Halloween Decoration Safety
Halloween season is rapidly approaching. Many people have already started decorating for Halloween. Dried flowers, crepe paper, cornstalks, and decorative scarecrows may make your home look festive for fall, but these classic decorations can also pose a scary fire risk. As fun as it is to decorate your home it is important to keep in mind some safety tips to avoid a fire from starting in your home. The National Fire Protection Association says flammable decorations are the first things to ignite in 900 reported home fires each year; two of every five of these incidents start by a candle.
One of the most important things to consider is to keep your decorations away from open flames, lightbulbs, and heaters. This may seem simple but many people forget the risks of doing this and decorate in unsafe places. One of the most common is next to or above fireplaces. It is so easy for a stray ash to end up catching a decoration on fire. Even hanging your decorations near a lightbulb can be dangerous.
Another way to prevent fire is to check the quality of each item before you plug them in. Examining each set of lights for broken sockets, frayed wires or loose connections, and discard any damaged sets is the first step to take. Many people often try at home fixes such as tape on frayed wires. Any decoration with a frayed wire should be discarded or have a new wire installed if possible. Be careful not to overload sockets when plugging in lights and other electronic decorations. It is such an easy thing to avoid by unplugging objects that you are not using at any given time.
A big safety tip to keep in mind is to not use open flames such as candles inside your decorations. Consider glow sticks or battery-operated candles instead of real candles when lighting your jack-o’-lanterns or other luminaries. If you do choose to use real candles it is important to light it with a utility lighter. That way you can light it right over the wick and do not have a risk of hitting the side of the decoration with the flame. You also need to be mindful of where you are putting your decorations that have candles in them. Keep lit decorations off of doorsteps, yards, and sidewalks where excited trick-or-treaters may knock them over. Moving them off of your front door step or front walkway is an easy way to avoid injury.
The last thing to keep in mind is to make sure you do not have any decorations blocking any exits out of your home. If there is an emergency it is important to keep a clear path out. Halloween is a fun time of the year and it is important to have fun while decorating your home. Just make sure you follow these tips to help keep your home safe.
Fall Fire Safety
At the end of summer most people are worried about getting ready for the back to school season. What people don't think about is that this is a great time to get your home ready for the cooler months. During the winter months there are a lot of fire hazards in your home. According to the American Red Cross, there is a drastic increase in the amount of U.S house fires during this time. There are several strategies to take during the early part of the fall season to help prevent fires.
The most important thing to do is replace your smoke alarms batteries throughout the house. This is something that is very easy, yet most people forget to do it. According to the National Fire Protection Association, the risk of dying in a structure fire is 55% lower in a home with working smoke alarms. While changing the batteries, it is also a good idea to make sure your family knows where your fire extinguishers are. Having fire extinguishers in the house that still work is extremely important. Especially as you enter the cooler months where you heat up your house on a daily basis.
Another thing to keep in mind, especially with kids in the house is to create a fire evacuation plan. Having a plan and knowing of all the possible exits and escape routes is very beneficial ahead of time. According to the NFPA, creating a place to meet outside at a neighbor's house is an essential part of the plan. They recommend that you try out your plan at least two times per year. The more steps you take ahead of time the better as you will be prepared to act in the event of an emergency. Spending time with your family and creating a plan will pay off in the event of an emergency. SERVPRO Team McCabe offers an ERP plan which will help you plan ahead in the event of an emergency.
Getting your heating system serviced each year is also an essential fire safety step. This is especially important after the summer season. There is always extra debris left behind in the vents from all the hard work your unit does cooling the house over the summer. The most important step is replacing your furnace filter on a consistent basis. It is recommended to change it every three months. It is also important to reach out to a professional when your heating system is having issues. You should also be getting your unit serviced at least one time per year for general maintenance, according to the National Fire Protection Association. SERVPRO Team McCabe can help with this, we offer duct cleaning for commercial or residential properties.
Fireplace safety is another extremely important topic during this time of the year. When using a fireplace indoors you should always have the screen or glass door closed. It is also important to keep in mind not to store extra wood right next to the door of the fireplace. It is an easy way to spark a fire outside of the fireplace. One rule that many people often forget is leaving a fire unattended. Many people fall asleep or get distracted and leave the room while they have a fire going. This is one of the biggest causes of household fires due to fireplaces. Keeping these safety points in mind will help transition your house from the summer into the fall season in a safe way.
Dryer Vent Cleaning
If you were to ask most people what cleaning they should do to their dryer they would tell you, clean the lint trap. However, that is not enough what many people do not know is that you have to get your dryer vent cleaned as well. I'm sure you are asking, what's that? The dryer vent is the tube that runs from your dryer to outside and the vent part that it passes through. It helps you remove hot air and moisture from your laundry room.
Why does it need to be cleaned? Over time it can get filled up with dust and other debris from your washing machine. Debris and highly flammable lint can build up in your dryer vent, reducing airflow and backing up exhaust gasses. That mixed with the heat from the washing machine is a very dangerous combination. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, fire departments respond to around 15,970 home structural fires each year that involve clothes in dryers or washing machines. There is also a chance that gasses and carbon monoxide that should be released outside of the home through the dryer vent could get backed up into your home through a clogged vent. This is something that can be easily avoided by simply getting your vents cleaned.
How can I tell when it's time to get the vent cleaned? According to an article on the NCADA (National Air Duct Cleaning Association) website these are some signs you are ready for a cleaning.
- Clothes take longer to dry than usual
- The dryer is hot to the touch after a cycle
- Your laundry room is hot after a cycle
- The dryer emits a burning smell
- There’s inconsistent airflow from the exhaust vent
- Excess lint appears in the lint trap after each cycle
- You find debris in your yard outside of the dryer vent or can see it trapped in the vent itself
Getting your vents serviced will help you reduce your energy costs over time. It will also help your clothes dry faster and improve the life of your dryer. Clearing events allows extra heat to come through that leads to shorter drying times which will save you money. The NCADA also lists some proactive steps to take in addition to getting your vent cleaned to help reduce fire risk.
- Empty lint trap after every load
- Let your dryer cool off for 15-20 minutes between loads
- Replace your flexible vent pipe with a solid metal one
- Move the dryer close to an external wall
- Use liquid fabric softener instead of dryer sheets
- Regularly inspect the vent pipe from outside the house to see if there is debris
Should I try to clean my dryer vent myself? No, many people who attempt to do it themselves often do not get them cleaned properly. Most people fail to remove all of the debris that is in the vent. The recommendation by the NFPA is to get your dryer vents professionally cleaned once per year. Doing so will make your home a much safer place for you and your family. Even though you will spend money to get them cleaned, it will save you big on your energy bill each month. It is definitely worth the investment, call SERVPRO Team McCabe to schedule your cleaning today 215-536-7989.
Why Build Containment?
SERVPRO Team McCabe understands how important it is to return your home or business to preloss condition as quickly and smoothly as we are able to.
Containment is generally used to prevent the occurrence of additional damage to contents in the home that have been unaffected or only lightly affected. Once our crew arrives on site we scope the job and then begin work to either place containment or completely remove any content on the job site. Most content is packed out and moved off of the job site if it was heavily affected and needs cleaning. Our dedicated Content Crew will lead this process and advise on what can stay onsite and be contained. Containment plastic can be used to wrap specific items or to section off an area of the house by sealing off the doorways and vents. Another great use for containment plastic is to help create negative pressure by sectioning off an area and placing equipment inside the containment to aid in drying.
SERVPRO Team McCabe understands how important it is to return your home or business to preloss condition as quickly and smoothly as we are able to. An important part of this is to prevent any secondary damage to your contents that can be caused by a continuing leak, microbial growth, or even dust and debris caused by the remediation efforts.
Commercial Cleaning Services
Getting Back to Business, Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned
Our Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned defensive cleaning program gives your business a way forward to provide your employees and customers ongoing safety as you operate after the COVID-19 pandemic. As America’s #1 cleanup and restoration brand, we have developed a program that is grounded in our 3 C’s – Consult, Clean and Certify. Visit our Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned page and let us show you how we can make your building safer and ready to get back to business.
Commercial Building Restoration Services
We are available 24 hours a day to get your business back up and running. Our expertise includes restoration services for fire and water damage, including electronics restoration and document drying. We are also your business’s best resource for mold remediation. Learn more about our commercial restoration services.
SERVPRO Storm Response
A Fast Response Is Crucial
In many cleaning and restoration situations, immediate action is needed. With over 1,700 U.S. and Canadian Franchise locations, SERVPRO is strategically positioned to be faster to any size emergency.
An immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.
Water is particularly invasive, quickly spreading throughout your property and being absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, etc. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals arrive quickly and start the water extraction process almost immediately.
Water Damage Timeline
- Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.
- Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.
- Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.
- Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.
Hours 1 - 24:
- Drywall begins to swell and break down.
- Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
- Furniture begins to swell and crack.
- Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
- A musty odor appears.
48 Hours to 1 Week:
- Mold and mildew may grow and spread.
- Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.
- Metal begins to rust and corrode.
- Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.
- Paint begins to blister.
- Wood flooring swells and warps.
- Serious biohazard contamination is possible.
More Than 1 Week:
- Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
- Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants can cause health effects.
SERVPRO Equipment and Technology
The past few decades has seen a rapid advancement in the technology and techniques used in the restoration industry. These advancements allow SERVPRO Franchise Professionals to restore a property back to preloss condition quickly, reliably, and more effectively.
The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) sets practical standards for restoration and cleaning. The IICRC S500 Water Damage Guide is a specific set of practical standards that incorporate the field of psychometry, which involves the manipulation of temperature and relative humidity to remove moisture and dry a property quickly and effectively.
Moisture Detection and Measurement Equipment
Scientific drying principles rely upon specialized equipment to detect, measure, and monitor a property’s moisture levels. Recent advances, like infrared cameras, can help us detect water through a wall, ceiling, or floor.
- An infrared camera may be used to identify water location for thorough water removal.
- Sensitive moisture detectors, hygrometers, and other meters measure the extent of moisture saturation.
Water Extraction Equipment
Powerful extraction equipment speeds the drying process by removing the bulk of the water from your home or business.
- Submersible and gas-powered pumps for continuous pumping of high-level water.
- Truck-mounted and portable extraction units perform efficient water removal.
Industrial strength air movers and dehumidifiers are needed to remove the remaining moisture from ceiling, walls, and floors of your home or business. Proper drying helps to prevent swelling and warping of floors, walls, and furniture.
- High-speed air movers causes moisture to evaporate at a faster pace.
- Industrial grade dehumidifiers pull the water vapor from the air.
Odor Removal and Deodorization
Water and fire damage often causes powerful odors. The machines we use remove airborne contaminants and control the air quality during the restoration and cleanup process.
- Air scrubbers remove airborne particles and contaminants.
- Thermal foggers and deodorization agents control odors.
Sanitizing Agents, Germicides, and Anti-Microbial Treatments
The use of OSHA-approved cleaning agents may be needed to clean and remove odors and/or contaminants on your property.
- Cleaning agents help to stop the growth of bacteria, fungi, mildew, and other microorganisms.
Space Heater Safety
Every year, over 25,000 house fires can be attributed to the incorrect usage of space heaters, according to Consumer Reports.
Fighting the cold weather using these machines can be safe — referring to NFPA’s (National Fire Protection Association) “Heater Checklist” will guide you into making the correct decisions to ensure a safe home/environment for your space heater to do its work.
Some of these tips include, but are not limited to:
- When buying a space heater, make sure that the unit has a seal from a qualified testing laboratory on it.
- Keeping children away from these heaters will limit bodily injury and poor usage of the units.
- Make sure the unit is placed on a solid, flat surface.
- Allow at least 3 feet of space between the space heater and anything else, including humans. Items that tend to catch fire are: curtains, bedding or upholstered furniture.
- Turn off the units when you leave the room or before you go to bed.
If your property has been damaged due to a fire and you suspect that your space heater was the cause, call your local SERVPRO franchise for all of your restoration needs.
Our staff is available 24/7/365, allowing us to be ready for any sized disaster at any time of the day, at any point during the year!
We pride ourselves on the fact that we can quickly dispatch a crew of SERVPRO professionals soon after we receive a call to a job.
And not only that, we are available to you when others may not — yes, that means during the holidays and odd hours!
We want to make sure that we are able to assist you when you need us most, and our nonstop availability is just one of the many ways we strive to make that happen.
From fire and water restoration, to mold mitigation, to much more, we can tackle any sized disaster with the will to make your damages look "Like it never even happened."
If you are in need of any of those services, or want to learn more about SERVPRO, give your local franchise a call TODAY!
Summer Fire Safety
Have fun and stay cool this summer but remember these tips to stay safe. If summer fun leads to any fire damage, know that Team McCabe is here to help
As we head into spring and summer I think we can say we are all excited to switch out the space heater for the air conditioner, and get the grill set up on the porch. However, the next few months bring their own set of hazards to be aware of. Fires can start for many reasons but the leading causes of fires in the summer are due to grills, air conditioners, fireworks and smoking.
According to the National Fire Incident Reporting System there are approximately 5,700 grill related fires each year. These fires cause just under $40 million in damages, 100 injuries and 10 deaths each year. Always check your grilling area to make sure it is safe before you ignite it. Be sure your grill is 10 feet from any home, shed or other structure. It should also be secure on a flat surface with nothing above you that could have the potential to ignite, and no trip hazards in the immediate area. Your grill should always be cleaned after use but before your first BBQ of the season make sure to give it a deep cleaning, checking for grease left behind from last season. Along with all these precautions it is always recommended to keep an extinguisher nearby in case of a fire.
Air conditioners also make up a large number of summer fires. This is typically caused by faulty wiring and over use. An air conditioner catching fire also has the potential of causing any contents in the surrounding area to catch fire so be aware of what you put near your windowsill. 2pm - 8pm is the most common time for an air conditioning fire due to the continuous use throughout the day. Be sure to use other methods to cool your house and rotate out the air conditioner with fans and by keeping windows open overnight. Air conditioners are only meant to keep your home 15 to 20 degrees cooler than the outside temperature so if you are attempting to run it at any lower temperature you run the risk of overuse.
We all make our personal choice to smoke or not knowing the dangers that come along with it. However during the summer months smoking can also cause fire hazards. According to the NFIRS, smoking fires are the leading cause of fatal fires. Always make sure your cigarette is kept away from the ground while lit and properly extinguished before being disposed of.
Fireworks also lead to a number of fires in the summer causing about 50,000 fires annually. It is important to always light fireworks in a dry area away from buildings and other structures. They should always be lit one at a time and never relit. Be sure that no kids are in the area and a hose is kept nearby. If children are using sparklers, always be sure it is done under adult supervision. Be sure before use that you review safety with them including no running and always holding the lit end away from themselves and others.
Have fun and stay cool this summer but remember these tips to stay safe. If summer fun leads to any fire damage, know that Team McCabe is here to help.