Tips To Enjoy The Halloween 'Spirit'
Have a Happy & Safe Halloween!
Halloween can be a night for great fun (and maybe even a little fright) with the entire family.
Unfortunately, twice as many children are killed when walking on Halloween as compared to the rest of the year. The National Safety Council (NSC) recorded that in 2016, over 7,000 pedestrians died while crossing streets often due to low light conditions.
Whether you are celebrating Halloween at home giving out treats, driving on the roadways or taking the kiddies around town trick or treating, a little pre-planning can keep everyone safe this year.
Halloween Home Safety
((^,,,^)) If you're carving pumpkins, let the adults do the carving - Let the kids use markers and paint to show their artistic abilities
((^,,,^)) Use glow sticks instead of candles inside of your Jack-o-lanterns
((^,,,^)) Keep your porch steps and walkways free of decorations to avoid anyone tripping over your holiday props
((^,,,^)) Replace any burned out lighting so the little ghouls & goblins can see while on your property
((^,,,^)) Keep your Halloween decorations away from fireplaces or other flames
((^,,,^)) Examine your child's candy before they enjoy
Halloween Driving Safety
((^,,,^)) If possible, wait to drive until after the little goblins have returned home
((^,,,^)) If you have to drive, drive a lot slower than normal and be extra alert. You never know when a small child may pop out into your path
((^,,,^)) Take extra time to check for trick or treaters when you are entering intersections
((^,,,^)) Eliminate any distractions inside of your car
((^,,,^)) Concentrate. Pay particular attention to the roadway and all surrounding areas
Trick or Treating Safety
Before You Leave Home:
((^,,,^)) Choose bright, reflective, fire retardant costumes
((^,,,^)) If costumes are not reflective, consider adding reflective tape
((^,,,^)) Make sure masks don't obstruct your child's vision - consider face paint as an alternative (when you apply it, start with a small area first to make sure there are no adverse reactions)
((^,,,^)) Prevent costume tripping hazards - make sure costumes are the right size for your child and costume accessories, like swords and canes should not be too long or sharp and they should be flexible
While You Are Out & About:
((^,,,^)) Make sure your child uses a reflective trick or treat bag and have them carry a glow stick
((^,,,^)) Adults should always accompany their ghouls & goblins while they are trick or treating
((^,,,^)) Adults should carry a flashlight - make sure the batteries are fresh
((^,,,^)) Be sure to walk on sidewalks where possible - if there are no sidewalks, stay as far to the edge of the road as possible
((^,,,^)) Get to the other side of the roadway by using crosswalks whenever possible - always look both ways before crossing
((^,,,^)) Trick or treat in groups for safety
((^,,,^)) Make sure someone in your group has a cell phone in case of an emergency
Halloween can be a very 'spirited' time of the year.
We hope that as you're out in the Belfast, Camden and Rockland areas with your little ghosts, dinosaurs and super heroes that and you have a fun, safe and 'spooky' night.
Fire Safety Tips For Your Home
Planning Can Help Eliminate Home Fires
When you think about preventing a fire in your home, the first thing that probably comes to mind is... "that would never happen."
Honestly, we hope it never does.
But statistics from the Nation Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), between 2011-2015 recorded that there were over 385,000 home fires in the United States. Those fires resulted in over 2,500 deaths, 12,300 injuries and more than $6.7 billion in damage.
The truth of the matter is, you never know where and when a fire will happen.
But, with a "ounce of prevention" you can hopefully put yourself and your family in a position to not be one of the statistics.
Home Fire Prevention - Where Do You Begin?
Though the risks for fires varies from home to home, there are some basic preventative steps you and your family can take to position yourselves to remain safe.
---> If you don't have them already, install smoke detectors in your home
---> Be sure that smoke detectors are located on each level of your home
---> Be sure that you have smoke detectors in each bedroom and outside of sleeping areas
---> Check your smoke detectors monthly
---> Change the batteries in your smoke detectors at least twice per year
Having working smoke detectors in your home can reduce your risk of dying in a fire by almost 50%. The bottom line regarding smoke detectors is, having working smoke detectors in your home is not an option, it's a necessity... it can save your life.
If the unexpected should happen, preparing your home in advance and keeping it in a general "level" of readiness can be the difference between getting out during an emergency vs. being stuck inside... or worst. Consider these preparations for your home:
---> Keep a fire extinguisher in as many rooms of your home as possible, especially the kitchen, work shop and near fireplaces and wood stoves
---> If you have small children, some fire departments supply stickers for you to place on their bedroom windows to alert firefighters who will respond during an emergency
---> Teach young children never to play with lighters or matches
---> Store lighters and matches out of reach of small children
---> Keep any space heaters at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn
---> Be sure to shut space heaters off before you leave the room
---> Be sure to use a sturdy screen around any fireplaces or wood stoves
---> Inspect fireplaces and wood stoves monthly and get them cleaned annually
---> Keep lighted candles on a non-flammable surface and at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn
---> Never leave a lighted candle or any other fire unattended
---> Never leave anything you're cooking unattended on the stove
---> Keep the surface and areas immediately around your stove clear of clutter, grease and any flammable items
---> Ensure that all the electrical products in your home have been evaluated by a recognized laboratory such as UL
---> Don't run extension cords under carpets or rugs
---> Don't plug several appliances into one electrical outlet or power extension cord
---> Don't use appliances and power cords that are frayed
---> Be sure to clean out the lint trap on your dryer after each use and periodically clean the venting tube
---> Store combustible items such as gasoline and kerosine in approved containers and in areas which are not near any heat source or accessible by children
Have An Evacuation Plan
The NFPA states that in the event of a fire, you and your family will have an average of 2 minutes to escape. So creating an evacuation plan for home is critical.
This one step can ensure not only that you make it out of your home within 2 minutes, but that each member of your family, young and old, can make it out alive. Consider these home evacuation strategies:
---> Teach your children what a smoke detector sounds like when it activates
---> Practice checking doors & door knobs before opening them during a fire emergency
---> Create an Emergency Home Evacuation Plan
---. Designate one person to get any infants or disabled relatives out of your home
---> Ensure that every member of your family knows at least 2 ways to get out of your home
---> Practice evacuating your home at least twice a year - making it fun will keep your kids engaged and help them to remember what to do during a stressful situation
---> Ensure every member of the family knows where to meet after an emergency evacuation
---> Teach children to GET LOW & GO
---> Teach everyone in your family how to STOP, DROP & ROLL
---> Establish and emergency communication plan for the family in advance
---> Be sure to call 911 from outside of your home
This may seem like a lot of things to do and remember, but if you use this guide as a "checklist" you'll be well on your way to making your home and family safer.
Should the unthinkable happen and you suffer a loss from a fire, you can reach your neighborhood professionals at SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland at 207-338-1850.
Mold: Hiding Where You Least Expect It
Where Does Mold Hide?
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 man 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 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 Belfast/Camden/Rockland, 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 Belfast/Camden/Rockland at (207) 338-1850 to arrange for a mold inspection today!
SERVPRO is Ready for Storms in Mid Coastal Maine!
SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland specializes in storm and flood damage restoration. Our crews are highly trained and we use specialized equipment to restore your property to its pre-storm condition.
Since we are locally owned and operated, we are able to respond quicker with the right resources, which is extremely important. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces the restoration cost.
Resources to Handle Floods and Storms
When storms hit the Greater Bangor area, we can scale our resources to handle a large storm or flooding disaster. We can access equipment and personnel from a network of over 1,600 Franchises across the country and elite Disaster Recovery Teams that are strategically located throughout the United States.
Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today (207) 338-1850
Flood Preparedness in Maine
Spring is rapidly approaching and to most of us in Maine, "Spring" is synonymous with "Mud Season"...but, it should also be called "Flood Season", as well.
One of the most common natural disasters in Maine is flooding; they most often occur in March and April, when the snow pack is most subject to natural variables, such as rapidly increasing temperatures and heavier rainfall. Realistically, they can occur any time of the year.
Typically, we see flooding in Maine because of heavy rain, hurricanes, tropical storms, quickly melting snow, ice jams, dam breaches and seasonal storms.
Many flood-related deaths and injuries are caused by fast-moving water and in many cases could be avoided. The National Weather Service advises anyone who approaches a flooded area to Turn Around, Don’t Drown.™ As little as six inches of fast-moving water can knock over an adult and only a few feet can carry a vehicle away.
To protect your home or business from flood damage and loss:
- Be aware of hazards that can increase the potential for flooding – including flash flooding.
- Know the flood prone areas in your community - including dam locations.
- Have a family evacuation/communications plan.
- Know where and how to seek shelter in the event of evacuation.
- Check with your insurance agent about flood insurance coverage; most homeowners insurance does not cover floods. Your agent should be able to help you secure insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
- Take steps to “flood proof” your home, such as elevating electronics, appliances and furniture, building a dam of sandbags, unplugging electronics and equipment and varnishing wood doors and floors.
- During the flood stay tuned to radio or TV to get the latest information or monitor a NOAA Weather radio.
- Pay attention to evacuation orders.
- Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams or areas at risk of flooding.
- DO NOT DRIVE ON FLOODED ROADWAYS or cross flowing streams, as the road underneath may be washed out.
- Be cautious when driving at night as it may be more difficult to recognize flood dangers.
Although we can't prevent floods from happening, we can certainly help with the cleanup and restoration after the waters have receded. When in need, contact SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland at (207)338-1850; we're always here to help!
Stay Safe While Keeping Warm This Winter
As any Maine resident would know, our winters tend to be on the colder end of the spectrum. Although this winter has been fairly mild so far, you never know when the next cold snap will strike. Every time we crank the heat, its important to remember the hazards involved.
Unfortunately, heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fires in the United States. During the period of 2009-2013, heating equipment was the cause of 16% of all reported home fires, which is roughly 56,000 fires; these fires led to 470 deaths, 1,490 injuries and $1 billion in property damage. Half of all home fires caused by heating equipment occur in December, January and February.
Here are some easy steps to help prevent heating-related fires from occurring:
- Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
- Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
- Keep an eye on your pets when they're within proximity of all space heaters and open fires, as well.
- Never use your oven to heat your home.
- Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
- Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
- Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
- Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
- Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
- Test smoke alarms at least once a month.
Heating your home is extremely important during the cold winter months, but it's equally as important to do so safely.
Should you suffer fire damage, contact SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland at (207)338-1850! Let us help you make it "Like it never even happened."
Furnace Puff Back: What Is It?
Despite the increasing number of viable alternative heating methods available on the market, a large number of people in Maine and New England still rely on oil furnaces to heat their homes and businesses. Modern heating systems are very reliable and dependable; most issues can be readily addressed by a qualified professional. Unfortunately, the malfunction commonly known as the "puff back" is not so easily dealt with.
A puffback is an explosion inside the burner chamber of the furnace, similar to the backfiring of a car. While there are a number of causes - such as excessive debris or a buildup of oil fumes prior to burner ignition - the resulting explosion can shoot soot and debris through the furnace's exhaust system...and into your home.
This soot is not just a powder-like substance; instead, it is black, sticky and will include a mixture of oil that is difficult to clean. Walls, ceilings, carpets, furniture and curtains are coated with a fine film of soot and smoky streaks. Typically, the damage is worse with a forced-air heating system or central air-conditioning, because the duct work provides a path through the house, even into closets. In addition to the soot, a puff back causes a foul odor to permeate your home. Oil-based soot is extremely difficult to remove and needs to be cleaned as soon as possible.
Fortunately, SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland has the knowledge and experience to take care of difficult problems such as this. Since each puffback 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 home or business, while also treating your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.
In the event of a puffback - or any fire, smoke or water emergency - SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland is just a phone call away.
Call us today at (207)338-1850!
Water Damage: Stop It Before It Starts
Water damage can have many sources, from loose appliance hoses to overflowing toilets and even natural disasters. Regardless of the source, the crew at SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland can handle any size disaster.
Even though most Homeowners insurance policies cover water damage, it can be easier to prevent the damage rather than go through the stress and headache of the mitigation, repair and claims process!
Here are five tips to help prevent water damage in your home or business:
1. Be careful where you plant
Some plants and trees have very invasive roots; while all plants' root systems will grow and extend in search of water, some can be exceedingly tenacious in their hunt for moisture. If you’re not careful, they’ll grow right into your sprinkler system, drainage field, pipes, and septic tanks. Plan before you plant to keep roots away from any water lines.
2. Clean out roof gutters
Even though it's very easy to put this particular chore off for another day, it can be worth it to perform routine cleaning and maintenance on your gutters If you’re seeing lots of leaves, birds’ nests, sticks, and other debris, your gutters are not going to be operating at peak efficiency. On a rainy day or during a Spring thaw, a clogged gutter can send water spilling into your home’s foundation, through the roof, or down to your basement. Simple, routine maintenance can help prevent water from unnecessarily flowing into your home.
3. Keep an eye on your water bill
"Out of sight, out of mind": Most of the water pipes in a home or business are hidden behind walls or underneath floorboards, which means most people don't typically think about them...until there happens to be an issue. Since they tend to be hidden, you might not know there’s a leak until the damage is already done. The best way to monitor the situation is to keep an eye on your monthly water bill. If the bill seems uncommonly high or is trending upward despite your normal usage, it could be a solid indicator of a leak somewhere in your structure.
4. Use a drain snake instead of unclogging chemicals
Regardless of what you do, clogged sink or shower drains are going to happen from time to time. When these problems inevitably crop up, most people typically reach for a chemical drain cleaner. Although these products tend to be very effective and convenient, they are also comprised of caustic chemicals that will also damage your pipes. Regular use of these substances can eventually cause holes to form in your pipes, which obviously leads to leaks.
A good alternative to chemical drain clears is a drain snake. They're easy to use, readily available at any hardware store and are more than capable of taking care of normal clogs. Plus, you won't have to handle dangerous chemicals.
5. Never pour grease down your sink
It is always best to avoid pouring grease down your kitchen sink. Regardless of what you to do to "treat" it - such as flushing it with hot or cold water or using detergent to break up the grease - it can still congeal and cling to your pipes, causing serious damage and blockage over time.
The best course of action is to pour your grease in an empty disposable container and either let it sit; once it hardens, toss it in the trash.
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 Belfast/Camden/Rockland!
Call Us Today – (207) 338-1850
Smoke Odor: Removal Can Be Difficult
Cooktops and ovens account for over 166,000 home fires in the US each and every year. The reasons behind these fires vary and they may not always cause extensive damage to the home, but there are still plenty of related issues.
Although many smaller fires don't result in major damage to the home, they can still create a mess through smoke, ash and fire extinguisher residue. Small fires, especially in the kitchen, can coat an entire room in smoke and ash even if they only burn for a few minutes. As a result, multiple treatment techniques and avenues must be considered and used. SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland has the experience to assess the situation and develop a restoration plan, as well as the equipment and expertise to ensure the odor is properly taken care of.
Even “contained” fires often require a sizable cleanup job. Ash and smoke tend to coat nearby surfaces and common household cleaning supplies typically are not capable of removing this residue. Protein fires – caused by meat that catches fire – can be extremely problematic; the odors from these sorts of fires tend to be especially strong and difficult to remove. Fortunately, SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland has access to effective, specialized cleaning supplies that make short work of visible staining, streaking, and odors caused by cooking-related fires.
Once the visible damage and been cleaned, the scent of smoke can still linger in a room. Unfortunately, odor particles become embedded in ceilings, walls, and objects; it can be extremely difficult for a homeowner to remove the smell. Without the proper tools and equipment, eliminating the smell of smoke is virtually impossible. Just cleaning the carpet is not enough. We will often utilize use a thermal fogging machine to flush out the odors from a room, removing even the deepest smoke smells.
Smoke damage isn’t simply limited to the room; objects and belongings typically suffer fire damage, as well. Carpets, rugs and other fabrics are excellent traps for ash and smoke particles. Important documents, electronics, furniture and other valuables may need restoration, as well.
Should you suffer fire damage this Summer, contact SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland at (207)338-1850! Let us help you make it "Like it never even happened."
Protect Your Pipes: Winterization Tips
Winter may be officially upon us, but it's never really too late to prep your home. Colder temperatures can be extremely damaging to your home if you're not prepared.
Contrary to popular belief, pipes don't typically burst at the point where water freezes, but somewhere between the freeze and a closed faucet. When the pressure builds due to ice blockage, it has nowhere to go but through the pipe walls, which can quickly lead to extensive water damage. Winterize your home plumbing, stop frozen pipes before they happen and prevent expensive water damage by properly insulating the plumbing pipes in your home.
1. Pipe insulation
Your pipes are more susceptible to freezing damage when temperatures drop to 20 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Pipe insulation provides you with a first line of defense against cold temperatures and frozen pipes. For pipe winterization, add a thicker layer of insulation around your pipes.
Insulate the pipes in all unheated areas, as they are most likely to freeze. Wrap the pipes in insulation tubes made of polyethylene or fiberglass. Measure the outside diameter of your pipes to make sure you purchase the correct size of tube. Wrapping pipes in heat-tape prior to insulating adds an extra layer of protection, but make sure you follow the manufacturer's instructions to avoid damage.
2. Keep a dripping faucet
On nights when the temperature is expected to drop below freezing, turn on faucets along the exterior walls to create a small, steady drip; doing so will allow the water to move and flow, helping to keep it from freezing. This also eliminates pressure that can build between the faucet and an ice blockage, so even if a pipe freezes, it may not burst.
3. Open cabinets
You can stop frozen pipes by introducing more heat. Open all sink-based cabinet doors along exterior walls to allow more heat to reach the pipes.
4. Fix exterior cracks
Note any cracks or holes along the outside walls and foundation of your home. Filling holes and cracks with spray foam insulation and caulking can help stop the cold air from coming into contact with your water pipes during extremely cold weather.
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 Belfast/Camden/Rockland! Call us at (207)338-1850 today!