A Safe Thanksgiving is a Happy Thanksgiving
Putting too much oil in the fryer or dropping in a frozen or partially thawed turkey lead to most turkey fryer fires.
As you gather to celebrate Thanksgiving with your friends and family, at SERVPRO we want to help keep you and your loved ones safe from fire hazards.
According to data from the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA, an estimated 2,000 Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings occur annually in the United States, resulting in an estimated average of five deaths, 25 injuries, and $21 million in property loss each year. The leading cause of all Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings is cooking.
The USFA recommends the following tips to keep your holiday safe.
- Make sure you have smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside each sleeping area, and in every bedroom. Test smoke alarms monthly and replace them if they are 10 years old or older.
- Keep a close watch on your cooking. You should never leave cooking food unattended.
- Keep oven food packaging and other combustibles away from burners and heat sources.
- Heat cooking oil slowly and watch it closely; it can ignite quickly.
- Don't wear loose sleeves while working over hot stove burners - they can melt, ignite or catch on handles of pots and pans spilling hot oil and other liquids.
- Have a "kid-free zone" of at least three-feet around the stove and areas where hot foods or drinks are prepared or carried.
- Keep a lid nearby to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cool.
Thanksgiving just wouldn't be Thanksgiving without the turkey. And deep-fried turkey has become a favorite Thanksgiving tradition in many households. But if used improperly, an overloaded fryer can easily tip over and set an entire house ablaze. USFA offers the following helpful tips to backyard chefs who plan to deep-fry a turkey for Thanksgiving:
- Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other flammable materials.
- Never use turkey fryers in a garage or on a wooden deck.
- Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
- Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you do not watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
- Never let children or pets near the fryer even if it is not in use. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot hours after use.
- To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.
- Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
- Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water do not mix, and water causes oil to spill over causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.
- The National Turkey Federation (NTF) recommends thawing the turkey in the refrigerator approximately 24 hours for every five pounds in weight.
- Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. If the fire is manageable, use your all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call the fire department for help.
The Importance of Continuing Education
Continuing Education Class held in Laurens, South Carolina
The work place is constantly evolving. Continuing education and constant informal learning is required for everyone to stay current with the latest developments, skills, and new technologies required for their fields.
Today, most professions require continuing education to comply with laws, remain licensed or certified. Continuing education requirements are mandated by State or other licensing body is considered key in staying updated with industry advancements and changes.
Most insurance companies and agencies require their agents to take continuing education courses in topic in which they would like their agents to get well versed in. CE is also a good way for agents to acquire knowledge about new lines of insurance and to expand their business.
SERVPRO offers both credit and noncredit courses for insurance agents, insurance adjusters, real estate professionals and franchise staff. These programs are designed to improve knowledge of emergency mitigation. Courses include:
- Water Damage Restoration
- Fire Damage Restoration
- Understanding Mold in the Restoration Industry
- Restorative Drying for Loss Control
- Mitigation Awareness Response Seminar
If you have questions about our next continuing education class, contact the experienced professionals at SERVPRO Newberry and Laurens Counties.
Newberry and Lauren County Residents: Tips for a safe Halloween
If you choose to use candle decorations, make sure to keep them well attended at all times.
Children dressed in costumes excitedly running door to door to trick-or-treat, festive decorations like glowing jack-o-lanterns, paper ghosts and dried cornstalks adorning front porches – these are some of the classic hallmarks of Halloween that make the holiday special for kids and adults alike.
Unfortunately, these Halloween symbols and activities can also present lurking fire risks that have the potential to become truly scary. But by planning ahead, you can help make this Halloween a fire-safe one. Taking simple fire safety precautions can help ensure your holiday remains festive and fun!
Halloween by the numbers
- From 2009-2013, decorations were the item first ignited in an estimated average of 860 reported home structure fires per year.
- Nearly half of decoration fires in homes occurred because the decorations were too close to a heat source.
- These fires caused an estimated average of one civilian death, 41 civilian injuries and $13 million in direct property damage per year.
- Forty-one percent of these incidents were started by candles; one-fifth began in the living room, family room, or den.
Improve the safety of your Halloween by following these tips from NFPA:
-Costumes: When choosing a costume, stay away from billowing or long-trailing fabric. If you are making your own costume, choose material that won’t easily ignite if it comes into contact with heat or flame.
-Visibility: Provide children with flashlights to carry for lighting or glow sticks as part of their costumes. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so he/she can see clearly out of it.
-Flammable decorations: Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations well away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters.
-Candles/jack-o-lanterns: It is safest to use a glow stick or battery-operated candle in a jack-o-lantern. If you use a real candle, use extreme caution. When lighting candles inside jack-o-lanterns, use long fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. If you choose to use candle decorations, make sure to keep them well attended at all times. Do not leave them near flammable objects or where trick-or-treaters may walk. Remind your children to avoid open flames. Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit.
- Exits: Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
Source: NFPA Fire Analysis & Research Division
Strong winds also came with tornado warnings in Cheraw. Chris Jackson took this photo in Chesterfield County.
Tornadoes have caused a lot of destruction in many towns across the United States. South Carolina averages 14 tornadoes per year, resulting in an average of 1 fatalities. Counties in a high risk tornado area include Bamberg County, SC, Saluda County, SC and Richland County, SC. The largest tornado on record occurred on 04/08/1957, measuring a 4 on the Fujita-Pearson scale. Although, we cannot prevent a tornado, we can be more knowledgeable of what a tornado is and the signs of a tornado coming.
Tornadoes are considered nature’s most fierce storms and is formed from a violently narrow rotating column of air that extends from the base of a thunderstorm to the ground. Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still. A tornadoes location may be marked by a cloud of debris even if the funnel is not visible.
Tornadoes may cause devastating fatalities and damage to many homes and neighborhoods in the matter of seconds.
According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL), “About 1,200 tornadoes hit the U.S yearly.”
Tornadoes are most likely to be seen during May into early June for the Southern Plains and for the Northern plains and upper Midwest, tornadoes are more likely to be seen in June or July. Although, these are the peak tornado seasons, tornadoes can happen at any time of the year. Tornadoes can also happen at any time of the day or night, but are most likely to hit between 4-9 p.m.
Tornado Watch: the conditions are favorable for a tornado.
Tornado Warning: a tornado has been reported, you should seek shelter.
Air Pressure: is the weight of a column of air that extends from the ground to the top of the atmosphere.
Funnel Cloud: a rotating column of wind that has not touched the ground (funnel clouds are called tornadoes when they reach the ground).
Multi-Vortex Tornado: a tornado that has two or more vortices that circle the center of a larger tornado.
Tornado Alley: an area in the United States where tornadoes are more likely to develop.
For more information on tornado safety and what to do in case of a tornado please visit https://www.weather.gov/ctp/TornadoSafety .
October is Fire Prevention Month
The U.S. Fire Administration reports that fires kill more than 4,000 Americans each year and approximately injure 20,000 more. U.S. fire departments respond to nearly 2 million fires each year, with three-quarters of them occurring in residences.
This month, make sure your home is protected from (and your family is prepared for) a fire. Here are 10 simple tips to help you avoid fires and reduce the risk of injury should one occur:
1) Smoke Alarms – These are still a very important addition to your home. Smoke alarms are widely available and inexpensive. Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home and test it monthly.
2) Prevent Electrical Fires – Don’t overload circuits or extension cords. Cords and wires should never be placed under rugs or in high traffic areas. Avoid loose electrical connections by checking the fit of the plug in the wall outlet. If the plug loosely fits, inspect the outlet right away. A poor connection between the plug and the outlet can cause overheating and can start a fire in minutes.
3) Keep Plugs Safe – Unplug all appliances when not in use. Follow the manufacturer’s safety precautions and use your senses to spot any potential disasters. If a plug is overheating, smells strange, shorts out or sparks – the appliance should be shut off immediately, then replaced or repaired.
4) Alternate Heaters – Make sure there is ample space around any portable heating unit. Anything that could catch fire should be at least three feet away. Inspect your chimney annually and use fire screens to help keep any fires in the fireplace.
5) Fire Safety Sprinklers – When combined with working smoke alarms, home fire sprinklers greatly increase your chance of surviving a fire. Sprinklers are affordable and they can increase property value and lower insurance rates.
6) Create An Escape Route – Create and practice your escape plan with your family from every room in the house. Practice staying low to the floor and checking for hot doors using the back of your hand. It’s just like a routine school fire drill – but in your home.
7) Position Appliances Carefully – Try to keep TV sets, kitchen and other appliances away from windows with curtains. If there is a wiring problem, curtains can spread a fire quickly. Additionally, keeping your appliances away from water sources (like rain coming in from windows) can help prevent wiring damage which can lead to a fire.
8) Clean Dryer Vents – Clothes dryers often start fires in residential areas. Clean the lint filter every time you start a load of clothes to dry or after the drying cycle is complete. Make sure your exhaust duct is made of metal tubing and not plastic or foil. Clean the exhaust duct with a good quality dryer vent brush to prevent blockage & check for lint build up behind the dryer at least twice a year.
9) Be Careful Around the Holidays – If you fill your home with lights during the holiday season, keep them away from anything that can easily catch fire. Check all of your lights prior to stringing them up and dispose of anything with frayed or exposed wires.
10) Conduct Regular Inspections – Check all of your electronic equipment and wiring at least once a month. Taking a little time to do this each month can really pay off.
Following these simple tips could potentially save your life or the life of a loved one. Pass this list on to your friends and family and make this fire prevention month count!
Hurricane Irma Preparation
Hurricane image from space
With Hurricane Irma approaching now is the time to prepare. It only takes one storm to change your life and community. Based on the current trajectory of Hurricane Irma, the primary impact area is Florida and potentially South Carolina and North Carolina.
Even areas well away from the coastline can be threatened by dangerous flooding, destructive winds and tornadoes from these storms.
Determine Your Risk
Hurricanes bring many hazards to U.S. coastlines and inland areas, including storm surge along the coast, inland flooding due to heavy rainfall, tornadoes, strong wind, rip currents and large waves.
Develop an Evacuation Plan
Find out today if you live in a hurricane evacuation zone. Plan where you’ll go and how you would get there. Leave immediately if ordered to evacuate and be sure to plan for your pets.
Assemble Disaster Supplies
Get your supplies before the hurricane hits. Many stores are experiencing shortages. Have enough food and water for each person for at least one week. Be sure to fill your prescriptions and have medicine on hand. Radios, batteries and phone chargers are also must haves. Gas up your vehicle and extra cash on hand.
Get Insurance Checkup
Check in with your insurance agent well beforehand, remember that flood insurance must be obtained separately. Prepare your home/vehicles according to your policy, and know where your insurance documents are located – take them with you if you evacuate. Visit floodsmart.gov for more information.
Strengthen Your Home
There is a lot you can do around your home to help protect it from the strong winds that come with hurricanes. Well ahead of the approaching storm, trim trees on your property, shop for approved window coverings, collect loose outdoor items, secure all doors on you property, and find a safe location for your vehicle.
Help Your Neighbor
Many people rely on the assistance of neighbors before and after hurricanes. Help your neighbors collect the supplies they’ll need before the storm. Assist them with evacuation if ordered to do so or check on them after it’s safe for you to head outside.
Complete your Written Plan
Writing down your plan will help you avoid mistakes when faced with an emergency and ensure everyone in your home is prepared for the next storm.
411 on Carpet Cleaning
411 on Carpet Cleaning
Daily, we use our carpet, not even thinking about how dirty it is. Our carpets are like filters, trapping dust, gases, animal hair, and other soils. There are many preventative things you may do to keep your carpet clean, such as, regular vacuuming, spot removal, and having your carpets professionally cleaned.
Here are the top reasons to have carpets cleaned year-round:
- It prolongs the life of the carpeting. Cleaning your carpet regularly using the extraction method can increase the life of carpets significantly.
- Having your carpets cleaned protects indoor air quality. Carpets trap airborne pollutants.
- It makes your carpet easier to maintain. When carpets are regularly cleaned, vacuuming will remove most dry soils.
- Cleaning your carpet will remove spots and stains. As with other soils, spots and stains can attract more soiling. Removing them promptly protects carpeting from damage.
- Moist soiling of carpets can result in the buildup of several unhealthy contaminants. Cleaning your carpets prevents buildup of allergens and bacteria.
- It will enhance the appearance of your home or business.
- It will make your work environment feel cleaner.
- Regular carpet cleaning makes carpeting look and feel clean and fresh.
- It removes dust mites and bedbugs that may have found a home in your carpet.
- If you have a warranty, it will maintain your carpet warranty. Most carpet warranties require that carpets be cleaned using the extraction method usually every 12-18 months.
SERVPRO of Newberry and Laurens Counties offers professional cleaning that can address moderate and heavy soil conditions in your carpets.
Dirt builds up in layers, and when a carpet looks dirty you are only seeing that dirt at the tips of the fibers. More dirt is below the surface down near the base, causing damage to the carpet. When a carpet is saturated with dirt, the soil has penetrated crevices and has become firmly lodged. We will get the job done right!
We offer a range of specialized cleaning methods:
- Bonnet cleaning: A less aggressive method for short piled carpets.
- Hot water extraction: A deeper cleaning method for all carpet types.
- Deluxe precondition and rinse: Helps restore deeply soiled areas.
- Showcase Premier Cleaning: The most thorough cleaning method in the industry.
- Dry cleaning: When color-fastness is an issue.
For a cleaning backed by state-of-the-art equipment, over forty years of experience and professionals trained to the highest standards, call SERVPRO of Newberry and Laurens Counties today!
Does your Newberry or Laurens County Home Have A Mold Problem?
Miicroscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:
- Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
- Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
- Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
- Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
- Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
- Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.
If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.
If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – SERVPRO of Newberry and Laurens Counties 803-276-0290 or 864-833-4411
10 Tips for Fire Safety
- Watch your cooking
- Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you must leave, even for a short time, turn off the stove.
- Give space heaters space
- Keep fixed and portable space heaters at least 3 feet from anything that can burn.
- Turn off heaters when you leave the room or go to sleep.
- Smoke outside
- Ask smokers to smoke outside. Have you sturdy, deep ashtrays for smokers.
- Keep matches and lighters out of reach
- Keep matches and lighters up high and out of children, preferably in a locked cabinet.
- Inspect electrical cords
- Replace cords that are cracked or damaged, have broken plugs, or have loose connections.
- Install smoke alarms
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms, and outside sleeping areas.
- Interconnect smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds they all sound.
- Have a home fire escape plan
- Make a home fire escape plan and practice it at least twice a year.
- Be careful when using candles
- Keep candles at least 1 food from anything that can burn. Blow out candles when you leave the room or go to sleep
- Test smoke alarms
- Test smoke alarms at least once a month and replace batteries once a year or when the alarm “chirps” to tell you the battery is low. Replace any smoke alarm that is more than 10 years old.
- Install sprinklers
- If you are building or remodeling your home, consider installing a home fire sprinkler system. If moving into an apartment or condominium building, make sure common areas and individual apartments are sprinklered. Sprinklers can limit a fire and may even extinguish it in less time than it would take the fire department to arrive.
A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words
More times than not, when we get a call it is our client's home or business that has been impacted by flooding or fire damage. These cases become time sensitive so that our clients' lives can return back to normal.
A year ago, there was a flooding at a local daycare. Due to the damage the children had to be dispersed to other facilities. Wee were able to get the daycare back in operating condition quickly. When asked why we work so hard the following letter explains it far better than we could:
"I attached the note and drawing my son did for me. Thanks for all the help with our situation. Just because it is your "job" and how you make a living doesn't mean you have to take extra steps to help people, but we definitely see the work you and you guys have done. So, THANKS A MILLION!"