Lightning Safety and Education
Lightning is supersonic!
Lightning strikes the Earth approximately 100 times every second. At up to one billion volts, it is one of the most powerful forces of nature. Due to the high amount of thunder storms, Florida is sometimes called the lightning capital of the world. It's important for everyone living here in South Florida, or even just visiting, to know some basic lightning safety.
What is lightning?
Let's start by looking at what causes lightning. Lightning is caused when negatively charged air particles in the clouds shoot out to meet positively charged trees, lightning rods, ground, etc. The positively charged ground reaches back up to meet up with the negative air particles. When the positive and negative charges meet, the electricity in the air causes it to heat up to 30,000 kelvins (over 53,000 degrees Fahrenheit!). The surface of the sun, in comparison, is only 6,000 kelvins (a little over 10,000 Fahrenheit). The air heats up faster than the speed of sound, creating the crackling SNAP! of thunder. That's the sound of air breaking the sound barrier!
Lightning Safety Tips:
- When lightning is in the area, seek shelter right away- indoors is the safest place for you
- Consider installing a lightning protection system for your home- they are relatively inexpensive and can protect your electronics from lightning strikes
- If there is no lightning protection system, stay away from corded electronics as they can carry the dangerous current for miles
- Only fully-covered metal-framed cars are safe in a thunderstorm- convertibles, motorcycles, and fiberglass-based cars are not safe!
- Stay out from under trees since lighting can still hurt you even if it's not a direct hit
Lightning Fun Facts:
- Lightning strikes have a 10-30% mortality rate
- There's a 1 in 3000 chance you will be struck by lightning in your lifetime
- Lightning often strikes the same place twice- in fact, someone that has been struck once already is more likely to be struck again!
- Lightning can strike 10-15 miles away from the thunderstorm under clear skies- these are called "bolts from the blue"
- Wearing metal has no bearing on whether or not lightning strikes you
- Lightning strikes 30 million different places on the ground in the US every year
Mold Prevention: What You Can Do
Mold often forms on perishable foods, so check and toss old food regularly.
Mold is everywhere- in the air, the water, the dirt, and even in the foods we eat. Molds and fungi can be beneficial to humans in a number of ways, but some molds that can form in buildings can be a huge health hazard. In south Florida, it's impossible to be completely mold-free, but this mold prevention guide will show you what you can do to ensure mold never becomes a threat to you or your family.
Indoors, be sure your air conditioning it set to a low enough temperature to always be ventilating all the rooms in your house, and constantly filtering any mold spores and other particles out of the air. Investing in a good quality air filter, and changing it regularly can help prevent the growth of mold.
Another key to mold prevention is to keep a clean house- inside and out. Clean thoroughly and regularly to prevent mold from forming in the first place or sticking around.
When choosing cleaning supplies, aim to pick a cleaner that is pet and child safe, but also makes the claim of eliminating mold and mold spores. Any messes involving water or other liquids should be cleaned thoroughly with these agents as soon as you notice them.
If a water leak is a recurring problem (like a leaky fridge or AC unit), seek out professional help in repairing the problem, and then call SERVPRO Ft. Lauderdale North (or to find your local SERVPRO call 1-800-SERVPRO) to check the inside of your walls and floors for mold. There can be dangerous mold hiding out in your walls without you even knowing!
Be on the lookout for these signs of a mold presence in your household:
- small black dots on surfaces
- strong musty odors
- any evidence of past moisture problems (discoloration, warped floors or walls, etc)
- excessive humidity
Mold prevention in South Florida is necessary to keep your family healthy, so make sure you do all you can to prevent mold before it becomes a problem. And should you ever need mold remediation services SERVPRO Ft. Lauderdale North will make it "like it never even happened."
Flood Preparation and What it Means for You
According to NOAA, flooding is a daily threat from coast to coast in the US.
Flooding and flash floods can happen anywhere and to anyone. You may not think you're at risk for flood damage, but even the highest and driest of places can be at risk, so it's important to have a flood preparation plan. But first, let's take a closer look at flooding and why it happens:
Causes of flooding-
Sometimes flooding can move in with very little warning and very quickly, we call this manner of flooding "flash flooding." Both kinds of floods can be caused by:
- spring thaw/snow melting
- seasonal flooding
- dams or levy's breaking
- tide/storm surge
- river's over-flowing
NOAA has more information on floods and flood safety on their website.
How to build a flood preparation plan-
Know your area. Someone in the middle of the country won't have to worry about storm surge, but may be more at risk for their rivers overflowing with the spring thaw. If you are given the opportunity (in the case of severe storms or hurricanes, and other predictable phenomenon), evacuate your property. Make sure any important documents are secured in a flood proof safe. Be informed about your insurance plan- most don't cover flooding. If you feel you may need flood coverage, alter your plan before disaster strikes.
Flood preparation includes having a plan for after the fact. Know who to call for insurance purposes. Do you own the property, or do you rent? Do you have renter's insurance for your belongings? These are all questions you should keep into consideration while making your plan.
Flood waters are often category 3, also known as "black" water. This water can look safe and clean, but harbors dangerous pathogens and should be avoided, if possible. Never try to clean up water damaged property by yourself. Call in professionals like those at SERVPRO Ft. Lauderdale North to handle the cleanup for you.
Hurricane Preparation 2017 Tips and Tricks
NOAA's website has the latest information on developing storms.
With the height of hurricane season looming, hurricane preparation should be top priority for all Florida residents. SERVPRO Ft. Lauderdale North is here to help with these hurricane preparation tips.
Hurricane preparation tips:
- Before a storm hits make sure you've stocked up on clean drinking water or bottled water- one gallon per person per day for no less than three days.
- Fill large freezer bags with water and freeze them with your freezer turned to its coldest setting. If the power goes out, you'll have blocks of ice to preserve things in the fridge and coolers.
- Invest in a battery powered or hand crank radio to stay up-to-date on what's going on in your area.
- Fill your vehicle's gas tank and any gas cans ahead of time.
- Having a few camping lanterns will come in handy in the event of any power failures.
- Unplug TVs, computers, and appliances before the storm to avoid damages to electronics.
- Consider boarding up your house and going out of town until officials in your area say it's safe to return.
- If you can't stay with friends or family outside of evacuation zones, be aware of your nearest hurricane shelter, and overnight kennels for your furry friends.
- Be sure to withdraw cash from your bank account before the storm as some banks can be closed for days until power is restored.
Hurricane preparation is the most important skill for a south Florida family. The American Red Cross has a complete hurricane preparation checklist available here. Your hurricane preparation should be complete well before a storm hits. SERVPRO Ft. Lauderdale North hopes you have a safe and damage-free storm season, but should disaster strike, SERVPRO Ft. Lauderdale North will arrive "faster to your disaster" and make it "like it never happened."
Carpet Cleaning: Why Should I Have It Done?
Regular steam cleaners just don’t cut it- call SERVPRO Ft. Lauderdale North today!
Everyone knows to vacuum their carpets every day- whether it be at work or at home- but not everyone knows they should also be doing deep cleanings regularly with trained professionals like those at SERVPRO Ft. Lauderdale North. So today you’re going to be learning about the benefits of regular carpet cleaning.
Thorough carpet cleaning eliminates harmful particles that may be lurking in the debris caked into your carpet. These particles can include:
- mold spores
- allergens such as pet dander and pollen
- dirt tracked in from outside that may contain fecal matter and lead
- dust and dust mites
- pesticides and paint particles
Regular carpet cleaning can not only reduce the risk of these particles negatively affecting small children and pets, but can also help protect the elderly, the immune compromised, and people who suffer from allergies or asthma.
Along with the above-mentioned health benefits, carpet cleaning is also important to businesses. The aesthetic of clean floors allows customers to be less distracted, and focus more on what you have to sell to them. Carpet cleaning is also good for the longevity of your carpet. As larger items like staples become trapped in the carpet, it can rip up and destroy the fibers little by little. Regular cleanings can assure your carpets last.
Carpet Cleaning and Stress-
Everyone knows that your everyday surroundings shape how you look at life. At home and the workplace, cleaner floors means feeling better and happier, as well as easing stress-related anxiety and depression. A clean work environment also drastically increases productivity which can lead to higher profits.
Happy carpets means happy people. SERVPRO Ft. Lauderdale North can help with all your carpet cleaning needs. “Faster to your (carpet) disaster.”
Water Loss Categories... What Do they Mean?
Don't get swamped in a water loss, call SERVPRO Ft Lauderdale North!
IICRC Water Loss Categories
At SERVPRO Ft Lauderdale North, we understand that you hope you never have to call us for a water loss. But unfortunately, sometimes fate has other plans. When a water loss strikes, arming yourself with knowledge is the first step to avoiding severe water damage. In the water restoration business, we have refer to three categories of water, as laid out by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification or IICRC. We refer to these as categories 1, 2, and 3.
- Don't get swamped in a water loss, call SERVPRO Ft Lauderdale North!
Category 1 Water
Category 1 water is the least contaminated, and therefore the least hazardous to your well being. Category 1 water is any water that comes from a potable water source. However, just because a water loss is has category 1 water doesn't mean that the issue should be ignored. Category 1 water can quickly degrade into category 2 water is left standing.
Category 2 Water
Category 2 water is defined by the IICRC as "having a level of contaminates that may cause illness or discomfort if ingested." This can include water from sources such as backed up drains, dishwashers, and toilet overflows that contain urine, but not feces. If you believe you have a category 2 water in your water loss, it is even more important to seek professional help, such as SERVPRO Ft. Lauderdale North, immediately. The microbial growth that can occur in category two water can be hazardous to your health, and should be removed as soon as possible.
Category 3 Water
The final category of water that can occur in a water loss is category 3 water. This water is defined by the IICRC as "the worst classification and is grossly unsanitary. It could cause severe illness or death if ingested. It used to be called black water, and sources include sewer backup, flooding from rivers or streams, toilet overflow with feces, and stagnant liquid that has begun to support bacterial growth."
Category 3 water requires special remediation techniques due to the highly hazardous nature of the water, and should only be cleaned up by an IICRC certified restoration company, such as SERVPRO Fort Lauderdale North. Attempting to clean a large category 3 loss without professional knowledge or equipment can lead not only to loss of property, but also damage to your health.
No matter what category of water you find in your water loss, SERVPRO of Fort Lauderdale North has the equipment and know-how to make your water loss "Like it never even happened."
To learn more about SERVPRO Fort Lauderdale North's water restoration services, click here.
Is Your Family at Risk from Lead Paint?
Is your family at risk from lead paint exposure?
What You Need To Know
Lead paint was commonly used in the US prior to 1978, when it was banned, but not before being used in over 38 million homes. Exposure to lead can affect development of the brain and nervous system, particularly in children. This can cause reduced IQ, learning disabilities and behavioral problems. Older homes, child care facility, schools and other buildings are more likely to contain lead paint, the percentages are as follows:
- Built between 1960-1978= 24%
- Built between 1940-1960= 69%
- Built before 1940= 87%
What Do I Do About Lead Paint?
Usually, lead paint that is in good repair and maintained properly is not hazardous. The danger comes whenever paint dust is present, or the paint is disturbed, either by peeling or by a construction or restoration project. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires firms performing renovation, repair and painting projects on buildings with lead paint to be certified by the EPA in the use of lead-safe practices. An EPA certified firm shall follow the following lead-safe procedures.
- Contain the work area
- Minimize dust
- Clean up thoroughly
SERVPRO of Fort Lauderdale North is certified by the EPA to handle restoration jobs involving lead paint safely, using approved procedures to avoid potential harm to your family.
How Can I Protect My Family From Lead Exposure?
- If you are renting your property, notify your landlord if you notice peeling or chipping paint.
- Clean up any paint chips immediately.
- Regularly clean floors, window sills and other painted surfaces. Use a mop, sponge or paper towel with warm water and an all purpose cleaner, or a cleaner designed specifically for lead.
- Thoroughly rinse sponges and mop heads after cleaning dusty areas.
- Wash children’s toys, bottles and pacifiers often.
- Keep children from licking or chewing on window sills or other painted surfaces.
- Make sure children maintain a healthy diet, as recommended by the USDA. A healthy diet lowers the risk of harm from lead.
- Clean and remove shoes before entering your home to avoid tracking in lead from soil.
When it comes to the safety of your family, you don’t want to take any unnecessary risks. If you’re in need of a restoration service, contact SERVPRO of Fort Lauderdale North, the team you know will work safely in a lead paint environment.
Where to Turn for Automotive Biohazard Cleanup
SERVPRO Fort Lauderdale North Can Restore Automotive Biohazard Damage
What is an Automotive Biohazard and How Does one Occur?
An automotive biohazard occurs when an organic fluid, most commonly blood is introduced into a vehicle, usually the cabin area. This can lead not only to a difficult stain to clean, but a potential hazard for the vehicle owner.
There are many causes for an automotive biohazard. The first and most obvious cause of an automotive biohazard is one everyone prays will not happen to them, an automotive accident. Most people don’t have a real plan for how to recover from a car crash, despite the fact that 27,000 accidents occur every single day. Most of these result in minor damage, and only 0.3% result in a fatality.
Everyone knows the immediate plan, call the police, file an insurance claim and wait for the damage to be repaired. But what if the damage is not something that a mechanic is trained to handle, like blood or other organic material? Even a minor injury from an accident can cause blood stains inside a vehicle.
There are other reasons a car may be contaminated with a biohazard as well. A minor injury can cause quite a lot of bleeding, and emergencies that don’t require an ambulance often cause some staining of blood in the car used to reach the ER. A woman entering labor, also, would need transportation to a hospital and cay cause an automotive biohazard.
What to Do if Your Vehicle is Contaminated
A biohazard contaminated vehicle needs more than just a simple cleaning, it needs a dull decontamination of the organic material. Organic material can be difficult to clean, and also needs to be properly sanitized to ensure safety for the vehicle owner. Enter SERVPRO. Our highly trained Automotive Biohazard Remediation Specialists will not only clean the staining, but also make sure there is no risk of bacterial infection or other dangers left inside your vehicle. Click Here to learn more about SERVPRO’s biohazard cleanup system.
9 Holiday Fire Safety Tips From the American Red Cross
Using candles safely is one of the Red Cross' holiday fire safety tips.
Holiday Fire Safety Tips
The holidays are a time for decoration, celebration and family. But with our secor and festivities comes a creater risk of fire. Candles, festive lights, decor and large scale cooking all come with the season, but can lead to some dangerous scenarios. In fact, The American Red reports that nearly 47,000 fires occur during the winter holidays claiming more than 500 lives, causing more than 2,200 injuries, and costing $554 million in property damage! Listed below are some holiday fire safety tips to make your holiday season safe and wonderful.
- Place Christmas trees, candles, and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents and candles.
- Purchase flame retardant metallic or artificial trees. If you purchase a real tree, make sure that it has fresh, green needles that aren’t easily broken. Keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water.
- Make sure that light strings and other holiday decorations are in good condition. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed. 9 Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed.
- Use only sturdy tree stands designed not to tip over. Keep curious pets and children away from Christmas trees.
- Keep anything that can catch on fire—pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from your stove top.
- Designate one person to walk around your home to make sure that all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave.
- Smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.
Is your Boat or Yacht Air Quality Ship Shape?
Is there mold lurking in your boat?
On a yacht, air quality is often overlooked.
At SERVPRO of Fort Lauderdale North, we love boats.
Not only do we love seeing boats, we also love working on them. Many people don't realize that due to the the extreme conditions under which boats and yachts operate, the air quality on board can become contaminated with hazardous mold or bacteria. In fact, the EPA estimates that indoor air pollution, such as that on board a yacht can reach up to 100 times as contaminated as outdoor air. Symptoms of poor yacht air quality can include irritation of the eyes, skin, nose, sore throat, headaches, colds and flu, dizziness, nausea and fatigue. The long term effects of exposure to poor yacht air quality can include, but may not be limited to:
- Severe allergies
- Heart disease
- Respiratory disease
- Reproductive disorders
- And even cancer!
But fortunately, there is a simple solution...
If you own a boat or insure a boat (or know someone who does) and you suspect that the air quality of the vessel may be in need of an inspection, give the Yacht Air Quality and Mold Remediation Specialists at SERVPRO of Fort Lauderdale North a call at 954-733-1006.
On land or on the water, SERVPRO of Fort Lauderdale North is always here to help!