Tag Archives: emergency preparedness

fire prevention week

It’s Fire Prevention Week! This year the National Fire Protection Association is reiterating the importance of planning at least two ways out when creating your fire escape plan.

About only half of Americans have developed a home fire escape plan – a quarter of those have never even practiced it. Planning (and practicing!) an escape route from your home can be the difference between life and death if there is ever a fire in your home. A regularly practiced fire escape plan can ensure that everyone in the home knows what to do and where to go when there’s a fire.

Home fires can spread very quickly, and that is why it is so important to plan at least two ways out of every room. If the fire spreads and blocks your first path out, you need to be able to react quickly and move on to plan B.

Your home fire escape plan should include working smoke alarms on every level of the home, as well as in every bedroom. There should be two ways out of every room, usually a door and a window. The escape plan should also include a clear path to an outdoor meeting place (like a tree or mailbox) that is a safe distance from the home. Once you’ve created your home escape plan, be sure to practice it at least twice a year with all members of the household, including pets!

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Filed under Emergency tips, Fire Damage Restoration, fire safety, Owners, Property Managers, Tustin Community, Uncategorized

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.

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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.

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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

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

How To Keep Your Pets Safe When There’s A Fire

Approximately 500,000 pets are affected by house fires each year. Many house fires are caused by pets, especially when left home alone. Read over these tips to help prevent any accidental fire started by your pets and for keeping your pets safe in the event there is a fire in your home. Make sure you include your dog, cat, or other pets in your family’s emergency plan.

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Prevent Your Pets From Starting A Fire

    • Beware of candles and other open flames. Dogs are curious creatures and may take interest in a flickering flame. If you do have any open flames in your home at any time, be sure to never leave them unattended and to keep an eye on your pets. If you’re using a fireplace, consider getting a fireplace screen to protect pets when sleeping in front of the fire. Also make sure the fire is completely out before heading out or going to bed. Small sparks and coals can get through a screen and result in a fire.
    • Secure wires and cords. Pets are often tempted to chew on loose wires and cords. Exposed wires can be a fire hazard, so consider securing any electrical objects so that their cords are out of reach.
    • Don’t use glass bowls for your pets’ water. When filtered and heated through glass, the sun’s rays can ignite the wood beneath the bowl and set a deck in flames. Try using a stainless steel or ceramic bowl instead.

 

Keep Your Pets Safe After/During A Fire

    • Place a pet fire sticker on the door or window. In the event of a fire when you’re away, having a pet sticker will help rescuers know how many pets to look for, saving valuable time and hopefully your pets.
    • Use monitored smoke detectors. Pets left home alone can’t escape on their own when there’s a fire. Monitored smoke detectors contact emergency responders when you’re not home and add an extra layer of protection beyond that of battery-operated smoke alarms.
    • Keep pets near entrances when you’re away from home. Keep collars (with ID tags) on your pets at all times and leave leashes by the entrance or somewhere easy to find in an emergency. This will help firefighters to find and rescue your pets when they arrive.
    • Know where your pets’ hiding spots are. It’s important that you can find your pets quickly if there’s a fire. Know where your pets like to sleep and especially where they like to go when they are scared or anxious (under the bed or hidden in a quiet corner of the house somewhere)
    • Have an emergency plan in place and make sure everyone in the house knows what to do in the event of a fire. Know who will be in charge of getting your pets outside safely. Have someone in charge of leashes and pet carriers so that they can be safely secured once you’re outside. In the event that you can’t find your pet when exiting, leave doors and windows open on your way out and call to them so that they come out on their own.
    • Practice fire drills with your pets. It is important to include your pets in the family fire drills. Practice finding them and getting out of the house. Also practice the “open access” scenario where you leave an exit open (preferably the one they’re most comfortable with) and call to them to come out of the home. The more you practice, the more likely they are to come out in the event of an actual fire.

Yellow Lab by Fire Place

If you have any questions or require restoration services due to fire damage in your home, call SERVPRO of Tustin at (714)480-1340. Our crews are available 24/7 for services.

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Filed under Emergency tips, Fire Damage Restoration, fire safety, Owners

What Are You Doing To Prevent Water Damage In Your Tustin Home?

We here at SERVPRO of Tustin are experts when it comes to water damage. With over 30 years in the restoration industry, we’ve seen it all. Though our specialty is restoring your home to preloss conditions after you suffer water damage and making it “like it never even happened”, we have some tips for how you can prevent any future water damage to your home.

  1. Watch Your Water Bill

    • So often, homeowners don’t realize there’s a leak until major damage is done. If your water bill seems unusually high, there may be something going on behind the walls or beneath the floorboards. Monitor your bill closely to catch any potential leaks early.
  2. Investigate Leaks Promptly

    • If there is a water leak in your home, it is imperative that you take care of it quickly. Moisture in your home that is left untreated can result in mildew or mold and even structural damage to your property. Additionally, water damage that isn’t treated within 48 hours could potentially become contaminated.
  3. Be Careful Where (And What) You Plant

    • Some plants, such as willows, elms, and maples, have invasive roots that could cause problems for your property. Before planting a tree, find out about its root system. Never plant a tree less than 10 ft. from your home’s foundation; trees with invasive roots may need to be even further (25 to 50 ft. away) in order to ensure the roots don’t damage your water and sewer lines.
  4. Ensure Proper Drainage

    • Clear your gutters regularly to make room for rain water. Downspouts from your gutters should be directed at least 5 ft. away from your home. It is best to have the water flow onto a hard surface (such as a driveway) or to have a splash guard designed to spread the water and keep it from puddling on the ground.
  5. Check Home Appliances Regularly

    • Oftentimes, flooding in the home is caused by a leak from a fridge or dishwasher, etc. Check and maintain your home’s appliances regularly, and follow the manufacturer’s directions to fix any possible leaks. It is also a good idea to regularly replace the hose for your washing machine. Leaky hoses are a common cause of residential water damage.

Of course these are just some ways to prevent water damage. Unfortunately, not all forms of water damage are preventable. Disaster can strike at any moment, no matter how prepared you may be. We hope it doesn’t happen to you, but if it does, call SERVPRO of Tustin and we’ll make it “like it never even happened!”

714-480-1340

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What You Should Keep In Your Emergency Safety Kit

We’re thrilled to be partnered with the American Red Cross as a Disaster Responder because here at SERVPRO of Tustin, we’re always “Ready for Whatever Happens” and we want you to be too! You never know when a disaster may strike, so it is important to have an emergency preparedness kit ready to go at a moment’s notice to use at home or to take with you in the event you must evacuate.

According to our friends at the American Red Cross, you should, at minimum, have the basic supplies listed below:

    • Water: one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
    • Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home).
    • Flashlight
    • Battery powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
    • Extra batteries
    • First aid kit
    • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
    • Multi-purpose tool
    • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
    • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
    • Cell phone with chargers
    • Family and emergency contact information
    • Extra cash
    • Emergency blanket
    • Maps of the area

You should also consider the needs of all family members and add supplies to your kit as needed. Suggested items to help meet additional needs are:

    • Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc)
    • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
    • Games and activities for children
    • Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
    • Two-way radios
    • Extra set of car keys and house keys
    • Manual can opener

Additional supplies to consider keeping at your home or in your emergency supply kit:

    • Whistle
    • N95 or surgical masks
    • Matches
    • Rain gear
    • Towels
    • Work gloves
    • Tools/supplies for securing your home
    • Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
    • Plastic sheeting
    • Duct tape
    • Scissors
    • Household liquid bleach
    • Entertainment items
    • Blankets or sleeping bags

You never know when a disaster might arise.

Keep you emergency kit somewhere easily accessible for if and when the time comes that you need it. You should also practice fire drills with your family and plan out multiple evacuation routes should you ever need to evacuate your home. Make sure that everyone knows what to do in case of emergency. Whether it’s the Big One, a house fire, or an unexpected storm, we want you to be “ready for whatever happens!”

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Fire Safety Tips for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for family and friends to come together and enjoy a delicious meal, but it can also be a potentially dangerous situation. Thanksgiving is the number one day for home fires involving cooking equipment, so be sure to practice these safety tips courtesy of the National Fire Protection Association:

  • Remain in the kitchen while you’re cooking, and keep a close eye on what you fry! Always stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food. If you have to leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove. Regularly check on food that’s simmering, baking or roasting, and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
  • Keep any items that can catch fire such as oven mitts, recipes, towels, and food packaging away from the stove
  • Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.
  • Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  • Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
  • Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
  • If you’re cooking a turkey using a disposable aluminum pan, consider doubling up and using two pans to avoid a puncture, as dripping turkey juices can cause an oven fire.
  • If you have a small (grease) cooking fire on the stove-top and decide to fight the fire: Smother the flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled. For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.

In the event of a serious fire at home, call 911 or your local fire department right away.

Call SERVPRO of Tustin at (714) 480-1340. 24/7 Emergency Services and our expert specialists are standing by to answer any questions you may have or to respond to your emergency.

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Filed under Emergency tips, Fire Damage Restoration