How to Mitigate Allergies in the Workplace
Allergies can slow down productivity, but there are some steps you can take to mitigate the effects!
Allergy season is already upon us! Many of us have already woken to itchy eyes and runny noses, and experts say this is likely to be a brutal season. Although allergies are a natural occurrence, they can impact your employees’ productivity, so it’s a good idea to mitigate the effect on the workplace!
- Have your HVAC cleaned. Over time, your duct system builds up an accrual of dust, dirt, and other allergens. As these contaminants recirculate throughout your workspace, they can stir up allergies in your employees. Have a professional duct cleaning company clean your HVAC system every few years to improve your building’s air quality.
- Address any mold growth in your building. Mold can cause health effects in certain people, which is why it’s important to take care of any known growth. If you don’t see mold but suspect you have it (especially if you detect a musty odor or have had recent water damage), call an expert to conduct a test. If you do have mold, our mold remediation team has plenty of experience.
- Regularly-scheduled cleanings. If your employees are complaining about allergies, it might be a good idea to do schedule regular cleaning sessions. Allergens such as pollen are easily tracked into homes and buildings, so frequent cleanings can help cut down on your employees’ exposure!
There’s no way to completely remove allergens from your business’ workspace, but the above steps can help reduce the impact they have. If you need professional help with any of the above steps, know that SERVPRO of Burke County is always available!
What to Do When You Have Water Damage
If you have water damage, our technicians have experience cleaning up and drying the affected areas.
Every week, we receive phone calls from customers whose home or business has been affected by flooding or leaks. Yet most people haven’t experienced a water damage situation and are often unprepared to deal with them. That’s why we’re reviewing what you should expect and steps you should take if and when your property is affected.
- Deal with the water source. If you have water damage, the first thing you should do is determine the cause of the damage and address it at the source. If you have a broken pipe, for example, you’ll need to shut off the water and call a plumber.
- Call a water damage cleanup and restoration company. Water damage—if not properly addressed—can cause mold growth and contribute to structural damage. That’s why it’s very important that you contact a cleanup and restoration company as quickly as possible. They will be able to extract the water, dry affected materials, and apply antimicrobial to discourage mold!
- Call your insurance company. Water damage incidents can be costly, but if you have insurance, that’s where it comes in handy! Contact your local representative and review your coverage; it may save you a lot on out-of-pocket expenses.
Water can do significant damage to your home, but if you follow the above steps, you can stay in control. Our cleanup and restoration team is always available to help you recover from water damage, so if you have an incident, call us any time at (828) 874-0966!
SERVPRO of Burke County by the Numbers
We have hundreds of air movers and dehumidifiers to dry your water-damaged home or business!
When we purchased SERVPRO of Burke County in 2011, we had only been SERVPRO franchise owners for 2 years. This year we are celebrating our 11th year of service and have experienced tremendous growth since that time. Because our success can only be contributed to the community’s support, we’re excited to share some stats about where we are today!
- 5 franchise locations. SERVPRO of Burke County was the second SERVPRO location that we purchased, but we’ve more than doubled our territory since then! We also own 2 locations in Catawba County, and we recently purchased the location in Iredell County!
- 40+ green SERVPRO vehicles. You’ve likely seen our green vehicles as you’ve driven through Morganton or the surrounding areas. If so, you’ve seen one of more than 40 of our vehicles, which we use to quickly get to customers’ properties!
- 75 employees (roughly). It’s hard to imagine that a little more than a decade ago, we started our team with only 3 employees. Today we have around 75 employees, and we continue to add more all the time!
- 600+ air movers and dehumidifiers. If your home or business has water damage, you’ll need to quickly dry the affected areas before they deteriorate. Our team has more than 600 units of air movers and dehumidifiers—important tools for the water mitigation process—so we can respond to multiple disasters at the same time!
We’re excited about the growth we’ve continued to have each year, and we’re grateful that the community has continued to call upon our team when it’s needed help. If you have any kind of a disaster at your property, know that SERVPRO of Burke County is available 24/7 to provide cleanup and restoration services!
How to Use a Fire Extinguisher
Our employees were taught how to use a fire extinguisher by our local fire department!
Over the years, we’ve seen how fires can impact people’s lives. They can destroy sentimental objects, ruin homes, and even hurt people themselves. While fire prevention should be on the top of everyone’s mind, it’s also important to know how to mitigate a fire should one actually break out.
Fire extinguishers are an important tool to have in any home or business because they can help put out small fires before they get out of control. But even if you have one, it’s just as important to know how one’s used. The easiest way to do this is by remembering this mnemonic: Pull, Aim, Squeeze, and Spray (P.A.S.S.).
- Pull. The first thing you need to do when using a fire extinguisher is to pull the pin, which will break the tamper seal.
- Aim. Next, you’ll need to aim the hose. It’s very important that you aim at the base of the flame!
- Squeeze. You then need to squeeze the handle so you can release the extinguishing agent at the flame.
- Spray. Finally, you’ll spray the agent in a side-to-side motion at the base of the flame. If the flame doesn’t fully extinguish, you’ll need to repeat the last three steps.
If you’ve never had to use a fire extinguisher before, it might seem overwhelming, but the P.A.S.S. method is a simple way to remember the process. If you’re unable to put out the fire, you should evacuate and call 911. Once the fire is put out, our team at SERVPRO of Burke County is available to clean up the fire and smoke damage!
3 Ways Your Business Can Mitigate the Risk of Fire Damage
Fires can cause significant damage, which is why it's important that you practice fire safety in your place of business!
Each year, dozens of businesses in our community suffer some form of fire damage. Sometimes this is in the form of minor soot and smoke damage; in other cases, this it’s in the form of a full-on fire. We all know fires can harm employees, disrupt production, and hurt the bottom line, but we’ve found many businesses don’t invest enough resources into mitigating their risk. There are many things your business can do, but we’ll provide a few steps you can take to reduce the odds of a workplace fire.
- Ensure all employees know how to use a fire extinguisher. Fires can happen when we least expect them, but the right measures can mitigate the damage. Fire extinguishers, for example, can help reduce the spread of certain fires. Be sure your employees know where to locate your extinguishers and know when and how to use them. You may consider calling your local fire department to ask for a demonstration!
- Advise employees not to leave the kitchen/breakroom while appliances are still in use. Few businesses have a traditional kitchen like you’d find in your home, but most have an area where employees can heat food and use select appliances. If this applies to your business, it’s highly recommended that you ask your employees to stay near the appliances while they are in use. We’ve seen several incidents where an unattended microwave caught fire!
- Introduce safety policies around electrical usage. Electricity is an important resource for modern businesses, but it doesn’t come without its risk. When electrical outlets are overworked or wires are exposed, for example, they are at risk of catching fire. Establish safety policies for your company and be sure your employees are aware of what they are!
We’ve seen firsthand how costly a commercial fire can be. In fact, many businesses that face a disaster aren’t able to reopen their doors. If you do have fire damage, however, our professional team is available 24/7 to clean it up and make it “Like it never even happened!”
3 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About SERVPRO of Burke County
Most people don't know we can clean a customer's belongings in-house!
Over the years, we’ve served thousands of customers with fire and water damages. Yet we’re often surprised at the things our customers don’t know about us. So whether you’re checking us out for the first time or you’ve been a customer in the past, we’re sharing some things you probably didn’t know about us.
- We have our own in-house textile cleaning facility. Back when we first started out, we would have to outsource some of our work to 3rd-party companies. Damaged textiles, for example, would have to be sent to a cleaning specialist. As we’ve grown, we’ve invested in our own textile cleaning facility, so we can clean damaged clothes, blankets, and more—all done in-house!
- We operate in the entire Unifour area. Although our name is SERVPRO of Burke County, we actually operate with the same team throughout the entire Unifour team. Owners Kim & Randy Williams gradually bought all four SERVPRO franchises and service the entire area with the same team!
- We’ve handled million dollar commercial jobs. Because we have over 60 employees, hundreds of equipment units, and have served thousands of customers, we’re capable of handling very large jobs. For example, our team has responded to the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, flooding at Martinsville Speedway, and a large fire at Valdese Weavers. Our team has helped many commercial customers get their business back up and operational.
There’s a lot that our team has and can do. Each year, we continue to grow and improve our services, so if you have a disaster, call SERVPRO of Burke County anytime at (828) 874-0966!
3 Fire Safety Practices You Should Perform in 2020
Smoke detectors can provide the crucial time you need to escape from a fire. Be sure to inspect yours at least once a month!
A new year equals a new you. We all have our own unique New Year’s resolutions, but there are some that we should all share as a society. Fire safety, for example, can help prevent fires and reduce the potential for fire-related casualties. We encourage fire safety, which is why we’re sharing three fire safety practices you should start this year!
- Test your smoke alarm. Most people treat smoke detectors as something you can set and forget. But as with any device, they can die or malfunction. That’s why you should test your smoke alarm at least once a month. Most devices have a button you can hold—if the device beeps, it’s good to go!
- Learn how to use a fire extinguisher. A fire extinguisher is a great tool to have on hand when a small fire breaks out. It’s also important to know how to use one. If you’ve never used a fire extinguisher before, we highly recommend you learn how. There are many resources available—from articles to YouTube videos. If all else fails, you can always visit your local fire department!
- Stop leaving an in-use kitchen unsupervised. Cooking-related fires are the leading causes of fires each year in the United States. These occur for many reasons, but they frequently occur when people leave their kitchen unattended while heating devices are in use. Fires can start in an instant, so don’t leave your kitchen unsupervised—even for a moment!
As a disaster restoration company, we’ve seen first-hand how destructive a fire can be. We’ve also seen how fire safety can mitigate that same destruction. We hope you’ll join us this year as we promote fire safety, and if you do have fire damage, know that our team is available any time!
3 Ways to Prepare for a Winter Storm
Winter can be a beautiful season, but it also brings potential danger. Always be prepared for the worst!
Winter brings a sense of wonder and enjoyment. It also brings freezing temperatures, snow, and ice storms. Although many of us look forward to seeing some precipitation this time of year, winter storms can cause damage to you and your home. Each year, these events bring down trees, increase the number of car accidents, and result in several water damages. Fortunately, you can take some preventative steps and still enjoy the winter season.
- Insulate your pipes. When temperatures drop below freezing, your pipes are at risk of freezing. When the ice begins to thaw, the increased pressure often causes these pipes to burst. To help avoid such an incident, ensure your pipes are well-insulated, especially if they are exposed!
- Equip your vehicle with an emergency kit. We strongly advise that you avoid the roads when the conditions are poor, but sometimes you just can’t help it. In any case, pack your vehicle with an emergency kit in case you get stuck or injured. Prepare a blanket, a first-aid kit, and even some food!
- Check your home’s structure. When snow and ice melt, they transition back into water. Unfortunately, if there are cracks or any other deficiencies in your home’s structure, that can lead to intrusion. This relatively slow leak can lead to long-term structural damage in the way of mold growth. In preparation, have your home’s structure inspected, and have any known issues addressed!
While we hope you have fun this winter, taking some time to prepare can go a long way in the future. If you do have water damage, however, know that our team is available 24/7!
Common Causes of Commercial Water Damage
Cracks and other deficiencies in your building's structure can allow rain to infiltrate your property!
Each year, dozens of businesses in the Morganton area have water damage. At best, these incidents are a minor inconvenience; at worst, they can halt operations and cost the company thousands of dollars. Over the years, we’ve helped hundreds of commercial properties recover from water damages, so we’re sharing some of the most common causes!
- Sprinkler system malfunction. A sprinkler system is a great investment as far as fire safety is concerned. After all, these systems have the ability to control a fire before it gets out of hand! But they also have the potential to cause unwanted water damage, such as if there’s a leak or if they discharge prematurely. While we encourage you to install a sprinkler system at your place of business, it’s equally important that you conduct regular maintenance and inspections.
- Pipe burst/leak. Your plumbing system contains pressurized water, so when there’s a break in the system, dozens of gallons can burst into your building. Many businesses in the community have faced this issue, though for varying reasons. Some incidents, for example, are caused by a workplace accident; others are the result of age and a lack of maintenance. Regardless, your property’s pipes should be protected and inspected at all costs!
- Structural leaks. Your building does more than just home your place of operations; it also protects it from the outside. Rain can cause a lot of damage, which many people experienced during the June floods, but the building’s structure prevents that from happening. If there’s a crack or other deficiency in the structure, however, it can allow rain to infiltrate your space. In fact, we’ve seen several buildings that were flooded because of some sort of structural damage.
As we’ve illustrated above, water damage can occur in the most unexpected ways. While it’s not possible to know when and how you’ll have a disaster, you can prepare for the most common kinds. If you regularly inspect your building and any water systems, you can hopefully identify issues before they occur. But if you do have water damage, know that our team of water mitigation professionals is always here to help!
What is a Puffback?
Your home's furnace can backfire and blow soot all in your home!
Imagine coming home one cold, fall evening to discover your living room is covered in soot. This is a reality many people in Burke County face in the cold seasons, often catching them by surprise. These incidents are called puffbacks, and they are more common than you might think.
What is a Puffback?
A puffback occurs when a furnace or boiler backfires and shoots soot into your home. These backfires occur because the heaters do not ignite properly and allow fuel to build up in the chamber. Once they do ignite, it can create anything from smoke to a small explosion. Regardless, these incidents push smoke and soot into the home, which in turn damages your belongings.
Cleaning Up a Puffback
Puffbacks are very messy and can be a major disturbance in your home. Although soot is very difficult to clean, our expert professionals have both the techniques and the cleaning products to clean and remove soot. If you have a puffback or any other soot-related incident, know that our team is always here to help!