Recent Posts

8 TIPS FOR AVOIDING HOLIDAY FIRES THIS WINTER

9/15/2021 (Permalink)

TIPS FOR AVOIDING HOLIDAY FIRES Protect your family and property by following these eight holiday fire.

The winter holiday season is a time for family and togetherness. Unfortunately, many family holiday traditions increase the risk of house fires. Protect your family and property by following these eight holiday fire safety tips.

  1. Check your holiday lights for frayed cords or broken plugs. Don’t use any that appear damaged. Also, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for how many strands you can join together. Only use outdoor-rated lights when decorating the exterior, and turn off all holiday lights when you go to bed.
  2. Practice candle safety. Never leave candles burning unattended, monitor children and pets closely while a candle is lit, and blow out all candles before going to bed. For your peace of mind, consider using battery-operated candles for a realistic flicker and ambiance without the fire risk.
  3. Maintain your live Christmas tree by keeping it well-watered and checking it daily for signs of dehydration. Brown or fallen needles indicate a dangerously dried-out tree. Also, position the tree at least three feet from radiators, fireplaces, space heaters, or other heat sources. More than one-quarter of all Christmas tree fires occur in January, so once the holiday is over, dispose of your tree promptly.
  4. Use extension cords wisely. This includes never running electrical wires under carpets or rugs, which could cause overheating. Make sure your extension cords are in good condition before plugging them in, and only use heavy-duty, outdoor-rated versions for exterior lighting.
  5. Have your fireplace inspected and cleaned once a year to prevent a flammable creosote buildup, which can cause a flash fire in the chimney. A fireplace inspection also reveals masonry cracks, damaged spark arresters, and other problems you should address before using your fireplace this season.
  6. Run space heaters wisely. Keep them away from bedding, curtains, furniture, and other flammable objects. Avoid running space heaters while you sleep, and don’t operate them anywhere a child or pet could knock them over. Follow all other operating instructions from the manufacturer.
  7. Keep matches and lighters out of reach. The best place for these tools is in a high, locked kitchen cabinet. Don’t allow children under 12 to handle matches or lighters. Closely monitor older children if you ask them to light a candle.
  8. Prepare holiday meals safely to avoid a kitchen fire. Keep flammable objects away from the oven and stovetop. Never leave toasting, grilling, or broiling food unattended. Set a timer to remind yourself when the food is done. Keep little kids out of the kitchen.

UNDISCOVERED DEATH REMEDIATION

9/15/2021 (Permalink)

using professionals for an undiscovered death remediation; people holding hands Discovering an unattended death can be an emotionally wrenching experience.

An unattended death occurs in solitude. It often takes several days before somebody suspects that something is wrong. Sometimes it takes weeks, months and even years. When phone calls, text messages and emails go unanswered, friends, family members and landlords check in on the person at home, only to find that they’ve passed. If you’ve been in this position, you’re not alone. It happens more often than you might think.

Discovering an unattended death can be an emotionally wrenching experience. It’s even more traumatic when the victim is a loved one. Although you may feel obligated to clean up the remains yourself, there are several reasons why you shouldn’t do that.

For one, it’s dangerous. Body fluids from corpses release dangerous pathogens into the immediate area, creating a hazard for anyone without personal protective gear. To understand why this happens, you need to know how the decomposition process of the human body works. When someone dies, bacteria in the body lose the nutrients that keep them sustained. They look for other food sources to nourish themselves, and end up settling on the organs. These organs, which include the liver, the pancreas and the intestinal tract, are broken down with remarkable speed. To put this feeding process into perspective, there are trillions of bacteria in our bodies. That averages to about four pounds of bacteria for a 200-pound adult. Operating all at once, bacteria remove all the organs from the body within a 48-hour window.

Depending on the temperature and humidity of the room, the skin will begin to tear within this timeframe, allowing biohazardous materials to seep from the body. Rising pressure from the body’s gasses will quicken the process, releasing a terrible odor that’s often referred to as the stench of death. Sometimes, these gases will even cause the body to explode. As harmful pathogens pool on the floor, they release noxious gasses into the air, which can be inhaled through the nose and mouth. People who haven’t been trained to deal with biohazards should remove themselves from the scene to escape these fumes and other threats from the decomposing body. Although it may not be obvious, people who approach a body without safety equipment risk exposing themselves to disease. Proper precautions must be taken, which brings us to another reason you shouldn’t embark on this endeavor yourself.

You likely don’t have the training or equipment to safely dispose of human remains. Gloves, goggles, respirators and body suits are necessary to protect yourself against airborne and bloodborne pathogens. But they’re not enough to keep you safe. SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett West Chicago & Warrenville follows a regimented process to sanitize the area safely and effectively. The chemicals allotted to clean decomposing bodies are regulated by the state. Thus, over-the-counter solutions simply aren’t powerful enough to remove and decontaminate body fluids soaked into the floor. While a surface may look clean, harmful pathogens will linger behind and pose a threat to others if the proper chemicals haven’t been used. SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett West Chicago & Warrenville uses certified technicians that have the training and materials to thoroughly sanitize and disinfect an area contaminated by biohazardous waste. Moreover, they carry chemicals that can effectively deodorize the scene, which often proves difficult to do for death odors.

You also don’t want to clean up human remains if you’re connected to the deceased. If you do so, you will only exacerbate your trauma and prolong your grief. Asking SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett West Chicago & Warrenville to take care of the task will not only spare you additional anguish, it will leave you assured that the job is done right.

6 Fire Alarm Installation Mistakes to Avoid for Businesses

9/15/2021 (Permalink)

Fire Alarm Installation Mistakes Installing a fire alarm and ensuring it works properly are steps in the right direction to keeping your company safe.

Installing a fire alarm and ensuring it works properly are steps in the right direction to keeping your company safe.

Read on to learn about six fire alarm installation mistakes to avoid for businesses.

1. Setting False Alarms

Fire alarms can be life-saving, but they can also be annoying if they are constantly setting off false alarms. False alarms can lead people to believe that there is no threat when there is.

To prevent false alarms, fire alarm installation should be away from doors and ducts. Drafts are often the cause of false alarms.

2. Installing Near the Kitchen

There are certain locations for alarms that are necessary for proper installation. If your business has a kitchen area, it is important to keep your fire alarm away from it.

Fire alarm sensors can get triggered if they are close to appliances like ovens. A fire alarm should get installed about 20 feet away to avoid causing combustion particles.

3. Not Interconnecting Alarms

No matter the types of alarms you use, they need to interconnect. Smoke alarms work together to protect your entire business. No matter where the fire is, the system can warn you.

When one fire alarm sounds, they should all sound. This is especially important if you have a relatively large company. During fire alarm installation, ensure that each alarm is interconnected for maximum protection.

4. Installing One Fire Alarm Type

Because there are different types of alarms, they can detect different fires. For example, ionization alarms can detect actual flames while photoelectric alarms can respond to smoldering fires.

To make your business as safe as possible, install both types of fire alarms. Dual-sensor alarms are also available that works with both alarm types.

5. Forgetting to Test the Alarm

Fire alarm batteries can be tricky. You may think they are right when they are not. This is why it is important to test the alarm after the installation.

After testing it the first time, the maintenance does not stop there. Fire alarm maintenance includes testing your alarm once a month.

About every six months, the batteries should get replaced. This is not the case with newer alarms that have a long-lasting battery already.

Your fire alarm will usually let you know when the battery needs replacement. A chirping alarm means you have to replace the battery as soon as possible.

6. Incorrect Installation

A fire alarm installation should be done correctly. It can come with some difficulties like choosing the right rooms and deciding if drilling needs to be done.

Always read the instructions before installation or have an expert help you. These alarms should be at least 10 centimeters from the wall.

Fire Alarm Installation Made Easier

Fire alarm installation is now made easier when you avoid these common mistakes. To keep your business as safe as possible, alarms need to be installed the right way.

FIREPLACE MAINTENANCE TIPS TO AVOID FIRE HAZARDS

9/15/2021 (Permalink)

FIREPLACE MAINTENANCE TIPS Clean Up the Fireplace at the Start of the Season

Nothing compares to curling up by a crackling fire with a cup of hot cocoa and a good book in hand. While this inviting scene evokes feelings of peace and tranquility, operating a poorly maintained fireplace could have devastating results.

According to the Nation Fire Protection Agency(NFPA), nearly 17,000 home structure fires per year begin in the fireplace, chimney, or chimney connector. Many of these fires could be avoided if homeowners performed proper maintenance. Here’s how to care for and safely use your wood-burning fireplace.

Clean Up the Fireplace at the Start of the Season

Before using your fireplace for the first time this winter, it’s important to clear away any residual debris from the previous year. Creosote, a tar-like substance that clings to chimney walls, is particularly hazardous. Allowing this extremely flammable material to accumulate unchecked could increase your fire risk.

Exposure to creosote dust can be harmful to your health, so it’s recommended that you arrange professional cleaning once a year at the start of the heating season. In addition to removing creosote buildup, a fireplace technician will also thoroughly inspect the system to ensure safe, proper operation. Working with a chimney and fireplace professional reduces hazards and allows you to enjoy peace of mind as you keep warm all season long.

Clean Up Debris

Wood-burning fireplaces require routine cleaning throughout the season as well. Plan to remove ashes once they begin to smell or inhibit your ability to build a fire. Allow the ashes to cool completely before removing them, which takes about 72 hours.

If your fireplace has an ash dump, push the ashes through the metal plate in the floor of the firebox. Then, scoop or sweep up the remaining ashes. You can also vacuum them up with a special ash canister vacuum cleaner. Feel free to sprinkle the ashes over your flowerbeds to provide a natural source of nutrients come spring.

Inspect the Chimney Cap

If you’re comfortable getting on the roof, you can check the condition of your chimney cap yourself. Otherwise, leave this to a professional during your annual fireplace and chimney inspection. Make sure a cap is installed, has the proper spark arrester in place, and is not obstructed by animal nests.

Burn Clean Wood

One of the most important fireplace safety tips is to burn the right wood. Purchase cleaned and seasoned wood or manufactured logs to reduce creosote buildup. Avoid burning treated wood, plastic, rubber, garbage, and colored paper in your fireplace as these produce excessive smoke and toxic fumes.

How the Smoke and Fire Damage Restoration Process Works

9/1/2021 (Permalink)

Smoke and Fire Damage Restoration The smoke and fire damage restoration process is a lengthy and thorough one that is best achieved by a systematic approach.

The smoke and fire damage restoration process is a lengthy and thorough one that is best achieved by a systematic approach. The experienced professionals at SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville begin by completing a detailed assessment of your property to identify the nature, scope, and intensity of the damage. Fires often create a constellation of problems, including damage from water, moisture, heat, smoke, chemicals, and many other factors associated directly or indirectly with the fire itself. This analysis will help us to develop an effective strategy that will enable us to stop any additional damage, repair the damage to your property, dispose of all non-restorable materials and help you get your life back to normal.

SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville uses the latest HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) scrubbers to restore air quality and extract contaminants from the damaged area. Our technicians are certified by the IICRC and will provide extensive documentation as well as photograph and manage the clean-up and restoration process from start to finish.

If water has damaged your furniture, clothing, or other property, United Restoration Services, Inc. will use advanced water extraction, drying, and cleaning methods to restore your valuable belongings to like preloss conditions. Homeowners must be prepared for the total loss of some items. Furniture and other property that was seared, charred, or burned may not be salvageable; but we can remove, clean, protect, pack and preserve valuables that survived the fire, such as equipment, electronics, and sensitive documents, and store them in a safe, secure location until you need them. We can also deodorize areas to eliminate ongoing odors during the restoration process. In addition, we can board up your business or house to protect the property against vandals and trespassers, and to secure it against bad weather and the elements.

Can Mold Come Back After Remediation?

9/1/2021 (Permalink)

Mold can come back after remediation There are many important things to remember when it comes to mold removal.

Mold can only come back after remediation, if …

  1. There is a brand new water intrusion (roof leak, HVAC dripping, plumbing issues, standing water)
  2. Your AC is not cooling properly and at an acceptable temperature
  3. Relative humidity in the home is over 50%
  4. Wet towels or clothing is left balled up for long periods of time
  5. Air circulation is not adequate in small spaces
  6. Mold remediation was not performed properly or in its entirety
  7. You bring mold infected items into your clean environment

It is important to remember that mold needs 2 things to grow:

  1. A food source (drywall, insulation, wood, etc)
  2. Moisture (leak or lack of ventilation)

Good rules of thumb to keep mold from returning:

  1. Keep your AC running at 76 degrees or lower
  2. Refrain from hanging or balling up wet items
  3. Call SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville right away if you have a leak or smell mustiness
  4. Never turn your AC off when the home is not occupied
  5. Get on an AC maintenance plan
  6. Run ventilation fan or keep the bathroom dry during and after showering (temporarily)
  7. Run a dehumidifier daily if you have high humidity (living on the ocean or river)
  8. Limit or eliminate keeping live plants in your home

Word to the Wise: You cannot simply wipe down or paint over mold.

It is imperative that the mold is properly cleaned and that the area is dried out thoroughly. Make sure that all wet areas in your home are properly treated by a professional to avoid the return and regrowth of mold.

Spores can grow in just 48 hours, so make sure to address any needed home repairs immediately.

Mold loves leather, wicker, and wallpaper. These materials are some of the most challenging to rid of the mold due to what they are made of. Same with popcorn ceilings.

The more porous the material, the harder it is to clean. The more mold-affected items that you can dispose of, the better. If you can live without it, let it go.

Water Damage Cleanup Mistakes

9/1/2021 (Permalink)

most common mistakes property owners make in the face of unexpected water damage Experiencing water damage in your home or business can be extremely stressful.

Experiencing water damage in your home or business can be extremely stressful, and most people react by trying to jump to action to clean up the mess immediately.  While it’s crucial to begin mitigating the damage as soon as possible, certain mistakes could cause worse damage to your health, the structure, or both.  The following are some of the most common mistakes property owners make in the face of unexpected water damage.

Doing it Yourself – The Wrong Way

How many times have you spilled something and said, “no big deal, it’s just water!” And this is completely true for small spills.  The problem comes when this attitude attaches itself to larger water damage.  Some water damage truly can be cleaned up with a DIY effort, but it’s important to know what you’re looking for so you don’t miss anything.  Water is pervasive and can easily cause hidden damage if not properly dried.  Drying out and restoring water damage is a far more time-consuming and intensive process than many people realize, which makes it easy to skip steps.  Improper drying and cleanup can lead to more damage in the long run because it causes people to wait too long to complete the drying process.

Waiting Too Long

As mentioned, time is of the essence when dealing with water damage.  For something that seems to be small water damage, it can be tempting to try to DIY and put off hiring a professional and calling your insurance company.  A little bit of water doesn’t seem like that big of a problem.  Unfortunately, even a small amount of water can cause a lot of damage.  Water can seep into cracks and crevices where it will remain unseen, soaking into building materials and encouraging mold growth if it continues to go undetected and unmitigated.  While the damage may seem small initially, it can quickly snowball into a massive problem.

Taking Short Cuts

The unfortunate fact of water damage restoration is the work done must be exceptionally thorough.  There are no viable corners to be cut or shortcuts to take.  The appropriate drying equipment must be used and properly monitored, and the amount of time it takes for the water to completely dry is just how long it takes.  Properly drying, cleaning, and restoring water damage is an investment in both time and money if the job is done correctly.  The consequences of taking shortcuts can be severe – from mold growth to degradation of building materials.

Not Hiring a Professional

Truly, the biggest mistake that can be made when handling water damage is not involving SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville.  At the very least, a technician or project manager should come out and do readings with a moisture meter to assess the damage for you.  Many property owners are surprised to realize the extent of the damage that can’t be seen with the naked eye.  We have the equipment and knowledge to properly assess, dry, and restore water damage from any source, and it’s always best to involve an IICRC certified company such as SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville when you have water damage. The "small" water damage may be far more serious than you thought, and you may change your mind about filing an insurance claim. 

CRIME SCENE – CAN'T I TAKE CARE OF IT MYSELF?

9/1/2021 (Permalink)

 biohazard clean-up Cleaning up a crime scene.

If you find yourself looking at a crime scene, your initial reaction may be to clean it yourself. You may want it to be gone as soon as possible and that's completely understandable. Here are some reasons why you shouldn't do that. 

1. Fluids! Coming into contact with bodily fluids, especially blood, can be harmful. It can carry diseases and pathogens that you just don't want on or near your body!

2. Invisible to the eye! If you don't take care of all of it, you can still receive harmful effects. This means if you try and clean it and leave behind any traces of the scene (even germs and pathogens you can't see), your home won't be as sanitary as you think it is. You know how they say won't you don't know won't hurt you? Well, in this case, it can. 

3. Don't stress! While you may be worried that you can't afford crime scene cleaners, your insurance may take care of it! Don't let this detail keep you from getting the professionals atSERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, and Warrenville in the door!

Never try to clean a crime scene yourself! You'll be happier, more sanitary, and less stressed when you let the professionals come to take care of it. Please contact SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, and Warrenville if you need help with any type of biohazard clean-up job no matter how big or small you may think the job is.

What Causes Commercial Fires?

5/11/2021 (Permalink)

What Causes Commercial Fires? Avoid fires in your commercial business

Business owners and employees must be on guard for these common causes of workplace fires, according to the NFPA:

  • Cooking appliances and equipment. Cooking equipment remain as the leading cause of commercial fires, according to the NFPA. To prevent cooking fires, never leave appliances unattended, perform routine maintenance of kitchen and cooking equipment, and install sprinklers and smoke alarms.
  • Electrical distribution and lighting equipment. Frayed or damaged wiring and malfunctioning lighting equipment should be repaired or replaced by a licensed technician immediately.
  • Office or electronic equipment. Use electronic equipment correctly and never utilize defective or damaged electronic devices. Also, avoid overloading adapters and remove combustible materials near electronics.
  • Heating equipment. Heating fire deaths are most often caused by placing the heating equipment close to flammable materials, such as bedding, mattresses or upholstery.
  • Arson or intentional fires. This type of fire causes the most damage to commercial property and life. To prevent intentional fires, empty trash bins and dumpsters every day. Installing motion detector cameras can also help.
  • Smoking materials. Create a smoking policy for your workplace, such as smoking outside and using ashtrays, to prevent the risk of fire.
  • Exposure fires. If a fire is not contained, it could spread to other materials in its immediate surroundings and cause exposure fire. Protect objects from the heat spread to prevent them from igniting.

How to Prevent Commercial Fire Damage

5/11/2021 (Permalink)

Prevent Commercial Fire Damage Prevent Commercial Fire Damage

Fire prevention is vital to avoid property losses. Here are some tips to protect against a commercial fire.

  • Create an emergency plan. Take time to prepare an emergency plan and discuss it with employees and building staff. 
 
  • Educate employees about fire safety. Since most commercial fires are caused by cooking equipment, office kitchen fire safety tips must be encouraged. Appliances must be unplugged after use. Employees must also be trained regarding the proper use of a fire extinguisher. Most importantly, employees must also familiarize emergency protocols and emergency routes and exits should a small fire go out of control.
  • Perform routine inspections of office equipment. Office equipment must be checked regularly to ensure that they are in good working condition. Frayed electrical cords, damaged electronics and appliances, and malfunctioning heating, electrical, and lighting systems must be attended to immediately.
  • Perform routine inspections of office equipment. Office equipment must be checked regularly to ensure that they are in good working condition. Frayed electrical cords, damaged electronics and appliances, and malfunctioning heating, electrical, and lighting systems must be attended to immediately.
  • Install smoke detectors and alarms. Smoke detectors are among the items that can actually save lives and are the most effective things you can install for fire prevention in the workplace. Install the best ones you can afford and inspect them regularly.
  • Check sprinklers. Automatic sprinklers can help mitigate the impacts of commercial fires. Utilize them in conjunction with a warning system, such as smoke detectors.