Five Things you Should Never Burn in your Outdoor Fire Pit
Though it may be fun or therapeutic to burn items in a fire, there are a few that should never be burned in a fire for your safety. Do not burn rubber, old paper, plastics, trash bags, or any sort of garbage in a fire. Many items that are processed can release toxic chemicals and pollute the air and create an unpleasant smell. This includes batteries and aerosol cans.
While it may be fun to burn a pizza box in the fire, this is all something that should never be burned in a fire. Cardboard and paper boxes can create an abundance of smoldering ash that can spread to nearby trees, bushes, and houses.
Poison Ivy or oak should never be burned in a fire. Poison Ivy isn't good for human skin, and it could be even worse for your lungs if ingested. To avoid burning poison ivy or oak, be sure to watch the type of vines that are wrapped around wood you are putting into a fire.
Lighter fluid or gasoline should also never be used to keep a fire going. It can be tempting or fun to see the temporarily big flame, it can be very harmful to those around you. AS a precaution, this should never be used in a fire.
Other items to avoid are soft woods, food scraps, or yard clipping. Yard clippings should especially be avoided because they could trigger allergies to those around you.
Lastly, if you are very unsure of what to be adding to a fire, stick to adding firewood as it is the safest option. Please contact your local fire department if you have more questions concerning a safe bonfire experience.
Should You Update Your Company Sick Policy Post COVID?
Before the COVID-19 pandemic began, how many times did you go into work sick?
If you did, you are not alone, not even close. In January of 2020 - studies showed 74% of workers felt pressured to avoid taking sick days and when the survey was geared solely towards the younger generation that number increased to a resounding 88%.
It was a common theme in the workplace to only call in sick when you were basically on your deathbed and a lesser issue, such as a cold or fever, was not enough to qualify for a call-off.
Whether the reason was fear of losing your job, money, or even a promotion, people tended to go to work with mild illnesses that could in fact be contagious.
Things changed last year with the emerging pandemic. Millions of businesses were forced to close their doors to both employees and customers and move to remote work. Those able to stay open had strictly enforced regulations including temperature checks before entering the building and quarantines for being exposed to the virus.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which gave employees up to 80 hours of paid sick leave to care for themselves or family members. Unemployment also received huge boosts to provide assistance to those unable to work during this time.
During the pandemic businesses did not have much of a choice in the updates to their sick policies, but now that the worst has passed and vaccinations are now accessible to all, how many changes are going to be made permanent?
Many of the effects of COVID-19 were devastating and brought about negative changes, but there were also quite a few positive results. Consistent handwashing and sanitizing of hands, keeping a distance from others, being aware of contagious symptoms, and taking action when they are present are some that are positive changes to stick to.
In the workplace, it will be important to make any changes to the existing sick policy that can ensure employees feel comfortable calling off as needed. 74% of people going into work sick is not ideal and it is up to employers to bring that number down.
If possible employers should add paid sick days to their policy, as after the last year we can see that option is a lot less costly than a global pandemic.
If not possible, employers should remove call-offs for being sick from any point systems or policies that provide negative results. Keeping employees and consumers safe should continue to be a number one priority.
SERVPRO has the knowledge and training to clean and disinfect businesses to CDC standards to help maintain this level of safety. Call today to receive more information on how we can help with any post-pandemic safety needs.
Differences Between Home and Work Fire Evacuation Plans
Fire evacuation plans are a way to make sure that you are safe in case of an emergency, whether you are at home or the office. Creating these plans differ based on the people and location; therefore, work and home require two different fire evacuation plans.
At home, your responsibilities will be divided amongst your family, which will be greatly influenced by the age of the members of your household.
In the office, your roles will have to be divided by the employees and what they feel comfortable doing. No matter where you are, make sure everyone is confident in their skills to complete their tasks.
Plan Escape Route
Both at home and at work, explore all ways to exit fast during a fire. At home, you should find routes out of each room. Similarly, you should create plans to get out of each workspace in the office.
Communication will look different from your home and office. Home communication will most likely be very simple, as every member of your household will need to completely understand the plan. It will also involve fewer people.
Workplace communication may be much more formal and involve a large team. Make sure everyone knows their role in communicating important information.
Whether you are at work or at home, practicing is the most important part of your fire evacuation plan.
Creating an emergency plan has many similarities from your home and office, but there are a few key details that change from one plan to the next.
Make sure your plan is comprehensive, so you are prepared for an emergency. If you ever find yourself in a fire, call 911.
If there is any damage afterwards, call a trusted professional, such as SERVPRO of Portage County, to make sure your space is properly restored afterwards.
What Happens When the Storm Damage to Your Ohio Home Is Not Dealt With?
If your home is damaged by a storm, it is not wise to let it go for long periods of time—or any time. It’s best to act immediately. Here’s why…
The most common damage storms wreak on homes is water-related. And when water damage goes unchecked, bad things happen. For example, if left unchecked, water damage can weaken the entire structure of your roof leading to not only leaks but even collapse.
When water seeps behind your siding, it can not only rot the siding but also rot the walls of your home, which can weaken the integrity of your home.
If water damage is bad enough, it can even weaken your home’s foundation. Water can sneak into cracks, and when it freezes in the winter, can split your foundation. Over time, the split can become wider and less stable.
And, of course, whenever you talk about water damage, mold is never far behind. In the right conditions, mold can start growing and spreading in just 48 hours after water damage occurs. The mold spores are difficult to treat, and they can be deadly. The tiny spores can become airborne and can get into your and your family’s and pets’ lungs.
If your home is damaged during a storm, and you notice any water damage or moisture, act quickly and fix the problem before it grows. If the problem has already progressed, call SERVPRO of Portage County, and we clean up the mess and fix the damage.
How to Protect Your Home from Hail Storms
Hail storms most commonly occur in the spring and summer months during thunderstorms. If you see all the makings of a thunderstorm--dark clouds, wind, rain, thunder, and lightning--and you feel a drop in temperature, prepare for hail.
Hailstones range from pea-sized to grapefruit-sized and can reach a speed of 9 to 100mph, depending on their size. The bigger the stone, the faster it falls. The faster it falls, the more damage it causes.
While Ohio isn’t part of “hail valley,” Verisk’s Analytics ranked Ohio number 5 in a list of states experiencing the most hail damage in 2019. 358,706 properties, or 7% of all Ohio properties, experienced hail damage.
Prepare for hail storms when severe weather is forecast between March and September.
How to prepare for hail storms
Listen to the weather forecast when you notice storm clouds approaching and temperatures dropping. Radio and television weather stations can accurately predict hail storms.
Protect your vehicles
Automobiles are the most frequent victims of hail damage. Protecting them is easy if you have a garage. But if you don’t, investing in a carport is less expensive and inconvenient than filing insurance claims.
As a last resort, you can also cover your vehicle with blankets or towels. But make sure to secure them because strong winds normally accompany hail storms.
Protecting your home from hail
Hail damages roofs, vinyl siding, and it even breaks windows. Before storm season begins in April, have your roof professionally inspected for any vulnerable areas. If possible, request impact-resistant materials for your roof covering.
Close your blinds, shades, or window drapes during hailstorms to prevent shattered glass from being blown inside your home.
After a hail storm, if you suspect your roof or siding has been damaged, call a professional for a free roof inspection. If the professional agrees that your roof has been damaged by hail, file an insurance claim through your homeowner’s insurance company. Quality homeowner’s insurance is the best protection against hail damage.
If you’ve experienced damage to your home or business, SERVPRO of Portage County offers expert storm damage cleanup and restoration.
What Is the Difference Between Hard and Soft Water?
Water makes a big difference to your home and lifestyle – whether you are in a hard or soft water area is important to know.
What is the difference? Unless you only drink distilled water, all water has traces of other minerals in it depending on where it has been sourced from.
Hard water simply has higher and more noticeable quantities of dissolved minerals in it, mainly calcium from areas with lots of limestone in the ground. Soft water has low levels of other minerals and is closer to being just H2O.
(Do not confuse hard water with heavy water….that is a slightly different molecular makeup of water used in nuclear reactors and not in your home.)
Rainfall is naturally soft water, but as it soaks into the ground it picks up minerals from the rocks and earth before finding its way into our water supplies.
There is nothing inherently wrong with either type – both are fine to drink. Hard water can even be sought after for the extra mineral content as good for bones, and some say they prefer the flavor. Soft water can have a salty edge, especially if it is soft because it has been run through a household softener that uses sodium.
But hard water does have its drawbacks – the minerals in it reduce the effectiveness of soaps and detergents, creating fewer bubbles and leaving a film or soap scum behind, or dulling laundry.
And when hard water is heated in appliances like washing machines, water heaters, and kettles, the minerals come out of the solution and solidify as white chalky flakes. Again, these are harmless to humans – but not your appliances. The residue – effectively small pieces of limestone – will make your equipment less energy-efficient and shorten its useful life as the limescale builds up over time.
How Does a Sump Pump Work?
Has your home ever flooded? Sump pumps are what help prevent this from happening to your home. They help to keep out any groundwater intrusions from coming through and causing damage to your home.
What do sump pumps do?
The main purpose of a sump pump is to send water away from your home to a place where it won’t cause any problems. It collects water coming into a building from rain, melting snow, etc, and leads it out. Without a sump pump, your home may flood, or build up high levels of water and moisture. These can be damaging to your home and the things within it.
How exactly does it work?
A sump pump is typically located on the bottom floor of a home to prevent flooding. Its purpose is to collect water and dispose of it, but how exactly does it do that? All of the water collected from the sump pump is drained into pits beneath it. The water is then pumped from those pits away from the home’s foundation, whether it's to a drain or elsewhere. A sump pump isn’t always running because the amount it does depends on the amount of water and moisture your home has that needs to be drained.
Next time it rains just know that your sump pump is doing its job to protect your home. Here at SERVPRO of Portage County, we want to ensure you and your home's safety.
Benefits of a Locally Owned and Operated Franchise
Work with real people who have their feet on your community ground.
SERVPRO is a franchisor with restoration franchises all over the United States. This means that each and every one of our SERVPRO franchises are locally owned and operated! But what does that mean?
In many cases, locally owned businesses are more likely to spend their money at other local businesses when it comes to purchasing products or services for their company. Because of this, SERVPRO can help local areas not only by offering restoration services but by keeping money circulating throughout the local economy.
Our locally owned franchises also allow for more locations, meaning that in most cases, your local SERVPRO franchise is never far away. This allows us to reach your location faster than any other restoration company-- being closer to your location means that we can respond immediately-- day or night-- with our 24-Hour Emergency Service. Since we can help faster than other companies, that means we can also save you money, since faster clean-up likely means that water or fire damage will be less extensive.
SERVPRO’s locally owned and operated franchise system also means that we’re able to specially train our restoration professionals in whatever type of restoration the local area needs most. For example, in areas that are prone to flooding, our main focus is water damage. In hot, dry areas, we may put more emphasis on fire damage. However, all SERVPRO professionals are ultimately proficient in both types of restoration, so there’s no need to worry, even if you have fire damage in an area that tends to flood!
SERVPRO also helps the areas of their locations by helping others to continue their education when it comes to water and fire damage, mold, restorative drying, and mitigation awareness. These classes are offered to franchise staff, insurance agents and adjusters, and real estate professionals, which means that even your real estate agent will know what to do if you’re considering buying a house to restore!
In addition, SERVPRO staff also has access to even more education through voluntary e-Learnings. This means that no matter where you’re located, your local SERVPRO team will always be up-to-date on industry standards and the best cleaning processes for whatever damage you may have in your home or commercial space.
As you can see, there are many benefits to having a locally owned SERVPRO in your area, both for you as a customer and for the community. We hope that next time you need restoration services, you’ll consider your local SERVPRO!
Will Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Tornado Damage Caused by Spring Storms?
Ensure your home is protected. Any season. Any time.
Tornadoes can occur at any time of year, but the peak of tornado season is May and June. When the warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico meets with the cool, dry air from Canada, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are likely to occur.
If a tornado were to touch down and damage your home, do you know if your homeowner’s insurance would cover the damages? It’s incredibly important to know, preferably before any such event happens.
Because insurance policies vary, it’s hard to say whether your homeowner’s insurance policy does or does not cover tornado damage. The best action you can take is to meet with your insurance agent to discuss the details of your insurance policy.
When you meet with your agent, make sure that your policy does indeed cover damage caused by windstorms. Not all policies do. The next factor to check is if you’re underinsured. Ask your agent whether your policy includes language about inflation adjustment. With the increasing prices of construction materials, this is important.
The worst thing that can happen in a scenario where your home is damaged by a tornado is to find out that your home is covered for an amount significantly less than what is needed to fix or rebuild your home.
Avoid this nightmare by speaking with your insurance agent today.
Tips to Remove Water from Carpets
Water, the invisible stalker of carpets and drywall! When your home or business is faced with water damage or even general moisture, you may not see it, but it will cause damage and possibly even danger. One of the least fun places to have water sitting is in your carpets, not only will it smell but it will eventually create mold and other harmful bacteria. So how exactly do you make sure that water is properly removed from carpets?
There are a few different options and steps to take when it comes to getting water out of the carpet.
Good ole fashion towel dry
A good place to start is soaking up the water with large towels. This will be an option to at least get the process started and hopefully get a good amount out. Of course, some situations won’t allow for an immediate towel dry.
Wet Dry Vac
If you do not have your own wet-dry vacuum, you may be able to rent one. Using one of these will be a good method to get the water that you may not see or feel, the power of the vacuum will suck up that water at the base (even under) your carpet.
Dry it out
Another easy method to help the process is to use industrial size fans and dehumidifiers to air dry the rest of the water in the room. This is helpful, but will usually be towards the end of the process and paired with other methods.
These are just a few simple DIY methods to remove water from your carpets. It is crucial to get the area dry and cleaned as soon as possible. This will help to preserve your carpets, but also protect you and your loved ones from the build-up of mold and bacteria. If you find that your floors are far too saturated to handle on your own, give SERVPRO a call, our disaster recovery team will be able to help you get your property dry and back to normal in no time!