Disaster Plan for Your Business
Have a plan!
When it comes to owning a commercial business, you need to make sure you have a disaster plan in place. Natural disasters don't give you a warning to get out in time, and sometimes you only have minutes to act fast. One natural disaster that most people are not prepared for are earthquakes. Here are 6 steps to prepare you if an earthquake where to take place.
1. Assess the Earthquake Risk of Your Building
You need to get a clear picture about your business' earthquake risk factors. You need to know how ready or NOT ready your business is. It is recommended that all businesses perform risk assessments that find the strong and weak points of your plan. You should also schedule a consultation with an experienced firm to elevate the structural integrity of the building.
2. Create a Disaster Plan
These should be created and distributed to all of your employees beforehand. It is important to include ALL of you employees as you are developing a disaster plan. This way they if they notice any signs of an earthquake, they will know exactly what to do. Some of the things your disaster plan should include are:
- Contact information for all employees
- Communication plan
- Talk with employees with disabilities and make arrangements
- Hotline or text message system
- Schedule regular earthquake response drills to practice
- Emergency kit
- Safety checklist
3. Identify Your Building's Potential Structural Issues
Every business is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. You will need to evaluate every aspect of your business and make preparations that are unique to your building's property. You need to understand the risks and take specific actions to help prevent earthquake disasters for your business, and to also protect your staff.
4. Bring in Expert Advisors
You can't afford to waste your time on hearsay or just anyone's word. Your business, life, and the lives of your employees and customers depends on doing things correctly and being truly prepared. Make sure you choose a reputable earthquake retrofitting contractor based on years of experience and high ranking results. This way it can translate to lives and business saved in those areas.
5. Develop a Comprehensive Emergency Communications Plan
Keeping your business in business after an earthquake often depends on effective communication. Be sure you have a plan in place that takes everyone into account. This includes your employees, your customers and your suppliers. Make sure you set up a backup communications plan that enables you to keep lines of communication open, even if you are unable to access your building. Make sure you employees know who to contact before hand so they aren't calling people they shouldn't have to call. Maintain an emergency contact list with police, fire, ambulance, hospital and other emergency services that employees know how to access quickly. Also, have your insurance company and attorney's numbers in a secure place.
6. After the Earthquake
Remember that it might not be readily apparent whether your building is safe after an earthquake takes place. There are usually aftershocks for hours and days afterward. Be sure to contact an experienced expert first for an earthquake damage safety assessment before you allow employees and customers back into the building.
Fire Safety Craft Event
Craft day for the daycares!
SERVPRO of Elmhurst recently teamed up with the Hillside Fire Department to help bring fire safety awareness to the children in the Hillside community. Chief Carling at the Hillside Fire Department donated coloring books, fire fighter hats, stickers, and training exercises for the children to do one day. We then reached out to our local daycares in the Hillside area to see if this is something they would be interested in doing one day as a craft/fire safety drill day. THEY LOVED IT! They wore their fire hats and badge stickers, while coloring in what they should do if a fire were to take place. They then ran through a fire drill, as well as practiced stop, drop and roll! They were able to keep all the fun crafts / goodies that SERVPRO and the Hillside Fire Department provided. Because of COVID the fire departments are not able to do their fire safety awareness days with the local schools, so this was the perfect way to keep getting awareness out to the young children in the community. Following the event, Chief Carling reached out to us about doing a press release in the Hillside Harold because he absolutely loved the event and the pictures that the daycare sent over to us. Be on the look out in the Hillside Harold to read more about our event!
1 Year Anniversary!
When thinking about what I wanted to do with my life as an undergraduate at DePaul University, I wasn't too sure. I had secured my Associate's Degree in Sociology and Psychology, and was entering my master's program at DePaul. This was when I decided to change my studies to marketing, and dive deeper into that field. After graduating with MS from DePaul, I was approached by a friend to look into working for the marketing team at SERVPRO. I had zero knowledge when it came to what SERVPRO did outside of the basic gist of the company. On top of that, I then was trying to work through a pandemic!! What a crazy time it was, but I recently hit my one year anniversary here at SERVPRO and I decided to reflect on the past year. During the pandemic, I was able to train more and get better knowledge of what SERVPRO does day in and day out. As things started to open back up, I was confident in my marketing and sales ability to tackle the daily routes. I now have a terrific relationship with all of our local first responders! We work alongside them when it comes to free COVID sanitations to their departments in order to keep them safe, and with community events by bringing fire safety tips and tricks. I have built so many wonderful and beautiful relationships during my one year anniversary, and some have even become friends that I hangout with on the weekends. I can't thank my marketing team and owner enough for giving me the opportunity to develop not only my work skills, but also as a person. THANK YOU SERVPRO!
Call us today 630-758-1701
Spring cleaning time is here again, and a great opportunity to clean and organize your living spaces.
Here are some great tips to freshen up your home and make is sparkle:
Wipe off a dirty faucet.
To get rid of lime buildup, make a paste of 1 teaspoon vinegar and 2 tablespoons salt. Apply to sink fixtures and rub with a cloth.
Tidy up a toilet.
Pour a cup or more of diluted white distilled vinegar into the bowl. Let sit several hours or overnight. Scrub well with a toilet brush and flush.
Swab plastic containers with a cloth dampened with vinegar.
Freshen up the fridge.
Clean the shelves and walls with a solution of half water and half vinegar.
Battle litter-box odor.
Cat litter can leave behind an unwelcome smell. Eliminate it by pouring a half-inch of white distilled vinegar into the empty litter box. Let stand for 20 minutes, then rinse with cold water.
Steam away a microwave mess.
Fill a small bowl with equal parts hot water and vinegar, and place it in the microwave on high for 5 minutes. As the steam fills the microwave, it loosens the mess, making clean up a breeze.
If you get melted candle wax on your wood furniture or floors, gently wipe it away with a cloth soaked in a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water.
If your kids get crayon marks on the walls or floor, dip a toothbrush in white vinegar and gently scrub. The vinegar breaks down the wax, making for an inexpensive, nontoxic way to clean up after children.
Restore showerhead pressure.
If your shower-head gets clogged with mineral deposits, soak it for 15 minutes in a mixture of ½ cup vinegar and 1 quart water.
Another great do it at home cleaning solution is baking soda. Baking soda is great to freshen up stale and stinky smells in the home.
Here are some tips from Better Homes and Gardens for uses of baking soda around the house:
Soak these kitchen staples in baking soda and water to freshen them up so you can use them a little longer.
Musty upholstery and carpets
Deodorize the soft, cushy places around your house by sprinkling surfaces with baking soda, letting it sit for 15 minutes, and then vacuuming it up.
Naturally fight the effects of your little one's grubby hands by wiping them with a sponge dipped in a baking soda and water solution.
A mildew-y bathroom
Scrub your tub, tile, sink and shower curtain with a damp sponge and baking soda. Rinse to reveal gleaming surfaces.
A messy grill
Combat a summer's worth of cookout grime by sprinkling some baking soda on your grill-cleaning brush before you scrub away.
Finally, one of my favorite non chemical cleaning items is to use lemon. Lemons are a natural, mild disinfectant, and a quick trip to the store and you have a powerful cleaning weapon with no worries about chemicals.
According to thekitchn.com, lemons are "nature's little hand scrubbers". Here are some of their useful tips on how to use lemon in your spring cleaning:
Clean Wood Cutting Boards
Apply salt: Sprinkle the cutting board with coarse salt.
Scour the surface: Using a lemon half with the cut side down, scour the surface, squeezing slightly to release the lemon juice as you go.
Let sit, then scrape off: Let sit for 5 minutes, and then scrape the gray, dirty liquid into a small bowl using a bench scraper, and discard.
Rinse: Give the surface a final rinse with a clean wet sponge.
What to expect with the unexpected
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SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North Riverside is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies, large or small. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.
We Answer the Phone Ready to Help
We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North Riverside has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.
What to Expect
When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.
Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:
- Your name and contact information
- Your insurance information (if applicable)
- The street address of the water-damaged home or business
- When did the flooding or water damage occur?
- What caused the water damage (if known)?
- Is there electricity available (on-site)?
Smoking in the home
Emergency Response Service 24/7
According to the National Fire Protection Association, smoking materials that include cigarettes, pipes, and cigars started an estimated 17,200 home structure fires. This was reported from U.S. fire departments. Amongst these 17,200 estimated fires, these fires cause 570 deaths, 1,140 injuries and $426 million in direct property damage. It was also reported that smoking materials caused 5% of reported home fires, 21% of home fire deaths, 10% of home fire injuries, and 6% of the direct property damage. According to the NFPA, most deaths in home smoking-material fires were caused by fires that started in bedrooms or in living rooms, family rooms or dens. It is also a face that the risk of dying in a home structure fire caused by smoking materials rises with age.
With that being said, it is encouraged to use smoking materials outside of the home. Designate a "smoking area" such as the garage or outside. This will help eliminate the risk of a fire starting in the actual home.
Here are some tips!
As we begin to enter Spring season, the process of snow melting can cause water damage to homes and businesses. This will then lead to flooding. It could be minor or major, but still cause water damage problems. Here are some ways to help prevent water damage as we enter this spring thaw out season. Now, you may not be able to prevent water damage under ever circumstance, but you can prepare your home ahead of spring-thaw months to prevent common causes of damage.
1. Basement pumps- install a sump pump or sewer backflow value and keep a battery-operated backup in case of power failure. Also, make sure to consider installing a water alarm that warns when water is accumulating in your basement.
2. Basement storage- Make sure to keep valuable items out of your basement. Removing any electronics or stored valuables from your basement prior to spring-thaw warnings could prove to be an important ounce of prevention.
3. Debris removal- Be sure to remove debris from window wells, gutters and downspouts.
4. Doors and windows- Check for any leaks around doors and windows.
5. Exterior walls- Keep all exterior walls of your home well painted and sealed.
6. Flood drains- If you have flood drains, make sure they work properly.
7. Foundation cracks- Make sure to inspect your foundation for cracks that will allow water seepage and initiate repairs.
8. Fuel tanks- Permanently anchor any fuel tanks.
9. Grading- inspect the grading around your home and make any changes. Design the grading to encourage the water to flow away from your home.
10. landscaping- Make sure to trim trees and bushes away from your home and do not store wood or compost piles nearby.
11. Roof- Keep your roof in good repair. Unless a tree falls on your roof during a storm, most insurers expect you to maintain your roof to prevent water leaks caused by snow melting or torrential downspouts.
Whether you are able to control the situation or not, we here at SERVPRO are always here to help you get your home or business back to like the disaster never even happen. That is way we are always here to help!
Thawing a frozen pipe the correct way is crucial to minimizing the damage. In order to thaw a frozen pipe, you need to first determine which pipe or pipes are frozen. You can do this by turning on the faucets, and if no water comes out or only a slight trickles out, then you have a frozen pipe. Before you begin attempting to thaw a frozen pipe, you need to open the faucet that the pipe feeds water into. You need to make sure to open both the hot and cold handles. This then will help relieve pressure in the system, and then will allow the water to escape once you begin to thaw the pipe. When beginning to thaw the pipe, you should always start near the faucet then work your way down to the blockage. This will help ensure that the melting ice and steam is able to escape through the open faucet. If you start the thawing process closer to the blockage, the melting ice could get stuck behind the blockage, creating more pressure in the pipe and increasing the chances the pipe will burst. When it comes to thawing the frozen pipe, you could use a hair dryer, heat lamp or portable space heater, hot towels, or electrical heating tape. If the frozen pipe is enclosed, you will need to either turn the heat up in the property, infrared lamp, or cut out a section of the wall to thaw out the frozen pipe/pipes. Remember NEVER attempt to thaw a pipe using an open flame. This can not only damage the pipe, but it can also start a fire in your property. If the frozen water pipe does burst, the first thing you should do is shut off the main water line into your property. This then will prevent additional water from flowing and damaging your property. Then you will need to call a professional, like SERVPRO, to help fix the problem. Therefore, in order to help prevent frozen pipes make sure to keep the heat on in the home, allow faucets to drip slightly, keep all interior doors open, seal up holes and cracks, add extra insulation, and remove exterior hoses and shut off interior valves feeding those hoses.
Continuing Education Classes
Every year, SERVPRO of Elmhurst provides continuing education in the areas of water, fire and mold mitigation. Education increases the opportunity for the community of professionals responsible for helping you when disaster strikes: The more you informed the community of first responders, the better able to help limit damage, save important personal belongings and control costs during a time of crisis.
At SERVPRO of Elmhurst, we work with adjusters, insurance agents, real estate agents, brokers, home inspectors, and office professionals by providing state-sanctioned Ethics Classes. Raising the bar when it comes to how people are treated especially in the time of need to protect their homes and personal belongings is essential to the insurance claim process.
Our goal is to make it like it never happened. As a recent client said, "the whole clean up and insurance process was as painless as it could have been."
Check in with us on our upcoming classes. We are now offering virtual CE classes!
Toys for Tots
Toys for Tots is such a huge donation event that happens every year around Christmas time. The mission of the Marine Toys for Tots Program is to collect new unwrapped toys and distribute those toys to less fortunate children at Christmas. The primary goal is to help bring the joy of Christmas and send a message of hope to America's less fortunate children.
In order to better execute the program, in 1991 the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation was created at the behest of the Marine Corps. It is an IRS recognized 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity group. It is governed by a board of directors, all of whom are veteran Marines and successful business leaders from throughout the nation. The foundation's professional staff is headquartered in the Cooper Center, which is located just outside of the Main Gate of Marine Corps Bass about 35 miles south of Washington D.C..
The Marine Toys for Tots Program collected and distributed 19 million toys to 7.3 million less fortunate children in the past year allowing them to experience the joy of Christmas and receive a message of hope that otherwise would not have been there. This community action program took place in over 800 communities covering all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
We here at SERVPRO of Elmhurst, Arlington Heights/Prospect Heights, and Lagrange Park/N. Riverside, took part in helping donate over 30 toys to 15 different drop off locations this year. We want to help do our part in the community by giving children in need the feeling of joy on Christmas when it comes to unwrapping presents and seeing an awesome toy. This was such a humbling experience for our team, and cannot wait to take part again next year!