How To Create a Fire Evacuation Plan for Your Business
Plan your evacuation route
How to Create a Contingency Plan
Very few people expect to see their commercial property engulfed in flames. Virtually no one expects to see a grease fire in the break room, either. No matter what size fire occurs at your place of business, having a contingency plan in place can help save lives, valuable records and equipment, and money. Here's how to make one.
1. Assign Roles
Delegating tasks and responsibilities now, when things are calm, can reduce the confusion and chaos that often accompany an event such as an office fire. Consider assigning roles such as the following:
Fire extinguishers who use the actual fire extinguishers to snuff out small blazes
Get-out guides who keep exit routes clear and make sure everyone is out of the building before they leave
Attendance takers who perform a roll call outside to ensure that everyone is accounted for
Having a job to perform, as well as having others to point you in the right direction, may reduce the urge to panic.
2. Plan, Post, and Practice Your Evacuation Route
Obviously, it's important to have multiple ways to exit your building in the event that a fire occurs. Plan these escape routes ahead of time so that your contingency plan can be posted and regularly practiced by all employees. That way, if the unthinkable happens, you and your staff will know exactly where to go thanks to your well-rehearsed evacuation plan.
3. Set Up a Clear Chain of Communication
In a fire, knowledge is power. In order to keep misinformation from spreading, it's often wise to devise a clear communication plan ahead of time. One simple method is to create a chain of command not unlike an old school phone tree, where individuals are tasked with relaying important information to those underneath them on the tree. It's also a smart idea to have a single spokesperson who communicates with the public or news outlets.
A fire doesn't have to spell catastrophe for your commercial property in Bartlett, TN. By creating a contingency plan in advance, you can better protect your employees' safety. After everyone's safe and sound, you can leave the fire cleanup to the professionals.
How To Get Rid Of Mold
Keep inside humidity below 45%
Many business owners have experienced mold growth in their place of business. It seems to congregate in one area. You clean it, think you got rid of it for good, and a few days later it starts to reappear. Left unattended, it will slowly take up more and more space or show up in another location. This is a common scenario for many people, and it can happen anywhere there is humidity. If you suspect that your business in Memphis, TN, has a recurring mold problem, you may need to perform mold remediation procedures.
Why Mold Keeps Coming Back
Mold has some unique characteristics that make it a hardy organism that thrives in moist environments. It is these special qualities that make mold so difficult to eliminate:
- Microscopic mold spores naturally exist in both indoor and outdoor air.
- Spores can enter through windows, on clothing or on shoes.
- Spores begin to grow into colonies when given a moisture-rich environment.
- Mold growth thrives if the moisture persists.
- Colonies release new mold spores.
Ways To Eradicate Mold
There are many species of mold. Some are easier to spot and simpler to get rid of than others. All thrive in high humidity. If your mold problem is not severe, you can try to get rid of it yourself by keeping inside humidity below 45%, removing moldy items and using antifungal and antimicrobial treatments to kill the spores.
When More Is Needed
Any time you experience water damage, you should be suspicious of mold. Sometimes it lurks where it cannot be seen, such as behind drywall or underneath carpet. Mold remediation specialists use equipment that finds mold in unseen areas. They can also prevent the spread to other areas by using negative air chambers, running special HEPA vacuums, and replacing damaged materials. In the end, your property will be restored to its original condition.
If you find mold, you may find you need a professional mold inspection. Experts have the tools to solve the problem and keep mold growth from spreading.
Fire Prevention Tips at Home
Test your smoke alarm once a month
Fire Preparation Steps
As a homeowner, the thought of a fire breaking out in your house is a nightmare scenario. This emergency situation could have devastating effects. Not only is your family safety at risk, but you could lose precious possessions and your house itself. There are fire preparation steps you should follow to reduce the risk of this terrible event from occurring.
Sure up Those Smoke Alarms
All Germantown, TN, homes should have smoke alarms to alert you of fire danger. One or two devices is not enough. Your home should have one in every bedroom and an additional alarm per floor. There are also other essential elements of smoke alarms you should look for to help prevent a home fire from spreading and getting out of hand.
- Test your smoke alarm once a month.
- Change the batteries in your smoke alarm at least once a year.
- Never disconnect your smoke alarm.
Keep an Eye on the Dryer
Of all your appliances, your dryer is perhaps the biggest potential culprit for starting a fire. It's vital that you check the filter after every loan and remove any lint buildup. Also, make sure you inspect the outside vent as well as the hose leading from the dryer to the vent.
Watch the Outlets
Being aware of electrical problems is an important fire safety tip. Check each outlet in your home, and never overload them with cords. Also, be mindful when you use power strips, especially with electronic equipment such as computers.
Be Careful When You Cook
Fire prevention often starts in the kitchen, where there are a few different heat sources. Make sure your oven is clean and functioning properly. Also, never leave food on the stove unattended.
You can have peace of mind when you follow these fire prevention guidelines. If you need further direction, you should consult a fire remediation company.
Understanding the Risks of Storm Damage and Insurance Coverage
A homeowner's policy typically covers standard weather patterns and the risks involved
With warmer weather comes the increased risk of volatile storms and damage from high winds and heavy rains. The savvy homeowner may invest in a hurricane and flood insurance policy, knowing the potential disasters related to severe weather.
- Sewer backup
- Mold growth
- Roof damage
- Other property and structural issues
However, not every flood claim is equal, and not all damage caused by strong winds is covered under storm insurance. Therefore, make sure your policy protects you against typical storm damages in your area.
Increasing Water Levels
A typical homeowner's insurance plan will probably not cover flooding related to storms. You will need a specific policy for flood damage and loss. However, these plans are not necessary for every area or region. To verify whether such a policy is needed or required, you can check the flood zones in your city.
High winds and storm surges can lead to significant structural issues. The winds can lead to damaged rooflines, and the swelling waters can weaken foundations. In either case, your property may become vulnerable to mold growth due to increased moisture and humidity.
Loss of Personal Property
While you may do everything right to prepare for an incoming storm, like install storm shutters and set up sandbags, you can still be vulnerable to property loss. For instance, the winds tear away at portions of your roof and the rain destroys family photos, clothing and other items stored in the attic. Thankfully, in this situation, a standard homeowner's policy should have you covered.
Whether a flood or other severe weather hit you, you will need assistance cleaning up the damage. An emergency remediation service in the Cordova, TN, area can help by mitigating further loss by putting up shutters and tarps around the property, and they can act as a middleman between you and your insurer, making sure you get what you're owed.
While a homeowner's policy typically covers standard weather patterns and the risks involved, there are certain areas more prone to flooding and severe weather which require specific policy upgrades. Make sure you have coverage for structure, water, wind and property loss.
What Is Covered By Your Commercial Property Insurance
Fire damage in a Bartlett, TN building
Reasons to Have Commercial Insurance After Fire Damage
If a fire occurs in your Bartlett, TN, building, it can be extremely helpful to have commercial insurance. While the details will vary between companies and individual policies, it can cover a wide range of property. Here are some of the items you can expect to be included.
1. The Structure of the Building
In many cases, fire damage will include the building itself. If it was severe enough, you may even be required to rebuild part of the structure. Your insurance will usually cover this. If you are missing portions of your walls, floors or ceiling, your policy should include the costs of repairing and restoring these areas. It will often include repainting and placing new flooring as well.
2. Property Inside the Building
Whether the fire was large or small, there is a good chance that items in the building were damaged. This can include equipment, furniture and decorations such as curtains or artwork. If these were affected by smoke or fire damage, they will be included in your policy as well, so you won’t have to worry about the costs associated with repairing or replacing them.
3. Property Outside the Building
Because fires are not always contained to the building in which they began, your commercial insurance can cover the area outside of your business as well. This can include outdoor furniture and equipment. In some cases, it may cover neighboring properties as well, if the fire and the damage it caused spread outside of your own property.
You may like to think that a fire cannot occur on your property, but even if you are careful, some accidents cannot be prevented. Fires are common, so it is a good idea to have commercial insurance that covers it. It will help pay for the repairs that you will need to have done by a fire restoration company as well as the costs of replacing destroyed items.
3 Reasons You Need to Replace Your Pipes
Broken pipes can cause a lot of water damage
A Few Reasons to Upgrade Your Plumbing System to Something New
While the plumbing system in your Memphis, TN, building is made to last quite a while, whether it’s made from steel or polybutylene, it certainly won’t last forever. It may cost some time and money, but it is a good idea to have these replaced occasionally. Here are a few reasons to upgrade to something new.
1. They Are Old
One obvious reason to have your pipes replaced is simply that they have gotten old. Even the most sturdy system will deteriorate over time. How long your system will last before you need to install new plumbing will depend on the materials used, so it is a good idea to keep this information in mind. Whatever the material, if it has been several decades since your pipes were installed, it is probably time to have them replaced.
2. They Are Damaged
Broken pipes can cause a lot of water damage, so you should have these replaced as quickly as you can. Pipes can break as the result of deterioration, freezing during cold weather or even the growth of tree roots nearby. If your pipes are fairly new, then you will likely not need to replace the whole system and can focus on only the affected area.
3. They Are Made from Polybutylene
If your plumbing system was installed between the 1970s and 1990s, then it is possible it was made with this material. PB pipes were used often because they were easy to install and were relatively inexpensive. However, over time, it became apparent that they broke too easily and could leach chemicals into the water. If you have polybutylene pipes, these will need to be replaced as soon as possible.
While you should try to replace your pipes before they cause any damage, accidents happen, and this is not always possible. If you have suffered water damage to your business, an emergency restoration company can help. They can perform cleanup and repairs to quickly restore your building.
What You Should Know About Drain Cleaners
There are certain types or cleaners that work better on certain kinds of clogs
No doubt you have felt the frustration of dealing with a clogged sink or tub at some point. Soap residue, food scraps and hair can all contribute to a clogged drain, which can in turn, cause surface residue, bacteria and odors, and painfully slow, or no draining.
The best defense is to avoid putting problem items down your drains if possible, including egg shells, potato, peach or other food peelings, and hair or beard trimmings. If you decide to use a drain cleaner, you should know a few things about them.
While they have their place, there are certain types or cleaners that work better on certain kinds of clogs. There are four types:
- Acid – Muriatic acid or sulfuric acid
- Oxidizing – Nitrate-based, peroxides, bleaches
- Caustic – Caustic potash or lye
- Enzymatic – Eco-friendly, non-toxic enzymes and bacteria
If a fat or grease-based blockage causes a clogged drain, skip the chemicals and call a local plumber in Germantown, TN, in the beginning. Treated with cleaners, these clogs usually just move deeper into the drain and require professional, and expensive servicing.
Acid cleaners may do wonders for a clog, but they can also eat through drain pipes, the fumes can burn the eyes and throat, and the acid can burn through skin and leave open sores. Acid cleaners should be used only as a last resort, preferably by a professional.
Oxidizing and caustic cleaners work by creating heat, which over time breaks down the blockage until it can be flushed down the drain. Enzymatics use bacteria and enzymes to actually eat through the blockage. They may take a bit longer but work well on food or organic clogs, and tend to do a good job on toilet clogs.
With a bit of luck and care, your clogged drain may be resolved, but nobody wants to mess with nasty goopy clogs or sewage if it fails or a pipe breaks, but if things go south, you will want to call a professional sewage cleaning team in Germantown, TN to help set things right.
Electrical Equipment and Smoke Damage
Electrical Equipment often gets damaged by Fire or Smoke.
During a fire in a building there is often the major damage of smoke and soot that is easily visible. However, there is another damage that will be almost invisible and hard to detect.
Electrical Equipment Damaged by Smoke
Every electrical item, especially the big ones, have fans to draw in air to cool it and keep it from overheating. During a fire these fans run overtime to keep the machine cool but are drawing in acrid smoke.
The smoke will then leave soot within the electrical item that eventually will eat at the copper and plastics slowly.
When your office or commercial building has a fire give SERVPRO of Bartlett / Cordova / East Memphis a call and we can asses the damage, do the cleanup, and rebuild any damaged areas from a devastating fire.
3 Ways To Prevent Mold Damage in Your Home
Water leak caused severe mold in the wall of this basement
3 Ways To Prevent Mold Damage in Your Home
Protecting your Cordova, TN, home from fungi growth can be challenging, especially if you live in an area that experiences heavy annual rainfall or high humidity. Water damage is typically the main cause of mold development, such as hidden leaks or condensation. However, there are a few strategies you can use to prevent these conditions and make your home an unwelcome environment for most strains of fungi.
1. Check Your Home’s Pipes Annually
Pipe leaks and weak joints can lead to plumbing failure, which can cause a significant flood in your kitchen or bathroom. To prevent this, have your home’s pipes checked at least once a year to ensure they are in good working condition. Pipes hidden behind cabinetry can be especially prone to mold growth if they develop leaks, so ask your plumber to check these spaces to ensure mold is not growing on the wood or in dark corners.
2. Reduce Your Home’s Humidity
If your home experiences high humidity throughout much of the year, this can lead to mold growth in areas such as crawl spaces and attics. You can reduce humidity by using ceiling fans in vulnerable rooms and installing a dehumidifier in smaller spaces. On days where humidity is particularly high, avoid taking hot showers and run exhaust fans in your kitchen.
3. Call in a Mold Expert for an Inspection
If you suspect that certain areas of your home may be fostering fungi growth, consider calling a water damage and mold remediation service to inspect them. Experienced technicians can check your water lines, exterior pipes and air conditioning vents to ensure mold has not gained a foothold due to leaks or moisture buildup. It is wise to have a list of questions prepared for the technicians, especially if you have never worked with a mold prevention company before.
Water damage and other problems in your Cordova, TN, home can cause serious mold issues. Knowing how to prevent them can help you protect your home and keep mold from moving in.
How To Keep Your Pets Safe During a Fire
Remember to include your pet in your fire escape plan
How to Prepare for a Potential Fire Emergency
A fire can quickly engulf any home in Bartlett, TN. In addition to potentially causing extensive damage, an inferno can also threaten the wellbeing of everyone living inside, including pets. While you may be able to communicate evacuation instructions to human family members, ensuring pet safety can be more challenging. Employing four useful strategies can help everyone in your family prepare for a potential fire emergency.
1. Keep Leashes Accessible
A leash is an essential pet care accessory that can help you safely extract your dog or cat from the premise and keep track of them in the ensuing chaos. To expedite its retrieval, you should store this device near a frequently-used exit. You should also train your pet to promptly come to you when called.
2. Practice Evacuating With Pets
If you have children, you may routinely complete fire drills to ensure everyone understands crucial evacuation procedures. Including your pets in these exercises may be extremely beneficial.
3. Post a Pet Alert Sign
A pet alert sign is another useful fire emergency planning tool that you can attach to windows near both your front and back doors. These placards are designed to help first responders quickly identify the number of animals living inside the residence. Posting this information may be especially vital if a fire erupts when no one is home.
4. Help Others Identify Your Pet
A frightened animal may run away during a crisis. Purchasing an identification tag and microchipping each pet can enable others to quickly determine the correct owner. To eliminate communication problems, be sure to update both items if your contact information changes.
Enduring a fire emergency can be a daunting experience. If you have animals inside your home, pet preparation should be a component of your family evacuation plan. In addition to providing peace of mind, knowing both your human and furry family members are safe may reduce the stress of the fire cleanup and restoration process.