College Campus: Dorm Safety Tips

Dorm Safety Tips

For many college students, living in a dorm during their freshman year of college is the first time they’ve lived away from home and, subsequently, without the supervision of their parents/guardians. Before heading off for their first year of dorm living, new college students should read over this list of safety tips and take a few minutes to make sure that they are living in a fire-safe environment. It’s probably beneficial for returning college students to give this list a read through too; whether living in the dorms or off campus, safety tips should not be overlooked.

 

Learn the building’s evacuation plan.

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Pay attention to signs for emergency exits in campus buildings when you’re acquainting yourself with your new home.

If you’re living on campus, chances are your dorm will have an emergency evacuation plan. Once you’re all settled into your new home, take some time to familiarize yourself with the building and learn the evacuation routes. Practice multiple escape routes in the event that your first option is obstructed during an emergency. Most college campus buildings should have an evacuation plan posted on each floor. If you live off campus, have an escape plan of your own with at least two ways out of each room. Knowing what to do before an emergency happens can help you to protect yourself as well as others.

 

Don’t overload your room’s electrical outlets.

Charred Electrical Outlet

Choose surge protectors or power outlet strips with their own circuit breakers that will cut power when overloaded.

Most electrical outlets in dorms are designed to handle a specific amperage. It’s best not to try to push them to their capacity by using too many multi-plug devices. Your school may also have policies restricting the use/plug-in of certain appliances. These limitations are meant to limit the number of potential electrical and fire hazards in your dorm. If you ever notice any scorched marks or burning odors around an electrical outlet, stop using that outlet and inform someone of the problem right away.

 

Cook with care.

Coffee-maker

College students can be pretty creative when it comes to cooking in the dorms. Make sure you’re abiding by school rules and cooking safely!

Be careful when cooking in your dorm or in the dorm’s community kitchen. Cooking equipment is involved in 86 percent of dormitory fires. If you do not have a kitchen in your dorm, then you should follow the school’s guidelines on what sort of plug-in cooking equipment is permitted for use in the dorms. Always be careful with electric frying pans, toasters, toaster ovens, microwaves, etc. Never leave your dorm when cooking appliances are in use.

 

Respect open flame policies.

holding candle

Candles are the most common source of open flame in a dorm room.

Most schools don’t allow you to smoke or burn candles or incense in the dorms. If you do smoke, be sure to do so in the designated areas on campus (most likely away from buildings). If your school does not allow smoking on campus, then you should follow that policy. Avoid burning candles or incense in your dorm room. If you burn them for the smell, try using essential oil diffusers to create a pleasant aroma in the dorm. You can also buy battery operated flame-less candles for the same flickering light/ambiance that a candle provides, but without the fire hazard. If you do still choose to burn candles or incense in your dorm, never leave them unattended and keep them away from flammable materials.

 

Don’t tamper with fire safety features in your dorm.

smoke_detector

Check the batteries for you smoke detectors regularly.

Most dorms should have smoke detectors. It is important that you do not cover them with any decorations in your dorm. Additionally, do not remove the batteries in your dorm’s smoke detector. It will send a signal to Public Safety to investigate the source of the problem. It is also important to have fresh batteries in your smoke detector so that it can properly do its job to keep you safe. If your dorm has a sprinkler system in place, don’t hang any decorations on it. Sprinklers are there to help put out a fire before firefighters can get there. They are especially important if your dorm is on an upper level as it can be more difficult for firefighters to get to the flames.

 

Be mindful of clutter and how you decorate your dorm.

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Any decor or clutter in your dorm could be fuel to a potential fire.

While decorating your dorm is how you can display your personality or bring some of home to school with you, it can also become potential fuel for a fire. Every poster or tapestry you hang on the wall, or piece of decor you hang from the ceiling, can be considered a fire hazard. Some schools may limit the amount of wall space that can be covered in your dorm, or may prohibit hanging things from the ceiling. Even if there are no restrictions, it would be wise to limit the amount of decor you hang in your room as well as to keep clutter to a minimum. Additionally, avoid draping materials over hot items like lamps that could potentially cause ignition. Furniture should also be kept away from the room’s heat source to reduce the risk of fire.

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by | August 17, 2017 · 8:00 am

5 Common Causes of Water Damage in Orange County

common causes of water damage

Unlike other parts of the country, rain isn’t the main cause of water damage in homes and other buildings in Orange County. Get to know some of the common causes of water damage so that you can do what you can to prevent it from happening on your property.

  1. Broken Pipes – A broken pipe can do a lot of damage to your home in just a short amount of time. Before you know it, gallons short amount of time. Before you know of water could be spewing through your home. Pay close attention to any leaks, drips, and signs of deterioration. Have a plumber come out to your house for regular maintenance, and if there ever is a broken pipe, you can always turn the water off before the plumber arrives in order to avoid further damage.
  2. Pinhole Leaks – common if a home has copper plumbing, a pinhole leak is a puncture of a copper pipe due to corrosion. If your home has a copper water system, check your pipes for signs of corrosion often.
  3. Old/Faulty Appliances – If you’re fridge or washing machines aren’t maintained well, or have gotten too old, they could start to leak and create a significant amount of water damage in your home. It’s especially important to keep an eye on the appliances in your kitchen, as water damage caused by your fridge or dish washer can affect not just your floor, but your cabinets as well. Often times, leaks that go undetected for some time will cause significant water damage behind cabinets, which in turn can lead to mold if the problem goes unnoticed for an extended period.
  4. Roof Leaks – We don’t typically see much rain here in Southern California, but when we do, a lot of homeowners tend to suffer water damage due to roof leaks. Check your roofs frequently and take care of any maintenance or repairs while the weather is still sunny. That way you won’t have to worry about your home flooding next time a storm hits.
  5. Accidents – Sometimes luck just isn’t on your side and one tiny mistake can lead to a big problem. A clogged toilet or too much soap in the dishwasher or washing machine can have water coming across your bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room. These parts of the home are generally better equipped than the rest of the house to handle a larger spill, but water moves fast and could potentially cause damage to the walls, ceiling, or other rooms in the home. If an accident ever does occur that you think calls for a professional, call SERVPRO of Tustin and we’ll make it like it never even happened!

(714)480-1340

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Filed under Property Managers, Tustin Community, water damage

7 Awesome Apps You Should Download To Make Your Life Easier

Download these apps

Whether it’s managing multiple properties, or taking care of everyone at home, we could all use a little help sometimes; that’s why we LOVE these apps that were designed to make life just a little bit easier. The best part about all of these apps? They’re all available to download for FREE!

  1. Evernote: Dubbing itself “your second brain,”, Evernote is an app that will collect, organize, and share notes from anywhere. You can collect all of your notes in one place and easily search for them in the app. You can also use Evernote’s various features to enhance your notes with tables, links, checklists, etc. It’s a perfect app for de-cluttering. It’s even available on your computer with a Google login.
  2. Habitica: It’s a task manager that turns your tasks into games! Habitica lets you input your habits, daily goals, and your to-do list. You even get to create a custom avatar! You earn points and “level-up” as you check off tasks and eventually earn in game or custom made rewards (like watching an episode of your favorite show) as you complete more tasks.
  3. Venmo: Don’t have cash? That’s ok! Venmo lets you share money instantly and securely with friends via the app. You can also request money from a friend as a way to remind them about any money they owe you. You can connect your contacts and Facebook account to find friends more easily. All you have to do is connect your bank account so that you can send and receive money. An money you are sent in the app is saved in your Venmo account, and you can cash it out to your regular bank any time (if you have money in your Venmo account, then it will pull from that first when you pay someone).
  4. Square Cash: It’s basically the same as Venmo but a different app. Some people prefer Square Cash to Venmo, so it’s good to have both apps so you can connect with all of your friends.
  5. Keelo: We’re all busy, which means it can be difficult to find time to work out. Keelo creates completely custom workouts that are perfect you (no matter what the skilltype), and they’re all under 20 minutes!
  6. Cozi Family Organizer: This app will let you store everyone’s activities and appointments in one place, create and share shopping lists and chores in real time, store recipes and add ingredients to your shopping list, and more! It’s the perfect app for busy families – keeping everyone on the same page.
  7. SERVPRO Ready Plan: Whether you’re an owner or a property manager (commercial or residential), the SERVPRO Ready Plan app allows for the creation of an Emergency READY Profile (ERP) for your home or business. The ERP helps you to prepare for the worst and compiles a list of all your emergency contacts for your home or business. You can also add your favorite local SERVPRO Franchise (SERVPRO of Tustin) so that you can call us with just the push of a button.

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Filed under Emergency tips, Owners, Property Managers, summer, Tech, Tustin Community

The Summer Heat May Be Affecting Your Home’s Appliances

Appliances in the heat

You know those hot summer days when you can feel the sun sucking away your energy? Well, the same thing can happen to your household appliances during the summer too. When the weather gets hot, there are some preventative measures you can take to protect the systems and appliances in your home.

The higher temperatures outside can create a buildup of moisture on your appliances inside. This extra moisture can cause appliances to degrade faster, and can potentially cause electrical shocks. Appliances can also sweat, causing water to settle around cords and wires. It can also flood the interior of the system, which can potentially lead to mold.

You also must be wary of your appliances overheating. Appliances may have higher surface temperatures, and can lose function when overheated, or require more electricity to work properly. Most appliances use more energy during summer months because they have to work even harder to maintain a cool temperature themselves.

AC Units often have to work harder in the summer because in addition to cooling your home, they also work to remove moisture from the air. Consider installing a dehumidifier with your HVAC system, or using one in rooms where it gets hottest. The dehumidifier can remove moisture from the air and allow the Air Conditioner to work solely on cooling your home.

You should also maintain regular cleaning/maintenance of your unit’s filters and coils in order to ensure that it is working properly. The same should go for your fridge/freezer. Dirty coils can lead to overheating, which could leave you without an AC unit or a fridge.

Your fridge should also be kept somewhere cool (avoid hot garages). Once you find the right place for your fridge, be sure to give it ample breathing room. The fridge needs enough room to release heat, but you don’t want that heat to become trapped and cause the unit to overheat and stop working.

You should maintain regular upkeep and maintenance of all of your household appliances all year long, but it’s especially important to be mindful of how they can be affected in this summer heat. Should you require emergency services, call SERVPRO of Tustin 24/7 at 714-480-1340

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Filed under Emergency tips, fire safety, water damage

No AC? No Problem! 9 Hacks for Staying Cool This Summer

SERVPRO of Tustin

9 hacks for staying cool Blog title

It’s hard getting through these Southern California Summers without any air conditioning. Luckily for us, generations before us had to suffer through the heat before air conditioning was even invented and left us with some tried and true methods for staying cool all summer long!

  1. Turn off electronics when not in use. When electronics are turned on, they are producing heat. If you have electronics that you don’t use very often plugged in or turned on, keep them unplugged and/or turned off to keep them producing even more heat in your home. You can save some money on your electricity bill too!
  2. Place a bowl of ice in front of your fan. While it’s important to remember that fans cool people, not rooms, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel good to have a fan blowing cool air on you. If you’re really desperate to cool down, place a bowl…

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No AC? No Problem! 9 Hacks for Staying Cool This Summer

9 hacks for staying cool Blog title

It’s hard getting through these Southern California Summers without any air conditioning. Luckily for us, generations before us had to suffer through the heat before air conditioning was even invented and left us with some tried and true methods for staying cool all summer long!

  1. Turn off electronics when not in use. When electronics are turned on, they are producing heat. If you have electronics that you don’t use very often plugged in or turned on, keep them unplugged and/or turned off to keep them producing even more heat in your home. You can save some money on your electricity bill too!
  2. Place a bowl of ice in front of your fan. While it’s important to remember that fans cool people, not rooms, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel good to have a fan blowing cool air on you. If you’re really desperate to cool down, place a bowl of ice in front of the fan to make the air even cooler.
  3. Switch to sheets that’ll keep you cool. Lightweight cotton and linen sheets are perfect for hot summers. They’re breathable fabrics, perfect for promoting ventilation and airflow in your bedroom.
  4. Freeze your sheets. If that’s still not enough to keep you cool during those hot summer nights, try sticking your sheets in the freezer. A few minutes before you get ready for bed, put your sheets in a plastic bag and put them in the fridge or freezer. This obviously won’t last all night, but it could be enough to keep you cool while you fall asleep.
  5. Avoid the stove and the oven. Summer is the perfect time to explore more room temperature meals (like a salad). Cooking with heat when it’s already hot out and there’a no AC Unit to cool you down can turn your home into a life-size oven! If you get the itch to bake, try some no-bake cookies and ice box cake recipes!
  6. Hang a wet sheet in front of the window. Grab an extra bed sheet and mist it. Then hang it in front of an open window. When a breeze or gust of wind comes through, it will create a cooling effect on your home.
  7. You can also cover your windows to keep the hot sun out. California sun is strong, so sometimes it’s best to keep the blinds or curtains drawn in the afternoons when the sun is strongest. If you still want to take advantage of natural lighting, try shutters or blinds that can block some of the light while still letting some through.
  8. Replace incandescent light bulbs. Not only are they costing you more on your energy bill, they’re making your home hotter. Make the switch to compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED light bulbs.
  9. Spend time outside. Summer is a great time to enjoy outdoor activities. Even if it’s hot out, it may feel nicer to be outside than in a stuffy home that has no AC. Outdoor activities on or near the beach can be a good way to cool down a bit and enjoy the ocean breeze!

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Filed under summer, Tustin Community

Tips For Preventing Water Damage in Your Apartment Community

With so many shared walls and spaces, water damage in an apartment community can get messy pretty quickly. Of course you can never know when an emergency situation will occur, but it’s in your best interest as a property manager, as well as in the best interest of your residents, to always be ahead of the game. Take these measures today to prevent water damage tomorrow.

  1. Check On Aging Appliances Regularly – If the property you manage includes a fridge, dishwasher, and/or washer/dryer in unit, you should closely monitor the age of the appliances as well as routinely checking them for cracked or damaged hoses or connections. Washer hoses should be replaced about every five years. It’s a good idea to replace washers and dryers before there’s a problem. It may cost more money now, but it could save you a lot of money and a headache or two in the future.
  2. Repair Old or Damaged Roofs When It’s Dry – Don’t wait for a big rain storm to find out that the roofing at your unit(s) needs replacing. Make routine checkups to monitor the condition of the roof(s) at your property. Make time and room in the budget to make any replacements or upgrades necessary during the dry season so that you can avoid water damage in the wet season.
  3. Stay in Touch with Your Residents and Know When they’re Traveling – Many people go on vacations during the summer. Talk to your residents about having their water shut off while they’re gone or, alternatively, having someone check on their apartment from time to time while they’re gone. If a water leak occurs while they’re away and no one is checking in, a small problem could potentially turn into something much worse.
  4. Clear Downspouts Consistently – This is especially important if there are a lot of large trees throughout your apartment community. When leaves, branches, and other debris clog the gutters, the risk of flooding is increased. Clear all debris from the gutters frequently. If you know a storm is about to hit, make sure everything is clear and that water is being effectively carried away from the building.
  5. Apply Dry-Proofing Methods – One cost effective way to prevent large scale water damage in low-lying areas is to apply waterproofing coatings and sealings. You can also elevate electrical equipment at least three feet off of the floor and install waterproof structures around circuits and electrical breakers.
  6. Check For HVAC System Blockages – If the line that moves condensation from the HVAC system is backed up, it can create serious water damage. Backed up water can seep through ceilings and through light fixtures or in between walls. When water leaks between walls, it can go undetected and result in mold damage in addition to water damage.

Of course, in the unfortunate event that water damage does affect your community, call SERVPRO of Tustin for fast response and services.

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Filed under Apartments, Commercial Loss, Property Managers, Tustin Community, water damage, water removal