FIREWORK SAFETY

National Fireworks Safety Month occurs every June and runs through the Fourth of July to remind communities that setting off your own fireworks could be deadly. According to recent statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), over one-quarter of fires started by fireworks were reported on the Fourth of July. Almost half of the fires reported on Independence Day were started by fireworks. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) even reported that in 2016 alone, an estimated 11,000 injuries were treated at hospitals due to fireworks-related injuries, mostly to the hands, fingers, head, face and ears. That’s why it’s so important to follow the advice of the NFPA: leave the fireworks to the professionals.

If you haven’t purchased any fireworks for this year’s events, consider watching the professional displays that occur in several places around your city. That way, your friends, family and pets can stay safe from any potential injuries. However, in the event that you insist on setting off your own display, read the following fireworks safety tips from the experts at ServiceMaster Restore® first.

OBEY YOUR LOCAL LAWS.

If fireworks aren’t legal to buy in your area, they are illegal for a reason. Do not set off your own display. Instead, let the experts impress you with their safe fireworks shows. If they are legal in your area and you choose to use them, do so safely with the rest of these tips in mind.

For specific information on what is allowed in your area, here are reminders for Skagit and Whatcom County.

READ ALL DIRECTIONS AND CAUTIONARY LABELS ON THE PACKAGING.

Never light a firework without first reading its directions. Responsible usage is key to avoiding the burns, cuts, sprains, fractures or worse injuries associated with amateur fireworks. While you’re examining the packaging, pay attention to warning labels, too. As a general rule, these explosive devices aren’t intended for children to handle, and firework products typically recommend keeping pets safely inside and away from the show.

ONLY USE FIREWORKS OUTDOORS.

Setting off a firework in your home is asking for a fire. If you choose to do this, you may potentially face fire and property damage, damage to your neighbor’s property, city fines, increased risk of injury and even death. To avoid all these risks, only use fireworks outside in an open area. The space should be far away from buildings, vehicles, children and animals to keep everyone safe.

DO NOT USE FIREWORKS NEAR DRY GRASS OR FOLIAGE.

The summer sun has a way of drying out grass, leaves and plants. If recent temperatures are especially scorching, take a close look at the area where you plan to launch the fireworks. We recommend performing this examination in daylight for a full, clear understanding of the area’s risk of fire. If dry grass or foliage is found, do not light off your display there. These items will behave like kindling if touched by any stray sparks, putting you at risk of fire.

DO NOT SET OFF FIREWORKS NEAR BUILDINGS.

A rogue firework could easily set a building on fire, shatter its windows, injure residents and much more. Respect your neighbors’ properties by keeping your fireworks away from their homes and businesses. You should also keep fireworks away from power or gas lines, as these can ignite a fire upon impact. Instead, only use fireworks in a wide, open field that’s free from any dried or otherwise combustible materials.

KEEP A LARGE BUCKET OF WATER CLOSE BY.

If things go awry, it’s necessary to be prepared. During your fireworks show, make sure to always have a bucket of water, a hose or a fire extinguisher on hand. That way, if a fire starts, you can put out the flames immediately.

If you choose to set off your own fireworks displays, do your part during National Fireworks Safety Month first. Read up on all the fireworks safety tips you should know before lighting off any fireworks to prevent the worst from happening. From the members of ServiceMaster Restore, we hope you have a fun, happy and safe Fourth of July!

AFTER THE FIRE: HOW SMOKE DAMAGE CAN AFFECT YOUR BUSINESS

Even the smallest fire can wreak havoc on your business. If you don’t take prompt action after the flames have been put out, smoke damage can lead to lasting repercussions that span far beyond any damage you can visibly see on the surface. Smoke and soot contain high levels of acidity that can harm almost any material, making smoke damage repair a time-sensitive process.

SMOKE DAMAGE TIMELINE

Minutes after a fire breaks out in your commercial building, soot begins to destroy your property, making it crucial to call in restoration experts as soon as the fire is extinguished. The longer you wait, the more loss your business may have.

  • Minutes: Soot and smoke can leave a yellow stain on your walls and items made with plastic, marble and other porous materials.
  • Hours: The acidity content in soot could cause metal objects, grout and other materials to become permanently tarnished or stained.
  • Days: By this time, your walls may be permanently yellow. Metals can corrode or rust. Wooden furniture may be destroyed. Flooring, upholstery, cubicles and other items made with fabric will have to be replaced.
  • Weeks: When soot damage has a chance to permeate through your materials, it can cause permanent corrosion and even release toxic fumes into the air. Office supplies, office furniture and electronic equipment exposed to smoke damage may need to be thrown out and replaced.

AFTER THE FIRE IS OUT

Once the fire has been put out and everyone in the building is safe and accounted for, it’s time to begin the clean-up and restoration process. First and foremost, file a smoke damage insurance claim with your company’s insurance provider. Confirm with your agent if there are any filing deadlines to ensure you get everything submitted on time.

After filing a claim, call a restoration company like ServiceMaster Restore for commercial smoke damage and soot removal services. By acting fast, restoration experts can mitigate severe losses that your company may face. When they arrive on scene, you can expect our trained technicians to provide the following services:

  • Evaluate all of your furniture and equipment to assess whether damage is reversible.
  • Work with you to create a comprehensive remediation plan.
  • Thoroughly clean each of your items and surfaces.
  • Use specialized equipment and chemicals to eliminate the smell of smoke.
  • Seal surfaces to prevent the risk of re-contamination.

REDUCING SMOKE ODORS IN YOUR BUILDING

Following a fire, there are a few steps you can take before the restoration experts get there to minimize costly damage to your business. Once officials say it’s safe to enter your building, you can attempt to reduce the smell of smoke odors in your business by following these suggestions:

  • Open all doors and windows to air out the building, if the temperature is above 60 degrees.
  • Replace the air filters on your furnace if it uses forced air.
  • Tape cheesecloth over returns and supply registers to capture loose soot floating in the air.

While you’re completing these tasks, keep in mind that there are some things you should avoid doing to prevent additional damage. While you attempt to reduce smoke odors in your building, be careful not to do the following:

  • Do not touch anything in the building with your bare hands. Oils from your skin can permeate through materials like upholstery, walls and woodwork, leading to extensive damage.
  • Do not attempt to wash yellowed or damaged walls. The wrong cleaning technique could compound soot residue, so it’s best to leave the clean-up to the professionals.

Although dealing with a disaster can be stressful, know that you’re not alone. With over 65 years in the cleaning and restoration industry, the professionals at ServiceMaster Restore are committed to being at your side every step of the way. Our commercial fire and smoke damage removal services include expert processes for electronics restoration, document and data recovery, smoke and odor removal and more to completely restore your company back to its pre-loss conditions. We’ll even guide you through every step of our process to ensure you can get back to business right away.

RESIDENTIAL FIRE & WATER DAMAGE RESTORATION SERVICE

In the event of a house fire, countless gallons of water can be poured into your home. Water damage as a side effect from fire-fighting can be devastating to your floors, walls, possessions and even the structure of your house. At ServiceMaster Restore, we respond immediately using advanced equipment and techniques to remove water quickly.

Remember, the faster you get water extraction services, the less flood damage you’ll have in your home. So when the unforeseen happens, call in the experts at ServiceMaster Restore right away.

HOW TO PROTECT AGAINST WORKPLACE FIRES

Fire prevention in the workplace is a serious matter, and not just because your livelihood is on the line. A fire threatens the safety of everyone around. Luckily, there are some basic steps you can take to ensure workplace fire safety for everyone who helps keep your business running. Check out these seven expert tips to make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep your business and coworkers safe.

1. Create a fire prevention plan.

Take the time to create a plan for workplace fire safety. Create guidelines for employees, make a calendar with inspection dates and important maintenance, and share it with everyone at your business.

2. Clean house.

If your place of business is cluttered up with unorganized equipment, materials, debris or paperwork, you have a fire hazard on your hands. Making a clear pathway to an exit not only removes flammable items, but also helps you get to safety. Tidy up! And don’t forget to keep the garbage or disposal areas clear.

3. Set a smoking policy.

Smoking but it also introduces potential fire hazards. Consider the following as you create a safety-minded workplace smoking policy:

  • Designate smoking and non-smoking areas.
  • Have ashtrays available and make sure people use them.
  • Keep ashtrays clean of other material and away from flammable items.
  • Clean all ashtrays regularly.

4. Install and test smoke detectors.

Smoke detectors are one of the simplest, most effective things you can do for fire prevention in the workplace. Install the best ones you can afford and inspect them regularly. Working smoke detectors can give you valuable time to react to a fire, which can make a huge difference in reducing harm to your business and the safety of your coworkers. Conduct periodic fire drills by using the test feature on your smoke alarms, to ensure that everyone knows how to react in the event of an emergency.

5. Install sprinklers.

Sprinkler systems are an effective part of any workplace fire prevention plan. Used in conjunction with a warning system like smoke detectors, automatic sprinklers can help mitigate the impacts of a fire at your business. A professional can help you design a sprinkler system configuration that addresses important or at-risk areas of your business.

6. Place and check fire extinguishers.

Like sprinklers, fire extinguishers can sometimes prevent a minor fire from turning into a major disaster. Buy enough fire extinguishers as appropriate for the size of your building, and make sure they’ll be accessible when it matters. That means no junk or equipment making them hard to reach. Putting them under cabinets or on high shelves won’t do much good when a room is full of smoke, either.

7. Check for hazards.

Make time on a regular basis to inspect equipment, areas where chemicals are stored and other identified high-risk areas. Perform maintenance on electrical equipment as soon as problems are spotted. Fires are often preventable, and the last thing you want is for your business to be destroyed by a fire that could have been averted through proactive maintenance.

Smart policies, persistent vigilance and swift action can help you avoid or mitigate fire damage at your place of business. Keep your eye on the ServiceMaster Restore® blog for more tips on how to keep your workplace safe, and know that you can always contact us if a fire does hit your business. From cleaning up smoke and ash damage to evaluating damaged office equipment, our experienced crews know what it takes to help your business get back on its feet as quickly as possible.

 

 

SEWAGE BACKUP CLEANING SERVICES

Experiencing a sewage backup or overflow is more than damaging to your home. It can be dangerous to your health. Whether it’s a sewer backup from a breakdown in a neighborhood sewer system or water runoff from a storm, we respond with the right tools, expert training and techniques to remove the hazards and water from your home and repair the damages.

WHAT CAUSES BACKUPS?

Blockages are often caused by:

  • Soil settlement
  • Misaligned joints
  • Root infiltration
  • Pipe collapses
  • Grease buildup
  • Items flushed down a drain

Remember, it could look perfectly fine, but germs are invisible. Make sure the job is done right with the experts from ServiceMaster Restore.

OUR CLEANING PROCESS: