Summer storms can sometimes disappear as quickly as they appear. Because of this, the average person may be inclined to just ride out a storm. Even though the storm may be brief, the lightning it brings can still cause damage to property and potentially threaten your life. The odds are very low, but the danger is still there. The CDC offers tips to remain safe from lightning. See them below.
Safety precautions outdoors
- If the weather forecast calls for thunderstorms, postpone your trip or activity.
- Remember: When thunder roars, go indoors. Find a safe, enclosed shelter.
- Don’t forget the 30-30 rule. After you see lightning, start counting to 30. If you hear thunder before you reach 30, go indoors. Suspend activities for at least 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder.
- If no shelter is available, crouch low, with as little of your body touching the ground as possible. Lightning causes electric currents along the top of the ground that can be deadly over 100 feet away.
- Stay away from concrete floors or walls. Lightning can travel through any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring. Although you should move into a non-concrete structure if possible, being indoors does not automatically protect you from lightning. In fact, about one-third of lightning-strike injuries occur indoors.
Safety precautions indoors
- Avoid water during a thunderstorm. Lightning can travel through plumbing.
- Avoid electronic equipment of all types. Lightning can travel through electrical systems and radio and television reception systems.
- Avoid corded phones. However, cordless or cellular phones are safe to use during a storm.
- Avoid concrete floors and walls.
Lightning strikes may be rare, but they still happen and the risk of serious injury or death is severe. Take thunderstorms seriously.
Lightning: Tips and Tricks
Lightning has always been a part of people’s lives and depending who you are or your geographical location, it may or may not be posed to be an immediate threat compared to a tornado. Make no mistake though, lightning is powerful and can lead to the damage of yourself or your home.
As a lightning storm approaches one of the safer areas is an indoor shelter with a hard top. Do not mistake a tree for shelter. The risk is much greater if you stand next to a tall object. Lightning will always try and seek the shortest path.
The chance is low, but lightning could cause a power surge to your electrical system, damaging almost all of your electronics. There are surge protectors, however, common surge protectors do little to stop the power of a lightning strike and end up destroying your electronics anyway. The best thing to do is to unplug your electronics.
While in your shelter, make note of the interval between the sound of thunder and the flash of lightning. The National Weather Service states it takes thunder 5 seconds to travel a mile. Count the number of seconds between the flash and the sound to estimate how far away the lightning strike was. The farther, the better.
Remember to seek shelter, prepare, determine the distance of the storm, and most importantly, stay safe.
The Fire Extinguisher and PASS
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."
Mold: Where Is It?
Everyone wants to think their home is pristine. You do your best to maintain a clean environment and try to be thorough with your chores. There's no way mold can be infesting your sanctuary...right? Unfortunately, there are many instances where mold may be hiding within your residence, despite your best efforts.
Mold problems can occur in any home or business as long as conditions are ideal for growth. No amount of vacuuming or dusting will prevent mold growth as long as warmth, moisture and a nutrient source are present.
Here are some common "hot spots" to keep an eye on:
The kitchen is a location that may have moisture issues which can contribute to mold growth.
- Check under your sink. A small pipe leak may go unnoticed, letting the moisture and water damage sit untreated. Leaks combined with dark spaces are the perfect environment for mold.
- The sponge dish may have a mold problem. You use your sponge to wash dishes every day, but when you put it back in its dish, moisture may begin to collect and mold may begin to form.
- Under your fridge isn’t safe either. Yes, even your refrigerator may have moisture issues. The refrigerator can leak without you knowing. There is a drip pan under your refrigerator that can collect excess water, but if left untreated, mold can form.
Your washing machine can be a hot spot for mold. Check the door of the washing machine, inside the gasket. Dark, warm, moist areas are ideal for mold growth. Make sure to wipe under the door gasket after each wash to prevent mold growth. Also leave the door open to air-out the washing machine.
Your shower or tub may be hiding mold without your knowledge.
- Check under lids and bottoms of shower products. You may forget to pick these products up and clean underneath. Moisture can become trapped under the lids or under the products and mold can form.
- Bath toys may be fun for kids, but they may also be housing mold. Water may get inside the toys and be unable to get out. This is a difficult location to discover mold. You may need to open up one of the toys to see if mold is growing inside, and if there is mold, replace all of the toys, as there most likely will be mold within them as well.
Mold does not discriminate and may develop in any property as long as ideal conditions are met. Mold can cause health issues with excess exposure, so it is important to remove any mold you discover. If you suspect mold may be in your property, contact a professional home inspector. A home inspector will be able to conduct mold tests which will be able to identify moldy areas within your home. Once mold is officially discovered, contact a qualified mold remediation company, such as SERVPRO of Providence, to remediate the mold and restore your home to the haven you work so hard to maintain.
If you have mold issues in your home or business, contact SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth and Bar Harbor at (207)947-0400 to arrange for a mold inspection today!
Tornadoes: An Unlikely But Dreadful Event
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 and Bar Harbor at (207)947-0400; we're always here to help!
Air ducts in your business are extremely important; they circulate air from your heating and cooling systems throughout the building and into each room, which allows for a consistent temperature regardless of the season.
The air circulating throughout your business is the same air flowing through the ducts and being breathed by you, your employees and your customers. It's in everyone's best interest to ensure this air is as clean as possible. Regular cleaning of your business' ductwork will help keep it free from dust and other contaminants as well as increase its efficiency and prolong the life of the equipment.
Here are some of the benefits of having your duct systems professionally cleaned:
- Creates a Cleaner Living Environment
- Having your air ducts professionally cleaned reduces the dust that would otherwise circulate throughout your living space, landing on your furniture, your bedding, your flooring…just about everywhere. Fortunately, a thorough air duct cleaning reduces the amount of interior cleaning and dusting necessary to maintain a hygienic home.
- Reduces Allergens and Irritants
- In addition to dust, air ducts frequently contain harmful contaminants and micro-organisms. These include pet dander, bacteria, pollen, mildew, mold spores, and similar toxins. People who suffer from allergies, asthma, and other respiratory problems are particularly sensitive to these airborne particles. A periodic air duct cleaning promotes healthier living…otherwise the dirty air in your home just keeps re-circulating over and over.
- Helps Everyone Breathe Easier
- Even if no one in your household suffers from chronic allergies or respiratory problems, cleaner air makes it easier for everyone to breathe. Even among the most healthy, dust and pollutants entering the nose and lungs can trigger sneezing and coughing, as well as sinus and bronchial congestion. Air duct cleaning creates a more comfortable environment and promotes well-being. Given the choice between clean air and dirty air, which would you rather breathe?
- Removes Unpleasant Smells and Odors
- Pets, household cleaning agents, paint fumes, mold, tobacco use and even food preparation all contribute to stale smells in the air ducts. Every time the furnace or air conditioner is running, these odors will repeatedly flow through the house. Even an accumulation of dust and dirt over the years can lead to a musty scent coming from the ductwork. A detailed cleaning of the air ducts removes all odor trapping particles, resulting in a fresher smelling home.
- Improves Air Flow Efficiency
- Ductwork and registers that have a heavy build-up of dust and grime can restrict the flow of air from the furnace and air conditioner. This means your system will have to work harder to heat or cool your home, resulting in a decreased level of efficiency. Conversely, a clean system will operate at peak efficiency and provide the most cost-effective performance for your energy dollar.
For more information on HVAC and air duct cleaning, call us today, (207) 947-0400.
SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile
On any given day, most business owners and managers are worrying about the day-to-day processes of operating their business. Perhaps they're focusing on weekly or monthly goals and projects, or an upcoming special event. One thing that typically isn't on their minds, however, is a major disaster - fires, significant water intrusions, or other major emergencies.
As many as 50% of businesses affected by a disaster will not reopen their doors, according to recent research. Whether it's a large fire or water damage caused by a faulty sprinkler system, incidences such as these can be catastrophic to any size business. Of the businesses that do survive, the vast majority of them had emergency preparedness planning in place. Unexpected emergencies can happen at any time, and being prepared for these unfortunate events can help minimize interruption and get your business back up and running in relatively short order.
SERVPRO has developed the Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) to help ensure area businesses have a plan in place for when unexpected emergencies strike. The ERP is a comprehensive document containing critical information, such as important shut off valve locations, priority areas of your business and who to call to help contain and mitigate damage. When an emergency strikes, every second counts and SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth wants to help you be prepared. This service is offered at no cost to businesses; our goal is to help ensure everyone is educated and prepared should a water or fire damage occur. The ERP is accessible on your smartphone, ensuring a copy is always within reach. Hard copies are also available to ensure your staff has the tools needed to be proactive.
Preparation is a key component for surviving any size disaster. The best time for planning for such events is now when the event happens, but before it happens. No one every plans on suffering through a disaster, but you can certainly plan for it. Today is the day to ask yourself, "Are you ready for whatever could happen tomorrow?"
By developing a SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile for your business, you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your business.
SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth and Bar Harbor is here to support your business and ensure you're ready in the event of an emergency. Contact our office at (207)947-0400 and we can begin the processes of building an ERP for your business today!
Why SERVPRO? Biohazard Cleanup
While SERVPRO is the #1 leader in the restoration industry, we're equipped to handle much more than just fire or water damage! Disasters come in all shapes and sizes; whether it is an act of vandalism or a full on crime scene, SERVPRO Technicians are trained to cleanup and restore messes of all degrees:
SERVPRO Professionals remove and dispose of bodily fluids, tissue and other potentially pathogenic substances resulting from accident, trauma, crime or death. Trained SERVPRO Technicians thoroughly clean, disinfect and deodorize the scene.
Crime Scene Residues
From fingerprint powder and evidence-gathering chemicals to tear gas and pepper spray residues, SERVPRO Professionals can clean and restore your property and contents.
Arson and Vandalism
SERVPRO Professionals are recognized as leaders at helping property owners recover quickly from fire and water damage. Your professional also provides general cleaning and deodorization services for situations resulting from vandalism including graffiti, egg, spoiled foods and human or animal waste.
Sewage backups and black water intrusions are more than nasty, smelly deposits – these damages also introduce harmful microorganisms into a structure. SERVPRO Professionals remove the sewage, contaminants and moisture, disinfecting and deodorizing as they clean.
No one should have to sit in a house or work in a business contaminated with anything listed above, so make sure you call SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth and Bar Harbor at (207)948-0400. One phone call to us will begin the process of making it "Like it never even happened."
Gutters and Their Cleanliness
Gutters are an integral part of every home. It provides a path for rain to go down to protect your roof, and walls. Leaves and other debris can clog up the path, however which can lead to extensive water damage and possibly a home for pests. It is recommended to check your gutters regularly, especially during the fall where airborne debris is most common. But as a good rule of thumb, it benefits to check every 4 months.
If you would like to invest in a gutter cover it will significantly reduce the amount of debris that enters the gutter, but there is still a chance for debris to enter in. Your tri-annual checking can be extended to checking yearly. As the debris count decreases significantly.
When you clean your gutters, ensure to safely ascend and descend up your ladder to avoid an unfortunate fall. Check to see if the ladder is stable where you place it. If the ground is too soft, you can always place plywood over it to increase the stability of your ladder. Also ensure you do not lean your ladder directly on the gutters, as the weight will cause the gutters to collapse.
If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation where you experience water damage to your home. Do not hesitate to call SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth and Bar Harbor. Our experienced technicians will swiftly deal with your loss and make it "Like it never even happened."
Preparing for Storms
The weather is warming up again. The cold frigid air will soon be a thing of the past until fall. For now we all can enjoy the delightful sun and warm spring breeze that greets us. However, as the saying goes “April showers bring May flowers”, homeowners will have to worry about how these spring storms affect their homes. Ensure that your family and your home is prepared for these sudden destructive storms by following these tips by the CDC.
- A battery-operated flashlight, a battery-operated, and extra batteries for both
- An emergency evacuation or shelter plan, including a map of your home and, for every type of severe weather emergency, routes to safety from each room
- A list of important personal information, including:
- telephone numbers of neighbors, family, and friends
- insurance and property information
- telephone numbers of utility companies
- medical information
- According to the American Red Cross a first aid kit external icon may include:
- non-latex gloves
- assortment of adhesive bandages
- antibiotic ointment
- sterile gauze pads in assorted sizes
- absorbent compress dressings
- adhesive cloth tape
- aspirin packets (81 mg each)
- first aid instruction booklet (NOTE: Customize your first aid kit to meet your individual and family needs.)
- A 3–5 day supply of bottled water and nonperishable food
- Personal hygiene items
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- An emergency kit in your car
Ensure you have all of these supplies and you and your family will be ready for any storm.