Top 5 Safety Investments for Your Office
If you’re a business owner, store manager, or office manager safety of your place of business and your staff has probably been on your mind quite a bit over the past year. It can be hard to know what to prioritize with safety as recommendations seem to change and evolve all the time. However, there are some evergreen measure you can take to ensure the safety of your workplace. Here are our top 5 recommendations:
- Invest in a high quality air filtration system.
Good air quality is paramount in keep your place of business germ and illness free. If you own your building, make sure to regularly maintain your HVAC and change your furnace filters often. We recommend using top quality allergen rated filters. If you do not own your building or have access to your HVAC system, invest in an air filtration system like a Dyson or Molecule. Make sure to purchase the system that covers your total square footage and follow the maintenance instructions to the letter.
- Prioritize scheduled cleaning and sanitizing.
Some businesses have the luxury of hiring a cleaning crew to clean common areas at regular intervals. Make sure your bathrooms, break rooms, and common areas are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized at least one per week. Encourage your staff to adopt cleaning and sanitizing practices of their own personal spaces and work stations. Incentivizing clean work spaces by offering rewards can help boost motivations to keep your offices tidy.
- Regularly police trip hazards and walkways.
One of the most common workplace injuries is falling, and coincidentally is also the easiest injury or accident to prevent. Make sure you and your staff are clearing walkways and reporting and clearly marking trip hazards identified in the workplace. One suggestion is to appoint a manager or leader to be a designated monitor of these types of hazards and create a system for reporting and then mitigating the hazard.
- Conduct a safety inspection at a regular interval.
Sometimes an outside perspective can be necessary to identify safety risks in the workplace. Many businesses conduct a quarterly or annual assessment of workplace hazards or safety risks with an outside inspector or advisor. This can also boost confidence amongst employees when they see how serious an employer takes workplace safety.
- Create written policies and review safety procedures as a group.
Every business should have clear safety protocols in the event of any disaster. All employees should be aware of these protocols and regular trainings and reminder drills can help keep safety top of mind for everyone on your staff.
Safety is an important factor in workplace satisfaction but is often not prioritized as much as it should. Investing in these simple safety strategies will not only create a safer workplace but will ultimately boost the confidence and morale of your staff as well. SERVPRO is here to help business owners implement safety protocols and mitigate safety hazards in the workplace. Contact us to learn more about our commercial cleaning services and strategies to help keep your place of business safe.
Protecting Your Pets During Stormy Weather
STORMY weather can be unsettling enough for humans, but it can be terrifying for our four-legged friends.
Cats and dogs have much more acute hearing than humans and are highly sensitive to changes around them which causes them to seek shelter and security by hiding.
Loud thunderclaps, lightning flashes and atmospheric pressure changes all combine to cause great stress to our pets which can show itself in nervous behavior.
The best way to help your furry family member get through a heavy storm is preparation – some training can be done to reduce fear and anxiety. The best way to start this is always reward calm behavior, with petting and praise. This way your dog will be more receptive to your reinforcement of good behavior during a storm. Just like in us, training cannot eliminate fear but it can help us handle stressful situations in a better manner.
And during the storm, there are many ways to give your pet the security it needs until the weather passes.
Just like humans, our animals will look for a safe space by instinct, so create a warm, inviting, and comfortable one for them. If they have one already that they choose to relax or sleep in, make this their safe space. If you need to head to the basement for storm protection, take their favorite blankets, or bed or crate with you downstairs. Putting on background noise like a fan can also help as it can help obscure the storm sounds with a familiar one.
Have a treat or a new toy on hand to distract them during the storm and reward your pet for good behavior. If storms are a regular occurrence in your area, you can help train your pet to see a storm as linked to getting a treat.
If you have plenty of warning of the storm’s approach, take the opportunity to give them extra walks and exercise beforehand. This can help distract them from early warning signs in nature of the impending storm, give them quality time with you to calm them, and help tire them to reduce over-the-top behavior during the storm.
Weighted blankets have been shown anecdotally to help reduce stress and anxiety in pets – and humans – but this is one area to know your own pet. If they have a favorite shirt or blanket, make sure they have it to hand, or paw.
And stay calm yourself – your pet will be looking to you for protection and will feed off your emotions. Reassure your dog or cat with appropriate stroking and petting, showing you are calm. Do not punish your pet for bad behavior if it is frightened during a storm – it is a natural reaction, and a negative response may compound the problem in future storms as they link storms to punishment.
Determining the Severity of an Incoming Storm
Know the signs of a serious storm so you can be prepared.
Almost everyone has been told sometime about the “counting rule” when it comes to thunderstorms. You’re told to count one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi, etc, from the moment you see lightning until the moment you hear thunder to determine how close the lightning is to you. Does this actually work? What do the seconds actually mean? This is the most common method of judging a storm and it does actually work. Lightning travels a speed 5 times faster than thunder, so you will always see the lightning first. The number of seconds between the two tells you the distance away the lightning actually is. When you see the lightning you start counting and stop when you hear thunder, whatever the number of seconds is between them tells you how far away the storm is. Divide the number of seconds by 5 and that will tell you how many miles away you are from the lightning. Five seconds between is one mile, fifteen seconds is three miles, and zero seconds means lightning is extremely close and you should be in a safe space. Using this method to determine the distance is common knowledge, but how can you determine the severity of the storm and if there is potential danger coming your way?
- Watch the Clouds Closely - Not all dark clouds are the same and can be used to help determine what is headed your way. If there is a storm coming that has dangerous even deadly potential the clouds will be extremely dark sometimes with a green tint as well. They will be big, low, and close to the ground cumulonimbus clouds and you will notice them rapidly develop vertically. Be sure to watch for any rotation in the clouds as well.
- Pay Attention to the Temperature - Severe storms and tornadoes form when low level, warm and moist air collides with dry cold air above. If you are outside and feel the temperature drop from warm or hot down to brisk in a short span of time you will know there is a severe storm quickly approaching.
- Beware of Sudden Wind and Precipitation Changes - The calm before the storm is not just an expression. If there are an abrupt calm following hail and heavy rain, this doesn’t mean the storm is over it can mean there is potentially dangerous weather coming very soon. A fast and intense wind shift is also a tell.
- Watch vs. Warning - There is often confusion on which of these means what. A watch simply means that tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. A warning, on the other hand, means that a tornado has been spotted or indicated on the radar. Be sure to seek shelter when a warning is issued in your area.
Being aware of these warning signs can help you determine if the storm approaching is one that allows you to dance in the rain and jump in puddles or one that means you need to take precautions or head on down to the basement. These signs are not full proof as the weather is still vastly unpredictable and can change on a dime. Be sure to take necessary precautions when advised, better safe than sorry is a good rule of thumb when storms are on the way.
Carpet Cleaning in Your Office Is a Must
Trust SERVPRO to get your commercial carpet cleaning done right.
The carpets in our offices are widely used and sadly, often sparsely cleaned. Having fresh, clean carpets in the workplace offers a wide range of benefits for you and your employees, both in terms of health and functionality. Here are just a few of the many reasons you should opt for professional carpet cleaning in your business:
Allergens and Bacteria
Carpets can lay host to numerous germs and allergens that can cause potential harm to your employees. It is possible that these microorganisms can travel home in/on the shoes of your workers and invade their home life. Maintaining a regular carpet cleaning regimen for your business can work wonders in preventing the spread of these harmful substances.
A lack of proper carpet care can leave your floors at risk for serious mold damage. Mold can impact air quality and permanently damage your carpets if not treated properly. Protect your business from the harmful effects of mold damage with annual carpet cleaning treatments.
A Fresher Smell
Is there a lingering odor in your office that you just can’t seem to track down? Chances are it’s probably your carpet. Think about all of the substance we step in and thus track into the carpets with our shoes, because honestly, who is taking their shoes off before they walk into work? Getting all that funk and dirt out from your carpet with a thorough treatment will have the aura of the workplace radiating. We’re more productive when we can smell clearly!
Get Those Nasty Stains Out
Whether it’s spilled coffee, water damage, or mud tracked in from the rain; there is bound to be some staining on those office floors. This can look extremely unprofessional to customers, clients, and executive managers that visit your workplace. Carpet cleaning is a small price to pay to reflect a good image of your business.
Make sure those carpets stay clean, Certified SERVPRO Clean!
Mold Growth from Water Damage: Dangerous Types to Look For
Prevent water damage in your Portage County home and business.
Discovering you have mold in your home can be scary, but it is important to know what exactly you are dealing with. Mold is a term for many types of fungi that are unwanted, unappealing patches of black, brown, yellow, pink, green, smelly, or fuzzy growths. There are countless varieties found both indoors and outdoors and almost always hold a negative connotation, but without mold, we wouldn’t have penicillin or bleu cheese! When it comes to your home, the negative connotation holds true and should be taken care of by a professional if found. Active mold needs water to grow and thrive, so having water damage in the home is a perfect breeding ground.
Harmful molds can be any of the following classifications:
Common Molds Found at Home:
- Acremonium - Toxigenic mold type that evolves in appearance over time. It starts out a small moist mold and turns into a fine powdery substance. Typically grows in areas near humidifiers, cooling coils, and drain pans.
- Alternaria - The most common form of allergenic mold in the world. It’s a velvet-textured mold with dark green or brown hairs. It typically grows wherever dampness occurs.
- Chaetomium - Toxigenic mold commonly found in water-damaged homes, most commonly in a damp or leaking roof, basement, or sink. It has a cotton-like texture and usually changes colors from white to grey to brown, and eventually black.
- Penicillin - Allergenic mold that is easily recognizable with blue or green color and velvety texture. Often found in water-damaged homes and buildings. It is found in materials such as carpets, wallpapers, ducting, and even mattresses.
- Stachybotrys - Toxigenic mold also known as “black mold”, also can cause health effects. It is dark green or black with a slimy texture. Stachybotrys thrive in damp, wet areas with high humidity levels that maintain these environmental conditions for weeks.
These are just a few of the most common mold types, but there are many more that can be found and can be harmful to you and your family. Since mold thrives in damp environments, a home with water damage becomes the perfect breeding ground. Mold can be dangerous and should be handled by professionals. If you have mold or suspect you might; call SERVPRO so you can rest easy knowing the problem will be handled quickly and safely.
SERVPRO of Portage County is a Locally Owned Franchise
Trust SERVPRO as your locally owned and operated restoration service franchise.
When disaster strikes, life can get stressful; and fast! If your home or business is in need of repairs and cleanup, the last thing you want to worry about is not being able to trust a company that you have hired to help you fix the mess. As you begin your search for the restoration company to assist in the cleanup, you will run across large corporations, small businesses, and even locally-owned franchises. So, what is the best route to take?
Many times, large businesses will get more notoriety because of the reputation they have already built, or simply because the overhead for marketing is much larger than that of a small business. While there are benefits to working with a large company such as resources and operating guidelines, there are also downsides. When it comes to bigger organizations, the management tends to become a bit detached. There is less cause or motivation for employees and managers to have the passion and care for what they are doing. In consideration of this, you may opt for a small locally owned business.
Support for local business is common and even promoted. It is important for many to build up the local economy and show support. Many people prefer to give their business to the neighbor next door, or their brother-in-law’s high school friend. While this is admirable, there can also be some hiccups with going this route. For example, they may not have the rules and regulations that a larger business does, simply because they do not have to. So, when it comes to dealing with restoration stresses, it might be the best time to look into a locally owned franchise.
When you choose to bring in a local company that is also a franchise, you almost get the best of both worlds. First, you have the guarantee from the big corporations of the work that will be done, but you also have the benefit of giving business to that neighbor or family friend, and investing in your local economy! If you find yourself in need of restoration services, and you would like to use a locally owned franchise like SERVPRO, give us a call, we are faster to any disaster!
How can SERVPRO Help After A Storm in Northeast Ohio
Count on SERVPRO of Portage County for your storm damage needs.
Northeast Ohio can have very unpredictable weather. One day it will be bright and sunny and the next could be blizzard conditions. A storm can come out of nowhere and could cause damage to your property. SERVPRO offers a variety of services to help you after a storm.
SERVPRO has water damage restoration technicians to help you recover from any damage a heavy rain has caused to your home. In addition, we have applied structural drying technicians to help you dry out any areas of your home that may have been heavily flooded.
Both rainstorms and snowstorms can cause damage to your roof. In the winters, a large amount of snow can accumulate on your roof, which can cause small cracks to form. The repetition of this can cause the cracks to grow larger. SERVPRO has a team consisting of a multitude of specialists to help with your roof damage.
Ohio is known for getting cold in the winter, which can result in pipes freezing. A frozen pipe can lead to water damage. SERVPRO is able to fix the water damage quickly and safely.
Northeast Ohio’s heavy snows and ice can result in ice building up in the eaves of your roof. The buildup can leak into your home, which will cause water damage. It can also break off your gutters. SERVPRO’s winter storm restoration specialist can help you resolve your issue quickly.
SERVPRO offers 24/7 emergency service to help compensate for NorthEast Ohio’s unpredictable weather. Storms can be a scary experience, as they have the ability to cause damage to homes, but our technicians are able to help you if you are in need. We are faster in any disaster!
Homeowner Tips for Living in a Floodplain
Make sure you are prepared for floodplain living in all seasons.
Flooding is becoming more frequent and severe due to climate change. Heavy downpours, rising sea levels, and asphalt everywhere are all factors in increased flooding in recent years. If you live in a floodplain you are even more at risk. Flood plains are areas the National Flood Insurance Program considers at high risk for flooding, otherwise known as Special Flood Hazard Areas. The NFIP defines these as areas with a 1 percent annual chance of flooding, which is equivalent to a 26 percent chance over the life of a 30-year mortgage.
When living in a floodplain it is required that you hold flood insurance, this is a good thing to have if a flood does occur, the cost of damages can be substantial. Flood damage can range from somewhat manageable, like a couple of inches in the basement, to full-blown home destruction. There are precautions you can take as a homeowner to minimize flood damages.
- Elevate the living areas to above “base flood elevation.” You can find your specific level from FEMA.
- Build or retrofit your house with flood-resistant materials.
- Elevate your furnace, water heater, air conditioner, and electrical panel above the flood level.
- Turn off the electricity if your home is about to flood
- Change your landscaping - Add porous surfaces, dig trenches, and use absorbent mulch.
Learning how to prevent major flood damage can go a long way in easing the stress of living in a flood plain. Some tasks require the help of a professional. SERVPRO is here to help you with any storm prevention techniques, give them a call today!
Storing Flammable Products & Accessories in the Home
Keep your home safe from fire and properly store your flammable products.
Everyone has flammable products within their homes, but do you think of how to store them after use? It is just as important to be safe with storing these products as it is to monitor them when they are in use. They can have dangerous and devastating consequences if improperly stored like fires, poisoning, or even explosions. Here are some tips on how to store your flammable products to avoid these problems that can happen.
The temperature of the room you store flammable products is very important because it can be a fatal mistake if the room is too hot. If the room is constantly exposed to high heat whether it's from direct sunlight, high temperatures due to the climate, or even a room that is being purposely heated to higher temperatures it can cause all the devastating factors like fire, explosions, etc. that can be fatal. If you don’t think any areas in your home or workspace would meet the requirement for a safe room temperature for these items then there are alternatives you can use. It is possible to build a safe flammable storage cabinet to keep these products in.
The Proper Container
Not storing your items in a flammable cabinet or container can lead to problems. So it is very important to keep your products in the right container. When storing these products it is almost guaranteed to be safe if you store them in an approved container. If it is approved and tested vs a homemade container like a paint can, etc. it is guaranteed to be a lot more protected and has a substantially lower chance of causing any devastation. Storage containers for these products are very important and should be taken seriously.
Location of Storage
When you’re thinking about a location for keeping your flammable items it is vital to keep them away from certain locations. Many people tend to store these items in their garage, basement, etc. but that can be a fatal mistake. Don’t store flammable products by things that can spark. They need to be kept away from flames and sources of ignition like a car. Also, be careful of your flammable products and accessories around your HVAC systems because it can cause a spark with the item and may start a fire or other catastrophic disaster.
Be cautious with your flammable items to avoid a major problem that can occur later down the road. We have the experience and knowledge to be able to help you store your items in the safest way possible. Give us a call at 1-800-SERVPRO or visit our website for more information. We’ll take the worry for you.
Creative PPE for your Staff
Make sure your employees are protected from any virus or bacteria.
With a high demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) in the workplace, especially in industries that have not always required them, we are beginning to see a new level of creativity blossoming in the workplace. For those who are handy with a needle and thread, making masks is fairly easy, but not everyone is skilled in sewing. There is no need to worry, there are other avenues to take when it comes to PPE!
- Makeshift masks with layered paper towels and rubber bands
- Rubber Kitchen gloves if the store is sold out of latex gloves. Rubber kitchen gloves can even be sanitized and reused
- Well-fitting snorkel masks - an NYC physician suggested using a snorkel mask to help reduce droplet and aerosol exposure, as well as prevent touching your face!
- Make your own face shield from a hat or visor and clear vinyl from your local craft store
These ideas are just a few among many creative ways to protect yourself, your employees, and even your family. If you find that it is hard to keep personal protective equipment stocked, look into some creative avenues, and try to think of options that can be reused and sanitized.
Remember you can count on SERVPRO for any of your commercial business safety needs. We are faster to any disaster!