National Preparedness Month: Storm Prep
Preparation isn't about convenience, rather the relief that you did."
During this time of year in Mississippi we not only experience a lot of heat but also rain, which includes thunderstorms. It’s important to be prepared and have a plan in place. Talk with your family and create an emergency plan for thunderstorms, floods, and hurricanes. It would be beneficiary to think about an emergency shelter and evacuation plan. Below, we have a few suggestions to make sure you and your family are ready for whatever happens.
Protect Your Electronics
Your electronics can get fried if they are not properly protected. Plug electronics into a surge protector to avoid damage during a storm.
Prepare for Power Outages
Have battery-operated flashlights and lanterns in easy to get to places. Check on these items from time to time to make sure the batteries still work, replace them if necessary. Also, think about keeping the refrigerator and freezer doors shut to keep food from spoiling. If these food items rise above 40 degrees for 2 hours or more, they should be disregarded. Call your local power company to inform them of the outage and to get information regarding when the power should be restored.
Stay Away from Power Lines
Do not go near power lines should they fall to the ground, they can be very hazardous. Call 911 if you see downed power lines.
Don't Stay Outside
If you hear thunder, it is likely that lightning is also occurring. Lightning can be dangerous, therefore, make sure to go inside when thunder occurs.
There are many different natural elements which can occur and be harmful when outside during a disaster. Therefore, during a storm, it is important to seek shelter and be safe. If you're inside, a good place to be is at the lowest level of your home. If you have a basement or storm cellar you can hang out in until the storm passes.
Handy Emergency Kit
Consider putting together a kit of things you may want to have on hand during a storm. Items you may want to include would be water, non-perishable food, flashlights, blankets extra batteries, a radio, and a first aid kit.
If disaster does strike your home during a storm, your SERVPRO friends are ready to be apart of the team that pieces it back together. #SERVPROStrong
National Preparedness Month: Business Prep
Flying Debris Protection
High winds produce flying debris which can cause property damage, like a roof leak or broken windows, and even structural damage, like a fractured wall. We can help you minimize the risk of flying debris by following these tips.
1. Trim Trees and Clean Grounds
While high winds may result in a few missing shingles, the most significant damage is caused by flying tree branches and other miscellaneous debris. Therefore, all trees and bushes should be trimmed to minimize the risk of a damaged roof or structure. Additionally, you can police the property daily to collect any refuse, ensuring that it, too, does not harm your property in future storms.
2. Secure and Reinforce Exterior Objects/Decor
Exterior objects like signs, furniture and fences, should be secured and reinforced to minimize any potential property damage. Depending on the severity of the winds, furniture and fence posts can become projectiles in volatile storms. You can secure these objects by mounting them to cement slabs or, regarding fences, replacing loose boards and railings.
3. Convert Gravel Pathways and Landscaping to Dirt or Concrete
A roof leak is common after high winds, and the main reason is roof damage caused by flying debris. Loose gravel and rock are some of the most common elements of flying debris, and each material adds to the risk of property damage during high winds. Replacing gravel driveways and pathways with concrete or asphalt and converting rock beds to mulch will minimize your risks during wind storms.
4. Create an Emergency Action Plan
While you can take every preventative measure possible, nothing is guaranteed, and that is why you should have an emergency action plan in place. Restoration specialists from around the Selma, AL, area help with this type of planning, and many even offer customized plans that take effect immediately following a disaster.
Wind damage can result in many issues like a roof leak or broken windows, but there are things you, as a business owner, can do to help protect your property. Trimming trees, policing the grounds and reducing risks through appropriate landscaping are all proactive ways of protecting your business from future high wind storms.
How DIY Can Get Out of Hand
Don’t Do It Yourself
We understand you want to save money, but taking the job upon yourself can cause more damage than it is worth. Don't be a “do-it-yourselfer”.
We had someone call about an extensive water leak in the roof. After they called around different businesses, they then decided to become a “do-it-yourselfer”. After a few hours on "Google" and "YouTube” they thought the job seemed simple enough. They then went to the expense to rent a carpet cleaner and buy a small dehumidifier. Thinking they fixed the problem themselves, they began to smell a musty odor. So they call SERVPRO of Brookhaven, McComb & Columbia to come deodorize the home, however our technicians wanted to find the location of the smell.
After pulling the baseboards and the corners of the carpet up, we noticed immediately the water and the mold starting. After the initial inspection was done we provided them with a full estimate to fix the damages. They were shocked at how much lower our estimate was from all the others they had received. Within hours we began our work, returning this family’s home to "like new" condition in only two weeks.
We care for helping our community, and our priority is doing the job right the first time. Check in on our social media to stay updated on water and mold tips.
Save yourself in the beginning— You call, we help. (205) 926-6010
Why SERVPRO: Experience, Dedication & Care
When fire and water take control of your life, we help you take it back.
We, at SERVPRO of Centreville, Marion & Selma, truly care for your situation.
We understand that disasters happen at anytime, and the stress that it brings to you. Travis and our office manager is dedicated to spending time on the phone with you— writing down every little detail of the situation, scheduling around your time and getting in touch with your adjuster. Sometimes, whether business owner or homeowner, you need some words of encouragement during this emotional time. We are here to help you.
Our whole crew teams up with the owner and calculates how we can get the job done the most efficient, fastest and cost-friendly way. We do not encourage disposal of damaged items. SERVPRO of Centreville, Marion and Selma Alabama will always try to salvage your personal belongings and your business's equipment, if we can.
Though our office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., that is not always the case with our technicians, especially our owner Travis Boyd. Depending on how crucial the damage is, they will stay till dark and on weekends working to get your home or business back to preloss conditions. We are dedicated to what we do, and we want you to feel comfortable in our care.
If at anytime you have any questions about our services and prices, please do not hesitate to call during our office hours or reach out through email.
Phone: (205) 926-6010
Winter Tips: How to Safely Stay Warm
No one likes to be cold! Portable electric space heaters can be a convenient source of supplemental heat for your home or work place during cold weather. Unfortunately, they can pose significant fire and electric shock hazards if not used properly.
How to keep your home safe and warm:
- Make sure your space heater has the label showing that it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory.
- Before using any space heater, read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels carefully.
- Inspect heaters for cracked or broken plugs or loose connections before each use. If frayed, worn or damaged, do not use the heater.
- Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when you're leaving a room or going to sleep, and don't let pets or children play too close to a space heater.
- Space heaters are only meant to provide supplemental heat and should never be used to warm bedding, cook food, dry clothing or thaw pipes.
- Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home and outside all sleeping areas and test them once a month.
- Proper placement of space heaters is critical. Heaters must be kept at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including papers, clothing and rugs.
- Locate space heaters out of high traffic areas and doorways where they may pose a tripping hazard.
- Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. Do not use an extension cord or power strip, which could overheat and result in a fire. Do not plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater.
- Place space heaters on level, flat surfaces. Never place heaters on cabinets, tables, furniture, or carpet, which can overheat and start a fire.
- Always unplug and safely store the heater when it is not in use.
National Preparedness Month: Storm Evacuation Tips
Be prepared during this hurricane season
Before an Evacuation
Plan how you will leave and where you will go if you are advised to evacuate.
- Identify several places you could go in an emergency such as a friend’s home in another town or a motel. Choose destinations in different directions so that you have options during an emergency.
- If needed, identify a place to stay that will accept pets. Most public shelters allow only service animals.
- Be familiar with alternate routes and other means of transportation out of your area.
- Always follow the instructions of local officials and remember that your evacuation route may be on foot depending on the type of disaster.
During an Evacuation
- A list of open shelters can be found during an active disaster in your local area by downloading the FEMA app
- Listen to a battery-powered radio and follow local evacuation instructions.
- Take your emergency supply kit.
- Leave early enough to avoid being trapped by severe weather.
- Take your pets with you, but understand that only service animals may be permitted in public shelters. Plan how you will care for your pets in an emergency now.
- If time allows:
- Call or email the out-of-state contact in your family communications plan. Tell them where you are going.
- Secure your home by closing and locking doors and windows.
- Unplug electrical equipment such as radios, televisions and small appliances. Leave freezers and refrigerators plugged in unless there is a risk of flooding. If there is damage to your home and you are instructed to do so, shut off water, gas and electricity before leaving.
- Leave a note telling others when you left and where you are going.
- Wear sturdy shoes and clothing that provides some protection such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts and a hat.
- Check with neighbors who may need a ride.
- Follow recommended evacuation routes. Do not take shortcuts; they may be blocked.
- Be alert for road hazards such as washed-out roads or bridges and downed power lines. Do not drive into flooded areas.
After an Evacuation
If you evacuated for the storm, check with local officials both where you’re staying and back home before you travel.
- Residents returning to disaster-affected areas after significant events should expect and prepare for disruptions to daily activities, and remember that returning home before storm debris is cleared is dangerous.
- Let friends and family know before you leave and when you arrive.
- Charge devices and consider getting back-up batteries in case power-outages continue.
- Fill up your gas tank and consider downloading a fuel app to check for outages along your route.
- Bring supplies such as water and non-perishable food for the car ride.
- Avoid downed power or utility lines; they may be live with deadly voltage.
- Stay away and report them immediately to your power or utility company.
- Only use generators away from your home and NEVER run a generator inside a home or garage, or connect it to your home's electrical system.
Water Damage Insight for Business Owners
Actions You Need To Take on Category 1 Water Damage
Most business owners are terrified when they hear those two dreaded words: water damage. However, what some do not realize is that there are different levels of water damage. Business owners need to be aware that clean water will also need to be properly taken care of to avoid damage, loss, and a progression to other, more serious water damage categories. If your property in Centreville, Marion, or Selma, AL, has water damage, here is a guide to how it starts and what action you need to take:
- What is Category 1 water damage? Category 1 water damage is caused by a clean water source that has not been contaminated. Since this water originates from sanitary conditions, it is not a risk to your health to be exposed to it. This category of water damage is the easiest to clean up. However, Category 1 water damage can progress quickly into Category 2 and Category 3 if not treated as soon as possible.
- What are the main causes of Category 1 water damage? The main sources of Category 1 water damage are usually a water supply line from an appliance that has broken, a sink or bathtub overflowing, or a broken pipe.
- What is the cleanup process like? Specific professional water damage restoration services are needed, even with Category 1 damage. Removal of water is the first step, with remediation to follow if there is damage to the property. There are a variety of drying and restoration procedures to help save as much as possible. Certain things, such as carpets and walls, may be too damaged and therefore will have to be replaced.
Dealing with clean water damage can be stressful. By knowing how it starts and what steps you need to take, you will be better prepared to handle the situation and get your business back to normal.
How Sump Pumps Work
Sump Pumps— Let's Break it Down
Understanding the home building process is extremely beneficial when understanding how sump pumps work.
After a hole is dug by an excavator for a basement, the next step is to put in foundation footings. Foundation footings in Alabama are typically a poured cement slab, often reinforced with rebar. The footings are poured into the excavated trench essentially in an outline of the foundation walls. The footings provide a foundation upon which the cement bricks of the foundation will be laid, or upon which the cement walls of the foundation will be poured, depending on the type of basement wall construction used. The soil upon which these footings are poured needs to stay at a consistent moisture level to prevent settlement, heave, or differential movement. That’s where the sump pump and its supporting system comes into play.
A drain system is installed around the perimeter of the foundation/footings. This drain system is essentially a system of pipes (surrounded by crushed stone) with holes in the top that collect water that is heading towards the foundation walls. The water that is collected in these pipes is redirected into a sump crock in the basement, where a pump then pumps the water up and out of the basement. Proper installation and maintenance of this entire system is essential to keeping a basement dry and stable.
Our mission is to help our community by serving you. The more knowledge you acquire around your home, the farther you set yourself ahead when potential damages come knocking on your door.
Follow us on Facebook for more helpful tips and info.
Danger: Washing Machine Malfunction
One of the most well-known causes of water damage in your home, washing machines can cause costly damage. After the deductible is paid, the average claim nationally for water damage from washing machine malfunction is more than five thousand dollars.
Since washing machines have various ways of creating water damage to your home, many homeowners do not totally understand the prevention options, risks, or cleanup options. Knowing just a bit about how your washing machine can create water damage, you can save thousands of dollars and many headaches. When this happens, professionals should be called.
Supply Hose Leaks
Over 50% of claims from washing machine water damage can be traced to the failure of your supply hose. It can be caused by an aging hose, a poor connection to the wall or machine, or the hose being pinched while it is installed, causing a hairline break. Intake hoses are high-flow lines and can put out more than six hundred gallons of water in one hour. If the supply hose on your machine is over five years old or is not steel braided, get it replaced as soon as you can.
Drainage Issues And Flooding
If there is a clog in your drainage pipe, the sewer backs up, or your drain pipe is not properly lined up, the drainage system of your washing machine causes some water damage at least. Most importantly, avoid a clog in the sewer line. When this backs up, you can be faced with water damage that is filled with contaminates and poses serious health risks. You most definitely need the help of our professionals if this happens to you. It's important you don't DIY this, because proper equipment and training is needed for health safety reasons.
Your washing machine doesn't have to be incorrectly installed, old, or built poorly to create an internal leak. Overloading your machine on a regular basis can cause valves, gaskets, and bushings to crack or loosen. Smaller loads, even if it takes longer to do the laundry, keep your machine from shaking itself apart.
Identifying Your Leak
If you have a leak that is constant, you likely have an issue with the supply hose. It is probably an internal leak if it happens during the wash cycle but before the spin cycle. With water on the floor during the spin cycle or right after the machine turns off, you probably have a drainage issue.
SERVPRO of Centreville, Marion, and Selma can handle any washing machine leak in a timely and efficient manner.
Severe Weather Supply List
Don't take your chances. Prepare for the worst in oder to come out best.
Don't Wait Too Late- Be Ready
Being prepared means being equipped with the proper supplies you may need in the event of an emergency or disaster. Keep your supplies in an easy-to-carry emergency preparedness kit that you can use at home or take with you in case you must evacuate.
At a minimum, you should have the basic supplies listed below:
- Water: one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
- Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home).
- Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items
- Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
- Family and emergency contact information
Consider the needs of all family members and add supplies to your kit. Suggested items to help meet additional needs are:
- Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc)
- Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
- Games and activities for children
- Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
- Extra set of car keys and house keys
Additional supplies to keep at home or in your survival kit based on the types of disasters common to your area:
- Tools/supplies for securing your home
- Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
- Blankets or sleeping bags
For more information check out redcross.org