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Summertime Lightning Safety

7/17/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Summertime Lightning Safety Stay Safe This Summer When Lightning Strikes

We think it’s fair to say that we are deep into Summer here in Maine… and we know what that means… severe weather can pop up in an instant.

On those humid days, nasty thunder and lightning can pound the mid-coast area.

Summertime is short in Maine, so we can’t let lightning storms prevent any of our outdoor activities… but we still need to be safe.

Let’s face it, lightning is one of the most serious weather concerns that people face on a daily basis, it doesn’t necessarily need to be summertime. 

However, most people do not realize the danger that lightning poses--whether they are indoors or outdoors.  If you want to stay safe when lightning may strike, consider the following safety tips.

Thunderstorms and Lighting

It is a little known fact that all thunderstorms produce lightning, even if you don't see any visible lightning flashes.

This is why it is essential to act swiftly whenever any thunderstorms are in the area.

Lightning can even occur when a thunderstorm isn't in the immediate vicinity; in fact, a significant amount of lightning strikes happen away from areas of heavy rain and can strike as far as 10 miles away from any current rainfall.

If you hear thunder, take shelter immediately inside a building or in a hard-topped vehicle.  Do not come back outside until at least 30 minutes after the thunderstorm is completely over.  

Many people are injured or killed because they mistakenly believe it is safe to be outside as soon as the storm has passed.

Injuries & Fatalities From Lightning

In the United States, around 300 people every year are struck by lightning.  Of these 300 people, around 50 of them are killed.

However, fatalities are not the only concern when it comes to lightning strikes: most people struck by lightning suffer lifelong injuries, including serious pain, depression, neurological disabilities, hearing loss and other medical concerns.

These statistics highlight the need to take lightning safety seriously.

What To Do When Thunderstorms Roll In

When you are outside and you hear the sound of thunder--even if you don't see storm clouds or the storm is not yet in your area--is to start thinking about your safety. 

Here are some tips to help: 

  • Take shelter inside a building or a hard-topped vehicle. Tents, covered porches, and sheds cannot protect you from lightning; head inside a building that is fully enclosed.
  • Avoid being in an open area and avoid being the tallest object in an area, which increases your chances of being struck by lightning.
  • Avoid being near any isolated tall objects, such as isolated tall trees, utility poles or towers.
  • Avoid touching or standing by anything metal, such as metal wires or fences; lightning can travel through metal as a conductor and you could be shocked.

Outdoor Lightning Safety Tips

Unfortunately, it is sometimes not always possible to find indoor shelter before a thunderstorm arrives.  In these cases, these outdoor lightning safety tips can reduce your chances of being struck. 

  • Stay low and avoid high elevation, which means hiking down from hills, peaks or mountain ridges; ideally, look for low-lying areas such as valleys and ditches
  • Avoid isolated trees, poles, ladders and other tall objects; standing under trees is the second leading cause of deaths from lightning strike
  • Avoid taking shelter under cliffs or any rocky overhangs, which could be struck by lighting and fall
  • Get out of rivers, lakes, ponds or any bodies of water and get away from them
  • Do not lie down on the ground. This exposes you to ground currents and increases your risk of death or injury
  • If you can, get inside a hard-topped vehicle, this will provide you more protection than being completely exposed outside

Indoor Lightning Safety Tips

The safest place to be during a thunderstorm is indoors.

However, there are still some common sense lightning safety tips you should practice in order to avoid injury. 

Here are some safety tips to consider when you're indoors during a storm. 

  • Do not use or come into contact with plumbing, such as faucets, bathtubs or sinks; this includes taking baths and showers
  • Stay off any corded phones, computers, or any electronic equipment that puts you into direct contact with electricity; this includes laptops and computers that are connected via cables to the internet
  • Avoid being near windows and doors. It’s not safe on the porch, even a covered porch

The '30 minute' rule we mentioned earlier applies indoors as well.  

You should wait at least 30 minutes until the thunderstorm is completely over to use electronic equipment, plumbing, or get near windows and doors.

Lightning Damage

Besides the obvious personal injuries that can happen during these storms, lightning strikes can also cause significant property damage.

Property damage can range from fires to shock-wave damage.  Power surges caused by lightning strikes can fry electronics inside your home or business.

Should your home or business suffer fire damage due to lightning, call your local storm damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland.

Ideally, you will not suffer any effects of the thunderstorms that are certainly going to roll through the mid-coast area.  If you do your best to avoid being caught outside and if you are, by following proven safety precautions… you can have a safe Summer.

Remember, if you need help to recover from the effects of lightning, you can reach us at 207-338-1850.

When Disaster Strikes Use The SERVPRO Advantage

7/10/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO When Disaster Strikes Use The SERVPRO Advantage We Are Faster To Any Disaster

Let’s be honest, when disaster strikes, the last thing you want to be worried about is if you called the right company to help get you back on the road to recovering from your loss. 

So, it only makes sense to call the industry leader in commercial and residential restoration services… SERVPRO.

Throughout the mid-coast of Maine, SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland is proud to be your local professionals.  We have a highly trained staff, a large, modern fleet of vehicles and the latest industry equipment.

All of that might sound a bit like hype, but let’s take a closer look.

SERVPRO The Industry Leader

When the ‘worst case scenario’ happens, you can find comfort in the fact that your decision to call in SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland was the right choice.

Highly Trained Team

During this critical time, you need the most highly trained property restoration team available.  That is exactly what you get when you call us in.

Our staff receives initial training in many areas.  Some of these include fire restoration, water restoration and carpet & upholstery cleaning.

But that is just the tip of the iceberg.  Further training is provided through SERVPRO’s Corporate Training Facility as well as IICRC industry certifications.

Faster To Any Disaster

When emergencies happen, time is of the essence.  It is not overstating to say ‘minutes count.’

While SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland has the backing of over 1,700 franchises across the U.S. and Canada as well as SERVPRO’s Commercial Large Loss Division… it’s the fact that we are local that makes a difference when time is ticking away.

We are based in Belfast and our resources are ready to respond 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.

The Latest Technology & Techniques

As with most areas, there are continual advancements in the technology and techniques utilized throughout the restoration industry.  These industry innovations give SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland a huge advantage.

Some of the equipment we use to follow the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) standards includes infrared cameras, moisture meters, hygrometers, pumps, extraction units, high speed air movers, industrial grade dehumidifiers, air scrubbers and thermal foggers… to mention just a few.

The SERVPRO advantage doesn’t stop there.

Prepare Before Disaster Strikes

Having an emergency preparedness plan can be the reason a business survives a disaster.  We can help you be ready.

Consider completing an Emergency Ready Profile (ERP).

In short, our ERP is comprehensive document critical information to help your business mitigate any interruption during a disaster.  This is a service offered by us to all businesses throughout the mid-coast of Maine for free.  Once it’s complete, you can access all of this information right from your smartphone.

Learn more out our Emergency Ready Profile here.

The SERVPRO Advantage Is At Your Fingertips

While preparation before disaster strikes is always best. 

However, if an emergency comes knocking before your preparations are complete, start your journey to recovery on the right foot.  Choose the best qualified professionals to help.

SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland are your local professionals who have the team, equipment and experience to bring you back to pre-disaster conditions.

You can reach us on Waldo Ave. in Belfast, online or by calling 207-338-1850.

Understanding Hurricane Categories

7/9/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Understanding Hurricane Categories Hurricane Categories

Hey Belfast… here we are, deep into July and things are ‘heating up’ in the tropics.

This post is the latest in our ‘storm series’… in this series we are trying to give you great information about hurricanes so you are ready long before there is one in our mid-coast Maine forecast.

In case you missed it, here are our previous posts in the series.  You can catch up here:

Hey Maine – Hurricane Season is Here

Hurricanes vs Tropical Storms – Know the Difference

Hurricane Storm Watch vs Storm Warning

Hurricane Categories

When you are watching a weather forecast on one of our great local stations and they report about a hurricane coming our way, it’s likely you’ll have two questions on your mind:

How bad is the storm?

What do I need to do to prepare?

To answer these questions we need to understand what our local meteorologists are telling us.

One of the most common tools we have for understanding the hurricane on our weather report is the five category hurricane scale. This is called the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale.

Unsurprisingly, this scale breaks up hurricanes into categories based on wind speed (here measured in miles per hour or mph) and ignores other factors such as rain fall. This scale is used exclusively on hurricanes or tropical cyclones of the Atlantic Ocean.

It is important to note that the Saffir-Simpson scale measures the highest average wind over a one minute span of time. As such, it indicates the higher end of wind speed that you are likely to experience in the hurricane, rather than a true average wind speed.

So what is the breakdown?

Category 1 – Wind Speeds 74 to 95 mph

A storm of this first category is likely to cause minimal damage if your home or property. Blowing around unsecured items and snapping tree branches is probably the lion’s share of the damage to be experienced. However, these winds and the ensuing damage can often result in a loss of power.  So it’s a good idea to have a generator and stock up accordingly.

Category 2 – Wind Speeds 96 to 110 mph

The increased wind speeds in this category will be where you can potentially start seeing increased levels of damage to your home and property. Damage can include significant roofing damage, roads can be blocked by downed trees and branches and power outages are pretty much a certainty. Along our Maine coastline the wind and waves created by the storm are generally strong enough to cause small boats to break from their moorings.

Category 3 – Wind Speeds 111 to 129 mph

It is at this point that hurricanes begin to be described as ‘major hurricanes’. Category 3 storms are likely to result in increased levels of damage to your home and property as well as a loss of power which is probably going to last for an extended period. If you live along the coastline, flood damage is almost a certainty.

Category 4 – Winds Speeds 130 to 156 mph

Category 4 storms have made up some of the deadliest and most dangerous disasters in the United States. Extensive and irreparable damage to your home is very likely.  Entire structures can be completely destroyed during storms of this magnitude. The uprooting of tress, extended loss of power as well as coastal flooding is a given.

Category 5 – Wind Speeds Greater than 157 mph

This category is currently the highest possible rating on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. With a storm of this scale complete devastation of buildings and entire neighborhoods is almost a given. Areas affected by the storm will have no electricity or water for extended periods, perhaps several months or more. Emergency and other infrastructure related services will likely be non-existent, especially in the days immediately following the storm.

Prepare Ahead of the Storm

While understanding the Saffir-Simpson Scale can help you prepare the potential effects of a major storm that may it the mid-coast area, getting your plans in place ahead of time is key.

We can help you begin your storm emergency preparations by completing an Emergency Ready Profile (ERP). We are just a phone call away.  You can reach us at 207-338-1850.

Summertime Fireworks Safety Tips

7/1/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Summertime Fireworks Safety Tips Practice Fireworks Safety

Fireworks… a summertime staple…

Many of our summer events and holidays would just not be the same without being able to enjoy a great fireworks display.

Moreover, many states, including the great state of Maine, purchasing fireworks is legal.  This helps to increase our enjoyment, especially as we include them into our outdoor plans.

But for as much fun as they can give, they are also a potential source of injury or even fatalities.

Estimates are that around 11,000 to 13,000 people are injured due to fireworks every year and an average of 8 people are killed every year due to fireworks related incidents.

These numbers become even more depressing when you realize that about 1/3 of the people injured by fireworks every year are children.  This includes injuries from fireworks such as fire crackers and sparklers. 

Sparklers are commonly enjoyed by adults and children of all ages.  Unfortunately, most parents forget that these sparklers are extremely hot until it’s too late.  Sparklers burn hot enough to cause serious burns to the skin and even ignite clothing.

Fireworks Fire Hazards

As if the injury related statistics weren’t bad enough, fireworks also have a rather obvious track record when it comes to fire hazards.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimates that fireworks are responsible for between 20,000 to 50,000 fires per year, including fires inside the home, inside or around vehicles, as well as outdoors.  

These fires not only destroy property, they cause thousands of injuries as well as at least 2-3 deaths per year.

Fireworks Fire Prevention

The key to preventing fires caused by fireworks is recognizing the fire hazards posed by fireworks and preventing them before they occur.  To that end, here are some safety tips:

Create an Open and Clear Space

Prepare a clear, open space that is away from buildings, trees and anything that might be flammable.  Your open space should have a fire extinguisher and a source of water on hand.  If you are in an area surrounded by foliage or brush, you can reduce the fire risk by watering them with a hose before you begin your fireworks display.

Respect Fireworks Restrictions

Even though fireworks are legal in the state, there may be a ban in your community.  Furthermore, there could be temporary restrictions due to drought or other conditions which make fires more likely.

Dispose of Fireworks Safely

Dispose of any 'duds' and spent fireworks properly.  Duds in particular can become serious fire hazards if they dry out, so dispose of it in a way that mitigates the risk of fire.  A good rule of thumb is to wait 20 minutes after attempting to light it.  Then soak it in a bucket of water for as long as possible.  Finally, double bag the soaked dud and dispose of it.

Wear Eye Protection

Fireworks have the potential to cause eye injuries.  These injuries are not only from the projectile sticking your eye, but the sparks and debris when the go off.  Though wearing safety goggles when using fireworks may seem a bit over the top, you’ll be glad you did. 

Use Fireworks Properly

Be sure to point fireworks away from people, animals, buildings and other objects.

When you’re lighting fireworks pay careful attention to their intended direction of travel.  Ensure that even fireworks that shoot into the air don’t land in areas dense in foliage such as trees, bushes and other vegetation.

Transport Fireworks Safely

It’s a good practice to never carry fireworks shoved in your pocket or purse/bag.  The friction from your pants or purse/bag can cause the fireworks to ignite and cause serious injury.  Carry fireworks in proper boxes or bags in which they were originally purchased from your local retailer.

Practice Fireworks Safety

Fireworks can be fun to see and enjoy if they are used properly.  By using common sense safety practices you can mitigate the risks of fire and serious injuries.

While we hope all of your summertime plans go off without a hitch, if disaster strikes, your friends and neighbors at SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland are here to help. 

Our highly trained staff stands ready to assist you after damage from a fire.

We’re available 24/7at 207-338-1850.

Hurricane Storm Watch vs. Storm Warning

6/25/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Hurricane Storm Watch vs. Storm Warning Know The Difference Between Storm Watch & Storm Warning

Our ‘storm’ series continues…

But, if you missed our previous posts about hurricanes, you can read them here:

Hurricane Season is Here

Hurricane vs Tropical Storm

No matter what part of Maine you live in, you keep an eye to the weather.  For many, this is especially true this time of year.

So as you’re watching the forecast on any of the great local stations, at some point you’re going to hear the terms storm watch and a storm warning.

What do they mean?

More importantly, how should you prepare for each one?

The primary difference between a storm watch and storm warning is that for a storm watch, there is still a chance that the storm will not occur; during a storm warning, the storms arrival is already a surety.

Hurricane Storm Watch

When tracking a hurricane heading toward Maine, a storm watch means that there is a possibility of hurricane conditions developing in our area.  The primary effects of the hurricane likely to be experienced are wind speeds of greater than 74 mph.

It is at this point that you should be making preparations to gather supplies and weatherproof your home and property.

Let SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland help you with your storm preparation by setting up an Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) for you.  It is a free service we offer to all our friends and neighbors throughout the mid-coast area. 

Call us today to find out more.

Keep in mind that while a storm watch brings with it the possibility that our area will not experience any effects from the hurricane, conditions may change.

Hurricane Storm Warning

If a hurricane (or any other major weather event for that matter) is going to affect our area, the forecast will likely be a storm warning.  Storm warnings are typically issued around 36 hours before the storm is due to arrive.

With any luck, your storm preparations are already be complete and only short list of final preparation items are left to complete.  

Keep in mind that based on the trajectory and severity of the hurricane, the total amount of precipitation and winds, you may need to evacuate your home.  So, the sooner you’re prepared the better.

Here To Help

Both warnings should be taken seriously.  Having plans in place in case you need to stay in your home for an extended period or if you need to evacuate can be key to survival.

Should this hurricane season deal a blow to our area, help from SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland is only a phone call away.  Reach us at 207-338-1850.

Hurricanes vs Tropical Storm – Know The Difference

6/18/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Hurricanes vs Tropical Storm – Know The Difference Hurricanes Are Tropical Cyclones

If you’re a lifelong Maine resident, it’s probably a pretty good bet you’ve starred down the barrel of a major storm or two.

When that’s the case, you usually have little care what type of storm it is…

But in this next post in our ‘Storm Series’ that is exactly what we’re going to discuss.

Read our previous 'Storm Series' post about hurricanes here.

What exactly makes a hurricane vs. a tropical storm?

Both are large, spinning storm systems, also called tropical cyclones… both can cause serious damage to your home and property….

Technically, the difference is all in wind speed.

The 3 Types of Tropical Cyclone

Tropical Depression

Tropical storms and hurricanes actually have a lesser known primary stage. This stage is called a tropical depression.

These are smaller storms where wind speed only reaches up to 39 miles per hour, most remaining at some point around 30 mph.

On a weather report a depression will already be showing the characteristic lowered surface pressure and general circular wind pattern of larger cyclones but will be different in that they will not be as organized and show the distinct patterns that we come to expect in hurricanes.

In fact, to an untrained eye most tropical depressions appear most like a cluster of thunderstorms than a spinning cyclone.

This is already enough wind to make it somewhat difficult to drive, taller vehicles with larger side surface area especially might find themselves being blown a bit off course by the wind. While this is not enough wind to uproot most trees you will certainly find that large branches and debris will easily be thrown about in even this smallest type of tropical cyclone.

Tropical Storm

If a tropical depression does not dissipate it can become a tropical storm.

A tropical storm is, in turn is defined when its wind speeds reach between 39 and 73 mph.

Unlike a tropical depression, tropical storms display a much more easily observable spinning pattern and even the beginnings of spiral rain bands. It is at this point that we begin to name our storms.

With tropical storms, although their name does not strike the same panic as that of a hurricane, they can cause significant damage to your home and property just by themselves. These large storm systems carry with them, not just high wind speeds but large amount of rain as well.

Tropical storms can dump as much as 17 inches of rain in just one day, which can result in in significant flooding, mudslides, and causing people to evacuate to higher ground.

Hurricane

Hurricanes are the largest, strongest, and most organized of the Atlantic tropical cyclones with wind speeds that start at 74 mph and have been observed as high as 190 mph (Hurricane Allen in 1980).

They present the iconic, easily recognizable cyclone shape that rotates around the ‘eye’ at the core of the storm. The eye is unique to this largest stage of cyclone, as is the ‘eye wall’ or the area of strong winds and heavy rain that surrounds the relative calm of the eye.

With heavy rainfall that can cause damage still visible a decade later and winds that can rip a house from its foundations, hurricanes have the potential to be some of the most dangerous storms on Earth.

Prepare Ahead of the Storm

Though Maine has been spared from major devastation from hurricanes over recent years, a minor course change in any storm traversing the east coast can change all that. Taking time to prepare now can make the difference in how you fair any devastation.

Your friends and neighbors at SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland are always ready to help you with our free Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) service. This small preparation can put you on the right track with your being prepared for any emergency that may strike.

Our highly trained staff stands ready to help. You can reach us at 207-338-1850.

Hey Maine - Hurricane Season Is Here

6/11/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Hey Maine - Hurricane Season Is Here Prepare Now For Hurricane Season

We know it may be hard to believe… but hurricane season is here.

Honestly, nobody really even wants to think about it… heck you just probably opened your camp for the season… or you finally got your boat in the water.

Not to mention, that Maine has been lucky these last few years when it comes to hurricanes…

But, the truth is, the season is here… the Atlantic hurricane season actually began on June 1st.

Being prepared is half the battle… especially when it comes to recovering from a major storm like a hurricane.

To that end, we are putting together a ‘storm’ series here on our blog to give you all the information you need to help you understand hurricanes and to be ready in case the mid-coast area suffers the effects of a hurricane in the next few months.

So, with that… let’s kick this thing off…

The Anatomy of a Hurricane

If you’ve lived in Maine for any length of time, you’ve heard of hurricanes.  For that matter, you've probably experienced one or two of them first hand.

But what exactly is a hurricane?

A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone that occurs specifically in the Atlantic Ocean. 

Tropical cyclones are a particular type of storm, characterized by their rapid, circular rotation and low-pressure center (known as the “eye of the storm”).  They are also defined by strong, potentially destructive winds greater than 74 miles per hour that in extreme cases can reach up to 200 miles per hour.

We’ve all seen the familiar ‘pinwheel’ traveling up the east coast of the U.S. on our local weather stations. 

Hurricanes are very large storms and often have diameters of over 60 miles, some larger storm have even had diameters upwards of 400 miles across.  At the edges of the circular hurricane wind speeds are at their mildest and may be nearly calm, with the storm becoming stronger and more intense as you approach the center.

The most dangerous part of the storm is known as the “eye wall” which surrounds the center or “eye” of the storm; it is here that wind velocity is at its greatest and the most damage is likely to occur.

By contrast, the “eye” itself is clear as the air will sink and prevent the formation of clouds. This is but a short reprieve before the rest of the storm passes over.

Hurricane Formation

Typically, hurricanes are formed by the evaporation of water, rising from the surface of the ocean.  When this moisture reaches the colder parts of the atmosphere it cools and condenses into large rain clouds.

These clouds moving along the relatively flat surface of the ocean generate static electricity, creating thunder and lightning, and begin to rotate based on their hemispheric location.

In the Norther Hemisphere hurricanes rotate counter clockwise and in the Southern Hemisphere they rotate clockwise. This is called the Coriolis Effect … and no… it does not affect the direction your toilet flushes… no matter what your schoolyard friends told you as a kid.

Hurricanes are a type of tropical storm and as such are generally only found in tropical areas of the Western Atlantic such as the Caribbean and the Southern United States. Tropical cyclones, as a more general term, can be found in any tropical area around the world.

Hurricanes require the warm water found in tropical areas to exist, so as they move over land and cooler water hurricanes tend to lose strength.

So, often lower category hurricanes that reach as far north as New England will often began to dissipate as the storm travels over land and the cooler North Atlantic waters nearest us. 

Hurricane Classifications

Hurricanes are also rated on a five category scale called the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.  This scale only takes into account wind velocity.  

The scale breaks down as follows: 

  • Category 1 will have winds ranging from 74 to 95 mph
  • Category 2 will have winds ranging from 96 to 110 mph
  • Category 3 will have winds ranging from 111 to 130 mph
  • Category 4 will have winds ranging from 131 to 155 mph
  • Category 5 will be anything with winds greater than 155 mph

We will discuss more about the classification of hurricanes later in this series.

Damaging Effects of Hurricanes

Because of the high winds and heavy rainfall associated with hurricanes, they can be very dangerous to both yourself and your property.  Trees may be damaged or even be uprooted, any objects can become projectiles as winds increase and heavy rainfall can result in overfull rivers and flooding.

In certain circumstances with particularly severe hurricanes, those living in the path of a hurricane may be told to evacuate for their own safety and designated shelters are created.

We will discuss more about the effects experienced by hurricanes later on in this series.

Preparation Steps You Can Start Today

Given the destruction hurricanes can cause, taking precautions during hurricane season to protect yourself, your family, your home and business from injury and damage is a step in the right direction.

While we will discuss safety tips in greater detail later in this series, one thing you can do now is reaching out to your local restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland and let us set up an Emergency Ready Profile (ERP).

The ERP is a free service we offer to Belfast, Camden, Rockland and surrounding areas to help you, our friends and neighbors, have critical information at your fingertips during an emergency.

You can get more hurricane information the Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).

You can reach us at 207-338-1850.

Belfast 10 Safety Tips To Keep The Fire Inside The Grill

6/3/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Belfast 10 Safety Tips To Keep The Fire Inside The Grill Keep The Flames Inside Your Grill

We’ve all seen the videos on YouTube… some guy trying to fire up the grill and all of a sudden… POOF… no more eyebrows…

Even though laughs may have ensued because of that guy’s likely stupidity with his technique for lighting the grill, FEMA estimates that this initial step in the process is the leading category of grilling related fires.

While that may be an interested statistic, FEMA also estimates that every year when the grills get fired up at homes across the U.S., 10 people die, 100 people get injured and over $37 million in property is damaged. 

Oh, by the way, FEMA also estimates that the majority of this mayhem happens between 5-8 pm in the months of May, June, July and August.

These estimates are low compared to those from the NFPA

Read the NFPA Grill Fires Report here.

This is crazy… all anybody really wants is something delicious off the grill right?

Grilling Safety

Chowing down on delicious food cooked on the grill is an important part of most outdoor plans.  It doesn’t matter if it’s an afternoon spent with family and friends in the back yard, a day at the park or even the beach… enjoying food on the grill makes the day complete.

Following some simple safety tips can keep this a part of your perfect outdoor plans.  

Here are 10 tips to keep you and your home safe while you prepare your favorite food on the grill:

1. Keep Grills Off Patios & Away From Structures

It seems like a no-brainer, but FEMA estimates that 32% of all grilling related fires are on patios, terraces and screened-in porches.  Another 24% are on exterior balconies and unenclosed porches. 

So, start the grilling season off on the right foot, keep your grill off and out of these structures.

When deciding on the location for your grill, keep a lookout for anything nearby that could catch fire if exposed to flame or extreme heat, such as hanging tree branches or bushes.

A general rule of thumb, you'll want about 15 feet of clearance space around the grill.

2. Grill On A Level Surface

Many grill fires occur because the grill gets knocked over, which is usually a result of an unstable surface underneath the grill.  By setting your grill up on a level surface, you make your grill is as stable as possible, mitigating the risk of tipping over.

3. Always Remove Grease Build Up

It can be tempting, especially during a lazy summer, to put off cleaning your grill. But the grease and fat that build up on your grill can pose a serious fire hazard when it's left unchecked. 

Oh, remember those videos we talked about… excess grease can help increase the risk of becoming one of those.

So routinely remove build up by cleaning out your grill tray before you start it up for another round of outdoor cooking.

4. Wait To Relight The Grill

We’ve all had it happen… for one reason or another, the flame on the grill goes out.  This can create a hazardous situation and you may want to consider a precaution before relighting.

Wait at least 5 minutes to turn the grill back on and relight the flame.  This gives ample time for any remaining propane to clear the lighting area.

5. Keep People & Pets Away From The Grill

It can be hard to keep everyone away from the grill at a busy backyard BBQ, but keeping the kids and pets away from the hot grill is the best way to avoid injuries.  

Obviously a hot grill can cause serious burns.  Needless to say, as bad as that is it can be compounded by a fire if the grill happens to get knocked over.

Though most of us don’t usually give it a second thought, a grill remains hot for at least an hour after use, so it’s a good idea to keep the children and pets from playing around the grill even when the food is done cooking.

6. Keep Your Clothes Short & Simple

Sometimes what you’re wearing can be the last thing on your mind when you cooking, no matter if it’s on the grill or in the kitchen. 

It’s a good idea to avoid wearing anything that might dangle over the flames like long sleeves and apron strings. 

7. Clean The Tubes

One of the most overlooked aspects of cleaning your grill is the tubes which feed your grill burners.  It is very easy for grease and debris to build-up in these tubes, which can cause a fire when it becomes blocked enough.

8. Open Your Grill Lid When Lighting

It’s a good practice to have the lid of your grill open before you turn on any gas source and attempt to light it up.

Obviously with the lid closed the gas will build up inside the grill and once you light the grill, it can cause a fireball effect that could seriously injure you.

9. Never Leave A Grill Unattended

Fires and flare-ups can happen in seconds.  So leaving a grill unattended is a recipe for disaster. 

If you have to leave for a minute, have someone who knows what they’re doing (and can handle situations if they happen) take over while you get a break.

10. Have A Fire Extinguisher

Sometimes a fire will happen no matter how safe you are.  Having a fire extinguisher nearby when you’re grilling can save you precious seconds if a fire does start.

When selecting a fire extinguisher ensure it can be used on fires that include grease.  Just check the label on the extinguisher.

Should An Accident Happen

Grilling is a great way to enjoy the summer, but keeping you, your family and your home safe makes it even more so.  Practicing these essential safety tips will help keep your grilling moving in the right direction… from the grill to the plate.

However, should the unforeseen happen, SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland can help you recover from a fire. 

Want to understand the process of fire and soot removal? 

Check out our video outlining the process here.

We are available 24/7 and we’re only a phone call away.  You can reach us at 207-338-1850.

Helping Your Restaurant With Restoration After Water Damage

5/24/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial Helping Your Restaurant With Restoration After Water Damage Don't Lose Your Restaurant To Water

It doesn’t matter where in Maine your restaurant is located… with Memorial Day just around the corner, the unofficial start to summer has arrived in the mid-coast region.

There is undoubtedly a hustle and bustle to get everything ready for the tourist season. 

After a restaurant has been closed for months, unfortunate things can happen during your prep for the upcoming season.

A burst water pipe can create quite a mess very quickly.  Along with the excessive amounts of water come other unwelcome challenges such as unsanitary conditions as well as damage to documents, equipment and more.

Every emergency that involves water can be very complex.  Numerous related issues can arise and these issues require an immediate response and a knowledgeable approach.

Damage Happens Quickly

When you have water filling the floors, hallways and dining areas of your restaurant, getting it to stop is priority number 1.  After that, getting the excess water out is the next order of business. 

Unfortunately, nearly 50% of all business that suffer an emergency like this will never re-open.

So stopping the long term damage that can be caused by this type of event is clearly as important as dealing with the initial onslaught.

Moments Matter

Calling your mid-coast restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland is a step in the right direction for your restaurant.

Water damage doesn’t happen during normal business hours, so we answer our phones 24 hours per day, 7 days per week

Our team is trained and armed with the latest equipment and technology to get the water out and get your restaurant back to pre-damage conditions quickly.  We understand that every hour your restaurant is closed is an hour of lost revenue and potential customers that may never return to your business.

Prepare For Emergencies Before They Happen

Believe it or not, there is a way we can actually be more efficient when an emergency arises in your business…

If you contact us, we can complete an Emergency Ready Profile (ERP).  This is a comprehensive document which contains vital information about your business that can make a difference during an emergency.

Learn more about getting an ERP here.

SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland is Ready

A quick response to a water related emergency cannot be overstated.  You will need help from your local professionals at SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland.

Make us part of your emergency preparedness plans by calling us to set up an ERP.

If an emergency does arise, you can reach us, anytime of the day at 207-338-1850.

Memorial Day in Mid-Coast Maine

5/22/2019 (Permalink)

Community Memorial Day in Mid-Coast Maine Take Time To Remember The Nations Fallen

Memorial Day is right around the corner.  It is a time for remembering those heroes who have lost their life in the service of our country.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland hope you have an enjoyable and safe holiday; and we ask you to take time to remember this nations fallen.

There are many ways to celebrate and remember… so, we put together a breakdown of festivities throughout Belfast, Camden, Rockland and surrounding areas.

The following parades are taking place throughout our area on Memorial Day, May 27, 2019 (listed in order of parade start)

Searsmont – Parade 9 am 

  • Participants should gather at 8 a.m. at the community center
  • Parade Route - beginning at Appleton Ridge Road/Community Center on Route 131, proceeding to the bridge and then a wreath laying at the memorial at New England Road with a flag-raising ceremony. The parade then will continue through the town along Route 131 to the post office.

Searsport – Parade 9 am 

  • Parade Route - leaves Dan Rich Public Safety Building and proceeds to the Civil War Monument across from Penobscot Marine Museum. After a brief ceremony, the parade will proceed to Mosman Park for a memorial ceremony.

Camden – Parade 9:30 am 

  • Participants should gather at 8 am. - Color guard formation, American Legion Hall, 91 Pearl St.
  • Wreath Ceremony - 9 am. at the harbor with honor guard rifle salute, Camden Hills Regional High School band plays taps and Navy hymn
  • All veterans are welcome to walk during the parade.
  • Parade Route - Participants line up at Seventh Day Adventist Church on Camden Street), travel north on Route 1 with stops for taps at the Conway Monument, Village Green and Harbor Park, and then continue to Mt. View Cemetery for a brief ceremony.
  • Concert - 5 pm - Down East Singers' annual Memorial Day concert, Camden Opera House, 29 Elm St.

Belfast – Parade 10 am 

  • Participants should gather at 8 am. at the VFW Post 3108, American Legion Post 43
  • AMVETS Post 6829 will hold a short service at the World War II memorial located beside the American Legion, then go to the VFW and hold another short service for the memorial located there.
  • Parade Route - down Main Street to the waterfront for a final service, stopping at Grove Cemetery along the way.

Rockland – Parade 10:30 am 

  • Participants should gather at 9:30 am. at Boston Financial
  • All veterans, children on decorated bicycles and musicians are invited to join the parade.
  • Parade participants include Master of Ceremonies Walker Hutchins, Marshal Rev. Linda Campbell, Maine State Police, Knox County Sheriff's Office, U.S. Coast Guard Color Guard, members of the U.S. Marine Corp, American Legion and Veterans of the Armed Services, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and the Bay Winds North Wind Ensemble.
  • A fly over by the Owls Head Transportation Museum is slated to occur during the parade.
  • Parade Route - from Boston Financial parking lot, travel along Main Street stopping at Chapman Park for the ceremony and continuing to the intersection of routes 1 and 17.

Rockport – Parade 11 am 

  • Parade Route - from the post office in the village to Amesbury Cemetery, Pleasant Street.

If the need arises, SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland is only a phone call away on Memorial Day.