Carbon Monoxide: The Silent Killer
What is carbon monoxide?
Do you know why Carbon monoxide is called the “Invisible Killer”? It's because you can not see, smell or taste it. Hundreds of Americans die each year from accidental CO poisoning. These deaths are connected to products like portable generators, furnaces, water heaters, fireplaces, ranges, etc. If not properly installed, vented or have faulty equipment, they can also be related to CO poisoning.
Symptoms of CO poisoning
Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission
The initial symptoms of low to moderate CO poisoning are similar to the flu (but without the fever). They include:
- Shortness of breath
High level CO poisoning results in progressively more severe symptoms, including:
- Mental confusion
- Loss of muscular coordination
- Loss of consciousness
- Ultimately death
Protect Your Family
Source: US Fire Administration
- Install and maintain CO alarms inside your home to provide early warning of CO.
- Install CO alarms in a central location outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of your home.
- Use portable generators outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from all doors, windows and vents.
- Make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace are clear of snow and other debris.
Winter Weather Whoa's
Winter weather brings more than just slippery roads and sidewalks to shovel. In Michigan where temperatures sink below freezing level, frozen pipes and ice dams can create a major disaster for your home or business.
Frozen pipes are often exposed to cold weather, whether they are outside your home or in cold areas such as basements, attics, garages, or kitchen/bathroom cabinets. A frozen pipe bursts typically where the ice blockage is located inside the pipe however the rupture is caused by the backflow pressure between the water source and the blockage. A burst pipe can cause considerable damage to your property if not addressed quickly. To help prevent pipes from freezing, here are a few steps you can take, according to The American Red Cross:
- Completely drain water from swimming pool and sprinkler lines, as well as outside hoses.
- Open kitchen/bathroom cabinets to allow warm air to circulate around plumbing.
- When the weather is extremely cold, let water drip from faucets that may come from exposed pipes.
- Keep your heat set to the same temperature both day and night.
Ice dams can be a major problem during the winter. Ice build-up on the eaves of your roof often times will prevent melting snow to flow off the roof or run into the gutter system. The water then is trapped under the ice which can backflow under the shingles and into the structures interior causing major water damage. Ice dams can also cause gutters and shingles to move or fall. Icicles can be an initial sign of an ice dam, according to Travelers.com. To spot ice dams inside, “check for water stains or moisture in your attic or along the ceiling of exterior walls of your house. Water stains or moisture may be an indication that an ice dam has formed and water has penetrated the roof membrane.” Removing an ice dam as soon as it is found is vital to helping prevent damage to your property and can be done using heated cables, a roof shovel, or calcium chloride ice melter. If winter weather causes water damage to you or your insured’s
property, SERVPRO® of Muskegon is only a call away, 24/7, ready to restore to preloss condition.
Winter Weather is Here. Are you ready?
The Cold Weather is Here. Are you Prepared? Heavy rain and freezing temperatures, damaging winds, sleet and snow can cause serious and costly property damage to your home or business if you are not ready. You can't control the weather however you can make provisions and be prepared to help take the sting out of winter weather.
Protect your property by taking these precautions before colder weather hits to help prevent costly damages from old man winter.
- Inspect tree limbs and branches around your property. Strong winds, heavy rain, snow and ice can cause branches to fall, which could potentially lead to damages to the structure and even cause personal injuries.
- Inspect roofs, water pipes, and gutters to ensure they are in proper working order. Direct gutter downspouts away from your structure. Clear all debris from gutters. Leaves, pine needles and other obstructions can cause a damming effect, which can lead to roof damage and interior water problems.
- Inspect walkways and parking lots for proper drainage to alleviate potential flood hazards.
- Inspect all handrails, stairwells, and entryways to prevent potential slippery or hazardous areas. Install mats or non-slip surfaces. Post caution signs where water could be present.
- When temperatures dip below freezing, allow faucets to drip to help prevent pipes from freezing. Leaving cabinet doors open allows warm air to circulate around pipes located underneath cabinets helping to prevent freezing. If the structure has outdoor faucets, consider shutting water off at the main valve in the basement or crawl space. Once the valve is off, open the outdoor faucet to ensure it drains, preventing any remaining water from freezing in the pipe.
- Ask SERVPRO® of Muskegon about completing an Emergency READY Profile® (ERP) for your business. The ERP is a no-cost assessment of your facility and provides you with a plan to get back in business fast following a disaster.
When winter weather strikes, call SERVPRO® of Muskegon to strike back. 231-733-7601
Stories from Hurricane Harvey
In a four-day period, Hurricane Harvey dumped more than 40 inches of rain as the destructive Atlantic hurricane system made it's way over eastern Texas. Since Wilma in 2005, Harvey was the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States.
SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Team® dispatched crews responding to losses across Southeast Texas including Houston, Port Arthur, Beaumont, Corpus Christi, Port Aransas, Victoria, and Bryan/College Station to assist in the cleanup and recovery efforts.
The SERVPRO® family around the U.S. responded not only to the restoration needs, but also helped secure critical donations and brought items like diapers (approximately 35,000!) and toiletries to help local residents gain access to these necessary items.
More than 240 SERVPRO® Franchises from across the country deployed to assist local SERVPRO® Franchises following Hurricane Harvey.
HARVEY BY THE NUMBERS
- With peak accumulations of 51.88 inches, Harvey is the wettest tropical hurricane on record in the contiguous United States.1
- Economic losses are preliminary estimated at between $81 to $108 billion, with a large portion of the losses sustained by uninsured homeowners.2
- Following the storm, an estimated 550 storm crews were deployed, representing more than 240 SERVPRO® Franchises. Those numbers, in addition to area Franchises, placed more than 1,000 crews in storm-affected areas. Crews traveled from as far away as California, Washington, Wisconsin, and New York.
- 20 local Franchises were impacted.
Dangers of Extremely Cold Temperatures
According to the National Weather Service, in 2015, extremely cold temperatures caused property damage in the amount of $2.84 million dollars. What's scarier? 53 people died and 3 were injured due to extremely cold temperatures the same year.
It is imperative that everyone be aware of the effects extremely cold temperatures can have on both humans and animals. The two main conditions to be aware of are frostbite and hypothermia.
Frostbite can occur when skin is exposed to extremely cold temperatures. Physical symptoms are white or grayish-yellow skin, skin that feels unusually firm, or waxy and numbness.
Hypothermia is when your body temperature falls to an abnormally low temperature, caused from long exposure to cold weather. Signs of hypothermia include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, and drowsiness. Seek medical attention immediately if body temperature is below 95°F.
To avoid these conditions, stay indoors if possible. If not, dress warm in layers and try to keep dry.
Christmas Lights and Candle Safety Tips
Christmas lights, candles and decorations bring holiday cheer to homes and businesses however if they are not used with caution, your holiday may go from festive to frightening.
The American Red Cross shared these valuable safety tips to help greatly reduce the risk of a fire in your home or business this holiday season.
- Place Christmas trees, candles, and other holiday decorations at least three feet from heat sources like fireplaces, portable space heaters, radiators, and heat vents.
- Inspect light strings and other holiday decorations for fraying electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving the property or going to bed.
- Never use lit candles to decorate a tree.
- Never leave candles unattended.
SERVPRO® of Muskegon wishes you a safe and happy holiday season!
Use Caution in the Kitchen
November brings families together in celebration of Thanksgiving. Most traditions include preparing a spectacular feast however if safe cooking habits are not practiced, your holiday could become hazardous quickly. The number one cause of home fires and injuries are from cooking according to the National Fire Protection Association with the leading cause being UNATTENDED COOKING. It's important to be alert to prevent cooking fires.
- Be alert! If you are tired or consumed alcohol, Do NOT use the stove or stove top.
- Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food.
- When simmering, baking, or roasting, check it regularly, remain in the kitchen while food
is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
- Keep oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels and curtains away from the stove top.
If you have a cooking fire, following safety protocols to help keep you and your family safe.
- Get out and close the door behind you
to help contain the fire.
- Call 9-1-1.
- Oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
- If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
- Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off
the stove top. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled. Do not try to move the pan off the stove.
SERVPRO® of Muskegon Professionals wish you a safe and happy holiday season.
Dangers of Deep Frying a Turkey
Deep Fried Turkey Fire
Thinking about Deep-Fried Turkey this holiday season? Although it's delicious, the big question you should as yourself, "Is it worth it?". There are numerous videos online of turkey fryer fires and explosions. Do you want to risk bodily injury or property damage?
- Place fryer on level surface away from structures and trees, fryers can tip easily.
- Do not use fryer in a garage or on a deck.
- Never use a fryer in the rain or while it's snowing.
- Overfilling the cooking pot will cause the cooking oil to overflow when the turkey is put in. 8-10 lb turkeys work best.
- A partially frozen turkey will cause cooking oil to splatter when put in the pot. Make sure turkey is thawed and dry.
- A small amount of cooking oil spilling on a hot burner can cause a large fire.
- Without thermostat controls, deep fryers can overheat oil to the point of starting a fire. If oil is at its smoking point, turn the fryer off.
- The sides of the cooking pot, lid, and pot handles can get dangerously hot. Avoid trying to move once fryer is in use.
- Never leave fryers unattended.
Flooded Basement Clean-up & Restoration
How many homeowners have descended their basement steps to find a pool of murky water? Water follows the path of least resistance, finding cracks and holes through basement walls. Flooding can often be attributed to insufficient drainage around basement walls, heavy rains, a faulty sump pump, or a combination of these factors.
SERVPRO of Muskegon is highly trained in water damage restoration including basement and crawlspace flooding. We have the experience, expertise, and equipment to remove the water and dry your basement properly. Our water removal and drying process emphasizes monitoring and documentation to validate your property is dry.
- 24 Hour Emergency Service
- Faster to Any Size Disaster
- Highly Trained Water Damage Restoration Specialists
- Locally Owned and Operated
24 Hour Emergency Water Removal Service
Basements can flood day or night, on weekends and even holidays, and that’s why SERVPRO of Muskegon offers 24 emergency service, 365 days a year. You can expect an immediate response time, day or night.
Be Storm Smart, Be Storm Ready
Severe weather can happen anywhere and at any time. Yearly, Americans cope with:
- 10,000 severe thunderstorms
- 5,000 floods or flash floods
- 1,000 tornadoes
- 2 land falling deadly hurricanes
Approximately 98 percent of all disasters that the President declares an emergency are weather related leading to around 500 deaths a year and nearly $15 billion in damage. Knowing your risk of severe weather, taking action and being an example are just a few steps you can take to be better prepared to save your life and assist in saving lives of others.
Know Your Risk: The first step to becoming weather ready is to understand the type of weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather can impact you, your business, and your family. Check the weather forecast regularly, obtain a weather radio, and learn about Wireless Emergency Alerts. Severe weather comes in many forms and your shelter plan should include all types of local hazards.
Take Action: Take the next step in severe weather preparedness by creating a communication plan for your home and business. Put together or purchase an emergency kit. Keep important information and valuables in safe place.
Be an Example: Once you have taken action to prepare for severe weather, share your story with co-workers and family and friends on Facebook or twitter. Your preparedness story will inspire others to do the same.
Contact SERVPRO of Muskegon for more readiness tips and tools, including SERVPRO's Emergency READY Profile (ERP). Having a Free ERP in place for your facility can help minimize business interruption in the event of a disaster.
Contact SERVPRO of Muskegon Professionals to learn more and be "ready for whatever happens." Continue to follow this page this week as we share additional tips to keep you safe.