Fire Extinguishers: Using Them Safely in the Workplace
PASS is a handy reminder on how to properly use a fire extinguisher during an emergency.
According to OSHA, one of the most common emergencies small businesses must plan for is a fire. Fire extinguishers can be invaluable tools to help fight smaller fires in the workplace or to protect evacuation routes in the event of a larger one. It is, however, important to know how to properly and safely utilize one.
OSHA requires employers to thoroughly train workers not only how to use an extinguisher properly, but also how to accurately assess a situation and determine when evacuation is the safest course of action. OSHA requires employees to be trained in fire extinguisher use annually, at a minimum.
An easy to remember fire extinguisher training technique to use with employees is the PASS method:
- Pull the pin on the extinguisher.
- Aim the hose nozzle low toward the base of the fire.
- Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.
- Sweep the nozzle from side to side at the base of the flames until extinguished.
Knowing how to correctly operate the extinguisher is not the end of training. Employees responding to a fire also should be trained to adhere to the following protocol:
- Sound the fire alarm or call the fire department immediately.
- Before approaching the fire, determine an evacuation route safe of flames, excessive heat and smoke. Do not allow this evacuation route to become blocked.
- Use the PASS technique for discharging an extinguisher and back away from the area if the fire flares up again.
- If the extinguisher is empty and the fire is not out, evacuate immediately.
- If the fire grows beyond what can be safely handled, evacuate immediately.
Fire extinguishers are designed to handle small fires. If a fire becomes too large or the environment becomes too dangerous, employees should know when and how to evacuate the area. If any of the following conditions are present, workers should follow evacuation procedures immediately and should not attempt to fight the fire with an extinguisher:
The fire is too large. The fire involves flammable solvents, is partially hidden behind a wall or ceiling, cannot be reached from a standing position, or covers more than 60 square feet in area.
The air is unsafe to breathe. Levels of smoke make the fire impossible to fight without some form of respiratory protection.
The environment is too hot or smoky. Radiated heat is easily felt, making it hard to approach a fire within adequate range of using the extinguisher (about 10-15 feet). It is necessary to crawl on the floor to avoid heat or smoke. Visibility is poor.
Evacuation paths are impaired. The fire is not contained and heat, smoke or flames block potential evacuation routes.
In the event of a fire emergency at your business, contact SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth at (207)947-0400! Let us help you make it "Like it never even happened."
Workplace Fire Safety
Its everyone's responsibility to ensure the workplace is safe and fire-free.
Fire Safety Tips for the Workplace
No matter type of business you conduct at your workplace, fire safety should always be a main concern. Here are a few fire safety tips you can distribute to your staff.
- Keep your work area free of waste paper, trash and other items that can easily catch fire.
- Check on your electrical cords. If a cord is damaged in any way, replace it. Try not to lay cords in places where they can be stepped on, as this will contribute to deterioration of the protective outside coating.
- Don't overload your circuits.
- Turn off electrical appliances at the end of each day.
- Keep heat producing equipment away from anything that might burn. This includes copiers, coffee makers, computers, etc.
In the Event of a Fire
- Upon finding a fire, call 911 immediately and don't hand up with the emergency responder until told to do so.
- Close doors when exiting to help limit the spread of smoke and fire throughout the building.
- Never use elevators during an evacuation.
- Follow the escape plan and meet at a per-determined place outside of your building and away from danger. Conduct a headcount to ensure all of your staff has evacuated.
The best way to ensure the safety of your staff is through fire prevention and preparation. Talk with your staff about fire safety in the workplace today.
Should your business suffer fire damage, contact SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth at (207)947-0400! Let us help you make it "Like it never even happened."
Water Damage: Let the Professionals Take Care of You
Water damage can be difficult to handle without proper training. Leave the cleanup to the professionals!
The amount of damage water can cause is amazing, and often underestimated by homeowners. Excess moisture is bad enough, but when a home is flooded or hit with a plumbing disaster (like a burst pipe), the situation can quickly get out of hand. There’s a reason why these incidents are among the most expensive problems a homeowner can face. Contaminated water not only creates immediate structural problems, it can leave serious biological threats behind after it has been removed.
Floods, sewage backflows, and other sources of contaminated fluid usually cause the worst damage. Dirty water is filled with all kinds of deadly substances, ranging from chemical residues to animal feces to parasites. Bacteria, viruses and fungi grow explosively in contaminated fluid, and severe health risks, like salmonella and hepatitis, are common in flood waters.
This problem is compounded by the composition of most homes, which are filled with organic materials. Drywall, wood and the matter that is trapped in carpet fibers are just a few examples, and they can give pathogens room to grow. Within 48 hours, mold may begin creeping behind the walls and releasing spores, and any organic materials that have been soaked through by contaminated fluid will usually have to be destroyed.
That’s why SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth, in addition to surveying the home for structural problems, will dry the home quickly and apply antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal agents to all surfaces that had contact with the water. This ensures the family can return to a safe home, and not one harboring a collection of deadly pathogens.
No matter how many preventative measures you take, disasters will still unfortunately strike. When you do find yourself in the middle of a water damage, don't hesitate to reach out to the experts at SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth!
Call Us Today – (207) 947-0400
Lightning Storms and Your Home
Lightning is extremely dangerous and causes numerous structural fires across the country every year.
Although houses and other substantial building offer the best protection from lightning, each year many homes across the United States are struck by lightning. In fact, on average, lightning causes about 4400 house fires and 1800 other structural fires each year, some of which are deadly. All totaled, lightning causes nearly $1 billion in damages each year.
There are three main ways lightning enters homes and buildings: (1) a direct strike, (2) through wires or pipes that extend outside the structure, and (3) through the ground. Regardless of the method of entrance, once in a structure, the lightning can travel through the electrical and phone wires, the plumbing, and/or radio and television reception systems.
Indoor safety depends on avoiding contact with items that could conduct lightning within the home. Here are some indoor safety tips to follow when a thunderstorm is in the area.
Don't touch electrical equipment or cords. If you plan to unplug any electronic equipment, do so WELL BEFORE the storm arrives.
Stay off corded phones.
Avoid contact with plumbing. Do not wash your hands, take a shower, wash dishes, or do laundry.
Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
Should you suffer storm damage this Summer, contact SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth at (207)947-0400! Let us help you make it "Like it never even happened."
Tornado Preparedness in Maine
Tornadoes are fairly rare in Maine, but they can still form and cause extensive damage.
Tornadoes are nature's most violent storm. By definition, a tornado is a violently rotating column of air that extends from the base of the thunderstorm cloud to the ground. While they are rare in Maine when compared to other parts of the country, they can still form and be quite dangerous.
Prior to the development of a tornado, a thunderstorm typically begins to rotate. As this rotation becomes stronger, the chance that a tornado may develop also increases. Although the National Weather Service's Doppler Radar generally can not see the actual tornado, the Radar does detect rotation of the thunderstorm cloud; this gives some indication of the possibility that a tornado may be forming or has formed.
The scale used to measure tornado damage is the Enhanced Fujita scale, commonly referred to as the E-F scale. Based on scientific studies of tornado damage, the original Fujita scale was modified and the new "Enhanced Fujita Scale" was officially implemented in 2007.
- EF-0 - Light damage (winds 65 to 85 mph)
- EF-1 - Moderate damage (winds 86 to 110 mph)
- EF-2 - Considerable damage (winds 111 to 135 mph)
- EF-3 - Severe damage (winds 136 to 165 mph)
- EF-4 - Devastating damage (winds 166 to 200 mph)
- EF-5 - Incredible damage (winds over 200 mph)
Tornadoes and Maine:
Peak tornado activity in northern New England occurs between June and August, but tornadoes have occurred as early as May and as late as November. Most tornadoes occur between 3 and 9 pm and have an average forward speed of about 30 mph. For the 40 year period between 1950 and 1990, 74 tornadoes occurred in Maine. This is an average of about 2 tornadoes per year. During 2016 one tornado touched down in Maine.
Due to the usual short life-span of tornadoes in northern New England, there is often little, if any, advance warning.
Tornadoes in New England generally touch down and then lift off the ground very quickly. Many of the tornadoes that have occurred in the past, have occurred while severe thunderstorm warnings have been in effect. If you hear that a severe thunderstorm warning is in effect for your area, be alert for the possibility of a tornado. A low rotating cloud, large hail, and/or a load roar are all signs that may precede the touchdown of a tornado.
Here are some tornado facts and safety tips:
- Flying debris causes most deaths and injuries in tornadoes
- The safest place in your home during a tornado is your basement.
- Stay away from windows.
- Get out of vehicles or mobile homes, they offer little protection. Seek shelter in a substantial building.
- Do NOT seek shelter under a bridge overpass. Bridge overpasses offer little, if any, protection from wind- driven debris.
Although we can't stop tornadoes or severe storm damage, we can certainly help with the cleanup and restoration after everything has calmed down. When in need, contact SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth at (207)947-0400; we're always here to help!
Mold: Myths and Facts
Mold is always present and can grow on virtually any surface. Cleanup often requires the knowledge and expertise of professionals.
Molds can grow on virtually anything around the house — from wood, carpet and food to insulation systems in your walls. Mold typically grows where there’s excessive moisture, like in a damp cabinet under the sink or around a leaky window, so it’s important to ventilate these areas and prevent moisture from accumulating.
It’s also critical to prevent mold from intruding your home. Mold usually forms by water or mildew entering though vents and heating and cooling systems and then latching onto the walls of a tightly sealed bathroom with little or no ventilation. Keeping these places well-maintained and aired out will help prevent mold from growing and taking hold.
Despite its prolificness, there are many misconceptions regarding mold and mold growth. Today, we'll look at a few common myths.
Myth #1: Mold Only Grows on Organic Material
Most people assume mold will only grow on things such as wood, paper or food products. In truth, mold will grow on any surface. Even flat and smooth surfaces like glass, fiberglass, and steel are mold-susceptible. As long as mold spores (which are always in the air), moisture, heat and particulate matter (like dust) are prevalent, mold can grow. The only effective strategy to control mold is to control moisture, like installing dehumidifiers and fans in basements and kitchens.
Myth #2: Bleach Kills Mold
While bleach may kill certain kinds of mold on non-porous surfaces, it is not clear that bleach can kill all forms of mold nor kill mold on porous surfaces such as wood. Research is continuing to be done on the effectiveness of bleach as a mold cleanup agent. It should be noted that using bleach to “kill” mold poses its own health risks and is not a recommended solution by EPA or OSHA. Bleach is also very corrosive and can cause further damage if not used correctly.
Myth #3: Mold Remediation is Easy
While most home owners may be able to clean up certain kinds of mold in small quantities, the fact of the matter is most people simply are not equipped to properly handle mold remediation. To properly remediate a mold problem, the cause must be identified and isolated to prevent the mold from spreading. Additionally, the affected surfaces must be properly cleaned and treated or, in some cases, removed entirely. Unless you have access to the proper equipment, cleaning agents and knowledge, it is often best to contact a professional mold remediation company.
Fortunately, SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth specializes in mold cleanup and restoration. In fact, it’s a cornerstone of our business. Our crews are highly trained restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your mold problem quickly and safely.
Should you discover mold in your home, contact SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth at (207)947-0400! Let us help you make it "Like it never even happened."
Leaky Windows: What to Do if Your Window Leaks
Leaking windows can cause much more than just a mess!
The natural elements can wear down the integrity of any home. Over time, the homeowner may notice leakage around a window, which can possibly result in wood rot, mold and water damage. The longer the leak is left unaddressed, the more the repairs will cost.
Locate the Problem
Even a slow drip can mean that more water is sitting inside of the wall. Once a homeowner notices moisture trickling from a window when it rains, the first step is to carefully look at the wall around the area to find the source of the leak. However, thanks to gravity, appearances can be deceiving; liquid may pool in one place, but that place is not always the leak's origin.
Two common problem areas are the edge and the rubber seal. The gap between the edge and the surrounding wall is usually sealed with caulk. Eventually, the caulk dries out and begins to peel and chip. Like caulk, the rubber seal situated between the panes and frame can ultimately dry out, creating rips in the rubber.
Gauge the Severity of Damage
Depending on the severity of the damage, the window may need to be replaced. A replacement is usually warranted when decaying or softness is found on nearby surfaces. However, even if the surrounding surfaces seem to be structurally sound, the homeowner should not just re-caulk the gaps without getting an expert's opinion on the full extent of the damage.
SERVPRO Can Help
The specialists at SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth can determine whether any ceiling tiles or drywall have sustained damage. After we assesses the situation, the restoration technician will give the homeowner the best remediation option to make the damage disappear. By acting quickly, the homeowner can prevent expensive repairs in the future. SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth is always ready to help the Great Bangor Area residents solve their water damage problems.
Do you have leaky windows or other water issues? Call SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth today! (207)947-400
Fireworks - A Dangerous Way to Celebrate
Firework displays can be beautiful...but it's best to leave them to the professionals!
For many Americans, July 4th is synonymous with grilling, apple pie and fireworks of all shapes and sizes. While professional shows can be entertaining and beautiful, fireworks are extremely dangerous and pose many risks to those using them. Despite the dangers, few people understand the associated risks – devastating burns, severe injuries, fires and even death.
From 2009 to 2013, fire departments in the U.S. responded to an average number of 18,500 fireworks-related fired. These included 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires and 16,900 assorted other fires. More than one-quarter of the fires started during this period were reported on July 4th; almost half of these fires were started by fireworks. In 2014, emergency rooms across the country treated roughly 10,500 people for firework-related injuries. Most of these injuries were to the extremities or the head.
Ultimately, the best way to enjoy your holiday and fireworks is to leave them to the professionals; consumer fireworks are extremely dangerous explosive devices. Attend the public display conducted by trained professionals! If you still feel inclined to use fireworks on your own, please follow these 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.
Should you suffer fire damage this Summer, contact SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth at (207)947-0400! Let us help you make it "Like it never even happened."
Cooking Out the Right Way - Grilling Safety Tips
Grilling is a great way to prepare some delicious meals...but not doing it safely can lead to disasters!
Americans absolutely love to cook out; three out of five households own a gas grill, which means there will be plenty of tasty meals this Summer. Unfortunately, it also means there is an increased risk of home fires, as well. An average of 8,900 home fires are caused by grilling each year and nearly half of all injuries involving grills are due to thermal burns. While many people grill year-round, July is the peak month for grill-related fires. Before you fire up the grill, follow these simple times and you will on the way to a safer Summer!
GENERAL SAFETY TIPS
- Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
- The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
- Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
- Never leave your grill unattended.
- Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
- There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.
- If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
- Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
- There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
- When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.
- Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles.
- If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off both the gas tank and the grill.
- If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department.
- If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.
- If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least five minutes before re-lighting it.
Should you suffer fire damage this Summer, contact SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth at (207)947-0400! Let us help you make it "Like it never even happened."
Greater Bangor Residents: Follow These Mold Safety Tips If You Suspect Mold
Be careful! Without proper training, you could be spreading mold throughout your home.
If you see visible mold, do not disturb it. You can inadvertently spread the mold infestation throughout your home. When mold is disturbed, the mold can release microscopic mold spores which become airborne and can circulate inside your home.
What to Do:
- Stay out of affected areas.
- Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
- Contact SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth for mold remediation services.
What Not to Do:
- Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
- Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
- Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
- Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.
About Our Mold Remediation Services
SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth specializes in mold cleanup and restoration, in fact, it’s a cornerstone of our business. Our crews are highly trained restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your mold problem quickly and safely.
If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – (207)947-0400