Smoke Alarms: Life Savers
When smoke alarms are properly installed and maintained, they save lives. According to the National Fire Protection Association (https://www.nfpa.org/), residential smoke alarms should be in every bedroom and on every level, including the basement. In office and commercial environments, check your state requirements or contact your local fire marshal to help ensure all codes are met. Test smoke alarms monthly using the test button. Smoke alarms with non-replaceable batteries need the entire smoke alarm unit replaced every ten years. Other alarms need batteries replaced every year, and the unit replaced every ten years. If the alarm chirps signaling low battery, take the proper steps to replace the unit or the batteries immediately. Never disable or remove the battery from an alarm. Almost half of fires where smoke alarms were present but did not activate had missing or disconnected batteries. In larger commercial facilities, hard wired or wireless smoke alarms offer benefits such as not needing to be tested as often and activating throughout the entire building if smoke is detected in just one area. If you need help installing, testing or changing batteries in your smoke alarms, contact your local fire department, an electrician or the American Red Cross (https://www.redcross.org/). Be sure your home or workplace has a fire emergency plan in place and conduct regular fire drills. For more information on emergency preparedness, contact SERVPRO of West Pasco at (727)847-3000.
IF A DISASTER STRIKES, WILL YOU BE READY?
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
Centuries later, these wise words from one of our nation’s founder are still salient – especially today. This week we reach the climatological peak of hurricane season, with Hurricane Florence bearing down on the east coast and several more storms brewing in the Atlantic.
With that in mind, preparation is key. Consider the following steps to help you better prepare for an emergency situation.
- Sign up for local alerts and warnings, download apps and/or check access for wireless emergency alerts. (Try this one from the National Weather Service, or turn to your local news outlets.) https://www.weather.gov/subscribe/
- Develop and test emergency communication plans with family and work places.
- Assemble or update emergency supplies. See this list from the National Hurricane Survival Initiative. http://hurricanesafety.org/prepare/hurricane-safety-checklists/
- Learn about local hazards and conduct a drill to practice emergency response actions.
- Participate in a preparedness discussion, training or class.
- Collect and safeguard critical documents.
- Plan with neighbors to help each other and share resources.
- Document property and obtain appropriate insurance for relevant hazards.
- Make property improvements to reduce potential injury and property damage.
Emergencies can happen anytime to anyone. Act now to protect yourself, your family and your property. Over here, preparation is our middle name - SERVPRO of West Pasco stands ready to assist you 24/7. Contact us today at (727) 847-3000.
Storms occur with little warning and can be especially devastating, so you’ll need the company that you can trust to rise to the occasion. Regardless of the type of storm, SERVPRO of West Pasco can handle any size disaster. Our team will work endlessly to ensure our customers are happy, having one objective in the aftermath of disaster, to make their loss “Like it never even happened.”
The SERVPRO of West Pasco team is ready to handle any size loss. With nearly 1,700 franchises nationwide, we have access to numerous highly trained personnel and thousands of pieces of equipment. During catastrophic storms and major events, our Disaster Recovery Team can respond quickly with additional resources.
Our SERVPRO Disaster Recovery teams are strategically placed throughout the country, SERVPRO of West Pasco being one of them, to respond when needed. Our teams have a proven track record for success, assisting with cleanup of floods, tornadoes, wildfires, and damage caused from hurricanes.
Whether it’s a major storm event, or faulty appliance to a busted pipe in your New Port Richey home, SERVPRO of West Pasco will be there with one call to (727)847-3000.
July 2018 Employee of the Month
Our most sincere thanks and congratulations go to Michelle Spencer, SERVPRO of West Pasco’s July 2018 Employee of the Month. Michelle is a perennial client favorite, with her special ability to see immediately identify solutions to big problems and a dedication to doing it right every time the first time. This month alone, our office received multiple calls from clients who picked up the phone just to praise Michelle for her hard work and commitment to customer satisfaction.
As a skilled member of our in-house construction team, Michelle first arrives onsite following stabilization of a water or fire damage, and is tasked with the carpentry and other skilled tasks required to put it back together. With nearly a decade of restoration experience under her belt, Michelle uses her expertise to calm the customers’ nerves, making for a smooth transition as we make it “like it never even happened.”
Off the jobsite, Michelle is a central figure in our company culture, taking the lead on fun projects like making clever and creative costumes for community events, such as our annual entry in the West Pasco Chamber of Commerce YPG Chasco Bowling Tournament or our float for local parades. When it comes to fun, she takes it as seriously as she takes her work in clients’ homes.
Thank you, Michelle, for your upbeat personality, can-do attitude and for being a leader in our production.
June 2018 Employee of the Month
Choosing an employee of the month every 30 days is a tough job when you’ve got such an outstanding team - but we’d like to thank Mike for making this month’s choice easy. Huge shout out to SERVPRO of West Pasco’s June 2018 Employee of the Month, Mike Esposito.
Customer service is always a top priority at SERVPRO of West Pasco; however, last month Mike went above the call of duty. After he was unable to contact a customer for a few days (this was unlike the customer as she was always quick to return phone calls) Mike began to worry. He took multiple trips to the home, even after hours to see if he could reach her and eventually calling authorities to conduct a welfare check. Finally, he was able to verify she was alright, but his diligence turned out to be worthwhile.
We appreciate all that Mike did to verify the safety of our customer. In our line of work, due to the complex nature of restoration projects, we tend to spend significant time with our clients, get to know them, and develop important professional relationships. Ultimately, we are committed to our company values that recognize and promote the value of humanity and the ties that bind all of us together.
Thank you, Mike, for living our values in your daily work.
The Four Primary Water Damage Classifications
The IICRC’s S-500 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration separates water damage into four distinct classes. Each class is based on the severity of the water damage, and they determine what steps must be followed in the mitigation and restoration process.
Class 1 Water Damage - the least amount of water, absorption, and evaporation. These are water losses that impact only a small part of a room or area of a facility, or large areas that contain materials that have absorbed a small amount of moisture. Little to no carpeted or absorbent material present.
Class 2 Water Damage – significant amount of water, absorption, and evaporation. These are water losses that impact full rooms or carpeted areas. Walls are wicked less than 24 inches, and moisture remains in structural materials (Concrete, plywood, and particleboard).
Class 3 Water Damage – the largest amount of water, absorption, and evaporation. These are water losses that saturate an entire area. Walls are wicked over 24 inches or water may have entered from overhead, impacting ceilings, insulation, or sub-floor.
Class 4 Water Damage – Specific drying situations. Wet materials with low porosity or permeance such as plaster, brick, and stone. These materials can absorb water into deep pockets and can require extended drying times or specialized procedures and equipment.
SERVPRO of West Pasco is fully certified to handle any class of water damage from accidental or natural events.
Preventing Mold Growth In Your Port Richey Home
Molds are fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors. No one knows how many species of fungi exist, but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps three hundred thousand or more. Molds grow best in warm, damp, and humid conditions, and spread and reproduce by making spores. Use the following tips to help prevent mold growth in your home.
- Identify problem areas in your home and correct them.Preventing mold from growing or spreading might be as simple as ripping up carpet in a damp basement, installing mold-resistant products, or repairing damaged gutters.
- Dry wet areas immediately.Mold can't grow without moisture, so tackle wet areas right away.
- Prevent moisture with proper ventilation.Make sure an activity as simple as cooking dinner, taking a shower, or doing a load of laundry doesn't invite mold by providing proper ventilation in your bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, and any other high-moisture area.
- Equip your home with mold-resistant products.Building a new home or renovating an old one? Use mold-resistant products like mold-resistant drywall or mold-resistant Sheetrock, and mold inhibitors for paints.
- Monitor humidity indoors.The EPA recommends keeping indoor humidity between 30 and 60 percent. You can measure humidity with a moisture meter purchased from your local hardware store.
- Direct water away from your home.If the ground around your home isn't sufficiently sloped away from the foundation, water may collect there and seep into your crawlspace or basement.
- Clean or repair roof gutters. Have your roof gutters cleaned regularly and inspected for damage. Repair them as necessary and keep an eye out for water stains after storms that may indicate a leak.
- Improve air flow in your home.Without good air flow in your home, that excess moisture may appear on your walls, windows and floors. To increase circulation, open doors between rooms, move furniture away from walls, and open doors to closets that may be colder than the rooms they’re in. Let fresh air in to reduce moisture and keep mold at bay.
- Keep mold off household plants.They're beautiful and help keep your indoor air clean — and mold loves them. The moist soil in indoor plants is a perfect breeding ground for mold, which may then spread to other areas of your house. Instead of getting rid of your plants, try adding a bit of Taheebo tea to the water you give to your houseplants.
SERVPRO of West Pasco has the training, experience, and equipment to handle any mold issues you may find in your home. Call Us Today (727) 847-3000.
SERVPRO Convention 2018
If you happened to visit Mouseland last month, you may have seen a sea of green and orange, in addition to the usual ubiquitous mouse ear hats. This year SERVPRO owners and team members from around the country gathered in Orlando for the annual franchise convention. It’s the “go to” event of the year and for the first time I was able to attend.
As SERVPRO of West Pasco’s Social Media Specialist, my goal is to represent our brand to the best of my ability and having the opportunity to meet with other franchise teams was a learning experience I’ll never forget. Although we operate as a franchise system and each service center is independently owned and operated, we all work as a family supporting our green and orange brothers and sisters, bouncing ideas off each other, what works and what doesn’t.
What made my experience even better was getting to make the two-hour drive from our New Port Richey office to Orlando with one of the best project coordinators known to man, Shanna. In speaking with her about her time at the convention, she was thrilled to learn about upcoming changes to our systems that will make day to day operations run more efficiently. Shanna added in that the presenters themselves were enthusiastic, making the “learning” experience more than just that, it was fun!
Now that the 2018 SERVPRO convention has ended and we’ve brought back the rich information and ideas to our local office, we’d like to thank the corporate team from Gallatin, Tennessee, for their hard work and dedication for continued growth of the green and orange brand.
Hoarding: A Serious Situation
According to The Mayo Clinic, “Hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. A person with hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items. Excessive accumulation of items, regardless of actual value, occurs.” Many people with hoarding disorder do not find their habits to be a problem.
Hoarded items are often things others would throw away or look at as junk or garbage such as hold newspapers, junk mail or packaging. In New Port Richey, we often see hoarding lead to homes filled with extreme clutter to full capacity from years of accumulation, making living conditions unsanitary and crowded. Bugs, fleas, rats, and other vermin may be present, at which point an exterminator would need to be called. At times, hoarding may spread to outside the home as well, to storage facilities, or even the garage or yard.
SERVPRO of West Pasco encounters hoarding situations several different ways. Often, we are called for a fire or water loss and find the hoarding situation when we arrive on-site. A SERVPRO of West Pasco professional will communicate with the insurance company regarding their contents coverage, and after approval, contents can be packed out and possibly cleaned, dried, and stored by SERVPRO of West Pasco, or relocated to a storage facility so work on the fire or water loss can begin.
Another was we encounter hoarding jobs is through calls from landlords, case workers, real estate agents, or family members, often after the death of a loved one. In these situation, the crew will see if they should look for any items of importance while they clean the job. Sometimes, family members will come and try to help the hoarder sort through their contents as well.
Each case is very difficult, and hoarding jobs are often sensitive situations, but SERVPRO of West Pasco professionals are her to help make it “Like it never even happened.” If you encounter a hoarding situation at one of your properties in New Port Richey, Hudson, Trinity, or with your insureds, call SERVPRO of West Pasco today.
Fire Drills: Not Just For School Days
We all remember fire drill days at school, the loud and piercing alarm vibrating through the halls, students lining up single file, determined to get to their meeting spot. We won’t even outgrow fire drills once we’ve made the step into the real world and start working – fire drills follow you wherever you go and that should include your home.
It’s the middle of the night. You’re sound asleep when suddenly the smoke alarms in your house go off. It’s dark. The house is filling with smoke. Fire experts say you have about two minutes to get out safely. Would you and your family know what you should do?
Coming up with and practicing family safety drills can help to make sure your family is prepared in the event of an emergency. It is an important topic to discuss with your family, especially children.
The National Fire Protection Association has a helpful section on how to create a family fire escape plan. It includes how to draw a fire escape path for your home, how to reinforce fire safety to younger children, and tips how to stay as safe as possible during a fire.
Some tips include:
- Practice waking up to smoke alarms, low crawling and meeting outside. Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.
- Have a designated outside meeting place a safe distance from the home
- Assign “partners” for young, elderly, or family members with mobility issues
- Close Doors behind you as you leave each room to slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire
- All members of the household should know two ways to get out of every room.
- Consider escape ladders for sleeping areas or homes on the second floor or above. Learn how to use them and store them near the window.
- Pick a place outside for everyone to meet and make sure everyone knows where it is.
- Practice your home fire drill until everyone in the household can do it in less than two minutes.
- Teach household members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.
Your family’s safety is the first priority. After emergency services have done their job SERVPRO of West Pasco will be here to help you repair, restore, and recover your belongings.