Recent Posts

Biohazard Cleanup

7/15/2019 (Permalink)

Anything that requires special protective gear to be cleaned up is better left to professionals. Without proper training, you run the risk of exposing yourself and others to contaminates. Luckily, our teams here at SERVPRO® are meticulously trained for these exact types of cleanup situations.

Biohazards are defined as

“a biological agent or condition that is a hazard to humans or the environment

also: a hazard posed by such an agent or condition.”

Biohazards are no joke. Exposure can lead to short or longterm illness and even death in extreme cases. That is why our employees are trained for the cleanup of biohazard issues like:

  • Sewage backups
  • Crime scene residues
  • Suicide/death accidents
  • Homicide cleanups
  • Blood cleanup
  • Accident cleanup
  • Hoarding scenes
  • Animal waste/remains
  • Chemical spills
  • Tear gas cleanup
  • Meth lab cleanup

Every single one of these listed biohazards poses some sort of health risk. Sewage can spread illnesses through fecal matter. From accidents and deaths, there can be bloodborne contaminates. Animal waste and remains can carry all kinds of bacteria and diseases as well. As for meth-lab and other crime scene cleanups, those can be self-explanatory. These things, if not properly protected against, can be incredibly dangerous and anyone who isn’t properly protected or prepared should not attempt to handle it themselves.

In the case of commercial buildings, there are OSHA regulations that need to be followed. Employers have to take these regulations seriously. Companies that don’t have the training to handle hazardous waste need to bring in companies that can. There are specific protective gear and tools that trained companies specializing in cleanup are able to access. It’s important to call in professionals when your company isn’t explicitly trained for this type of cleaning; because if your untrained employees are made to clean hazardous material when they aren’t prepared, it could result in injuries and lawsuits.

Keeping all of this in mind, that is what companies like SERVPRO® are here for. We exist to make sure that people who shouldn’t be handling dangerous materials don’t have to. We’ll always do our best to make your situation Like it never even happened.

https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/standardinterpretations/2007-05-22

You can always contact us for your cleaning and restoration needs.

SERVPRO® of North Central Tazewell County | 309-346-5600

SERVPRO® of Peoria | 309-637-7300

SERVPRO® of Galesburg and Macomb | 309-342-0073

Candle Safety

7/12/2019 (Permalink)

Candles are commonly found in homes. However, they can also be found in commercial buildings like churches, restaurants, or spas. When you make the choice to light a candle, you need to keep safety measures in mind.

First, let’s get some facts straight.

  • 8,700 residential fires are caused each year by candle accidents. These include
    • 2% of reported home fires
    • 3% of home fire deaths
    • 7% of home fire injuries
    • 4% of the direct property damage in home fires
  • Nearly one-third of home candle fires start in bedrooms due to people falling asleep and leaving candles lit and neglected. Bedroom fires cause 30% of the associated deaths and 50% of the associated injuries.
  • On average, 23 home candle fires are reported each day.
  • The top 3 days for home candle fires are New Year’s Day, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

From this, you can see that more often than not the cause of a candle fire comes from the neglect of an open flame. These fires can also come about from inappropriate placement of a candle or accidental bumping/knocking. So the question that you need to ask is, “What are the best practices to help avoid damage and loss from a candle fire?” This question can be answered by the information put out by the National Fire Protection Association and the National Candle Association.

  • Blow candles out whenever you leave the house or even if you leave the room.
  • Stay alert. Do not fall asleep when a candle is lit. It would also be wise to avoid drinking or using other sense inhibiting substances while candles are lit.
  • Keep candles in an open area (at least one foot away from any flammable objects.)
  • Before burning, always trim the wick to a ¼ inch. Long or crooked wicks can cause uneven burning, dripping or flaring.
  • Use long matches or a long-reach lighter.
  • Keep hair and clothing away from flames.
  • Use sturdy candle holders that are heat/fire resistant.
  • Avoid drafts, vents or air currents.
  • Never touch or move burning candles.
  • Never use a candle if oxygen is used in the home.
  • Avoid burning candles all the way down.
  • Never use a candle as a night light and be very careful using them during a power outage

Candles are a fun decoration, and there is no denying the relaxing beauty they give off when they burn. By following safety tips, you can help keep your home/business from burning, and the only thing you’ll need to worry about is whether everyone will like the scent of the candle.

https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Fire-causes-and-risks/Top-fire-causes/Candles

https://www.nfpa.org/-/media/Files/Public-Education/Resources/Safety-tip-sheets/CandleSafetyTips.pdf

https://candles.org/fire-safety-candles/

If you experience damages from a candle fire you can always contact us for the cleaning and restoration of your home or business.

SERVPRO® of North Central Tazewell County | 309-346-5600

SERVPRO® of Peoria | 309-637-7300

SERVPRO® of Galesburg and Macomb | 309-342-0073

Sewage Backups

7/8/2019 (Permalink)

There are plenty of things that can happen to a structure that you hope never will, such as fires or floods. However, few things that can happen to a building are as stomach turning as sewage backups. That said, let’s take a look at what causes this nasty type of damage and what you can do to help yourself avoid it.

What is a sewage backup?

  • “A backup occurs when sewage overflows from your tub, toilet, sink or any drain in your home.  Backups are more common in older homes and homes with basements.”

Causes

  • Aging sewer systems
    • Aging systems are becoming a more common issue with some sewage systems being 30+ years old. These systems can have blockages or pipe corrosion issues.
  • Combined pipelines
    • Combined pipelines become an issue during storms when natural/flood water begins to overfill the space shared with raw sewage pipelines. Overflow can come into a structure through.
  • Tree roots
    • When tree roots reach for moisture, it’s not unheard of for them to try and find it in sewer line cracks and service pipe joints
  • Sanitary main blockages
    • Occurring in a city sanitary main, if this type of blockage is not detected in time, sewage from the main can back up into homes and businesses through floor drains.

How to prevent backups

  • Dispose of Grease Properly
    • Grease can clog drains, property owner's line, or the main sewer by causing the line to constrict. Dump grease in heat safe, sealable containers.
  • Dispose of Paper Products Properly
    • Paper towels, disposable (and cloth) diapers, and feminine products don’t dissolve properly and can stop up the plumbing. You should only flush appropriate paper products.
  • Replace your line with new plastic pipe
    • This could help to keep tree roots from sneaking their way into underground pipes.
  • Illegal Plumbing Connections
    • Do not connect French drains, sump pumps, and other flood control systems to your sanitary sewer. It is illegal, and debris and silt will clog your line. Consult a plumber to correct any illegal connections.
  • Install a Backwater Prevention Valve
    • This fixture is installed into a sewer line, and sometimes into a drain line, in the basement of your home or business to prevent sewer backflows. A properly installed and maintained backwater valve allows sewage to go out, but not to come back in.

Keeping this information in mind, if you happen to find yourself dealing with damage from a sewer backup contact your local SERVPRO® to help with the cleanup and restoration of your home or business.

https://www.wnins.com/resources/personal/features/sewerbackup.shtml

https://www.iii.org/article/protect-your-house-from-sewer-backups

http://www.wwsdonline.com/sewer-backup-information

SERVPRO® of North Central Tazewell County | 309-346-5600

SERVPRO® of Peoria | 309-637-7300

SERVPRO® of Galesburg and Macomb | 309-342-0073

Indoor Air Quality

6/20/2019 (Permalink)

All building types should be checked when it comes to indoor air quality. If people live or work there, they should be breathing clean air. However, there are extra risks that come with not having healthy air in a commercial building, risks that include poor health inspection grades or businesses being shut down. By taking action and monitoring the levels of indoor air, you can help to ensure the safety of those who come through.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission informs that “In the last several years, a growing body of scientific evidence has indicated that the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities.” The cause of these air pollutants include:

  • Combustion sources - oil, gas, kerosene, coal, wood, tobacco products
  • Building materials and furnishings - deteriorated, asbestos-containing insulation, wet or damp carpet, and cabinetry or furniture made of certain pressed wood products
  • Products for household cleaning and maintenance, personal care, or hobbies
  • Central heating and cooling systems and humidification devices
  • Outdoor sources - radon, pesticides, and outdoor air pollution

Some of these pollutants only become issues over long periods of time, but whatever the case, they’re still detrimental. This is because humans spend on average about 90% of their time indoors. When you spend that much time indoors in a building with poor air quality and poor ventilation, you expose yourself to a myriad of health problems.

The best thing you can do is make sure to get the air in your building tested for anything that might be dangerous. You can also prevent problems by controlling the sources of air pollution, changing filters regularly, and monitoring the humidity. Taking care of the air is just part of taking care of yourself and the ones you care about. Why risk it?

https://www.cpsc.gov/Safety-Education/Safety-Guides/Home/The-Inside-Story-A-Guide-to-Indoor-Air-Quality

https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/care-your-air-guide-indoor-air-quality

If mold or other messes are affecting the air in your business (or home) you can contact SERVPRO® to help with the cleaning and restoration of your property!

SERVPRO® North Central Tazewell County | 309-346-5600

SERVPRO® of Peoria | 309-637-7300

SERVPRO® of Galesburg and Macomb | 309-342-0073

Local Emergency Relief Services

6/13/2019 (Permalink)

This is going to be a short and sweet post about emergency relief services in Central Illinois. It’s important to know who you can contact in the case of a natural disaster in Central Illinois, especially considering we’ve already had a few tornado warnings this year and this last winter was a tough one. So here are some contacts that you can reach out to in the case of an emergency

  • Red Cross
    • Central and Southern Illinois Region Headquarters
      • 309-677-7272 or 844-319-6560
    • Central Illinois
      • Peoria: 309-677-7272 or 844-319-6560
      • Bloomington, IL:309-662-0500 or 844-319-6560
  • Local Illinois Emergency Management Agency
    • Ms. Dawn Cook - Tazewell County EMA
      • (309) 925-2271
  • The Illinois Disaster Center
  • The Salvation Army
    • 243 Derby Street, Pekin | 309-346-3010
    • 2903 W Nebraska Avenue, Peoria | 309-682-8886
    • 510 N Kellog, Galesburg | 309-342-9168

There are plenty more contacts for emergency situations if you look them up, but these are the main ones for Central Illinois. Knowing these contacts can help get you to safety and can help you recover from a disaster quicker than you would if you were to try to handle the aftermath on your own.

If you experience damages from storms or other natural disasters, you can reach out to SERVPRO® to help with the cleaning and restoration of your property.

SERVPRO® of North Central Tazewell County | 309-346-5600

SERVPRO® of Peoria | 309-637-7300

SERVPRO® of Galesburg and Macomb | 309-342-0073

SERVPRO® Vandalism Cleanup/Restoration

6/12/2019 (Permalink)

The common mental image for vandalism is profane words spraypainted on the sides of city buildings or train cars or damaged property in the neighborhood playground. There is so much more that constitutes as vandalism though. Furthermore, vandalism can happen on much more than just large buildings and cargo vehicles.

The following are some interesting facts and statistics on vandalism and graffiti.

  • The definition of vandalism is damage that occurs when someone deliberately and consciously destroys or damages property (public or private). This includes the destruction or damage to buildings, vehicles, and venerated objects.
  • Graffiti is still a common form of vandalism. According to some 2016 research, the most common building types to get tagged with graffiti are:
    • Residential, public transport, business/commercial, & outdoor/public place
  • Under Illinois law, a person is guilty of criminal damage if they perform any of the following acts without the consent of the property owner:
    • Damaging any property of another.
    • Damaging another’s property by means of fire or explosive.
    • Knowingly starting a fire on someone's land.
    • Knowingly injuring someone's pet.
    • Intentionally placing a stink bomb or any other offensive smelling compound on someone else’s property with the intent to interfere with daily functions.
    • Damaging property to collect insurance money.
    • Intentionally shooting a firearm at any part of a train.
    • Damaging, defacing, destroying, or tampering with any fire hydrant or any public or private fire-fighting equipment.
    • Intentionally opening any fire hydrant.
  • Vandalism can also be offenses like:
    • carving initials into public park trees/benches or writing your name on a store window with a marker
    • “keying” a car or puncturing its tires
    • breaking a building's windows
    • knocking over grave markers.

So why does SERVPRO® want you to know all of this information about vandalism types and what buildings can become a target to them? It’s simply because our teams are trained to clean and restore graffiti and vandalism damage.  Technicians can offer services in general cleaning and graffiti removal, brick/stone/concrete cleaning, odor removal/deodorization, debris removal, water and fire damage restoration, and contents cleaning. With all of these services, you can rest easy knowing you can call us to help get your life and property back to normal after your home or business is vandalized. We can help to make it Like it never even happened.®

Information retrieved from:

http://www.crimeprevention.nsw.gov.au/Pages/cpd/protectcommunity/graffitivandalism/facts_and_figures.aspx

https://statelaws.findlaw.com/illinois-law/illinois-vandalism-laws.html

https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/crime-penalties/federal/Vandalism.htm

Our franchisees are always Here to Help® if you call:

SERVPRO® of North Central Tazewell County | 309-346-5600

SERVPRO® of Peoria | 309-637-7300

SERVPRO® of Galesburg and Macomb | 309-342-0073

Grill Safety

6/3/2019 (Permalink)

Summer is a time for outdoor fun. Pool parties, family reunions, holiday get-togethers, and most other summer gatherings end up being partially if not completely outside. When it comes time to feed the crowd, a grill is going to be one of the most efficient ways to do it. However, there are some safety risks that come with your perfectly grilled burgers and hotdogs; and they’ve got more to do with the flames than any undercooked food.

Let’s face some real facts. From 2013-2017, grills were the cause of an average of 19,000 injuries. Half of those were thermal burns from fire and from contact with hot objects. The majority of these accidents are caused by people bumping or falling into the hot surface or flames, and about 38% of those people are children. It has also has been determined that July is the peak month for grill injuries. Gas grills cause about 8,700 home fires per year, which is the sum of 3,600 structure fires and 5,100 outdoor fires. Charcoal or other solid-fueled grill caused nearly 1,100 home fires per year - 600 structure fires and 500 outside fires.

Needless to say, grilled require a special amount of care and safety. The following tips should help with that.

  • Grill outside and away from any structures
    • Charcoal and gas grills are designed for outdoor use only. However, NFPA reports that a good portion of home fires started by outdoor grills began in a courtyard, terrace or patio, and many others were started on an exterior balcony or open porch.
  • Pay attention to overhanging tree branches when you set up your grill as well.
  • Make sure your grill is stable
    • Grills belong on flat surfaces so as to prevent them from being tipped over. Consider using a grill pad or splatter mat underneath your grill to protect your deck or patio from anything that might fall off or out of the grill.
  • Check for propane leaks on your gas grill
    • At the start of grilling season, check the gas tank hose for leaks. You can apply a light soap and water solution to the hose which will bubble when you turn on the gas if there is a leak. You can also check for the smell of gas or a flame that won’t light.
  • If the flame goes out, wait to re-light
    • (Gas Grills) If the flame goes out, turn the grill and the gas off, then wait at least five minutes to re-light it.
  • Take care around the grill
    • Never leave a lit grill unattended. Don’t allow kids or pets to play near the grill. Never try to move a lit or hot grill (grills will stay hot for at least an hour).
  • Be careful with charcoal starter fluid or consider using a charcoal chimney starter, which uses newspaper to start the fire instead of starter fluid.
  • Be sure your shirt tails, sleeves, etc don’t dangle over the grill. Wear safe clothing.
  • Be ready to put out the fire
    • Have baking soda on hand to control a grease fire and a fire extinguisher nearby for other fires (a bucket of sand is the next best thing). NEVER use water.

By following these safety tips, you can feel a little safer knowing that you have prepared for the unexpected. That’s the best thing you can do for the safety of your home and for your family. We hope that you have a fun and safe summer!

https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Top-causes-of-fire/Cooking/Grilling

https://blog.nationwide.com/grill-safety/

If you do experience damages from a grill fire, you can always contact one of our SERVPRO® franchises to help clean and restore your property.

SERVPRO® North Central Tazewell County | 309-346-5600

SERVPRO® of Peoria | 309-637-7300

SERVPRO® of Galesburg and Macomb | 309-342-0073

Burn House Training - CIFIA (May 2019)

5/30/2019 (Permalink)

The weather from the last few weeks turned May into a pretty busy month for us here at SERVPRO®. We’ve had a boatload of water jobs and more than enough storm jobs to keep us busy. From all of that, we had building dry-outs and board-ups. With all of that, we still found time to help the Central Illinois Fire Investigation Association (CIFIA) with their training.

We had our carpenters build five small burn houses to simulate different types of rooms that could be affected in a fire. These rooms were lightly furnished and then set ablaze. Firefighters waited for the rooms to be completely engulfed, and then they would work to put the fire out. It was an exciting experience that some of our employees had the chance to attend and observe.

When it was determined that the rooms were safe to enter, the fire investigators began doing their job. They identified the source of the damage, the areas affected, and just how much damage was actually done. The process took time but was very educational for those who took part.

Training like this is important for a multitude of reasons, but two of them stand out the most.

  • Fires are one of the most unpredictable dangers. When firefighters are trained in real fire situations, they are going to have a better idea of what to expect when they’re in the field. They’ll be better prepared to come in and get the occupants of the building out safely and stop further damage.
  • When investigators are learning from real fire damage, they know what to look for and what to inspect for damage. They’ll be able to better report the source of the fire, making the cleaning and restoration process flow more smoothly. Finally, they’ll be able to offer a complete report and better advice to the client, hopefully preventing future damage from ever occurring.

We are so grateful to have been given the chance to work with the CIFIA. Opportunities like these help us form bonds with first responders. Most importantly, when we get the chance to see what they do to keep the people in our communities safe, we have a better respect for all of the effort and risk that goes into what they do every day.

We want to say thank you to our Central Illinois Fire Professionals for everything they do.



If you experience fire damage and your home or business is in need of cleaning and restoration, please contact us at:

SERVPRO® of North Central Tazewell County | 309-346-5600

SERVPRO® of Peoria | 309-637-7300

SERVPRO® of Galesburg and Macomb | 309-342-0073

If you would like to see some footage of the burn house training, please head over to our video gallery or check out the video on Youtube by following this link:

https://youtu.be/9TqQTnKCTWs

Plumbing Issues

5/22/2019 (Permalink)

Plumbing - the home maintenance that nobody wants to do or ever think about until there is a real problem. It’s not your fault; we’re all guilty. The only way to really understand why you should keep up on it is to educate yourself on all of the worst case scenarios and what causes them. We’ve compiled a list of some of the biggest plumbing issues and we hope it will make you see exactly why you need to stay vigilant.

  • Corroded Pipes
    • As materials like iron and galvanized steel age, they begin to fall apart. Pipes that are out of sight and out of mind are usually the ones that are affected by these issues. The older the pipes, the closer you are to dealing with corrosion issues.
  • Tree Roots
    • Nature is an unpredictable source of plumbing issues. Trees fall into this category, especially when it comes to plumbing. They are unpredictable due to the fact that they are underground. Tree roots can warp and break pipes causing leaks and/or sewage backups. There are ways to fix this (remove the tree or use a chemical root killer).
  • City Sewer Collapse
    • Old sewer pipes made of materials such as asbestos and concrete can collapse over time. When this happens, sewage will flow along the path of least resistance, including up through a home/business’s drain(s); such as sanitary sewer line. Damage like this is the responsibility of the city/other jurisdiction.
  • Pipe Burst
    • Pipes burst or leak for any number of reasons. Most pipes are hidden within walls or between floors. Because of this, when a leak occurs, water may come down from a first-floor ceiling beneath a bathroom or down the top of a wall beneath the leak.
  • Major pipe leaks
    • These are fairly common. Watch for these warning signs
      • discolored stains on the walls or ceiling
      • higher water bills
      • lower water pressure
      • odd behavior from the water heater
    • If leaks escape your attention, the danger of flooding is likely. Know where the water main shut-off valve is located.
  • Slab Leaks
    • These are insidious leaks that are hard to spot because they occur down in the stone foundation of a home. These leaks are a waste of water and can cause serious damage to a building’s foundation if not fixed.
  • Loss of Freshwater - Broken Water Main
    • Never ignore signs of a broken water main. This includes unexplained dampness on the lawn or drop in water pressure.
  • Blocked/Damaged Sewer Line
    • This type of damage can be caused by materials coming from the building blocking the pipes or from the aforementioned tree roots. Sewage backups can cause a serious health risk for anyone in the building.

These eight types of damage can cause moderate to severe damage to homes and businesses. Depending on the type of water that comes into the house or the type of pipes that you’re dealing with, it could be damaging to the health of the people in the building. The best way to avoid plumbing issues and the damage that comes with it is to keep an eye on it and make sure to keep up on maintenance. So stay alert and keep the plumbing damage to a minimum!

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/list-major-plumbing-problems-87184.html

https://www.modernpi.com/blog/plumbing-service/the-worst-plumbing-emergencies-how-to-prevent-them/

If you do experience damage from plumbing issues, you can always contact us for your cleaning and restoration needs at:

SERVPRO® of North Central Tazewell County: 309-346-5600

SERVPRO® of Peoria - 309-637-7300

SERVPRO® of Galesburg and Macomb - 309-342-0073

ERP - How Do You Set It Up?

4/25/2019 (Permalink)

Here at SERVPRO®, we do our best to make sure that our commercial clients know about our Emergency Ready Profiles (ERPs). Of course, if you’ve experienced damage (especially in a commercial setting) you know that having a plan in place before the damage happens can be the difference between getting things running again or having to shut things down completely. That is why we feel so strongly about our ERPs. Because of this, we would like to take a moment to explain just how to set these profiles up, giving you a better idea of what you can expect the experience to be like.

Get ahold of your local SERVPRO®.

  • SERVPRO® is always glad to hear from businesses in our community seeking a safety plan to protect them. Whether you know it’s something you want to do, or even if you’re just curious about the idea. Reach out and you’ll get the answers you’re looking for.

Take a tour with your SERVPRO® MR.

  • If you make the choice to do an ERP with SERVPRO®, one of our marketing representatives will meet with the owner, manager, or maintenance head of the building to go over the building and its safety information. The MR will find your shut off valves, find safety exits, locate all of your extinguishers and sprinklers, compile an emergency contact hierarchy, and so much more. There will be photos taken to visually identify the important information as well. The MR will then take that information and spend a good deal of time building your emergency ready profile.

Let the MR do the work.

  • The MR that worked with you to research the building will take a few days to correctly put together all of your information. They will match the information with the photos. They will make sure all of the contact information is accurate. MRs will put all of their efforts into being certain that your ERP will be as effective as possible if and when there is an emergency.

Review and use your ERP.

  • When the MR completes the profile, you’ll have a chance to look it over. If everything looks good, then you’re all set! The best part is, the service is completely free.

The process is easy and the payoff is high. There's no cost to you and we have a chance to show you why you should choose us if damages are unavoidable.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again; Preparedness is key. ERPs are the very definition of preparedness.

If you would like to talk to an MR about setting up an ERP for your commercial building, you can contact them at SERVPRO® of North Central Tazewell County. 309-346-5600

You can also contact:
SERVPRO® of Peoria - 309-637-7300
SERVPRO® of Galesburg and Macomb - 309-342-0073