Does Your Place of Worship Have an Emergency Preparedness Plan?

House of Worship Emergency Plan For Water, Fire, Flood, Smoke, Remediation

Are you a Chicagoan who attends a place of worship every week? If so, the atmosphere there may give you a sense of safety and security. Emergency preparedness isn’t something that may come to mind while you’re there because you may consider your church, synagogue, mosque, or another place of worship as a sanctuary where nothing could go wrong.

But what about severe weather, floods, or fires? It’s impossible to predict when or if such an event will happen to the building you meet in. But if they do, are all your fellow worshippers prepared and know what to do? The following are tips on how to create an emergency preparedness plan for your place of worship.

 

What Is an Emergency Action Plan?

 

An emergency action plan answers the questions about what to do in an emergency. Being specific in this plan helps ensure everyone understands what to do and their role. It will include:

 

  • A chosen meeting place near the building, but far enough from it to be safe.
  • A list of phone numbers to the police, fire department, gas, and electric companies, and a trusted disaster restoration company.
  • A list of people who will take the lead in regrouping the congregation and will be responsible for hiring companies needed for clean up, and repair your place of worship.

 

How to Write an Emergency Response Plan

 

The good news is that an emergency plan for your Chicago area place of worship doesn’t have to be complicated. Just follow these steps:

 

  1. Download an emergency action plan template.

    At the U.S. Department of Homeland Security site, Ready.gov, you’ll find a downloadable template and many tips on what to do in an emergency.

  2. Conduct regular risk assessments.

    Walk around your place of worship with your designated leadership team and instruct them on what to look out for. This could include blocked emergency escape routes, windows or doors that won’t open, and fallen debris. Regular clean-up and maintenance will help ensure everyone’s safety.

  3. Be aware of local problems and natural disasters.

    For instance, if your building is in an area with frequent power outages, invest in a generator. If it’s located in tornado alley (Illinois ranks fifth in the nation for the most tornadoes per 10,000 square miles), be sure your place of worship has a tornado shelter, whether underground or in the middle of the building that’s large enough for the entire congregation and stock it with food and water. FEMA also recommends planning for unexpected events.

  4. Write your emergency response plan.

    Your plan should include information such as where people will shelter in place and evacuation routes. Once completed, make multiple copies of your plan, placing them in easily accessible locations. It’s a good idea to also send a copy to each member of your congregation.

  5. Practice your emergency plan.

    Since the first instinct many have in an emergency is to panic, conduct emergency drills a few times a year with those who have important roles to ensure everyone is aware of exactly what they should be doing. This will help them to be calm and act quickly should a disaster hit.

 

Include ServiceMaster in Your Emergency Preparedness

 

Whatever the emergency, Chicago’s ServiceMaster By Simons is available 24/7. If your place of worship has experienced water damage, fire damage, or severe storm damage, we will assess the situation, mitigate the damage, and create a plan to restore your property to pre-loss condition and as quickly as possible. Our experts are standing by to serve you and give your congregation peace of mind once again.

 

 

About Us: Co-Authors RESTORE your complete guide to protecting your home as your most valuable asset from water and fire disasters  https://www.amazon.com/dp/1952779529. Recipient of 2022 award for Daily Herald Entrepreneurial Excellence. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is an 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.

 

3 Mistakes to Avoid When You Need Disaster Restoration

Stop, drop, and roll. Head for the cellar. Duck under a doorway. Most advice for saving yourself from a disaster is simple and easy to remember. But the process of saving your Chicagoland home or business after a catastrophe is another story. When you realize that you need more restoration than you’re able to handle, you can get confused and make some basic mistakes. The following three are the biggest errors property owners can make after a disaster.

  1. They wait too long

Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt. Some who experience damage from a disaster kid themselves that all is not lost. The impulse to downplay a problem or “see how it works out” is understandable, but it will cause numerous problems in the near future.

The sooner a disaster restoration service gets to work on your property, the better things will go. Damage, no matter what its source, will not repair itself if left alone. Ignoring the problem will add to additional problems down the line—water damage turns into a mold infestation, fire damage will weaken the structure of the building, and so on.

  1. They hurriedly select a service

Once some property owners realize that they truly need professional help, they rush the selection process. Yet, selecting a service should be where property owners devote some time. A home or business may be your largest investment, so doing your homework is very important.

Collect quotes from a few companies to see what they claim would be needed to fix your property. Many times there’s damage that only experts can see. When deciding on a bid, don’t pick the service that offers you the lowest cost or accept a quote over the phone. Remember the old adage, “You get what you pay for”. That contractor might be offering fewer services, or they may lack experience or good references. You don’t need to be suspicious of every contractor but make very certain you know upfront what you’re paying for. Then you can choose the service that best works for you.

  1. They begin the cleanup on their own

The last and, perhaps, worst mistake homeowners can make is starting the cleanup process without sufficient documentation. If it’s at all possible, don’t clean up a thing by yourself. For instance, if you use a wet/dry vacuum to remove standing water, you can’t prove to your insurance company that your property was damaged by water or for how long. The first to do any cleanup should be the disaster restoration service you choose. They should be very acquainted with working with insurance companies. They’ll be able to complete the needed paperwork and help assemble the documentation that you’ll need to prove the degree of damages you’re claiming.

How to Avoid Mistakes

These three mistakes can have long-term consequences, but the good news is that they’re easy to avoid. Be attentive for signs of damage and don’t let hope turn into denial, make sure you have a range of bids and document the disaster meticulously before any cleanup begins. Doing so will make the rest of the process smooth sailing.

Contact ServiceMaster By Simons for a fast, professional response to your disaster emergency. Our recovery team will assess your damage, work with your insurance company, and immediately provide the required services that will return your Chicago area residential or commercial property to normal.

 

About Us: Co-Authors RESTORE your complete guide to protecting your home as your most valuable asset from water and fire disasters  https://www.amazon.com/dp/1952779529. Recipient of 2022 award for Daily Herald Entrepreneurial Excellence. 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.

 

Why Should You Call a Water Damage Restoration Professional?

When your Chicagoland property experiences water damage, you’re frequently urged to contact a water damage restoration specialist to handle cleaning and repairs. But why? Aren’t you able to take care of it yourself? What’s so great about what restoration professionals accomplish that’s better than what you could do?

The science and resources behind water damage restoration and remediation have advanced considerably since its inception. For example, when the contents of your home or business were damaged, they were usually thrown out, along with water-damaged structural materials. Now, much of it can be saved. Technology is a big reason why. Let’s look at a few examples:

Powerful Truck Mounted Vacuums:

These are useful for removing large amounts of water quickly. A typical truck mount vacuum sucks up about 25 gallons of water per minute. And since they’re so powerful, they can rapidly eliminate most every bit of water from a soaking carpet.

Desiccant Dehumidifiers:

These are used in specific conditions. Desiccants release dry, warm air (110°F and 5% relative humidity) in high humidity conditions to remove moisture from the atmosphere. This is accomplished by using silica gel to absorb airborne water particles. (A tiny example of that is found in the packages of some products.) Desiccant dehumidifiers are very effective and even operate in below-freezing temperatures.

LGR Dehumidifiers:

These can lower relative humidity to as low as 10% and remove up to 25 gallons of water from the air each day. This is a huge increase from a few years ago when simple dehumidifiers could only reduce relative humidity to 40% and remove only 5 gallons of water a day from the air.

Intra-Wall Drying:

This technology dries the insides of walls without removing and replacing wet drywall. How it works is the baseboards are first removed and small holes are drilled through the drywall in that area. Air is then forced into the cavity behind the wall while powerful fans (air movers) blow air on the outside of the wall, causing wet walls to dry much faster.

Air Movers:

These are very powerful, high CFM fans. These work much more efficiently and faster than a typical box fan. The high movement of air they produce greatly speeds up the evaporation process. This not only dries your property quickly but also helps to ensure no further water damage can occur.

Floor Mat Systems:

These enable professional water restoration contractors to dry hardwood floors fast. Applying the power of a high-pressure blower, these mats vacuum water vapor right through the surface of the floor. At one time, wood floors that had been warped by water were immediately torn up and replaced. These floor mat systems can save hardwood floors in many instances.

 

The Benefits of Advanced Drying Techniques

Besides the benefits of professional drying equipment that were already mentioned, there are also these:

Mold prevention –

Faster drying times decrease the danger of mold growth, thus helping to prevent health issues, including respiratory infections and allergic reactions. Lower humidity levels don’t allow mold to grow.

Lower expenses – 

Many building materials once automatically disposed of now can be restored and not replaced. Reduced drying times also mean lower restoration costs and allow lives and businesses to return to normal more quickly.

As water restoration equipment has advanced, so have the procedures and training undertaken by water damage restoration professionals. Chicago’s own ServiceMaster Disaster Restoration By Simons uses the latest equipment and we put our staff through IICRC continuing education (CE) classes. Our certified and experienced team uses the most advanced scientific methods along with sophisticated equipment to get your Chicagoland home or business back to pre-loss condition quickly, professionally, and with personal attention to every detail.

 

 

About Us: Co-Authors RESTORE your complete guide to protecting your home as your most valuable asset from water and fire disasters  https://www.amazon.com/dp/1952779529. Recipient of 2022 award for Daily Herald Entrepreneurial Excellence. 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.

Why Dirty HVAC Filters Are Costly and Unhealthy

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There is a list of items in your Chicago home that need regular maintenance, such as cleaning out your gutters, replacing the battery in your smoke alarm, cutting the grass, etc. But there’s one item on that list that’s often ignored for too long. That’s replacing the filter in your HVAC system.

Is it such a big deal if it’s not done regularly? Most Chicagoland homeowners aren’t aware of the harmful effects of a dirty HVAC filter on their unit. A clean filter performs two functions: it helps keep your home comfortable and increases the HVAC’s efficiency. So homeowners should make replacing their HVAC filter a top priority.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that most of us spend about 90 percent of our time indoors. They also say that inside air is nearly 5 times dirtier than outside air. So for the majority of our lives, we’re breathing air that’s been circulating through an HVAC system. But regularly replacing its filter will mean cleaner air for your family to breathe. That’s a major benefit. But what other plusses are there to a clean air filter?

Why You Should Regularly Change Your Filter

  • A dirty air filter can cause air ducts to become home to dust, allergens, and mold that can invade your breathing space.
  • Air filters in homes with pets or smokers can become blocked with fur, dander, smoke particulate matter, and secondhand smoke.
  • A clogged air filter can diminish a humidifier’s effectiveness.
  • Dirty air filters make your system work harder by reducing the airflow within the system. The harder it has to work, the less energy efficient it is, shortening its life span and causing higher utility bills.
  • During the summer, a clogged air filter can cause the evaporator or cooling coil to freeze up.
  • Clogs during cold weather can lead to ineffective operation of the entire system, meaning you may experience hot and cold spots in your home, making it difficult to reach your chosen indoor temperature levels.

Can you remember the last time you changed your air filter?

How Do I Change My Filters?

First of all, set a reminder on your phone or a notation on a calendar for the first day of every third month to remind you to change it out. The actual process is very simple. If you don’t know how to do it, have a friend or family member show you. Or just look it up online.

Be aware that it’s possible to install them backward. But each filter will have an arrow somewhere on its side indicating the direction of airflow. Be sure that the arrow is pointing into your system, not out.

Can I Clean Dirty Air Filters?

Some air filters — permanent and semipermanent models — can be cleaned as part of regular HVAC system maintenance. But even washable filters have a life span — usually just a few years.

But most homes in Chicago have HVAC systems that use disposable filters. You might be tempted to try and clean yours instead of swapping it out with a new one. However, this simply won’t work for these reasons:

  • Disposable air filters are manufactured from soft mesh and other flexible materials that can’t survive the wear and tear of washing. It won’t completely dry after washing either, creating a moist breeding ground for mold and mildew.
  • Vacuuming an air filter does remove some of the buildups on the outside, but it can’t get to all the dust, pollen, and dirt that collects on the inside of the filter which blocks it from doing its job and causes wear and tear on your HVAC system.

Do My HVAC Filters Remove Odors?

HVAC air filters are designed to improve your home’s air quality and protect your unit. But if you have a serious odor problem caused by smoke from a fire or another pungent source, they are not designed for that. For those types of issues, you’ll need professional help to remove the source of the odor, along with high-tech equipment to permanently remove those smells. Be sure to contact ServiceMaster By Simons for any odor problems you may be experiencing.

 

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

 

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

 

Disaster Restoration for the Special Needs Family

 

If there’s one thing ServiceMaster By Simons of Chicago has learned is that disasters are like snowflakes – there are no two alike.  Each occurrence creates its own exclusive set of problems that need to be tackled, and there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. That’s why we’ve established a customized set of procedures to be used for diverse water, fire, mold, and other disastrous events.

And just as no two disasters are alike, the same can be said for families. We use the term “special needs” to cover a wide range of conditions that make it tougher for a family to bounce back after a stressful event. This list can include conditions like allergies and chemical sensitivities, but also considers those with autism, mobility challenges, developmental delays, behavior disorders, and more. ServiceMaster By Simons believes that just as a personalized approach is required to fully restore a property after a disaster, a customized approach is needed to help all types of families achieve a healthy, happy home once again.

That process begins during the initial consultation stage. If your family includes those with special needs who will need to be assisted during the course of disaster restoration, we want to know about them. We will ask you about what will work best for your family and then review our procedures to see what changes need to be made to meet your needs in the most sufficient way possible. Here are two examples:

 

  • Those with autism often wrestle with sensory overload. They also have a tendency to dislike physical changes to their environment such as any alterations to their schedule and routine. This could mean that we’d schedule our disaster restoration services on a timetable that won’t disrupt a child’s routine.
  • People with asthma, COPD, cancer, and other medical conditions can be unfavorably impacted when certain cleaning chemicals that are used in the home or workplace. But by using a particular line of green cleaning products it may be possible to avoid generating chemical sensitivity issues.

 

We don’t consider caring for special needs families a burden. Doing all we can to take care of our customers, especially families, is what we do every day. Chicago’s ServiceMaster By Simons was created on the principle that every family deserves a happy, healthy home. We’ll ensure your life gets back to normal as quickly as possible by cleaning and restoring your property using the appropriate and very best cleaning products and expert restoration methods while taking your family’s wishes into account.

Don’t postpone receiving needed help because you’re unsure if the restoration company you hire will understand why you need things done in a specific way or at a specific time. We’ve been there. We get it. And we’re here to help.

 

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

 

Is Moldy Food Safe to Eat?

 

One day you’re ready for lunch and open a package of bread. But after pulling out a couple of slices, you see a green fuzz along the edges. At this point, people usually have one of two reactions:

1. they lose their appetite and toss the loaf

2. they cut off the offending growth and make a sandwich

But is the second option safe?

It depends. For instance, molds grow in threadlike shapes with roots that branch out. So, in softer foods (such as bread) and those with a higher moisture content (such as yogurt and jarred or canned goods), it spreads faster since it’s easier for mold to penetrate more deeply into soft foods versus harder foods. The same is true for meat and poultry. In those cases, the food should be discarded.

Some foods, such as firm fruits and veggies (think: carrots and cabbage), hard cheeses, salamis, etc., can be salvaged by cutting “at least 1 inch around and below the mold spot,” according to the USDA. Just be sure to keep the knife out of the mold so you don’t spread the yuck.

 

What Happens if You Accidentally Eat Mold?

 

Don’t panic, you’re probably okay. Although mold is a tricky organism with the potential to cause disease, “You’re not going to die from eating mold,” says Dr. Bedford, MD, a gastroenterologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica. As long as your immune system is healthy, you can digest it like other foods.

After all, molds are meant to be on certain foods—including dry-cured country hams and cheeses such as blue cheese, Gorgonzola, Brie, and Camembert. In many of these cases, mold is safe to eat, the USDA says. But if you’ve ingested mold and you have a weak immune system or a history of asthma or allergies, you may want to call your doctor and seek treatment. Even then, Dr. Bedford recommends waiting to see if your symptoms escalate beyond nausea before rushing to call the doctor. “The stomach is a harsh environment, so, for the most part, most bacteria and fungus won’t survive,” he explains.

 

How to Prevent Mold from Forming in the First Place

 

Since warm, humid conditions encourage mold growth—and dry mold spores float through the air searching for new places in which to grow—the USDA recommends a few best practices for keeping mold from messing with your food:

  • Inspect foods for mold before purchasing
  • Buy food in small amounts so mold doesn’t have time to grow
  • Cover food with plastic wrap
  • Store food in the refrigerator quickly
  • Eat leftovers within three or four days
  • Clean your refrigerator frequently
  • Keep your home’s humidity level below 40 percent

Of course, molds can still grow in the refrigerator (though much more slowly) but following these guidelines can help keep your food fresh and fuzz-free for as long as possible.

 

What Mold Should I Be Concerned About?

 

There are over one hundred thousand species of mold. Some molds produce compounds known as “mycotoxins”.  Some mycotoxins, such as penicillin, are useful to mankind. Others can be deadly. Also, you can’t go by the color of mold (i.e., black mold) as many species are the same color, some of which do not develop mycotoxins.

There’s no way of knowing by sight whether a mold is safe or harmful. “You don’t know what mold you actually might be eating,” says dietitian Lillian Craggs-Dino, DHA, RDN, LDN. “Some molds can actually be very, very toxic to human beings. They can also cause allergic reactions and respiratory problems.” The same can be said for mold that’s growing in your basement.

That’s why if you see an infestation of mold growing elsewhere than on food in your Chicagoland home or business, you must have it remediated immediately. Call ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons. Our experienced mold removal restoration technicians along with our advanced industry technology will assess the extent of your mold removal needs and get to work.

 

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

 

Concentrating on Cleaning Products Can Save You Money

is-bleach-a-safe-disinfectant?

Riddle: When is a gallon of all-purpose cleaner not a gallon of all-purpose cleaner?

 

Answer: When it’s really 20 gallons.

 

Puzzled? Consider this: usually when you purchase a gallon of a product, that’s all you get. If you buy a gallon of gas, you get a gallon of gas; buy a gallon of milk and you’ll only get a gallon of milk. But many cleaners, disinfectants and deodorizers you use to clean your Chicago area home or office are sold as concentrates. If you buy those and mix them correctly, you’ll greatly increase the usable amount of product, making them very inexpensive. Depending on the product, sometimes one gallon of concentrate can produce up to a hundred gallons of a RTU (ready to use) cleaner. So that 99¢ jug of RTU glass cleaner at your local Chicagoland box store might not really be such a terrific deal after all.

It might be enticing to try to make the concentrated cleaning products you buy go even further by diluting them more than recommended. But the suggested concentration dilution rate is much more cost efficient than watering them down because weakened chemicals take longer to do the job and you would probably have to repeat the cleaning process to accomplish the desired results. Your time is valuable; add that to the additional aggravation and you wouldn’t be saving a dime.

 

Precise Mixing Makes a Difference

 

Clearly, concentrates necessitate adding water to dilute them according to the precise directions on the product labels. Most comprehend that, but the means of communicating the amount of water to mix with the concentrate can be a little more complicated and leaves room for error.

For instance, the common method for stating dilution rates is by using ratios, but occasionally you need more info. For example, which does a ratio of 1:8 mean? Is it:

  • one part concentrate mixed with seven parts water to produce eight parts of solution?
  • one part concentrate mixed with eight parts water to produce make nine parts solution?

You need to get it right because, in this particular example, an error adds up to a 12.5% variance! That means either your cleaning effectiveness will decrease 12.5% or your costs will increase 12.5%, neither of which is a desired result.

What’s confusing is that each way of describing the ratios shown above is defensible. So always examine product labels for a thorough explanation of its mixing ratio. If details aren’t included, then go to the source and contact the manufacturer. It’s worth a little extra effort.

 

Help for Deep Cleaning

 

When it comes to deep cleaning, sometimes you need a little help. And with Covid-19, using the required disinfectants is vital. Without question, virus cleaning, removal, and disinfection services are foremost in the thoughts of many homeowners and business owners throughout the Chicagoland area today. ServiceMaster By Simons uses an EPA hospital-grade disinfectant that fights 99.99% of bacteria so that you as a business or homeowner can have peace of mind whether you work inside or outside your home.

 

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