Flood Safety Tips for Florida Residents
If your home has suffered any water damage due to flooding, be sure to contact the professionals at SERVPRO right away!
South Florida homeowners are no stranger to heavy rains and flooding areas. While the drainage systems throughout the Sunshine State have improved significantly over the years, there are still a sizable number of regions prone to flooding. From coastal storms to heavy rains and from overflows of canals and lakes to storm surges, it is important to be aware of the dangers linked to flooding and the critical safety measures to take in the event of a flood. While it may surprise some, floods are actually the most common type of natural disaster in the United States.
Flash floods can occur with little to no warning and some floods develop much more slowly. Regardless of the timing, reacting to a flood quickly and proactively is key. Keep in mind the following flood safety tips:
- Never attempt to drive, walk, or swim through flood water
- If an area is under flood warning, seek shelter immediately
- Avoid bridges that are over fast-moving water
- Gather all of your emergency supplies during a flood watch or flood warning
- Remain up-to-date on weather via the radio or local news station
- Take your outdoor furniture and other possession inside or securely tie them down
- If you are ordered to evacuate, turn off all utilities and close your gas valve
- When approaching a flooded area, turn around
The above may seem like simple or obvious tips, but far too many people ignore them and end up in trouble. It can be tempting to walk or drive through flood waters, but just six inches of moving water can knock down a person on foot and just a foot of moving water can sweep away a car. This rainy season, be sure to keep these flood safety tips in mind for your and your family’s safety. If your home has suffered any water damage due to flooding, be sure to contact the professionals at SERVPRO right away!
Taking Hurricane Warnings Seriously
When preparing for upcoming storms this hurricane season, be sure to be an active listener of the weather channel and of warnings from the government.
As Hurricane Florence makes its way closer and closer to the United States, South Florida residents are likely thinking back to the scary and devastating memories of last hurricane season. South Florida saw some very dangerous storms and it is easy to forget just how terrifying hurricanes can be. Unfortunately, Florida homeowners (especially those who have lived here their entire lives) are particularly numb to hurricane watches and hurricane warnings. Often opting to ignore evacuation orders and hunker down, these residents are taking a major risk for themselves and their family.
Hurricanes can literally be a matter of life or death and taking them seriously is critical to maintaining safety for you and your loved ones. First of all, it is important to understand the difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning. A hurricane watch means that bad weather is forming and is potentially threatening for the area in that watch region. On the other hand, a hurricane warning means that the weather is no longer potentially a threat, but has developed further and has become an immediate danger.
Far too many people mistake a slow hurricane season for being a time to ignore “minor storms”. However, it is important to note that the tail end of every hurricane season is typically the most active and troublesome. Therefore, while South Florida is approaching the end of hurricane season the potential danger could just be getting started. Mandatory evacuations must be taken seriously and followed directly. No matter how much “hurricane experience” you may think you have, it is always best to follow orders from your local government.
When preparing for upcoming storms this hurricane season, be sure to be an active listener of the weather channel and of warnings from government authority. Hurricanes are a serious matter and must be dealt with as such.
Fire Hazards in the Kitchen
Cooking fires are the leading source of fires throughout the country, so being aware of the potential risks associated with kitchen items is important
Fire accidents are something that people think will never happen to them. As we’ve seen in recent months in states like California, forest fires can be extremely dangerous and destruction to anything and everything near and in its path. In South Florida, forest fires are far less common. However, it is important for Florida residents to understand that there are still a lot of risks when it comes to fires and your home or commercial property. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recently released a report stating that 2 in every 5 home fires in the United States begin in the kitchen.
Cooking is a fun activity that is enjoyed by friends and family of all walks of life. Some of a family’s best moments are those spent in the kitchen cooking, eating, and enjoying each other’s company. Unfortunately, the kitchen is also a potentially hazardous place when it comes to fires. The following are some of the biggest fire hazards in the kitchen:
- Grease build-up on stovetop
- Electrical wiring
- Loose clothing near open flames or on the stovetop
Being aware of the above hazardous items is important to maintain a safe and secure kitchen area. It is important to keep a fire extinguisher near or inside of the kitchen in the event that a fire starts. Cooking fires are the leading source of fires throughout the country, so being hyper-aware of the potential risks associated with kitchen items is important. If you have experienced a kitchen fire, contact our team at SERVPRO to take care of the cleanup and restoration.
Minimizing Safety Hazards in the Workplace
The following are some important tasks in the effort to minimize safety hazards in the workplace.
Protecting both your workers and your customers from workplace injuries is extremely important. Employers are tasked with the responsibility to create a safe environment for anyone stepping foot on their commercial property, and this can seem like an overwhelmingly daunting and stressful duty. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), over 4,000 workers in the United States were killed on the job in 2014. The construction industry leads the pack in terms of the most workplace fatalities. However, workplace injuries are far more common and are the focus of our article today.
The ability to minimize safety risks in the workplace while educating the staff about their possible risks is imperative to keeping everyone as safe as possible. Both routine plans and emergency plans should be set in stone and communicated to the entire workforce. The following are some important tasks in the effort to minimize safety hazards in the workplace:
- Clearly communicate all safety and health policies to entire staff
- Pay special attention to things like slippery flooring and poor lighting, as slip and fall accidents account for about one-third of all workplace injuries
- Survey the entire property to identify any and all possible risks
- Prominently display safety information throughout the property
- Be aware of fire safety standards
- Keep the property clean at all times
- Encourage feedback from staff and customers regarding safety improvements
- Update safety policies and procedures at least once per year
While some industries are known to be “dangerous” and procedures are in place accordingly, other industries that are deemed “safe” may fall through the cracks and not be prepared for workplace accidents. Whether you are an employer or an employee, it is important to take an active role in ensuring that proper workplace safety measures are taken and enforced at all times.
Indoor and Outdoor Mold
Since mold spreads extremely fast, it is important to tackle the issue as soon as possible (preferably within days).
When thinking about mold growth and development most people associate fungi with things like bathrooms, sinks, other water-related household areas, and old food. The general population seldom links mold growth to the outdoors, but the truth is that mold grows both indoors and outdoors. In fact, mold lives on all kinds of outdoor materials like on plants, in the soil, and even on decaying matter. With thousands of different types of mold species, mold varies greatly in terms of type, threat, and identifying characteristics. It is important to note that every person is exposed to mold spores on a daily basis, coming from both inside and outside in the air they breathe.
There are a lot of different ways that mold begins to grow, as one of three main requirements are needed:
- A water source
- An organic food source
- Humidity levels about 60%
Some of the most common sources of mold growth include:
- Roof leaks
- Sewer backups
- Blocked gutters
- Leaking pipes
- Damp crawl spaces
- Rain from storms seeping into exterior walls, doors, or window frames
Outside of visible evidence of mold, mold odor is often the most predominant sign that mold growth has occurred. Since mold spreads extremely fast, it is important to tackle the issue as soon as possible (preferably within days). As such, if your home is suffering from a mold problem, contact our mold remediation team immediately and we will send a professional to your property to assess the problem. Call SERVPRO today!
LAAIA Expo 2018
SERVPRO of Hollywood/ Hallandale/ Aventura & North Miami is always proud to represent and participate in the Latin American Association of Insurance Agencies’ annual expo. This year was no different. This year was particularly special because of the topic presented by this year’s speaker. His focus was on getting ourselves to become aware of our surroundings and the actions we take. Most of the time we are running on auto-pilot and sometimes those automatic reactions may affect our business in a negative manner. As individuals we must be aware that the world is changing, and we need to adjust to it, even though there may be “old-school” beliefs lingering, there may be an opportunity roaming nearby that will be missed if we are not “awake”. This was a point well made which allows us to rethink our daily approach to the business we represent and how we can improve ourselves through it.
Signs of Water Intrusion
Hurricane Irma took place August 30th, 2017 – September 13th, 2017, leaving destruction in its path. Many homes and businesses in South Florida were affected by the winds and rain that were brought along with it. Yet, months later there are still reports of damages being found. resulting in mold. At some case there were no signs of water intrusion, but there are things to look for, such as:
- Cracked, bubbled, or chipped paint
- Warped laminate flooring
- Detached baseboards
- Lifted wallpaper
- Water stains
As soon as these signs of water intrusion are noticed, it is important to call SERVPRO and allow us to perform an inspection of the home or business to address any issues as soon as possible to return your home or business as to “Like it never even happened.”
Protect Your Home From The Next Storm
Florida is known for its beaches, sunshine, and hurricane season. For most Floridians hurricane preparedness is already second nature, but at times it can still be overwhelming. But from each storm a new lesson is learned as to how to prepare our homes better for the next season. Each storm is always unpredictable, which is why you should be prepared for before, and after.
Before the storm hits: It is important to stock up on emergency supplies during the beginning of the year to not be rushing to gather what is needed in June when there are many other people scattering to do the same.
The “off season” is also the best time to look into installing impact-resistant windows to have one less worry when getting ready for the hurricane. Rather than setting up shutters, your home will already be prepared.
Just as it's important to prepare before a storm, being prepared after is equally important. If you evacuate only go home after the storm has hit and when your local governor has declared it safe. Coming too early can turn deadly if you run into flooded roadways and falling trees.
Report any downed power lines and avoid walking through any flooded walkways or roadways.
If your roof has suffered damages, use tarps to cover it from further water coming in. If your home has broken windows, use plywood to prevent further water damage.
One last step to better prepare for after the storm is to take a picture of all damages to better assist when making insurance claims.
Electrical Safety for Your Children
Electrical safety and fire safety are important subject matters that must be addressed by parents on a regular basis.
Homeowners often think of fire and electrical safety in regards to protecting their family and their property, but considering these practices from a child’s perspective is imperative to truly keeping your loved ones and home safe from harm. When discussing these issues with kids, it is best to break things into two categories in order for them to be easily understood and readily followed. Far too many parents sit their children down and offer guidelines given to them, which are difficult for kids to understand and put into practice. As such, today we offer some easy tips for explaining electrical safety to your children.
Below, we will break down how to help your children with identifying safe practices versus unsafe practices. Be sure to talk through these items with your kids slowly and carefully.
The following practices and ideas are positioned in the “safe” category:
- Help your parents by reminding them to test your smoke alarm monthly and change the smoke alarm batteries yearly
- Be sure to turn off the lights when leaving a room and before going to sleep
- If you see smoke or a fire, leave your home right away and call 911 from a safe location
- Make sure space heaters have a space, do not place anything that can burn anywhere near them
The following practice and ideas are positioned in the “unsafe” category:
- Never use or touch electrical cords that are broken or frayed
- Always keep electronics far away from any liquids
- Do not overcrowd electrical outlets with cords, if there are too many in one location ask an adult to remove some
- Do not put anything that can burn near lightbulbs or lampshades
Electrical safety and fire safety are important subject matters that must be addressed by parents on a regular basis. Make it a habit to ask your children questions to ensure that they are well-versed on the above safety tips at all times.
Household Mold Tips and Tricks
If you believe you are dealing with a mold growth issue in your home, contact our mold remediation specialists today to learn more about SERVPRO!
Mold spores, while often difficult to see with the human eye, are likely living in your home and workplace right now. Located both inside and outside, mold is fungi that thrives when moisture is present. As such, dark, warm, and humid regions are goldmines for mold spores to grow. A countless number of different mold types exist. In fact, there is actually an unknown number of fungi species, although experts estimate up to three hundred thousand or more mold species. Mold, also called mildew, is often found in the kitchen and bathroom areas of a home because these are moist regions.
While most people think about mold in regard to appearances and how its presence may alter the look of their bathroom or kitchen, mold can actually cause health effects. As such, it is important to be acutely aware of mold growth in and around your home in order to protect yourself and your loved ones. The following are some household mold tips and tricks:
- Check for mold often, as catching it early can save a lot of money in mold removal
- Mold test kits are often unreliable, so we recommend hiring a mold inspection company to do a thorough check
- Look for things like mold growth on walls and even foul smells
- Be aware of any leaks in areas like your kitchen near appliances and your bathroom near the shower or the toilet
- Check your air conditioning system for mold growth
- If your home has sustained any flooding, the likelihood of mold presence increases
- Leaky windows or roofs should be fixed immediately to prevent mold growth
Unfortunately, visible mold in your home can be an immediate turnoff for guests, as its appearance often looks disgusting. In addition, mold growth, if left untreated, can be a problem for the health of you and your family. In order to minimize or limit the development of mildew in your home or workplace, try to keep humidity low with a dehumidifier and ensure that ventilation is adequate. If you believe you are dealing with a mold growth issue in your home, contact our mold remediation specialists today to learn more about SERVPRO!