches, it is important to review basic safety tips to ensure grillers are using equipment properly and safely, especially if the grill hasn’t been used over the winter,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy at NFPA. “Establishing a firesafe location for using your grill is also crucial. It should be a safe distance from your home and other items that can burn.”
Carli notes that as people continue to stay home in response to the pandemic, there may be an increased use of grills and other outdoor cooking equipment this season, making it critically important to share these messages with the public.
A yearly average of 19,700 patients went to emergency rooms because of injuries involving grills. Nearly half (9,500 or 48 percent) of the injuries were thermal burns, including both burns from fire and from contact with hot objects; 5,200 thermal burns were caused by such contact or other non-fire events.
Children under five accounted for an average of 2,000 (39 percent) of the contact-type burns per year. These burns typically occurred when a child bumped into, touched, or fell on the grill, grill part, or hot coals.
NFPA offers these and other tips and recommendations for enjoying a fire-safe grilling season:
- For propane grills, check the gas tank for leaks before use in the months ahead.
- Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
- Place the grill well away from the home, deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grilling area.
- If you use starter fluid when charcoal grilling, only use charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire. When you have or are finished grilling, let the coals cool completely before disposing in a metal container.
- Never leave your grill unattended when in use.
Prepare for a Storm
During the spring and summer months, storms that produce lightning, thunder, heavy rain, flooding, strong winds, tornadoes, and hail can occur. These storms are extremely dangerous and can appear suddenly with little warning and may only last a few minutes but have the strength and power to cause a great amount of damage.
Before A Thunderstorm
- Check weather forecasts daily, purchase an all-hazard weather radio and have multiple ways to receive weather alerts.
- Plan outdoor events near a secure shelter where people can go in the event of a storm.
- Keep trees trimmed to prevent limbs from falling onto buildings, cars or people.
- If hail or strong winds are expected, park vehicles under a shelter to avoid damage.
- Make sure preparedness kits are portable for easy transport if evacuation is necessary. Preparedness kits should be tailored to household needs.
- Bring pets indoors before a storm moves into the area. Sheds, dog houses, and garages do not provide ample protection from lightning, hail, high winds, and tornadoes.
SERVPRO of Morton Grove/East Niles is alert and ready for storm damage concerns. Call us today at 847-983-4468
SERVPRO of Morton Grove/East Niles is an IICRC-certified restoration company.
Water Damage and IICRC Certification of Your Restoration Firm
Water damage can be deceptive. Water penetrates into structural cavities creating trapped pockets of saturation. The detection of water in these areas can often only be discovered with sophisticated moisture detection meters. Undetected moisture will continue to cause damage. This damage, at a minimum, will cause odors. Greater damage will surface when materials delaminate, shrink, split and further deteriorate to where costly repairs are required.
More than just removing excess water, restorers certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) have the knowledge and equipment to further dry a home or facility (including substructure materials) completely back to preloss conditions. Through timely response and the careful monitoring of water damage, mold and other health effects can be prevented. If water damage has been present too long, mold will occur.
All IICRC-certified professionals have the training and experience to identify moisture sources, evaluate mold growth (visible or suspected), contain damage, remove contamination and dry materials to ensure that mold will not return.
More About the Importance of IICRC Certification
The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is a certification and standard-setting nonprofit organization for the inspection, cleaning and restoration industries.
When you see an IICRC logo, you can be confident that an IICRC-certified experienced, qualified professional is caring for your valuable property. IICRC Certified Firms employ technicians who, after study, field experience and passing comprehensive exams, have received IICRC certifications in specific cleaning, restoration and inspection categories such as upholstery, wood flooring, stone and tile flooring, carpet cleaning, odor removal, mold remediation, water damage, fire damage restoration and more.
SERVPRO of Morton Grove/East Niles is an IICRC-certified restoration company. Call us today at 847-983-4468 if you have water damage.
Spring storms strike no matter where you live. Wind, rain, hail, tornadoes, and flooding can cause costly damage to your home.
Luckily there are ways to prevent potential costly damage to your home.
- Clean out gutters and downspouts
Clogged gutters, drains, and downspouts can lead to roof damage during a storm. Dirt and debris can cause water to be unable to flow away from the roofline, adding weight to your roof and potentially causing a roof collapse.
Before the spring storms strike, check your downspouts and gutters to ensure that winter storms haven’t created any blockages. While you’re up there, make sure that all connections are secure and that no repairs are necessary.
- Seal your windows, doors, and roof
Check the seals around your doors and windows. Look for loose screws and cracked caulking, and make repairs if necessary. If you live in an area that's prone to heavy storms, consider investing in impact-resistant windows to protect your home.
When you inspect your doors, check that there are three hinges on each to provide additional support. Then, make sure your threshold is screwed directly into your house, as opposed to only your door frame.
Next, inspect your roof. If you find any missing or damaged shingles, an area of sagging, or other damage, have your roof professionally inspected before a storm hits. Repairs can keep your home from experiencing severe damage due to a leaky roof.
- Search for cracks in the foundation
Even small cracks in your foundation or basement can put your home at risk of major damage during a spring storm. If water seeps in through the cracks, your home could be in danger of flooding. Furthermore, high winds can make existing cracks prone to widening, causing significant structural damage throughout the home. If you find or suspect any cracks in your foundation or basement, call a professional to seal them to help you prepare for a flood.
- Install a backflow valve in your basement to prevent sewage backup
Heavy rain can cause municipal sewers systems to become overtaxed, creating the possibility for excess water to flow backward through your home's sewer lines. Plumbing fixtures situated at the lowest points in your home may be particularly prone to sewer backup. Consider installing a sewer backflow valve to divert unexpected water away from your sewer lines and back to your city's sewage system.
Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today 847-983-4468
Going Home Again
After natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods, be aware that your house may be contaminated with mold or sewage, which can cause health effects for your family.
When You First Reenter Your Home
- If you have standing water in your home and can turn off the main power from a dry location, then go ahead and turn off the power, even if it delays cleaning. If you must enter standing water to access the main power switch, then call an electrician to turn it off. NEVER turn power on or off yourself or use an electric tool or appliance while standing in water.
- Have an electrician check the house’s electrical system before turning the power on again.
- If the house has been closed up for several days, enter briefly to open doors and windows to let the house air out for awhile (at least 30 minutes) before you stay for any length of time.
- If your home has been flooded and has been closed up for several days, presume your home has been contaminated with mold.
- If your home has been flooded, it also may be contaminated with sewage.
If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today –847-983-4468
Difference Between a “Watch” and a “Warning”
The National Weather Service (NWS) keeps an eye on forecasts and climate data around the country. When it detects a potentially serious weather pattern, the NWS will notify local meteorologists in the area. Since you may not always be near a radio or television, you can stay up to date on weather changes by following your local news stations on social media, downloading the NWS app.
When you hear news that a storm watch or storm warning has been issued, keep in mind that the term being used describes both the immediacy and level of force of the storm.
What does "storm watch" mean?
A storm watch means that severe weather has not occurred yet, but upcoming weather conditions are expected to produce potentially dangerous weather, such as heavy rain, hail or strong gusts of wind. Because conditions can change quickly, the NWS wants to give you as much time as possible to safeguard your personal property and take shelter.
What does "storm warning" mean?
A storm warning indicates that meteorologists have already observed severe conditions. If you hear that a storm warning has been issued, it means potentially dangerous weather is imminent in or near your location. Depending on the type of weather warning, take appropriate action as quickly and safely as possible.
Types of storm watches and warnings
- Severe Thunderstorms. A thunderstorm watch, which can be in effect for several hours, means weather conditions exist where severe thunderstorms can easily develop. A thunderstorm warning means current storm conditions can turn worse, including heavy rain and strong winds. Whether a watch or a warning, it's best to stay inside and away from windows.
- April, May and June are the most active months of the year for tornadoes to occur. A tornado watch means severe weather, such as large hail or winds over 58 mph, has the potential to turn into tornadic activity. A tornado warning indicates that either a strong weather rotation could produce a tornado at any moment or that a funnel cloud has already been spotted. In either situation, you should seek shelter immediately and pay attention to local news updates.
- Flash Floods. A flash flood watch signals that even if there isn't any standing water in your immediate area, you should be ready for those conditions to change at any moment. Flash flood watches can turn to warnings quickly, meaning that flooding of nearby bodies of water is imminent or already happening. In either case, move to higher ground as safely as possible, and stay out of the flood's path — for instance, don't try to drive your vehicle through large areas of pooling water.
- Tropical Storms. The NWS tries to issue tropical storm watches as early as possible to allow enough time for emergency prep, including the possibility of evacuation. If you hear a warning, though, a tropical storm is expected within the next 36 hours, and you should take shelter immediately.
- Whether there is a tropical storm expected to strengthen into a hurricane, or one that's already formed, a watch means a hurricane has the potential to impact your area. You should gather emergency supplies and be prepared to act quickly. Warnings are typically issued up to three days in advance — if one is issued, take direction from local authorities on whether to take shelter or to leave the area immediately.
- Winter Storm. A winter storm watch is usually issued at least 24 hours in advance of the storm. It lets you know that while hazardous weather conditions are likely, the exact areas and timing may not be known yet. If a watch is upgraded to a winter storm warning, try to avoid traveling, as visibility and road conditions can become unsafe.
No matter the type of watches or warnings that may come your way, it's important to properly prepare for storm conditions in advance.
Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today 847-983-4468
Experience and Compassion are Why SERVPRO of Morton Grove/East Niles Earns High Marks from Customers
Suffering a water, fire, mold, or storm disaster can be a low point in the lives of our Morton Grove/East Niles customers. No one can prepare for the upheaval, worry, cost, and feelings of helplessness that follow a significant loss after an accident or emergency puts your property in harm's way. Working with a reliable mitigation and remediation company goes a long way toward reducing the stress-stricken homeowners endure.
The need for water removal arrives at the most inconvenient times. A phone call takes you away from a filling sink that overflows down the hall to the stairs. The grumbling water heater finally gives up the ghost -- and 50 gallons of sediment-filled liquid fills your utility room while you are at work. Automatic sprinkler systems seem like a time and money saver until they malfunction and run all night and seep mucky water through cracks in your foundation.
When you call SERVPRO of Morton Grove/East Niles for water extraction, do it with the assurance that we have your back. Providing premium water damage management is one of the foundations of our company’s mission, and we strive to exceed your expectations when we take on your project. Expect a speedy response to your call because we know the longer water has to soak into the structural components and contents of your home the more damage that results.
Each water removal job SERVPRO of Morton Grove/East Niles undertakes has a customized workflow developed in response to the individual circumstances at the customer’s residence. We arrive with an Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Reconstruction Certification (IICRC)- crew, certified in multiple specialties to deliver restoration best practices across every task we complete. Powerful, commercial-grade pumps and water extractors are at the ready in our well-stock vehicles. To finish the remediation, the same vehicles hold the air movers, heaters, and dehumidifiers that bring moisture levels in building materials back to normal readings.
When an overturned pot or unattended candle causes fire damage in Morton Grove/East Niles that has the potential to race throughout all spaces in your home, your priority is the safety of loved ones and pets. Returning to your house after the firefighters release the property can be a total upending of your expectations of comfort and enjoyment in what was your safe place. Surfaces, furnishings, and personal effects are almost unrecognizable, and you and your family suffer from feelings of despair and enormous loss.
Our SERVPRO of Morton Grove/East Niles family grieves with yours because the first viewing of fire devastation never grows old. Without missing a beat, however, our experienced crew chief begins assessing the situation and mapping out a plan to make sooty, wet chaos “Like it never even happened.” Each crew member jumps to assigned tasks, all the tools, products, and equipment needed with us and ready to battle back.
The tasks common to fire damage mitigation and remediation as performed by our SERVPRO of Morton Grove/East Niles team include the following:
- Water containment, removal, and disposal following local regulations
- Burned debris assessment and removal
- Deep cleaning of charred surfaces with an emphasis on restoring stable surfaces if possible
- Evaluation of soot characteristics on different surfaces and spaces
- Ashy soot from hot-burning paper and wood
- Thick, dark soot that sticks to surfaces from electrical fires and slow smoldering fabrics and padding
- Protein-based soot from food and grease that adheres like a varnish
- Matching of the varying soot to appropriate cleaning products, tools, and techniques
- Loose, ashy soot -- cleared with dry sponges, brushed and HEPA-filtered vacuums
- Sticky, thickly deposited soot -- cleaning products with wetting agents and surfactants to loosen the bond and agitation to clear the soot away
- Protein-based soot -- abrasive tools or cleaning products to dislodge and solvents in challenging applications
- Deodorization after cleaning completes, including the use of special equipment like thermal foggers, hydroxyl generators, and ozone machines
Mold remediation in Morton Grove/East Niles reflects the reputable restoration industry’s best practices. Mold spores can never be eliminated, and any company that promises to achieve zero mold spore levels is suspect. Our goal is to remove current mold infestations, use appropriate products to minimize the return of mold colonies and work with our customers to find the sources of moisture responsible for mold growth and arrange for necessary repairs.
SERVPRO of Morton Grove/East Niles crews use a protocol developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to locate, contain, and remove mold and materials it infiltrated. The workspace is partitioned off with durable barriers to prevent the spread of moldy material. We create a seal using negative pressure air scrubbing technology, venting the contaminated atmosphere in the moldy space through filters and then to the outside. Remediators wear personal protective equipment (PPE) for safety and to avoid tracking moldy residues through your home.
Mold responds well to mechanical removal -- scrapers and brushes. We vacuum after removal to get all particles using HEPA-filtered machines. Porous material can regain functionality after innovative techniques like soda blasting that deactivates and removes hyphae from structural components. After the visible is cleared EPA-registered antimicrobials treat surfaces. Antimicrobial paint-like sealants also might be appropriate to prepare surfaces for restoration.
Flooding, roofing and siding fails, and broken windows and doors are all on the menu when Morton Grove/East Niles residents experience storm damage. Heavy rains, winds, and storm surge are the enemy, but our crews are ready to stand with you against the unwanted invasion.
We also provide pre-storm water-related mitigation services when faced with diminished integrity of your home. SERVPRO of Morton Grove/East Niles offers board up and tarping when your roof, windows, siding, and other exterior elements suffer damage. In the aftermath of a severe storm, it is comforting to know that our team, from owners to technicians, are dedicated to customer needs and satisfaction. Caring, compassion, and security are guiding principles we follow at this challenging time in your life.
Feel confident that SERVPRO of Morton Grove/East Niles is on your team as we guide you from catastrophic conditions to “Like it never even happened.” Call for backup at 847-983-4468.