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Kitchen Cautions

11/4/2021 (Permalink)

Two firemen putting out a house fire from the street Be sure to keep decorations away from open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters.

Each year, around the holidays, families gather together to celebrate by preparing a delicious feast. However, not everyone practices safe cooking habits.

According to the National Fire Protection Agency, cooking fires are are the number one cause of home fires and injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. It's important to be alert to prevent holiday cooking fires.

  • Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, do not use the stovetop or oven.
  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food.
  • If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the kitchen while the food is cooking, and use a trimer to remind you that you are cooking.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire, like oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, or hand towels, away from the stovetop.

If you have a cooking fire, consider the following safety protocols to help keep you and your family safe.

  • Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the flames.
  • Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you get out safely.
  • For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the oven door closed.
  • If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear path out.
  • Keep a lid nearby when you're cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the kid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.

SERVPRO of Southern Lancaster County wishes you a safe & happy fall season!

Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen

11/4/2021 (Permalink)

Fire alarm on a yellow wall Visit firepreventionweek.org for more information on fire safety.

October is Fire Prevention Month and an excellent time to examine the emergency preparedness plans for your home and business, including your fire escape plan. Do you have a fire escape plan? Have you changed your smoke alarm batteries within the last year? Are you prepared for whatever happens?

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) sets aside a designated week each October to focus on fire prevention. Fire Prevention Week is October 4-10, 2020. The 2020 theme is, "Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!" This topic works to educate everyone about the simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves, and those around them, safe in the kitchen.

Did you know? Cooking is the number one cause of home fires and home fire injuries, according to NFPA. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of fire in the kitchen. NFPA notes that once a fire alarm goes off "you could have less than two minutes to get out safety," yet only 8 percent of people surveyed said getting out was the fire thought they had after hearing a fire alarm fire go off. Creating, implementing, and practicing a fire escape plan for your home or business may be the difference between safety and tragedy. Make a plan today!

As the #1 choice in cleanup and restoration, we stand on over 50 years of experience and expertise to help ensure you stay safe, informed, and ready for any disaster that comes your way. The time to prepare is now. Make sure your home and business are "Ready for whatever happens."

What To Do Until Help Arrives

11/4/2021 (Permalink)

A bathroom ceiling with soot/smoke damaged It is important to take preventative safety measures to prevent fires.

A fire can leave behind soot, smoke damage and a host of other problems. Ceilings, walls, woodwork, carpeting and floors will often need a thorough professional cleaning. If your home or business suffers a fire, it is important to take the appropriate steps to prevent further damage until the professionals at SERVPRO of Southern Lancaster County arrive.


DO:

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpet.
  • Keeps hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
    Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer/refrigerator completely and prop doors open to help prevent odor.
  • Wipe soot from chrome kitchen/bathroom faucets, trim and appliances, then protect these surfaces with a light coating of lubricant.
  • If heat is off during winter, pour RV antifreeze in sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks and tubs to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures.
  • Change HVAC filters; leave system off until a trained professional can check the system.
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system.


DON'T:

  • Don't attempt to wash the walls or painted surfaces without first contacting the professionals at SERVPRO of Southern Lancaster County arrive.
  • Don't attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture without first consulting the professionals SERVPRO of Southern Lancaster County arrive.
  • Do not attempt to clean any electrical appliances (TV sets, radios, etc.) that may have been close to fire, heat or water without first heat or water without first consulting an authorized repair service.
  • Do not consume any food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat, or water, as they may be contaminated.
  • If ceiling is wet, do not turn on ceiling fans. Wiring may be wet or damaged and cause electrical shock, and air movement may create secondary damage.
  • Don't send garments to the dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set in smoke odor.

Preparedness For Pets

11/3/2021 (Permalink)

Small dog with a sweatshirt on and hood up After hurricanes, thousands of animals are rescued and many are not reunited with their owners.

Pets are just as important as any family member to most people, so why would you not make them part of your preparedness planning? There are several things you can do to make sure they can stay safe as well during an emergency.

Pet Emergency Kit

Ready.gov/animals lists the below items as essential to building your Pet Emergency Kit.

  • Food. At least a three day supply in an airtight, waterproof container.
  • Water. At least three days of water specifically for your pets.
  • Medicines and medical records.
  • Important documents. Registration information, adoption papers and vaccination documents. Talk to your veterinarian about microchipping and enrolling your pet in a recovery database.
  • First aid kit. Cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape and scissors; antibiotic ointment; flea and tick prevention; latex gloves, isopropyl alcohol and saline solution. Including a pet first aid refence book is a good idea too.
  • Collar or harness with ID tag, rabies tag and a leash.
  • Crate or pet carrier. Have a sturdy, safe crate or carrier in case you need to evacuate. The carrier should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie down.
  • Sanitation. Pet litter and litter box if appropriate, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach.
  • A picture of you and your pet together. If you become separated, a picture of you and your pet together will help you document ownership and allow others to assist you. Add species, breed, age, sex, color and distinguishing characteristics.
  • Familiar items. Familiar items, such as treats, toys and bedding can help reduce stress for your pet.

Evacuations

While practicing fire escape or evacuation plans, be sure to include pets. If an evacuation happens, don't leave pets behind as they can be lost or injured.

Identification

Microchipping pets is a great way to locate them. Most veterinary clinics and shelters have scanners that will read the microchip information to help find a pet's owners.

Be sure to take four-legged friends into consideration when planning for emergencies. Visit ready.gov/animals for further tips and safety precautions to think about for you or your insured's family pets, or your tenant's pets during a disaster.

Winter Worries

5/25/2021 (Permalink)

A large amount of frozen pipes in an unfinished basement Frozen pipes are no joke!

Winter weather can bring about more issues than
just slippery roads and a sidewalk to shovel. If you live where temperatures sink below freezing level, you are also at risk for frozen pipes and ice dams, which can create a major disaster at your home or property.

FROZEN PIPES
Frozen pipes are often those exposed to the cold weather, such as those outside your house, or in cold areas such as basements, attics, garages, or
kitchen cabinets. A frozen pipe can burst at the point where the ice blockage inside the pipe is located, but typically the rupture is caused by the backflow pressure between the water source and the blockage. A burst pipe can cause considerable damage to your property if not addressed quickly.
To prevent pipes from freezing, here are a few steps you can take, according to The American Red Cross:

  • Be sure to completely drain water from swimming pool and sprinkler lines, as well as outside hoses.
  • Open kitchen cabinets to let warm air near the plumbing.
  • When the weather is extremely cold, let water drip from faucets that may come from exposed pipes.
  • Keep your heat set to the same temperature both day and night.


ICE DAMS
Ice dams can be a little-known, but major problem during the snowy season. They form when heated air melts roof snow downward into
water dammed behind still-frozen ice. When the
trapped water cannot safely flow or run into the gutter system, it can backflow under the roof ’s shingles and into the structure’s interior areas, as well as causing gutters and shingles to move or fall. Icicles can be an initial sign of an ice dam, according to Travelers.com. To spot ice dams inside, “check for water stains or moisture in your attic or along the ceiling of exterior walls of your house. Water stains or moisture may be an indication that an ice dam has formed and water has penetrated the roof membrane.” Removing an ice dam as soon as it is found is vital to helping prevent damage to your property and can be done using heated cables, a roof shovel, or calcium chloride ice melter.


If winter weather causes water damage to your
property, your local SERVPRO of Lancaster East Professionals are only a call away, 24/7, ready to restore to preloss condition.

September is National Preparedness Month

5/25/2021 (Permalink)

National Preparedness Month logo with a flashlight, piggy bank, radio, and first aid kit Contact SERVPRO of Lancaster East & Southern Lancaster County to find out how they can make it “Like it never even happened,” if disaster strikes.

PREPARE NOW This year for National Preparedness Month, join your community in preparing for emergencies and disasters of all types, and leading efforts to encourage the community as a whole to become more prepared. “Disasters happen” and not only devastate individuals and neighborhoods, but entire communities. Learn how to be prepared. Make and Practice Your Plan Do you have an evacuation and shelter-in-place plan? Do you have a plan to communicate with your family before, during and after an incident? Do you have an emergency supply kit? Make sure your family is informed and practiced in your emergency plan. Be sure to sign up for alerts and warnings for your area, and download other necessary apps to stay informed, such as the FEMA app. Learn Life Saving Skills Does you or someone in your family know CPR? Could you turn off your natural gas if necessary? Do you know how to take cover in an earthquake? Knowing these life saving skills could mean life or death in an emergency situation for you, your family or your neighbors. Check your Insurance Coverage Have you reviewed your insurance coverage recently to see if you’re covered in a disaster? Evaluate which hazards are relevant to your area and obtain the appropriate insurance for your home, business, or other property and become familiar with your coverage. Save for an Emergency Are you prepared financially in case of a disaster? Does your family have an emergency fund for unexpected expenses after a flood or fire? Check out FEMA’s Emergency Financial First Aid Kit for an in-depth document to help you identify and compile important documents and account information all in one spot. Just search “EFFAK” on fema.gov for the free PDF. Whether it's flood, wildfire or extreme winter weather, we must work together as a team to help ensure our families, businesses, places of worship and neighborhoods are prepared.

Say Thank You!

5/25/2021 (Permalink)

Police, firefighter, and medic logos with an American flag background "Heroes are extraordinary people who choose not to be ordinary." -Kevin Brown

The first half of 2020 has been a roller coaster of fear and emotions. The world was thrown into a state of change that had not been seen for several generations. At the front of this battle, our heroes stood strong, not wearing tights or capes, but uniforms, scrubs, masks, and gloves all ready to fight this for all of us.

The words "Thank You" don't seem enough. How do we convey our gratitude to those that put their lives at risk so we can stay at home with our families to flatten the curve? Here are a few ideas to say Thanks.

Restaurant Gift Cards

It would be great to give out large enough gift cards so they could take their whole family to dinner, but think about ways to stretch your funds farther to reach more heroes. Consider $5-$10 gift cards to local restaurants. This will give enough money for either a drink or appetizer. It will also help the economy and struggling restaurants.

Food Drop Off

You will probably have to coordinate this in advance, but schedule a meal that you can deliver to our heroes. They will love some food to refuel. Drop-offs at police stations, fire halls, and emergency rooms are sure to boost moral.

Letters of Encouragement

Take the time to sit down with the family and write letters of encouragement to these heroes, expressing your appreciation for what they're doing. If you have children, get them to draw these heroes. Their artwork will be a blessing to these first responders. You can send them or hand-deliver (at a safe distance) to your local fire halls, police stations, and hospitals. They are separated from their families right now; these letters will include them in yours.

When They Call You, Call SERVPRO

5/11/2021 (Permalink)

Wet ceiling tiles in a department store Call us for all of your structural cleaning, content cleaning, and deodorization needs.

Mitigation requires quick action. The faster a crew arrives on-site to perform fire, smoke, and soot cleanup and restoration, the better the results-including lower claim costs. Within four hours of a loss notification, a crew will be on-site to help ensure fire damage is handled properly by utilizing the following services:

Structural Cleaning

After smoke or fire damage, ceilings, walls, woodwork, carpeting, and floors will often need a thorough cleaning. The crew will pretest to determine the extent of damage, then use the specific equipment and cleaning products required to clean and protect the different types of surfaces found within the structure.

Contents Cleaning

All of the restorable contents in the affected areas will be professionally cleaned and deodorized. This includes area rugs, furniture, draperies, and upholstery. SERVPRO professionals can provide wet and dry cleaning services. Additionally, all of the cleaned and deodorized to pre loss condition. This includes electronics, art, wood furniture, kitchen items, clothing, bedding, and much more. Finally, SERVPRO professionals can provide an inventory list of all "to be claimed" items for agents and their policyholders.

Deodorization

SERVPRO professionals provide specialized services that rid your insured's home or place of business of offensive odors left behind by fire or smoke damage. SERVPRO professionals do not merely cover up lingering odors with fragrance; they seek out the sources of the odor and remove them.

When Water Damage Strikes

5/11/2021 (Permalink)

An older couple sitting on their basement stairs surrounded by standing water For more information on recovering from water damage, contact SERVPRO of Lancaster East.

The first 24 hours following a water loss are the most important in preventing secondary or permanent damage. Within four hours of receiving a loss notification, SERVPRO professionals will be on-site to help ensure water damage is handled by completing the following steps.

Inspection

SERVPRO professionals will inspect affected areas to determine the extent of water damage and will review the inspection with you to answer any questions before beginning the work.

Emergency Services

SERVPRO professionals will take steps to help protect your home or business, as well as personal property and other contents, from further damage by extracting the excess water and preparing the area for drying.

Monitoring

To help ensure your home or business and belongings are dried to appropriate industry standards, a SERVPRO professional will monitor the drying process. The updates will be consistently communicated with you.

Restoration Services

SERVPRO professionals will repair structural materials, reinstall carpets, and clean affected areas of your property and contents. A final walk-through of the job site will be conducted with you to help ensure the property was returned to its preloss condition.

Emergency Water Damage Tips

5/11/2021 (Permalink)

Wet floor in a family room with content consolidated to one section Be sure to follow these safety tips during a water damage loss.

  • Shut off the water source, if possible or contact a qualified professional to stop the water source.
  • Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building when access to the power distribution panel is safe from electrical shock.
  • Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting.
  • Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
  • Move any paintings, art objects, computers, documents, and other sensitive valuables to a dry place.
  • Do not enter affected areas if electrical outlets, switches, circuit breakers, or electrical equipment are exposed to water. Always avoid electrical shock hazards.
  • Do not use a household vacuum cleaner to remove water! This could cause electrical shock or damage to the device.
  • Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet or enter the rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.