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Back to School Safety Month

8/19/2019 (Permalink)

pedestrian/school crossing sign with blue sky background Back to School Safety Tips

DID YOU KNOW?

August is back to school safety month. The greatest risk to a child isn’t riding a bus, but approaching or leaving one.  

Drivers:STOP FOR SCHOOL BUSES

You may need to add more time to your commute, because when buses stop to pick up students, other drivers need to stop, too.

  • Yellow flashing lights mean slow down — don’t speed up — because the bus is preparing to stop. There are likely students waiting to get on the bus or parents waiting nearby to pick up children. 
  • Red flashing lights mean stop — and wait at least 20 feet behind the bus — because children are getting on or off the school bus. Stay stopped until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop-arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving.
  • Even when lights aren’t flashing, watch for children, particularly in the morning or mid-afternoon, around school arrival and dismissal times. Be alert as you back out of a driveway, or drive through a neighborhood, school zone or bus stop.

 Parents:TALK BUS SAFETY WITH YOUR CHILDREN

School buses are the safest way for children to travel to and from school. Your child should arrive at the bus stop at least 5 minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive. Teach them to play it SAFE:

  • Stay five steps away from the curb.
  • Always wait until the bus comes to a complete stop and the bus driver tells you to board.
  • Face forward after finding a seat on the bus.
  • Exit the bus when it stops and look left-right-left for cars before crossing a street.

 Walkers:WATCH THE ROAD

Walking to school is great exercise, but children under 10 years old should be accompanied by an adult or with someone who will make sure they walk safely. If you’re walking: 

  • Use the sidewalk whenever possible, and if there isn’t a sidewalk, walk on the edge of the street facing traffic.
  • Whenever they are available, use marked crosswalks to cross the street, and look left-right-left for vehicles or bikes before crossing.
  • Make sure you never play, push or shove others when you walk around traffic.
  • Everyone should watch the road, not their phones.

 Bikers:KNOW THE RULES OF THE ROAD

Riding your bike can be a fun and quick way to get to school. Be sure to do these simple things to keep your bike ride safe:

  • Always wear a correctly fitted helmet, and securely fasten the chin strap.
  • Ride in the same direction as traffic, and follow traffic signs and signals.
  • Stay in the bike lane whenever possible.
  • Never use electronics while riding – they are distracting.

 Student drivers:FOCUS ON THE ROAD

For some teens, back to school also means the new-found freedom of driving. You should keep these things in mind when driving to school:

  • The car shouldn’t move until everyone is buckled up.
  • Follow the speed limit. 
  • Stay focused. 
    • Remember that the phone stays down when you’re driving. Make it a habit to put your phone in the glove compartment or other inaccessible location, to reduce temptation to check notifications or texts.
    • Reduce distraction by limiting the number of additional passengers. If you do have others in the car with you, keep your eyes and your mind on the road. 

Let this school year be a safe one for everyone. Stay alert, whether you’re a driver, walker, bicyclist, bus rider, or parent.

How to Prevent Water Damage in Your Tunkhannock Bathroom

8/1/2019 (Permalink)

Prevent Water Damage In Your Home

Close to everything in the bathroom uses water, so it's no surprise that around 75% of household water use takes place there. All that water is meant to be confined to specific places, though: in the sink, in the tub/shower, in the toilet. Beyond these fixtures, a bathroom is just another room. Apart from the sealant around those fixtures, and waterproofing materials in the floor/walls of a shower, there's not a whole lot else to stop rogue water from doing damage. Except you!

At the end of the day, it's the vigilance of the homeowner that keeps mold and rot at bay. Knowing the signs of water damage, where it's most likely to occur, and how it happens is just as important as a properly-installed shower pan. A keen eye, paired with the information below, can help you avoid the water damage repair and mold remediation.

Helpful Tips:

  • Leaks can be deceitful: just because evidence of a leak appears in a certain spot doesn't mean the leak originates there. Take time to track down the source before planning out or attempting a repair.
  • Discoloration on walls or floors? Musty smell? Are any areas softer than others? These could point to a leak, mold, or bacteria. If you have access underneath/behind the suspicious area, you may be able to address it. Otherwise, you're best off calling a professional.
  • If drywall has become warped or bubbly, it's gotten wet. Poke a hole to allow any moisture a way out. If the drywall isn't saturated and feels nearly dry, you may be okay. If it's soft, it should be replaced. If the source of the water isn't obvious, there may be a leak in the wall.
  • Regularly test the shut off valves on fixtures, and replace as necessary. Keep an eye out for any wetness or staining around them that could indicate a leak. These valves are hugely important: should a fixture overflow, they're the quickest way to shut the water off. If you have flexible supply lines connected to them, make sure they're tightly secured to both valve and fixture.
  • If your bathroom doesn't have an exhaust fan, it needs one. While you can get away with a good window, nothing beats a properly-installed bathroom vent fan in taking moisture (and odors) out.
  • Always check around your shower after taking one. Curtains can get torn and seals on doors can deteriorate, allowing water to escape, collect, sit, or find its way to cracks and openings elsewhere.
  • A good bath mat goes a long way!
  • Drain the tub as soon as you're done with it: standing water can find its way into all sorts of hairline cracks and spaces in compromised drains.
  • Cracked, broken, or missing tiles allow water to seep in behind walls and under floors - repair or replace them immediately! The same goes with decaying or cracked grout. If things have been that way for a while, it's recommended that you have a professional check for any hidden damage - mold could be growing out of sight.
  • Shower pans can crack or be punctured, potentially leading to serious damage. Test your shower pan annually to catch any leaks before they have a chance to destroy your subfloor.
  • Toilets will leak, but most of the time it's a "contained" leak between the tank and the bowl - something that definitely needs to be fixed, but probably won't ruin anything else in the room. If the floor around the toilet is wet, has any give at all/is spongy, or you notice significant staining around the base, there's a problem. If you don't have experience with toilets, call a plumber - there could be a problem with the tank-to-bowl connection, the floor flange, or the gasket. Note: The wax ring under a toilet only seals air and gases from entering through the closet flange connection. It is not designed to seal against water.
  • If your toilet does not appear to be leaking, be sure that the base is sufficiently sealed with silicone caulk or a similar product. This keeps water and other liquids from making their way underneath. Keep an open gap at the rear so that any future leaks can make themselves known, otherwise that water will be completely sealed in (and you won't know until it's too late!)
  • Keep in mind that the toilet is usually the lowest point in a bathroom, and it's not uncommon for water to collect there from other sources. For instance: a small leak from a supply line could travel along pipes to the floor, remaining unnoticeable until enough of it accumulates where gravity directs it: the base of the toilet. Assuming there's a leak in or around the toilet, unnecessary repairs could be made while the real problem keeps dripping away.
  • Regularly check inside and under vanities, where leaks from supply lines and poorly-caulked sinks can be hidden.
  • Also check sinks for cracked or deteriorating caulking, and repair as needed. Keep the faucet and the area around the sink dry (don't let water collect and sit).
  • If you're going on vacation, or just leaving the house for the weekend, it's a good idea to shut off the water supply to the entire house. A burst pipe or similar emergency when no one's home can be catastrophic.

Source: Plumbing Supply

Tips to Prevent Mold in Your Kingston Home this Summer

8/1/2019 (Permalink)

Prevent Mold In Your Home This Summer.

Tips to Prevent Mold in your Kingston Home this Summer

During the warm months of summer, mold thrives because most strains of mold need warm temperatures in order to grow. Here are some simple things you can do to prevent mold this summer:

  • Use your air conditioner on hot days. Mold grows best at temperatures above 77 degrees Fahrenheit, so keep the indoor temperature lower than that if you can.
  • Watch for any condensation or moisture in your air ducts. Sometimes using the air conditioner can cause condensation and that moisture provides a place for mold to grow.
  • Purchase a hygrometer, an instrument that measures the relative humidity, so you can monitor the humidity in your home. By monitoring the relative humidity in your home, you can take steps when necessary to reduce moisture in order to prevent the growth of mold.
  • Mold thrives in moist environments, so it’s best to keep the relative humidity below 50 percent. If any areas of your home have relative humidity higher than that, purchase a dehumidifier to reduce the amount of moisture in the air. Mold doesn’t grow well in dry environments.
  • Close windows when it rains. If windows are open when it rains, dry windowsills, floors or any other surfaces as soon as possible. 
  • If it’s a rainy summer, watch for signs of a leak in your roof. A discolored spot on the ceiling generally means a leak, even if you don’t see water coming through the ceiling. Have any leaks repaired as soon as possible to keep mold from developing.

In addition to the above summer tips to prevent mold, you should do some basic things all year around, including:

  • Repair any leaky pipes or appliances as soon as possible.
  • Make sure your clothes dryer is vented to the outdoors, not into your attic or crawlspace.
  • Turn on the exhaust fan or open a bathroom window a couple inches when showering. The steam that fills the bathroom when you shower provides ample moisture for mold.
  • Don’t use carpet in bathrooms. It’s hard to dry out carpet thoroughly. It’s much easier to dry linoleum or tile floors if they get wet. You can use throw rugs in bathrooms, which can be machine washed and hung to dry, which prevents them from getting moldy.
  • Clean up any spills of water or other liquids immediately.
  • Address any mold problems that do occur promptly to prevent the mold from growing and spreading to other areas of the home.
  • If you notice a musty smell in the home, you probably have mold somewhere. Mold often grows in hard-to-see places, like under carpet and inside walls. If you smell something musty but can’t find any mold, we recommended having the home tested.

If Mold Develops Despite Your Best Efforts at Prevention

If mold does develop despite your best efforts at prevention, we are always here to help. Our trained professionals can make the mold in your home, "Like it never even happened." 

The Complimentary Community Emergency Ready Profile

8/1/2019 (Permalink)

The Benefits of a Free ERP are endless.

As many as 50% of businesses close down following a disaster, according to the latest research. Of the businesses that survive, the overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan in place. Pre-planning can serve as an insurance policy aimed at peace of mind. And knowing you are "Ready for whatever happens" speaks trust to your clients and employees that in the event your business is affected by a disaster, they don’t necessarily have to be.

Since beginning work on local emergency profiles, our franchise has completed close to 80 ERP's at local schools, hospitals, libraries, county buildings, theaters, hotels, restaurants, small businesses, warehouses, apartment buildings, college campuses, senior living centers and more. We want to assist you in creating your free emergency plan to keep you, your building and those in it safe. Call us to learn more or schedule your free ERP - 570-714-0090. 

By developing a SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile for your business, you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your business.

  • A no cost assessment of your facility.
    This means there is no need to allocate funds, giving you a great value at no cost.
     
  • A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
    It will only take a little time to complete and will not take you away from current projects. But it will save a lot of time if ever needed.
     
  • A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.
    This can help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive by having an immediate plan of action.
     
  • Establishes your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
    You have a provider that is recognized as an industry leader and close by.
     
  • Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.
    This saves time so we can begin the work of mitigating the damage which can save you time and money.
     
  • Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information.
    Having a quick reference of what to do, how to do it and who to call provides solutions in advance of an emergency so that during the emergency you are "Ready for whatever happens."

Stay Safe During National Grilling Month

7/24/2019 (Permalink)

Grill Safely this Summer!

July is National Grilling Month. Grill Safely this Summer with some helpful tips and information below! 

Seven out of every 10 adults in the U.S. have a grill or smoker, which translates to a lot of tasty meals. But it also means there’s an increased risk of home fires.

In 2013-2017, fire departments went to an annual average of 10,200 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues per year, including 4,500 structure fires and 5,700 outside or unclassified fires. These fires caused an annual average of 10 civilian deaths, 160 civilian injuries and $123 million in direct property damage.

Here are some ways you can grill safely this Summer:

1. Keep grill well away from home and deck railings. 

2. Open the grill before turning it on.

3. To keep excess gas from leaking out, turn the gas tank off first, then turn off the grill burners. 

4. Keep your grill clean. 

5. Wear the right clothing.

Grilling Fire Facts

  • July is the peak month for grill fires (17%), including both structure, outdoor or unclassified fires, followed by June (14%), May (13%) and August (12%).
  • In 2013-2017, an average of 19,000 patients per year went to emergency rooms because of injuries involving grills.Half (9,300 or 49%) of the injuries were thermal burns, including both burns from fire and from contact with hot objects; 5,200 thermal burns, per year,were caused by such contact or other non-fire events.
  • Children under five accounted for an average of 2,000 or 38%, of the contact-type burns per year. These burns typically occurred when someone, often a child, bumped into, touched or fell on the grill, grill part or hot coals.
  • Gas grills were involved in an average of 8,700 home fires per year, including 3,600 structure fires and 5,100 outdoor fires annually. Leaks or breaks were primarily a problem with gas grills. Eleven percent of gas grill structure fires and 23% of outside gas grill fires were caused by leaks or breaks.
  • Charcoal or other solid-fueled grills were involved in 1,100 home fires per year, including 600 structure fires and 500 outside fires annually.

Have a Fun and Safe Summer!

Source: NFPA's Research, Data & Analytics Division
Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association (HPBA)

Top Reasons for Water Damage in Your Home

7/12/2019 (Permalink)

Know the Reasons for Water Damage

Discovering a flooded basement or area of your home can be devastating. We're happy we can help and want you to be aware of the top reasons water could damage your home.

Plumbing issues

Water damage is often caused by plumbing issues. That’s why it’s important to inspect the plumbing systems in your home at least once a year to ensure that there aren’t any problems with hoses or pipe joints. You should also keep in mind that plumbing pipes have a long lifespan. Brass pipes can last for as many as 70 years while copper pipes can last for more than 50 years. The average lifespan for galvanized steel pipes is often between 20 and 50 years.

Drain pipes are usually made of either cast iron  or polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Properly maintained PVC pipes can last indefinitely. Check your home inspection report or consult a licensed plumber to learn about the lifespan of the plumbing pipes in your home.

If your water bill is unusually high, that might be an indication of an undetected leak. Buying a water leak sensor that sends alerts to your phone is one way to safeguard your home. You should also check around your toilets, tubs, showers and sinks for any soft spots or moisture. Keep an eye out for loose tiles as well. If you have a dishwasher or a refrigerator with a water line, look for warped or discolored floorboards.

Washing machine leaks

Unless you’re doing laundry, you probably don’t think twice about your washing machine. But if it breaks down, the results could be catastrophic. For example, if the supply hose is damaged or has a faulty connection to the wall or washing machine, more than 600 gallons of water could potentially spill out within an hour. That could lead to significant water damage, especially if your washing machine is located on the second floor of your home.

To prevent water damage, you should replace your washing machine supply hose at least once every five years. Also, resist the temptation to overload your washing machine. Constantly stuffing too many clothes into your washing machine could loosen gaskets and valves or cause cracks. Take good care of your washing machine and your washing machine will take good care of you.

Bursting water pipes

During severely cold winters, pipes can freeze over and burst. 

If temperatures tend to freeze in your area, be sure to protect your pipes. Insulate both hot and cold water pipes using heat tape or pipe sleeves available in your home improvement store. If you have water supply lines in your garage, keep the garage door closed as often as possible. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate. If you plan to spend some time away from your home, leave the heat on and set your thermostat to at least 55 degrees. You can’t control the weather, but you can put up a good fight to save your pipes.

Aging water heaters

Water heaters have a shelf life. You could wait until your water heater starts leaking to replace it. But if you’re being smart about avoiding water damage, you should replace it every 10 years. A tankless water heater can last for as many as 20 years.

You can find out how old your water heater is by looking up the serial number on the manufacturer’s sticker near the top of the water heater. Make sure to regularly inspect your water heater to check for signs of moisture build-up, mold or corrosion. If your water isn’t as hot as it used to be or there’s rust coming from your faucets, it’s time to call a plumber or water heater specialist.

Inclement weather

Snow may look lovely. But if your home is not weatherproof, a bad snowstorm could damage your roof, walls and ceiling. Make sure your home is ready for inclement weather by ensuring that your rain gutters and downspouts are clean. You should also check doors and windows to ensure that your caulking hasn’t cracked.

If it snows where you live, be wary about the formation of ice dams on your roof. This happens when the heat inside your home causes water to melt in the middle of your roof. The water then refreezes near the edges, forming a dam that prevents melting snow from draining off the roof. The water that backs up can leak into your home and damage ceilings, walls and other areas of your home. To prevent ice dams from forming, insulate your attic to keep heat from rising and reaching the roof.

Source: https://myhippo.com

Be Ready for Whatever Happens during a Storm

7/2/2019 (Permalink)

Here to Help Following a Storm

Be Prepared for Summer Storms this Season

Know the county in which you live and the names of nearby cities. Severe weather warnings are issued on a county basis.

Have disaster supplies on hand, including:

      Flashlight and extra batteries.
      Battery operated radio and extra batteries.
      First aid kit and manual.
      Emergency food and water.
      Non-electric can opener.
      Essential medicines.
    Checkbook, cash, credit cards, ATM cards.

Before the Storm

      Check the weather forecast before leaving for extended periods outdoors.Watch for signs of approaching storms.
      If a storm is approaching, keep a NOAA Weather Radio or AM/FM radio with you.
      Postpone outdoor activities if storms are imminent.
    Check on neighbors who require special assistance: infants, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

During the Storm

Remember: If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately.

      Move to a sturdy building or car.
      Do Not take shelter in small sheds, under isolated trees, or in convertible automobiles.
      If lightning occurs and sturdy shelter is not available, get inside a hard top automobile and keep the windows up.
      Get out of boats and away from water.
      Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity.
      Unplug appliances not necessary for obtaining weather information.
      Avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances.
      Use phones only in an emergency.
      Do not take a bath or shower.
      Turn off air conditioners. Power can overload the compressors.
      Get to higher ground if flash flooding or flooding is possible.
    Do Not attempt to drive to safety. Most flash flooding deaths occur in automobiles.

If you are caught outdoors and no shelter is nearby:

      Find a low spot away from trees, fences, and poles. Make sure the place you pick is not subject to flooding.
    If you are in the woods, take shelter under the shorter trees.

After the Storm

      Check on neighbors who may require special assistance: infants, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
      Avoid all downed power lines. Assume that all have live electricity.
    Continue to monitor NOAA Weather Radio and your local media for latest weather updates.

Why SERVPRO is a Good Restoration Choice

7/2/2019 (Permalink)

Why Call SERVPRO?

SERVPRO understands your situation. As an agent or adjuster, you have a responsibility to keep claims costs down while still providing the best services possible for your customers.

We are uniquely qualified to help. Our results create a measurable difference, giving you many competitive advantages.

Emergency Response to Claims

Restoring property is our first priority. Your customer will appreciate the immediate response and you will know everything is being done to limit the damage.

Pretesting Reduces Claims Expense

Restoring property is less expensive than replacing property. Claims Professionals know the rule is, "Restore whenever possible, replace only when necessary." We make sure pretesting is completed on every loss to determine restorability.

Claims Inventory Service

SERVPRO can provide an itemized loss inventory. You will receive an Excel formatted report and pictures of important items.

Superior, Time-Tested Training

Effective training is the best way to help ensure your customers receive the service they deserve. Our technicians are trained to IICRC standards in Fire and Water Cleanup and Restoration. In addition, continuing education classes are available to our staff and Insurance Clients at our state of the art IICRC Approved Training Facility

Vendor Qualification Compliance and Professionalism

If you call SERVPRO, we will use only qualified vendors to service your customer. That commitment resulted in:

  • A National Call Center to achieve prompt handling of the claim.
  • Implementation of best practices and job process programs.
  • National Accounts qualification criteria and annual compliance checks.
  • Crew and vehicle standards.
  • Insurance requirements.
  • File documentation requirements.
  • Quality assurance program.

Serving Adjusters and Their Clients

Our job is to reassure the customer, perform quality service and to report to you quickly. We know your job is to interpret the policy and adjust the claim... and not to deal with problems from vendors! Working together we strive to save you time so you can focus on priority files, while having complete control of every loss you are assigned. 24-hour emergency response, damage mitigation, loss assessment, and an electronic file are available to you within hours. 

Hard-earned results have made SERVPRO leaders in the fire and water cleanup and restoration industry. The SERVPRO System is geared to achieve customer satisfaction and mitigation results, adding to your company’s competitive advantage.

4th of July Firework Safety

7/1/2019 (Permalink)

Happy 4th of July!

When using fireworks this 4th of July, stay safe with these tips below: 

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don't realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.

Have a fun and safe 4th of July! 

Call a Professional for Biohazard Situations

6/28/2019 (Permalink)

When dealing with a biohazard situation, Call SERVPRO.

Why Biohazard Situations Should Not Be Handled on Your Own. 

While many would like to conduct the cleaning or maintenance of their home or business following a biohazard situation, it is extremely important to call in a trained and certified biohazard cleaning company to handle these cleanups. 

Exposure to biological and chemical contaminants can pose serious health consequences. A failure to properly remove such substances can contribute to unhealthy and dangerous environments. We are trained to safely clean and remove biohazardous substances and dispose of them properly in accordance with OSHA and health regulations.

Equipped with the necessary safety apparatus and cleaning products, we are here to help transform any unsafe environments back into clean, safe homes and offices.

  1. Safety Equipment – Cleaning extreme situations requires the use of personal safety wear to protect cleaners from exposure to bloodborne diseases, dangerous chemicals, and infection. The average person does not possess this type of ppe.
  2. Cleaning Equipment – Thorough cleaning of locations affected by biological hazards calls for specialized equipment and cleaning solutions. Certified bio-remediation companies use advanced equipment and effective disinfectant solutions to leave client sites free of biohazards. Our staff are trained to use this equipment to remove all hazardous materials from your home – many of which you can’t even see.
  3. Disposal – Objects that have come in to contact with human or animal blood or waste including needles, carpets, mattresses, and clothing should be disposed of properly so they do not pose a health threat to the public. We are required to transport and dispose of biohazard waste appropriately.
  4. Ability to handle difficult scenes – The work involved in cleaning up after a crime or trauma is mentally, physically, and emotionally difficult for those connected to the victim to handle. Family and friends often find it extremely painful to see a loved one’s remains. Our team members have experience working in this taxing environment.
  5. Peace of mind – Use of a professional biohazard cleanup company will leave you with complete assurance that your family and friends are safe from any harm posed by the biological hazards once present in your home or business.