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Types of Biohazard

2/1/2021 (Permalink)

Biohazard sign Biohazard sign

Many different biohazardous situations can occur in a home. Sewage backing up into a home is the most common biohazard problem. However, there are some less-frequent problems that may require special attention. In this blog, we will discuss two of these issues: Animal infestation, and hoarding. While many people think that these are not biohazard situations, they can each present health and safety risks that must be handled carefully.

Animal Infestation:

Animal infestation happens when non-pet animals take over your home. For example, birds or raccoons making nests in the attics or mice making their homes in your walls. Having these unwanted guests is not only damaging to your home, but it can be harmful to your health as well. Some animals can act as disease vectors, bring illnesses with them. Their droppings may also contain dangerous microbes that can cause disease.

Hoarding:

You’ve seen the hoarding shows on TV, and some people are wondering if that stuff is real. Well in some cases, it’s very real. There are a few different types of hoarders:

  • “Clean” hoarders that collect an excessive amount of stuff, but they generally keep a clean house. You normally see this in elderly couples’ homes, where they have collected many items over a period of decades.

  • “Dirty” hoarders that have a substantial excess of property and garbage in their home, and have lost control of the cleanliness of their living space. There may be piles of dirty dishes and trash everywhere, as well as large amounts of spoiled food. Insect and rodent infestation is a common side effect of this type of hoarding.

  • Animal hoarders. These hoarders have a large amount of animals in their home. They typically can’t keep up with cleanup of the animal waste, or the animals’ basic needs. This can result in dangerous amounts of bacteria from animal waste, and present a substantial health hazard.

Hoarding can cause permanent structural damage in a home. But the greater concerns are the health and safety risks involved. There can be air quality issues caused by mold or bacterial growth. Proper cleanup and waste removal are critical to bring the property back to a state that is safe for occupancy.

If you know someone that is dealing with any type of biohazard issue, SERVPRO of Breckinridge, Grayson, Meade and Hancock Counties has trained, certified technicians available to help anytime.

Slips, Trips, and Falls

2/1/2021 (Permalink)

Falling Slip, tripping, and falling

Slips, trips, and falls are the number one cause of injuries in the workplace. When someone gets injured on the job, not only does it hurt the employee physically and financially, but it also hurts the employers through increased insurance rates and lost productivity.

Typical locations on the body for slip, trip, and fall injuries:

  • Knee, ankle and/or foot
  • Wrist and/or elbow
  • Back and/or shoulder
  • Hip
  • Head

Typical Injuries:

  • Sprains and strains
  • Bruises and contusions
  • Fractures
  • Abrasions and lacerations

Some common workplace trips:

  • Uncovered hoses, cables, wires, or extension cords across aisles or walkways
  • Clutter, obstacles in aisles, walkway and work areas
  • Open cabinet, file or desk drawers, and doors

Human Factors:

  • Carrying or moving cumbersome objects, or moving too many items at one time
  • Not paying attention to surroundings or being distracted
  • Taking unapproved shortcuts
  • Being in a hurry and rushing
  • Failing eyesight and/or visual perception
  • Age
  • Stress or Illness
  • Medications, alcohol and drug effects

Measures to Prevent Slips, Trips, and Falls:

  • Design of workplace & work processes
    • Design workplace and processes to prevent potential exposures to slip & trip hazards
  • Good housekeeping
    • Maintain clear, tidy work areas free of clutter
  • Safe walking practices
    • Follow safe walking practices and routes
    • Wear proper footwear with good traction

Maintaining Your Furnace for a Warm, Worry Free Winter

1/27/2021 (Permalink)

Furnace SERVPRO

Most people don’t think about their furnace until it’s time to crank up the heat. however, neglecting this crucial piece of home equipment when it’s not in use could wind up costing you in the long run not only in higher heating bills but also in fire cleaning and smoke cleaning costs. Here are some tips to keep your furnace in good working condition.

Get Your Furnace Professionally Serviced

The general rule of thumb is to get a professional to inspect and service your furnace once a year, typically in the early fall. This timing gives you the opportunity to fix any problems a technician finds before temperatures drop and you need to turn up the heat. Professional furnace technicians typically do the following during an annual inspection:

  • Clean your furnace
  • Test for operational efficiency
  • Tighten loose hardware and replace any broken parts
  • Check the wiring for fire hazards

The last action is essential to preventing home fires and avoiding additional fire cleaning costs, including flooding and smoke remediation.

Perform Simple Furnace Maintenance Throughout the Year
While it is best to have a professional take on more complex furnace maintenance tasks, there are some easy things you can do throughout the year to keep your furnace in prime condition. The most critical thing is to replace your filters regularly — every 90 days is standard for some filter types. If you have pets, however, it is best to switch the filters every 60 days.
You also need to check your thermostat to ensure it is working in tandem with your furnace’s electrical system. Circuits can get tripped and if they aren’t fixed, it can cause a larger, more expensive issue down the line. Finally, make sure you choose a sensible temperature for your home so as not to exhaust your system and keep your heating bills down.
Avoid the need for fire cleaning. If you diligently maintain your furnace, it will thank you with years of worry-free and fire-free warmth.

Tips on Keeping Pipes from Freezing

12/9/2020 (Permalink)

Image of burst pipe A pipe break that is leaking water.

With winter right around the corner, there is always a risk of frozen pipes. With some seasonal preparation, you can significantly reduce your risk of plumbing breaks, and the water damage it can cause. Here are a few tips on how to do that.

Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
In extreme cold conditions, open kitchen and bathroom cabinets to expose the pipes to warmer air. Make sure any harmful cleaners or household chemicals are out of reach for pets and children.
During freezing temperatures, allow a small amount of water to drizzle from the faucet. This continuous movement of water through the pipes helps keep them from freezing.
Keep the thermostat at the same temperature at night and during the day. During freezing temperatures, you want to keep the temperature at least 70 degrees.
If you’re going to be gone during the cold weather, you’ll want to leave the thermostat to at least 55 degrees.
If you happen to experience a water damage because of a frozen pipe this winter season, know that SERVPRO of Breckinridge, Grayson, Meade and Hancock Counties is here to help.

IICRC

12/9/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Of Breckinridge, Grayson, Meade and Hancock Counties  270-580-2000 - Image of IICRC logo IICRC

In the fire and water restoration business, it is important to perform all work in accordance with industry standards. Standards create a set of best practices to ensure restoration work is effective, and protects the health and safety of both workers and occupants. In the restoration industry, the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is the certifying body in the United States.

The IICRC develops and maintains standards for many facets of property restoration. It is the most utilized technical information in the inspection, cleaning and restoration industries. IICRC is ANSI-accredited, and recognized by some local, state and federal authorities.

Certification classes are taught by IICRC-approved instructors. There are over 25 certifications and continuing education requirements to maintain certification. This helps us keep all certified technicians refreshed and updated on any changes that may arise in the industry. SERVPRO of Casper is an IICRC Certified Firm. We are listed in the IICRC global locator, which is accessed by consumers and industry professionals.

A list of Certifications that is offered:

  • Applied Microbial Remediation Technician

  • Applied Structural Drying Technician

  • Building Moisture Thermography

  • Commercial Carpet Maintenance Technician

  • Carpet Cleaning Technician

  • Commercial Drying Specialist

  • Color Repair Technician

  • Floor Care (Hard Surfaces) Technician

  • Fire and Smoke Restoration Technician

  • House Cleaning Technician

  • Odor Control Technician

  • Rug Cleaning Technician

  • Resilient Floor Inspector

  • Resilient Flooring Maintenance Technician

  • Carpet Repair and Reinstallation Technician

  • Senior Carpet Inspector

  • Stone, Masonry and Ceramic Tile Cleaning Technician

  • Trauma and Crime Scene Technician

  • Upholstery and Fabric Technician

  • Wood Floor Maintenance Technician

  • Wood and Laminate Flooring Inspector

  • Water Damage Restoration Technician

If you want to learn more about the IICRC, please visit IICRC.org.

 

Bio Hazard Clean Up

12/9/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Of Breckinridge, Grayson, Meade and Hancock Counties  270-580-2000 - Image of crime scene tape Crime Scene Tape

SERVPRO of Breckinridge, Grayson, Meade and Hancock Counties is trained and equipped to respond to any type of biohazard situation. We can clean up crime scenes, hoarding, animal and human waste, and unattended death. This is not the most pleasant part of our job, but it is critical that it is handled properly. Here are a few types of biohazards, with an explanation of what they entail.

Unattended Death:

When a loved one passes away, and discovered after the fact, some cleanup is often necessary. We are aware that this situation can be very stressful for friends and family of the deceased.  The technicians at SERVPRO of Casper respond to these jobs with compassion, and perform the necessary services quickly and safely. It is our goal to provide our cleanup services in a caring manner, and to try to alleviate some of the stress, allowing you and your family to move forward.

Hoarding:

Hoarding can often develop into a biohazard situation. Excessive household garbage and spoiled food are common in a hoarder house. This can attract insects and rodents, and dangerous bacteria can be present throughout the home.

Other Types of Biohazards:

Sewage backups, certain medical emergencies, and crime scenes are examples of other biohazards that require special attention. Bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens may be present. Special cleanup procedures and products are critical to ensure the health and safety of the occupants of the property.

If you have a biohazard problem that requires immediate attention, call SERVPRO of Breckinridge, Grayson, Meade and Hancock Counties anytime. We can respond rapidly, while handling the situation with dignity and respect.

Holiday Cooking

12/7/2020 (Permalink)

Holiday meal SERVPRO Of Breckinridge, Grayson, Meade and Hancock Counties 270-580-2000

A table that is full of a holiday meal.
Holiday cooking can be a lot of work, but it can also be very enjoyable. There is a lot that needs to be considered when it comes to doing a big holiday meal. How many people are coming? Do you have enough food? What time should you start cooking the bird, and all of the side dishes? With all these decisions, and the holiday conversations and chaos, safety is often forgotten.
Believe it or not, cooking is the number one cause of home fires during the holidays. The American Red Cross has come up with a list of safety items to do, so you have a safe and happy holiday.
• Make sure you have a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on every level of your home, and inside and outside of any sleeping rooms if you sleep with the doors closed.
• Don’t wear loose clothing or sleeves that dangle while cooking.
• If you’re frying, grilling, or broiling, don’t leave it unattended. If you leave the kitchen, make sure someone is in the area or turn off the stove.
• If you’re simmering, baking, or broiling food, check on it regularly.
• The timer is your friend. Be sure to set it when cooking to remind you that stuff is in the oven.
• It is best to keep kids and pets away from the cooking area.
• Keep anything that can catch on fire away from anything that generates heat. Oven mitts, pot holders, wooden utensils, bags, towels and curtains are examples.
• Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis. This helps prevent grease build up.
• Make sure you double-check all your appliances before going to bed. You want to make sure everything is shut off.
• It is a good idea to get a fire extinguisher to put in your kitchen in case of an accidental fire. Make sure you purchase the proper type of extinguisher, and know how to use it.

We at SERVPRO of Breckinridge, Grayson, Meade and Hancock Counties want to wish you all a very safe and happy holiday season!!!

Residential Water Toilet Overflow Is More Than a Messy Cleanup

8/17/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Of Breckinridge, Grayson, Meade and Hancock Counties  270-580-2000 SERVPRO

Dealing with an overflowing toilet in your Kentucky, home is frustrating, especially if the situation seems to frequently occur. Along with the mess it leaves behind, a flooded toilet can quickly lead to water damage in other areas of the home. As well as potentially being a costly endeavor, repair is made worse by the fact that the toilet could be a sign of a bigger sewer damage issue.

Toilet Problems

In most situations, there are three main reasons for a toilet overflowing:

Clogged Lines: This is the most frequent culprit, and a plunger often can fix the issues. In some cases, the clog may be too far down the line, a situation which may require calling a plumber. Frequent clogs may indicate it is time for a new toilet as well as serve as a reminder to only flush waste and toilet paper.
Blocked Vents: Plumbing fixtures store air and release it when flushing. Debris in vents can quickly lead to clogs that make toilets begin to drain more slowly or stop altogether.
Sewer Issues: The plumbing in your home is connected to the outside world. If the main line to the sewer is clogged or broken, it can cause sewage backup. Along with toilet issues, there may be leaks in the basement or around other drains.

Professional Cleanup
When the culprit is sewer damage, it means that the overflowing water is contaminated and should be handled by a sewage company. Considered black water, it contains potentially harmful pathogens and microorganisms. If the overflowing water had waste in it, it is best to contact a water remediation and restoration expert to handle the problem. Along with having the proper safety gear for the process, they have the know-how to detect additional damage and ensure that the cleanup is done properly. This guarantees your bathroom and affected areas are safe and clean.
While a toilet issue may seem like something that is easy to deal with, checking that there is no sewer damage is imperative before diving into cleanup.

Minimizing Flood Risk for Your Home

8/17/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Of Breckinridge, Grayson, Meade and Hancock Counties  270-580-2000 SERVPRO

Water damage due to flooding is in the top three reasons for homeowners’ insurance claims. Many homeowners don’t realize how common it is to have a first-level or basement flood. This summary of flood risk and flood prevention may help you reduce your risk level.

Common Sources of Home Flooding

The following flood dangers are a few of the ways water can make its way into your home and cause damage:

  • Internal sources such as broken pipes or leaking appliances
  • Rivers or streams overflowing during severe storms
  • Sump pumps failing
  • Municipal failures, such as water main breaks and dam breaches
  • Drainage malfunctions during severe storms

Whatever flood culprit threatens your home, it’s important to minimize your risk. Determining your home’s risk level is the first step.

Reducing Your Home Flood Risk

The best strategy for reducing your risk of a ground-level or basement flood is to arm yourself with information and preparation. A flood risk assessment for your home will tell you whether you should have flood insurance and will allow you to design a custom emergency preparedness plan. Your local flood remediation service or insurance agent can arrange a risk assessment for you.
If your property bears even a moderate risk for flooding, it’s prudent to purchase a flood insurance policy issued by the US Government. Your conventional homeowner’s policy will not cover home water damage unless the source of the flooded area was inside your home; if a water heater leak caused a basement flood in your Kentucky, home, your homeowner’s policy would likely cover you.
Based on your risk assessment, you can create a comprehensive flood prevention plan. In general, it’s a smart idea to schedule a walkthrough of your home with your family to identify emergency evacuation routes and discuss your plan. Signing up for local and national emergency notification services is also a good precaution.
A home flood risk assessment is your template for your emergency response plan. Creating and implementing the plan can mean the difference between a little water in the corner of your basement and extensive water damage.

Microwave Oven Safety

8/17/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Of Breckinridge, Grayson, Meade and Hancock Counties  270-580-2000 SERVPRO

We have all thought about the left-over pizza in our refrigerators and cannot wait to get home to reheat it in a microwave oven. These appliances are great to reheat and enjoy leftovers and other snacks without the hassle of actually cooking them. But, did you know that there are potential hazards to microwaves?

 When not maintained properly, microwaves ovens can become extremely hazardous. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 1 in 6 of microwave ovens cause home fires every year. Once a fire is ignited in the microwave, it can quickly catch the whole appliance on fire. This can lead to the fire spreading to other areas of your kitchen and potentially your whole house. These fires can cause an annual average of 10 deaths, 150 injuries, and around $31 million in property damage.

To prevent potential, follow these tips below:

  • Purchase a microwave oven that is listed by a qualified testing laboratory. Make sure to complete and return the product registration card. This way the manufacturer can reach you if there is a recall on the product.
  • Make sure children are supervised when using microwaves.
  • Plug the microwave oven directly into the wall outlet – never use an extension cord.
  • Make sure the microwave oven is at a safe height, within easy reach of all users.
  • Open food slowly, away from the face. Hot steam or the food itself can cause burns.
  • Food heats unevenly in microwave ovens. Stir and test before eating or giving to children.
  • Never heat a baby bottle in the microwave.
  • Clean regularly.

If a fire happens to break out, follow these steps:

  • Leave the door to the microwave closed.
  • Turn the microwave off and unplug it from the wall.
  • Call the fire department immediately.

Home fires happen unexpectedly and are can sometimes be out of control. Remember if your home suffers from fire damage, SERVPRO will be ready to help and make it “Like it never even happened.”