Tips for Staying Healthy as COVID-19 and Flu Season Converge
The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged business owners and homeowners alike to find ways to live and work without exposing themselves or others to this highly contagious virus. Now, the approaching flu season is set to complicate that challenge even further. To help control the threat that the one-two punch of COVID-19 and the seasonal flu presents, SERVPRO of Saginaw / Bay City urges everyone to be extra vigilant about following cleaning and disinfecting protocols this year.
Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) believes both COVID-19 and the seasonal flu spread primarily by droplets made when infected people cough, sneeze, or talk. While not as frequent, it is also believed adults and children can contract COVID-19 or the flu by touching a surface or an object that has virus particles on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. The CDC continues to recommend a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses, but experts also emphasize the importance of cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily to help mitigate the potential spread from contaminated surfaces. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
To limit exposure and control the spread of these double threats, SERVPRO recommends you wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60 percent alcohol, keep your hands away from your face, and wear a mask to protect others. For effective daily, routine cleaning at home or at work, we recommend first removing surface grime and dirt with soap and water, then following up with a disinfectant. It is easier to feel comfortable about limiting exposure at home where you can control how clean your surroundings are. It is more difficult out in public; but this year especially, it is important to be aware of the space you are in. You need to learn to recognize spaces where cleaning is – or is not – a priority so you can adjust your behavior accordingly.
For those home and business owners who have specialized cleaning requirements or who simply want the peace of mind that a professional cleaning service can offer in this stressful time, SERVPRO of Saginaw / Bay City can help. While we remain a leader in disaster cleanup and remediation situations, we also provide that same ‘deeper level of clean’ for everyday residential and commercial cleaning. In addition, SERVPRO offers their "Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned" program, developed for businesses in response to the pandemic. The high level of confidence that a professionally cleaned space provides offers welcome reassurance to patrons as the flu season intersects with COVID-19.
SERVPRO specializes in disaster restoration, cleanup, and repair services, helping to remediate damage, making it “Like it never even happened,” for both commercial and residential customers. For more information on SERVPRO of Saginaw / Bay City please call 989-752-8644. For more information on the "Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned" program, please click here.
Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today!
Each year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) designates September as National Preparedness Month to promote the importance of family and community disaster planning. This year’s theme, “Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today,” resonates strongly as local communities and communities around the world battle the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. For disaster mitigation specialists at SERVPRO® of Saginaw / Bay City, the scope and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on all aspects of everyday life, health, and well-being have magnified the importance of SERVPRO’s ongoing message to the communities it serves: When disaster strikes, preparedness is the best defense.
Before COVID-19 exploded into a global crisis, ‘disaster preparedness’ for the everyday home or business owner was largely dictated by the hazards unique to their location or their business. For some, that meant preparing for hurricanes and water damage, for others, tornadoes, flooding, wind damage, or even wildfires. But COVID-19 taught us that everyone – individuals and business owners alike – needs to be prepared for a national emergency that may disrupt food and medical supplies, transportation systems, schools, businesses, and every single aspect of everyday life that we take for granted. We have learned that no matter where you live or work, in addition to your ‘disaster’ preparations, making certain that you have a stock of some basic items on hand can make a huge difference if a national or global event suddenly disrupts – or even stops – everyday life.
At SERVPRO, we emphasize that everyone still needs to have a disaster preparedness plan in place. FEMA provides easy-to-use disaster planning guidelines at https://www.ready.gov, and home and business owners both can take advantage of free tools like the SERVPRO READY app at https://ready.SERVPRO.com/home/mobileapp. The app stores essential contact and property information electronically where it can be accessed with a mobile device in seconds if disaster strikes. Local business owners can take an additional preparedness step by designating SERVPRO of Saginaw / Bay City as their disaster mitigation and restoration provider. SERVPRO professionals will conduct a no cost assessment of the facility and assist the owner in completing a comprehensive Emergency READY Profile® (ERP) to be stored in the READY app.
COVID-19 has taught us we need to rethink and add to our disaster preparedness toolkits. We are all still struggling with a ‘disaster’ that has disrupted not only our lives and our jobs, but our entire community, our society, and the supply chain that we depend on. While in retrospect, the shortages of some of these items have become the stuff of urban legend, it is a good idea to stockpile a supply of items for which there are no easy substitutes. Toilet paper; yeast and flour for breadmaking; detergents; canned foods, fruits, and vegetables; pet foods and cat litter; fresh dairy items; diapers; and a host of other items were in short supply for weeks at the beginning of the crisis. Think back on those weeks and keep a supply of the things that you just don’t want to do without – along with some shelf-stable dairy items, dried beans, and frozen meals. Use them before they expire but be sure to replace them.
The disaster remediation specialists at SERVPRO of Saginaw / Bay City extend their sincere sympathy to those who have lost loved ones or have been otherwise affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. For the Mid-Michigan area commercial and residential customers, SERVPRO of Saginaw / Bay City continues to specialize in disaster restoration, cleanup, and repair services, helping to remediate damage, making it “Like it never even happened.”
Emergency Fire Damage Process
Fire and smoke damage is especially destructive. In many cases, your property will also suffer from water damage from firefighting efforts. With our emergency fire damage process, we can get your property back to pre-fire condition “Like it never even happened.”
Within one hour from notice of loss, we will contact you to arrange for service. You will know help is on the way!
Within four hours of loss notification, we will be on-site to start mitigation services. The key to reducing damage and saving money is responding quickly to your damage.
A trained, uniformed, and equipped SERVPRO professional will walk you through the job process step-by-step, explaining what to expect and the anticipated outcome.
We will begin pretesting for restorability, working from the source of the damage outward.
Within eight business hours of on-site arrival, a verbal briefing of scope will be communicated to the appropriate person, normally your adjuster or property manager.
Cleaning, Restoration, & Deodorization:
We will work neatly and efficiently to help you regain control of your property when a damaging event has taken over. We use state-of-the-art restoration techniques to ensure your property is taken care of right the first time.
After the work has been completed, a final walk-through will be conducted with you to help ensure your satisfaction.
Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s Corporate Training Facility to regular IICRC industry certifications, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.
Sewage Back Up Tips
Water damage in your home is devastating, especially cleaning up areas of your home after flooding and sewer damage. 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.
If you ever face a sewage backup in your bathroom, there are a few things that are helpful to know to speed proper cleanup and ensure a safe and sanitary home for your family.
Call for Help
If you suspect you have damaged sewer lines, call your sewage company to schedule an inspection. To protect your home from future mold or rot issues after a toilet overflow, call flood damage remediation experts. Only with the help of professional water removal specialists can you rest assured that floodwater has not crept into places you cannot see to wreak havoc.
Dry the Area
Though you may be tempted to sanitize your bathroom immediately after a toilet overflows, you should not do so before you start drying out the affected area. Whether you are dealing with a flooded toilet or an entire flooded basement, the first thing you should do is utilize heavy duty vacuums, drainage systems and fans to remove all the water.
After drying the area, sanitize it as best you can. Floodwater resulting from sewer damage can be toxic, so be thorough in your cleaning processes. Once the area is dry from the first round of sanitizer, you should plan to disinfect it one more time.
The presence of excess water in a bathroom often welcomes lingering humidity, which only encourages mold growth in spaces affected by sewer water. During the process of drying, sanitizing, and restoring, you should be sure that a dehumidifier is always running.
24 Hour Emergency Service
Here at SERVPRO, we are available 24/7 so that when a disaster strikes, we have your back. Sewage backups 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.
At SERVPRO of Saginaw / Bay City, we understand that any type of exposure to biological and chemical contaminants can pose some serious health threats and consequences. In a commercial setting, any type of sewage backup, blood cleanup or even chemical spill can place YOU and all the occupants of the area at risk. Upon recognizing the situation, your primary focus should be safety. If you ever have a biohazard, follow these tips to keep you and everyone in your commercial building safe.
What to Do After a Contamination
- Stay out of affected areas.
- Call emergency service personnel if the situation is life-threatening.
- Treat all bodily fluids as if they are contaminated.
- Turn off the HVAC system if there is sewage damage.
What Not to Do After a Contamination
- Do not leave wet fabrics in place. Hang furs and leather goods.
- Do not leave books, magazines, or other colored items on wet carpet or floors.
- Do not use your household vacuum to remove water.
- Do not use television or other household appliances.
- Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet and keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging.
Whether it is blood, fluids, or tissue, our technicians have the tools and equipment to detect every spot, splatter, or shard. Biohazard cleanups are the hardest cleanup sites we face as industry experts. But rest assured when SERVPRO of Saginaw / Bay City has completed the cleaning, your property will be restored to a safe and healthy environment.
Mold in Your Commercial Building?
Mold just needs two things to grow: water and humidity. It can infest your business in as little as 48 hours and even the tiniest of unchecked leaks can produce an infestation.
If you think you have mold in your building, you may consider the usual suspects. Mold often shows up in damp, humid places such as basements, attics, and bathrooms. You may discover it under sinks and behind appliances. You also cannot forget to check in air ducts. HVAC cleaning is essential to keeping fungal growth at bay. If you neglect this duty, you could soon discover a mold infestation.
What Causes Mold Growth
Mold spores travel in through the air but can make their way into office buildings through doors and windows as well as on people who come inside. Mold becomes visible and spreads when the following conditions are present:
- There is standing water
- There are damp areas in the building
- There is poor airflow
Mold and Your HVAC System
If you smell a foul odor in the air ducts of your office, mold could be the culprit. Not only can this fungus develop where there is water, but it can also collect on dust. It is common for dust to gather in the HVAC ducts. The challenge is, you will not be able to see the mold inside the duct work, so you will have to pay attention to smells and whether the system is not working efficiently.
Here to Help
HVAC cleaning is the most effective way to eliminate mold from your heating and cooling system. Your best move is to hire an experienced mold remediation company to tackle this job. The professionals have the knowledge, training, and tools to remove dust from the ducts and thus get rid of accompanying mold. You should focus on cleaning vents in your building at least once a year, especially if you have had mold in the past.
We are always “here to help," and have the training, equipment, and expertise to take care of your mold problem. Our goal is to get you back to a clean, healthy home and make it "Like it never even happened.”
Prepare for Storms!
Michigan is known for its constant changes in weather, making our homes an easy target for storm damage. Storms can be dangerous weather events that leave destruction to your property as well as cause injuries and occasionally even death. Below is a checklist to make sure your home and family are best prepared for any storms, so that you, your loved ones, and your home can stay safe.
Prepare a storm shelter.
Include essential supplies such as food, water, a first aid kid, flashlights, and batteries to last a few days in the case of a severe storm or tornado.
Clear branches and dead trees around your home.
The high-speed wind of storms can send dead branches or even trees crashing through your windows, siding, and roof. Clearing these objects away from your house is an easy way to make sure they do not cause any damage.
Secure outside objects
The benefits of technology is we have weather apps and stations that give us warning before a storm arrives. If a bad one is coming up, move large outdoor objects inside to prevent damage to your house and those objects.
Document your valuable items.
Take pictures of valuable items that you can use to show insurance later. If they are damaged or lost in the storm, you have better luck with your claim if you have documentation. Include date of purchase and purchase amount if you have that as well. Bonus points for saving receipts!
Protect Your Pets!
When preparing for storms, oftentimes pets are forgotten about. Make sure to have a plan in place for your pets, whether that is in your storm shelter or if that means having them in a separate safe location for when the storm hits.
Whether your home or business is affected by storm, or if it’s flood damage, your property needs specialized equipment and techniques to restore it back to its pre-damaged condition. Our technicians have been specially trained to handle these sorts of unique situations to help get your life back to normal as soon as possible. Storm damage can include not only water damage but mold damage, too. It may seem like a daunting challenge to overcome, but we have the resources and tools to restore your home and make it “Like it never even happened.”
Be Prepared for a Fire!
House fires come when you are least expecting it and can spread quickly throughout your home with little time to escape. That is why it is important to create a fire safety plan for you and your loved ones.
The National Fire Protection Association has very useful tips to help you be prepared if you have a house fire.
Escape Planning Tips:
- Get everyone in your household together to make a plan. Inspect all possible exits and escape routes in your home. If you have children, consider drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, and mark the locations of smoke alarms.
- Install smoke alarms in each bedroom, outside of each bedroom, and on every level of your house.
- When walking through your plan, check to make sure your escape routes are clear, and doors and windows can open easily.
- Choose an outside meeting place that is a safe distance from your home.
- Make sure your street number is clearly visible from the road. If it is not, paint it on the curb or install house numbers to make sure that emergency responder can find your house.
- Have everyone in your household memorize the fire departments phone number.
- If you have infants, older adults, or family members with mobility limitations in your household, make sure that someone is assigned to help them in a drill and the event of an emergency.
- Inform visitors about your fire plan.
- Be prepared for a real fire, once you hear smoke alarms, get out immediately.
- Once you are out of the house, DO NOT go back in.
It is always better to be safe than sorry. It is also important to be prepared in an event of a fire. For more information on how to create your fire plan, visit nfpa.org!
Have you ever plugged in too many devices into one outlet at once? Everything seemed fined and all of a sudden, the power goes off. You more than likely created a circuit overload in your home.
All electrical circuits are designed to handle a certain amount of electricity. When you bring in more electricity than a circuit can handle, a circuit overload will occur, potentially causing a fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association, electrical fires are on of the leading causes of structure fire annually. Which is accounted for nearly 13% of reported home fires and results in 420 fatalities, 1,520 injuries and nearly $1.5 billion in property damage.
How can you prevent a potential house fire by an overloaded circuit? Follow the tips below:
- Never plug more than two devices into an outlet at once.
- Know the amount of power you are putting on an outlet or circuit.
- Large appliances like refrigerators and dryers should be plugged into their own outlet since they are heavy power users.
- If you see that you have been overloading an outlet or circuit in your home, you should consider contacting a professional to help resolve the problem.
If an electrical fire does occur, we are always here to help 24/7. We specialize in fire and water damage restoration, the cornerstone of our business. We have extensive fire damage cleanup and restoration training to get your property back to pre-fire condition.
For more information about how to prevent electrical fires in your home, visit nfpa.org.
Commercial Building Fire? We Can Help!
The Right Equipment
We understand that using professional equipment makes a measurable difference in reducing claims loss expense. When time matters, technology and equipment must be counted on to perform. We will answer your call with fast reaction, exceptional equipment, and trained, uniformed personnel. Certainly, the right tool for the job is vital to timely mitigation and restoration, but perhaps more important, our fire damage professionals are thoroughly trained in fire cleanup and restoration. For instance, knowing the different types of smoke and their behavior patterns are viral to proper restoration.
- Wet Smoke – Plastics and Synthetics; Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary.
- Dry Smoke – Paper and Woods; Fast burning, high temperatures, dry, powdery, no smeary residues.
- Protein – Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
- Fuel Oil Soot – Furnace Puff Backs.
- Other Types – Tear gas, fingerprint powder and fire extinguisher residue.
Pretesting determines the proper cleaning method and allows us to focus on saving your precious items. Isn’t that what really matters?
- Ultra-Low Volume (ULV) Foggers will atomize liquid deodorizing agents, producing a fine mist that easily penetrates sites where odor-causing residues accumulate. The device can also be used to apply fungicides and disinfectants.
- Thermal Foggers dispense solvent-based products in large volume, dense fogs suitable for confined areas. The fog consists of tiny particles of deodorant solution that pair with and neutralize odor-causing particles.
Fire, Smoke, and Soot Restoration Services
- Structural Cleaning – After a smoke or fire damage, ceilings, walls, woodwork, carpeting, and floors will often need a thorough cleaning. We will pretest to determine the extent of products required to clean and protect the different types of soot, we may even be able to reduce the cost of recovery by cleaning lighter soot deposits found on some surfaces, eliminating the expense incurred with repainting or refinishing. In other cases, we will clean to “prepare for painting.” This process deodorizes and ensures the new paint will adhere properly to the surface.
- Contents Cleaning – All of the restorable contents in affected areas will be professionally cleaned and deodorized. This includes area rugs, furniture, draperies, and upholstery. We will begin by carefully inspecting and testing all fabrics in the structure to determine which cleaning methods are most appropriate. We can provide wet or dry-cleaning services. Additionally, all the other restorable contents will be cleaned and deodorized to preloss condition. This includes electronics, art, wood furniture, kitchen items, clothing, bedding, bric-a-brac and must more. Finally, we can provide an inventory list of all “to be claimed” items if requested.
- Deodorization – We provide specialized services that rid your home or place of business of offensive odors left by fire or smoke damage. Our team does not merely cover up lingering odors with a fragrance, they seek out the sources of the odor and remove them.
You have so much invested in your property; trust professionals to protect your most valuable asset!