Halloween in Quarantine
Amidst the current restrictions imposed by COVID-19, Halloween will look a little different this year. However, there are still several ways to celebrate the holiday in safe ways; whether by implementing social distancing precautions or maintaining a full quarantine. With consideration to a variety of comfort levels, we have collected a short list of alternative ways to celebrate Halloween 2020!
- Trick-or-treat at home – Treat each room in your home as its own unique house! Decorate the doors to each room and leave a small bowl of candy at the entrance for trick-or-treating.
- Host a Zoom party – Dress up in your best costume and schedule a Zoom party with all your friends. Organize a costume contest, drinking games, or a fun Halloween trivia night to get everyone involved!
- Plan a mask contest – Whether the contest remains strictly among family members or includes friends over Zoom, collect supplies to design unique Halloween masks! Alternatively, if you decide to partake in traditional trick-or-treating, customize your mask to match your costume and wear for Halloween. For methods and ideas, check HERE.
- Ghost your neighbors – In the days leading to Halloween, create a goody bag full of Halloween candy and treats to leave on the doorstep of your friends or neighbors. Tape a sign to the bag that says, “You’ve been booed!” along with your name and instructions to “Boo” someone they think needs a good scare.
- Organize a reverse trick-or-treat – Choose a worthy organization and find out what nonmonetary donations they need. Then, ask people in your neighborhood to drop those things off. You can watch a family Halloween movie while you prep the items for donation.
- Parade your pets – Dress up your pets for a Halloween walk or at-home fashion show!
- Leave a bowl of candy on the porch – For those still participating in traditional trick-or-treating, leave a bowl of candy on your porch for children to grab on their way through the neighborhood.
- Consider trick-or-treating within your social group – To maintain normal Halloween activities, consider organizing a small, socially distanced, Halloween party among your social group. Or, for those with a close-knit group within their neighborhood, develop a route to trick-or-treat at the homes of those you are familiar with.
As we approach Halloween, it is important to be aware of what your neighborhood is doing. Some neighborhoods are participating in trick-or-treating activities while others are not, and social distancing guidelines are being developed and enforced within various communities. Therefore, it is necessary to become informed before planning holiday festivities.
From SERVPRO of Gilbert, Chandler South, Ahwatukee and South Tempe, Happy Halloween and safe trick-or-treating!
Fall Fireplace Guidance
45% of all home-heating fires and hospital visits can be attributed to improper or unsafe use of fireplaces. Therefore, we at SERVPRO want to keep you informed about safe fireplace practices. Remain warm in the crackling heat and celebrate the holiday season by comforting flames, but do so while minimizing the threat of an uncontrolled fire.
- Burn safe materials – It is important that you only burn natural materials in your fireplace. This includes tinder (e.g. pine needles or tiny sticks), kindling (e.g. small sticks or pinecones), and fuel (e.g. large logs). Never introduce foreign substances such as cardboard, newspaper, and paper trash as they burn poorly, produce a lot of smoke, and release chemicals into the air.
- Avoid using flammable liquids to start fires – The volatile nature of gas means that you should never put it in your fireplace as it could easily cause an uncontrolled fire. It is best to simply use matches and tinder, however, if you require an accelerant to start your fire, use a small amount of lighter fluid.
- Clean out the ashes after every fire – Regularly clearing your fireplace of ashes will prevent live coals from burning while you are away while simultaneously keeping your fireplace clean and visually attractive.
- Keep a fireplace screen in front of the fireplace when in use – A fireplace screen (3 ft. high or taller) will catch live sparks that leap out of the fire and prevent large logs from falling out. This ensures that the fire does not spread beyond its non-flammable containment and that nearby persons are not injured.
We understand that while temperatures remain in the upper 90s, fireplace safety seems unnecessary. However, we are soon to experience cooler weather and hope to preemptively equip you with the knowledge necessary to safely operate your fireplace.
If your home is affected by a fire, due to a fireplace mishap or otherwise, call SERVPRO of Gilbert, Chandler South, Ahwatukee and South Tempe at (480) 558-7620 for fire cleanup and reconstruction services.
A (Very) Incomplete History of Arizona's Storms
As a state notorious for its extreme weather, Arizona has a plethora of crazy and unique incidents of storms. Whether it be from rain, snow, wind, or absurd temperatures, our desert state and its occupants have endured quite a bit. Below are eight of Arizona’s most notable storms of the 20th century:
December 12-20, 1967: Flagstaff, AZ received 86.0 inches of snow! Although most Arizonians have experienced only enough snowstorms to count on one hand, 1967 ended with a display to remember.
January 7, 1971: Winter of 1971 gave us the state record low when Hawley Lake’s temperatures dropped to 40 degrees below zero.
October 4, 1972: Hurricane Joanne became the first documented tropical storm to reach Arizona with its cyclonic circulation intact.
December 1978: Following on the heels of significant flooding in the spring of 1978, heavy rainfall caused some of the costliest and widespread flooding in the state’s history. 10 people died, thousands were left homeless, 10 Arizona counties were declared federal disaster areas, and damage was in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
June 29, 1994: Arizona achieved record high temperatures after Lake Havasu City climbed to 128 degrees Fahrenheit!
August 14, 1996: A severe thunderstorm and record wind speeds hit the northwest portion of the Phoenix Metro area, causing $160 million in damage.
August 12, 1997: Only a year after one of Phoenix’s most destructive thunderstorms to date, a distant thunderstorm produced a flash flood in a slot canyon near Lake Powell; pushing 50 to 80-foot walls of water through the canyon and killing 11 hikers.
September 25 and 26, 1997: The remains of Hurricane Nora caused extreme wind gusts to pass through Yuma, and significant flooding to affect western Arizona. A record 11.97 inches of rain fell over Harquahala Mountain in 24 hours, and 3.59 inches fell at the Yuma airport; topping the averaged 3.17 inches of rainfall annually.
For all that 2020 has thrown at us, Arizonians are lucky to have avoided some of the serious storms that often accompany monsoon season. However, our state’s history makes it clear that Arizona is not unfamiliar with serious and destructive storms. Should you experience damage to your property due to a storm, contact SERVPRO of Gilbert, Chandler South, Ahwatukee and South Tempe at (480) 558-7620 for any mitigation and reconstruction needs.
There is little scarier than the threat of a fire to your home or business. Whether you consider the potential hazards it poses to your safety, or to the integrity of your property, a fire can create a panic. At SERVPRO of Gilbert, Chandler South, Ahwatukee and South Tempe, we are committed to restoring your home to pre-damage conditions in the case that a fire occurs. However, we want to also equip you with the knowledge necessary to ensure the safety of you, your family, and friends if a fire develops in a building you occupy.
If a Fire Starts:
- Know how to safely operate a fire extinguisher.
- Remember to get out, stay out, and call 911 or your local emergency phone number.
- Yell “Fire!” several times and go outside right away. If you live in a building with elevators, use the stairs. Leave all your things where they are and save yourself.
- If closed doors handles are warm or smoke blocks your primary escape route, use your second way out. Never open doors that are warm to the touch.
- If you must escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your exit. Close all doors behind you.
- If smoke, heat, or flames block your exit routes, stay in the room with doors closed. Place a wet towel under the door and call the fire department or 911. Open a window and wave a brightly colored cloth or flashlight to signal for help.
- Once you are outside, go to your meeting place and then send one person to call the fire department. If you cannot get to your meeting place, follow your family emergency communication plan.
If Your Clothes Catch on Fire:
STOP what you are doing.
DROP to the ground and cover your face if possible.
ROLL over and over or back and forth until the flames go out.
THEN, once the flames are out, cool the burned skin with water for three to five minutes. Call for medical attention
Fires aren’t occurrences you can predict, but planning for the potential hazard can make all the difference in affecting the extent of damage to your property and the continued safety of those inside the building.
If a fire does occur, call SERVPRO for your cleaning and restoration needs at (480) 558-7620; we remain dedicated to returning your home to its previous condition, “Like it never even happened.”
How We Treat COVID-19 Differently
When your home or business is exposed to COVID-19, there often follow feelings of uncertainty and stress. And, unfortunately, the virus may retain the ability to infect you or others who come into contact and proceed to touch their eyes, nose, or mouth. SERVPRO of Gilbert, Chandler South, Ahwatukee and South Tempe recognizes the danger and anxiety that stems from these situations and does all we can to alleviate your concerns by providing thorough disinfections for your residential and commercial properties. Therein, lies the difference between SERVPRO and other disinfection services. Our commitment to a complete clean means that you are as safe as possible in the areas you should feel most secure.
When disinfecting, SERVPRO of Gilbert, Chandler South, Ahwatukee and South Tempe approaches each job with the appropriate PPE equipment to keep both you and our team safe. We then spray a high-volume mist of highly-concentrated disinfectant which affects nearly the entirety of the area; immediately attacking the virus where it remains. After a 10 minute dwelling period, we follow and wipe down all high-touch surfaces with the same disinfectant. Furthermore, we mop the floors, discard open food or drink items that have been exposed to the disinfecting mist, and spray a lemon-berry scent meant to dispel the unpleasant smell of disinfectant.
Oftentimes with disinfecting services, you receive no more than a generalized mist throughout the property. Although this is not ineffective, it is not the thorough approach we prioritize. In our method of disinfecting, we aim to ensure that every surface is treated and that the chance of you contracting COVID-19 from your living or working space is minimized to the furthest possible extent.
SERVPRO Handles Storm Flooding
Flood damage can come to your home when you least expect it. Thanks to Arizona's unique weather patterns, many homes in our area are ultimately put at even higher risk of storm damages; and, although we’ve avoided the worst of monsoon season, we still anticipate storms ahead.
As soon as you call us to report flood damage to your Gilbert, Chandler, Ahwatukee, or Tempe home, we act fast to bring technicians to your property as quickly as possible so that they can immediately implement damage-mitigating measures. By stopping any continuing sources of water, and then pumping out any existing standing water, we can then set up drying equipment. We're Faster To Any Size Disaster, simply stated-- we prevent as much additional damage as possible from happening in your home.
The most important steps in keeping your home safe and secure in inclement weather involve maintaining structural integrity and eliminating leaks, but even the most prepared homes can still be subject to the effects of nature. When the worst situations arise, SERVPRO is here to help.
In the following hours and days, we prioritize damage mitigation efforts over other work so that we keep costs low and have fewer restorations to do later.
SERVPRO of Gilbert, Chandler South, Ahwatukee and South Tempe is a fully-equipped damage mitigation service that can help lessen the impact of flood damage to your home. Call us at (480) 558-7620.
Click here for more about Arizona’s monsoons.
Common Household Fire Hazards and How to Mitigate Them
For many people, thoughts of their home are closely associated with the ideas of “comfort” and “safety.” Your home does, however, shelter potential fire hazards as well. And, although that should not instill fear, it is important that you be aware of how to mitigate the threat of those common household hazards.
Reports by the National Fire Protection Association state that between the years of 2012 and 2016, approximately 355,400 home structure fires occurred every year; many of which could have been prevented with simple precautions. Most frequently, they are instigated by the improper usage of electrical appliances, heating-related mishaps, or kitchen blunders.
To avoid fires started by electronic appliances, it important that you do not use electronics that have frayed, loose, or cracked wiring. Also, be aware of the placement of cords or wires in relation to rugs and doorways. Wires under rugs can catch easily and those in front of doors are likely to be damaged. It is also crucial to remain aware of how many electronics are plugged into outlets or extension cords. Do not overload them and use covers on unused outlets, particularly if there are small children in the home. Lastly, when using light bulbs, ensure that you do not exceed the maximum voltage noted on the light or light fixture.
Heating-related fires happen most commonly with space heaters. Thus, the best way to avoid them is to place them at least three feet away from anything flammable. Further, keep flammable things away from and off of radiators.
Kitchen fires account for most house fires; causing 48% as opposed to 19% by electronics and 15% by heaters. The best method to preventing them is to stay in the kitchen when using the oven or stovetop. By regularly monitoring them, you are capable of quickly reacting to any unforeseen fire-causing accidents. Also, if you smell gas, do not turn anything on. Instead, remove any occupants from the house and call your gas company to report a gas leak.
House fires are scary, dangerous, and damaging, so being informed of practices that help prevent them can be crucial. However, should a fire occur in your home, SERVPRO of Gilbert, Chandler South, Ahwatukee and South Tempe can restore your home to a condition that meets or exceeds the state which it earlier existed. We promise to make it seem “Like it never even happened.”
How to Prepare Your Children to Return to School Safely
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic currently affecting schools across America, things will look a little different this 2020-2021 school year. We have collected a handful of tips to help keep your children safe as they return to school and prepare them for a smooth transition.
- Identify high-touch items or surfaces with your children and demonstrate ways to avoid touching them to mitigate the spread of germs.
- Teach them safe practices when walking down the halls. Although it is often difficult or impossible to stay 6 feet away from peers in cramped hallways, a good rule of thumb is to keep their hands in pockets when possible. Or, if students do not have pockets, keep their hands clasped together in front of the body or tucked inside long sleeves.
- Train your child in PPE before school restarts. By gradually wearing masks for an extended time, it will be easier for them to acclimate to wear during 8 hour school days. Further, it discourages them from touching their masks or otherwise misusing PPE.
- Describe and practice proper handwashing techniques. This includes washing both sides of the hands, between fingers, under fingernails, and up the wrist.
By emphasizing safe practices at home, healthy habits are encouraged and children enter school with the tools necessary to best protect themselves and those around them. Unfortunately, the chaotic nature of school environments and the unpredictability of other students is cause for uncertainty, however, developing safe habits can be hugely beneficial in preventing the spread of infection.
In the case that your school sustains an outbreak or your child contracts the virus, we have disinfection services that extend to properties as big as schools, or as small as your home. Call us at 480.558.7620 to get a quote.
Common Causes of Commercial Fires
One of the greatest defenses against commercial fires is to understand and mitigate your risks. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the five most common causes of commercial fires are cooking equipment, heating equipment, electrical and lighting equipment, smoking materials, and intentional fire-setting.
- Cooking Equipment: Most common of restaurants but possible in any business that serves food, commercial fires caused by cooking equipment are extremely common. The high cooking, temperatures, flammable oils and grease, and the hectic nature of commercial kitchens make this the single most common cause of commercial fires.
- Heating Equipment: As with any mechanical equipment, furnaces, boilers, and radiators run the risk of overheating and, ultimately, starting a fire.
- Electrical and Lighting Equipment: All modern buildings have electrical wiring behind walls for light or power. However, the presence of potentially defective wiring, overloaded circuits, loose connections, imbalanced electrical loads, faulty fuses, and any other electrical or lighting problems carries the inherent risk of starting a fire.
- Smoking Materials: Lit cigars, cigarettes, and other smoking materials often start fires if disposed of incorrectly. Despite a decline in the popularity of smoking and the introduction of “fire-safe” cigarettes, smoking materials remain the fourth leading cause of commercial fires.
- Intentional Fire-Setting: Although one may assume that intentional fire-setting is a nicely-put term for arson, arson only comprises a small percentage of commercial fires. Rather, an intentional fire can be defined as any fire which occurs as a result of the deliberate misuse of a heat source. This often leads to unexpected or accidental consequences by the fire-starter, rather than outcomes of criminal intent.
We at SERVPRO of Gilbert, Chandler South, Ahwatukee and South Tempe know the extent of damage caused by commercial fires. Too often, we are tasked with cleaning and restoring a destroyed kitchen or charred office. That is why we provide you with information meant to help prevent the disaster from occurring in your business.
If a fire does affect your commercial property, be sure to call us at (480) 558-7620. Beyond our extensive knowledge covering all aspects of fire damage, we understand the urgency of the situation. Commercial fire damage means decreased productivity, so we make sure your business is back up and running at full capacity in the shortest time possible. “Faster to Any Disaster.”
With monsoon season in full swing, we at SERVPRO of Gilbert, Chandler South, Ahwatukee and South Tempe feel that it is important to provide you with information regarding ways to protect your home or business from unnecessary damage.
Rains and Floods
One of the most powerful features of monsoons is water. With the ability to severely damage a home’s foundation as well as belongings should it infiltrate the structure, it is necessary that homeowners take the proper precautions before a storm hits. Here are a couple of tips to minimize or prevent damage in the case of a storm:
- To redirect water away from the structure, place sandbags in front of your door or around your home.
- Check your gutters and downspouts. Makes sure that their placement encourages proper runoff and clean them before rains hit to ensure drainage.
- As you check your gutters, examine the roof for loose shingles or leaks. Should you identify any areas of concern, fix them as soon as possible.
- Check the grading around your house. To properly move water away from your home, there should be a gradual slope downwards from the foundation. If your home shows improper grading, it can prove highly beneficial to invest in a landscaper to add dirt or gravel to improve it.
In the presence of strong winds, damage due to falling trees and cactus as well as flying debris is very likely. Trim branches from lower limbs of trees and remove any that may be rotted or broken in preparation for monsoons. You may also need to add supports or stake down a tree trunk should it be young, new to the soil, weak from prior damage, or if the soil is shallow and poor.
Unfortunately, monsoon season in Arizona often brings dust storms, also known as haboobs, which can cause damage that threatens the health and safety of those residing within the home. Below are some commonly affected areas to be aware of and measures you can take to ensure full functioning of your home:
- If dust enters your smoke detectors, they can malfunction. Therefore, it is important to change your air conditioner filter before and during monsoon season as well as consider turning it off during a storm. This prevents high volumes of dust from entering the home and affecting detectors.
- If you have filter or purification systems inside your house, keep an eye on them as they can quickly become contaminated with dust particles; preventing normal functioning
- Check that ductwork is properly sealed. This prevents dust from blowing into your home as covers can work loose throughout the year.
In consideration of monsoon season, staying on top of regular home maintenance pays for itself. We at SERVPRO of Gilbert, Chandler South, Ahwatukee and South Tempe know firsthand the kind of damage caused by the storms that occur during monsoon season. As a franchise with fire and water cleanup and restoration, mold remediation, and reconstruction services, we are fully equipped to handle any size loss. Whether caused by excessive rain, lightning, wind-propelled objects, or dust, we can return your home to normal – "Like it never even happened."