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Hurricane and Extreme Storm Preparedness Tips For This Upcoming Storm Season Near You

8/27/2019 (Permalink)

Flash Flood in Palestine, TX Rising waters caused by flash flood in Palestine TX

Here at SERVPRO of Athens/Mineola/Palestine we know disaster never strikes when its convenient and mother nature can cause some real damage and leave you and your family at risk so we've compiled a list of things you can do to protect your home or business during the upcoming storm season. 

1) Stock up on Bottled Water: At the very first mention of a hurricane even possibly coming to your area soon, go out and buy bottled water!  Once a hurricane is on its way, cases of water can be in very limited supply.  Stocking up on bottled water should be your first priority

 2) Store Extra Water in Plastic Soda Bottles: Save your used 2-liter soda bottles.  Wash the soda bottles with dish soap and hot water, rinsing well.  Fill each cleaned bottle with water and place a date on the outside of the bottle so you know when you filled it.  Water should be replaced every 6 months.

3) Fill your Bathtub with Water: The day before the predicted hurricane, be sure to fill all bath tubs with water.  You can even clean out your garbage cans ahead of time and fill them with water.  If you fill your outside garbage cans with water, be sure to store them in your garage.  It’s incredible that 120 mph winds are even strong enough to blow over garbage cans that are filled with water!

You can use the water you’re storing in your bathtubs and garbage cans for sanitation purposes.  Use it to wash your hands and for flushing toilets.  You can also use the water in your bathtub as a source of emergency drinking water.  Use  water purification tablets to make sure the water is safe to drink.

4) Fill up your Car’s Gas Tank Before the Storm Hits: Whether you plan on evacuating the area or not, you will definitely want to fill up your car’s tank with gas as soon as possible to avoid long lines.  After the storms passes, lack of electricity or other damage from the storm may cause many gas stations to be closed.  Having a tank full of gas is one of the most important hurricane preparedness tips… and it will sure give you some peace of mind!

5) Have a Backup Power Source: Buy a generator way before hurricane season even starts.  During hurricane season, purchase enough gasoline to run each generator for 7 – 10 days.  One generator can be used for your air conditioning and a separate generator can power your refrigerator, lights, and other necessities.

Having only one generator means you might have to choose between running your air conditioner or your refrigerator, freezer and cell phones.  One generator isn’t always enough to handle all your needs.

6) Get a Pump/Siphon: You might run out of gasoline to run your generator, so it’s a smart idea to have a Pump/Siphon on hand.  You can siphon the gas from your car’s tank to keep your generator running.

7) Use the One Cup Trick: If you have to evacuate, fill a cup with water and place it in the freezer until frozen.  Once the water is frozen, place a quarter on top of the frozen ice and put the cup back in your freezer.  When you return after evacuating, see if the quarter is still on the top of the ice or if it has sunk down into the ice.  That way you can tell if your food defrosted and just refroze, or if it stayed frozen while you were gone.

8) Stock up on Emergency Food Supplies: After a hurricane, it can often be very difficult to buy food from your local grocery store for several days.  That’s why its important to stock up on Emergency Food Supply Kits.  

9) Barbara writes: “When I first moved to Palestine,TX an older friend told me what she did while everyone else was running to the grocery store. She baked a couple of loaves of bread and would get the largest cut of meat in her freezer and fix it. She told me they would either have good sandwiches or, if the storm missed them, they would have the start of a celebratory meal.

10) Get a Propane Stove: Be sure to get a propane stove so you can still cook when the power goes out.  Nothing beats a hot delicious meal, no matter the circumstances!

11) Have your Stovetop Coffee Maker Ready: In a tough situation, there’s nothing better for a boost in moral that a hot cup of coffee!  

12) Create a Safe Room: Designate a “safe room” in your home and make sure everyone knows where it is.  It should be similar to the kind of safe room you’d choose during a tornado – a closet with solid walls, a door, and no windows.  If you have a larger walk in closet, grab folding chairs, blankets, pillows, and anair mattress.  This will help you stay cozy and comfy while your in you’re safe room for several hours waiting for the hurricane to pass through your area.

13) Get Your Camping Gear Ready: If you are lucky enough to have electricity after the hurricane passes, offer a shower, hot meal, and a bit of time in your air conditioned home to your friends.

Patti writes: “Many of my friends went days without a hot meal or a shower.  Once one friend would get electricity, they’d invite other friends to “share the comforts of life” – even to the point of making meals and having sleepovers.  Camping gear came in handy for all the sleeping bags in the living room and family room.”

14) Grab some Card Games and Board Games: If you don’t have electricity, your iPad and smart phone batteries will run low and you will be bored to tears before long.  That’s why it’s important to make sure you have some board games and card games to provide entertainment until the power is restored.

15) Make a Homemade Survival Kit: Nobody ever plans to be in a survival situation.  When the unexpected actually happens, you’ll give yourself a little pat on the back and thank yourself for planning ahead!  These Homemade Survival Kits are extremely useful to have on hand in a hurricane. 

16) Make a DIY Mini Survival Kit: I definitely love this DIY Mini Survival Kit!  This is the compact version of the survival kit above and it’s the perfect addition to your backpack, or your car’s glovebox!  It takes hardly any space to store and is a valuable resource when any unexpected emergency pops up away from home!

How can I Receive Emergency Broadcasts if the Power is Out?

17) Get a Hand Crank Emergency Radio: This Hand Crank Emergency Radio will let you hear emergency broadcasts even if the power is out at your home and your cell phone battery is all used up.  I’ve had one of these for years and I love it.  Having one of these hand crank radios is definitely one of the most practical hurricane preparedness tips, and you can even charge your smartphone with it!

18) Make an Altoid Tin Candle: This double wick Altoid Tin Candle is the perfect light source to have on hand when the power goes out.  It’s the ultimate compact candle, and the double wick burns for over 6 hours!

What to do if You Run Out of Candles:

19) Turn an Orange into a Candle: Did you know… you can make a candle from an orange peel?  Yes, it’s true!  This little orange peel candle works like a charm!  If the power ever goes out and you’re low on candles, this Orange Peel Candle is the perfect DIY trick!  All you need is an orange and some cooking oil and your ready to go!

20) Make a Milk Jug Lantern: To make a Milk Jug Lantern, wash out a milk jug and remove the label.  Then, fill the milk jug up with water and strap on a headlamp pointing into the milk jug.  That’s it!  It’s a clever re-purposing trick that creates a soft light that’s ideal for reading, playing a game, and illuminating your safe room.

21) Get a Lantern: It’s always useful to have a lantern or two on hand in case you loose your power.  

22) Have Extra Garbage Bags on Hand: Garbage collection services may be temporarily suspended after a hurricane, so having extra garbage bags handy is a necessity. 

What to do if You Have to Evacuate Your Home:

23) Dish Washer Trick: If you have to evacuate with little or no warning, place any paper documents, valuable photos, electronics, and keepsakes you can’t bring with you in plastic ziplock bags and put them in your dishwasher.  Your dishwasher is waterproof and secured to cabinets so it’s more likely to survive a hurricane.  Before placing any valuables in your dishwasher, be sure to turn off the water supply to your house and unload any dishes from the dishwasher.

24) Board up your Windows: As a hurricane approaches, protecting your home becomes a top priority.  One of the most vulnerable areas for damage to your home are your windows.  If you don’t have hurricane shutters, 3/4 inch plywood boards are the next best thing.  Get your plywood boards for free at Home Depot with some of my favorite little known tricks…

For more information on how you can prepare and repair your home and business regarding storm damage visit us at 

https://www.SERVPROathensmineolapalestine.com/

What are flood cuts and are they right for the water loss at your Commercial Business

8/7/2019 (Permalink)

Flood Cuts provided after extreme storms and rising waters.

When rising waters invade your commercial   property, the drywall may become compromised. The flooding warps the drywall and creates an ideal location for mold to grow. To remedy this, a storm damage restoration service will “flood cut” the drywall. Understanding the appropriate time to do a flood cut allows you to know when it’s the correct choice.

What Merits a Flood Cut?

Flood cuts are the preferred method of repair and containment for situations involving one of a few types of water:

• Clean water stagnated by the drywall for an extended time
• Dirty blackwater with contaminants
• Damaged insulation within the walls
• Suspicion of interior wall damage

Any form of contamination will need a tear out of the wall to validate its structural integrity. Severe flooding may merit repairing the entire section of drywall rather than a sliced section. Clean water damage treated early is often safe from having to do a flood cut in favor of less invasive wall pumps.

Why Should Flood Cuts Be Considered?

Drywall is porous and easily absorbs water from a flooded floor. Since the bottom of the material is likely where the water entered, it’ll be severed over a foot up above the flood damage’s peak. Without the material in the way, the moisture within the wall can be fully removed. The drywall is then repaired or replaced at the location of the cut.

What Happens If I Deny a Flood Cut?

The interior of the walls is worth letting restoration specialists evaluate if they ask. Mold grows very rapidly. A flood cut early on can become unfeasible later once the drywall crumbles and mold spreads. It’s easy to overlook hidden problems. Ignoring it will leave your business with a moldy odor and more property damage.

Your Mineola, TX, business is worth protecting from flooding, even if it means a little surgery to restore it to how it once was. If the water isn’t clean, the damage is often unseen. For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROathensmineolapalestine.com.

Tips to Prevent Cigarette Related House Fires

8/5/2019 (Permalink)

Cigarettes in Ashtray -Potential Firehazard

House fires are more common than you’d think. Along with thunderstorms and neglected stoves, cigarettes are one of the leading causes of at-home fires, despite their small size. If you or a household member smokes, here are five things you can do to protect your home and avoid dealing with the fire cleanup process. 


1. Smoke Outside.


The best way to prevent a fire within the home is to step outside while smoking. A cigarette fire often starts in the living room or bedroom. While outside, you can be sure that ashes or cigarette butts won’t ignite any flammable objects within your house.


2. Use Sturdy Ashtrays.


If you do decide to smoke inside, be sure to get an ashtray that is deep and sturdy. This will prevent any ash from encountering rugs, magazines, or anything else that could ignite. Another way to prevent ashtray fire is by putting sand in the ashtray to completely put out the cigarette. 


3. Don’t Smoke in the Bedroom.


It’s dangerous to smoke in bed because there is a chance that you might fall asleep with a lit cigarette. Mattresses, blankets, and bedding are all very flammable. The bedroom should be a safe place to sleep, not an easy location to start a cigarette fire. 


4. Keep Smoking Materials Out of Reach.


Kids are often too curious for their own good. To prevent any accidental fires from starting, stash your cigarettes, matches, and lighters somewhere where they can’t reach.


5. Completely Extinguish Your Cigarette.


If anything, always put out your cigarette completely. If a cigarette butt is still lit while left unattended, it’s easy for it to ignite something flammable close by. You can douse the cigarette in water or sand to help extinguish them. 

Keep your home in Palestine, TX, safe by following these five tips when preventing a cigarette fire. 

For more information, please visit us at http://www.SERVPROathensmineolapalestine.com.

4 Tips to Prevent Lightning Related Fatalities

7/24/2019 (Permalink)

Lightning Storm in Texas

Lightning is one of the leading causes of weather-related fatalities. Though the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are only around 1 in 500,000, some factors can put you at greater risk for being struck. Here are a few lightning safety tips. 

BE AWARE

Check the forecast before participating in outdoor activities. If it calls for thunderstorms, postpone your trip or activity, or make sure adequate safe shelter is available. 

GO INDOORS 

Remember the phrase, "When thunder roars, go indoors." Find a safe, enclosed shelter when you hear thunder. Safe shelters include homes, offices, shopping centers, and hard-top vehicles with the windows rolled up. 

AVOID WINDOWS

As well as doors, porches and concrete. Do not lie on concrete floors and avoid leaning on concrete walls. Lightning can travel through any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring. 

AVOID WATER 

Do not bathe, shower, wash dishes, or have any other contact with water during a thunderstorm because lightning can travel through a buildings. 

For more information on ways to prevent lightning fatalities visit Centers for Disease Control; Cdc.gov 

How to prepare for Spring Flash Floods

6/25/2019 (Permalink)

rising waters in neighborhood

Is your home or commercial building often affected by flooding in the spring? As the weather starts to get warmer in Palestine, TX, many properties may see major water problems caused by the thawing ice and snow. While you can't stop the weather from changing, you can take a few steps to mitigate the damage done by the thaw. If your preventative steps aren't enough, you may want to call in a commercial water damage team to deal with the aftermath of the thaw.

• Sump Pumps: Installing a sump pump before the typical spring flood can prepare your lower levels for the oncoming water. This type of pump is designed to stop water from accumulating.
• Landscaping Tips: Did you know your landscaping can actually affect how much water enters your building during the thaw? Make sure your lawn is sloped away from the building to encourage water to flow away and don't store wood near the building.
• Insulation Checks: As the weather heats up and cools down in the early parts of spring, you may have to worry about a frozen pipe problem. If you keep your exterior pipes properly insulated, you may not have to worry about this particular issue.
• Cleaning Methods: Did you know that built up gunk in your gutters and downspouts can encourage a watery mess? Cleaning these areas prior to the warmer spring weather may stop water from flooding out of the gutter system.
• Storage Procedures: You may not be able to stop all water from getting into your building, but you can reduce the damage it can do. Keeping valuable items on high shelves or off the floor may reduce the damage you sustain.

Spring flooding cannot always be avoided, but you can take a few precautionary steps to help reduce your chances of having unexpected amounts of water fill your building. It may be a good idea to take these steps every year.

For more information, please visit us at http://www.SERVPROathensmineolapalestine.com.

Got noisy water heater problems?

6/25/2019 (Permalink)

A properly functioning water heater is one of the most important appliances in the home, especially for residents of Palestine, TX. And just like any other appliance, it’s bound to make noise as it operates. While some of these sounds are normal and should be no cause for alarm, others are early indicators of impending problems that need to be addressed. If yours is making suspicious noises, here are some things to keep in mind.


Identify the Sound.


Try to pinpoint the type of sound you are hearing. While every situation will be unique, certain noises are typically associated with the following common water heater problems:

• When valves are not fully opened, water being forced through the smaller-than-expected opening can lead to what may sound like screeching or screaming.
• If the heating element has become loose, the water flowing around it causes vibrations perceptive as humming.
• Sediment buildup near the heating element can cause popping, rumbling or crackling sounds. This occurs frequently with older units and could mean the tubes need to cleaned or replaced. Performing a water heater flush at least once per year will also help to avoid tank sediment.
• Tapping or ticking noises usually emanate from check valves or heat traps and aren’t generally a cause for concern.

Many of these issues are relatively minor at first but can cause serious problems if not rectified.


Contact a Professional for Emergencies.


If you’re still unsure about the noises you’rehearing, don’t be afraid to call a licensed professional for service. If a major failure has occurred and your tank has ruptured or is leaking, it’s crucial to contact a cleanup and restoration specialist as soon as possible to help eliminate the mess and avoid risk of water damage.

There’s no need to panic if you are hearing strange noises coming from your water heater. Regular maintenance can help to avoid many common problems and there are always licensed professionals available in Palestine, TX, that are ready to help.

For more information, please visit us at http://www.SERVPROathensmineolapalestine.com.

3 tips to get your business back up in running after water or fire damage

6/14/2019 (Permalink)

flooded business

When a flood or other natural disaster causes damage to your Palestine, TX, business, there may be more to worry about than the cost of repairs. One major concern is the loss of business you may face and how to recover once you are ready to reopen. Being prepared for this situation by creating a business continuity plan can be highly effective in preventing the loss of customers and revenue and there are several factors you may want to consider as you develop one. 


1. Work Closely With Your Managers .



As you prepare your strategy, working closely with your company’s managers may help you see risks that you may not have considered. It can be helpful to create a questionnaire for them so you can analyze how they believe a disaster like flooding could impact your business. Viewing the situation from different angles may be effective in creating a more comprehensive plan. 


2. Create a Time Frame for Recovery.

 

How quickly you recover from storm damage can have a serious impact on your business, especially when it comes to retaining customers. As you craft the recovery portion of your continuity plan, it is important to consider how preparation might lead to a faster recuperation. For example, having a flood damage and restoration service on call to perform mitigation, tear out and mold remediation jobs may allow for a faster recovery in comparison to hiring these services individually. 


3. Form a Recovery Team.



Forming a continuity team to assist you with testing, plan maintenance and viability and other details can prevent you from becoming overwhelmed with this project. Meet with your team at least once a month to analyze your current business continuity strategy and discuss whether any improvements can be made. This may be helpful in keeping your plan current and effective if the worst should happen. 

Being prepared with a business continuity plan for your Palestine, TX, business can help you recover faster in case of a disaster. Learn more here to keep your investment protected.

Steps to take if your office has suffered a fire loss

5/20/2019 (Permalink)

Office affected by Smoke and Fire

Your business owner’s policy probably explicitly details the coverage you can expect if a fire breaks out in your building. A partial fire loss, however, should also be covered by your insurance. Fire and smoke damage can affect your business in Palestine, TX, even if the fire occurs somewhere near your property. To receive the compensation you deserve, it is important to complete the following checklist.

1. Have your building inspected. When you file a claim, the insurance company sends an adjuster to inspect the property. Rather than settle for just the adjuster’s assessment, however, consider having restoration specialists conduct an inspection of their own. Professional technicians can assess all the areas of your building with potential fire damage:

• Interior walls, particularly if they border the area affected by the fire
• Plumbing, including pipes and supply lines
• Windows and frames 
• HVAC system and air ducts
• Siding or any exterior features
• Roof

Your building may exhibit signs of fire loss even if the fire was in the building next door. Don’t depend solely on your insurance adjuster to note the damage.

2. Start the restoration process quickly. If there is damage to your building, you will need to hire fire restoration technicians to repair it. These repairs cannot wait. Even if you have a partial loss, unchecked damage that starts as a minor issue can become extensive if it is put on the back burner too long. Your insurance policy should pay for your business to be restored to a uniform and consistent appearance in a timely manner. 

3. Keep your claim open. Smoke damage does not necessarily manifest at first. For example, the effect heat and smoke have on your landscaping can show up months later as plants eventually die as a result of a nearby fire. An open claim or supplemental claims allow you to ask for compensation.

Area disasters can result in fire loss on your property. Don’t neglect to be diligent just because the loss is partial.

For more information, please visit us athttp://www.SERVPROathensmineolapalestine.com.

Don't let your furnace heat you out of house and home. Easy ways to prevent Furnace Fires

5/13/2019 (Permalink)

Furnace in need of Maintenance

Modern heating systems are typically easy to maintain and trouble-free. Built for efficient operation, a good furnace requires little more than regular maintenance. Without proper upkeep, an inefficient unit could easily catch fire. To keep your furnace in top condition in Palestine, TX, and prevent a possible fire and the resultant fire cleaning, there are several things you can do. 


Furnaces Need Space

When assessing potential fire hazards,
one of the most common heating system problems is the lack of space. A furnace is often set in an area by itself for a reason. A crowded unit can be a danger to you and your family. These common items can become a fire hazard when placed near the furnace:

• cleaning supplies
• boxes
• brooms 
• clothing

A fire can quickly catch from a stray spark onto any of these items and cause considerable damage to your home, and subsequent fire cleaning and restoration is generally no fun at all.


Furnaces Need Attention


There is an old adage that says, “out of sight means out of mind.” Never has that been truer than when applied to furnace filters. This can be a huge problem for busy homeowners who may seldom see the system; it can be easy to forget to provide regular maintenance. Once dirt begins to accumulate on the filter, it can cause the furnace to work inefficiently and overheat. As the filter becomes clogged, it can start a furnace fire with billowing smoke. Check filters regularly to prevent this build up and a possible fire. 

Furnaces Need Maintenance


These are three of the many fire hazards associated with a poorly maintained furnace. To prevent possible system damages or fires, contact a technician and schedule an inspection at least once a year. If a furnace fire does occur, that same technician can probably help with the fire cleaning or suggest a fire restoration team that can. Most importantly, keep those filters clean and unclogged to allow your furnace to work efficiently.

For more information, please visit us athttp://www.SERVPROathensmineolapalestine.com.

Mildew Blasting Cleaning Tips For The Bathroom

5/13/2019 (Permalink)

Moldy Humor:

The other day my daughter said, "Mold is so gross."

I told her to "respect its culture."   We all know a mold and mildew problem in the bathroom is no laughing matter. Here are several effective solutions for eliminating bathroom mildew or preventing this fungal growth from forming. The most important step toward managing mildew in your bathroom is to resolve any underlying humidity problems. Once you have addressed this issue, you should take steps to clean and maintain your bathroom.

Here are five of the top mildew cleaning solutions for bathrooms, from the mildest to the most powerful:

1. Vinegar and warm water: This relatively gentle solution works for cleaning. You can also combine a mixture of one part vinegar to one part water in a spray bottle and use this solution to maintain a mildew-free bathroom between deep cleanings.

2. Baking soda: Form a paste by adding baking soda to vinegar or hydrogen peroxide or apply this gritty powder directly to grout in your bathroom. The abrasive and foaming actions of sodium bicarbonate make baking soda a powerful bathroom mildew cleaning solution.

3. Isopropyl Alcohol: Wiping down bathroom surfaces with alcohol can be an effective way to sanitize between cleanings.

4. Oxygen bleach: Powdered oxygen bleach is an even more powerful mildew cleaning solution. Do not mix this substance with other cleaners.

5. Chlorine bleach: Liquid chlorine bleach is one of the most powerful cleaning solutions. Dilute bleach to a safe concentration, but keep in mind that this solution may degrade grout over time.

In addition to these five options, you can purchase specialized anti-mildew cleaners for bathroom use at a store. You should also acquire the cleaning tools you will need to get rid of mildew in your bathroom. Use a stiff-bristled brush to rub the solution of your choice into grout lines and other problem areas.

If you are struggling to resolve a persistent humidity problem that is causing bathroom mildew to develop, contact a service that provides mold and mildew testing and remediation services in Palestine, TX.

For more information, please visit us athttp://www.SERVPROathensmineolapalestine.com.