Tips for a Safe Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year to spend with friends and family - but the holiday happiness can be cut short when a sudden fire catches in the kitchen. According to the NFPA, the National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving is the leading day of the year for home fires involving cooking equipment. Follow these safety tips from the NFPA to ensure your home steers clear of a disaster this Thanksgiving:
- Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop, so you can keep an eye on the food.
- Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
- Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot, and kids should stay 3 feet away.
- Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
- Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
- Keep knives out of the reach of children.
- Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
- Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
- Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
- Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
From all of us at SERVPRO of East Lansing/Haslett, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!
Prepare Your Mid-Michigan Home for a Winter Storm
Prepare your home and family for Michigan's upcoming winter season!
Michigan is no stranger to deadly winter storms - take the time this fall to prepare your home and family for this year's winter season!
Trim or Remove Trees
Trees are responsible for the majority of damage to homes and personal property during winter storms. Your homeowner’s insurance may not protect you in the event of fallen limbs or trees. According to insurance company Allstate, your homeowner’s insurance probably will not cover a fallen tree if the tree exhibited prior signs of rot or instability.
- Trimming: Trimming is far less expensive than full removal. Crews can thin out the branches to reduce the “sail effect” when those high winter winds blow. Trimming can also can balance out the tree’s load and keep one side from being heavier than the other, a condition that may topple the tree.
- Removing: Tree removal can entail a significant cost, especially in dense, metro areas where mobility is limited. The average cost to remove a large tree hovers in the $1,500 range, not including debris removal. Many communities require that you apply for a tree removal permit or at least put in a written notification. In many cases, the permit or notice must be accompanied by an arborist’s report stating that removal is required.
Check Roof and Flashing Stability
High winds can loosen roof shingles. Walk your roof and inspect it carefully. Shingles that are obviously loose should be replaced by a qualified roofer.
The condition of the flashing – the metal sleeves around the chimney and other roof protrusions – is more difficult to visually determine. Have a contractor or roofer inspect these areas.
Promote Drainage Away from House
When storms hit, massive amounts of water are directed at your house over a short period of time. Re-grade the soil around your house so it declines away from the foundation.
Clean and Repair Gutters and Downspouts
One source of water damage to foundations and basements is downspouts that force water straight into the ground. This can be easily and cheaply fixed by adding plastic downspout drainage lines that deposit the water away from the house. Fix or replace gutters in the summer. Clean gutters in the early fall, as soon as all the leaves are off the trees.
Purchase Ice Melt
In areas prone to freezing weather, walkways and driveways can become dangerously icy. Purchase ice melt in early fall (it may not be in stock in stores earlier than that). Calcium chloride is better than rock salt because it is less damaging to hardscaping and surrounding plants.
Remove Air Conditioners
By the end of summer, window unit air conditioners are no longer needed. A/C units are weak points for water intrusion. Even if there is a tight seal between the unit and the window, water can still enter through the back of the unit. Remove them and stow them away.
Remove Screens and Install Storm Windows
Depending on your climate, you can likely keep the windows open for a month or two past summer’s end. Eventually, though, it is good practice to remove the screens, wash them down, and store them until the following summer. Exterior retrofit storm windows can protect your windows against light debris impact and wind-blown rain, snow, and sleet.
Clean Chimneys for Wood-burning Fireplaces
Wood-burning fireplaces build up creosote, an oily black substance that can cause chimneys to internally ignite. Hiring a chimney sweep is the most effective way to rid your flue of creosote.
However, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) endorses one product, Joseph Enterprise’s Creosote Sweeping Log, as being acceptable for do-it-yourself creosote cleaning.
Prepare Your Home’s Interior and Yourself
Dealing with exterior issues during the summer, when the weather is fair, gives you more time and leeway to tackle interior areas as winter approaches.
Tune-Up Your Heating System
Bringing in a technician to conduct a furnace “tune-up” is like your biannual dentist’s visit for teeth cleaning: you can miss it sometimes, but it is highly recommended that you do every year.
The greatest value in doing the tune-up before winter storms is that you can accomplish it on your own terms. If you wait until your furnace dies during a storm, you will be at the mercy of overtasked HVAC companies, their tight schedules, and their often-inflated pricing.
Learn How to Shut Off the Water Main and Gas
Quick – Do you know where your water main and gas shut-off valves are located? If you cannot answer this question off the top of your head, you need to find out now.
Water main valves are typically located within the house on the perimeter, facing the street. Gas valves are located outside the house near the gas meter. Most gas and water shut-off valves require a special tool that costs less than $15.
Install Emergency Lighting
Emergency lighting is your protection against fumbling around in the dark when the power goes out. Available for less than $20, these lights stay plugged into outlets so they are always charging. When power to the outlet is cut off, they automatically turn on.
Create a Family Emergency Plan
Creating a family emergency plan is as simple as printing and filling out a form that is available at the FEMA website.
This plan lists phone numbers, addresses, and medical information for all family members. Because both power and cell phone reception can go down in storms, it is valuable to have all this information available in hard-copy form.
Tips courtesy of fix.com
Pet Safety in an Emergency
SERVPRO of East Lansing/Haslett - 517-999-0789
Emergencies come in many forms: fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, and violent storms. In the event of a natural disaster or extreme weather, would you know what to do to protect your pet, to keep them safe?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggests five (5) steps you can take to keep your pets safe during and after an emergency.
- Have a plan- what you would do if you aren't home or can't get to your pet when disaster strikes
- Make a kit- stock up on food and water, tap water could become contaminated
- In Case of Emergency- have information with you that will help find your pet in case they get lost or run away
- Make sure vaccinations are up to date- in case your pet needs to stay at a shelter
- Have a safe haven- Pets get nervous too, make sure you have their favorite toys, a leash, and a bed or cage
The CDCP gives some other things to think about and other resources with information to help keep your pets safe in an emergency. Remember we are Always Here to Help.
The Water You Don't See
Coming home to see this is never in anyone's plans!
With any leak or spill, it’s the water you don't see that can cause the most damage. When you experience a water damage, make the right choice. A mop and common household cleaning products may not be enough for the unseen water intrusions. While the surface may seem dry, the water you don’t see can contain bacteria, cause mold or rot, and cause other unseen damage.
The insurance industry estimates that approximately 90 percent of household damages come from water-related occurrences. The most commonly reported cause is leaky or broken pipes and plumbing fixtures. Home appliances are considered a leading cause of preventable water damage. By implementing a simple inspection and maintenance program, homeowners can reduce their risk significantly:
- Dishwasher - Periodically check around the base of the dishwasher, as well as the water supply line under the sink.
- Refrigerator - For refrigerators with ice makers, periodically check the hose connection attached to the water supply.
- Washing Machine - Hoses should be inspected regularly for wetness around hose ends, as well as for signs of bulging, cracking or fraying. Hoses should be replaced every three to five years.
- Water Heater - While the service life of the standard water heater is 10 to 15 years, water heaters should be inspected routinely for signs of leaks or tank rust. Water heaters should be located next to a floor drain or placed inside a drain pan piped to the floor drain.
So before risking the value of your home or further damage by attempting to clean and dry it yourself, call us to inspect your home.
SERVPRO of East Lansing/Haslett - 517-999-0789
Categories of Water
The basement bathroom of this East Lansing home suffered a sewer backup.
There are three major types of contaminated water. SERVPRO of East Lansing / Haslett will inspect that contaminated water to determine the type of water and then plan the appropriate response to safely restore your home or business.
The three types of contaminated water:
Category 1: "Clean Water"
This is water from a clean source, such as a broken clean water supply line or faucet. If left untreated, category 1 water can quickly degrade into category 2 or 3 water depending upon such factors as time, temperature, and contact with contaminants.
- Water from a clean source like a broken water line
- If left untreated, can degrade into category 2 or 3
Category 2: "Gray Water"
This water has a significant level of contamination that could cause discomfort or illness if ingested. Sources for category 2 water may include washing machine overflow; toilet overflow with some urine, but no feces; or dishwasher overflow.
- May contain bacteria and viruses
- Can quickly degrade into category 3 if left untreated
Category 3: "Black Water"
This water is grossly unsanitary and could cause severe illness or death if ingested, and any contact should be avoided. Sources for category 3 water could include flooding from rivers or streams, water from beyond the toilet trap, water from the toilet bowl with feces, or standing water that has begun to support microbial growth.
- May contain untreated sewage, harsh chemicals, and microbes
- Water from flooding rivers or sewer backup
Water from sewer system backups should be considered very dangerous. The water is grossly unsanitary and may contain bacteria and viruses that could cause serious illness. Special training and equipment is necessary to safely clean this type of contamination.
Sewage backup should be considered an emergency and dealt with as quickly as possible. We are the water damage restoration specialists with specific training and expertise to safely restore your home or business.
24 Hour Emergency Service - 517-999-0789
Hurricane Harvey Restoration Work
An aerial view of Katy, TX after Hurricane Harvey.
In the days following the horror that was Hurricane Harvey, SERVPRO of East Lansing/Haslett was assigned to the SERVPRO Storm Team to help with restoration in the Houston area after the massive flooding. Our franchise owner, Bert, and four technicians headed down to Texas to do what they could to restore homes devastated by the storm.
SERVPRO of East Lansing/Haslett was assigned mainly to the areas of Tomball and Katy, which are north and northwest of Houston. The homes in these areas had experienced indoor flooding anywhere from 1' to 4' high, and the water would take a few days to a week to recede. Even after the water had gone down in the homes, many streets were still flooded at least 2' high up to nearly 4', preventing service vehicles from getting through.
Due to the contamination in the flood waters, anything the water touched would be deemed non-salvageable. Walls, cabinets, furniture, appliances, electronics - everything was lost. This also meant a lot of demolition and repair. Our small crew worked tirelessly tearing out drywall and flooring, and setting equipment to get the homes dried out in an effort to prevent any mold from forming, as well as to get started with repairs.
Our franchise is extremely grateful to be a part of the SERVPRO family, and to be able to take part in opportunities such as this. We've learned a lot about what it takes to come back from a natural catastrophe and are looking forward to continually serving our community.
Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today 517-999-0789
Which Fire Extinguisher is Right For You?
A fire extinguisher can be a life-saving tool when used correctly. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) recommends individuals are properly trained in order to use and maintain an extinguisher.
USFA says an extinguisher should only be used if:
- You have alerted other occupants and someone has called the fire department.
- The fire is small and contained to a single object, such as a wastebasket.
- You are safe from the toxic smoke produced by the fire.
- You have a means of escape identified and the fire is not between you and the fire escape route.
- Your instincts tell you that it is safe to use an extinguisher.
Classes of Fire Extinguishers:
Class A: Use on ordinary combustible materials, such as cloth, wood, rubber, paper, and many plastics.
Class B: Use on flammable liquids, such as grease, gasoline and oil.
Class C: Use on appliances, tools, or other equipment that is electrically energized or plugged in.
Class D: Use on flammable metals and are often specific for the type of metal in question. These are typically found only in factories working with these metals.
Class K: Use on vegetable oils, animal oils, or fats in cooking appliances. These are generally found in commercial kitchens, but are suitable for the residential market.
Check out the Fire Equipment Manufacturers Association for more information about fire extinguisher use, type and care.
Winter Pipe Freezes
The indirect fired heater was used by SERVPRO of East Lansing / Haslett at a large commercial water loss caused by a pipe break.
Many people welcome the crisp, frosty winter weather, but nobody welcomes pipe-related headaches that come with the dropping temperatures. Frozen pipes are far more common than most would think, affecting hundreds of thousands of families every winter.
The best way to handle pipe freezes are to prevent them in the first place.
Follow these SERVPRO Tips:
Spend a little, Save a lot:
Temperatures only need to be at or below 31 degrees for your pipes to freeze and cause you a headache. Even if your house is 45 degrees, waterlines close to exterior walls (I.E. baseboard heaters) can be significantly colder because of their proximity to an uninsulated exterior wall, your house may be 45 degrees, but your pipes may be dangerously close to freezing.
Spend the extra few dollars in fuel, and save yourself a lot of time and frustration in the long run.
Let your pipes feel the heat:
Be sure to keep your pipes insulated to ensure warmth.
Open cabinet doors to allow uninsulated pipes under sinks and appliances close to exterior doors, allowing the heat from your house to heat your pipes.
Keep it moving:
Keeping a faucet open to allow a continuous drip ensures that the water in your pipes are moving and decreases the chance of a freeze significantly.
In the event that you ever find yourself on the wrong end of a pipe-related problem, our SERVPRO team would be happy to lend a helping hand!
If you do have the unfortunate situation of freezing/busting pipes, call your local plumber to stop the leaking. Then, immediately call SERVPRO of East Lansing / Haslett to clean up the water damage before any additional damage occurs. We're here for you 24 hours a day.
We Can Help After Your Fire Loss
A heat lamp caused this fire at a local school. SERVPRO of East Lansing / Haslett was called in to clean up the aftermath.
Fires can be especially devastating to your home or business. After the fire trucks leave, your property will likely suffer from not only fire and smoke damage, but also widespread water damage and flooding from firefighting efforts.
Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.
At SERVPRO of East Lansing / Haslett, we can help with cleaning up any fire damage in the East Lansing / Haslett area. We are a locally owned and operated business available to help with all your fire damage cleanup and restoration needs. Call us at (517) 999-0789 today to help mitigate your fire damage.
East Lansing / Haslett 24 Hour Emergency Water Damage Service
Water under high pressure can fill up a space in a short amount of time.
SERVPRO of East Lansing / Haslett is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies, large or small. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.
We Answer the Phone Ready to Help
Call Today - (517) 999-0789
We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO of East Lansing / Haslett has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.
What to Expect
When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.
Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:
- Your name and contact information
- Your insurance information (if applicable)
- The street address of the water-damaged home or business
- When did the flooding or water damage occur?
- What caused the water damage (if known)?
- Is there electricity available (on-site)?
About SERVPRO of East Lansing / Haslett
SERVPRO of East Lansing / Haslett specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.