ERP's and Why They Are Important
Being a business owner can have many responsibilities, and you may have to take on multiple roles.
In most cases, disaster is the last thing you are thinking about, but every business owner, regardless of how new or old your business is, should have a plan and guide for what to do in the event of a disaster.
SERVPRO of Raytown/East Kansas City offers a free community service called the "Emergency Ready Plan", or an ERP.
ERP's are handy little guides that we make at SERVPRO that contain basic information regarding your property, who owns the property, and where your emergency shut-off locations are.
We document and photograph, where your electrical, water, and gas shut-offs, are, as well as your sprinkler system and security system. We also have the contacts for those utility companies in the event that you must make contact.
Key contacts are also listed in the ERP, such as the owner, the insurance agent for the property, the SERVPRO representative, and the managers of the building.
The emergency contacts and services page has the fire department and police department's emergency and non-emergency numbers as well, that way, if contact is needed, you know where to find all those phone numbers and contact points.
It's very beneficial to have an ERP because although the business owner might know where everything is and who to contact, your employees might not know. Having a guide like this can help so much if the business owner is not present.
ERP's are very convenient as well, we are able to provide a paper copy, and we can provide a digital version on the Ready Plan app! Which makes ERP's very easy to access in times of need.
When you run a business, it's good to prepare for not just the next day's shift, but for the things that happen unexpectedly.
SERVPRO of Raytown/East Kansas City is always here to help!
If you’re in the process of buying a house or you’re looking for a new homeowners insurance policy, you might be familiar with what a flood zone is. If you don’t know what they are, you might want to start reading about them.
Zoning for Floods?
A flood zone is an area in a specific geographical space that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has determined has at least some risk of flooding. There are four primary types of zones, which correlate to the severity or category of excessive water events that can occur in that area.
- Moderate to Low-Risk Areas
- High-Risk Areas
- High Risk – Coastal Areas
- Undetermined Risk Areas
How to Find Your Zone
Each area’s zones are depicted on a community's Flood Insurance Rate Map, also known as FIRM, which can be found online at https://www.fema.gov/flood-insurance-rate-map-firm. You can also contact your local municipality or look on their website, most cities will have zoning information available online. You can try searching for the term “flood elevation certificate” for faster results.
Some people may think that these zones can only be found next to a large body of water or along a river or stream, but that’s not the case. Houses that are nowhere near a body of water can experience a flood if there’s a large rainstorm.
Knowing what kind of flood zone you live in can also be helpful for storage options and emergency preparedness. If you live in a high-risk zone, for example, you probably don’t want to put boxes directly on the floor, and you might want to increase the number of your emergency supplies.
If you weren’t aware that your home is potentially at risk for a flood, and a storm causes water-related damage, you should contact a storm damage specialist in your area to determine your best course of action and get the damage repaired as quickly as possible.
How To Reduce the Chance of a Kitchen Fire
Though fires can start in any area of the home, many fires often begin in kitchens, and kitchen fires can cause widespread damage to homes. Fortunately, there are various tips you can follow to help to reduce the chance of a kitchen fire occurring in your home.
1. Don't Leave Cooking Food Unattended
When cooking, it can be easy to become distracted. Though you may be tempted to leave your kitchen while cooking, however, this can result in a fire. Items left on a stovetop can burn and catch fire in a short period of time if high heat is used, and if you are out of the room when the fire begins, you may not be able to stop the fire from getting out of control. For these reasons, it's generally best to stay in the kitchen when cooking.
2. Clean Your Kitchen Often
When it comes to fire prevention tips, cleaning your kitchen can be beneficial. If grease has spilled on your stovetop or in your oven, or if you use a dirty, greasy pan, a fire can start quickly. A grease fire can be particularly dangerous because it can spread at an accelerated rate and cause major damage to your home. Cleaning your kitchen often, however, can reduce the likelihood of grease causing a fire.
3. Keep a Fire Extinguisher Nearby
Though a flame in a kitchen doesn't necessarily spell disaster if it is quickly extinguished, fires that aren't quickly controlled can cause devastation to homes. If a home has been affected by major fire damage, many homeowners find it helpful to contact emergency restoration services. However, the sooner you are able to extinguish a fire, the less likely it is that your home will sustain major damage. Having an ABC fire extinguisher (an extinguisher that can put out fires caused by trash, grease, or electricity) in your kitchen can be wise.
Since kitchen fires are incredibly common, knowing tips to prevent this type of fire can be useful to homeowners. Preventative methods can include remaining in your kitchen when cooking, frequently cleaning your kitchen, and keeping a fire extinguisher in your kitchen.
Five Methods to Quickly Extinguish a Fire
Oil can catch fire when cooking if frying food is left unattended, allowed to splatter, or heated to too high of a temperature. One of the most disastrous mistakes you can make when dealing with a grease fire is to try and use water to put out the flames as this will only make the fire spread. Instead, try any of the following five methods to quickly extinguish the fire before needing to call in the aid of the fire department and a fire cleanup company.
1. Turn Off the Heat
The first thing you should always do if grease catches fire while you are cooking is to turn off the heat. While you might be tempted to move the pot, leave it where it is.
2. Cover the Flames
If the fire is confined to a single pot or is only in a small area, covering it with an inflammable object like a metal lid can help put out the flames. Make sure not to use a glass lid that can shatter.
3. Baking Soda
If you have a large supply of baking soda on hand, dump as much as you can on the grease fire. The carbon dioxide released by baking soda helps to smother the fire.
Another effective way to put out a kitchen fire is to reach for the salt since it helps prevent the flames from accessing more oxygen. Typically, you require less salt to put out the fire than you need if using baking soda.
A fire extinguisher can be used as a last resort if you have one located nearby in your kitchen. Make sure to only use a Class B or K extinguisher to put out a fire caused by grease.
Experiencing a grease fire can be extremely frightening as the flames often spread quickly. Remember to put down the bucket of water and instead try one of these methods to safely extinguish the fire.
Is Your Business Prepared?
Up to 50% of businesses never reopen following a disaster. This usually happens because the amount of damage was too large and too expensive to recover from. Your business should be prepared to minimize the damage to your business so that doors can open back for business.
There are a few things you can do to make sure your establishment is ready.
A business that does reopen after a disaster must have a preparedness plan. You must identify the components of your business that are essential for it to continue running. Prepare a plan with the appropriate staff as well. Your staff must know who and what should happen in the case of an emergency.
Prepare your Emergency Plan
Have a plan in place. Letting SERVPRO prepare an Emergency Ready Plan (ERP) will help minimize the damage by having a quick response to an emergency. Knowing what and when to do will ensure that the right steps are taken. Something as simple as just knowing where the shutoff valves can save you from extensive water damage.
Review Your Insurance
Make sure you are familiar with your insurance. You need to know who to call when you need answers regarding your business. Understanding your policies will help you be able to know what is not covered and reassess if your needs require more coverage.
The physical damages to your property but also internal damage to important files and data. Be sure to have all your data backed up.
The 3 Essentials of Water-Damage Protection for Your Business
Understanding the Three Essentials of Storm Preparedness
The right amount of water in the right place is life-sustaining. When too much water makes its way to the wrong place, it can endanger lives and property. Weather conditions that cause flooding are a primary contributor to commercial property damage. Understanding the three essentials of storm preparedness may help you avoid costly water damage restoration, due to a severe weather event.
Preparing your coworkers may prove essential if rising water becomes a reality. Consider the following measures.
Registering with an emergency notification service
Providing your staff with emergency preparedness training by a water emergency specialist
Posting building evacuation routes
Preparing an emergency kit with first aid, water, non-perishable food, flashlights, batteries, towels, and blankets
Choosing an emergency preparedness team leader
With your staff now prepared, you may want to bring your building into compliance with flood-safe practices.
A few precautions can help you avoid costly water damage to your facility. Winterizing your irrigation backflow preventer in cold winters can prevent broken pipes. It may be useful to equip your sump pump with a battery backup that can allow the pump to run, even in a power outage. Regular cleaning of gutters and storm drains can prevent flood-favorable conditions from developing near your structure. With your staff and facility prepared, the third area to address is your financial protection.
Because water-related damage can result in the destruction of irreplaceable items, insurance coverage is recommended. If your business is located in a high-risk area, you may have been required to purchase a separate flood insurance policy when you purchased the property. Even if your flood risk is low, you may still benefit from a policy that includes coverage for other common types of water damage, such as roof or pipe leaks.
Because water cleanup is generally a disruptive and costly process, you may ultimately be glad you devoted some time to prepare. Taking care of a few preventive measures could prove well worth the trouble by minimizing the impact on your valuable property and your bottom line.
4th of July Summer Safety Tips
The 4th of July is one of the best times of the year in Missouri. Many people get together to celebrate freedom, friends, and food. Unfortunately, the holiday can also be dangerous due to different risks that are present. When trying to stay safe during the holiday, there are a few important safety tips to follow to protect yourself from harm.
Handle Fireworks with Caution
To prevent injuries and fires that are caused by fireworks in the community, certain precautions should be taken. Never allow small children to get near fireworks or handle them. Adults should be the only ones lighting off the fireworks and should do so on the ground at a safe distance from trees or other objects. Keep a fire extinguisher close by and avoid lighting more than one firework at the same time.
Grilling can also cause fires when you’re spending time flipping hamburgers and hot dogs outdoors. Look for leaks, holes, and cracks in the grill before you start using it on the 4th of July. Avoid grilling indoors or in an inclosed area. This can cause a fire to start and will lead to you to hire professionals such as SERVPRO of Raytown/East Kansas City to repair the damage. The grill should also be placed at least two feet away from the deck, branches, or the siding of the house.
Use a Pool Gate
Many people spend time in the pool cooling off from the warm temperatures in Missouri during the summer season. Keep it a safe activity by using a pool gate that will prevent children from getting into the water when they’re not supervised. Wireless outdoor sensors can also be installed to inform you if a child is near the pool. A first aid kit should also be on hand to tend to any injuries that can occur in the water. Kids should also use life jackets and floatation devices while swimming.
Practice Food Safety
Wash hands and clean the surfaces where you plan to prep food on the holiday. All meat should be cooked with a thermometer used to ensure that it reaches the right temperature to avoid food-borne illness. All leftovers should be refrigerated after two hours and not left outside. Toss out anything that sits outside for too long.
When trying to have a safe and memorable 4th of July, there are several safety practices to follow. With the right caution used, you can protect your family from harm and enjoy the day.
Why The Chemical Mercaptan Is a Lifesaver
The gas that heats many homes and provides energy for water heaters and clothes dryers is colorless and odorless. If it leaks from pipes or hoses it creates a dangerous situation due to its extreme combustibility. To make gas more detectable, engineers have added the chemical mercaptan, making it easily identifiable by its sulfurous, rotten egg smell. It is hard to estimate how many times a gas fire has been prevented by this chemical.
When a homeowner smells mercaptan it is a sure sign that somewhere in your home there is a gas leak. When this happens, immediate steps should be taken to shut off the gas or at least get people and pets out of the home and call the fire department.
The Best Actions To Take With a Natural Gas Leak
Specific actions can reduce the likelihood of a gas fire in a home or apartment. The goal is to stop the gas leak or increase the safety of everyone in the home. Here are the most effective actions to take:
Check all the appliances that use natural gas, beginning with the stove since this is the most likely source. Many times burners do not light, or go out, allowing gas to leak into the home. If you can find the source of the leak and stop it the emergency is over.
Increase the ventilation of your home by opening windows and doors. This enables the gas to dissipate and not collect in a certain area, reducing the likelihood of a gas explosion.
Don't use electrical devices, or even turn on lights, as this could ignite the gas.
Evacuate the home and call in the fire department
The Best Way To Handle Fire Damage
A gas fire in your home is likely to cause soot and smoke damage and loss of property. Call in a fire remediation team that will respond quickly and clean up the damage in a professional manner.
How Do Building Envelopes Work?
As a business owner in Unity Village, MO, you know how crucial it is to keep your building safe from all kinds of harm. One of the most dangerous risks that you may face is persistent rain damage. This threat can lead to various problems throughout your business, such as flooding and black mold. Fortunately, you can ensure that your company stays protected by establishing a secure envelope around your building. Here’s everything you need to know about how building envelopes work.
What Are Building Envelopes?
A building envelope refers to the construction and design of a building’s exterior that helps to repel the elements. There are numerous aspects of an envelope that allow it to do its job of keeping a building safe. Some of its most essential features include the following:
- Structural integrity
- Air pressure boundaries
- Temperature control
- Moisture control
Each of these elements plays a critical role in the effectiveness of a building’s envelope. It’s crucial to ensure that your envelope is shielded with these features so that it stays safe from rain damage.
The Importance of Building Envelopes
If you aim to keep your business protected from weather damage, the first place you should look is your building envelope. This structure acts as a major defense against rain, snow, hail, and various other types of water and air intrusion. Once a building’s envelope captures excess water, it sends the water to a drainage system, helping to prevent black mold from forming in your business. A strong envelope around your building also helps to regulate the transfer of heat in and out of your business, which ensures that your employees and customers stay comfortable all year long.
Rain damage can have a severe impact on your business, and strengthening your building’s envelope may help to deter some of the harm. If your company suffers any damage despite having a powerful building envelope, be sure to call commercial building restoration services so your building can make a full recovery.
How To Eliminate Mold in Ductwork
How To Eliminate Mold In Ductwork
High levels of moisture can cause mold to start growing inside HVAC ducts. Almost any type of mold, including black mold, can be supported by dust and debris inside of a heating and cooling system. Spores can spread throughout a structure through air ducts. If a musty odor is present or mold growth is evident, building owners or managers should take these three steps.
1. Locate the Source of Moisture
A building owner or manager should contact an HVAC specialist to identify the source of moisture and resolve the problem before scheduling a duct cleaning. Excessive moisture or mold growth may be evident in condensate drip pans, coils, or terminal units. It is also possible that a plumbing or roof leak is introducing water directly into the ductwork.
2. Clean the Air Ducts
A duct cleaning company can eliminate many types of mold. These services typically use high-powered vacuums to clean ducts. If black mold or signs of severe contamination are present, a property owner or manager may also want to consult with an indoor environmental professional. More extensive remediation work may be necessary if mold has spread beyond ducts.
3. Inhibit the Mold Growth
A duct cleaning company may also apply a mold inhibitor rated for HVAC use. This treatment can help to prevent mold from returning even if moisture levels increase. Property owners should keep moisture low by taking measures to prevent and quickly fix leaks, maintaining the HVAC system, and ensuring that indoor relative humidity levels remain between 30 percent and 50 percent.
These measures can help eliminate the presence of mold growth from ductwork and prevent fungus from returning. If black mold is found or there is a significant chance that mold has spread to other parts of a structure, a property owner or manager should also contact a mold cleanup and remediation company in Kansas City, MO.