Halloween Safety Tips
Decorations – Remember Fire Safety:
Use battery-powered lights to fire up that jack-o-lantern instead of candles. If you do use a candle in your jack- o-lantern or other decorations, never leave them unattended! Keep candles out of the main walkways where costumes with trailing fabric could come in contact with them. Dried cornstalks, bales of hay, or dried flowers are all flammable, never put them near an open flame!
Watch for trick-or-treaters walking on our often dark, winding Cape Cod roads! Enter and exit your driveway slowly and cautiously. Take a little extra time to check intersections and curbs for kids. Put your cell phone in the back seat to avoid distractions!
Remember our furry friends when answering the door to strangers in strange costumes. Even the most social dog can become startled by a scary visitor! Consider keeping them in another room when the goblins show up. If they are patient enough to tolerate wearing a costume, be sure it does not obstruct their vision, their stress level can increase when they can’t see everything going on around them.
SERVPRO® of Mid-Outer Cape Cod wishes you a very safe and spooky Halloween!
Is it Covered?
Review Your Homeowners Insurance Before Disaster Strikes
Most of us feel comfortable in the knowledge that we have an insurance policy that will cover major disasters like a fire or water damage. Not all disasters, however, are created equal in the eyes of your insurance company. It is a good idea to check with your agent about what is and isn’t covered. You may want to consider purchasing additional coverage.
Although most standard homeowners policies provide coverage for water damage resulting from broken pipes, the policy usually does not cover flood damage from storm surges during hurricanes, overflowing rivers, and sewer backups. Consider purchasing a sewer backup supplement to your homeowners policy before you experience the impact sewage backup can cause to your property. Flood insurance is a separate policy that your provider can purchase through the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program).
When was the last time you reviewed your homeowners insurance policy?
Does the musty odor in my home mean I have mold?
An early indication of mold can be an odor described as ‘musty’ and although it may not be as strong as a moldy odor, it is a good idea to try to find the source quickly to avoid the health effects that mold can cause. Mold spores are everywhere in our environment and although it occurs naturally and is part of nature’s cleanup of decomposing organic matter, we certainly don’t want to find elevated levels of mold in our homes.
A few places to check for potential mold-friendly environments:
- Water leaks – plumbing, roof, walls, basement
- Air conditioning units or drain lines
- Materials that have been wet (newspapers, books, carpets, etc.)
Mold thrives in a moist, humid environment so keeping your home dry by making sure leaks are repaired quickly and the area is thoroughly dried, reducing humidity by running a dehumidifier in areas that tend to be damp – like our Barnstable County basements – are good ways to prevent mold growth.
If you do find mold in your home, SERVPRO® of Mid-Outer Cape Cod is here to help! Call us at 508-778-7378.
Daylight Savings Time Ends This Weekend!
Time to Check Smoke Detectors!
The official end of Daylight Savings Time is this weekend, on November 3 at 2 a.m. Since this is an annual event, it is a good practice to include checking your smoke detectors as you prepare for the colder, darker months ahead. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, 3 out of 5 home fires resulting in a death did not have working smoke detectors. The following should be included in your annual check list:
- Change the batteries:
- Note: Hardwired detectors also have a backup battery that should be changed. If you lose power, the alarm will not work without the battery.
- Smoke detectors have an expiration date:
- Check the manufacturer’s date on your smoke detector. Smoke alarms can begin to lose their sensitivity after about 10 years.
- Test the smoke sensors:
- Pressing the test button will confirm if the battery and audible alarm is working. However, it will not confirm that the smoke sensor is working.
- To test the sensors, use smoke alarm test spray which simulates smoke. However, after 10 years, it is still a good idea to upgrade to the newer models.
- Do you have enough?
- Smoke detectors should be on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
Simple Fire Safety Tips
October is Fire Prevention Month! Did you know that in 1922 the National Fire Protection Association designated the second week of October as Fire Prevention Week to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871? Over the years, October has been designated as Fire Prevention Month - dedicated to raising fire safety awareness to communities across the United States. As we come to the close of Fire Prevention month, here are a few simple fire safety tips for every household that we should follow every month!
- Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children or in a cabinet with a child lock.
- Candle caution! Keep candles at least one foot from anything that can burn. Do not leave candles burning when you are not in the room or when going to sleep! Consider using the battery-operated candles that look like they have a real flame, without the risks.
- Space heaters need space! Leave at least three feet between the heater and anything that can burn. Turn them off when leaving the room, and do not leave them running when going to sleep! Never use a space heater in the bathroom – water and electricity are a hazardous mix!
- Inspect electrical cords – replace cords that are damaged, frayed, or have broken plugs.
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
If your home is damaged by fire or smoke, it is critical to contact a company certified in Fire and Smoke Remediation as soon as possible to prevent additional damage. Your locally-owned SERVPRO® of Mid-Outer Cape Cod is available 24/7 to help you through the cleanup process and minimize the cost of fire and smoke damage to your home. Call us at 508-778-7378 - we are here to help!
Prepare Your Home for Changing Weather
Autumn on Cape Cod is one of our best seasons! There is so much beauty around us as the foliage turns bright and colorful - sometimes even brighter than our signature-green SERVPRO® trucks! But it also brings transitional weather: colder temperatures, the peak months of our hurricane season, and sometimes an early freeze. While the snow and ice of winter are still, hopefully, further down the calendar the shift from summer heat to cooler autumn weather presents certain seasonal conditions that may impact your home. Here are some tips to prevent potential water damage:
- Take proactive steps to safeguard your home against water damage from severe storms or hurricanes that may occur in fall. Have the roof inspected for loose or deteriorating shingles. Cut back any limbs vulnerable to breakage during high winds that can damage the roof or walls. Use caulking or spray foam insulation to seal openings in exterior walls such as around vents or other points of entry to the house around pipes or conduits.
- Clean the gutters. Autumn leaves clog gutters and downspouts. When substantial rainfall occurs, gutters overflow and spill water down exterior walls, sometimes penetrating siding and infiltrating wall cavities. Indoor water damage and mold growth can result. Gutters should always be cleaned from a sturdy ladder, not by standing on the roof! Hire a professional if you are not comfortable working from a ladder.
- To prevent exterior water pipes from bursting when the weather gets below freezing, turn off the shut-off valves to exterior faucets. Run the water until the pipes are empty. Make sure all the water is drained from the pipe to prevent it from freezing which can cause it to crack or burst.
Whether you are a homeowner or a property manager it is important to be proactive to prevent potential damage to your property. Damage may happen but if you use preventative measures you can possibly help minimize the level of damage and lower the cost to repair or replace your property.
If your home or business experiences any type of water damage call SERVPRO® of Mid-Outer Cape Cod at 508-778-7378. We are here to help!
Commercial Property - First Impressions
Commercial Property – First Impressions
With a properly- maintained business, you can create lasting impressions that will bring new customers through word of mouth. Always keep your business looking clean, organized, and inviting. Here are some things to consider when maintaining your commercial property:
- The Exterior of your Building: Speaking of first impressions, the maintenance of your building’s exterior will speak volumes to new customers. Consider their first impression when they drive in to your parking area: is the building in need of repair? is the landscaping neat and appealing or a little neglected?
- The Interior of your Building: Once you’ve attracted the customer to your business, having a clean interior will help keep them in the doors. Look for things that might need repairs or touch ups and fix them. Always keep the interior of your business clean. Regularly dust, vacuum, and maintain any appliances. Keep bathrooms looking spotless and hygienic.
- The Details: Don’t forget about the little things, like making sure the light fixtures are dusted or the bathroom soap is refilled. Customer’s will notice and appreciate the attention to detail.
- Utilities: Regularly check and maintain your utilities. This includes air conditioning units, water heaters, and other utilities your business depends on. There is nothing worse than having a utility break down during business hours. Maintain a comfortable atmosphere for both customers and employees.
- Not only does maintaining your property attract customers, but it also preserves its value. If you feel like you may have fallen behind on the maintenance of your business, or you just want a deep cleaning to bring back its appeal, call SERVPRO® of Mid – Outer Cape Cod! 508-778-7378.
Home Fire Extinguishers - P.A.S.S. it on!
Do you follow safety guidelines and keep a fire extinguisher in your home? If so, are you certain you have the correct type to fight the fire? A fire extinguisher should be kept in your garage, kitchen, and on each floor of your home. Whether you already own one or are about to purchase one, learn about the different types of extinguishers for the application.
Below are the four basic types of extinguishers:
- Class A extinguishers put out fires in ordinary combustibles, such as wood and paper.
- Class B extinguishers should be used on fires involving flammable liquids, such as grease, gasoline, and oil.
- Class C extinguishers are suitable for electrically energized fires.
- Class D extinguishers should be used on flammable metals and are typically specific for the type of metal in question.
Most home fire safety experts recommend medium size, multipurpose fire extinguishers that are labeled as suitable for use on class A, class B, and class C fires.
You and other potential users in your household should thoroughly read the extinguisher’s instructions on a periodic basis. A professional fire equipment supplier should inspect each extinguisher annually.
Only use a fire extinguisher if these four conditions are true:
Many times you’re much better off to let professionals handle any fire. Only use an extinguisher when:
1) the fire is confined to a small area, and is not growing
2) the room is not filled with smoke
3) everyone else has exited the building
4) the fire department has been called.
Remember the P.A.S.S. word!
Most household fire extinguishers operate using the following P.A.S.S. technique:
- PULL: Pull the pin. This will also break the tamper seal.
- AIM: Aim low, pointing the extinguisher nozzle (or its horn or hose) at the base of the fire.
- SQUEEZE: Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.
- SWEEP: Sweep from side to side at the base of the fire until it appears to be out. Watch the area. If the fire re-ignites, repeat steps 2 - 4.
If you have the slightest doubt about your ability to fight a fire.... EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY!
Important! Once the seal on a fire extinguisher has been broken, it must be serviced before the next use!
Many homeowners throughout Barnstable County will experience water damage to their basement during this rainy spring season. This could be due to cracks in your foundation, sump pump failures, high water tables, and more. Heavy rain or unusually high tides produced by storms can spell bad news for a lot of homeowners who regularly experience water damage. If you begin to notice water/moisture in your basement, act quickly! Water damage can easily turn into mold issues and drastically increase the cost and time of restoration. It can be difficult to decide if drying the area can be self-resolved or needs professional attention. If this is a question you find yourself asking, it is best to go with the latter. A variety of issues can arise from attempting to self-dry your home after experiencing water damage. If the moisture is not dried quickly enough, there is a large possibility that mold growth could occur. If the moisture is dried in an adequate amount of time, but a dehumidifier is not set up, mold could begin to grow as well. When it comes to water damage and preventing mold growth, call the professionals at SERVPRO® of Mid-Outer Cape Cod: 508-778-7378. We are here to help!
Hurricane Season - Be Prepared!
Be Prepared for Hurricane Season!
The Atlantic hurricane season officially begins on June 1. Hurricane hazards come in many forms, including storm surge, heavy rainfall, inland flooding, high winds, tornadoes, and rip currents. The National Weather Service is responsible for protecting life and property through issuance of timely watches and warnings, but it is essential that your family be ready before a storm hits. In addition to battening down the hatches on your home, you should have an emergency supply kit to last each family member and pet for at least three days. A basic kit should include the following supplies:
- Basics: Flashlights, candles, lighters, matches in water-proof container, manual can openers, first-aid kit, towels, and batteries.
- Electronics: In addition to keeping your cell phone charged before losing power, make sure you have a portable charger to charge your devices during a power outage. Having a prepaid phone and spare battery in the kit can come in handy if something happens to your phone during an evacuation.
- Radio: an emergency radio that charges by hand-crank, in case cell service is out, will keep you informed of weather alerts.
- Food: You should store at least 3 days of non-perishable food including canned and dehydrated food.
- Medical Supplies: Pack a week’s supply of your prescription drugs in a waterproof container or bag. CVS and Walgreens recommend visiting your local pharmacy to stock up ahead of time. If your medications need to be kept cold, have a small cooler with ice on hand. Don’t forget batteries for medical devices.
- Water: Have multiple cases of water accessible. A rule of thumb is 1 gallon per person (or pet) per day.
- Clothing: Keep a change of clothing on hand (vacuum-packed saves space!) including shoes.
Experiencing fire, smoke, water, or mold damage? Call SERVPRO® of The Mid and Outer Cape any time at 508-778-7378.