Hail Is a Threat to Your Ocean City Business | SERVPRO® of The Lower Shore
You know how every superhero team has somebody who, though they may possess incredible powers and abilities, still gets viewed as kind of an also-ran? That’s the story of hail for many people.
Maybe it’s because other natural weather occurrences possess more spectacle or pizazz that they get all the headlines, but whatever the reason, hail is the Hawkeye of natural disasters. But hail deserves more respect—it’s actually one of the most damaging weather threats we face in the United States.
Hail causes an average of about $11 billion in damages every year, and it’s not surprising considering there were over 4,600 hailstorms last year alone.
And while Maryland isn’t exactly part of the Midwest’s “hail alley” (though the alley is widening), hail can strike anywhere, at anytime, when the conditions are right, and the conditions are right across the U.S. more often than almost anywhere else on the planet.
So as an Ocean City area business owner, what can you do to prevent hail damage and protect your valued assets?
Take care of your roof. Your roof takes a beating constantly from sun, rain, critters and their factors, but hail can cause acute damage, especially large hail. Always inspect your roof after any major storm, looking for broken or damaged shingles, or granules on the ground or in your downspouts. Don’t wait when you see damage or when your roof starts to show signs of wear—get it fixed or replaced to save yourself damage from invasive water.
Reinforce your windows. Impact-resistant windows are doubly helpful for coastal businesses, because they can minimize the potential impact of both hail and tropical storms. Large hail can definitely shatter standard glass, and of course you’re certainly aware of the power of hurricanes—installing stronger windows can help prevent breakages, and it may actually decrease your insurance costs in the process.
Keep assets covered. Some hail damage is preventable simply by moving some things indoors or under covers. Any outdoor equipment that can be moved inside or covered should be taken care of in an impending storm, and company vehicles can be moved to garages or carports for protection. Even if you have to pay a few bucks to park in a carpark, it’s worth it to keep from having to repair dents or broken windows. Keep important indoor assets away from windows during heavy storms as well. And of course, keep your most valuable assets—your team—safe during hail and thunderstorms as well, by keeping them indoors until it’s safe outside again.
Hail damage happens, but when it does we’ll be there to fix your business up. Contact SERVPRO today to see how quickly we can help you recover from damage of all kinds.
Grease Fire Prevention and Extinguishment | SERVPRO® of The Lower Shore
It’s pure instinct—when you see a fire, you throw water on it. Every cartoon you ever saw planted and reinforced this idea, so you can hardly be blamed for the initial gut reaction that occurs when the stovetop flares up.
It’s precisely because of this common instinct that grease fires are one of the scariest and most destructive kinds of home fire you may encounter. Considering that cooking fires are the top cause of both home fires and injuries, maybe we should take some extra care in considering the danger of grease fires.
Causes of a Grease Fire
Grease fires are caused by the overheating cooking oil or animal fat. When these cooking aids and byproducts become too hot, they begin to smoke, and then they ignite into a nasty blaze.
Animal fats will ignite at around 375 degrees, and vegetable oils do so at 450. Both of these benchmarks are well within reach of your stovetop, grill or oven, and there are several scenarios which could create this danger, including turning your burners too high initially, waiting too long to add ingredients or adding frozen food directly to hot grease.
But by far the most common cause of home cooking fires is unattended cooking. Left alone, your culinary creation can conflagrate into a colossal catastrophe.
How to Stop a Grease Fire
First things first: Go against your instincts and don’t put water on a grease fire. This will not only fail to extinguish it—it will cause it to spread.
Your best bet for putting out a grease fire quickly is to smother it. If it’s contained in a pan, you may be able to keep it from causing damage.
Turn off the heating element, and reach for a nearby lid or baking sheet that will completely cover the pan. Depriving the fire of oxygen will keep it from growing and eventually kill it.
A Class B fire extinguisher can also handle grease fires, as can a fire blanket.
If your fire breaks containment and spreads, call 9-1-1 immediately. Don’t try to fight a growing grease fire yourself.
If a fire, grease-based or otherwise, breaks out and causes damage at home, we’re here to make things right again. Contact SERVPRO® to get started.
What Causes Flash Flooding? | SERVPRO® of The Lower Shore
Did you know that flash floods are the leading cause of weather-related deaths in the United States? Due in part to their unpredictability and also in part to the fact that humans are sometimes cavalier about their risk, this statistic proves that we may need some further education about one of nature’s most common weather threats.
Flooding in a general sense is the overflow of water onto normally dry land, and typical river or stream flooding is a more long-term occurrence that may last days or weeks.
Flash flooding, on the other hand, arises quickly, over the course of a few hours or even less. Flash floods are more prone to create the heavy, rushing sub streams that take over neighborhood streets and wash entire roads or bridges away.
These kinds of floods can have varying causes, such as:
Intense rainfall. Most obviously, heavy rains that either move slowly or come to rest over an area can cause flash floods. Similarly, repeated storms over short periods in the same area can overwhelm streams and nearby waterways, even hours after rainfall has ended.
Soil considerations. Different types of soil have varying capacities for retaining and soaking up rainfall. Sand, for example, can absorb water more readily than silt or clay. It stands to reason that saturated soil that reaches its maximum absorption level would then cause runoff and flooding to occur, but it’s also true that dry, thin areas of soil can be overwhelmed by rapid rainfall, which means certain areas are prone to flash floods even in drought conditions because of their soil type.
Urban growth. You might not have considered this, but larger cities experience flooding in downtown areas where everything is pavement and concrete, because these materials don’t soak up nearly the amount of rain that soil would. This is why flash flooding in urban areas is particularly dangerous—until the water finds an outlet, it’s unlikely to be slowed by gradual ground absorption.
Snowmelt and ice jams. In areas that experience long or heavy freezes, deeply packed snow and ice can be melted by springtime rains, which can produce flash flooding. Ice jams occur when frozen areas of rivers and streams melt with rain and jam up against bridges or other structures, causing water to rise behind them. If the water is suddenly freed, it can cause flash flooding as it overwhelms the stream’s capacity.
Structure failures. Dams, levees and other structures designed to hold back bodies of water do develop issues from time to time, such as the respective failures of the Lake Needwood and St Mary’s Lake dams in 2006 and 2011. Heavy rains and losses of integrity can cause rampant, rapid flooding over entire areas.
If flooding has invaded your home or property, we’re here to get you back in the dry. Contact SERVPRO today to get a local emergency team onsite right away.
Why You Can Trust SERVPRO to Help Your Business Measure Up | SERVPRO® of The Lower Shore
The unit of measure for businesses has changed.
The country slowly but surely is reopening, and while that’s welcome news to most of us, it doesn’t change the fact that many still have concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19, its variants and other viruses.
With businesses trying to navigate the new waters of a post-pandemic reality, business owners and managers must also recognize the need to provide a safe shopping or business experience for consumers.
Safety is the new foundation of customer loyalty, and it’s up to you as a business person to see to it that your customers can trust you with their precious health.
That’s why you should trust us with your business cleaning strategy.
Trust SERVPRO for a Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned program
The Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned program gives you and your customers peace of mind by relieving all worries about cleanliness and sanitization. This is no regular janitorial service; no way—this is a hospital-grade cleaning only available to businesses that partner with us to go out of their way to put customer safety first.
Your customers will know before they ever hit the door that they’re safe in your hands, and they’ll reward you for it with loyalty and repeat business. You win in every possible way, because you’ve done the right thing to protect the lifeblood of your business, your valued customers.
We’ve perfected the craft of cleaning over a hard-won, 50-plus-year arc in the industry, through surges of innovation and refinement, and now you are the beneficiary of the Three C’s of a Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.
With hospital-grade solutions, carefully crafted and curated for your specific business location in the Lower Shore area, you’ll feel good about bringing consumers back in, and they’ll have invaluable peace of mind patronizing your business.
When added to the already incredible value of SERVPRO services for fire, water, mold and disaster recovery, the choice is clear: SERVPRO is the name to trust for businesses who want impeccable service, fast results and total recovery.
Here’s to your new reputation as the safest business in town.
The pros in green are ready to help you earn the trust of returning customers. Get in touch with SERVPRO today to get consultation for your custom cleaning solution or any of our other lines of service.
How Do Hurricanes Form? | SERVPRO® of The Lower Shore
Hurricanes are well-respected as the most potentially dangerous storms we encounter in the United States, and the most violent storms on earth. Regularly causing billions of dollars in damages, hurricanes like 2005’s Katrina and the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926 have wielded the destructive potential to threaten the future of entire major cities.
Here in Maryland we have encountered our share of Atlantic tropical cyclones and hurricanes, having suffered over 130 of them since 1950.
Most of the time, we likely don’t think about the formation of hurricanes—we just get a notification that something has already formed in the Atlantic, and we keep an eye on it to see where it goes and pray it doesn’t make landfall. But the formation of the storm itself is an interesting process, and worth examining.
It gives us insight into the nature of the storms, why they happen where they do and the future potential of rising global ocean temperatures.
Ingredients of a Hurricane
A hurricane needs at least three ingredients operating in harmony (or perhaps you’d call it dissonance?) to originate:
- A tropical disturbance. This is an official term, not a general one, for an accumulation of loosely-packed rain clouds that cause thunderstorms for a sustained period of at least 24 hours.
- Ocean conditions. Ocean depths of at least 150 feet and temperatures of slightly over 80 degrees make for the right setting for storm formation as ocean waters evaporate.
- A little wind. Calm winds, not extreme winds, are necessary to get these major storms started.
Formation of a Hurricane
The warm, moist air caused by the conditions listed above becomes the fuel that energizes and feeds a hurricane. It rises up and away from the surface, causing a kind of vacuum of low pressure (think of it as having less air) just above the surface.
High pressure air then sweeps in to try to fill this void, but the warm conditions just cause it to rise, too, and the cycle begins. The rising warm air cools in higher atmosphere, causing water particles to condense and form clouds. This pattern continues and grows in strength as long as the warm air and moisture are there to feed it.
The rest is just categorization. The storms grow from a tropical disturbance all the way up to Category 5 hurricanes depending on the abundance of atmospheric conditions.
Storms begin to dissipate when they reach land or areas of cooler water, but as we’ve seen, this doesn’t stop them from dumping massive amounts of rain and flood waters into the area.
When water of any kind causes damage to your home or business, we’re here to help. Click or call your local SERVPRO today to learn how we can assist in water damage recovery.
Top Causes of Home Fires | SERVPRO® of The Lower Shore
Did you know fires are the No. 1 cause of home injury? More than slipping in the shower, tumbling down the stairs or stepping on Legos, fires happening in the house cause bodily harm.
According to the National Fire Prevention Agency, there are an average of 358,500 structural fires in homes each year in the United States, in which over 3,000 Americans die. The Stanford Children’s Hospital reports that at least one child perishes in a home fire every day.
What’s causing all these fires?
Cooking is by far the highest source of home fires. High temperatures, grease and sometimes open flame can create a scenario in which fires occur.
In the summer, grills on decks and near home walls can be a serious danger as well. The No. 1 way to prevent these 49% of home fires? Stay close and pay attention.
Around 12% of all home fires are caused by heating appliances, typically of the smaller nature. Things like baseboard heaters and space heaters can catch nearby fabric or curtains on fire, even igniting the upholstery of a couch or chair.
Kerosene heaters can explode, and any heater left running while you’re away from the house is a fire hazard. Twenty-five thousand home fires happen this way every year.
Electricity and Wiring Fires
Electrical issues like short circuits cause about 10% of residential fires, and account for approximately 18% of deaths from fire. Faulty wiring or short circuits cause sparks inside walls that catch building materials on fire, and these fires can grow quickly before being noticed.
If you live in an older home, your wiring is more likely to fail. Have a professional examine it, and install any necessary upgrades or circuit protectors.
Smoking incidents, while only making up 5% of home fires, are the single most common cause of death in home fires.
Lit cigarettes and smoking paraphernalia are a dangerous ignition source, especially when people smoke in bed or otherwise fall asleep while smoking.
Fuel sources and chemicals release fumes that can ignite if they come in contact with sparks, and some can even spontaneously combust with the right mixture of oxygen and heat.
Always make sure gasoline and other chemicals are stored in approved, sealed containers.
No matter the cause, fire can be devastating to your home. Contact your local SERVPRO today to see how we can help you recover from fire damage.
How Small Business Owners Can Be Flood-Ready | SERVPRO® of The Lower Shore
Sandy. Ivan. Irene. Do those names ring an unwelcome bell? (No offense to any actual Sandys, Ivans, or Irenes out there.) There are other names as well, but these have notorious significance in Maryland.
These are three of the top 10 most significant flood events of the last 40 years, and they all produced widespread damage in our part of the nation. Put together those three storms produced almost $12 billion in flood damage claims for home and business owners like you.
Flooding is nearly inevitable from time to time, especially in exposed, coastal areas like The Lower Shore. And when a freak event like Superstorm Sandy comes along, it seems there’s little you can do to protect your business.
But you can always prepare, and being ready can help you mitigate or even prevent some level of damage when the next storm comes.
Know Your Risk
Knowing where your business sits in the area’s Flood Map can give you a general idea of your risk for flooding. This information changes over time, so FEMA is working constantly to keep it up to date.
Keep up with local weather alerts (and the FEMA app can give you real-time alerts as well), especially during hurricane season, which lasts from June through November. Taking these risks seriously should hopefully motivate you to take action steps toward loss and property prevention.
Formulate a Plan
A major expected flood situation will almost certainly disrupt your business’s physical location, but a continuity plan can help minimize downtime and maximize protection.
This can include creating a flood response team with assignments given to turn off power, protect important assets and communicate with teams about flood protocols.
You may also do well to back up important files and have a plan for off-site operations (if that’s feasible for your business). Be aware of evacuation procedures for your building and for the city should these become necessary.
And don’t forget to train your teams and employees regarding flood safety, emergency kits, and the like. Don’t let yourself be the only source of knowledge when it comes to flood preparedness.
Flood-Proof What You Can
Before flooding occurs, you may be able to take steps like installing a battery-backed sump pump to pull water away from your building, installing valves in drainage systems to prevent toxic wastewater backup and raising the level of electrical outlets to heights that are typically above floodwater levels.
In a threat situation, flood boards can be useful for protecting entryways and windows, and sandbags and moisture kits are always helpful in soaking up some moisture.
If flooding should become a problem for your business, SERVPRO is here to help restore damaged property and recover important items and documents. Click or call today to find out how we can help in an emergency.
Helping Business Owners Thrive After Disasters | SERVPRO® of The Lower Shore
We know what it takes to operate a business here in Ocean City and the surrounding communities. Why is that? Because we’re a local business, too.
No business owner wants to plan for a disaster, but it’s a good idea for you to do just that. After all, you plan for a lot of different scenarios as a business owner. This is just one more.
We know you don’t like to think about what would happen if your business was impacted by a fire or flood. But it does happen—and it happens more than you think.
In fact, research suggests that as many as a third of all business owners will experience an event that could lead to an insurance claim.
Not every one of these claims would necessitate the need for a restoration team, but many of those that involve fires, flooding or wind damage will. And all of those make the list of the top reasons business owners have to file insurance claims during any given year.
So business owners definitely benefit when they have the right insurance and a solid plan in place to protect their investment.
When you choose your local SERVPRO as a partner, you can rest assured that you’ll get fast, responsive service. Because we are members of the community, we value what local businesses do for our economy and future. We want to be a resource to help you succeed.
Our teams use the latest technology and earn important certifications. Plus, we’re available at any time, day or night. That means if a pipe bursts at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday, you can get in touch with us to start the restoration process fast.
And when the process begins sooner, the damage can be contained and corrected sooner. That means you’ll be open for business again quickly.
If your business is damaged due to a fire or any other cause, you can always count on us for restoration assistance. We have teams who are available 24⁄7 in the event of an emergency. Contact us at any time to learn more about our restoration services and how we can help you.
Taking the Guesswork out of Thunderstorm Preparation | SERVPRO® of The Lower Shore
Protecting your home during a thunderstorm can be difficult, but managing regular maintenance of your home all year means for a better peace of mind and potentially lesser impact from a severe storm.
If you take care of the upkeep throughout the year, you save yourself a lot of time and effort if a storm is approaching.
Prepare Your Home for a Severe Thunderstorm
These steps can help you protect your home:
Check the equipment. If you have a generator, check it intermittently throughout the year. Run it for a while to double-check that everything is in good working condition and make sure you always have gas on hand. Inspect your flashlights, making sure they work and have fresh batteries in them. Invest in surge protectors, and make sure your electronics and appliances are safe in case of a power surge.
Look for yard debris. Double-check your yard for fallen limbs and make sure they are picked up. If you have a trampoline or lawn furniture, tie it down or, if possible, move it inside when it’s not in use. Make sure to keep your fence pickets sturdy and secure. If they are wobbly go ahead and make the correction now.
Reinforce garage doors. Garage doors are nice, but they can easily succumb to windy conditions. You can reinforce these with grits and strengthen the wheel tracks. You could also help reinforce the door by placing things behind the door so that it has some extra support.
Prepare an emergency kit. Things you will need to keep in your emergency kit are: water, non-perishable food, batteries, flashlights, a can opener, pet food, medications, blankets, paper and pencils.
Getting ahead of the storm by being as prepared as possible is the best way to limit potential damage to your property. But if the storm has caused damage to your home or business, we have the resources and training to help you get back to normal as quickly as possible.
Contact us 24⁄7 to find out how our processes and technicians can help.
Preparing for Maryland’s Thunderstorm Season | SERVPRO® of The Lower Shore
The weather is finally warming up here in Maryland. And that’s great news for kids and families who want to get outdoors and enjoy some warm, sunny days!
Life definitely gets sweeter on The Lower Shore when we can go outside and enjoy longer, warmer days. But this season also brings with it some weather risk that Marylanders need to be aware of, so they can prepare their homes and families for what to do—and be sure their homes are in the best shape possible to withstand anything the weather throws at them.
Flooding in Maryland
Storms, both tropical and otherwise, can bring a lot of rainfall to our region. In fact, two of the worst natural disasters in Maryland’s history happened because of flooding related to storms.
While both of these events were related to tropical systems, Maryland is prone to flooding on a smaller scale. So you need to be able to take the right steps to protect your home. Here are some things experts recommend to help you prepare for severe weather.
Be sure your roof is ready. The rains and winds that can bring flooding can also cause issues for your roof. Have it inspected so you can rest a little easier, knowing that leaks and missing shingles won’t be a problem.
Store your outdoor furniture (or secure it). In the right conditions, outdoor furniture that isn’t secure can become a hazard. Don’t let that happen! Work to make it secure instead. If you can’t, consider putting it away for a while if major storms are forecast.
Prepare your family, too. This is where an emergency kit and a disaster plan can make a difference. Talk with your family about how you will handle severe weather, what you need, and if your area is under a severe threat, the best places to take shelter.
If you need help dealing with damage caused by water, fire or any other issue, we’re here to help you restore your home. We have crews who are available 24⁄7 in the event of an emergency. Contact us at any time to learn more about us and how we can help you restore your home to its original state.