Recent General Posts
Saratoga Springs Smoke And Carbon Monoxide Detectors Save Lives
Test Your Detectors Monthly
Alarms save lives, but they only work when they are operational. And testing is the only way to ensure they are operational. The National Fire Protection Association recommends monthly testing.
Put reminders on your calendar to test your detectors on the same day each month to make it easy to remember. Alternatively, you could choose a particular weekend each month.
Replace Batteries Annually
Waiting for your devices to start chirping could lead to disaster. Replace your batteries every time you turn your clocks back in November, and you will ensure your detectors will have the power to protect you all year round.
Be sure to choose a quality replacement battery and do not use rechargeable ones.
Remember to replace the battery backup in hardwired detectors as well. When the power goes out, you will need backup to keep your loved ones safe.
Lithium batteries cannot be replaced. Detectors with these long-life batteries should be tested monthly and replaced when they no longer work.
Replace Alarms Every 10 Years
Every smoke and CO detector should have a date of manufacturer on the back of the alarm. Detectors should be replaced 10 years from the date of manufacture because dust can accumulate on the sensors over time and make a device less sensitive.
Consult the manufacturer of your lithium-battery-operated alarms to find out how often they should be replaced. Even if they appear fully operational, you should replace according to the manufacturer’s recommendations so your detectors will not let you down when you need them.
Check Your Fire Extinguishers
You should also make sure all adults know how to operate your extinguishers in the event of a fire in your home or business. Children should be advised to vacate the property and leave the operating of the fire extinguisher to an adult.
What you can do until the Professionals Arrive:
- Limit movement in the home to preven soot particles from spreading and additional damage from occurring.
- Place clean towels or old linens on rugs and high traffic areas and uphostery.
- Coat chrome faucets, trim and appliances with petroleum jelly or oil.
- Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpet.
- Wash any walls or painted sufaces.
- Shampoo carpet or upholstery.
- Clean any electrical equipment.
- Send clothing to dry cleaner since improper cleaning may set smoke odor.
Do you know how to use your Fire Extinguisher?
Use the P.A.S.S. method to correctly use a Fire Extinguisher
Are you aware of how to property maintain and use your fire extinguisher?
Not every fire extinguisher are made the same and work the same. Check your extinguisher’s manual on how to properly care for and maintain the extinguisher regularly.
Be aware of the proper technique in using an extinguisher. The leading successful way to use an extinguisher is the P.A.S.S. method
P – Pull the locking pin on the handle that prevents the extinguisher from being improperly discharged.
A – Aim your extinguishers nozzle so that it affects the base of the fire. Extinguishers do not last long, so its important that you affect the most important part of the fire for as long as you can
S – Squeeze you extinguishers lever towards your palm once its been properly aimed in order to start its use.
S – Sweep the nozzle from side to side at the base of the fire in order to make sure that all host spots are affected. Do not shy away from using the extinguisher until it runs out.
Have you gone to get your Flu Shot this year?
Don't Forget to get Vaccinated for the Flu this Year!
Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. Over a period of 31 seasons between 1976 and 2007, estimates of flu-associated deaths in the United States range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people. During a regular flu season, about 90 percent of deaths occur in people 65 years and older. “Flu season” in the United States can begin as early as October and last as late as May.
Don’t forget to receive your flu vaccine this year! The CDC recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months should receive a yearly flu vaccine. While there are many different flu viruses, the seasonal flu vaccine is designed to protect against the main flu viruses that research suggests will cause the most illness during the upcoming flu season. People should begin getting vaccinated soon after flu vaccine becomes available, ideally by October, to ensure that as many people as possible are protected before flu season begins.
Helpful Tips when you have Disaster Strikes
We’re always told that if disaster strikes, we are to remain calm, cool and collected, but when that time hits, it’s hard to always put those words to action. Although there is a lot of chaos in that moment, it is still very important to stay organized and calm from the beginning of the disaster to the end of the restoration. Here are steps we can take to stay organized and calm during these tense times.
Steps to clearing the chaos –
- First, call your insurance agent to get the claim filed as soon as possible to get the insurance adjustor to your home.
- Next, call a local restoration team to assess the damage as soon as possible and get working on the damage so it does not get worse over time.
- Keep a binder and notepad with all of the information that you’re receiving from your insurance provider and restoration professionals. (During this hectic time, don’t rely on remembering everything just off the top of your head)
- Last, but not least, make sure to save all receipts and documentation you receive pertaining to the incident and only give copies when requested; keep the originals.
Now that we’ve gone through the steps to do, here are some steps NOT to do when involved in this situation.
- Make sure not to wire any soot damage from walls, ceilings or other absorbent surfaces.
- Do not keep or use carpet or furniture that has been heavily damaged by the residue as this is unhealthy.
- Dispose of any canned goods or food items that were exposed to the extreme heat.
- Do not turn on any electronic devices until they’re thoroughly inspected by a professional to make sure there isn’t electrical damage.
Hopefully no one will ever have to go through these events, but if it does occur, these steps will help you keep that calm and collected mindset to get through the unfortunate.
Save Money by using blinds to Control temperature in your home
Heating and cooling costs can add up fast. Keeping a house cool in the summer and avoiding heat loss during the winter makes the house livable. Homeowners want to figure out how to accomplish this goal as effectively and cost efficiently as possible. Here are a few tips from SERVPRO of Southern Saratoga County for homeowners to help keep utility bills to a minimum.
Blinds today are more advanced than ever before. They're also more green than ever before. Windows are one of the most heat and cold sensitive areas of the house. Light, air and heat can seep out when you least expect it. A single draft can cause a lot of energy loss. Heat getting through the windows can make the entire room feel too hot and can also make it hard to cool the house.
Blinds help to control the issue and offer many advantages. Many kinds of blinds can be used with precise control such as a timer. Controlling the blinds with a timer allows the homeowner to precisely determine how much light is let into the room during the day. Closing the blinds when not home can help avoid increased heat in the space during the summer months. Homeowners should consider keeping blinds up during colder months to allow more light and heat into the house and make it warmer when they get home.
The use of advanced technology is not necessary to get results. A homeowner can choose to use standard blinds but make sure they are installed properly. There should be no gaps between the material. Consider changing blinds depending on the season. Those who live in a four season climate should use darker materials during the winter and lighter materials during the summer. This helps control the amount of light getting into the room. Any homeowner should also consider consulting with a HVAC service. They can also further point out what steps should be taken with the blinds to help the owner use blinds to control the temperature in their home.
Summer Safety Tips
As the temperature rises we are spending more time outside enjoying the sun! It is important to stay safe while you and your family are enjoying summer activities.
- When using a charcoal grill, only use starter fluids designed for barbecue grills; do not add fluid after coals have been lit
- When using a gas grill, ensure the hose connection is tight; check hoses for leaks. Applying soapy water to the hoses will easily and safely reveal any leaks
- When camping, always use a flame-retardant tent and set up camp far away from the campfire.
- Always build a campfire downwind from the tent area. Clear vegetation and dig a pit before building your fire. Extinguish the fire before going to sleep or leaving the campsite
- Store liquid fire starter (not gasoline) away from your tent and campfire and only use dry kindling to freshen a campfire
What can SERVPRO Professionals do for you?
Fire, Smoke and Soot Cleanup and Restoration
Pretesting helps SERVPRO Professionals determine what type of fire has taken place. Knowing the types of smoke and behavior patterns are vital to proper restoration.
Water Damage Remediation
Identifying the source and type of water, which determines the proper course of action in the cleanup. Drying equipment controls temperature and humidity, minimizing secondary damage.
Crime Scene, Biohazard and Vandalism Cleanup
SERVPRO Professionals are trained to safely and effectively clean biohazard substances and prepare waste for proper disposal according to OSHA, EPA and state and local health regulations.
Mold Mitigation and Remediation
SERVPRO Professionals work to control and remove mold contaminants while protecting the health and safety of building occupants.
Odor Identification and Deodorization
SERVPRO Professionals will help to find the source of the odor and determine the best methods to neutralize and eliminate the odor from your home.
Carpet and Hard Floor Cleaning
We utilize the latest IICRC training as well as state of the art equipment to remove trapped soils from deep within your carpet.
How the use of Dehumidifiers can help you and your Home
High humidity can cause many health related issues ranging from the unpleasant to the severe.
Dehumidifiers help to maintain indoor humidity at comfortable levels. This can both save you money and help you avoid any number of health risks. Here are 3 ways dehumidifiers can help you at home.
- Helps prevent the formation and spread of mold and mildew
Mildew emits a strong scent, which can permeate an entire home. If you leave your clothes in the washer too long when humidity is high, they can become "mildewy" and need more cleaning. This can pile up huge water and energy bills. Mold can become toxic and even life threatening to people with any kind of respiratory problems. Children and pets are particularly susceptible to the toxic effects of mold and many people have mild to severe allergies to mold. Since mold and mildew thrives in warm, moist environments, dehumidifiers help keep them in check.
- Helps keep you comfortable
As your body temperature rises, your body releases moisture (sweat) to help cool you off. When humidity levels are optimal, your sweat evaporates into the air, leaving you cool and dry. When air molecules are already saturated with water, there is no room for them to absorb further water, which means you run around wet and sticky. Bacteria is another organism that thrives in humid environments. This means minor cuts and injuries are more susceptible to infection. A wide range of minor medical issues can also be exacerbated by humidity such as acne and athlete's foot.
- Helps your HVAC system operate efficiently
When air molecules are ladened with water, it makes them harder to heat or cool down. Think of a pan of water. A half full pan will heat and cool more quickly and efficiently than a full pan of water. The same is true of air molecules that are half filled with water (humidity is at 50%). A dehumidifier will help your HVAC system heat up and cool your home down faster and more efficiently, which can save you significantly on cooling and heating costs.
If your HVAC or ducts need cleaning, call SERVPRO of Southern Saratoga County. We can help keep your air quality at optimal levels in your home!
Have your Home Summer Ready for that Blazing Heat!
Summer has arrived and we are already feeling that heat. That means pools opening up, sprinklers out on the lawn, and high air conditioning bills! Everything except high bills sounds like the summer we love. Thankfully, we can help keep that third one as cool as the temperature in your pool with a few tips.
The first step is incidentally the easiest step. Check the filters for your heating and cooling system and ensure they are still in great shape. It’s always recommended to check with the manufacturer's instructions when changing, but a general rule of thumb is when the season changes, so does your filter.
To test your air conditioning unit is running properly, use the “cool” setting on the thermostat, drop the temperature and see what happens. If cool air is not blowing, check the breaker box before calling in a licensed professional for a quick maintenance check. Also, the sooner you call, the greater your chances are of having someone come out. The deeper into summer we go, the deeper down the list you go as everyone tries to have their house serviced. Luckily, you’ll be one of the first!
A few other quick items to check include: checking for holes in the water hose, checking your pool’s pH balance, cleaning ceiling fans, checking outside electrical outlets, and definitely consider upgrading to a programmable thermostat!
Get ready for another hot summer, Saratoga
Remember fireworks safety tips this Fourth of July
Remember safety first
June to July 4th is National Firework safety month. Some of you are probably laughing and saying are you kidding me? No kidding; firework safety (or lack thereof) is a big problem. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) states there are about 9,000 to 10,000 people treated a year for firework related injuries. These are the injuries that were reported to hospitals, but this number does not take into account the injuries that are not reported.
A majority of these injuries could have been prevented by using safety measures when handling fireworks. As technology advances so does the ability of fireworks. Today you can have fireworks that display shapes, different colors, words and even designs. In a lot of states consumers can buy fireworks. Out of all the 50 states only 5 do not allow consumers to purchase fireworks for personal use. That is a very small percentage and all of those states that do not allow consumers to purchase fireworks are on the East Coast. Not only does the ability to purchase fireworks vary from state to state, what is actually considered a firework varies as well. Before you do anything or purchase anything make sure you are following your state laws. Just because someone may sell certain fireworks does not guarantee they are allowed.
Recommended Safety Tips
- Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
- Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
- A responsible adult SHOULD supervise all firework activities. Never give fireworks to children.
- Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
- Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
- Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
- Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
- Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
- Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
- Never carry fireworks in your POCKET or shoot them into METAL or GLASS containers.
- Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
- Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
- FAA regulations PROHIBIT the possession and transportation of fireworks in your checked baggage or carry-on luggage.
- Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.
And let’s not forget the safety of our pets!
- Don’t bring your pets to a fireworks display, even a small one.
- If fireworks are being used near your home, put your pet in a safe, interior room to avoid exposure to the sound.
- Make sure your pet has an identification tag, in case it runs off during a fireworks display.
- Never shoot fireworks of any kind (consumer fireworks, sparklers, fountains, etc.) near pets.
Happy Fourth of July from your Friends at SERVPRO of Southern Saratoga County!
What to expect from Summer Rain and humidity
As Spring rolls around into Summer, you are probably thinking about sunshine. The pool will be open, and the grill will be in use again. It’s a great time of year!
But Summer is also a time for those fast moving storms in most of the country, and one thing you can expect from summertime showers is that they come up fast and bring a lot of moisture with them! Here are some things homeowners need to consider:
- Roofs and gutters. It’s obvious to think about the condition of your roof and rain gutters in the fall, before the winter weather hits. But if they are not well-maintained after snow, ice, and winter storms, a simple summertime rain shower can create its own problems for you. Inspect these areas closely in readiness for a downpour so that you can spend the rest of your summer worry-free.
- Garden drainage. If you have planted vegetables and/or flowers this year, you will be looking forward to the yields this project will bring. Take a good look at the drainage surrounding any garden or landscaping area and make sure water can escape if there is an abundance during a summer downpour.
- Outdoor furniture. Some summer showers can last for an extended period of time and that can wreak havoc on your outdoor furniture if it hasn’t been maintained from the prior year. There are many paint and finishing products available that will do a great job protecting your furniture from weathering.
- Humidity. Summer rain storms can last for several hours, and even a day or two. In these weather conditions, you might feel the effects of extended rain showers by experiencing a higher interior humidity level. Mold can grow pretty quickly in these conditions! Investing in dehumidifiers for your home can greatly reduce the chances of a mold infestation and keep your interior air quality at healthy levels.
Here at SERVPRO of Southern Saratoga County we care about your personal property and your business. Call us at 518-885-2620 if you need any assistance with damages from water, fire or mold.
Wireless Emergency Alerts
Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are emergency messages sent by authorized government alerting authorities through your mobile carrier. Government partners include local and state public safety agencies, FEMA the FCC, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Weather Service. Alerts received at the right time can help keep you safe during an emergency. With WEA alerts can be sent to your mobile device when you may be in harm’s way, without need to download in app or subscribe to a service. WEA may share:
-Extreme weather warnings
-Local Emergencies requiring evacuation or immediate action
-Presidential Alerts during a national emergency
A WEA will look like the picture shown above. The WEA message will typically show the type and time of the alert, any action you should take and the agency issuing the alert. The message will be no more than 90 characters.
Prepare your Home for Winter Weather
Tips for Preparing Your Home for Winter Weather
- Keep cabinet doors open during cold spells. This allows warm air to circulate around pipes.
- Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets, especially if the pipes for the faucets run through unheated or un-insulated areas of your home.
- Consider shutting off outdoor faucets. Find the shutoff valve in the basement or crawlspace and turn it to "off."
- If you follow the previous step, then open the outdoor faucet to help ensure it drains completely and the inner valve is shut off.
- Ensure gutters are clean and secure. Leaves and debris can accumulate, causing a damming effect on gutters, which could lead to roof problems and water damage.
- Proper maintenance of your furnace can help reduce the risk of puffbacks.
If you find the need for our services, call the cleanup team that is Faster to any size disaster, SERVPRO of Southern Saratoga County at 518-885-2620.
Damaged Items May be Restorable Versus Trash
Restore versus Replace
Adjusters didn’t always think about how many items could be easily restored for a reasonable cost. With their eyes opened to the ease and benefits of restoration, they would be amazed at how frequently salvageable items are tossed away as trash. When items like furniture, cabinets, millwork, fireplace mantles, and hardwood floors can be repaired and restored, insurers can save money over complete replacement and owners are usually thrilled that their treasure has been restored.
Adjusters who know about the expertise available and benefits of repair and restoration over replacement can effectively boost their bottom line and have more satisfied clients. The education process includes learning the options… it’s not just furniture that can be restored, but dinged walls from moving, spills, puppy chews, scratched leather, chair caning, cabinets and more. If ever in doubt about whether it can be fixed, simply ask.
Customers are typically overjoyed when we can restore a family heirloom because we all know you just can’t put a price on sentimental, one-of-a-kind items. When adjusters call to see if there’s anything we can do to save a treasure from the trash, usually the answer is “yes.”
Avoid Water Damage - Make Sure your Sump Pump is Working Properly
Sump pumps are essential to homes that have lower levels. When homes have levels below the sewer line, it can cause water to collect in inconvenient places such as a basement or lower level utility room. Sump pumps ensure that the water drains properly and does not collect in your home causing water damage. Just like any other device, it is important to make sure that the pump is working properly and maintained.
1. Find the outlet pipe that allows the water to drain outside of your home. Make sure that there aren’t any clogs or damages done to the drain making it impossible for water to exit the home and flow away from the foundation.
2. Locate the sump pump in the lower level of your home and check the inside of it to ensure that the pump is not clogged with debris. Also, make sure that the pump is plugged in. It is electrical, so if it is not plugged in, it will not run when needed.
3. Since you don’t want to wait for a storm to pass through in order to test out the sump pump, there are other ways to make sure it works before mother nature hits. Slowly pour approximately 5 gallons of water into the pump to simulate if a storm were to hit. As you pour, watch for it to turn on and start pumping the water out of your home. It should start pumping when the water reaches about 8-12 inches below the basement floor.
4. If your sump pump contains a float in the basin, make sure that it is also functioning properly and not caught on anything while running the test. This float is what lets the sump pump know when the water reaches a certain height and activates the pump.
It’s important to test the sump pump every couple of months to ensure that it is working properly to avoid water damage in your home. Make any necessary repairs and replacements if there are issues that occur while testing the pump.
Bio-hazard, Crime Scenes and Vandalism
- SERVPRO removes and disposes of bodily fluids, tissue and other potential pathogenic substances resulting from accident, trauma, crime or death. Technicians thoroughly clean, disinfect and deodorize the structure.
- Methamphetamine Labs
- Many of the chemicals used in the production of illegal drugs such as methamphetamine are volatile and can leave harmful residues throughout a structure. SERVPRO follows federal and state guidelines to properly clean all surfaces.
- Crime Scene Residues
- From fingerprint powder and evidence-gathering chemicals to tear gas and pepper spray residues, SERVPRO can clean and restore your property and contents.
- Arson & Vandalism
- SERVPRO is recognized as leaders at helping property owners recover quickly from fire and water damage. We also provide general cleaning and deodorization services for situations resulting from vandalism including graffiti, egg, spoiled foods and human or animal waste.
- Sewage Backup
- Sewage backups and back water intrusions are more than nasty, smelly deposits - these damages also introduce harmful microorganisms into a structure. SERVPRO removes the sewage, contaminants and moisture, disinfecting as they clean.
Build your Emergency Preparedness Kit!
Be prepared, build your emergency kit today!
If a disaster strikes, will you be ready? Being prepared before a disaster strikes is important and one way to do that is to have an emergency kit. Emergencies can happen anytime to anyone. Take action now to protect yourself and your property. Some things that SERVPRO of Southern Saratoga County recommends are listed below:
- Water, one gallon per person per day
- Food, non-perishable 3-day supply
- Manual can opener
- Battery operated radio, preferably an NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust masks or bandanas
- Plastic sheeting, garbage bags and duct tape
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities, if necessary
- Important documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account of information
- Local maps
- Hygiene items
- Fire extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
Are you ready for a major power outage?
Have you considered how your life would freeze to a standstill if a general outage cut electric power for more than two or three days? As every summer arrives, it’s a question more and more people ask, because demand for electric power is growing inexorably, and summertime is when the grid always gets strained to the max. Many experts say all it will take is one unusually bad heat wave and a single computer glitch. The last major outage happened in the summer of 2003, and it affected over 55 million people.
Once your cell phone’s battery runs down, how will you recharge it? Think you can run down to the local Starbucks to get some coffee (your coffeemaker is dead, remember) and recharge your laptop, cell phone, tablet, iPod, toothbrush and shaver? Think again. All your neighbors will have descended on that little coffee shop en masse because they’ll be without power too.
Here’s a list of but a few things that go away in the event of a general power outage:
· Heat and cooling — even gas heating requires electricity to pump the air
· Baths and showers — no heat means cold washing (assuming you can get running water)
· Medical support systems
· Food storage — refrigerators and freezers
· Food preparation — microwaves, stoves and ovens (even gas ovens use electricity)
· Food availability — stores need electricity too
· Entertainment — television and radio (not to mention video games)
· Communication — cell towers and Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) exchanges require electricity
· Gas for your automobile — gas pumps run on electricity
The majority of power outages come in times of temperature stress, i.e., winter or summer, when heating or cooling are drains on the system. They impact you in many ways, some of which are hard to foresee. That’s the bad news. The good news is there are a myriad of ways you can prepare if a massive outage strikes unexpectedly;
Food: Have at least a week’s worth of dry food rations stored away, especially high-energy foods, like peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars, and trail mix. Also include some comfort/stress foods: cookies, hard candy, sweetened cereals, lollipops, instant (or pre-ground) coffee, tea bags, and a supply of things like salt, pepper, sugar, etc. Keep a good supply of paper or plastic plates and silverware, as well as a roll or two of paper towels. Oh, and don’t forget a manual can opener.
Water: Store at least 1 gallon of bottled water per day per person, plus more for pets, and powdered foods. When power goes out, water purification systems may not be functioning fully, so don’t rely on tap water until the crisis has passed.
Gas: Make it a habit never to let your vehicles’ gas tanks get below half. When a general power outage strikes, gas pumps die because they run on electricity.
Cash: Keep at least a couple hundred dollars in hard cash handy. Everyone selling you something will not have power for cash registers, scanners, and that type of thing. You’ll be dead in the water if all you have is plastic.
Medication: Ask your pharmacist to keep you a month ahead on your prescriptions for this emergency. If someone in your home is dependent on electric-powered, life-sustaining equipment, remember to include backup power in your evacuation plan. If you are on electrically operated life support systems or special equipment for heart or kidney problems, be sure to notify your utility provider now, in advance of any outages. They will put you on a list and make sure your power needs are provided for first. Oh, and don’t forget the first-aid kit.
Grill: If you have a patio grill, get a stovetop kettle if you don’t have one. That will allow you to boil water outside. Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. We usually keep a spare full propane tank (although, to be honest, its main purpose is to keep the party going if the previous one runs out while the burgers are on the grill).
Cooler: Get a cheap, large-capacity cooler to store the food caught in the freezer and refrigerator. It’s a good idea to keep a few two-liter bottles filled with water in your freezer — they will keep food cold in a cooler for a long time.
Light: Get a flashlight, candles and lighter (or matches). And be sure to add a supply of batteries. A good option is keeping a half-dozen cheap solar garden stake lights lying around. They’ll charge every day and have enough light to last most of the night. At about $2 each, that’s a cheap, reliable light source.
Trash: Something many people forget is a supply of trash bags and moist towelettes for sanitation needs. If the power outage affects the water supply, you may not have the use of your toilets.
People: Set up an agreement with people about two to three hundred miles away that you can go and stay with. It’s infinitely less stressful to simply get in your car and drive somewhere else where there’s still power so you can wait out the crisis. It will be difficult to call around when the power is out, so it’s best to set up two or three families with whom you have an arrangement where if anyone has a major crisis, they know they’re welcome somewhere else for the duration of the emergency.
Documents: It’s wise to get copies of things like deeds, wills, titles, medication lists, insurance policies, birth certificates, etc. Keep them in the same place as your emergency cash. People who provide aid may require some form of identification, and if the insurance company comes to help, it speeds things up if you have a copy of your policy right there. It’s not a bad idea to keep your computer backups on a portable hard drive and leave it with the emergency supplies.
Chargers: In the event that you go and stay with someone, it’s nice to have a basic set of chargers for your phones, computers and other gadgets together in one place, so you can just grab them and go. Also add a long extension cord with multiple outlets to plug all of those chargers in at the same time. We have a power inverter. Plug it into your car and you have 110V to power just about anything, including a coffee maker. (This of course makes it even more important to not be too low on gas.)
Telephone: Keep a non-cordless, old school telephone around. The plain old telephone service is usually the last to go out. It allows you make phone calls, but it also allows the authorities to get hold of you with reverse 911 calls. Tape the following phone numbers to the bottom of your landline telephone or inside a telephone book:
· Fire department
· Telephone companies
· Utility companies
· Police department
Shutoffs: Find out where each utility shut off is — electricity, water and gas. Know how to turn each off. Have the proper tools to do so, and know where they are located. If you have an automatic garage door, check the instructions or with the manufacturer to learn how to open the door manually (without power). Most automatic garage door openers have a red or yellow knob hanging from a string, which disengages the garage door from the track of the opener.
And, finally, don’t forget to include a few board games. You’ll have a lot of time with little else to do, so you may as well turn the crisis into a fun, bonding experience.
When the outage strikes
First thing is go to a grocery store right away to buy anything you need. Be armed with cash, because their registers and scanners won’t work. They won’t have lights, and they probably will want to sell perishable produce as quickly as possible. Be prepared for crowds, and also be prepared to let others have something too — don’t hog everything for yourself.
If you have a plan in place to go and stay with people who are out of the outage area, pack and go. Expect roads to be congested and traffic lights not to work. Be sure to unplug or shut off everything, because when the power comes back on, there may be surges which can cause damage. Turning off all breakers is usually a quick and easy way to do this.
If you’re staying, unplug/turn off everything, but leave a single light turned on, so you can see when power is restored.
To maintain the refrigerated and frozen foods, keep fridge and freezer openings to a minimum.
Practice living without connected utilities. Do it periodically. You will discover what your real needs are and you’ll learn how to meet them in an emergency.
In winter, allow a small stream of water to run from faucets in order to prevent water pipes from freezing. The American Red Cross advises this action and says, “Running water through the pipe — even at a trickle — helps prevent pipes from freezing.” In frigid weather, if your power is likely to be out for more than a few days, you may want to call your plumber and ask about draining your home’s water pipes so they don’t freeze and burst.
An extended power outage, will be a major emergency, and will cause damage in many ways. However, with some basic and inexpensive preparation, you can keep that damage to a minimum.
Celebrate Safely this Holiday Season
Take precautions with holiday decorations this season
Most homeowners are aware that holiday decorations should be used with care. Each year, statistics tell the story of the fire danger resulting from frayed wires, proximity to heat sources, and lights left on unattended. But SERVPRO of Southern Saratoga County wants local homeowners to know that the danger of fire cause by holiday decorating, and by Christmas trees specifically, actually increases after the holiday. Research from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)* says that, while four out of five Christmas tree fires happen in December and January, the 10 days with the highest average number of fires were all after Christmas Day.
For many families, preparing for the holiday season is a very busy time. Come December 26, it’s tempting to relax; stop watering the Christmas tree, replacing bulbs in outdoor lights or tucking indoor garlands back into place. Dry greens, open sockets and decorations that slip dangerously close to light sockets or fireplaces can all increase the risk of fire in the days after the Christmas holiday.
The American Christmas Tree Association** (quoting Nielsen research) says Americans purchased 21.6 million live Christmas trees in 2011. That number is significant because, according to the NFPA, Christmas trees remain the number one culprit in holiday fires. 43 percent of Christmas tree fires happen in December, but January is close behind, claiming 39 percent – numbers that demonstrate the danger of allowing Christmas trees to dry out during and after the holiday season. Tragically, Christmas tree fires are particularly deadly, claiming on average one life in every 40 fires compared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home fires.
SERVPRO of Southern Saratoga County encourages homeowners who choose to decorate with live Christmas trees to be diligent about watering their trees both before and after the holidays. If a Christmas tree dries out, it only takes a single spark from a fireplace, a candle flame or carelessly held cigarette to turn a holiday celebration into a tragedy.
As the holiday season moves into full swing, SERVPRO of Southern Saratoga County reminds homeowners to take precautions based on a clear understanding of the potential danger to help prevent holiday traditions from turning into a holiday nightmare. For more information about fire and water damage restoration services, please visit www.SERVPROsouthernsaratogacounty,com
Tips to Manage the Frigid Weather
Stay safe during cold winter months
Frigid weather is setting in, which means it is dangerous outside. Residents are urged to protect themselves and help others who may be at increased risk of health problems.
Tips to stay safe
--Stay indoors as much as possible
--Report any loss of heat or hot water to property managers immediately.
--If your home lacks heat, get to a warm place tonight if you can and wear extra layers of dry, loose-fitting clothing, hats and gloves to help stay warm.
--Never use a gas stove to heat your home.
--Never use a kerosene or propane space heater, charcoal or gas grill, or generator indoors or near the home.
--If a carbon monoxide detector goes off in your home, call 911, quickly open a nearby window, and go outside for fresh air immediately.
--When outdoors, wear warm clothing and cover exposed skin. Use multiple layers to maintain warmth.
--Seniors should take extra care outdoors to avoid slips and falls from icy conditions.
--Check on neighbors, friends, relatives and clients (if you are a service provider).
--If you need a prescription filled, do so today before the arrival of the snow and dangerously cold temperatures.
Check on Neighbors, Friends, Relatives and Clients
--Home visiting and social service agencies should activate their cold emergency plans, and reach out in advance to their clients to make sure they're aware of the cold and snow.
--If you are concerned about someone on the street who may be homeless and in need of assistance, call local authorities and ask for the Mobile Outreach Response Team. The Department of Homeless Services will send an outreach team to the location to assess the individual's condition and take appropriate action.
--If your building is cold, check on your neighbors. If you know someone who is vulnerable and lacking heat, help them get to warm places and notify the building manager and or your local utility to get heat restored. If you see someone with signs of hypothermia such as confusion, shivering, slurred speech, drowsiness call 911 for help and help the person get warm while waiting for help.
--Landlords and building managers should check their building systems to ensure heat, and check on vulnerable people.
Health problems resulting from prolonged exposure to cold include hypothermia, frostbite and exacerbation of chronic heart and lung conditions. Here are the signs and symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite:
--Hypothermia is a life-threatening condition where the body temperature is abnormally low. Symptoms may include shivering, slurred speech, sluggishness, drowsiness, unusual behavior, confusion, dizziness, and shallow breathing. Some people, such as infants, seniors, and those with chronic diseases and substance abuse problems can get sick quicker. Check on friends, relatives, and neighbors who may need assistance to ensure they are adequately protected from the cold.
--Frostbite is a serious injury to a body part frozen from exposure to the cold. It most often affects extremities like fingers and toes or exposed areas such as ears or parts of the face. Redness and pain may be the first warning of frostbite. Other symptoms include numbness or skin that appears pale, firm, or waxy.
Provide first aid
--If you suspect a person is suffering from frostbite or hypothermia, call 911 to get medical help.
--While waiting for assistance to arrive, help the person get warm by getting them to a warm place if possible, removing any damp clothing and covering them with warm blankets.
What to Do if You Lose Heat or Hot Water at Home
Take these measures to trap existing warm air and safely stay warm until heat returns, including:
--Insulate your home as much as possible. Hang blankets over windows and doorways and stay in a well-insulated room while the heat is out.
--Dress warmly. Wear hats, scarves, gloves, and layered clothing.
--If you have a well maintained working fireplace and use it for heat and light, but be sure to keep the damper open for ventilation. Never use a fireplace without a screen.
--If the cold persists and your heat is not restored call family, neighbors, or friends to see if you can stay with them.
--Do not use your oven or fuel-burning space heaters to heat your home. These can release carbon monoxide, a deadly gas that you cannot see or smell.
--Open your faucets to a steady drip so pipes do not freeze.
Safe Home Heating Tips
Improper use of portable heating equipment can lead to fire or dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. Take precautions to ensure you are heating your home safely.
Fire safety tips:
--Make sure you have a working smoke alarm in every room. Test them at least once a month and change the batteries twice a year.
--Use only portable heating equipment that is approved for indoor use. Space heaters are temporary heating devices and should only be used for a limited time each day.
--Keep combustible materials, including furniture, drapes, and carpeting at least three feet away from the heat source. Never drape clothes over a space heater to dry them.
--Never leave children alone in the room where a space heater is running. Always keep an eye on heating equipment. Turn it off when you are unable to closely monitor it.
--Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. Never use an extension cord or power strip. Do not plug anything else into the same outlet when the space heater is in use. Do not use space heaters with frayed or damaged cords.
--If you are going to use an electric blanket, only use one that is less than 10 years old from the date of purchase. Also avoid tucking the electric blanket in at the sides of the bed. Only purchase blankets with an automatic safety shut-off.
Carbon monoxide safety tips:
--Carbon monoxide comes from the burning of fuel. Therefore, make sure all fuel-burning devices such as furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters, and clothes dryers are properly vented to the outdoors and operating properly. If you are not sure, contact a professional to inspect and make necessary repairs.
--Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector. Most homes and residential buildings in New York City are required by law to have carbon monoxide detectors installed near all sleeping areas. Owners are responsible for installing approved carbon monoxide detectors. Occupants are responsible for keeping and maintaining the carbon monoxide detectors in good repair.
--If you have a working fireplace keep chimneys clean and clear of debris.
--Never heat your home with a gas stove or oven, charcoal barbecue grill, or kerosene, propane, or oil-burning heaters.
--The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are non-specific and include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sleepiness, trouble breathing, and loss of consciousness. Severe poisonings may result in permanent injury or death.
If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, call 911, get the victim to fresh air immediately, and open windows.
If You Need Emergency Heating Assistance
The Human Resources Administration (HRA) administers the federal Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), which provides low-income people with emergency heating assistance. Eligible residents will receive a payment for fuel delivery, or HRA will arrange for fuel delivery or boiler repair. Emergency assistance is given to those who qualify only once per heating season.
The Department of Homeless Services (DHS) continues to use its Cold Weather Emergency Procedure, called Code Blue, to protect unsheltered individuals, who are more at risk for exposure deaths during the cold winter months.
Outreach workers are on the streets 24 hours a day, seven days a week and are trained to:
--Identify and regularly monitor individuals who may be at risk during cold weather.
--Engage at-risk individuals and persuade them to voluntarily come indoors.
During a Code Blue Cold Weather Emergency, housing options for the homeless include the following:
Shelters: During a Code Blue, homeless adults can access any shelter location for single individuals. Beds are available system-wide to accommodate anyone brought in by outreach teams or walk-ins.
Drop-in centers: All drop-in centers are open 24 hours a day when Code Blue procedures are in effect, taking in as many as people as possible for the duration of inclement weather. Drop-in staff also can make arrangements for homeless individuals at other citywide facilities.
Safe havens and stabilization beds: Chronically homeless individuals may be transported to these low-threshold housing options where they may go directly from the street to a bed.
What is that smell?
Contact SERVPRO of Southern Saratoga County today for your Deodorization needs!
SERVPRO is widely known for being the leader in Fire and Water Cleanup & Restoration in the Saratoga area and we are tops in our field for Mold Cleanup as well, but our capabilities reach so much further than those three areas of expertise.
Our local SERVPRO offers many other services that you may not be aware of. One of those services is deodorization.
Through our many years in business, we have been called in to eliminate foul odors in many homes and businesses. These deodorizations have included such things as the simple burnt popcorn smell, changing hotels and homes from “smoking" to "non- smoking”, eliminating pet odors, and even odors associated with deceased animals have been rectified by our trained professionals. We have many different processes we use to eliminate these types of odors, from ozone treatments, to duct cleaning, and in some severe cases, hepa-vacuuming and cleaning & deodorizing an entire home or business.
Sometimes we are called in to investigate a "mysterious smell" in order to determine exactly what is causing an odor.
SERVPRO of Southern Saratoga County has specialized equipment, such as moisture meters, scopes to look into wall cavities and ductwork, and even infrared technology that can be applied to investigate areas for deceased animals.
Deodorization is one of many areas we specialize in, so the next time you have a bad smell in your home, or business just give us a call, so we can make it "Like it never even happened."
Prepare before you go on vacation
Have no worries while you are on your vacation!
Going on vacation should be relaxing and worry-free which is why it is important to make sure your house is secure before you leave for your trip. Be SERVPRO ready so you don’t come back to damages in your home. Here are some tips for preparing your home provided by SERVPRO of Southern Saratoga County.
Make Arrangements with an Emergency Contact
- Choose a close friend or neighbor you trust as your emergency contact and provide them with all of your itinerary information in case they need to contact you.
- A timer on lights will give the impression someone is home.
- Leave written directions for alarm codes, doors, or other information needed to properly care for your home.
- Make sure your mail is collected; burglars often look for homes with overflowing mail.
- The Post office can suspend your mail and deliver the day you get back.
Take plumbing and electric precautions
- Prevent leaks and floods from damaging your home by shutting off gas and water at the meter, supply tank or appliances.
- Turn off the water valves to washing machines, sinks, and the dishwasher.
- Unplug electronics to cut down on any possible shortages which could potentially cause a disastrous fire.
- Check your smoke detectors to ensure they are working properly.
- Adjust your thermostat for the season in the winter 55-60 in the summer 75-80 should help control usage.
Right before you leave
- Notify your security company that you are leaving town.
- Take out the kitchen trash and other trash that could get smelly.
- Go on one last walk through of your home to secure windows, blinds, fences, doors, and plugs. This will ensure all entries are safe from hazardous obstructions.
If you come back from vacation and encounter damage within your home, call SERVPRO of Southern Saratoga County - 518-885-2620. We clean up mold, fire or water damage at your home or business.
For Immediate Service Call SERVPRO of Southern Saratoga County
SERVPRO of Southern Saratoga County provides 24-hour emergency service and is dedicated to being faster to any-sized disaster. We can respond immediately to your emergency and have the expertise to handle your restoration or cleaning needs.
- 24-Hour Emergency Service
- Faster to Any-Sized Disaster
- Highly Trained Restoration Technicians
- A Trusted Leader in the Restoration Industry
- Locally Owned and Operated
- Advanced Restoration and Cleaning Equipment
Have Questions? Call Us 24/7 – (518)885-2620
Whether your home needs emergency flood damage or your upholstery cleaned, you can depend on us. Our technicians have extensive cleaning and restoration training and can make your property look its best. Learn more about our residential services:
- Water Damage Restoration
- Fire Damage Restoration
- Mold Remediation
- Storm Damage Restoration
- Cleaning Services
- Building/Reconstruction Services
There's never a convenient time for fire or Water damage to strike your commercial property. Every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when the need arises for professional cleaning or emergency restoration services we have the training and expertise to respond promptly with highly trained technicians to get your property back to business. Learn more about our commercial services:
- Commercial Water Damage Restoration
- Commercial Fire Damage Restoration