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.

 

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.

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

 

How HEPA Filters Protect You

 

During World War II, the Atomic Energy Commission needed a filter that would remove and trap radio-active dust particles that would pose a health hazard to scientists working on the Manhattan Project, the classified U.S. government venture that developed the atomic bomb. That’s when and why the HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter was created.

The HEPA filter was specifically designed to protect the human respiratory system. Because it’s made of ultra-fine, glass-fiber materials, it captures microscopic particles that can pass through other filters easily. It will filter out 99.97% of the 0.3-micron particles in the air. Particles that size are nearly 300 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair and 25 to 50 times tinier than the human eye can see. But to a HEPA filter, catching a one-micron particle (1/1,000,000 of a meter) is comparable to stopping a cotton ball with a door screen.

HEPA filters are viewed as the highest form of air filtration. Hospitals, laboratories, and even NASA spend thousands to millions of dollars to create contamination free environments termed clean rooms that aid in eliminating nearly all foreign elements, infectious agents, heavy metal particles, and other undesirable impurities. For those reasons and more, HEPA filters are extensively used.

We at ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons regularly use air scrubbers that employ HEPA filters to aid in removing contaminants in the air of a structure. These powerful, high performance, heavy-duty units are completely safe air purifying devices. 

Several times each hour, an air scrubber sucks in contaminated and dusty air from a space, draws it through several filters, including a HEPA filter, and then pumps out fresh air that’s free of dust, chemicals and odors. The HEPA filter captures small particles such as mold, bacteria, asbestos, lead, dust, and many other floating contaminants. Air scrubbers continuously scour the air and provide a clean, healthy and productive environment. That’s why ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons utilizes them on jobs such as:

Don’t confuse heavy duty air scrubbers with simple air purifiers. Purifiers are intended to be used inside a home or business when it’s occupied. So, they’re engineered to run quietly and to fit in with their surroundings. Although some contain HEPA or other high efficiency filters, they are much weaker than air scrubbers and are only effective in small areas.

Having over 20 years of experience and the right equipment goes a long way towards getting a job completed quickly and thoroughly. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons prides itself on possessing both. If your Chicago area home or business suffers a disaster, our professional team of certified and experienced industry experts will diagnose your repair needs, explore your best options, and work with you to design the best possible solution to resolve your property recovery issues.

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

 

How Will The COVID-19 Delta Variant Affect My Business?

 

As the COVID-19 Delta variant continues to spread throughout communities in the United States and throughout the world at large, ServiceMaster Clean wants to continue to be your partner in keeping your business as healthy and safe as possible. While we may not know how or for how long the strain will impact the day-to-day of your business, we do know that there are ways to continue to protect yourself, your employees, and your customers.

By understanding the severity of the Delta variant and taking the proper precautions to avoid transmission, we can protect each other from continued spread and avoid further impacts to businesses.

Why Is The Delta Variant More Dangerous?

The COVID-19 Delta variant is currently the predominant strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Delta variant is significantly more infectious than previous strains of the coronavirus. It may cause more than two times as many infections as previous strains of COVID-19 as it is more easily transmitted from infected individuals to others.

Unfortunately, recent data suggests that this variant may even cause more serious side effects and illness than previous strains, specifically among unvaccinated individuals. Because there is still a large percentage of Americans who are unvaccinated, those individuals are left extremely vulnerable in contracting and fighting this particular strain of the virus. Thus far, virtually all hospitalizations and deaths have been among the unvaccinated.

While COVID-19 vaccinations are effective at protecting individuals from getting sick, the CDC still recommends vaccinated individuals wear a mask indoors in public—especially if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission. Fully vaccinated people can still spread the virus to others, but seem to be infectious for a shorter period of time.

We will continue to monitor COVID-19 and the Delta variant of the virus as the CDC releases more information. Additionally, we will proactively monitor other possible variants that may be of concern to do everything possible to ensure that your business continues to operate in a healthy environment.

How To Protect Your Business From A COVID-19 Delta Outbreak

The best way you can protect your business from a COVID-19 Delta outbreak is to be as proactive as possible. Given what we know today about the Delta variant, there are a series of steps you can take to ensure that your business is prepared and doing everything possible to mitigate potential outbreaks. These include:

  • Asking customers and staff to wear a mask. The CDC recommends wearing masks indoors to help stop transmission. Where permitted, implementing and/or encouraging mask mandates in the workplace can provide greater protection for yourself, your employees, and customers.
  • Setting up a sanitation station when entering a business or workplace can be an effective way to encourage a clean environment. For example, providing face masks for those without, hand sanitizer to eliminate bacteria, and thermometers to ensure no one on-site is unknowingly running a fever.
  • Encouraging employees to get the vaccine. The Delta variant causes more severe side effects among the unvaccinated population. Encouraging individuals who are eligible to get the vaccine can help protect their health while also helping others who may be at risk or are unable to get the vaccine.
  • Encourage employees who feel sick to stay at home or work remotely. Unvaccinated people who have been exposed or come in close contact to someone infected with COVID-19 are encouraged to quarantine for 14 days. Fully vaccinated people who have come into close contact with someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are to be tested 3-5 days after exposure in addition to wearing a face mask indoors for 2 weeks until they receive a negative test result.
  • Disinfect high-touch surfaces. Regularly cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces will help reduce the likelihood of the virus spreading throughout your facility. These surfaces will vary from facility to facility, but usually include:
    • Light switches
    • Doorknobs
    • Faucet handles
    • Refrigerator door handles
    • Handrails
    • Tables
    • Counters
    • Shared computer keyboards or touch screens
    • Work tools that may get shared from person to person
    • Surfaces that come into contact with customers, such as gym equipment, or furniture in a dining or waiting room
  • Hire commercial cleaning experts. In addition to mask use and vaccinations, you can also schedule regular commercial cleaning services specific to COVID-19 prevention. These cleaning and disinfection services will help you better maintain a clean and healthy environment no matter if you work in healthcareeducationoffices, or industrial environments.

By establishing and keeping open communications and policies, you will be able to better empower your employees to make smart decisions that positively impact those they work with and serve.

ServiceMaster By Simons Is Here To Help! We care about your business and the people within it. While you can continue to operate in the rapidly changing COVID-19 environment, ServiceMaster Clean can help your business stay clean and operate in a healthy environment by providing commercial cleaning services for your business. Our nationwide network of cleaning experts has been staying up to date on the guidelines from regulators including the CDC and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). By following the latest guidance from public health agencies, we train our team on infection control best practices to provide effective cleaning and disinfection services against COVID-19.

Give us a call at (773) 376-1110 to speak to a customer representative or email us at info@servicemaster-rbs.com

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