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.
Protect your home from flood waters. l SERVPRO® of The Lower Shore
Flooding is the most common disaster in the United States. It can be very costly and can occur anywhere and anytime it rains, even if your property is not located next to a large body of water.
Homeowners should know their flood-zone. You can begin to evaluate your risk by checking at FEMA’s online Flood Map Service Center. Locate the base flood elevation (BFE) for your home, or the elevation at which your building has a 1 % chance of flooding in a given year. Structures should be at least 3 foot above the BFE.
It is recommended you speak with your insurance agent about flood insurance as it pertains to your policy as flood damage is not typically covered by a standard homeowner policy. Just a few inches of water can cost thousands of dollars with data demonstrating over 25% of claims coming from areas outside of the high-risk flood zone. The National Flood Insurance Program can help you locate insurance.
Steps to Prepare for a Flood:
- Make an inventory of personal belongings by taking photos as well as a video of your property, household items and valuables if possible.
- Keep certifications, passports, medical records and other important documents like insurance paperwork in a watertight box.
- Raise electrical components at least 12 inches above your BFE and have utilities like HVAC units placed at higher elevations such as second story levels or even roofs. Install a sewer backflow valve to prevent sewage from returning to the structure. Regularly check to make sure your sump pump is operational and has a battery back-up if available for your unit.
- Check your property’s slope, to ensure water runs away from your structure and that gutters are free of debris. Reducing impervious surface, like concrete and asphalt with green spaces that absorb rainfall are additional measures to reduce flooding.
- Anchor loose property and propane tanks to prevent property damage and contamination of the flood water from chemical leakages.
If a flood is expected, move your valuables to higher ground. Elevate or move furniture if possible. Stay alert, follow the guidance of local officials. Never drive into flood waters, regardless of the apparent depth as there may be unseen currents. Make sure you have a plan in place and a “go kit” (an emergency supply kit consisting of a waterproof tub filled with drinking water, dry or canned food, batteries and other essentials). Be prepared for potential long term power outages.
Once a flooding disaster has passed, contact SERVPRO® of The Lower Shore to obtain assistance with your remediation needs at 410-749-2221.
Is Your Lower Shore Business Ready for Disaster? l SERVPRO of The Lower Shore
Business owners are planners. After all, it takes a lot of work to open your own company.
While you’ve probably taken the time to plan for future revenue, employee expansion, the next five years of growth, and now, a pandemic, it’s important to have another type of plan, too.
What is it? It’s a disaster plan. And it’s something that no one likes to think about, but every business owner needs. The reason for that is simple. We can’t predict a disaster. But they’re more common than most of us would like to believe.
Pandemics are rare, but damages due to water, fires and floods are more common. Experts estimate that most business owners will, at some point over the next 10 years, need to file a claim for some damage. (Water is the most common cause.)
So, do you have a business disaster plan in place? If not, here are some of the things that experts recommend you consider.
Building a Plan for Disasters
Here’s what you need to consider when you’re putting together a disaster plan:
Your unique risks. This may sound like an odd suggestion, but it matters. It’s not just the risks you think about. There are risks specific to your industry (like fires in restaurants) and natural disasters specific to your area (hurricanes on the coast or tornadoes in the Midwest and South). Do your research about what can impact your area. Then build your plan to take those into account.
Document your plan. This can be an involved step, depending on what you do at your business. You’ll want to consider ways to store information and data in a cloud-based system. If you can do your business remotely or from another location, you’ll want to include that information, too.
Educate your team. Make sure everyone you work with knows their part in the plan, so you can help ensure things move as smoothly as you can.
If your business is damaged during a disaster, we’re here. We have crews who are available 24⁄7 in the event of an emergency. Contact us at any time to learn more about our services and how we can help you
Helping Elderly Loved Ones Prepare for Disaster | SERVPRO® of The Lower Shore
A growing number of Americans have elderly relatives living in their homes. A recent study found that the number of families has risen by 14% over the past several years.
While many of these families are enjoying the benefits of having a grandparent in the home, adding an elderly family member means you have to keep special considerations in mind when you’re preparing your family to deal with emergencies like severe thunderstorms and other types of natural disasters.
No one likes to think about their home or community being impacted by a natural disaster. But millions of families every year find themselves in that position. That’s why it’s good to be as prepared as you can be for emergencies.
You’ll want to prepare a traditional emergency kit for your family, too. But taking these extra precautions for elderly family members living in your home can help them feel safer and more comfortable during an emergency.
Planning for Emergencies
Here are some tips experts recommend for family members helping an elderly loved one prepare for disaster situations.
Consider his or her unique needs. If your loved one needs a wheelchair, glasses, or other personal care items, they need to be accounted for in your emergency kit. When packing your emergency kit, be sure your loved one has at least a week’s worth of medication available. This will help him or her maintain good health during a disaster.
Locate the appropriate emergency shelters. You’ll want to call ahead and learn where accessible facilities are for your elderly loved one, so that he or she is able to get the care needed in the aftermath of an emergency.
Be sure there’s adequate food and water in your emergency kit. This is important for every single member of your family, but you’ll want to be sure any special dietary needs are met. For example, if your loved one is living with diabetes, you’ll want to be sure he or she has both the medication needed and food that will work for dietary needs.
If a fire, flood or any other cause damage to your home, you can always count on us for restoration assistance. We 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.
Is Your Hebron Business Prepared for a Fire? l SERVPRO® of The Lower Shore
Business owners love to plan for the future and like to imagine the growth and success their business will find over the next several years. None of them like to imagine a future where their business is impacted by a fire.
But it happens to more business owners than you might think. In fact, as many as 10% of American businesses file some kind of fire claim every year. These fires vary in severity and the damage they cause, but the majority of them do damage that can interrupt daily business. The average claim is for about $35,000 worth of repairs and losses.
Knowing that a fire can happen to as many as one out of 10 businesses every year, it’s a good idea to be prepared if something happens to yours.
Tips for Business Owners
Here’s what the experts recommend:
Take steps to lower your risk. There are things you can do before a fire happens to make it less likely that you’ll have to deal with one at all. You’ll want to ensure you’ve disposed of all the paper and waste properly each day. It’s also a good idea to monitor equipment for fire risks (like frayed cords) and keeping them well-maintained.
Have the equipment you need. Fire extinguishers on every floor can help stop fires before they spread. Also, a timely evacuation plan that every employee understands and practices is essential.
Control crowds and other risks. You’ll want to ensure that all your employees understand basic fire safety and that you always follow guidelines related to things like crowd control.
If your business is damaged due to fire, water or any other cause, you can always count on us for restoration assistance. We have crews 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.
Is Mold Lurking in Your Home | SERVPRO® of The Lower Shore
Is Mold Lurking in Your Home? | SERVPRO® of The Lower Shore
What are the factors that tend to allow mold to grow in your residence? Moisture, temperature, light, airflow and materials that mold can “consume” are the main reasons why mold will generate. When mold is allowed to fester (especially when it is hidden from sight), the spores will usually multiply rapidly. One of the most reliable ways to detect locations where mold may be susceptible to growth is by the use of a moisture meter. At SERVPRO®, we are able to utilize technology to help locate moisture in a variety of materials in your home quickly and with minimal invasion of the material itself.
As we start looking forward to the prospects of warmer weather with the usual spring-cleaning and home projects about to start up again, we at SERVPRO® would like to remind everyone to be diligent in reviewing the many different areas of their home. Homeowners should be extremely mindful of the unconditioned spaces such as attics and basements that may have been exposed to humid conditions where mold grows. As you enter these locations, be on the lookout for some of the most common areas of concern.
- Window sills where warm and cool air meet
- Washing machines, specifically around the valve box (where the shut off valves are) and the door gasket area on front loading machines
- Appliance drip pans, like those found on refrigerators and deep freezer units where there is limited air circulation
- Attics & basements where leaks often occur unnoticed for long periods of time and where the air is possibly stagnant due to lack of venting
- Central Air or A/C units with leaky condensation lines and drip pans that are not draining properly
- Carpets, padding, or any other type of flooring material that absorbed large spills or water over flows and were not properly mitigated
- Bathrooms, specifically the drywall around vanities, toilets and showers that have gotten wet or those that have a lack of proper ventilation due to a poorly operating or clogged exhaust fan
If you suspect or find mold in your home, contact SERVPRO® of The Lower Shore to assist with your remediation needs at 410-749-2221.