Choosing the Proper Fire Extinguisher
A fire extinguisher can be a life-saving tool when used correctly. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) recommends individuals are properly trained in order to use and maintain an extinguisher.
USFA says an extinguisher should only be used if:
• You have alerted other occupants and someone has called the fire department.
• The fire is small and contained to a single object, such as a wastebasket.
• You are safe from the toxic smoke produced by the fire.
• You have a means of escape identified and the fire is not between you and the fire escape route.
• Your instincts tell you that it is safe to use an extinguisher.
Classes of Fire Extinguishers:
- Class A: Use on ordinary combustible materials, such as cloth, wood, rubber, paper, and many plastics.
- Class B: Use on flammable liquids, such as grease, gasoline and oil.
- Class C: Use on appliances, tools, or other equipment that is electrically energized or plugged in.
- Class D: Use on flammable metals and are often specific for the type of metal in question. These are typically found only in factories working with these metals.
- Class K: Use on vegetable oils, animal oils, or fats in cooking appliances. These are generally found in commercial kitchens, but are suitable for the residential market.
Check out the Fire Equipment Manufacturers Association for more information about fire extinguisher use, type and care.
If you experience fire damage or smoke damage, call the trusted professionals at SERVPRO of Sarpy County at 402-291-3355. Our experienced crews are always here to help.
Fireworks Safety Can Prevent Injury and Fire Damage
Small debris from fireworks can cause large fires like this one.
It's fireworks season!
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an average of 18,500 fires are started every year by fireworks. This includes 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outside and other fires. These fires caused an average of three deaths, 40 civilian injuries, and $43 million in direct property damage.
One may think that sparklers are the safe way to go, but they account for about a fourth of emergency room visits due to fireworks injuries.
Stay safe this summer by paying close attention to children at fireworks events and check out these additional fireworks safety tips from the National Safety Council Nebraska
If your Omaha-area home or business needs fire damage cleanup, call the trusted professionals at SERVPRO of Sarpy County at 402-291-3355; we are always here to help.
Heavy Rains Cause Flooding in the Omaha Metro
The Papio Creek came pretty close to running over after heavy rains in the Omaha area.
Recent heavy rains led to flooding concerns for many parts of the Omaha Metropolitan area. According to an article in the Omaha World Herald, rainfall totals ranged from 1.26 to over 2 inches around the Omaha area.
Heavy rains frequently cause water seepage into basements, which is not usually covered by standard homeowners insurance. Keep gutters clear and downspouts running away from your foundation to guard against basement flooding.
It is also a good idea to check your foundation for low spots, particularly after a heavy rain. Sometimes, gutters overflow during a heavy rain and cause the ground to sink. These low spots collect rainwater near your foundation and can lead to water seeping into the basement.
If your Omaha-area home or business needs water damage cleanup, call the trusted professionals at SERVPRO of Sarpy County at 402-291-3355; we are always here to help.
SERVPRO Helps Omaha Residents to Minimizing Water Damage
It is important to use a certified team like SERVPRO of Sarpy County to ensure your water damage does not turm into mold damage.
Each spring, we receive several calls seeking advice about water damaged basements. Callers want to know what they can do to minimize damage until our crews arrive to professionally clean and dry their property. The answer depends on whether the water is clean or contaminated. Generally speaking, water from a supply line is considered clean, while water from drains is considered contaminated. There are exceptions to this general guideline. If you are unsure of the classification of water affecting your property, consult your water damage experts at SERVPRO of Sarpy County and we will help as best we can.
CLEAN Water Damage Tips
• Shut off the source of the water if possible or contact a qualified party to stop the water source.
• Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building, when access to the power distribution panel is safe from electrical shock.
• Remove as much excess water as possible my mopping and blotting.
• Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items.
• Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions for even drying.
• Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
• Remove to a safe, dry place any paintings, art objects, computers, documents and other materials that are valuable or sensitive to moisture.
• Use wooden clothespins to keep furniture skirting off damp floors.
• Hang draperies with coated hangars to avoid contact with wet carpeting or floors.
• Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature.
• Enter rooms with standing water where electrical shock hazards may exist.
• Enter affected areas of electrical outlets, switches, circuit breakers or electrical equipment are exposed to water. Always avoid electrical shock hazards.
• Leave books, newspapers, magazines or other colored items on wet carpets or floors to cause staining.
• Leave Oriental rugs or other colored rugs on wet wall-to-wall carpets to cause staining.
• Use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water, possibly causing electrical shock or damage to the vacuum cleaner.
• Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet or enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.
CONTAMINATED Water Damage Tips
• Avoid all contact with sewage and items contaminated by sewage.
• Wash your hands thoroughly after contact with contaminated items.
• Spread contaminated water by walking unnecessarily on damaged or wet areas.
• Turn on HVAC system if there is a possibility of spreading contaminated air.
• Use household fans to dry the structure and spread contaminants.
• Use products for personal hygiene and cleanliness if exposed to the contaminated areas.
The most important thing to remember is that if you have any questions or require help; call the professionals. Your friends at SERVPRO of Sarpy County are here to help 24x7.
A recent report from the U.S. Fire Administration shows home electrical fires claim the lives of 280 Americans each year and injure over 1,000 more. Overloaded circuits and extension cords cause many electrical fires in the home or workplace.
Electrical fires occur most during the winter months due to the increased time spent indoors, which also increases the use of lighting, heating and appliances.
Many electrical fires can be avoided if basic safety precautions are taken. Review the following safety tips to reduce your risk of an electrical fire:
- Routinely check your electrical appliances and wiring.
- Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately.
- Replace any electrical tool or appliance if it overheats, shorts out, causes even small electric shocks, or gives off smoke or sparks.
- If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
- Use electrical extension cords wisely; never overload extension cords or wall sockets.
Source: U.S. Fire Administration
Heating Your Home Safely
Practicing a few basic home heating tips can reduce your chances of coming home to this.
The change in season means an increase in the use of supplemental home heating, and an increase in home heating fires. An October 2013 report from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) using date from 2007-2011 reveals some sobering statistics:
• Space heaters accounted for 33% of home heating fires and 81% of home heating deaths.
• The leading factor contributing in home heating fires was failure to clean (primarily creosote) from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys.
• The leading factor contributing to ignition in 53% of fatal home heating fires was having flammable items too close to heating equipment.
With these statistics in mind, here are some tips for safe home heating:
• Always use protective screens to keep sparks and embers inside the firebox.
• Ensure the air inlet is free from debris and obstructions.
• Keep combustible decorations or furniture away from heat source.
• Burn only seasoned wood, never rubbish or scraps of treated lumber.
• Check the iron and steel components for cracks or degradation from the fire's heat and replace those that are bad.
• Close a dollar bill in the door at various spots around the frame. If you can pull it out easily the gaskets are won and should be changed.
• Set woodstoves on hearth rugs made of spark resistant material.
• Plug heaters directly into a wall socket and not into extension cords.
• Unplug heaters when they are not in use.
• Do not place heaters in walkways or in locations where they could be easily knocked over and ensure heaters are equipped with a tip-over switch.
• Keep clothing, furniture, draperies, paper and other items at least three feet away from the space heater.
• Use only electric heaters equipped with a thermostat or an automatic shut off switch.
• Do not hide cords under rugs or carpets. Placing anything on top of the cord could cause the cord to overheat, and can cause a fire.
• Leave appropriate and recommended amount of space surrounding a space heater.
The trusted professionals at SERVPRO of Sarpy County hope you have a safe and happy fall season.
If you have questions or need help, please call us 24x7 at 402-291-3355
Practice Extreme Caution When Dealing with Contaminated Water.
SERVPRO of Sarpy County Professionals understand how disruptive and dangerous contaminated water can be and offer 24-hour emergency response.
Any water damage in your home or facility is bad. Especially when the water contains potentially harmful bacteria that can affect the health of occupants and the value of your property. Toilet overflows, sewage backups and other black water intrusions are more than nasty, smelly messes; these biohazards damages also introduce harmful microorganisms into your building, as well as the moisture necessary to ensure their continued growth.
Sewage damage poses serious health risks to anyone exposed to the contaminated water. The danger arises from various harmful substances, including parasites that can cause intestinal disease. Some common risks are Hepatitis A, E-coli and Salmonella. This grossly unsanitary water is often referred to as “black water.” Building occupants should practice precautionary and safety measures at all times when dealing with the threat of black water.
Safety Tips for Building and Home Occupants.
- Avoid all contact with sewage and items contaminated by sewage.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after contact with contaminated items
- Spread contaminated water by walking unnecessarily on damaged or wet areas and by tracking the contamination elsewhere.
- Turn on the HVAC system if impacted by water. The HVAC system could spread contaminated air to other parts of the building.
- Use household fans to dry the structure which could possibly spread contaminants.
- Use products for personal hygiene and cleanliness if they have been exposed to the contaminated areas.
- Consume food or drink that has been exposed to the contaminated areas.
A mop and common cleaning products may not be enough for the black water intrusions. SERVPRO of Sarpy County is trained to safely clean and restore your home or facility, utilizing the following procedures:
- Identify the Source/Type of Water.
- Measure Temperature and Humidity for Drying Analysis.
- Survey the Extent of Damage and Inspect the Premises.
- Perform Emergency Water Extraction.
- Move and Block Furniture.
- Provide Floor Service.
- Inspect Carpet and Padding.
- Apply Necessary Treatments Including Disinfectants and Deodorizers.
- Utilize and Monitor Drying Equipment.
- Dispose of Refuse.
Under normal circumstances, a trained, uniformed restoration technician arrives on-site within four hours of loss notification to begin emergency mitigation services. By responding quickly with a full line of water cleanup and restoration services, SERVPRO® of Sarpy County can help you regain control quickly through proper drying, deodorization and protection of your facility and contents. Abiding by OSHA guidelines and all applicable health regulations, SERVPRO® of Sarpy County removes moisture, sewage and contaminants, disinfecting and deodorizing as they safely clean and dry your building and restore contents. So, before you risk your health trying to clean up the damage, call your local SERVPRO® of Sarpy County cleanup and restoration professionals or dial 402-291-3355.
Wildfire Facts and Safety Tips
The trusted professionals at SERVPRO of Sarpy County hope you have a safe and happy fall season
National Geographic shares, “On average, more than 100,000 wildfires, clear 4 to 5 million acres of land in the U.S. every year. In recent years, wildfires have burned up to 9 million acres of land.”
As of September 10, 2017, the National Interagency Fire Center (nifc) reported 47,981 wildland fires responsible for burning over 8 million acres of land. The same time period last year claimed 42,280 fires burning 4,745,957 acres of land.
In 2008, 29 states had more than 10,000 acres scorched by wildfires as a total of 5.2 million acres burned across the country. Though thousands of wildfires are started every year by natural causes – such as lightning strikes – many more are man-made disasters. It is reported that four out of five wildfires are started by human error. Because they tend to occur in more populated areas, man-made wildfires can be more dangerous than natural fires. Though we may never be able to fully eliminate wildfires, steps are available that we can take to help lessen the danger of damage to our homes and businesses. SERVPRO® of Sarpy County / Omaha Southwest encourages you to follow these safety tips:
- Remove debris from under decks and insides gutters.
- Replace highly flammable vegetation such as pine, eucalyptus, junipers and fir trees with lower growing, les flammable species. Check with your local garden store or fire department for suggestions.
- When camping, take care when using and fueling lanterns, stoves, and heaters. Make sure lighting and heating devices are cool before refueling. Avoid spilling flammable liquids and store fuel away from appliances.
- Always build fires away from nearby trees or shrubs.
- Do not discard cigarettes, matches, or smoking materials from moving vehicles, or anywhere on park grounds. Be certain to completely extinguish cigarettes before disposing of them.
- Follow local ordinances when burning yard waste. Avoid backyard burning in windy conditions, and keep a shovel, water, and fire retardant nearby to keep fires in check. Remove all flammables from yard when burning.
- Create a 30-foot safety zone around the house or business, clearing all flammable and combustible objects.
If you have questions or need help, please call us 24x7 at 402-291-3355
What To Do Until Help Arrives – Fire/Smoke Damage
When fires happen, a lot can happen in the panic. Following these tips can ease the burden.
At times like these, we receive several calls seeking advice on what to do until help arrives. The answer depends on whether the water is clean or contaminated. Generally speaking, water from a supply line is considered clean, while water from drains is considered contaminated. There are exceptions to this general guideline.
If you are unsure of the classification of water affecting your property, consult your water damage experts at SERVPRO of Sarpy County at 402-291-3355 and we will help as best we can.
- Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpet.
- Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls, and woodwork.
- Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery, and carpet traffic areas.
- If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator completely and prop doors open to help prevent odor.
- Wipe soot from chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim, and appliances, then protect these surfaces with a light coating of lubricant.
- If heat is off during winter, pour RV antifreeze in sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks, and tubs to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures.
- Wash both sides of leaves on house plants.
- Change HVAC filter, but leave system off until a trained professional can check the system.
- Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system.
- Attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces.
- Attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture.
- Attempt to clean any electrical appliances (TV sets, radios, etc.) that may have been close to fire, heat, or water without first consulting an authorized repair service.
- Consume any food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat, or water. (They may be contaminated)
- Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. Wiring may be wet or damaged and cause electrical shock, and air movement may create secondary damage.
- Send garments to the dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.
National Preparedness Month: Do you have a plan?
photo by ready.gov
How quickly you company can get back to business after a tornado, fire, or flood often depends on the emergency planning done today. The regular occurrence of natural disasters demonstrates the importance of being prepared for any emergency. While each situation is unique, your organization can be better prepared if you plan carefully, put emergency procedures in place, and practice for all kinds of emergencies. The following are basic measures business owners and managers can take to begin preparing. A commitment to begin planning today will help support your employees, customers, the community, local economy, and even the country. It also protects your business investment and gives your company a better chance for survival.
Develop a Business Continuity Plan.
Your organization’s risk needs will vary depending on the specific industry, size, scope and location. Begin by reviewing your business process flow chart, if one exists, to identify operations critical to survival and recovery. Carefully assess your internal and external functions to determine which staff, materials, procedures and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating. You should also establish procedures for succession of management.
Review Insurance Coverage.
Inadequate insurance coverage can lead to major financial loss if your business is damaged, destroyed or simply interrupted for a period of time. Insurance policies vary; check with your agent or provider about things such as physical losses, flood coverage and business interruption. Understand what your policy does and does not cover.
Prepare you Emergency Plan.
Your employees and co-workers are your business’ most valuable asset. Communication is central before, during and after a disaster. Include emergency information in newsletters, on your company intranet, in periodic employee e-mails and/or other communication tools.
Practice the Emergency Plan.
Some disasters will require employees to leave the workplace quickly. The ability to evacuate workers, customers, and visitors effectively can save lives. If your business operates out of more than one location, establish evacuation procedures for each individual building. If your company is in a high-rise building, an industrial park, or even a small strip mall, it is important to coordinate a practice with other tenants or businesses to avoid confusion and potential gridlock.
Secure Your Facility and Equipment.
Install fire extinguishers, smoke alarms and detectors in appropriate places. Secure all entry and exit points and plan for mail safety. Plan what you will do if your building, plant or store is not unusable. Secure valuable equipment.
Improve Cyber Security.
Protecting your data and information systems may require specialized expertise, but even the smallest business can be better prepared. Use anti-virus software and keep it up-to-date. Don’t open e-mails from unknown sources. Use hard-to-guess passwords. Protect your computer from intruders by using firewalls. Back up your computer data and download security protection updates known as patches regularly.
If disaster strikes, will you be ready? It is important to prepare before a disaster occurs. Consider the following steps to help you better prepare for an emergency situation.
- Sign up for local alerts and warnings, download apps, and/or check access for wireless emergency alerts.
- Develop and test emergency communication plans.
- Assemble or update emergency plans.
- Learn about local hazards and conduct a drill to practice emergency response actions.
- Participate in a preparedness discussion, training, or class.
- Collect and safeguard critical documents.
- Plan with neighbors to help each other and share resources.
- Documents property and obtain appropriate insurance for relevant hazards.
- Make property improvements to reduce potential injury and property damage.
- Hold a scenario-based continuity of operations tabletop exercise for your organization.