Tips for Teaching Children About Disasters

 

 

Disasters are scary—for both children and adults. But teaching children about natural disasters when they’re young helps them recognize what’s happening and how they should respond when one occurs. Knowing what to do during a disaster could not only save a child’s life but having accurate information can also lessen their fear and help them to avoid panicking during the event. The following are a few tips from Chicago’s ServiceMaster By Simons for talking to your little ones about disasters:

Explain Why. For example, you can say “Today, we’re going to talk about emergencies so we can get ready and practice. Then, if an emergency happens, we know what to do to stay safe.” Repeat this theme of safety and security through the discussion, staying positive and keeping it age-appropriate. Doing so will give them a better grasp of the situation and allow them to process the information, leading to deeper comprehension and a higher retention level.

Be Honest. Disasters are dangerous and people can die, but don’t focus on death or destruction. Don’t go into details or explicit examples that can confuse or upset your child. You want to provide accurate information but use tact. Don’t sugarcoat it or scare them to death either.

Listen. Before starting any discussion, ask what they know and understand about different disasters. That way you can build on what they understand while dispelling any inaccurate beliefs. Listen carefully to their thoughts and answers. Let them express their feelings in an atmosphere where they feel safe and secure.

Be Reassuring. Tell your children that disasters can be scary and it’s okay to feel afraid. Let them know the reason you’re talking to them about disasters is so that they’ll know what to do in the event of one happening and it’ll be less frightening. Reassure them that during an emergency, many caring adults including parents, teachers, and other caregivers will be working to keep them safe.

Limit Graphic Images. When showing images of different types of disasters, avoid using graphic pictures or videos showing destruction or people getting hurt. For younger kids, use animated images that may be less scary. During or following a disaster or emergency, the media is usually saturated with pictures and videos of the event, along with disturbing sounds. So limit your children’s exposure to the TV and internet. The media rehashing of the event can scare or confuse them as it can seem like the disaster is happening over and over again.

Focus on the Learning. Children are curious and love to learn new things through play, activities, and reading. Instead of focusing on the destructive nature of disasters, teach your children what disasters are from an educational, exploratory perspective. Find ways to make it fun, like crawling on the ground to practice your fire escape. The internet also has many free resources and games for children to learn about disasters and how to prepare for them. Here are a few of them:

 

  • On the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) site, the game, Play and Learn to Stop Disasters!
  • The American Red Cross has videos and activities: Coping with Disasters: Free Resources for Kids.
  • gov, an official website of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has games that will test kids’ know-how in a wide range of emergencies and teach them how to build an emergency kit.
  • The National Fire Protection Association website has Sparky the Fire Dog videos, games, and activities to teach kids about fire safety.

 

Recognize Helpers. When disasters strike, let your little ones know that many helpers will appear—first responders, firefighters, police, and emergency medical technicians who will work to keep them safe. Help them get familiar with their uniforms so they can easily identify helpers.

Say “I Don’t Know”. Children may ask questions you might not know the answers to. Don’t make up an answer. It’s okay to say that you don’t know and then tell them you’ll find an answer for them. And don’t forget! Your children certainly won’t.

If you do experience a disaster that affects your Chicagoland home, ServiceMaster By Simons will do all we can to alleviate your child’s worries. We can help explain to them how we’ll do our best to return their home to normal. And if some of their cherished possessions were harmed due to water damage or fire damage, or another disaster, we have the know-how to save much of it, helping to return peace of mind to your child.

 

About Us: ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a SB100 Best of Small Business Award Winner 2021, Bronze Stevie® Award in the Female Entrepreneur of the Year category in the 18th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business, recipient of the 2020 Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-839-5542 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com or info@servicemaster-rbs.com

 

The 4 Elements of Fire and Ways to Snuff it Out

When you see a fire raging, it seems like it’s an almost uncontrollable force, consuming all that gets in its way and inflicting fire damage on every item it touches. And the bigger it gets, the more difficult it is to manage. But every fire does have its Achilles’ heel.

Enter the fire tetrahedron. This triangular pyramid represents the four equal components that every fire must include. Without just one, a fire falls apart. Knowing this can help you kill a fire before it gets out of control and causes fire damage to your Chicago area property, necessitating a call to ServiceMaster By Simons for assistance.

 

The 4 Things Fire Needs to Exist

  1. Fuel.  A fire must have something to feed on, to consume. Just like living things, it has to have something to eat to survive. The fuel can be anything flammable such as paper, wood, fabric, chemicals, or combustible materials.

 

  1. Heat. A heat source is needed for the initial ignition of fire and to maintain a fire and enable it to spread. Heat allows a fire to spread by drying out and preheating nearby fuel and warming the surrounding air. Some objects’ flashpoints are lower than others, so they combust more easily, resulting in massive fire damage.

 

  1. Oxygen. Air contains about 21 percent oxygen, and most fires require at least 16 percent oxygen content to burn. Oxygen supports the chemical processes that occur during a fire. When fuel burns, it reacts with oxygen from the surrounding air, releasing heat and generating combustion products (gases, smoke, embers, etc.). This process is known as oxidation.

 

  1. Chemical Chain Reaction. While the three components above are still needed, an actual chemical reaction must take place for a fire to ignite. Once a fire has started, the resulting exothermic chain reaction sustains the fire and allows it to continue until at least one of the elements of the fire is blocked

 

The 4 Ways to Stop a Fire

  1. Cool it. If a fuel source can be cooled by, say, pouring water on it, a fire can’t continue because you’ve removed some of the heat energy. Water simultaneously cools and suffocates the fire. It cools it so much that it can’t burn anymore, and it smothers it so that it can’t burn any more of the oxygen in the air. But never use water on grease or electrical fires! Those need the correct fire extinguisher.

 

  1. Smother it. If the oxygen supply to a fire can be sufficiently decreased, burning will cease. By preventing fresh air from reaching a fire, you reduce the oxygen content in a confined atmosphere until it extinguishes itself. Some examples of this are:

 

  • smothering a pan fire with a lid
  • wrapping a person in a fire blanket
  • applying a blanket of foam over a burning surface, thus separating the fuel from the air

 

  1. Starve it. Sometimes, a fire can be extinguished simply by removing the fuel source. Ways this may be achieved are by:

 

  • stopping the flow of liquid or gaseous fuel
  • removing solid fuel from the path of a fire
  • allowing a fire to burn until all fuel is consumed

 

  1. Interrupt the chain reaction. There are certain compounds that, when introduced into a fire’s atmosphere, disturb the chemical chain reaction, causing a fire to delay and ultimately stop. Dry powder, Bromochlorodifluoromethane (BCF), and other halon extinguishers do the trick.

 

If the fire tetrahedron ends up being the cause of fire damage to your Chicago area home or business, we’re ready 24/7 to help you recover. Contact ServiceMaster By Simons anytime for fast, thorough cleanup and recovery of any fire damage.

 

 

About Us: ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a SB100 Best of Small Business Award Winner 2021, Bronze Stevie® Award in the Female Entrepreneur of the Year category in the 18th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business, recipient of the 2020 Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-839-5542 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com or info@servicemaster-rbs.com

 

The Dos and Don’ts of Fire Damage Cleanup

Residential Fire Damage Restoration - Smoke & Odor removal - content cleaning - restoration laundry and dry cleaning - Chicago il - servicemaster restoration simons

Experiencing a fire in your Chicagoland home or business can be overwhelming, to say the least. But it’s vital that fire damage cleanup and the restoration process is begun as quickly as possible to get your life back to normal.

But do not attempt to do this on your own! You’ll need to rely on fire damage experts to handle the situation. There are specific steps the professionals know and will follow to restore your Chicago area property and contents to their pre-loss condition.

Because of the seriousness of these situations, here is a list of dos and don’ts when it comes to fire damage restoration and smoke cleanup:

Do

  • Make safety the priority. Even if the situation looks safe and clear to you, don’t enter a burned structure until a professional has informed you it’s safe to do so. Not only may the building be unstable, but fires can start again — even after they seem to be extinguished.
  • Document, document, document. Take photos of the fire damage, save receipts, take notes of conversations and keep all email correspondence. These actions help when dealing with your insurance company.
  • Call your insurance agent to initiate a fire damage assessment.
  • Call your Chicago restoration company, ServiceMaster By Simons, to help with fire damage cleanup and repair.
  • Limit movements inside the structure to keep soot particles from spreading.
  • Change furnace filters.
  • Cover dry furniture and upholstery with sheets until they are assessed or until they are cleaned.
  • Weather permitting, open windows and doors for ventilation.
  • Remove clothing and soft contents from the property and have it cleaned by ServiceMaster By Simons professional fire damage restoration cleaners, not just a dry cleaner.
  • Throw away all food and drink left after the fire.

Don’t

  • Enter a building before the fire department gives you the green light, even if it looks safe.
  • Start cleaning residue from walls, ceilings, and other surfaces. Everything needs to be assessed by your insurer first.
  • Walk on carpets or touch furnishings impacted by smoke residues or debris until they’re professionally cleaned.
  • Eat food, including canned goods, that were exposed to heat or fire.
  • Turn on utilities until professionally checked.
  • Turn on, clean, or use any electronic equipment until professionally checked.

Smoke and soot residue left behind after fire damage can cause severe health problems if not handled correctly. Only trained experts with professional equipment that understand the complicated chemical interactions involved with soot and fire can ensure your fire damage restoration is done safely and thoroughly.

The best thing to do is get in touch with ServiceMaster By Simons as soon as possible. We will assess your Chicagoland property and come up with a fire damage cleanup plan that includes:

  • Securing your property to prevent further damage
  • Removing damaged and unsalvageable items
  • Cleaning, sanitizing, and deodorizing of your property and belongings
  • Repairing or replacing all fire and smoke damaged areas of the structure

Our main goal at ServiceMaster By Simons is to restore your fire-damaged property and return it to its pre-loss condition or better. As a locally owned and operated company, providing the best possible customer service is our business.

 

About Us: ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a SB100 Best of Small Business Award Winner 2021, Bronze Stevie® Award in the Female Entrepreneur of the Year category in the 18th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business, recipient of the 2020 Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-839-5542 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com or info@servicemaster-rbs.com

 

Preventing Serious Illnesses After a Chicagoland Disaster

When it comes to disasters, many articles advise you on how to take preventative safety steps to either avoid them or ways to deal with them. But once a disaster is ended, some dangers still exist. They include numerous ways you could become ill due to the aftereffects of a catastrophe to your Chicagoland home and/or neighborhood.

The following are some disaster-related factors you need to know about to keep yourself safe from illness:

 

Animal and Insect-Related Threats

Stray animals and insects often seek shelter in places they normally don’t during natural disasters, especially after a flooding event. This can bring wildlife and people closer together and increase the risk of animals spreading diseases like leptospirosis and rabies. Never interact with stray or wild animals to avoid catching their illnesses and getting bitten.

If you come across a dead or sick stray animal, don’t try to capture or care for it on your own. Call the local authorities to handle the situation.

 

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a dangerous gas that may cause serious illness and even death if breathed in. CO is impossible to detect without proper equipment as it’s colorless and odorless. So be sure you install a CO detector because natural disasters sometimes rupture gas lines on your property, releasing carbon monoxide.

If you even suspect your gas lines have been disrupted, don’t use a gas oven or furnace because they could add more carbon dioxide to the air. Don’t use generators, grills, propane, gasoline, or gas-burning devices inside or near your home. If you want to cook food or adjust the thermostat, don’t risk it. Instead, evacuate your home and look to family, friends, or a community shelter for help.

 

Flood Borne Diseases

Floodwaters carry with them a host of dangers. One of them is bacterial contamination. Many floods cause sewer overflows, releasing dangerous chemical waste and harmful microbes. These can make you very ill, especially if you swallow any of it, or if it comes in contact with your eyes, nose, or open sores.

Leave flood damage cleanup to the professionals. If you’re forced to have physical contact with floodwaters, wear protective clothing, and where your skin or clothing touches the water, wash as soon as possible.

 

Food and Drinking Water Dangers

During a disaster, electricity and water lines may be disrupted and tap water can become tainted. Be wary of food and water after a fire or flood because some of it might no longer be safe for consumption. Lack of electricity can spoil food and water can be contaminated with microorganisms, chemicals, and sewage waste, which makes it unsafe for drinking, cooking, and bathing.

Once a disaster passes, only consume food and water from a trusted source. Listen for public announcements to find out when it’s safe to use the local water supply. Meanwhile, use bottled water or boil water to disinfect it. Follow the link below to see directions and exceptions to disinfecting your water.

 

Take Extra Precautions to Keep Yourself Healthy

Illnesses and diseases can quickly spread after a disaster. Be sure to wash your hands often. Use disinfectant wipes or soap and warm, clean water to eliminate the germs off your hands. Disinfect your water source by boiling it or mixing in bleach and allowing it to sit for half an hour. If you don’t have access to clean water so you can wash your hands, use a hand sanitizer if available.

 

Contact Us and Worry Less

A disaster is already difficult to deal with without also worrying about the aftermath and its effects. Call ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons to properly clean and restore your Chicago area property so you can concentrate on the health and safety of you and your family. We’ll work conscientiously to return your property to its original condition as soon as possible.

 

About Us: ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a SB100 Best of Small Business Award Winner 2021, Bronze Stevie® Award in the Female Entrepreneur of the Year category in the 18th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business, recipient of the 2020 Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-839-5542 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com or info@servicemaster-rbs.com

 

Don’t Become a Victim of Assault by Battery

At times, the most innocent of actions can have dire consequences. For instance, pouring kitchen grease down your drain can cause your pipes to clog and lead to water damage. And you know that 9-volt battery you tossed into your junk drawer to one day use in your smoke detector? Well, it can become the cause of smoke – and fire!

While AAA, AA, D, and C batteries have their positive and negative posts positioned at opposite ends, 9-volt battery posts are set next to each other. When both posts touch metal that may be in your junk drawer (such as paper clips, steel wool, aluminum foil, nails, scissors, etc.), it can cause that metal to heat up. If that metal is touching a combustible source like paper or steel wool, it can start a fire. (Watch video)

Although these fires don’t happen every day, fires caused by loose 9-volt batteries have been reported countrywide, from New Hampshire to Kansas and Colorado. This problem has caused some homeowners to launch public awareness campaigns about it. (While we’re at it, this is a good time to remind you to always have fully-charged fire extinguishers in your home and business.)

How to Protect Yourself From This Danger

To help allay your fears, a study conducted by the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) concluded that fires started by batteries did not make the “Most Common Causes of House Fires” list. But ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons thinks that even one fire is too many. So, practicing fire prevention is important to ensure this situation doesn’t happen to you.

To keep your property safe, the NFPA has set these guidelines for safely storing 9-volt batteries:

  • Don’t store them loosely in a drawer or container with metal objects or other batteries.
  • Keep them in their original package until ready for use.
  • If the original package is gone, cover both positive and negative posts with electrical or another non-conductive tape.
  • Don’t put batteries in your pocket along with keys, loose change, or other metal objects.
  • Keep 9-volt batteries stored standing up in a safe place where they won’t be knocked around.

How to Safely Dispose of Household Batteries

Single-use, non-chargeable batteries made before 1996 contained mercury and were considered hazardous waste. But now they’re constructed with common metals that the federal government deems non-hazardous and can be thrown away with your regular garbage – except in California, where it’s illegal to throw in your trash any type of battery. (Tip: Reduce your need for disposing of single-use batteries by purchasing rechargeable batteries instead. These can be used more than 1,000 times and recycled.)

But the exceptions are lithium-ion batteries, button cell batteries (found in items like watches and hearing aids), and any rechargeable batteries. All contain hazardous metals. These types of batteries need to be recycled.

It is important not to place lithium-ion batteries in curbside recycling carts as recycling facilities and truck fires have been reported due to batteries being damaged during sorting or when heavy equipment crushed them. To help prevent battery fires and improve workers’ safety, Illinois Governor Pritzker signed a law that prohibits residents and businesses from placing rechargeable or lead-acid batteries into recycling carts beginning January 1, 2020.

Here’s how you can recycle lithium-ion, button, and rechargeable batteries:

  • Call your Cook County municipal household hazardous waste program on how to recycle these batteries correctly.
  • Search the Chicagoland area for recycling centers that accept single-use batteries using Earth911’s Recycling Search.
  • Find a mail-in recycling program that accepts batteries. Most of these programs will sell you a container to store used batteries that can be mailed when filled.

If your Chicagoland property has been affected by smoke or fire from any source, ServiceMaster By Simons can assist you by handling your property and contents restoration. We work with our customers as a team to guarantee your property will be returned to its pre-loss condition as quickly and efficiently as possible.

 

About Us: ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a Bronze Stevie® Award in the Female Entrepreneur of the Year category in the 18th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business, recipient of the 2020 Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-839-5542 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com or info@servicemaster-rbs.com

 

How to Prevent Puff Backs From Your Fireplace

A frosty Chicago winter evening spent next to a roaring fireplace can be very enjoyable. But that occasion can become a disaster if your fireplace begins spewing smoke into your home’s interior. When that occurs, it may be the result of a puff back. This could occur only once per season or it may happen every time you start a fire.

The results of puff backs are terrible. The smoke can damage all surfaces it touches. A foul odor permeates the environment while the air becomes dangerously contaminated with carcinogens and carbon monoxide. Additionally, smoke particles lodge in curtains, clothing and carpeting.

The good news is that fireplace back puffs are preventable. But what causes them?

Back Puff Causes and Cures

 

Cause: Creosote buildup

Creosote is a byproduct of fireplace smoke. It builds up inside a fireplace flue every time the fireplace is lit, growing thicker and thicker. The creosote causes your chimney to generate more smoke then can be exhausted, allowing the smoke to travel the path of least resistance – back into your home.

Cure: Hire a chimney sweep

A CSIA-certified chimney sweep can inspect and identify creosote accumulation. If it’s a problem, you’ll need to have your chimney swept, which will remove creosote buildup and restore your chimney to its peak working condition.

 

Cause: Lack of air supply

While a well-insulated home is more energy efficient, a tightly-sealed home could actually “suffocate” your stove or fireplace, resulting in negative air pressure inside. This could cause the fireplace to release smoke into your home. Fire needs oxygen to burn and a tightly sealed home will limit the flow of air into the fireplace.

Cure: Introduce air flow

Before lighting your next fire, simply open a window. Back puffing should discontinue if the issue was caused by an inadequate air supply.

 

Problem: Obstructions

If your chimney is blocked, it’ll restrict airflow and smoke will build up in the flue until it’s exhausted through your fireplace or stove. Bird and wasp nests built inside a chimney can restrict its airflow, along with balls and tree branches.

Cure: Clean the chimney

The National Fire Protection Association recommends that you have your chimney, fireplace, and vents inspected and cleaned annually, regardless of whether back puffs occur or not.

 

Problem: Unsuitable firewood

You may be trying to burn wet wood which can produce more smoke than usual. To burn efficiently, the fire needs to first burn off any excess moisture within the wood. The higher the moisture content of the wood, the harder it’ll be to burn.

Cure: Use seasoned wood

Wood needs to be dry to burn efficiently. Wood that’s freshly cut is high in moisture content, which is why wood needs to be dried out (known as seasoning) for 12 to 18 months before it’s ready to be used on a fire without causing smoke issues.

 

Sometimes, a badly built fireplace can cause smoke problems. All aspects of a fireplace, such as its opening size, smoke chamber, smoke shelf, damper size and chimney height, must be built without design and construction flaws in order to prevent smoke buildup.

When your fireplace pours smoke into your home, the resulting damage can be significant. Rather than replace fouled up belongings that have been contaminated with smoke particles, consult your Chicagoland smoke damage cleanup company, ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons. Our fire and smoke damage restoration technicians will remove all traces of smoke from your property.

 

 

About Us: ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a Bronze Stevie® Award in the Female Entrepreneur of the Year category in the 18th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business, recipient of the 2020 Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-839-5542 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com or info@servicemaster-rbs.com

 

 

Exposing Fire Sprinkler Myths

 

 

There’s no denying a fire could cause terrible damage to your Chicagoland commercial property. And without a way to extinguish the flames quickly, your employees and customers could be critically injured or killed. That’s why installing a commercial fire sprinkler system is so important.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), when sprinklers are present, the chances of dying in a fire are diminished by 80 percent and the typical property loss due to fire is reduced by 50 to 66 percent, compared to fires where sprinklers do not exist.

But although there’s undisputable evidence that sprinklers are a necessary line of defense against fires, many myths still live on about the way sprinklers truthfully work. So, lets touch on 4 myths surrounding commercial fire sprinkler systems and the reasons they’re wrong.

 

Myth 1: Water Damage From Fire Sprinklers Cost More Than Fire Damage

 

FACT:  Sprinkler systems are more economical when contrasted to the damage caused by other firefighting efforts. Since sprinklers can keep a fire limited to one room rather than allowing flames and smoke to spread through a building, most fire damage cleaning is confined to one area. Furthermore, water damage caused by fire hoses usually costs more to restore; a sprinkler discharges only 8-24 gallons of water per minute, but a fire hose releases 50-125 gallons per minute.

 

Myth 2: All Sprinkler Heads Activate During a Fire

 

FACT: Sprinkler heads are constructed to respond to temperatures only above 155 °F. A temperature-sensitive glass bulb with a liquid or metal alloy inside keeps the fire sprinkler head in position. The bulb directs pressure to a pipe cap, stopping water from discharging through the system. So, only the sprinkler heads close to the fire will trigger, leaving unaffected areas dry.

 

Myth 3: Sprinklers Are Too Sensitive

 

FACT: Although sprinkler systems are sensitive to fire, that doesn’t mean they’ll be touched off by someone burning their lunch or smoking a cigarette. Only 1 in 16 million sprinkler heads activate accidentally, so their benefits far outweigh any extremely minimal risks. And the most common reason why a sprinkler fails to operate is that the system was shut off at some point before the fire.

 

Myth 4: Smoke Alarms Set Off Sprinkler Systems

 

FACT: Fire sprinkler systems and smoke alarms operate independently. Smoke alarms perceive smoke particles which cause them to sound a warning, which is very important because you need a warning before a fire has had time to spread too far. But fire sprinkler heads are only heat activated. One won’t set off the other.

 

As a Chicagoland business owner, safety is required to keep your operations running smoothly. To help guarantee your company will be more secure from fire damage, it’s a sound idea to install commercial fire sprinklers and affix fire extinguishers throughout your establishment.

But if the unexpected does occur, help is nearby. At ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, we’re both fire damage and water damage clean up professionals. We offer 24-Hour Emergency Recovery Services and are dedicated to getting your business back up and running as quickly as possible.

 

About Us: ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a Bronze Stevie® Award in the Female Entrepreneur of the Year category in the 18th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business, recipient of the 2020 Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-839-5542 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com or info@servicemaster-rbs.com

Save Lives and Loss by Practicing Fire Prevention in Your Business

Fires are unpredictable. They can occur anytime, anywhere, to any business. But almost a third of commercial fires happen between 7pm and 7am, the hours workers aren’t in attendance. Those fires also cause nearly 67% of property damage because they go undetected for a longer time. Fortunately, there are preventative measures you can take to minimize the chances of a fire taking place in your Chicagoland business or commercial building.

According to OSHA, employers are required to perform a full maintenance check on their workplace fire extinguishers at least once per year. “Maintenance” means a thorough examination and repair, as needed, of all your businesses portable fire extinguishers, as covered in National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), section 4.

While inspecting and maintaining your fire extinguishers according to Chicago fire codes, each month you should take these actions:
  • Look for signs of damage, including dents, corrosion, and leakage.
  • Check the pressure gauge to make sure that the indicator is in the operating (green) range.
  • Make sure the pull-pin isn’t missing and that the pull-pin seal is unbroken.
  • Verify the date of the last professional maintenance inspection.
  • Date and initial the tag to log the visual inspection.
Your company must have a fire prevention plan in writing that’s kept in the workplace and is available to all your staff for examination. Even if your employees are few, having it printed instead of communicating it orally is more beneficial as it can be reviewed at any time. Your plan should include:
  • Relevant information concerning the building’s layout
  • The building’s fire protection systems and equipment
  • Emergency evacuation procedures
Space heaters are notorious for starting fires, so if you can get by without them, do so. But if you must have them, follow these safety tips:
  • Require employees to get approval before using a heater in their workspace.
  • Instruct that space heaters and cords be placed in out-of-the-way areas.
  • Stress the necessity to turn off space heaters at the end of the workday.
  • Establish minimum standards for heaters, including safety features and independent testing certifications.

Keep other appliances such as coffeemakers and toasters away from paper and other flammables. You should also reduce the amount of clutter in your building. Items like boxes, piles of paper, and other flammable materials can supply fuel for a fire, especially if left near a heat source. Before plugging anything in, make certain the cord hasn’t been damaged or frayed. If it has been, replace it immediately. Electrical cords from any equipment should never run under rugs or between furniture and walls; they tend to heat up, so they need to be clear of any flammable objects.

We understand how devastating and confusing a fire to your Chicago area business can be. Your best defense is to develop an emergency contingency plan. Don’t hesitate to contact the experts here at ServiceMaster Disaster Restoration By Simons. We offer peace of mind by helping you with that plan and guiding you through the restoration process. 

About Us: ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a 2020 recipient of the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-839-5542 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com or info@servicemaster-rbs.com

Don’t Be a Victim of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

servicemasterrestorationbysimonscarbonmonoxidepoisoning

Not very long ago, a couple made love in their car that was parked in their garage. Meanwhile, they not only left the vehicle running but were also operating a kerosene heater due to the extreme cold. Needless to say, they died due to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

Although that sounds like a sad and silly way to go, every year at least 430 people die in the U.S. from accidental CO poisoning and approximately 50,000 others are forced to visit the emergency room because of it. CO deaths regularly occur in Chicago and the stories are heartbreaking.

Why CO Is Dangerous

The reason why CO is dangerous is because it interferes with the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood. Being colorless, odorless and tasteless, people can be overcome without any warning. So, symptoms caused by exposure to CO include low energy, headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, confusion, visual impairment, and (obviously) death.

CO is found in fumes produced by furnaces, kerosene heaters, vehicles “warmed up” in garages, stoves, lanterns, gas ranges, portable generators, or by burning charcoal and wood. CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces, poisoning people and animals.

When a storm knocks out power, many rely on portable generators to keep the lights on until electricity is restored. Fred Henretig, a senior toxicologist at the Poison Control Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, says he and his colleagues have been attempting to raise awareness about proper portable generator use for years, but carbon monoxide poisoning cases unfailingly surge after each big storm.

“So what people tend to do — not always but it’s not unheard of — is just set it up like right next to the open garage door and they think, ‘OK, that’s going to work fine, it will blow out,’ ” Henretig explained. “The exhaust will blow out, but the trouble is, you can’t always account for different drafts and how things get vented around.”

Check The Facts

Research suggests that in natural disasters, carbon monoxide poisoning from portable generators has the potential to take more lives than the disasters themselves. A study tracking confirmed deaths related to Hurricane Irma in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina in 2017 attributed 16 fatalities to carbon monoxide poisoning and 11 to the storm itself.

Here are ways you can you protect yourself from CO poisoning, whether a disaster has occurred or not:

  • Purchase and install at least one carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home, including the basement.
  • Change the batteries in your CO detector every six months.
  • Have gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • Keep vents and flues free of debris so as not to block ventilation lines.
  • Never leave a vehicle’s motor running while parked in an enclosed or partially enclosed space, such as a garage.
  • Never run any gasoline-powered engine within 20 feet of an open window, door, or vent where exhaust can seep into an enclosed area, or inside a basement, garage, or other enclosed structure, even if the doors or windows are open.
  • Never use a charcoal grill, hibachi, lantern, or portable camping stove inside a home, tent, or camper.

If your CO detector goes off during or right after a disaster, leave your residence immediately and call 911. If you feel light-headed, dizzy, or nauseated and suspect you may have CO poisoning, seek immediate medical attention.

If you live in the Chicagoland area and have recently experienced water damage, fire damage, smoke damage, or storm damage, necessitating the use of a generator, call ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons immediately! The sooner we can restore your home or business to pre-loss condition, the safer you’ll be.

About ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons:

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, the 2020 recipient of the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, is MBE/WBE certified, and family-operated.  We are an IICRC Certified and OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential  and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-376-1110 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com.