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.

 

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons’ Ultimate Guide to Frozen and Burst Pipes

Frozen ice on tapGuide To Frozen & Burst Pipes

Chicagoland Is a Climate Zone 5b where minimum temperatures range from -10 to -15° F.  You need to be concerned about pipe freezes.

 

Man, has it been cold outside recently? With temperatures dropping well below zero recently, residents in the Chicagoland area are facing significant threats to home safety with frozen and burst pipes. When temperatures fall below zero degrees, pipes are incredibly vulnerable and cause incredible home damage. Since they can quickly turn into a very expensive problem for homeowners, the professionals at ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons have created this guide to give you a crash course in Pipe Freezing 101. Read on to learn how to prevent pipes from freezing, how to thaw pipes if they do freeze, and what to do if frozen pipes end up bursting and causing vast water damage to your home.  But if you already have a frozen & burst pipe, stop reading and call us for Frozen & Burst Pipe Damage Restoration

 

How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing

 

While you might think that Chicagoland homes would be built to withstand the cold, many do a poor job of surviving the winter without significant damage. Within homes, there are areas where pipes are more likely to incur damage due to freezing temperatures. Some of these places include:

  • Outdoor areas (hose bibs, water lines to irrigation systems, wells, or pools)
  • Unheated areas (garage, attic, crawl space, or basement)
  • Cabinets, where pipes cannot get enough heat when cabinet doors are closed (under the kitchen or bathroom sink)
  • Uninsulated exterior walls

Once you’ve determined what pipes may be susceptible to freezing, you will want to take action to protect those pipes when temperatures plummet:

  • Open cabinets. This allows the warm air to circulate around pipes.
  • If there are pipes in the attic, open the door to allow warm air to move upwards
  • Let water trickle from faucets. The constantly flowing water will prevent pipes from freezing. The small amount of water you waste is much less than the cost of a plumbing repair or the amount of water that will escape if a pipe bursts.

These tips may get you through a handful of cold nights, but in general, we recommend preemptively insulating pipes during your home winterizing process.

 

How to Insulate Pipes

 

Insulating pipes is by far the best way to prevent pipes from freezing. Here’s how:

After you’ve identified what pipes need insulation, visit the hardware store and pick up your insulating material of choice. You can use:

  • Tubular sleeve insulation
  • Fiberglass insulation
  • Duct tape
  • Foil insulation tape
  • Heating blanket tape
  • In a pinch, use newspaper and duct tape

Prepare the pipes. A simple wipe-down with soapy water will do the trick.

Wrap the pipes with the material you’ve chosen. Be sure to cover all exposed surfaces. Secure the edges and corners with duct tape. If you use fiberglass insulation, wrap the insulation with sheets of plastic or duct tape as well.

 

Other Ways to Prevent Pipe Freezing

 

If you have pipes in your crawl space, you may want to:

  • Insulate the outer walls of your crawl space with foam board
  • Close the vents (just during the freeze; crawl spaces need to breathe)
  • Run a very low-temp space heater on the lowest setting in the crawl space (away from all flammable materials)

If you have a well, you can:

  • Insulate the exposed pipes
  • Install a low-watt heat lamp designed for this purpose
  • Cover the well to keep heat inside and cold out (look for fiberglass rocks or well covers at the hardware store)

If you have an irrigation system or pool/pond lines, you should:

  • Drain the lines
  • Use the blow-out-method to remove the remaining water from the lines

If you don’t have time to insulate pipes, and you want to prevent Frozen & Burst Pipe Damage Restoration, consider using heat tape, a heat lamp, or a low-watt bulb to heat the space where the pipes are located, but be mindful of fire hazards and install with care. Never use a blow torch or a heat gun when thawing pipes, and exercise care when using a heat lamp.

 

How to Tell If Your Pipes Are Frozen

 

Sometimes, you won’t be able to protect your pipes until it is too late, and other times, pipes will freeze even despite your best efforts. If you suspect your pipes are frozen, you’ll need to take action right away. But how do you know for sure? Here are four major tip-offs:

  • You don’t have any running water, or you turn on the water and only a trickle comes out of the faucet
  • You notice frost or condensation on your pipes
  • Pipes feel frozen to the touch
  • The pipe is visibly cracked or split in a place you never noticed before.

Once you’ve confirmed a pipe is frozen, you’ll need to figure out where the frozen section is located. Oftentimes, an entire pipe won’t freeze – instead, just a section of a pipe will freeze ranging from a few inches to one foot. Since pipes with greater exposure are more likely to freeze, first check under the sinks, in the crawl space or basement, in the attic, along the main pipeline to and from your yard, and any other exterior pipes.

If one faucet is fine and another in a different room on the same floor isn’t, the pipe is frozen somewhere between the mainline and that room’s piping. If the faucets work on one floor but not another, the frozen pipe is located where the floors separate. If no faucets work, a section of the pipe near the main water line may be frozen.

Can’t find the cold section of pipe? It’s probably hidden in the wall or yard. Outdoor water lines can be trickier to catch because you probably don’t use the pipes leading to a pool or hot tub, irrigation systems or outdoor hoses during the winter. Inspect outdoor lines once in a while if temps stay low.

 

How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

 

Once you’ve found the section that’s frozen, you’ll need to carefully thaw the pipe without causing it to burst. Try the following:

  • Aim a hair dryer on low or medium (not high) heat at the section of pipe
  • Run a space heater on low—but be careful not to place it too close to the pipe
  • Wrap the pipe with towels dipped in warm water (you’ll need to replace them periodically)
  • Wrap the pipe with a heating pad on low or medium (not high)

Every once in a while, try running the faucet to see if you’ve been successful. When water is flowing once again, take steps (see above) to prevent the pipe from freezing again.

 

How to Tell if a Frozen Pipe Has Cracked

 

The danger of frozen pipes is cracking and bursting. Water expands when frozen, and pipes may crack under the pressure of the expansion.

Other signs of a leak include:

  • A heavy flow of water, puddles on the floor and/or obvious water damage in the home
  • The sound of rushing water inside your wall or floor
  • Hot or cold spots inside the wall or floor
  • Water stains on the wall or ceiling

Unfortunately, a lot of cracked pipes happen in hidden places where you can’t see evidence of the leak. After thawing your pipes, you will want to keep an eye on your water bill. If you see a water bill spike, there’s a very good chance you’ve got a hidden leak. A restoration professional will use leak detection equipment to locate the leak.

 

What to Do If You Have a Burst Pipe

 

When frozen pipes burst, you have an urgent and costly emergency on your hands. You’ll need to spring into action quickly after you notice a burst pipe in your home. Your priorities are first, to stop and/or minimize the potential water damage and then, to facilitate clean up. Here are three things we recommend doing immediately after a pipe burst:

  1. Shut off your main water valve and, if necessary your electricity
  2. Call a restoration company and plumber immediately
  3. Start removing water as best you can with towels to mitigate the growth and spread of mold or mildew
  4. Call ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons for emergency Frozen & Burst Pipe Damage Restoration

 

 

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.

 

How to Prevent Fires In Healthcare Facilities-Fire Damage Restoration-Chicago-Illinois

How to Prevent Fires In Healthcare Facilities-Fire Damage Restoration-servicemaster restoration by simons-chicago-illinois

 

 

Fires in Healthcare Facilities are considerably more dangerous, no matter their size. Patients may be seriously injured, expensive and specially designed equipment can be put out of commission or destroyed, and a blaze could spread more quickly as oxygen is widely used throughout the building. Fire threats shouldn’t be taken lightly because according to the National Fire Protection Agency, between 2011 and 2015 there were an estimated average of 5,750 fires in healthcare facilities each year. So preparing for a possible fire at your Chicagoland site can keep your patients and employees safe while it helps to prevent them from happening in the first place.

 

Three Main Fire in Healthcare Facility Dangers

 

Healthcare centers present many opportunities for fires to erupt if people aren’t careful. While preventing fires takes more than just one approach, you should always adhere to your accrediting organization’s guidelines and take into consideration these three common dangers:

  • Have all electrical outlets and wiring checked regularly to ensure they’re up to code. Broken, cracked, or split electric cables and cords will catch fire if they’re overloaded. Multi-plug adaptors, which allow numerous appliance cords to be plugged into the same outlet, can also overload an outlet.
  • Never should smoking be allowed anywhere near areas where oxygen is being used or near oxygen tanks and containers. Fires fed by pure oxygen burn much faster and can seriously harm a person using oxygen while also catching the building on fire.
  • Kitchens contain more fire hazards than any other part of your facility. So besides routine cleaning, areas like grills and hoods should be degreased regularly. All oils and other flammable liquids need to be safely stored away from stoves. Prevent grease fires by draining appliances’ grease traps frequently.

 

What To Do if a Healthcare Facility Fire Breaks Out

 

Should a fire break out, it’s vital that you already have an emergency plan in place so that all employees will know how to respond accordingly. This plan will include:

  • prioritizing the patient’s safety
  • rescuing all at-risk patients
  • evacuating the building calmly
  • shutting doors to contain fires
  • ensuring that critical care equipment remains operational
  • extinguishing small fires

 

While putting together the best action plan for your facility, it’s best to consult with professionals.

 

Additional Ways to Avoid Healthcare Facility Fires

 

Taking steps to ensure a fire in healthcare facilities never start in the first place, is a priority. One thing that can be done is to appoint a fire safety officer. This person will receive ongoing training on how to recognize fire hazards. They will check fire extinguishers to ensure they’re up to code, and train the staff on how to use them. This person may also be responsible for practicing emergency exercises with all employees and leading them during emergencies.

Another thing that can be done is to cultivate a relationship with your local fire damage and restoration company, ServiceMaster By Simons. There’s no substitution for professional help from experts. They can give you the edge you need by helping you develop an emergency contingency plan for Fires in Healthcare Facilities. If you do experience a fire, we’ll use state-of-the-art equipment and cleaning solutions. We’ll get your healthcare facility back to pre-loss conditions quickly. With two convenient locations in Chicago and Chicago’s North Shore, ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is the trusted name in Cleaning & Restoration.

 

Safeguard Your Thanksgiving with These Fire Prevention Tips

Thanksgiving is a popular holiday in Chicago and many families look forward to reconnecting with loved ones. But unfortunately, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Thanksgiving is also the foremost day for home-cooking fires, with three times as many fires caused by cooking than a typical day.

And according to FEMA, in the years between 2017 to 2019, there were an average of 2,300 residential building fires that were reported to fire departments in the U.S. on Thanksgiving Day, causing an estimated 5 deaths, 25 injuries, and $26 million in property loss.

Although many like Thanksgiving because it’s a day to reunite, let’s face it, it’s also about the food. Tons of it! So with all that cooking, it pays to be extra careful in the kitchen. The following are fire safety tips to keep you and your family and your Chicagoland property safe this year.

Thanksgiving Fire Safety Tips

  • While baking, frying, or grilling food, stay in the kitchen. If you must leave for even a few minutes, turn off the stove or have a responsible adult remain there while you’re away.
  • Although it takes a while for a turkey to cook, never leave the house while it’s still roasting in the oven. Someone should always be nearby, checking on it frequently.
  • Booze, drowsiness, and cooking don’t mix! Never use a stove if you’re sleepy or have consumed too much alcohol.
  • DING! Always use cooking timers as reminders to shut off the oven or stovetop.
  • We all like to be comfortable while doing work around the house, including cooking. But loose clothing and long sleeves are more prone to getting near flames and catching fire. So wear tighter clothes. Also, long hair should be tied back while cooking.
  • Keep all flammable objects away from the stovetop. Use only flame-resistant oven mitts, not the ones Aunt Polly knitted for you.
  • Keep a pan lid nearby to smother any possible grease fires. If one roars up, place the lid on the pan, shut off the stove, and let it cool. And never throw water on a grease fire to put it out unless you want a roasted house along with your turkey.
  • Make sure a fire extinguisher is installed in your kitchen for added fire prevention.
  • Keep your kitchen floor clean so that it’s not slippery and remove any objects that could cause trips or falls.
  • Keep kids and pets at least three feet away from a hot stove and hot food. Serious burns can occur from fresh, out-of-the-oven foods and their steam.
  • Some kids like to help in the kitchen, but there’s a time and place for everything. During busy holiday cooking, keep them involved with other activities outside the kitchen.
  • Keep electric cords attached to hot kitchen utensils out of the reach of children and pets.
  • All matches and lighters need to be in a locked cabinet and/or out of the reach of children.
  • Instead of real candles, use battery-operated ones.
  • Test your smoke alarms at least once a month and replace their batteries yearly.
  • Reexamine your home fire escape plan with your family and inform any visitors about it.

Preventing Turkey Fryer Fires and Injuries

The NFPA disadvises using outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers that submerge a turkey in hot oil. They recommend any who prefer deep-fried turkey to instead use the new type of oil-less turkey fryer. But if you prefer traditional hot oil fryers, then keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Your turkey fryer needs to be outside on a sturdy, level surface far from people, animals, any structure, and anything combustible.
  • Don’t overfill the fryer. First, put the turkey in it with water. That will tell you the correct amount of oil you’ll need.
  • Confirm that the turkey is completely defrosted before frying it or you may (hopefully) live to regret it.
  • Check the temperature of your fryer with a cooking thermometer as it could easily overheat and start a fire.
  • Wear long cooking gloves to protect your hands and forearms when working with a turkey fryer.

If you experience a cooking fire:

  • Flee the house and shut the door to help contain the fire.
  • Call 9-1-1 once you’re outside.
  • If you try to put out a fire using a fire extinguisher, make sure everyone else gets out of the house and check that you also have a clear path out. Since your hands will be full, ask someone else to call 9-1-1.
  • For oven fires, shut off the heat and keep it closed.

For Professional Fire Damage Restoration, Contact ServiceMaster By Simons!

By following these safety tips you can increase the odds that you’ll have a safe and enjoyable celebration with family and friends. Still, disasters can happen when they’re least expected. If you experience a fire, you’ll require fire damage cleanup services urgently. For professional smoke remediation and fire damage repair in the Chicagoland area, contact ServiceMaster By Simons.

 

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.

 

7 Ways to Protect Your Vacant Chicagoland Property

As winter approaches, many Chicagoans leave their homes to escape the cold weather and become snowbirds in a warmer climate for a while. Or maybe they’ve moved to a new home and their old home is sitting vacant until they get a buyer. No matter the reason why a house is vacant, it will need to be protected from theft, vandalism, and squatters.

Proactive Tips

To properly close up your property before leaving, follow these safety guidelines:

  • Shut and lock all windows and home and garage doors:

Install extra padlocks to help protect from break-ins. (Hint: Don’t keep your garage door remote control in your car while you’re away. Someone who breaks into your car can steal it and find your home address on your car’s registration you’ve handily left in the glove box, making burglary a breeze.)

  • Close your curtains and blinds:

A dark home that’s easy to peep into is an invitation for thieves to check out any belongings you have that they want to steal. Also, leave on a couple of lights so it looks like someone’s home. (Hint: Even better, put some lights on a timer.)

  • Put your mail on hold:

Nothing screams “We’re not home” like an overflowing mailbox, so put your mail on hold. If you’ll be away for the season, then have your mail forwarded to you. (Hint: It’s very easy to schedule on-hold mail online at USPS.com.)

  • Put up signage:

Post “Beware of Dog” signs and/or ones that say “Property Secured By…” Do so even if you don’t have a dog or haven’t contracted with a security company. These signs can be just enough to deter thieves or vandals by planting a seed of doubt in their empty heads. (Hint: a Ring Video Doorbell that connects to your phone is an inexpensive security alternative.)

  • Employ family, friends, and trusted neighbors:

Inform them that you’ll be leaving for an extended time and to report any suspicious activity. Ask a neighbor if they’ll park in your driveway. Have a friend check out your property a couple of times a week to see if it looks secure. Give a family member a key to check inside your home for any hidden problems like water damage from an appliance or leaking pipe. (Hint: Shut off water valves on appliances before leaving.)

  • Maintain your property:

If you’re away during warm weather, It won’t take long for your home to look abandoned once the grass and shrubbery are overgrown. This gets the attention of thieves and vandals, making your home a target for them. It’s well worth the expense to hire a friend, relative, or lawn care service for the time you’ll be away. (Hint: Trimmed bushes make it harder for no-goodniks to hide.)

  • Winterize exposed plumbing:

Winterizing your entire home is always important, especially when you are away. Be sure to insulate any pipes that may be exposed to freezing weather, including in your attic and garage. Turn off the outside spigots, then remove and drain the hoses. Then install an insulated outside spigot cover over each faucet. (Hint: Set your thermostat to no lower than 50 degrees while away to keep pipes and appliances from freezing, saving you from possible water damage.)

When Damage Happens

The tips listed above will go far to increase the odds that nothing bad will happen to your property while you’re away. But the odds being in your favor still won’t guarantee that your home or business won’t suffer from water damage, fire damage, or vandalism.

If upon returning to your Chicagoland property you find that it has been damaged in any of those ways, contact ServiceMaster By Simons immediately. Our trained and certified crews restore residential and commercial properties quickly and expertly.

 

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.

 

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.

How Your Possessions are Saved After a Disaster

After the last flames of a fire have been snuffed out or water damage from flooding or a burst pipe has been repaired in your Chicagoland home or business and you’ve called ServiceMaster By Simons, what happens to your damaged treasured possessions, irreplaceable family keepsakes, or retail inventory? Are they forever ruined and unsalvageable?

In the past, that may have been the case. But we employ an extensive contents restoration system that’s devised to return your possessions and property to their pre-damaged condition, whether they were damaged by fire, smoke, water, or mold – even objects that were once thought to be unrecoverable!

First, our specially skilled staff will cautiously pack up your damaged property, handling them with care, before moving them to our protected warehouse for cleaning, deodorizing, and storage. Privacy and discretion are always preserved as the content restoration work proceeds.

After an expert examination of each of your damaged items, we’ll determine which type of cleaning is most appropriate for each piece. It’ll be contingent on the item’s composition, framework, sturdiness, and the type of damage it suffered. Once that’s determined, we’ll employ one or more of the following procedures and/or equipment:

 

  • Drying chambers
  • Ultrasonic cleaning
  • Laundering/dry cleaning
  • Spray and wipe
  • Heat agitated immersion cleaning
  • Odor Removal (Using Ozone and Hydroxyl Methods)
  • Deodorization

 

These methods efficiently clean, dry and deodorize even problematic items like china, silver, brass, delicate figurines, ceramics, electronics, mini-blinds, chandeliers, plastics, and stuffed toys. Ultrasonic machines effortlessly eliminate smoke residues, mold, water damage, and rust.

ServiceMaster By Simons utilizes assembly-line contents cleaning procedures for any disaster restoration job. Once your items are cleaned, we carefully wrap them up in bubble wrap and paper then cautiously pack them in boxes and warehouse them until your home or business has been restored when they can then be returned.

 

How Do Ultrasonic Machines Work?

 

Ultrasonic machines carefully and successfully remove contaminants from your belongings. This is done by immersing objects in a tank of liquid while high-frequency sound waves create imploding bubbles that generate a scrubbing brush-like action that acts on impurities adhering to surfaces such as metals, glass, plastics, ceramics, rubber, and even electronics. This action infiltrates holes, cracks, nooks, and crannies so that it systematically removes all traces of contamination and malodors. This technology allows us to clean your possessions faster, more carefully, and less expensively.

 

How Does Ozone Treatment Work?

 

Contents that need deodorization are put into an ozone chamber. Ozone, occasionally called “activated oxygen”, contains three oxygen atoms rather than the two atoms we usually breathe. It’s the second most effective disinfectant in the world and may be used to obliterate bacteria, viruses, and smells. When they collide with ozone, they’re totally destroyed by oxidation. In the process, that extra atom of oxygen is annihilated and there’s nothing left – no odors, no bacteria, no extra atom, only oxygen.

Ozone arises quite frequently in nature, most often as a consequence of lightning strikes that occur during thunderstorms. That “fresh, clean, spring rain” smell you may detect after a Chicago area storm most frequently results from nature’s creation of ozone.

If you have questions about how our other cleaning procedures work or would like to schedule a free consultation and estimate, call ServiceMaster By Simons at 773-376-1110.

 

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.

 

 

Advantages of Water Alarms in Your Chicagoland Home or Business

Of all the disasters that home and business owners try to avoid, flooding and water damage are at the top of the list. Water damage not only causes the loss of possessions but the destruction that goes along with it may mean thousands of dollars in repair costs. But what if you found out that you could save much of that money by simply installing a water alarm in your home or business? It’s true!

A water alarm is an electronic device that sets off an alarm when it detects the presence of water. They can warn you about a slow leak in a water heater or pipe, or in a slab, which could go unnoticed for months. Some are inexpensive, costing you less than $25, while others with extra bells and whistles and more coverage may cost a few hundred. But all of them will let you know if water is where it shouldn’t be and their advantages far outweigh the alternatives.  The following are three ways that they can save you a lot of money.

  1. Prevent Mold and Mildew

Anytime water is left standing, there is the risk of mold growth. Besides causing musty odors, mold can also cause health problems in some people. But by the time it’s detected, the mold growth may have gotten out of hand and a professional mold remediation company might need to be called in. Removing mold that’s spread through your home or business can be costly.

A water alarm won’t warn you about mold, but it will let you know when water, the cause of the mold, is present so the leak can be repaired and the water dried up before mold has a chance to grow.

  1. Detect a Burst Pipe

In the Chicago area, frozen pipes and not uncommon during the winter months. When pipes freeze, they will many times burst, causing serious water damage to your home or business, especially if you’re away at the time. (Or asleep in the middle of the night.) But a water alarm can save your bacon. Not only will they alert you about the water spill, but some of them will also even turn on connected pipe heaters when the temperature gets below a set level, never allowing the pipes to freeze in the first place.

  1. Keep an Eye on Appliances

Many appliances like refrigerators with ice makers, washing machines, and dishwashers are connected to water lines. And where there’s a water line, there is always the potential for leakage. Many times these leaks are slow as they happen in places you’re most likely not to see them, such as behind the appliance or behind or under cabinets. A cracked line or worn-out connector can cause hundreds of dollars in water damage.

Some water alarms may be installed right on the appliance and will detect a leak. When they do, they make an ear-piercing noise that informs you something is amiss. This allows you to shut off the water supply and then find where the leak is originating before a small drip becomes a major issue.

When Water Damage Has Already Happened

If you’re a Chicagoland home or business owner and already have to deal with water damage caused by a busted pipe, appliance, or any other source, contact ServiceMaster By Simons immediately. We’re available 24/7, so you can expect and depend on fast, competent water damage cleanup.

 

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.