Red Cross Thunder Storm Safety Tips
In Central Illinois, we are aware of the severity of some of the storms that pass through the area. When bad storms blow through, it is important to have an idea of how to stay safe. The American Red Cross has a vast knowledge of how to do just that, and we are sharing some of that knowledge with you here.
- The difference between a thunderstorm watch and a thunderstorm warning is that a watch means you need to stay alert and be prepared if something happens and a warning means it’s time to take action due to a reported incident.
- A thunderstorm is considered severe if
- Hail at least one inch in diameter is falling.
- 58 miles per hour winds or less are present.
- Flash flooding occurs.
- Put together an emergency preparedness kit
- Pick a safe place away from windows, skylights and glass doors that could be broken by strong winds or hail for everyone in your home to meet during a storm.
- Protect your animals by ensuring that any outside buildings that house them are protected in the same way as your home.
- Make trees and shrubbery more wind resistant by keeping them trimmed and removing damaged branches.
- Get trained in first aid and learn how to respond to emergencies
- If thunder roars, go indoors!
- Avoid electrical equipment and telephones. Use battery-powered TVs and radios instead.
- Do not take a bath, shower or use plumbing.
- If you are outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground; water; tall, isolated trees; and metal objects such as fences or bleachers. Picnic shelters, dugouts, and sheds are NOT safe.
- Never drive through a flooded roadway. You cannot predict how deep the water may be.
- If lightning strikes
- Call for help. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
- After calling 9-1-1, check for burns and other injuries. If the person has stopped breathing begin CPR. If the person is breathing normally, look for other possible injuries and take proper action. People struck by lightning do not retain an electrical charge and can be handled safely.
These are only a small portion of the tips and facts offered by the American Red Cross. If you visit their site you can find much more information that could save your life or the life of someone you love. Check them out and remember that the key to staying safe is being prepared.
Information retrieved from https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/thunderstorm.html
If your home or business sustains storm damages, you can always call SERVPRO® of North Central Tazewell County for cleaning and restoration services. 309-346-5600
When choosing a company to help with the cleanup and restoration after damages or loss, it is important to know who offers what you need and how well they’ll get the job done. SERVPRO® is a global leader in cleaning and restoration, but each franchise has its own list of certifications for both the employees and the equipment used. These certifications put SERVPRO® ahead of the competition.
The following is a list of all the certifications earned by SERVPRO® of North Central Tazewell County.
- Esporta Wash System Certified Operator
- IICRC Remediation for Mold Sensitized Individuals
- IICRC Certified Mold Remediation
- IICRC Water Damage Restoration Certification
- IICRC Fire and Smoke Restoration Certification
- IICRC Water Restoration Technician and Applied Structural Drying
- IICRC Carpet Cleaning and Upholstery/Fabric Cleaning
- OTSI Lead Safety for Renovation, Repair, and Painting
- Restoration Science Academy RSA Trauma Scene Clean Up MR211
- Esporta Wash System
- Ultra Sonic Cleaner
- Electronic Equipment Dryer
- Ozone Room and Machines
- Air Movers and Dehumidifiers
- Air Scrubbers and Hydroxyl Machines
- Wood Floor Drying Mats
- Water Extractors - Portable and Truck Mount
- Carpet Extractors and Shampooers
- Diesel Portable Heaters
- Water Extraction Trucks
- Carpet Cleaning Vans
- Cleaning and Restoration Vans
- Content Moving Trucks
- Carpenter and Painter Vans
With our knowledge base and these tools at our disposal, we have the ability to make your cleaning and restoration process swift and painless.
Remember - You can always contact SERVPRO® of North Central Tazewell County at 309-346-5600.
Smoke Alarm Installation
Fire alarms are a necessity for all buildings, especially homes. As we all know, these small devices can help identify a fire in time to save a building and the content in it. Smoke alarms are also the difference between waking up at night and escaping a house fire or being trapped by engulfing flames. However, just having smoke alarms in the house is not enough. They need to be installed properly, in the correct places and tested. The National Fire Protection Association put together a list of information to assure that you do things right the first time around.
- Choose smoke alarms approved by recognized testing labs.
- It’s important to place smoke alarms
- Inside each bedroom and at least one outside the bedrooms
- Each level of the home, including the attic and basement.
- In the living room, den, or family room
- Near the stairway to upper levels (Basement alarms should be installed on the ceiling at the bottom of the stairs.)
- Place smoke alarms at least 10 feet (3 meters) from cooking appliances to minimize false alarms when cooking.
- Because smoke rises, smoke alarms should be mounted in higher spots, like walls or ceilings, but never more than 12 inches away from the ceiling.
- If you have ceilings that are pitched, install the alarm within 3 feet of the peak but not within the apex of the peak (four inches down from the peak).
- To avoid a breeze or a draft throwing off the accuracy, don't install smoke alarms near windows, doors, vents, or any other ducts.
- Paint, stickers, or other decorations could interfere with the functionality of an alarm.
- Interconnecting all smoke alarms through hard-wiring or wireless technology (so when one smoke alarm sounds they all sound) is the most effective way to set them up. This means if the basement alarm sounds in the middle of the night, then the one in your bedroom will sound as well, waking you and alerting you to the smoke/fire.
- There are two types of smoke alarms – ionization smoke alarms (responsive to flaming fires) and photoelectric smoke alarms (responsive to smoldering fires). A combination of ionization-photoelectric alarms (dual sensor smoke alarms) is recommended for the best protection.
- Keep manufacturer’s instructions for reference.
- It is always worth it to test the alarms once a month and maintain them in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Make sure everyone in the home understands the sound of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond.
- Keep smoke alarms clean and working. The instructions are included in the package or can be found on the internet.
- If alarms with 10-year batteries chirp, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away. Smoke alarms with any other type of battery will also chirps, warning the battery is low, and you should replace the battery right away. It should be replaced at least once a year either way.
However, you should continue to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, which are specific to the batteries (brand and model) that must be used.
Whatever the case may be, you should never be caught without smoke alarms in your home (or business). Safety should always come first, and smoke alarms are one of the best tools for fire safety.
Information retrieved from https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Smoke-alarms/Installing-and-maintaining-smoke-alarms
If smoke alarms go off in your home or business and alert you to fire damages, be sure to contact SERVPRO® of North Central Tazewell County for the cleaning and restoration of your property. 309-346-5600
Recovering After Loss
When a disaster strikes your business, every second between damage and restoration matters. It is important to not only to have a plan on how to handle a catastrophic event while it is happening, but it is just as important to have a solid plan of what to do and who you’ll need to work with once the problem has passed.
Here at SERVPRO®, we like to call this preparation an Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) and it helps to make the recovery process move swiftly and smoothly. Of course from our standpoint, we would love it if every business would take advantage of our no-cost ERPs. However, we understand that sometimes building a professional relationship requires a little convincing. So the following is a list of steps that can be taken post-disaster that could help save a business from needing to shut down; all of which would be easier with an ERP.
- As soon as the disaster has ended, change the business/company mindset to recovery. Make temporary repairs, especially to minimize further damage and (If you haven’t already) relocate salvageable equipment and property to a safe, protected location.
- Make sure employees communicate and act appropriately in regard to the circumstances while also providing them with support and assistance. They’re going to be affected by the damages to the business as well.
- Implement your disaster plan. Assess damage, consider if a backup location is needed and make sure that there is a communication strategy in place to get facts to employees, suppliers, customers, and media outlets.
- Inspect your property thoroughly. Document damage, file insurance claims, and track recovery (i.e. keeping receipts).
- Once proper documentation is completed and your insurance professional has been contacted, clean the property to the best of your ability. The exception to this would be if the mess contains hazards that would be detrimental to you or your employees’ health.
- Cultivate partnerships in the community with businesses, government, and nonprofits. You can also connect with chambers of commerce, economic development, and other community support organizations.
- Remember to take everything that happened during and after the event and use it to make updates to future plans (or ERPs).
SERVPRO® is determined to help businesses, big or small, avoid falling into the hole that most businesses do after water, fire, storm, or any other damages occur. Recover fast, recover completely, and get back to work.
Information received from:
If you are faced with business slowing damages or are curious about setting up an ERP, you can contact SERVPRO® of North Central Tazewell County to get more information about how we are “Here to Help®.” 309-346-5600
Storm Alerts - Why Are They Important
It doesn’t matter what season it is, there is always a risk of extreme weather. Thunderstorms, tornadoes, blizzards, and more can happen here in Central Illinois, and it is important to know who to turn to stay informed about when they’ll hit and how to protect yourself and your loved ones. In this day and age, it is easy to fall into the habit of letting ourselves be informed only by the posts we come across on Facebook and other social media platforms. While that is a good way to keep in touch while a storm event is already happening, it is possible to get the wrong information prior to the weather actually changing. Because of this, it is also difficult to understand some of the alerts given by accurate sources. That is why it is important for people to educate themselves.
The first thing to pay attention to is the source. Who should you be getting your information from? It is best to follow official weather systems and services, whether they are local or national. In Illinois, we have a varying list of storms that can hit. Some of the best sources for the Central Illinois area are:
These sites can provide a more local idea of the severe weather that the Central Illinois area will face at any given time. They also provide information on preparation and on the safety and rescue resources in the area. There are also nationally recognized resources that can be of great use as well.
The next important thing to remember is the difference between a watch, warning, and advisory.
- Watch - there’s a chance the condition will happen. This alert usually covers a large geographical area for a lengthy time period.
- Warning - the related weather is already occurring or is likely to occur. This alert means it’s time to take proper protective measures. Generally issued for much smaller geographical areas and shorter/more definite time frames.
- Advisory - in between a watch and a warning. The expected weather has a good chance of occurring, even a likely chance of occurring. Typically used for less severe weather (ie; wind advisory, freezing rain advisory).
Knowing the differences between these three alerts can help you identify whether you need to take safety precautions or whether you should just stay indoors. Each warning and advisory will mean something specific though, and it is important to stay tuned into the media for your preferred weather stations.
All of this information should help you keep you and the people around you safe. Central Illinois has finicky weather, but staying alert and informed can help you handle it much easier.
Information retrieved from
If you experience damage from any type of storm, you can always contact SERVPRO® of North Central Tazewell County to help with the cleanup and restoration. 309-346-5600
Dangerous Chemical Safety
We come into contact with chemicals every day. We put products in our hair and use detergent to clean our clothes. We put gasoline in our cars and use vinegar to add flavor to otherwise dull vegetables. Because of our constant use of chemicals, it’s important to know how to identify and differentiate between the ones that are harmless and the ones that could kill you. While the less dangerous chemicals will usually just have directions that warn that it may be flammable and to keep it out of your eyes and mouth, there are symbols to identify exact reactions and side effects of the highly dangerous ones. The following is a list of those symbols and their meanings.
- This symbol is identified by the silhouette of a human which looks like it is dissolving from the inside out and represents hazards like:
- Reproductive Toxicity
- Respiratory Sensitizer
- Target Organ Toxicity
- Aspiration Toxicity
- The flame on this symbol represents hazards like:
- Emits Flammable Gas
- Organic Peroxides
- This punctuation warning represents hazards like:
- Irritant (skin and eye)
- Skin Sensitizer
- Acute Toxicity (harmful)
- Narcotic Effects
- Respiratory Tract Irritant
- Hazardous to Ozone Layer (Non-Mandatory
- This symbol looks almost like the silhouette a popsicle and represents hazards like:
- This symbol depicts acid coming into contact with skin or other solid objects represents hazards like:
- Skin Corrosion/Burns
- Eye Damage
- Corrosive to Metals
- This explosive symbol represents hazards like:
- Organic Peroxides
Flame Over Circle
- The circle on fire represents hazards like:
- While not a mandatory symbol, the damaged nature represents hazards like:
Skull and Crossbones
- Possibly the most deterring symbol of the bunch, the skull and crossbones represent hazards like:
- Acute Toxicity (fatal or toxic)
When you know what each hazard symbol means, you have the ability to protect yourself and your loved ones from making a mistake that could leave them blind, with scars, or worse. Take the time to learn the symbols, memorize them, and teach them to your kids. It could save a life.
Information retrieved from https://www.osha.gov/Publications/HazComm_QuickCard_Pictogram.html
If you experience water or fire damage, whether they’re due to chemicals or not, remember to call SERVPRO® of North Central Tazewell County for your cleaning and restoration needs. 309-346-5600
What to Do Until Help Arrives
With the lowered temperatures from last week and the resulting frozen and broken water pipes, it seems appropriate to really talk about that to do until professionals can reach you to fix and/or dry your property. SERVPRO® teams are doing their best to get every job done quickly and completely so they can move on to the next site, but there were a great deal of homes and businesses affected by the cold. Because of this, we want to make sure that you know what to do to stop whatever the cause of the damage is and slow the damage process so that when we come in to restore your property, we can move quicker.
There are a few things you need to ask yourself as soon as water damage occurs.
- “Is it safe to stay in the house?”
- “Are there any electrical or ‘slip and fall’ hazards?”
- “Can I perform the tasks at hand safely? Or should the whole process be left to professionals?”
- “Will I be able to move wet objects? Are there objects that are too heavy to move away from the damage?”
Once these questions have been answered, you can proceed to do whatever you can do on your own.
You can remove excess water by mopping and blotting; but remember that the water is likely not just on the floor. Wiping excess water from wood furniture is especially important. Wood is particularly susceptible to water damage. It’s best to remove lamps and other tabletop items and promptly soak up as much water from the wood as is possible. While the damage will be different than that of a wood surface, other furniture materials and household items can be affected by water as well. It is best to prop wet upholstery and cushions and place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting. Never leave wet fabrics in place. Hang furs and leather goods out of the way of the moisture. Above all, just remember that removing excess water will prevent it from spreading to other items or other locations.
Never use a household vacuum to suck up water. There are other ways to dry out your floor, carpeting, and walls. If it were summer, turning the air conditioning on would help with drying. In winter however, running the AC is not always an acceptable solution (especially in Illinois right now with temperatures near freezing). Rather than turn down the heat, it’s better to use a dehumidifier to dry the air in the building. The only exception to this option is if there is an electrical issue present with the water damage. In that case, don’t use any electrical devices; televisions, microwaves, etc.
It’s easy to overlook this next task, but it is imperative to remove colored rugs from wet carpeting. The same goes for books, magazines or other colored items. The colors in these items could bleed into carpeting, leaving stains that will require special equipment to remove. Just as well, moving art objects to a safe, dry place can reduce damages to walls, floors, and the art itself.
By gathering loose items and keeping the water damage contained to as small of a place as possible, it is likely that the restoration of the property will be easy and much less expensive.
Winter weather is tough on buildings, and broken pipes can cause some of the worst damage. Just be prepared and hold on to your patience knowing that the teams at SERVPRO® will get to you as soon as they possibly can. We will always do our best to make it “Like It Never Even Happened”®.
If you experience water damage from broken pipes, roof leaks, or anything else be sure to get a hold of the professionals at SERVPRO® of North Central Tazewell County for your cleaning and restoration needs. 309-346-5600
Home Fire Statistics
In life, especially during your youth, there are many different reasons you might hear the phrase, “Don’t become a statistic.” Often, that advice is trying to deter you from getting in trouble; warning against drinking, drugs, or other illicit activities. In life there are other dangers for which everyone should avoid becoming a statistic - one of the scariest being fires.
The following is a list of various home fire statistics (published in 2017) for you to consider.
- Between 2011-2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 358,500 home structure fires with an annual average of
- 2,510 civilian fire deaths
- 12,300 civilian fire injuries
- $6.7 billion in direct damage
- The leading causes of home structure fires are
- Electrical distribution and lighting equipment
- Heating equipment
- Cooking equipment
- Smoking materials
- The leading origins of these fires are
- Kitchen or cooking area
- Confined chimney or flue fire
- Living room, family room or den
- People between the ages of 25-64 have a greater risk of death or injury in a house structure fire
- 93% of structure fire deaths and 80% of all fire deaths are due to home structure fires.
- Property use plays a factor in the amount of fires that occur as well. For example
- One- or two-family home, (including manufactured home) amount to 249,500 - or 70% - of home structure fires
- Apartment or other multifamily housing amount to 109,000 - the other 30% - of home structure fires.
- In America, an average of seven people die in fires per day.
- Home fire deaths peak in the cooler months.
This list is a highly condensed version of the lists out there, provided by groups like the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), to keep you and those you love aware of the causes and effects of house fires. The most important thing to take away from the information included here is that no matter your age, the size of your household, etc. your home is at risk. Take precautions, make a plan, and trust your local rescue teams.
Don’t become a statistic.
Information retrieved from: https://www.nfpa.org/-/media/Files/News-and-Research/Fire-statistics-and-reports/Building-and-life-safety/osHomes.ashx
If you do experience damages from a house fire, please don’t hesitate SERVPRO® of North Central Tazewell County for the cleaning and restoration of your property. 309-346-5600
Super Bowl Fire Safety
Game day is approaching! The Patriots and the Rams are going to be fighting for victory in the 2019 Super Bowl and fans will be cheering them on from the stands and in front of their televisions. As fans root for their respective teams, they’ll be cooking and partying as well. Whenever big events are mixed with cooking and other excitement, it is important to keep fire safety in mind; because fires in small company are disastrous, but fires involving large groups of people are all out chaos. There are some simple things you can remember on game day to keep you and your guests safe.
First thing to remember is that, while not the only cause, the most common source of fires during Super Bowl Sunday is cooking fires. To prevent those types of fires, your cooking area needs to stay organized. Oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels, curtains, and anything else that is flammable should be kept away from stovetops and from any other heat sources (toasters, grills, etc.). As we have mentioned in other postings about fire safety, you should also have a kid free zone of three feet surrounding the cooking area. This will help avoid accidental burns, fires, or injuries from knives or appliances. While the kitchen should be a kid free zone, there should always be a person in the kitchen monitoring the food being cooked and whatever appliance is cooking it. Use timers to keep track of how long things should be cooked, especially if hosting duties pull you from the kitchen. Stay awake and stay alert. If things are left unattended for too long, it could mean big trouble and an early end to the party.
Because of the winter season, it is likely that extra heat sources will be added to the party. If you are planning to use a space heater or a fireplace to warm your home or garage during the game festivities, it is important to take the proper safety precautions. We have posted information on both Fireplace and Portable Space Heater safety. If you would like an in depth list of safety measures to take you can go read those blogs. However, for both it is important to remember:
- Keep pets, kids, people, and flammable objects at least three feet away from them at all times.
- Avoid knocking over space heaters - and if they do fall, pick them up as soon as possible.
- Always keep a safety screen in front of fireplaces to prevent stray coals or flames from setting your house or garage on fire.
Finally, make sure that you have a designated area for people who smoke. If you don’t allow smoking in your home, this could be a spot outdoors, in a shed, or in a garage. This spot should have a safe way for smokers to dispose of their cigarette butts and some precaution to take care of any fire that could be started by a cigarette (water, fire extinguisher, etc).
The most important part of game day isn’t who wins or loses, it’s the time you spend with your friends and family. That being said, it’s in your best interest to do everything you can to keep the party fun and as fire free as possible.
Information received from:
If a fire causes issues for you during the 2019 Super Bowl, reach out to SERVPRO® of North Central Tazewell County for the cleaning and restoration of your property. 309-346-5600
Central Illinois Polar Vortex - Winter Safety Tips
Get ready Central Illinois. It's coming.
It looks like winter is finally catching up to the people of Central Illinois; and it is not holding back. Heading this way is a winter storm called a polar vortex. While there has already been some snowfall around here, the thing that makes a polar vortex so worrisome isn’t the snow, it’s the extreme cold.
To clarify, a polar vortex is, “a large pocket of very cold air, typically the coldest air in the Northern Hemisphere, which sits over the polar region during the winter season. This frigid air finds its way into the United States when the polar vortex is pushed farther south, occasionally reaching southern Canada and the northern Plains, Midwest and northeastern portions of the United States… The vortex is capable of delivering subzero temperatures...”
That being said, it seems as though this could be the coldest part of 2019. There have been forecasts predicting wind chills near -45? here in Illinois and areas to the north of us have already started to get hit. Even today, we went from temperatures in the mid-thirties all the way down to the teens, and all within a couple of hours! With all of the crazy temperature drops, it is important to really take action and prepare yourself and the people around you for the wild winter weather.
We have previously posted a blog on blizzard safety and the measures you need to take to stay safe in those winter weather situations. We encourage you to take a look at that post for a more in depth description of how to handle extreme cold and extreme snow. We are simply wanting to reach out to give those who are curious a couple of quick tips and links to keep you informed during this time.
First thing first, know your weather warnings.
- Winter Storm Warning: Life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours.
- Blizzard Warning: Sustained winds or frequent gusts of 35 miles per hour or greater, plus considerable falling or blowing snow reducing visibility to less than a quarter mile, expected for 3+ hours.
- Wind Chill Temperature: How cold people and animals feel when outside. As wind increases, heat is carried away from your body at a faster rate, driving down your body temperature and making you feel much colder. The wind chill temperature is not the actual temperature but rather how wind and cold feel on exposed skin.
- Winter Storm Watch: Winter storm conditions possible within the next 36 to 48 hours. Review your winter storm plans and stay informed about weather conditions.
Once you have received notice of severe winter weather, here are just a few of many tips to follow to get you through it.
- Reduce fear by talking with your family about what to do if a winter storm watch or warning is issued.
- Winterize your vehicle to avoid getting stranded - get your battery checked and maintain your antifreeze, wipers and washer fluid, ignition system, thermostat, lights, flashing hazard lights, exhaust system, heater, brakes, defroster, and oil.
- Install good winter tires with adequate tread.
- Service snow removal equipment before the winter storm season and maintain it in good working order.
- Make sure each member of the household has a warm coat, gloves/mittens, hat, water-resistant boots, extra blankets and warm clothing.
- Assemble an emergency preparedness kit and create a household evacuation plan (for humans and pets)
- Bring pets indoors - make sure you have emergency kits for pets too with food, water, waste cleanup, and warmth.
- Stay informed about your community’s risk and response plans.
The links below will direct you to the National Weather Service website and to the Red Cross website for more information about how to stay safe and warm. There is also a link to our blizzard safety blog that is full of helpful tips.
The important thing to remember is that the storm will pass; and when it does it will be easier to relax if you took the proper precautions before hand.
Information received from:
If you experience damage from the storm, remember you can always get contact SERVPRO® of North Central Tazewell County for a speedy and complete cleanup and restoration of your property. 309-346-5600