Crucial Things You Should Always Have in Your Home Emergency Kit
Whether it's a hurricane, fire, earthquake, flood, or disease outbreak, you need to be prepared with an emergency kit in your car and home. Here's a list of the essential items you'll need in an emergency.
What to pack in a home emergency kit
If time has taught us anything, it's hope for the best but prepare for the worst. The list of possible worst case scenarios now includes Covid-19 and other infectious diseases in addition to the floods, hurricanes, and wildfires that may already be on your radar, depending on where you live.
Keep the kit in a closet or somewhere near an exit door and have another one in your car, Vogel advises.
Here's what experts recommend packing if you need to stay at home or if you need to leave in a hurry:
- A communication plan
Sometimes we know that a disaster is on its way but often there's no warning at all. Make sure you have a communication plan in place for either scenario and one that takes into account the different times disasters can occur. You and your family could be at school or work or sleeping when disaster strikes.
"What is your plan to meet up, to reconnect with folks?
Have a list of phone numbers in the kit. You should also include an actual place (perhaps a relative's place) where people can gather should cell phones become unavailable.
Finally, make sure everyone in your family, including and especially any kids, are familiar with the plan
You need to store some water, but how much? It depends on the disaster as well as where you are geographically and your health status.
"Covid-19 is not going to impact your ability to walk to the sink and turn on the faucet," says Tornetta. A hurricane, on the other hand, very well might.
The general rule of thumb is one gallon of water per person (and per pet) per day, aiming for a total three days' supply, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That said, children, mothers who are nursing, people who are sick, and people in warmer climates may need more, according to the Department of Homeland Security's ready.gov. The NCDP has a Preparedness Wizard that will help you calculate how much water, and other items, you may need. (Here are the signs and symptoms of dehydration.)
- Non-perishable food
As with water, experts recommend that you have enough non-perishable food on hand for people and pets to last at least three days, quite possibly more, says Schlegelmilch, who is co-author of the forthcoming book Rethinking Readiness.
Focus on nonperishable items like dry goods and canned goods but some frozen products are also OK. "Even if you lose power, you've got a few days before they start to spoil." "A combination of frozen and nonperishable is fine."
As for what kind of food, items that are protein-packed and can be prepared without electricity, such as tuna, peanut butter, or granola bars. If you or anyone in your family has special dietary needs, make sure you take those into account.
And oh yes, don't forget to have a non-electric can opener or choose cans that have pop-tops.
- First aid kit
It's important not only to have a well-stocked first aid kit, but the knowledge to effectively use each item in that kit as well, if you aren't sure, get ready-made first aid kits," From American Red Cross. The organization also has a series of apps that can help you build an emergency kit and more. (Here are first aid tricks from ER doctors.)
Also make sure to include contact lens solution, if you wear contact lenses, and asthma inhalers, according to a disaster supplies checklist from the Department of Homeland Security. Also include personal hygiene products and over-the-counter and prescription medications (a seven-day supply, says Tornetta). These days, it would be a good idea to include hand sanitizer, gloves, and face masks, as well.
The American College of Emergency Physicians recommends keeping the kit in a clear, waterproof, plastic container and putting it in a visible place.
- Multipurpose tool
Simple or complex, multipurpose tools can be lifesavers. "Your multipurpose tool should be able to do what other widely used tools—like a screwdriver, pair of pliers, or scissors—can do," And definitely a can opener, if you haven't invested in pop-top cans. (You might also want to invest in these health gadgets that could save your life.)
Your car should also have its own emergency tool kit which includes water and high-energy non-perishable food but also an inflated spare tire, the jack and wheel wrench, jumper cables, reflective triangles and brightly colored cloth. If the weather's cold, add a snow brush, shovel, blankets, and windshield washer fluid.
Covid-19 isn't likely to affect ATMs or credit-card machines, but hurricanes and other natural disasters could put them out of commission.
"The digital systems work pretty well but after Katrina there were prolonged power outages." "You may be in a situation where credit-card machines [and ATMs] are down."
That means you may have to rely on good old hard cash during an emergency.
"Not everybody has enough money to do this but if you're able to set aside a few dollars, it's definitely a good thing,"
Ready.gov recommends having small bills available so you can buy fuel and food.
"Fill up early and fill up often," Hart says. "With Hurricane Irma, we had advance notice—it's important to think, 'What do I need to do to start preparing right now?' Even if you don't know where the hurricane's going, as soon as it's a possibility for you in your area, think about things like gas. Your presence of mind when a catastrophe is far away is much clearer than your presence of mind when you're in the throes of that catastrophe."
Schlegelmilch recommends having your tank at least half full at all times.
And while having extra gas cans may be tempting, bear in mind that this can be a fire hazard,
- A change of clothes
Or two or three. It's important to have the right kind and amount of clothes you'll need in any given situation.
"Consider protective clothes and outerwear. Think: coats, windbreakers, ponchos, rain jackets," She also notes the importance of items that will wear well across all climates—so anything versatile, durable, and comfortable—is a universally safe choice. "Follow the same three-day rule here, too," she says. "And, as we talked about earlier, remember to change your supply out annually. Our children grow from year to year."
Layers are an especially good idea for any warmer or colder conditions. As are socks in case you get wet.
- Closed-toe shoes
If you're leaving really quickly, you may not have a chance to pick your ideal shoes but, if you can, take closed-toe shoes. "You might not know exactly where you're going." "If you have to be in a shelter environment or walking through areas, that's just to protect your feet from all of that. If you can only grab one pair of shoes, don't grab the flip flops."
This could be especially important in areas that have been damaged by hurricanes or tornadoes. "There's a lot of debris," says Tornetta. "We want our team to wear closed-toe shoes so there's no chance of getting a splinter or some kind of infection."
- Low-tech basics
Technology isn't always reliable, especially in a disaster. That means you should have some low-tech options on hand such as a hand crank, battery-powered radio and flashlight, and extra batteries, says Vogel. Garbage bags are good not only for holding trash but also to keep things dry, and matches in a waterproof container are a good idea too.
Light plastic sheeting and duct tape can be invaluable if you have broken windows because of a hurricane or tornado.
Just in case technology does survive the storm, fire, or pandemic, keep some extra portable charging blocks on hand as well. And you should also have a car charger for your cell phone.
- Important documents
This is important not just during the disaster, but for rebuilding your life after. Having key legal and personal documents can go a long way towards minimizing stress once the immediate damage has passed. Make sure you know the signs that you may be suffering from serious stress.
Legal Aid recommends keeping these papers together so you can grab them in a hurry:
* Identification, be it a driver's license, passport, or another photo ID.
* Insurance documents like life insurance, flood and fire insurance as well as homeowners or rental insurance.
* Legal documents. This includes birth certificates, any child custody or adoption paper, wills, powers of attorney, and the like.
You can scan your documents or take pictures with your smart phone or make photocopies and store those in your evacuation preparedness kit, says Tornetta. "Have an extra copy of your driver's license and social security card. If you have to flee in a hurry, you may forget your ID or your wallet if they're stored in a separate place."
You can also store these documents online, or in a thumb drive.
SERVPR of Lake Elsinore / Perris
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During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards.
We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform on a daily basis.
The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:
- Kitchen/Food Areas
- Retail Spaces
- Water Fountains
- Sales Counters
- Carpets and Rugs
- Stair Handrails
- Elevator Cars
- Playground Equipment
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The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities.
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SERVPRO's Infectious Disease Precautions
It is important to us that our customers know the steps SERVPRO of Lake Elsinore / Perris is taking to reduce the risk of team member exposure to the virus. These precautionary steps we have taken as a company include:
- All tools and equipment coming into your property have been cleaned and disinfected.
- All workers wear personal protective equipment to protect themselves while performing work.
- We’ve all been provided with training to safely work in contaminated environments.
- We’ve all been provided with training to identify coronavirus symptoms and carefully monitor ourselves and our co-workers.
- We have stringent safety and health policies and procedures; and we continually strive to follow and improve our safe work practices.
Overall, we are taking the appropriate measures to ensure we don’t cross contaminate our customers, our co-workers, or our families. We cannot make any guarantees that the virus could not enter your property, but we can tell you that we have taken every possible measure to protect customers and team members alike.
Whether it is a water loss, fire damage, or a cleaning request, please know that SERVPRO of Lake Elsinore / Perris is still here for the entire Lake Elsinore / Perris community 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 951-674-4006
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Our defensive cleaning program gives your business a way forward by providing your employees and customers ongoing safety and assuredness.
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As our communities re-open, we’re all moving back toward a new kind of normal. The expectations of visitors, customers, and employees who come into our establishments have evolved, and staying safe and well is a top concern. The global COVID-19 pandemic has changed what it means to be clean, and we’ve developed a program to help your business meet the new higher standard of clean that is now expected.
Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned is a defensive cleaning program we’re offering to businesses and commercial locations to address the current COVID-19 pandemic. This proactive viral pathogen cleaning program goes well beyond janitorial or carpet cleaning. By choosing Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you, your employees, your customers, and your community can rest assured that you’ve selected a higher cleaning standard – you are Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.
Extensive training and specialized products
As the #1 choice in cleanup and restoration*, we stand on more than 50 years of experience and expertise to help your business become Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned. Beyond fire & water, SERVPRO professionals are trained and experienced in biohazard decontamination and chemical spills – always adhering to the cleaning and decontamination standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local authorities.
From formulating and creating our proprietary cleaning products, like SERVPROXIDE, at our headquarters in Gallatin, TN, to taking the utmost care while disinfecting, we will ensure you and your business are set up to inspire consumer confidence as the economy continues to reopen.
3 C’s – Consult, Clean, and Certify
When the stakes are this high, you want a partner who has developed an industry leading, proprietary training program, cleaning solutions, and remediation processes over decades. We’ve cleaned up some of the most challenging biohazards imaginable. Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned reflects our unique experiences and capabilities. The program is grounded with our unique 3 C’s: Consult, Clean, and Certify.
- Consult – Every business is different, which is why you’ll be assigned a Cleaning Protocol Consultant who understands your business and will create a cleaning program to meet your specific needs. This program will be developed based on your business type, size of space, amount of high frequency touchpoints, foot traffic and congestion points.
- Clean – Based on your specific business needs, your location will undergo a thorough, deep clean, using exclusive cleaning products, according to protocols set forth by the CDC. Our employees have years of experience, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform. Cleanup procedures generally include cleaning of porous and non-porous surfaces, disinfecting of non-porous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, tools, and/or supplies used for cleanup process, and disposal of hazardous materials. In the event of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 event, we will be there cleaning within 24 hours to ensure you get back to business as quickly as possible.
- Certify - Once your business location has been Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you will gain access to proprietary signage, digital emblems, and other collateral that communicates that you’ve selected a higher standard of clean available to help protect your employees and customers. And because we add the day, month, and year to that proprietary stamp of clean, your guests will know that not only did you choose Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned,but that your location is being cleaned regularly at this standard.
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Is your business a part of our “Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned“ program?
Is your business a part of our “Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned“ program? SERVPRO of Lake Elsinore / Perris offers a cleaning and disinfecting program to commercial locations to address the current COVID-19 pandemic.This is a level of clean that goes way beyond janitorial or carpet cleaning.When businesses choose SERVPRO, employees, customers, and the community can rest assured that they’ve selected a “higher standard of clean” — Certified : SERVPRO Cleaned
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Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned is a defensive cleaning program that goes beyond janitorial or carpet cleaning, it’s a higher standard of clean. This is proactive viral pathogen cleaning that helps ensure the cleanliness of the restaurants, businesses and public spaces in the communities we all call home. Our SERVPRO professionals are trained and experienced in biohazard decontamination and chemical spills - always adhering to the cleaning and decontamination standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local authorities.
Causes of Water Damage
There are several possible causes of water damage. Leaky dishwashers, clogged toilets, broken pipes, broken dishwasher hoses, overflowing washing machines, leaky roofs, plumbing leaks, and foundation cracks are just some of the possible causes of water damage in homes and businesses. Floods, heavy snow, and heavy rain are other possible causes of this type of damage and can lead to having water in basements. Too much water can lead to minor problems such as water in basement areas, or it can lead to the destruction of homes and businesses. Once a home or business sustains water damage, it is important to start the water damage cleanup immediately. Starting water damage cleanup as soon as possible increases the likelihood of saving water-soaked furniture, carpets, rugs, clothing, and other items.
Call SERVPRO of Lake Elsinore / Perris if you experience any type of water loss at 951-674-4006
How To Prepare Your Home For A Storm
Quick guide to preparing for a storm
- Ensure your drains and gutters are clear of debris to prevent blockages.
- If safe to do so, check your pipes and water tanks are insulated to prevent freezing and that the release point of overflow pipes is not obstructed. Ideally, you'll have a regular maintenance program in place.
- Cut back trees and branches to minimize the risk of falling branches.
- Secure loose fences.
- Check that roof tiles and aerials are secure if you can do this safely. It may be worth seeking professional advice.
- Make sure garden furniture and ladders are secured in case of high winds or locked away in the shed or even inside your house.
- When you know a bad storm is on its way with warnings about gale-force winds and floods, make sure children, pets and your family and neighbors are safe. Make sure you're indoors when it hits and don’t try and repair damage during a storm.
Always be cautious when undertaking any task that you're not fully familiar with as you could injure yourself or those around you, seek professional help where required.
So, this winter, make sure you're storm ready. Secure loose objects such as ladders and garden furniture. Close and secure all windows and doors. Check on loved ones before a storm strikes, but once it arrives, stay indoors. Do not try to drive or move around outside near trees or buildings that could collapse.
SERVPRO of Lake Elsinore / Perris offers inspections to make sure your home or business is storm ready. Call us at (951) 674-4006 for more information.
Four Steps to Preventing Mold Growth After A Water Damage
Step One – Remove Affected Materials
Aside from stopping the source of the moisture, it’s important to promptly remove wet furnishings and porous materials from the flooded area to enable a thorough damage-assessment, and drying and restoring contents that have not been compromised.
Some of it - such as wet/moldy carpet, drywall, upholstery and fabrics - will need to be discarded.
Vacuum using HEPA-wet-dry vacuums to remove moisture, mold and soils without spreading allergenic or unhealthy mold and dust particles around your home. According to the IICRC, "It is preferable to use a HEPA vacuum, but a simple wet/dry vacuum can work. When using a wet/dry vacuum, attach a hose to the exhaust and vent the exhaust air to the outside. This keeps dust, spores and other fine particles from being suspended in the air and settling back on clean surfaces."
In the case of minor “clean” flooding, say from a small burst indoor water pipe, homeowners can remove smaller wet items themselves, but should wear goggles, gloves, long sleeves and an N-95 respirator to avoid exposure to mold spores that may already be present in the environment.
Clean mold from smooth surfaces using a weak bleach-water solution (1/4 - 1/2 cup bleach per gallon of water). Use gloves, eye and skin protection and plenty of ventilation. If you are sensitive to mold or chemicals, have someone else do it.
If the flooding is excessive and/or “dirty” - e.g., from a rising river or sewer backup - expert help is needed to protect health and property.
Step Two – Dry It Out and Quickly
Mold spores are everywhere but need moisture to “germinate” – so drying affected areas is Step Two. Since mold can grow within 24 to 48 hours, quick action is critical.
Aside from obviously wet areas, experts using special meters can check for and locate moisture - even finding hidden wet/moldy places, such as inside wall cavities - and implement techniques to enable a thorough drying-out process. They may also use special fans or “air-scrubbing” equipment with HEPA filters. See also Step Three.
Step Three – Air It Out
The flooded, wet area will need fresh air and ventilation to dry it out but take care not to spread mold spores around your home by improper “airing”. Consult with an IICRC-certified firm to set up “containment”– a fancy word that means keeping doors closed, putting up plastic sheeting, exhausting air to the outdoors, and other measures to enable the drying and ventilation process without exposing loved ones to contaminated air from the flooded area.
Step Four – Keep it Dry to Keep It Out
The cardinal rule for preventing mold growth is – Keep it Dry. Strive to ensure your home’s insides are staying dry. It’s also a way to protect the investment of your home, since excess mold growth and moisture will damage the structure, in addition to potentially causing health effects.
Try to keep indoor humidity below 50% using air conditioning or a dehumidifier. Have carpets cleaned by professionals that use equipment to clean and properly dry your carpet.
SERVPRO of Lake Elsinore / Perris are professional mold specialists who can help you with any size mold problem! Call 951-674-4006
How To Care For Hardwood Floors In A Commercial Building
Nothing adds charm more to a commercial building than a lustrous looking hardwood floor. A hardwood floor is a lifetime investment and keeping a hardwood floor looking its best requires proper care and maintenance strategies. As the cleaning professional, it is up to you and your cleaning technicians to provide the solutions to care for and maintain your customers' hardwood floor investment and keep it looking its best for years to come.
Routine maintenance and care of hardwood floors requires:
- Protecting the surface finish from heavy wear
- Daily cleaning to remove dirt, grit and dust
- Protecting the finish from moisture
These three routine tasks and care strategies will help to prevent damage to hardwood floors and to ensure the floor keeps its natural beauty.
It is important to remember that dirt, sand and grit are among the hardwood floor's worst enemies. This grunge will act like sandpaper to a floor's finish and can cause scratches and dents that will dull the floor. An important step to protecting the floor and finish is to place walk-off mats at all building entrances to prevent debris from being tracked onto the floor you are trying to protect. Walk-off matting also absorbs moisture and keeps it from being tracked onto the floor.
TIP: Avoid placing rubber backed entrance matting directly on the wood floor. The rubber backing can discolor the floor.
It is also important to sweep, vacuum or dust mop frequently to remove dirt and dust. A backpack vacuum with a hard floor attachment is the best way to pick up and remove contaminants from a hardwood floor. If you are using a broom, use one that is soft and has fine ends so that dirt and contaminants become trapped and are lifted away. You can also use a high quality microfiber flat mop.
TIP: Always remember to clean underneath the walk-off mats.
Another important preventive maintenance step is to place protector pads on furniture legs. Floor protector pads should be made of soft felt or a similar type material. If you ever need to move furniture, always pick it up and carry it -- never drag furniture across the floor.
Footwear and foot traffic can cause damage to hardwood floors. Soiled work boots or any footwear that has rocks, mud, or gravel stuck into the treads can dent or scratch the floor. Remind your customers how important it is to invest in walk-off matting to help protect their investment.
Water is also an enemy of hardwood floors. Water and spills can warp or permanently damage a floor's finish. Spills should be cleaned up immediately before they have the opportunity to set in and stain or warp the floor. Wipe up spills with a soft, damp cloth or microfiber cloth, and then follow up with a cleaning solution if needed and a dry, soft cloth.
Another factor to remember is that direct sun can discolor a hardwood floor. If a floor is exposed to direct sunlight, recommend to the customer that they close curtains or blinds or add sheer drapes to protect from the floor from the sun's harsh UV rays.
To stay looking their best, wood floors need periodic cleaning with a professional wood floor cleaning product. If you know the type of flooring, follow the manufacturer's recommended cleaning system. But if the specific type of hardwood floor is unknown, use a wood cleaner that does not leave a residue. Most finish manufacturers do not recommend wetting wood floors with water. When you use a cleaner that requires mixing with water follow the directions carefully and do not mix over the wood floor itself.
When taking care of wood floors avoid the following:
- Using saturated mops on the floor
- Using ammonia on the floor
- Using household type dust cleaners
- Using products that are not recommended for wood floors
Don't let hardwood floors lose their luster. Spending a little time every day protecting and properly caring for hardwood floors will go a long ways towards keeping the floor looking great and keeping your customer happy.
Call SERVPRO of Lake Elsinore / Perris for more information 951-674-4006
Tips for Preventing A Home Fire
Home fires are preventable! The following are simple steps that each of us can take to prevent a tragedy.
- Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.
- Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a "kid-free zone" of 3 feet around the stove.
- Position barbecue grills at least 10 feet away from siding and deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Smoke outside and completely stub out butts in an ashtray or a can filled with sand.
- Soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away. Never toss hot cigarette butts or ashes in the trash can.
- Never smoke in a home where oxygen is used, even if it is turned off. Oxygen can be explosive and makes fire burn hotter and faster.
- Be alert - don’t smoke in bed! If you are sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy, put your cigarette out first.
Electrical and Appliance Safety
- Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately and do not run cords under rugs or furniture.
- If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
- Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker.
Portable Space Heaters
- Keep combustible objects at least three feet away from portable heating devices.
- Buy only heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
- Check to make the portable heater has a thermostat control mechanism and will switch off automatically if the heater falls over.
- Only use crystal clear K-1 kerosene in kerosene heaters. Never overfill it. Use the heater in a well-ventilated room.
Fireplaces and Woodstoves
- Inspect and clean woodstove pipes and chimneys annually and check monthly for damage or obstructions.
- Use a fireplace screen heavy enough to stop rolling logs and big enough to cover the entire opening of the fireplace to catch flying sparks.
- Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.
- Take the mystery out of fire play by teaching children that fire is a tool, not a toy.
- Store matches and lighters out of children's reach and sight, preferably in a locked cabinet.
- Never leave children unattended near operating stoves or burning candles, even for a short time.
More Prevention Tips
- Never use stove range or oven to heat your home.
- Keep combustible and flammable liquids away from heat sources.
- Portable generators should NEVER be used indoors and should only be refueled outdoors or in well ventilated areas.
Call SERVPRO of Lake Elsinore / Perris today if you have any questions! (951) 674-4006