Winter Weather Hazards
Image description of how an ice damn can cause long term damages to your structure
Winter Storm Damage
Winter weather can bring about more issues than just slippery roads and a sidewalk to shovel. If you live where temperatures sink below freezing level, you are at risk for frozen pipes and ice dams, which can create a major disaster at your home or property.
Frozen pipes are often those exposed to the cold weather, such as those outside your house, or in cold areas such as basements, attics, garages or kitchen cabinets.
A frozen pipe can burst at the point where the ice blockage inside the pipe is located, but typically the rupture is caused by the backflow pressure between the water source and the obstruction. A burst pipe can cause considerable damage to your property if not addressed quickly.
To prevent pipes from freezing, here are a few steps you can take, according to The American Red Cross.
-Be sure to thoroughly drain water from swimming pool and sprinkler lines, as well as outside hoses.
-Open kitchen cabinets to let warm air circulate near the plumbing.
-When the weather is frigid, let water drip from faucets that may come from exposed pipes.
-Keep your heat set to the same temperature both day and night.
Ice dams can be a little-known, but a significant problem during the snowy season. They form when heated air melts roof snow downward into water dammed behind still-frozen ice. When water cannot safely flow or run into the gutter system, it will cause backflow under the roof ’s shingles and into the structure’s interior areas.
Icicles can be an initial sign of an ice dam, according to Travelers.com. To spot ice dams inside; check for water stains or moisture in your attic or along with the ceiling of the exterior walls of your house. Water stains or moisture may be an indication that an ice dam has formed and water has penetrated the roof membrane.”
Removing an ice dam as soon as it is found is vital to help prevent damage to your property and can be done using heated cables, a roof shovel or calcium chloride ice melter.
If winter weather causes water damage to your property, SERVPRO® of Blount County is only a call away, 24/7, ready to restore to preloss condition. (865) 982-2332
Fire prevention Month
Flames escaping through the roof of a home in Alcoa, Tennessee after a heating lamp caught the second story on fire.
October is Fire Prevention Month a perfect time to examine emergency preparedness plans for your home and business, including your fire escape plan. Do you have a fire escape plan? Have you changed your smoke alarm batteries within the last year?
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) designates a week each October to focus on fire prevention awareness. The 2019 theme is “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape” which works to educate everyone about the small but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe with the planning and practicing of a fire escape plan. In a typical home fire, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. Escape planning and practice can help you make the most of the time you have, giving everyone enough time to get out.
Tools For Keeping You Safe In A Storm Event
When storms hit, make sure you are prepared by having a functioning radio for news and weather updates, or to call for help if phone lines are down.
Be Prepared for Anything
One of the best precautions you can take is to purchase a good quality weather radio. A weather radio is designed to alert you to potentially dangerous weather situations, like an approaching tornado. It allows you to be warned ahead of storms, providing you time to seek shelter. A weather radio is the most reliable source for weather alerts.
Weather radios have made many advancements over the years and are very affordable. Most basic weather radios average around $30 and can be programmed to only alert you for the weather alerts you choose.
When shopping for a weather radio look for the following key features.
- Reviewable alerts (you can scroll through alerts and turn off the siren for alerts you do not wish to hear)
- Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME)
- Alert programming (alerts when specific counties are threatened, ensuring you only receive alerts for your country)
- Ease of programming
If you need help programming your weather radio, you can always contact your local National Weather Service Office or for additional information, including county codes for your state, visit NOAA Weather Radio website at www.nws.gove/nwr
If you experience a storm related damage to your home or property, first make sure that pets and other personal are accounted for and safe. Then call your local SERVPRO of Blount County to speak to our emergency storm team (865) 982-2332 for the fasted emergency service response 24/7!
The Silent Threat
Make sure to consistently check your indoor alarm system for proper functionality
The Silent Killer
Carbon monoxide, considered “the silent killer,” is a gas you cannot see, taste, or smell. It can be created when fuels, such as kerosene, gasoline, coal, natural gas, propane, methane, or wood do not burn properly. According to U.S. Fire Administration, around 150 people die every year from accidental carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Often times, it is the result of faulty, improperly used or vented consumer products like furnaces, ranges, water heaters, room heaters, and engine-powered equipment, such as portable generators. However, there are precautions you can take to help protect yourself, your family and your employees from deadly CO fumes.
Reduce the chance of CO exposure in your workplace by performing regular maintenance on equipment and appliances that can produce CO. Consider switching from gasoline-powered equipment to equipment powered by electricity or batteries. Prohibit the use of gasoline-powered engines or tools in poorly ventilated areas.
To protect your home, install carbon monoxide detectors on every level of the home, including outside of all bedrooms. Consider having all fuel-burning heating equipment and chimneys serviced annually by a professional. Use portable generators only in well-ventilated areas away from doors, windows, vents and other openings to prevent fumes from entering the home or property.
Understanding Different Water Types
Flooding in a bed room in Maryville causing extensive water damage. SERVPRO of Blount county was able to quickly dry out and restore this room
When your home or business suffers a water damage, understanding what type of water you are dealing with is critical to ensuring proper cleanup.
There are three types of water. Clean water is water from a broken pipe or other water source; rainwater is also considered clean. The term gray water is used to classify slightly contaminated water. Clean water becomes gray water when it is left untreated allowing bacteria and other contaminants to begin growing, making the water hazardous. Black water is highly contaminated and filled with fungi, bacteria, chemicals and more. Black water is typically caused by sewage damage, flooding or any type of natural disaster. Black water should always be handled by trained professionals.
Consider taking the follow precautions to help minimize damage or prevent further damage while waiting for help to arrive.
-Shut off water source if possible or contact a qualified professional to do so.
-Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building if access to the power distribution panel is safe from potential electrical shock. Do not enter rooms with standing water, as electrical shock hazards may exist.
-Remove as much excess water as possible my mopping and blotting. Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and table items.
-Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions to allow more even drying.
- Move any paintings, art objects computers, documents and other valuable items that may be sensitive to moisture to a safe place.
-Do not leave books, newspapers magazines or other colored items on wet carpets or floors as they may cause staining.
- Do not use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water as there is potential for electrical shock causing damage to the vacuum cleaner.
-Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet; do not enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.
-Avoid all contact with sewage and items contaminated by sewage. Wash your hands thoroughly if you come in contact with contaminated items.
-Do not walk through contaminated areas, as you could spread damage to unaffected areas.
-Do not turn on the HVAC system if there is a possibility of spreading contaminated air.
-Do not use household fans to dry the structure; air flow could spread contaminants.
-Discard any food and/or products for personal hygiene and cleanliness if exposed to the contaminated areas.
What's Lurking Behind Your Vanity
Colonized mold spores behind a bathroom vanity in Maryville, TN
Mold can be anywhere in your home
Often when mold is located in a home, its found in places that you least expect it. This homeowner in Maryville was not aware of the amount of mold that was hiding behind her vanity. She noticed a small leak under her sink and called SERVPRO of Blount County to evaluate the issue. Our technicians found the extent of damage was more than she expected. Apparently the leak had been going on for some time. Mold can start to develop within 72 hours but remain hidden for a long time. The mold in this home was able to grow due to the faucet that was leaking.
Mold can become a serious problem and health risk if not dealt with my trained professionals. SERVPRO of Blount County has the experience and equipment to handle any mold damage in Maryville, Alcoa and throughout Blount County. Give us a call at 865-982-2332
Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned - a defensive cleaning program
Our defensive cleaning program gives your business a way forward by providing your employees and customers ongoing safety and assuredness.
Let us help you get back to business
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.
Call today for a Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation
We’re Here to Help – 24 hours a day, seven days a week – until life is back to normal in the communities we all call home.
Call SERVPRO of Blount County today at 865-982-2332 for your Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation.
* #1 Choice in cleanup & restoration based Commercial Attitude & Usage Tracking study. Polling 816 commercial business decision makers on first choice for future needs related to cleanup & restoration work. Study conducted by C&R Research: October 2019
Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned means professionally trained SERVPRO franchises perform the requested cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection services according to proprietary SERVPRO protocols and recognized industry and CDC standards with EPA approved cleaning products to deliver a SERVPRO certified cleaning experience. Each SERVPRO franchise is independently owned and operated.
Improve Your Air Quality
Duct cleaning through a return vent
The ventilation system is often the biggest culprit in poor indoor air quality, but you can help change that! Inspecting the ductwork in your home should be a high priority. In most cases, the HVAC the system has been operating for some time without much attention. Dirty ducts
can circulate odors, contaminants such
as mold, and irritating dust throughout
A routine part of SERVPRO® of Blount County's service is inspecting the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning unit (HVAC). Keeping the HVAC and ductwork clean can potentially extend the life-span of the equipment by allowing it to operate at peak condition, which may help save you money.
Duct cleaning may not always be necessary.
SERVPRO® of Blount County
will inspect your HVAC system and
ductwork and make recommendations
about the best way to address any indoor
air quality concerns. This inspection can
help save you money and provide peace
of mind on the health of your HVAC
system and ductwork.
In some circumstances, such as
after a fire, smoke, or suspected mold
growth, duct cleaning becomes an
essential part of the cleanup process.
In these cases, SERVPRO®
of Blount County can often restore
the HVAC system and ductwork to pre-damage
If you have a fuel-burning
furnace, stove, or fireplace, the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) recommends they be inspected
for proper functioning and be serviced
before each heating season to protect
against carbon monoxide poisoning.
The SERVPRO® of Blount County Duct Cleaning
The system is proven and cost-efficient.
Unlike the majority of duct cleaning
services, SERVPRO® of Blount County uses a portable ventilation and air duct cleaning system to examine ductwork and make a clean sweep,
removing years of dust and grime.
The process begins by using patented equipment, including a roto-scraper, which automatically
adapts to the duct’s shape and diameter while traveling through the duct, removing debris and filth before vacuuming begins.
Next, a powerful push-pull air delivery and collection system transfers the debris from the
ducting to a 16-gallon container.
Air is filtered through a HEPA filtration system, removing 99.97 percent of the particles in the
airstream. HEPA filters capture debris and keep the indoor environment clean.
As an optional process, a sealant or coating product may be sprayed to address odor or microbial concerns.
Filters will either be cleaned or replaced to remove odor and dirt.
For more information on duct cleaning or to schedule an appointment, contact your local SERVPRO® of Blount County. - 865-982-2332
Flooding Can Happen In Maryville, TN
Flooded home in the Maryville/Alcoa area with 2-3 inches of standing water.
According to the National Weather Service (NOAA), "Approximately seventy-five percent of all Presidential disaster declarations are associated with flooding." NOAA lists the most common flood hazards in the United States as:
Storm Surge and Coastal Inundation from Tropical and Non-Tropical Systems
Burn Scars/Debris Flows (Caused by Wildfires)
Dry Wash (Caused by heavy rainfall in dry areas)
Dam Breaks/Levee Failure
Just because you haven't experienced a flood doesn't mean you won't in the future. In fact, 20% of all claims paid by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) were for policies in low-risk communities. On average, flood cost $3.5 billion in annual losses in the U.S., and commercial flood claims average more than $75,000 (NFIP).
When catastrophic water damage happens to you, SERVPRO of Blount County should be your first call. Our professional water restoration technicians have the knowledge and equipment to handle any size water damage, mitigating long term risks for your property and returning it “Like it never even happened.”
Celebrate Summer Safety
Campfire with friends gathered around
Summer is a time to enjoy the great outdoors, but it is also important to keep safety in mind. Consider the following tips, provided by the National Fire Protection Association, to keep you and your family safe all summer long.
-When using a charcoal grill, only use starter fluids designed for barbecue grills: do not add fluid after coals have been lit. When using a gas grill, ensure the hose connection is tight; check hoses for leaks. Applying soapy water to the hose will easily and safely reveal any leaks. When camping always use a flame-retardant tent and set up camp far away from the campfire.
-Always build campfire downwind from the tent area. Clear vegetation and dig a pit before building your fire. Extinguish the fire before going to sleep or leaving the campsite.
-Store liquid fire starter (not gasoline) away from your tent and campfire and only use dry kindling freshen a campfire.