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Fire Extinguisher Basics | SERVPRO® of East Mecklenburg/Matthews

12/21/2021 (Permalink)

< img src =”safety.jpg” alt = “a fire extinguisher hanging on a wall near a set of stairs" > If fire breaks out, SERVPRO of East Mecklenburg/Matthews has the tools and experience to repair, restore and recover your property.

Most of us are familiar with the look and concept of a fire extinguisher. We know the image of the big red canister with the black hose, with a metallic grip and handle on top. We saw them at school behind the near-sacred glass, and now we see them at work or in hospitals.

We’re well-acquainted with the idea—but how many of us have ever held one or discharged one? If a fire started right now, would you know what to do with a fire extinguisher?

Let’s look at some basics you need to know as it regards our little red flame-retardant friends.

Where to Keep Fire Extinguishers

You don’t want to be running upstairs or across the house to get to an extinguisher when you need one, so it’s wise to keep them in the most likely places a fire might pop up at home. The No. 1 place is the kitchen, as it’s where most home fires start.

Keep at least one extinguisher on every floor of your home, plus one in the garage. Bedrooms are also recommended, as the majority of fires happen at night. And any regular source of heat should have an extinguisher nearby in case of an emergency.

The PASS Method

This acronym will help you should the moment come when you need to operate an extinguisher to fight a small fire. Remember the word PASS:

(P)ull the pin that keeps the handle from closing.

(A)im the nozzle low, pointing the extinguisher at the base of the fire, so the source of the flame can be extinguished.

(S)queeze the lever slowly, with even, steady pressure.

(S)weep the nozzle from side to side, at the base of the fire, to cover the area in chemicals to stop it.

Extinguisher Maintenance

Fire extinguishers don’t last forever. In fact, the chemicals in them can lose their charge over time, and it’s recommended that they be recharged or replaced every six years. This is an important step, because you don’t want to be stuck with a less-than-functional extinguisher when the moment comes.

Don’t try to fight big fires with a home extinguisher. If a flame is already growing out of control, call 911 and get out. Don’t put yourself in danger. But small fires can be snuffed, provided you have the right equipment and know how to use it.

If fire breaks out at home, we have the tools and the teams to repair, restore and recover your property. Contact us to get the industry-leading expertise of SERVPRO on your side.

Preventing Water Damage While You’re Away from Home | SERVPRO® of East Mecklenburg/Matthews

12/10/2021 (Permalink)

a white water pump with gauges showing the water temperature If water damage happens while you are away we can get you in the dry again. Contact SERVPRO of East Mecklenburg/Matthews to get started.

Ahh, what a relaxing vacation. Wasn’t it great? You got to go to that special, sentimental place with those people you love, you experienced that thing you always hoped as a kid you’d get to do, and you got fully recharged after a long, weird year. You even did that one thing you were afraid to try, but you ended up loving it—congratulations!

After the perfect trip away from home, the last thing you want to find is that while you were gone your home experienced a dreadful water event. In only a couple days’ time, literal tons of water can gush through your home, ruining treasured personal belongings, materials, floors and even foundations.

The truth is that your home much more likely to suffer a water emergency while you’re away than a fire or burglary, and yet fewer than 20% of homeowners consider the need to mitigate potential damage before leaving home.

So let’s look at a few things you should be doing on your way out the door to prevent a soggy end to an otherwise great trip.

Turn off your water main. This is the most sure-fire way to mitigate damage. Even if a pipe or hose suddenly fails while you’re gone, it can only leak so much water without being fed more from the main supply line. This step alone can save multiple thousands of dollars in repair costs.

Your water main is likely located on the lowest floor of your home, directly in line with the street side shutoff valve used by your local municipality.

Examine your sump pump. Your sump pump, if installed, collects groundwater and drains it away from your house. This can help your home stay dry in heavy storms and area flooding. To check that it’s working properly, dump a bucket of water into the sump pit and listen for the pump to begin working. A battery backup can also ensure your pump keeps working even it electricity fails while you’re gone.

Freeze-proof your toilets. If you’re traveling for winter, you can’t prevent all possible frozen pipes, but you can do something to keep your toilet water from freezing and cracking the porcelain. Step one is to turn off the water supply to the toilets and then flush them. Then pour marine antifreeze (the non-toxic kind for boats) into the remaining water in the bowl, and it will keep it from freezing while you’re gone.

Lastly, you can adjust your water heater, either by lowering the temperature several degrees or switching it to vacation mode if your heater has that option. Turning your heater off completely is not recommended.

If water damage happens while you’re on vacation, we can get you in the dry again. Contact SERVPRO to get started.

That’s Not Hail, It’s…Graupel? | SERVPRO® of East Mecklenburg/Matthews

11/22/2021 (Permalink)

White snowflakes failing out of a dark stormy sky If storms or precipitation cause damage to your home or business, contact SERVPRO of East Mecklenburg/Matthews.

There are many forms of precipitation, and we’re likely to see them all over the course of a Matthews winter—all but one, that is.

Have you ever noticed that it doesn’t hail in winter, or thought about why it doesn’t hail in winter? Of course you have; you’re very inquisitive, and that’s why we love you.

So we’re going to make your day today, by helping you differentiate the different types of precipitation you’re likely to experience over the next few months in Mecklenburg County, including one that sometimes masquerades as hail.

Rain. If you’re not able to define this one by now, we need to start over. Rain forms when water vapor condenses as part of the global water cycle, which consists of condensation, precipitation and evaporation. The drops get too heavy to be held in the clouds, and they fall to the earth in the form of raindrops.

Freezing rain. Freezing rain appears to us to be rain that freezes once it hits the ground, but it’s actually melted snow that refreezes when it hits the ground. Snow crystals descending from clouds encounter warmer, moist air and melt. When they hit the cold ground, they freeze again and create a thin layer of ice if enough drops fall.

Sleet. Sleet has the same origin story as freezing rain, in that it begins as a snowflake and descends through a moist, warm layer of air. But thinner layers of moist air cause snowflakes to melt incompletely, and they becomes small ice pellets instead of raindrops. These pellets are what we know as sleet, and they, too, form a potentially dangerous layer of ice when they hit the ground.

Graupel. Sometimes called soft hail, corn snow, snow pellets, this frozen precipitation is rarely mentioned, but often mistaken for hail. It forms when very cold water droplets come in contact with falling snowflakes and combine into tiny balls of ice that vary in size up to about 0.2 inches—this process is called riming and it creates a unique precipitation that is hard enough to be ice, but soft enough that it typically disintegrates when touched.

Graupel pellets never reach a size that could classify them as hailstones, and their formation is different. Hail forms because of low pressure rising from the earth’s surface, which doesn’t happen in winter.

So now you know—you may see several kinds of frozen or freezing precipitation this winter, but hail won’t be one of them. Regardless of what type you encounter, be sure to be very cautious if driving or walking during a winter weather event, especially if weather becomes severe.

If storms or precipitation cause damage do your home or business in East Mecklenburg County, you’ve got a team nearby who’s ready to help. Contact SERVPRO today to see how we can assist you.

Commercial Solutions for Businesses Struck By Disaster | SERVPRO® of East Mecklenburg/Matthews

11/2/2021 (Permalink)

a large commercial building engulfed in flames and smoke SERVPRO of East Mecklenburg/Matthews is the industry leader in cleanup and recovery. Contact us for any restoration needs.

It’s hard enough running a business on a perfectly normal day. As a manager or owner, you have things on every side, vying for your attention mentally, physically and financially—and keeping those things under control is enough to push anyone to any number of limits.

So it stand to reason that when a disaster or unexpected disruption takes place, you’re going to need some help; that’s where we come in.

SERVPRO is the industry leader in cleanup, recovery and restoration for businesses of all kinds, from mom and pop corner shops to malls, casinos and athletic venues. And while your focus is your product and customer experience, ours is getting you back on track after any kind of disaster.

Let us help you deal with damage from…

Fire and smoke. Businesses are victimized by over 100,000 fires per year, to the tune of over $2 billion in losses. We can deal with the rebuilding, restoring and reopening of your space, right down to the removal of smoke odor.

Water damage. Pipes burst, toilets overflow and unexpected issues render carpets soaked, drywall ruined and sometimes even structural integrity damaged. Whatever the cause and whatever the result, we can get you in the dry again.

Storms and natural disasters. As many as one in three small business owners are impacted by natural disasters, and many businesses are unprepared. You can change that by setting up a SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile, setting you up for a fast response and recovery to get you back on track after a tornado, flood or other weather event.

Mold. Realizing toxic mold has set up shop in your workspace is realizing that your workforce and customer base are at risk. Cleaning it won’t work, nor will painting over it; mold outbreaks need complete remediation under the care of a professional team. Fortunately for you, there’s an expert SERVPRO team right here in Mecklenburg County fit to handle it.

Whatever the disaster type or size, we can aid you in your recovery, so you can get back to business faster. Just reading this article means that you’re halfway there—now take the next step and set up your Emergency Ready Profile with SERVPRO today.

When you’re ready to get the industry leader in cleanup and recovery on your side, contact SERVPRO. Whether you need help preparing or recovering from a disaster, we’re here to help.

Choose SERVPRO to Get You Back in the Dry | SERVPRO® of East Mecklenburg/Matthews

10/7/2021 (Permalink)

a room with major drywall repair being worked on We’ve got the experience and tools to handle any job. Contact SERVPRO of East Mecklenburg/Matthews to learn more.

Water damage is one of the likeliest issues you’ll have to deal with as a homeowner, statistically speaking. Almost a quarter of all homeowners insurance claims involve water damage, and water damage affects approximately 2% of all homeowners in the United States each year.

That may not sound like much on its face, but when you consider there are over 79 million owner-occupied homes in the U.S. (not to mention rental properties, etc.), that number starts to feel a little more threatening.

The odds are good you’ll come up against some form of water damage in your life as a homeowner, whether from a burst pipe or damaged water heater or something more ominous like a flood or natural disaster. If that time should come, we want you to know that you can trust SERVPRO to bring you through it and restore your home. When you call SERVPRO of East Mecklenburg/Matthews, you can expect:

Fast, local service. Your crisis is our crisis, so when you’ve got an emergency, you’ll find a team right here in the neighborhood waiting to help. We’re available 24 hours a day for emergency service, and we don’t simply say we’re “Faster to Any Size Disaster,” we back it up with every single call.

Top-notch care. The award-winning service of SERVPRO is a testament to the kind of care we provide for home and business owners nationwide, and it’s one of the reasons we’ve become the industry leader for restoration and recovery. When you call on us in a moment of emergency, you know you’ll be receiving the best care from the best team in the business.

Restoration as the first option. We have a restoration-first mindset when it comes to water damage, which means we want to help you keep as much of your original stuff as possible. Whether it’s carpet, furniture, clothing or even documents, we’ve developed methods for thoroughly and completely restoring many of the things that matter most to you. We’ll only replace what’s absolutely necessary, and you get to keep the assets and accessories you wanted in the first place.

When water damage hits home, we’re here to help. Contact your local SERVPRO team to see how we can help you get through a wet situation.

What to Do After Flooding Occurs at Home | SERVPRO® of East Mecklenburg/Matthews

9/20/2021 (Permalink)

a sofa floating in flooded waters in living room There are no shortage of things to do after a flood. Contact the SERVPRO East Mecklenburg/Matthews team to get your recovery underway.

There are types of water damage you can prevent. Clogged gutters, for example, can be nipped in the bud with occasional cleaning and debris removal.

But there are certain things you can’t see coming, and flooding is one of them. A major storm moves in and sits over your neighborhood for a while, and suddenly you’ve got waters rising in the basement or pouring in through the garage.

There are a few things you need to bear in mind when flooding occurs at home—things that could save you from injury and unnecessary damage. Let’s look at some important tips.

Think Safety First

Is it safe to stay in the house, or do you need to pack up and evacuate? If water is posing an immediate threat to you or your family, make the call and head out.

If water is encroaching into areas with electrical appliances, use extra care, or preferably, call a professional to help. Electrical accidents are among the most common dangers of flood management.

Watch your step and wear shoes fit for wading—you can easily injure yourself by slipping on intrusive water. Cleaning gear is also very important, especially if your flooding came from a storm or sewage backup.

If you’re moving items that have been soaked, use extra caution or ask for help. Water weight can greatly increase an item’s weight.

What to Do

Move wet items to a safe, dry place. Mop floors, safely remove electrical items and wipe excess water from wood furniture.

When it comes to carpet, you can prevent some further damage by removing any colored rugs, putting aluminum foil or wood shims under furniture legs and running your air conditioner to help dry things up.

For wet cushions and upholstery, move them to a dry place and prop them up on their sides to let gravity assist you with the drying process.

What NOT to Do

Don’t use household electrical appliances, and don’t try to use a standard vacuum to remove water. If water is in the ceiling, don’t use ceiling fans either.

Don’t leave wet fabrics to sit and soak. Hang them and let them drip-dry.

Don’t leave anything sitting on the carpet that may discolor it.

There are no shortage of things to do after a flood, and some of it may be more than you can handle. When flooding overtakes your life, contact us to handle the dirty work.

How Do Thunderstorms Form? | SERVPRO® of East Mecklenburg/Matthews

9/17/2021 (Permalink)

a large lighting strike in a dark stormy sky If thunderstorms should bring water or damage to your home or business, SERVPRO of East Mecklenburg/Matthews is your local expert in restoration

We experience thunderstorms regularly in the greater Charlotte area, and we know that they are a common (sometimes all too common) weather event. We might even look up into the sky or notice a drop in temperature and become aware of the impending possibility of a storm.

We often focus on the result of storms—flooding, heavy rains and water damage—but have you ever thought about what’s going in the atmosphere to actually cause one of nature’s most common weather exceptions? What are the atmospheric pieces that have to be in place to cause one?

Without getting too deep in the science, let’s take a look at the formation of thunderstorms.

How Storms Form

Ordinary thunderstorms, also called single cell storms, form when moist, warm air just above the earth’s surface rises into cold air in the atmosphere above. This causes the warm, rising air to cool, and when it does the moisture (or vapor) already present in the water condenses (shrinks and gathers in the air) and forms small water droplets.

The heavier cool air then lowers into the lower atmosphere, where it warms, rises, condenses and falls again. This continues to happen in a repetitive cycle called a convection cell, which eventually becomes a cloud.

When larger amounts of air and moisture collide, a larger convection cell can form and create a thunderstorm.

3 Stages of a Storm

Most storms form in a pattern of three stages:

The Cumulus Stage, described above as the formation of the formation of the convection cell. The warm air meets the cold air, and condensation begins.

The Mature Stage, where the cloud turns grey as more moisture condenses, and the condensed droplets become too heavy to rise anymore. They begin to fall, and we have ourselves a thunderstorm. The air moving within the clouds here also builds up an electric charge, and this (in a very simplified way) is why we get lightning.

The Dissipating Stage, in which cool, dry air that has been pulling rain down toward the ground (aka a downdraft) becomes stronger than the updraft of warm air, stopping the ability of droplets to form in the cloud. The cloud disappears from the bottom up, the sky clears and the storm is over.

There are lots more interesting details and several different types of storms, but we’ll let you search those out on your own for now. For now, remember:

*If thunderstorms should bring water or lightning damage to your home or business, SERVPRO is your expert friend in the restoration industry. Let us help you when disaster strikes. *

Preventing Kitchen Fires at Work | SERVPRO® of East Mecklenburg/Matthews

8/30/2021 (Permalink)

a couple of co-workers enjoying a colorful box lunch If a fire should get out of hand and cause damage to your business, SERVPRO of East Mecklenburg/Matthews is here to help

Offices in Matthews and Mint Hill are full of hungry people, just like anywhere else. When lunch or break time comes, the office kitchen gets busy—food gets reheated or cooked, leftovers and Lunchables are served and somebody always pretends they didn’t know you’re not supposed to microwave fish.

But kitchens in the workplace are a leading cause of commercial fires. In fact, the average number of office, hotel and restaurant fires started in the kitchen is a whopping 47%.

So aside from educating your team on workplace kitchen fire safety by showing them that one episode of The Office, what can you do and encourage to keep your workplace kitchen from becoming part of that unfortunate statistic?

Know your risks. This can vary from one workplace to another, but you should always be aware of environmental factors or specific things about your building that could come into play. Older buildings almost always have things like older wiring or less reliable sprinkler systems, which may need updating or regulation.

Check appliance cords. Faulty power cables are an easy cause of kitchen fires. Cables can fray or break down over time, exposing wire that can instantly cause a fire if an electrical short occurs. Don’t bother with electrical tape—if wire is exposed or cables are bent at sharp angles, replace them and prevent disaster.

Pay attention in the kitchen. Food should never be left alone while it’s cooking. Stovetops, microwaves and even toasters carry inherent fire risks and should always be used with caution in the workplace. And with any sign at all of burning, enact emergency measures.

Ensure proper cleaning. This isn’t fun by anyone’s definition, but it’s vital in keeping fires under control. Bits of food left behind in the microwave or grease on the stove can start blazes that can quickly grow into something devastating. So put regular cleanings on the calendar, and make sure any spillovers in ovens, stovetops or microwaves are dealt with in between.

Have regular fire extinguisher training. They seem simple, but many people may not know how to properly use handheld fire extinguishers. Teach employees the PASS method: Pull the pin; Aim low, at the base of the fire; Squeeze the lever firmly; and Sweep the nozzle from side to side.

Kitchen fires don’t have to be a danger. The old saying holds true: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So make sure you’re following the recommended guidelines to minimize fire accidents in your building’s kitchen.

If a fire should get out of hand and cause damage to your business, SERVPRO of East Mecklenburg/Matthews is here to help. Call or click today to get in touch with your local technicians.

Residential Cleaning Services | SERVPRO® of East Mecklenburg/Matthews

7/6/2021 (Permalink)

Green vehicle Let’s be honest. Clean ducts aren’t necessarily at the top of our day-to-day priority list, but it’s important!

Let’s be honest. Clean ducts aren’t necessarily at the top of our day-to-day priority list, but it’s important!

The phrase “duct cleaning” usually refers to cleaning heating and cooling systems such as an air conditioning unit (HVAC) or ventilation. If these pieces of equipment are not properly installed or maintained, their parts can collect dust or pollen. If this occurs in a humid or moist environment, this material can be released into parts of the home. Breathing this in can cause health effects. Essentially, failing to maintain your ducts can lead to poor air quality in the home.

Don’t let that happen to you! Call SERVPRO® of Prattville for a duct cleaning.

Why SERVPRO?

  1. Our technicians have the skillset needed to give your home the detailed cleaning that it needs to look its best.
  2. We have the equipment and training needed to eliminate offensive odors from your home.
  3. An HVAC cleaning can help reduce the potential for mold growth.

If you need our services, you can depend on us. You can contact us at any hour of the day to learn more about our services or to report damages.

It’s Hurricane Season – Take Steps to Prevent Water Damage | SERVPRO® of East Mecklenburg/Matthews

7/1/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO storm graphic It’s hurricane season and one of the rainiest months is around the corner. Take steps to prevent and prepare for water damage to your property.

Hurricane rainfall presents opportunity for water damage to your property. Leaks and floods can cause damage to your property and require that you temporarily move out of your building while it’s restored. This presents a challenge as you want to get back to business as usual as soon as possible! Furthermore, severe leaks can lead to floods which can increase your risk of exposure to mold, chemical hazards, injuries, and more.

Fortunately, these inconveniences are preventable! Whether your water emergency occurs in an office building or big box store, it is imperative that you take measures to prevent leaks and damage to your property. Keep a look out for the following:

Damaged Windows

Water can seep through windows that aren’t properly sealed. This can cause mold build-up and damage to walls. Because caulk, the material that’s often used to seal windows, breaks down over time, be sure to have your windows resealed regularly.

Broken Pipes

Changes in pressure throughout the year and cold weather can cause pipes to break and burst. Although there are some tell-tell signs of this issue, such as water stains on walls or floors or an unpleasant and musty smell, detecting leaky pipes is challenging. With that said, it’s best to consult a professional to help determine whether your property has broken pipes.

HVAC Problems

Hurricane season often coincides with colder temperatures so we crank up the heat! However, ducts in the HVAC system can get worn out and damaged over time, especially during seasons like this, and cause leaks. For that reason, the system needs to be cleaned regularly and any water in it needs to be removed. Like broken pipes, it’s sometimes difficult to determine whether your HVAC system is causing a leak, so it’s best to consult a professional.

December is one of the rainiest months in Alabama and other regions of the southeast. With that said, it’s best to get ahead of the curve.

One of the best ways to get ahead is to create an Emergency Ready Profile. This is an immediate plan of action for how to restore your building after a disaster and get back to business. Additionally, we have 360 degree technology to document preloss conditions, including your equipment and where it was before disaster struck.

If want to prepare your business for future disasters, contact us today and we will help you create an Emergency Ready Profile.