Helping Give Your Customers Peace of Mind
Business owners cannot predict what the future holds, but many are hopeful that the 2021 will provide a much-needed boost to their bottom lines. The outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in late 2019 and early 2020 led to plunging revenues for small businesses across the globe, forcing some to close their doors for good while others had to lay off or furlough staff to stay afloat.
Addressing how they plan to clean their business will be critical in calming any safety concerns their customers may have. Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have warned about the potential for a second wave of COVID-19 infections and that could compel shoppers to stay home and shop online rather than in person. While it’s wise for small business owners to improve their e-commerce capabilities so shoppers find it easier to buy their products online, business owners also can follow these CDC-recommended procedures to prepare their stores for shoppers concerned by the COVID-19 virus.
When cleaning a store, the CDC advises owners and their employees to wear disposable gloves. Surfaces should first be cleaned with soap and water, and then disinfectant should be applied. That’s because soap and water and disinfectant perform different functions. Soap and water can reduce the number of germs, dirt and impurities on surfaces, while disinfectant kills any remaining germs.
Stores with heavy foot traffic should be cleaned frequently, but all stores require daily cleaning to keep customers safe. Store owners can devise their own cleaning schedules, but those whose stores are routinely welcoming customers throughout the day should plan to clean and disinfectant their facilities several times per day. The CDC advises paying special attention to high touch surfaces such as doorknobs, handles, countertops, and tables.
The CDC recommends using household disinfectants registered by the Environmental Protection Agency, a list of which is available at https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2-covid-19. When using disinfectants, business owners and their employees should wear skin protection and consider protective eyewear to protect again potential splash hazards. Ensure adequate ventilation when using disinfectants, opening windows if need be. Follow manufacturer application recommendations, which should be listed on product labels. Avoid mixing chemicals, such as household bleach with ammonia or any other cleansers.
The CDC urges business owners to use wipeable covers on electronics to further reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Such covers also can calm customers’ nerves and reassure them that business owners are taking every safety measure possible to ensure their health.
Business owners should post their policies regarding cleaning and disinfecting in full view of customers. Such postings may reduce anxieties about entering a store. In addition, business owners can inform customers they are willing to offer delivery or curbside pickup to anyone who’s hesitant to enter. If this seems a bit overwhelming or you prefer to have a professional’s help, SERVPRO of Lexington/Thomasville offers proactive disinfecting for your business. Having the Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned sticker in your window shows customers you take their safety concerns seriously. To learn more or schedule your appointment, give us a call at 336-224-2565.
The differences between weather warnings and watches
Weather is hard to predict. Meteorologists have many tools at their disposal to help forecast storms and other phenomena, but it is impossible to predict the weather with 100 percent accuracy.
When the weather takes a turn for the worse, the National Weather Service may issue certain notices to prepare the public. Understanding the level of threat a notice carries can help your business take appropriate action and avoid serious consequences.
The NWS uses a four-tier system to alert the public of hazards. Here’s a closer look at what each tier constitutes.
This is the least serious weather alert. It usually means that hazardous weather may approach in the next three to seven days. The public should monitor the situation and stay tuned for further update es.
With an advisory, weather conditions are not overly serious but could prove inconvenient. Individuals should be cautious and prudent when preparing supplies or traveling.
During a weather watch, there is an increased risk of a hazardous weather occurrence, though the timing or location is still uncertain. This is when it is essential to practice an evacuation or preparedness plan and stock up on any last-minute supplies.
The most serious of the weather impact notifications, a warning constitutes an imminent or likely event. The weather may cause a threat to property or life. Immediate action to stay safe is necessary.
While these alerts are based on the severity of impending weather, it is important to note that the NWS will not necessarily follow the same timeline with issuing alerts. That depends on how fast a weather situation develops. If there is time, an advisory, then a watch and then a warning may be issued. However, if a storm moves in rapidly, only a warning may be issued. People always should pay attention to weather notices so they can be prepared should severe weather be in the forecast.
Common causes of house fires
According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, roughly 25,000 home fires causing more than 300 deaths occur in the United States each year. Homeowners can keep themselves and their families safe by being aware of the dangers around a home that can contribute to house fires and the preventive measures that can reduce the risk for such fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association, the following are the most common factors that can lead to fires around the house.
- Cooking accidents: It can take mere seconds for grease splatters or an overheated pan or pot to cause a fire. Stay in the kitchen at all times when cooking.
- Heaters: Have furnaces and other heating appliances regularly inspected. Keep portable heaters away from anything that can burn, including curtains and furniture. Do not leave portable heaters running while you are sleeping or out of the home.
- Smoking: Smoking inside a home can lead to fires. Some people forget to extinguish the smoke or embers may fall, while butts may smoulder for hours before causing flames to form.
- Washers and dryers: Between 2010 and 2014, American fire departments responded to an estimated 15,970 home fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines each year. Mechanical or electrical failure or malfunction was involved in the vast majority of home fires involving washing machines. Failure to clean dryers also can cause fires to ignite.
- Candles: Candles can add ambiance to a room and are commonly used in decorations, but they also can be a fire hazard. Candles easily can be knocked over by children, pets and others. Do not leave candles lit and unattended.
If the unimaginable happens, give the experts of SERVPRO of Lexington/Thomasville a call at (336) 224-2565 and we can make your damage "Like it never even happened."
Why hire SERVPRO of Lexington/Thomasville
No home is impervious to damage — whether from natural weather phenomena or incidents that occur as byproducts of daily life. Floods, fires, tornadoes, and other events can cause immediate damage to a home, though some damage occurs more gradually.
Repairing a home becomes a priority after a disaster when authorities have deemed it safe to reenter the property. The extent of disaster-related damage is often beyond the scope of a homeowner’s abilities. In such instances, a disaster remediation firm such as SERVPRO of Lexington/Thomasville can protect homeowners from additional dangers and may help them save money in the long run. Here’s a look at the type of benefits we can provide.
- Find hidden damage: SERVPRO knows how to uncover issues such as weakened structures, smoke damage and water damage that is not visible to the naked eye. Hidden dangers can include hazardous materials produced by the disaster or damage that can adversely affect residents’ health.
- Address mold growth: Flooding, a leaking pipe or hose water used to extinguish a fire can leave behind conditions that are ripe for mold growth. Mold growth can occur in as little as 48 hours after damage occurs. SERVPRO of Lexington/Thomasville has the equipment to dry out and clean building materials in the home to reduce or eliminate the risks of mold growth.
- Employ the latest technology: The wrong tools can not only slow down progress, they can make work less safe. SERVPRO uses the latest equipment when restoring properties. Certain equipment is tailor-made to address issues that often arise after natural or manmade disasters. Such equipment may prove too costly for DIYers, but its use can make the difference between a quick cleanup and a lengthy project.
- Necessary training: SERVPRO requires its staff to stay up-to-date with the latest techniques. All of our employees are required to participate in continuing education. This can help reduce the likelihood of accident or injury during the restoration process and ensure we provide the best customer service possible.
This is just a few of the benefits from hiring SERVPRO of Lexington/Thomasville to clean up your property after it has been damaged. If you would like to schedule your free estimate, give us a call at (336) 224-2565 today.
What to do after your home is damaged by fire
The notion that their homes could be damaged if not destroyed by fire is something many homeowners find unimaginable. But fires damage homes every day across the globe, which only underscores the importance of knowing how to respond should your home be engulfed in flames.
According to the National Fire Protection Agency, local fire departments responded to an estimated 1.3 million fires in the United States in 2019. Fires also pose a threat in Canada, where the insurance provider SGI Canada reports that there are roughly 24,000 house fires each year.
Installing and maintaining fire alarms can help prevent house fires from producing tragic consequences. A well-practiced evacuation plan also can protect homeowners and their families in case of a fire, increasing the likelihood that anyone inside the home can promptly exit before suffering injury or even death. It’s also important that homeowners recognize what they need to do after their homes have been damaged by fire.
- Recognize that it’s still risky even after the fire is out. The U.S. Fire Administration notes that homes damaged by fire pose a threat even after flames have been extinguished. Soot and dirty water left behind may contain things that can make people sick. Only enter a home after the local fire department has deemed it safe to do so. Before entering the home, don personal protective equipment like masks, goggles and gloves to avoid getting sick from any contaminants lingering in the home.
- Contact your insurance company. Your insurance company can be a great resource when looking for assistance with finding the right restoration company. At SERVPRO of Lexington/Thomasville we work with hundreds of insurance carriers, so we understand the process and can assist you with the fear and confusion of your fire claim. Insurance companies also will advise homeowners on what they need to do in the immediate aftermath of the fire, including how to begin the claims process.
- Contact a disaster relief service. Disaster relief services like the Red Cross and the Salvation Army can help homeowners find food, clothing, medicine, and even lodging.
- Find shelter for pets. The USFA advises pet owners affected by house fires to leave their pets with family members, friends or veterinarians until the house has been completely cleaned. Doing so ensures pets won’t be exposed to potentially harmful contaminants or residue that can put their lives in jeopardy.
House fires happen every day, and knowing what to do in the aftermath of such fires can help homeowners get back on their feet as quickly as possible.
How to address mold after a flood
If addressed quickly, mold can be prevented or contained.
Floods can quickly turn lives upside down. And with our above average rainfall in the Triad, many homeowners have experienced flooding for the first time. And many home and business owners may have discovered the water damage they thought they cleaned up wasn't completely dry. The damage caused by flooding can linger long after water levels have subsided. Mold left in the wake of a flood poses a significant threat, and WebMD notes that mold can be especially dangerous for people with respiratory issues like allergies or asthma. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, one of the organization’s chief concerns was to let those affected by the storm learn how to safely clean up mold.
Mold cleanup must be done with a sense of urgency, as WebMD indicates that mold can grow very quickly in damp environments. Mold can begin to form in as little at 24-26 hours in the right conditions. Once it colonizes in your home it can easily spread throughout your property if not properly mitigated. Here are some things to consider if your property has been affected by mold. Once it’s safe to reenter a home, the CDC recommends the following approach to address mold after a flood.
- Wear personal protective equipment. Gloves, masks and goggles should be worn to protect the eyes, nose, mouth, and skin. While personal protective equipment can be highly effective, anyone with mold allergies or preexisting respiratory conditions like asthma should leave mold cleanup to the professionals. At SERVPRO of Lexington/Thomasville we offer a no cost assessment so you can understand the scope of the loss and whether it can be handled by the you the property owner or if it’s outside your scope of ability.
- Discard certain items. Items that are wet with flood water but cannot be cleaned and completely dried within 24 to 48 hours should be discarded. People with flood insurance policies may need to take photos of items prior to discarding them if they hope to be reimbursed. At SERVPRO we can assist with this process. We can provide a completely inventory including photos for your insurance company.
- Open doors and windows. The Federal Emergency Management Agency notes that airing the home out by opening the doors and windows can inhibit mold growth when humidity levels are lower outside than inside.
- Circulate air around the house. If it’s safe to turn the electricity back on, circulate air inside the home with fans. In addition, use a dehumidifier to remove moisture from inside the home. At SERVPRO we have the latest equipment and understand the science that goes into properly drying your home.
- Drying the home as quickly as possible, and ideally within 24 to 48 hours of the occurrence of flooding, can inhibit further mold growth. However, it’s imperative that residents only reenter a home after getting the go-ahead from local authorities.
A safe and quick response to flood-related mold growth can prevent illness and further damage to a home. So, if your home or business has experienced flooding and now have an issue with mold, give us a call at (336) 224-2565 and we can make it “Like it never even happened.”
Celebrate Safely This Holiday Season with These Safety Tips
The Holiday season can be magical but safety should be considered when decorating your home.
2020 has been a challenging year for many of us. The thought of decorating our homes and spending time with our families takes on even more significance than in the past year. But we still need to keep safety as our top concern when decorating our home. The U.S. Fire Administration states that the top 3 days for candle fires are Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and New Year’s Eve. More than half of the home decorating fires in December are caused by candles.
Christmas trees are another area to be concerned about. It is estimated that a heat source too close to the Christmas tree causes one in every four winter fires, and on average, one of every 52 reported Christmas tree fires results in a fatality.
How Do We Prevent Holiday Fires?
Besides exercise cautions with candles and live Christmas trees The National Fire Protection Agency recommends the following:
- Only use decorations that are flame retardant or nonflammable
- Check your holiday lights each year for frayed wires or damage
- Don’t string more than three sets of lights together
- If decorating with a live Christmas tree, water frequently and keep away from flames and other heat sources to prevent the tree from drying out.
SERVPRO of Lexington / Thomasville is an industry leader and provider of fire and water cleanup and restoration services. If you would like to learn more or would like a free estimate, give us a call at 336-224-2565. We’re here to help.
The threat posed by ice dams
Cold, snowy weather can present various issues for homeowners to contend with. One such problem, ice dams, can cause damage to walls, ceilings and other areas. The University of Minnesota Extension says that an ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of the roof and prevents melting snow from draining properly. A complex combination of heat loss from a home, snow cover and outside temperatures can lead to the formation of ice dams. An ice dam will be fed by melting snow above it and cause a backup at the edge of the roof. Dams can cause gutters to tear off and loosen shingles and may lead to water backing up and pouring into the home, advises This Old House. Ice dams also can contribute to soggy insulation, making the insulation lose its protective R-value and becoming a magnet for mold and mildew. Homeowners can do a number of things to temporarily prevent the formation of ice dams. Heated cables clipped to the roof’s edge in a zigzag pattern can help prevent dams that lift shingles. Pushing snow off the roof can help. Laying an ice melt product in gutters to help melt the ice that forms also can prevent ice dams. More permanent solutions involve keeping the entire roof the same temperature as the eaves by increasing ventilation, adding insulation and properly sealing air leaks that can warm the underside of the roof. This may involve calling in a professional contractor. Such an investment is well worth it, as it can prevent much more costly damage down the line.
If you experience water damage from an ice dam or frozen pipes, give the experts of SERVPRO of Lexington/Thomasville a call at 336-224-2565.
Should Homeowners Consider Customer Service When Choosing A Restoration Company?
The ducts in the basement are charred due to the fire in the homeowner's oil furnace.
The fire trucks have left. Your insurance claim has been filed. You feel overwhelmed. And you just want to get your life back to normal as quickly as possible. This may tempt you to sign a contract with the first person who says they can do the job. The problem is that not all restoration companies are created equally when it comes to skills and customer service.
At SERVPRO of Lexington/Thomasville, we understand we are only as good as our last job. That’s why we strive for exceptional customer service each and every time our phone rings. And how do we do this, you may as?
- We are continually training. Our employees are required to stay up-to-date on training
- We use the latest equipment to ensure we can get you back into your home as quickly as possible
- We understand we are only as good as our last job. So, we focus on providing the best possible customer service.
Remember, you can choose whomever you wish to repair and restore your home, so pick the experts of SERVPRO of Lexington/Thomasville. Give us a call at 336-224-2565, and we can make your fire damage "Like it never even happened."®
Can I Have Mold Damage in My Winston-Salem Home Without A Water Leak?
There are many ways mold growth can happen in your Winston-Salem home or business without a water leak occurring. The most common problem we see is inadequate ventilation in high moisture areas such as bathrooms or laundry areas. For example, simply turning on your exhaust fan or leaving the bathroom door open after a steamy shower can help remove moisture in the area, thus lowering the risk of mold growth.
Another example we see frequently is the HVAC leaving excess condensation. Either from clogged evaporator coils, blocked drainpipe, or even the wrong size cooling unit. If this is happening, usually, you will see mold growth on your registers or returns.
How Do I Know If I Have A Mold Problem?
- A musty odor that doesn’t go away
- Visible surface mold
If you see or you suspect you have an issue with mold, call the trained professionals at SERVPRO of Lexington/Thomasville. Our team will come by your home or business at no charge and identify if you have a mold problem and determine the source of the moisture. We then will discuss what we have found and what we feel is the best course of action. If you would like to schedule your free assessment of your property, give us a call at (336) 224-2565. At SERVPRO of Lexington/Thomasville, we’re here to help.