Recent General Posts

April Showers, Bring More May Showers....

5/16/2018 (Permalink)

Spring is in the air for South Carolina, and with spring, comes spring showers- which may lead to flooding conditions. These tips will help reduce the impact spring floods have on you and your home, before the rainy season begins!

  Identify any existing roof or siding problems:A licensed contractor can inspect your roof for missing shingles and possible leaks and do any repair work if necessary. It’s also a good idea to inspect and reinforce any loose siding, which can quickly rip off during high winds.

Use shredded bark mulch as landscaping material:If you have rock or gravel landscaping, it’s a good idea to replace it with bark, which won’t cause damage if blown around in high winds.

Maintain trees and shrubbery in your yard:Spring is the perfect time to remove dead or weak branches or remove trees that could fall on your home during a storm. Check trees and shrubs regularly to identify potential problems.

Ensure gutters aren’t loose or clogged:Clear your gutters of debris, it can block the passage of water from flowing freely off roofs and away from the home, and make sure they are tightly attached to your house. Strong winds can quickly tear loose gutters from your home and cause damage. Also, it’s important to make sure downspouts are positioned away from your home’s foundation to help prevent basement flooding.

Secure top-heavy furniture:Don’t forget about the inside of your home too. Walk around your house and secure large, top-heavy pieces, such as bookcases, to the wall.

 Install and maintain sump pumps: Sump pumps help to send water away from the home in areas such as basements and below-grade rooms that tend to flood more easily. If you don’t already have one, consider installing a sump pump or investing in a more portable version. If you already have a sump pump, inspect it to make sure it is in good working order and is clear of debris.

 Catalog possessions: Using a digital camcorder or camera, create a home inventory for insurance. Inexpensive digital cameras start at about $100. Although traditional video and photographs are adequate, they can be bulky to carry and may get damaged if left in a flooded home. Digital files can be stored on a small USB drive and kept in your go bag, sent to a friend or relative for safekeeping, or stored on an online backup system.

Hoarding vs. Collecting

5/16/2018 (Permalink)

Hoarding vs. Collecting

Hoarding is not the same as collecting. In general, collectors have a sense of pride about their possessions and they experience joy in displaying and talking about them. They usually keep their collection organized, feel satisfaction when adding to it, and budget their time and money.

Those who hoard usually experience embarrassment about their possessions and feel uncomfortable when others see them. They have clutter, often at the expense of livable space, feel sad or ashamed after acquiring additional items, and they are often in debt.

What Is Hoarding??

The easiest definition of hoarding is when the amount of acquired clutter prohibits functionality in the home. This means that functional areas such as kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms and dining rooms cannot be used for their intended purpose. There are 5 levels of hoarding, 1 being minor clutter and 5 being blocked rooms, pathways, animal/human waste, limited ingress and egress, etc. Remember level 5 hoarding cases do not happen overnight, so a level 2 or 3 can quickly become a level 5 if proper methods are not utilized to prevent it.

Hoarding affects all types of people, young and old, male and female. The type of clutter that is found within a household often times reflect the interests, hobbies or career of the individual, although sometimes the  type of clutter may seem completely random, also. Either way, the fact of the matter is that the hoarding is affecting the individual’s life, and may be affecting those surrounding them as well. In the end, the hoarder’s lifestyle may be dramatically altered, ranging from a limited social life to being cut off from family and friends as a direct or indirect result of hoarding. This ultimately leads to the hoarder becoming more and more attached to the clutter that surrounds them, relying on their “stuff” for social interaction and comfort. In the case of animal hoarders, this may be truer, with the hoarder finding solace and companionship in their pets.

Types of Hoarders

  • ANIMAL HOARDING
  • BIBLIOMANIA (HOARDING OF BOOKS) / INFORMATION HOARDER
  • SYLLOGOMANIA (HOARDING OF TRASH/GARBAGE)
  • LARDER HOARDING (HOARDING OF FOOD)
  • RECYCLERS
  • COLLECTORS
  • SHOPAHOLICS

If you or someone you know has a hoarding situation, give us a call to see if we can help make it “Like it never even happened.”

Tips for Handling a Home Insurance Claim

4/20/2018 (Permalink)

Consider if the damage is worth filing a claim

Your first step should be to wonder, “Do I really need to file a claim for this?” Small home problems are known as “incidentals” by many insurers. These have the same deductible and potential to raise your premiums as a whole home replacement. Making frivolous claims or requesting claims that can't be honored trigger expenses that make claims cost more than they save.

Be familiar with your insurance policy.

Review your policy every year or every time you switch carriers. Look on the “declarations” page to find out the types of incidents that are covered. This page also has the maximum value you can get from a claim. Before filing a claim, take the time to look at your policy and see if your problem is covered.

Know a Licensed and Insured, Reliable Contactor

You'll want only the most reliable contractor to perform repairs on your home after it's damaged. Try to seek one out before anything happens to your house. This will ensure that you get the best work possible when the time comes. You have the right to choose who works in your home. You do not have to use anyone you do not want to.

Use your preferred contractor for a repair estimate

A dependable contractor will be able to make an accurate estimate, then perform the work correctly both on-schedule and on-budget.

Take photos of the Damages

 Your first step after calling your insurer and your contractor should be to begin documenting the damage as-is. Take clear, well-lit photos from as many angles as possible. 

Get in Touch with Your Mortgage Lender

Your mortgage lender will likely be part of the settlement process if you don't own your home in full yet. Ask your lender how they handle insurance claims, many have specific packets they will want filled out to endorse insurance checks. Get that paperwork filled out at soon as possible to speed up the process with the mortgage company.

Be Present During the Adjuster Inspection

After getting a contractor's estimate, be ready to give the adjuster in writing your personal assessment of the damage. You'll help make sure that they do not miss crucial details or underestimate the extent of the necessary repairs.

Leave a Paper Trail

The key to making claims as painless as possible is airtight documentation.

  • Make note of relevant phone conversations, or better yet use email to communicate since it's verifiable by both parties
  • Save all receipts for expenses
  • Never pay in cash, especially for your contract work
  • If your policy covers living expenses, save receipts for associated costs while waiting for repairs like hotel rooms, babysitting, etc.
  • Document value of existing assets prior to the damage. For example, save your HDTV purchase receipt and your invoice from a flooring replacement
  • Obtain a copy of the police report, if applicable

Employee Appreciation Day!!

3/6/2018 (Permalink)

General Employee Appreciation Day!! Our employees enjoying our cookout!!!

March 2nd was Employee Appreciation Day. We had a great cookout with all of our employees. We even broke out the prize wheel for everyone to take a spin. :)

Frequently asked flu questions!

2/7/2018 (Permalink)

General Frequently asked flu questions! Be careful this flu season!

What should I do to protect myself from flu this season?
CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease.

In addition to getting a seasonal flu vaccine, you can take everyday preventive actions like staying away from sick people and washing your hands to reduce the spread of germs. If you are sick with flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading flu to others. In addition, there are prescription medications called antiviral drugs that can be used to treat influenza illness. Visit What you Should Know About Flu Antiviral Drugs for more information.

What should I do to protect my loved ones from flu this season?
Encourage your loved ones to get vaccinated. Vaccination is especially important for people at high risk for developing flu complications, and their close contacts. Also, if you have a loved one who is at high risk of flu complications and they develop flu symptoms, encourage them to get a medical evaluation for possible treatment with flu antiviral drugs. These drugs work best if given within 48 hours of when symptoms start. CDC recommends that people who are at high risk for serious flu complications and who get flu symptoms during flu season be treated with flu antiviral drugs as quickly as possible. People who are not at high risk for serious flu complications may also be treated with flu antiviral drugs, especially if treatment can begin within 48 hours.

Do some children require two doses of flu vaccine?
Yes. Some children 6 months through 8 years of age will require two doses of flu vaccine for adequate protection from flu. Children in this age group who are getting vaccinated for the first time will need two doses of flu vaccine, spaced at least 28 days apart. Children who have only received one dose in their lifetime also need two doses. Your child’s doctor or other health care professional can tell you if your child needs two doses of flu vaccine. Visit Children, the Flu, and the Flu Vaccine for more information.

What can I do to protect children who are too young to get vaccinated?
Children younger than 6 months old are at high risk of serious flu complications, but are too young to get a flu vaccine. Because of this, safeguarding them from flu is especially important. If you live with or care for an infant younger than 6 months old, you should get a flu vaccine to help protect them from flu. See Advice for Caregivers of Young Children for more information. Everyone else who is around the baby also should be vaccinated. Also, studies have shown that flu vaccination of the mother during pregnancy can protect the baby after birth from flu infection for several months.

In addition to getting vaccinated, you and your loved ones can take everyday preventive actions like staying away from sick people and washing your hands to reduce the spread of germs. If you are sick with flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading flu to others.

Tornado Basics

7/3/2017 (Permalink)

Tornado Basics

Tornadoes have caused a lot of destruction in many towns, such as the devastating tornadoes that hit Joplin, Missouri, on Sunday May 22, 2011. Although, we cannot prevent a tornado, we can be more knowledgeable of what a tornado is and the signs of a tornado coming.

 Tornadoes are considered nature’s most fierce storms and is formed from a violently narrow rotating column of air that extends from the base of a thunderstorm to the ground. Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still. A tornadoes location may be marked by a cloud of debris even if the funnel is not visible.  

 Tornadoes may cause devastating fatalities and damage to many homes and neighborhoods in the matter of seconds.

According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL), “About 1,200 tornadoes hit the U.S yearly.”

Tornadoes are most likely to be seen during May into early June for the Southern Plains and for the Northern plains and upper Midwest, tornadoes are more likely to be seen in June or July. Although, these are the peak tornado seasons, tornadoes can happen at any time of the year. Tornadoes can also happen at any time of the day or night, but are most likely to hit between 4-9 p.m.

Key Terms:

Tornado Watch: the conditions are favorable for a tornado.

Tornado Warning: a tornado has been reported, you should seek shelter.

Air Pressure: is the weight of a column of air that extends from the ground to the top of the atmosphere.

Funnel Cloud: a rotating column of wind that has not touched the ground (funnel clouds are called tornadoes when they reach the ground).

Multi-Vortex Tornado: a tornado that has two or more vortices that circle the center of a larger tornado.

Tornado Alley: an area in the United States where tornadoes are more likely to develop.

For more information on tornado safety and what to do in case of a tornado please visit https://www.weather.gov/ctp/TornadoSafety .

Emergency Ready Profile

6/26/2017 (Permalink)

General Emergency Ready Profile Make sure your business is prepared for whatever may happen!

Emergency Ready Profile

It is estimated that up to 50% of businesses that close due to a disaster, such as a fire or flood, never reopen. Of the businesses that do survive, the overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan in place. Preparation is key for making it through any size disaster, whether it is a small water leak, a large fire or an area flood. The best time to plan is not when the event happens, but well before it happens. By creating a plan and being prepared, you can reduce interruption and get back to business. 

The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile (ERP) is a tool that can help prepare your business for anything that may happen. The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile serves as a quick reference document, detailing important building and contact information. It can be an ideal supplement to any existing emergency preparedness plan. Rather than simply reacting to a disaster, be proactive by establishing a relationship with a restoration company. SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia and Lexington is a leader in fire and water damage response and can help you get your property back in working order. 

Advantages of the SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile: 

- A no cost assessment of your facility. 

- A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency. 

- A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster. 

- Establishes SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia and Lexington as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider. 

- Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.

- Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information. 

Don't wait until disaster strikes. Contact SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia and Lexington and be "Ready for whatever happens." 

We Are IICRC Certified

6/26/2017 (Permalink)

General  We Are IICRC Certified SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia and Lexington is IICRC Certified.

 We Are IICRC Certified 

SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia and Lexington is an IICRC firm. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) creates the standards for the restoration industry and provides training and certification to restoration companies. IICRC Certified Firms have the right to display the IICRC Certified Logo.

IICRC Certified Firms must

• Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.

• Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.

• Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.

• Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.

• Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.

The IICRC Develops The Standards For The Restoration Industry

The IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals.

Every five years, the standards are reviewed and updated. The water damage restoration field changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science, and therefore the standards must evolve to keep pace.

About SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia and Lexington

SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia and Lexington specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. We believe in continuous training: from initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Meet our Crew: http://www.SERVPROlexingtonsc.com/employee-photos 

Home Safety Checklist

6/5/2017 (Permalink)

Home Safety Checklist:

In honor of home safety month, here is a great checklist thanks to Real Simple, to make sure your home is safe for you and your family.

  • Check for frayed wires: Make sure to repair any frayed or loose wires on all electrical devices.
  • No cords should run under rugs or doorway.
  • Baby proof: place plastic covers all unused outlets.
  • Don’t overload any one outlet.
  • Examine your outside vents: Vents should be cleared of any kind of obstruction and be sure to check on them after a storm.
  • Inspect water heaters annually: Make sure the temperature is set at no higher than 120 degrees and that children stay clear of the water heater.
  • Install smoke detectors all throughout your home on each level near any sleeping areas.
  • Test your smoke alarms monthly.
  • Replace the batteries annually in your smoke detectors.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen: be knowledgeable on how to use it.
  • Create an escape route that has two exits in case of a fire.

There are so many things that you and your family may do to keep your home safe, for more great tips please visit: www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/organizing/home-safety-checklist

Electrical Safety Tips

5/23/2017 (Permalink)

Electrical Safety Tips

 

 

 

Electrical safety is definitely something you do not want to play around with. Messing with electrical hazards could cause burns, shocks and even death. Here is a comprehensive list of tips to consider, thanks to OSHA.

 

 

 

  • Assume that all overhead wires are energized at lethal voltages. Never assume that a wire is safe to touch even if it is down or appears to be insulated.

 

  • Never touch a fallen overhead power line. Call the electric utility company to report fallen electrical lines.

 

  • Stay at least 10 feet (3 meters) away from overhead wires during cleanup and other activities. If working at heights or handling long objects, survey the area before starting work for the presence of overhead wires.

 

 

  • If an overhead wire falls across your vehicle while you are driving, stay inside the vehicle and continue to drive away from the line. If the engine stalls, do not leave your vehicle. Warn people not to touch the vehicle or the wire. Call or ask someone to call the local electric utility company and emergency services.

 

  • Never operate electrical equipment while you are standing in water.

 

 

  • Never repair electrical cords or equipment unless qualified and authorized.

 

  • Have a qualified electrician inspect electrical equipment that has gotten wet before energizing it.

 

 

  • If working in damp locations, inspect electric cords and equipment to ensure that they are in good condition and free of defects, and use a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).

 

  • Always use caution when working near electricity.

 

 

For more tips on electrical safety please visit: www.osha.gov/SLTC/electrical/

 

 

Lead Poisoning

5/17/2017 (Permalink)

Lead Poisoning

 

 

How much do you know about lead poisoning? Could you and your family be at risk? What are things that you should look for if you were to have a lead problem?

 

Well these may be a few questions that you may have concerns about when you think of lead poisoning.

 

Lead poisoning occurs when you absorb too much lead by breathing or swallowing a substance with lead in it, such as paint, dust, water, or food. Lead poisoning occurs when lead builds up in the body, often over months or years.

 

Lead is a highly toxic metal and a very strong poison. Typically lead is found in the paint of old houses and toys but it may also be found in art supplies and contaminated dust.

 

Lead is more harmful for children because their brains and nervous systems are still developing. Too much lead in a child could cause lasting problems with growth and development, which may affect their behavior, hearing, and learning.

 

In adults, lead poisoning can damage the brain and nervous system, the stomach, the kidneys, and may cause high blood pressure.

 

The good news is that Lead poisoning is treatable, and although it is not normal to have lead in your body, a small amount is present in most people.

 

 

Common Symptoms of Lead Poisoning:

 

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Constipation
  • Sleep problems
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Loss of developmental skills in children
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • High blood pressure
  • Memory loss
  • Kidney dysfunction

 

For more information on lead or lead removal please visit: https://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/healthy_homes .

 

 

 

 

How is the Air Quality in Your Home?

5/8/2017 (Permalink)

How is the Air Quality in Your Home?

 

 

 

 

When someone says air quality, what do you think about? What does air quality mean to you? Do you really know how the air quality is around you and in your home?

 

Well it turns out that our air quality inside our homes could be much more hazardous than the air quality outside. Through the years, homes are being built more air tight, to help with heating and cooling costs. Although, this is great for our energy bill, it does not allow our home to air out. When we trap in the hot or cool air, we are also trapping in pollutants and even potentially producing more pollutants.

 

Our home, which is where the average person spends the most time, is much more susceptible to having the most pollutants. Some of the more obvious pollutants are cleaning chemicals and pesticides. But did you know that pollutants can also come from cooking and bathing?

 

There are those who are more vulnerable to the indoor air pollution, than others, such as: children, people with asthma, the elderly, and pregnant women, but others could be effected years later, after repeated exposure.

 

 

Simple Steps to Improve the air quality in your home:

 

  1. Keep your floors clean. By vacuuming your floor with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter, you can suck up pollen, pet dander, and dust mites. In high traffic areas, vacuum the same spot several times. For best results, vacuum two or more times each week and wash out your filter regularly.

 

Putting a large floor mat at every door will help keep people from tracking in chemicals and dirt. A door mat reduces the amount of dirt, pesticides, and other pollutants from getting into your home. Also, removing your shoes when you enter your home is another effective way of keeping harsh pollutants out of your home.  

 

 

  1. Keep your home at a healthy humidity level. Keeping humidity levels around 30% - 50% helps keep dust mites, mold, and other allergens under control. A dehumidifier in the winter and an air conditioner during the summer, will help reduce moisture and will effectively control allergens.

 

  • When cooking or bathing, use an exhaust fan or open a window.
  • Don’t overwater your houseplants.
  • Fix any leaky plumbing to prevent mold.

 

  1. Don’t smoke in your home. Cigarette smoke contains up to 4,000 chemicals. Smoking in your home can cause drastic effects in the air pollution in your home. If you do smoke, consider smoking outside.

 

  1. Test for Radon. Radon is a radioactive gas, it comes from the natural decay of uranium found in nearly all soils. It can move up through the ground and into your home through cracks and holes in the foundation.

Whether, you have a new or old home, you may still be at risk for radon. If you suspect that your home is at risk for radon, testing is easy and inexpensive. The Environmental Protection Agency offers information on Radon Reduction.

 

 

  1. Go Natural. Synthetic fragrances in laundry products and air fresheners emit dozens of different chemicals into the air. A simple way to eliminate the harsh chemicals in your home is to look for fragrance free or naturally scented products. To get that fresh scent in your kitchen you can you use fresh lemon or baking soda.

 

 

 

For more valuable information on the air quality in your home please visit www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/improving-indoor-air-quality.

 

 

 

 

Smoke Alarms Save Lives

3/27/2017 (Permalink)

Smoke Alarms Save Lives

 


According to NEPA, “ More than 1.3 million fires are reported in the United
States each year.” Nearly two-thirds of these fires are death related, occurring in homes with no working smoke alarms or no alarms present at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smoke Alarm Safety

 

These fires area also responsible for more than 17,000 injuries and over 3,000 deaths. Smoke alarms play a vital role in saving lives, and when they are properly installed, can reduce the risk of fire injury in half.

 

  • Install Smoke Alarms in every bedroom.

Smoke alarms should be installed outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.

 

  • Not in the Kitchen.

Smoke alarms should be installed away from the kitchen to prevent false alarms. (Generally, they should be at least ten feet from a cooking appliance).

 

  • Test at least once a month.

It is important to maintain and regularly test the alarms to ensure they are in proper working order.

 

  • Replace batteries.

Batteries in the smoke alarm should be replaced at least once a year. In the circumstance that the alarm “chirps”, warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.

 

  • Replacing Smoke Alarms.

Each smoke alarm should be replaced every ten years.

 

 

 

                                           Create a Plan

 

Smoke alarms work best when paired with an escape plan. Creating a plan for an emergency fire situation, allows for a safe and quick escape. For tips or information on emergency preparedness, don’t hesitate to call SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia and Lexington at (803)755-9774.

 

 

              

 

Emergency Supply List

3/6/2017 (Permalink)

Emergency Supply List:

                                                                                                

 

 

If an emergency arises, are you prepared? According to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), “All Americans should have some basic supplies on hand in order to survive for at least three days if an emergency occurs.” It is never too soon to be equipped for anything that may happen. It is best to store your emergency kit in an easy to carry bag, that way you and your family can be ready in case you must evacuate your home.

 

Here is a minimal list that one should keep in their supply kit:

  • Water: one gallon per person, per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation (3-day supply for evacuation and 2-week supply for home).
  • Food: you should have at least a three-day supply of non-perishable foods that are easy to prepare.
  • Flashlight
  • Battery powered or hand cranked radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible).
  • Extra batteries.
  • First Aid kit.
  • Medication (7-day supply) and medical items.
  • Multi-purpose tool.
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items.
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies).
  • Cell phones and chargers.
  • Family and emergency contact information.
  • Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place.
  • Garbage bags.
  • Extra Cash.
  • Local map.
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities. (Tools/supplies for securing your home).
  • Can opener for food.
  • Baby supplies (if applicable).
  • Games and activities for children.
  • Pet supplies (if applicable).
  • Two-way radios.
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys.
  • Rain Gear.
  • Work gloves.
  • Extra clothing.
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person.
  • Paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, and paper towels.

 

 

Along with your emergency supply kit, also make sure your family has an emergency plan set up in case a disaster strikes!

 

 

 

 

 

Content Credit: redcross.org, ready.gov

 

 

 

Disaster... Now What?!

2/20/2017 (Permalink)

Disaster… Now what?!


 


 


Disasters seem to strike at the worst possible moments! A disaster to your home is a horrible loss to have to be faced with. SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia has highly trained technicians and state-of-the art equipment ready to respond and to properly clean and restore your home, so that it feels, "Like it never even happened"!


 


The sooner that restoration and cleanup begins, the sooner you and your family can resume your normal day-to-day lives. Whether it’s a blizzard, flood, or another type of disaster, SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia offers 24-hour services to help restore your property.


 


 


So, when a disaster takes over your home, contact SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia at (803)755-9774, to help get you back on the right track!

Burn Awareness

2/20/2017 (Permalink)

Burn Awareness

 

According to, the American Burn Association, “Approximately 450,000 burn injuries require medical treatment each year.” A burn is damage to your body’s tissues caused by heat, chemicals, electricity, sunlight, or radiation. Burns, especially if left untreated can lead to infection. Burns cause swelling, blistering, and scarring.

 

When dealing with a burn you should treat it right away by putting it in cool water for three to five minutes and cover the burn with a clean, dry cloth.

 

The kitchen is one of the most common places in your home to get burned. To prevent burns from happening, place hot objects away from an edge, where they may be pulled down or knocked over and you should always turn pot handles away from the stove’s edge.

 

Remember to use dry oven mitts, because hot cookware can heat moisture in a hot pad, resulting in a scald burn.

 

In order to, keep the little one’s safe, it is a good idea to have a “kid free zone” of at least three feet around the stove. Talk to your children about how important burn safety is and remind them of what not to touch. Let them know what the risks are if they were to touch something hot and how to handle that situation.  

 

For more information on burn safety please go to Ameriburn.org.

Where it All Began

2/16/2017 (Permalink)

Where It All Began

 

 

SERVPRO has been around for many years, since 1967 to be exact! Ted and Doris Isaacson started SERVPRO as a painting business in Sacramento, CA. Ted and Doris had a background in both cleaning and restoration and transformed the business in to the SERVPRO we have today!

                                        

 

To help meet the needs of more of the US population, SERVPRO relocated to Gallatin, TN., in 1988. When SERVPRO first relocated, it consisted of 647 franchises. Today more than 1,700 individually owned and operated franchises are functioning nationwide.

 

SERVPRO’s everywhere are responding to property damage emergencies ranging from small individual disasters to multi-million dollar large-loss events. SERVPRO has established relationships with major insurance companies and commercial clients, as well as individual homeowners.

 

SERVPRO sure has come a long way since it all first began!

Getting to The Heart of The Matter

2/16/2017 (Permalink)

Getting to The Heart of The Matter

                        

                               

 

 

Love is in the air this beautiful month of February. Let’s start the month off right by loving ourselves and celebrating American Heart month. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S. but there are preventatives to heart disease- by making healthier choices about your well-being.

 

 

Here are some helpful heart healthy tips that can help get you on the right track:

 

  • Schedule a visit with your doctor to talk about heart health. There are many ways your doctor can check to make sure you are heart healthy; they can listen to your heart, take your heart rate, check your blood pressure, check your heart by doing a physical exam, and through blood tests.
  • Add exercise to your daily routine. You don’t have to be an athlete to get started, even taking a brisk walk for thirty minutes a day can make a big difference!
  • Increase healthy eating. Incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry and fish, nuts, and non-tropical vegetable oils into your diet.
  • Take steps to quit smoking. One year, after quitting smoking, your risk of coronary heart disease is about half that of a smoker’s. After five years, your risk of stroke is reduced to that of a nonsmoker.
  • Take medication as prescribed. Failing to take your medication properly can have a negative impact on your treatment; By not taking as prescribed the drug won’t work like it should.
  • Limit alcohol intake. If you’re going to drink alcohol, do so in moderation.

 

 

Content Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

Contents Restoration

8/23/2016 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Lexington is a full service emergency and restoration company. We specialize in contents cleaning and restoration, and also offer structural and 24/7 emergency restoration services to return your property – and your life – to normal. Family owned and operated, we restore properties in Southern California.

CONTENTS RESTORATION

From furniture to antiques to artwork and appliances, we'll treat your treasures with the care they deserve. While some items can be cleaned on-site, in many cases we'll need to inventory, pack out and transport the contents of your property to our state-of-the-art facility to ensure the best care possible.

Potential Sources

Wind and Dust Storms, Smoke and Soot from Fire, Vandalism, Water

Key Issues

  • Contents may need to be cleaned off-site
  • Contents inventory
  • Determine replacement and restoration
  • Pack
  • Ozone treatment
  • Cleaning
  • Odor removal
  • Secure
  • Return

Contents Inventory

  • We arrive on-site and inventory all of your personal belongings.
  • We carefully pack all salvable items to transport to our secure warehouse and cleaning facility.
  • Unsalvageable contents are inventoried and discarded.

Contents Valuation

We have trained professionals to help you establish replacement values versus restoration costs. We are also available for pricing of non-salvable inventory items.

Restoration

  • Thorough cleaning
  • Proper handling of all electronics
  • Photographs and artwork
  • Fabrics
  • Clothes
  • Memorabilia
  • Antiques
  • Soft goods
  • Dry Cleaning
  • Appliances
  • Surfaces
  • Odor Removal

If you experience an unfortunate turn of events at your property, remember to SERVPRO of Lexington, your one stop shop for cleaning and restoration.

Summer Home Upgrades

7/14/2016 (Permalink)

Here is a list of 7 easy summer upgrades you can do in your home this month.

1.       Inspect porches

You’ll want to check your porches for rotting, so that you can replace any old boards that might be damaged.

2.       Organize attic

This is a great way to de-clutter your home.  Throw away those items that have been stored up there for so long or maybe even sell them in a yard sale!

3.       Head off spring allergies

You can prevent allergens from spreading deep into your home by placing a door mat at each entrance of your home.  An even better way to be sure you aren’t bringing in allergens and pollens from the ground is to remove your shoes before entering your home.  This will also keep your carpets cleaner!

4.       Check for termites

And if you have a problem, call an exterminator!

5.       Re-caulk around the tubs

Ensure that no water is seeping behind the bathroom tiles by replacing your old caulk with new.  This can prevent extensive water damages.

6.       Refresh old potting soil

If your plants last year were healthy, then you can reuse the soil.

7.       Plant a tree

Refresh your front lawn, bring in the shade. 

Firework Safety

7/1/2016 (Permalink)

Fireworks are synonymous with our celebration of Independence Day. Yet, the thrill of fireworks can also bring pain. 230 people on average go the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday.

Remember, fireworks can be dangerous, causing serious burn and eye injuries. You can help us prevent fireworks-related injuries and deaths. How?

Follow these safety tips when using fireworks: 

  • Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
  • Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
  • A responsible adult SHOULD supervise all firework activities.  Never give fireworks to children.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.  Save your alcohol for after the show.
  • Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
  • Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
  • Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework.  Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
  • Never carry fireworks in your POCKET or shoot them into METAL or GLASS containers.
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
  • Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
  • FAA regulations PROHIBIT the possession and transportation of fireworks in your checked baggage or carry-on luggage.
  • Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.
  • Content Credit: fireworksafety.org

    Ozone? What's that?

    6/16/2016 (Permalink)

    The use of ozone among restoration professionals has become widely accepted.  It is most commonly used in this field as a high grade deodorization technique that can combat strong odors like pet odor and even smoke. While proving successful in these areas, the practice of using ozone has expanded into microbial remediation as in certain concentrations of O3 proves lethal. The EPA has released recent information that Ozone use should not be used in mold remediation as hyphae and spores are not eliminated during the process, thus potential allergen agents still exist. The IICRC, our industry standard, even suggests against the use of nontraditional forms of mold remediation; however, countless professionals still insist that this technique is effective. This literary review hopes to shine some light on this particular subject and the potential for advanced technology in microbiological remediation.

    What is Ozone and how does it Work?                         

    Ozone is the triatomic form of oxygen. While atmospheric oxygen (O2) remains the more commonly known molecule, ozone, or O3, has an additional oxygen atom that reacts with other molecules. In this way, this unstable atom will react with other atoms to break them down, thus neutralizing odors.

    Building Ecology and the Effects of Indoor Pollution

    Building composition, activity, and use all relate to indoor environmental condition. While several baselines have been created to determine air quality, building ecology is relatively based upon its occupant’s sensitivity to their surroundings. Pollution generation within comes from any number of primary or secondary agents including bio effluents, mold, smoke, byproducts of HVAC systems, and various other Volatile Organic Compounds. In reality, VOC’s, by comparison, are consistently higher indoors than outdoors. Normal use (cooking, water heating, cooling and moving, cleaning products) produces VOC’s that pass through filters and HVAC units and can cause irritation or allergies to its patrons. For this reason, it is important to constantly monitor indoor environments, especially when considering your ventilation systems (Air Ducts, HVAC, Returns, and Vents). 

    The Transition of Ozone Use to Improve Indoor Air Quality

    Ozone has been used heavily in water purification efforts for some time to deter biological growth. In 1997, ozone use was accepted as generally safe for food contact applications (U.S. FDA 1997). Currently, it is used for the post-harvest treatment of fish and fruit, in order to remove the presence of mycotoxin contamination (mold growth) and insects. Eventually school of thought transferred to the restoration industry. If ozone could deter mold growth in fruit and vegetable processing, could it remove mold growth in homes?

    According to one study conducted in 2008, ozone was reported to have successfully inactivated colony-forming fungal units both in a laboratory and simulated field condition on various surfaces. The question then becomes does inactive mold still present a hazard to occupants and is this sufficient for remediation purposes?

    Modern Day Mold Removal, Remediation, and Treatment

    The EPA has completed several reviews on the current status of mold remediation processes and the use of ozone across throughout the industry (EPA, 1996). Current OSHA and EPA guidelines shy away from ozone use for indoor air pollution as the positives often outweigh the negatives. Both occupants and technicians could be at risk of respiratory issues if ozone is used improperly or at too high of a concentration. In addition, both inactive and active mold particulates can cause the same health affects if inhaled.

    If used properly however, ozone may be used in conjunction with other cleaning methods. A pre-ozone treatment could potentially limit hazards to employees prior to remediation. While source control should always be the number one priority in any hazardous remediation effort, shunning technology will limit the efficiency of air quality improvement.

    Other Technological Advances Used In Microbial Remediation

    Efforts have been made to reduce the impacts of mold removal through other means as well. blasting, hydroxylase, and even UV light disbursement have all entered into the restoration industry as means to assist in the sanitization of an affected area. These methods take additional training and in some cases additional safety precautions for technicians that are completing the projects. These techniques, while effective in disinfecting areas, still need to be combined with more traditional types of remediation (Containments, Negative Air Pressure, Air Scrubbing, etc.) in order to properly remove mold growth.

    Indoor air quality should be constantly monitored, as air pollution can be caused by a variety of issues. If you think you have a mold problem, please don’t hesitate to call in a professional as these problems get worse with time. Mold can hurt the value of a home, but it can be easily treated if the right company is hired to remediate the problem. Make sure that your remediation company isn’t doing more harm than good in your home

    Indoor Air Quality

    6/13/2016 (Permalink)

    There is good news and bad news about indoor air: the bad news is that indoor air often contains higher concentrations of hazardous pollutants than outdoor air; however, the good news is that everyone can reduce indoor air pollution.

    How can the air inside our homes be so bad for us?

    Over the years, buildings have been made more airtight to conserve energy. A variety of methods have been employed to keep the hot or cool air from escaping from our homes: installing storm windows and insulation; applying caulk and weather stripping to seal cracks and other openings; and heating our homes with kerosene, wood, coal, and natural gas. Unfortunately, when we trap in hot or cool air, we also trap in pollutants and sometimes generate more.

    Why is this an issue?

    On average, people spend about 90 percent of their time indoors. Sixty-five percent of that is spent at home. To make matters worse, those who are most susceptible to indoor air pollution are the ones who are home the most: children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with chronic illnesses. Children breathe in 50 percent more air per pound of body weight than adults do. EPA studies have found that pollutant levels inside can be two to five times higher than outdoors. After some activities, indoor air pollution levels can be 100 times higher than outdoors.

    What are the sources of pollutants?

    There are many sources of pollutants in the home. Obvious ones are chemicals, cleaning products, and pesticides. Less obvious are pollutants caused by such simple tasks as cooking, bathing, or heating the home. Fortunately, there are easy steps that everyone can take to reduce the potential for indoor air pollution and to improve the quality of the air they breathe.

    How do you know if the air inside your home is dangerous to your health?

    Often, it is difficult to determine which pollutant or pollutants are the sources of a person's ill health, or even if indoor air pollution is the problem. Many indoor air pollutants cannot be detected by our senses (e.g., smell) and the symptoms they produce can be vague and sometimes similar, making it hard to attribute them to a specific cause. Some symptoms may not show up until years later, making it even harder to discover the cause. Common symptoms of exposure to indoor air pollutants include: headaches, tiredness, dizziness, nausea, itchy nose, and scratchy throat. More serious effects are asthma and other breathing disorders and cancer.

    How does this affect children?

    Children may be more susceptible to environmental exposures than adults and, because of their developing systems, particularly vulnerable to their effects. Asthma is a case in point. About 4.2 million children in the United States, and more than 12.4 million people

    Information and recommendations are compiled from sources believed to be reliable. The National Safety Council makes no guarantee as to and assumes no responsibility for the correctness, sufficiency or completeness of such information or recommendations. Other or additional safety measures may be required under particular circumstances.

    Home Maintenance Checklist

    6/8/2016 (Permalink)

    Home Maintenance Checklist

    There are tons of ways that you can keep your clean and safe and your SERVPRO of Lexington’s team is here to give you tips on how to do so!

    Weekly, you can:

    1.       Vacuum your carpet. (Rule of thumb: vacuum once per week per human inhabitant, twice per pet).

    2.       Feel plugs/ outlets for warmth. Call electrician if anything appears unusual.

    Monthly, you can:

    1.       Change air filters (if there are no pets, smoking inside the home, or inhabitants with allergies, you may change them quarterly at a MINIMUM).

    2.       Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms by pushing ‘test’ button.

    3.       Check faucet and hose connections under sinks and toilets and behind laundry equipment and refrigerator.

    4.       Look for leaks at shut-off valves.

    5.       Check walls and ceilings for brown spots. Check painted surfaces for peeling, chipping or blistering. This can be indicative of water damage.

    6.       Clean dust from molding and baseboards to preserve value.

    Quarterly, you can:

    1.       Check inside basement walls for dampness or water stains.

    2.       Check to make sure crawl space vapor barrier is in good condition and placed correctly.

    3.       Examine outside vents and gutters. Make sure properly sealed and clear of obstruction. Recheck vents during and after a snowstorm.

    4.       Check condition of caulking around sinks, bathtubs, and showers. For extra protection, replace with long-lasting material such as silicone or latex.

    5.       Clean dirt and dust from around furnaces, air grills and ducts.

    6.       Have dryer vent cleaned by professional or remove lent with leaf blower to prevent clogging or fire damage. Check vent if clothes aren’t drying properly.

    Bi-Annually, you can:

    1.       Have carpet cleaned by professional cleaner to preserve fabric or warranty.

    2.       Practice fire escape plan with family. Identify off-site meeting location/shelter.

    3.       Pull back floor insulation in basement or crawl space to check for leaks, wood damage around supply pipes.

    Annually, you can:

    1.       Change batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Clean detectors/vacuum each grill.

    2.       Have property inspected and treated for termites by professional technician.

    3.       Check roof for damaged shingles and flashing.

    4.       Replace washer/dryer and refrigerator hoses (steel braided hoses are recommended).

    5.       Have AC unit serviced by professional technician. Condensation drain lines need to be checked for clogging to prevent water damage.

    6.       Have fireplace inspected and cleaned by professional chimney sweeper.

    7.       Drain garden hoses and store for winter.

    Long Term Reminders:

    1.       Every 5 years, have ducts cleaned by professional technician.

    2.       Every 25 years, replace roof shingles.

    More general safety tips include:

    Store emergency contact information (police, fire dept., hospital, etc.) in physical and digital locations. Free apps are available as a resource (see SERVPRO.com/ready).

    Keep rescue ladder(s) for multi-story homes.

    Keep fire extinguisher in kitchen and on every floor. Have all house dwellers practice use.

    Plug a rechargeable flashlight into socket close to bed. May also be used to signal first responders.

    Trim back branches from roof and chimney to prevent fire or structural damage.

    Regularly clean fireplace ash pit.

    Never burn green wood. Burn only dry, well-seasoned hard wood that has been split properly.

    Use dryer sheets when drying clothes to reduce spontaneous combustion. Let clothes cool off before transferring.

    If a rotten-egg type smell is detected, check pipes for possible gas leak.

    Set water heaters no higher than 120 degrees. Keep combustible and flammable material away from heater.

    Consider a sprinkler system in home to prevent fire damage.

    Never plug more than one high wattage appliance in single outlet.

    Keep carpet stretched and healthy to prevent tripping on wrinkles. If wrinkled, check for delamination by pulling carpet back from corner of room. Delaminated carpet is not repairable and must be replaced.

    In case of water damage, you should know what to do and what not to do until help arrives. SERVPRO of Lexington got your back. Here are our tips:

    DO:

    ·         Shut off the source of water if possible or contact a qualified party to stop the water source.

    ·         When access to the power distribution panel is safe from electrical shock, turn off circuit breakers in wet areas of the building.

    ·         Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting.

    ·         Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items.

    ·         Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushion for even drying.

    ·         Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.

    ·         Any painting, art object, computers, document and other material that are valuable or sensitive to moisture should be relocated to a safe, dry place.

    ·         Use wooden clothespins to keep furniture skirting off damp floors.

    ·         Hang draperies with coated hangers to avoid contact with wet carpeting or floors.

    ·         Hang furs and leather good to dry separately at room temperature.

    DON’T:

    ·         Enter rooms with standing water where electrical shock hazards may exist.

    ·         Enter affected areas if electrical outlets, switches, circuit breakers or electrical equipment are exposed to water. Always avoid electrical shock hazards.

    ·         Leave books, newspapers, magazines or other colored items on wet carpet or floors to cause staining.

    ·         Leave oriental rugs or other colored rugs on wet wall-to-wall carpets to cause staining.

    ·         Use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water, possibly causing electrical shock or damage to the vacuum cleaner.

    ·         Use TVs or other appliances while standing on wet carpets or floors, especially not on wet concrete floors.

    ·         Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet.

    ·         Enter rooms where ceiling is sagging from retained water.

    Smoke, Water damage? SERVPRO can help

    6/2/2016 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO® of Lexington understands that no damage is small when it comes to your home.

    Your home is truly a reflection of you, your tastes and your personality. Suffering damage to your home can feel like a part of you has been damaged as well. We recognize a loss can make you feel vulnerable, invaded or robbed of part of your life. Your loss is unique—in how it started, the emotions experienced and the extent of the damage.

    When damage affects your home, you want it to be restored to pre-loss condition. You cannot afford to let the marketability of your home be affected. That is why SERVPRO® has professionally restored property for over 40 years.

    SERVPRO® is the trusted choice for hundreds of insurance companies nationwide, because they know SERVPRO® of Lexington Professionals have the experience to do the job right.

  • Recognized Industry Leader in Fire and Water Cleanup and Restoration
  • SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals Serving America Since 1967
  • Over 1,500 Locations Nationwide
  • IICRC* Approved School for 5 Cleaning and Restoration Categories:

  • Fire
  • Water
  • Carpet
  • Upholstery
  • ASD (Applied Structural Drying)
  • Insurance protection
  • Exclusive products and equipment
  • Extensive training programs
  • Safety compliance
  • Complete documentation, no surprises
  • Defined work processes
  • Active customer communication
  • Fast work completion
  • SERVPRO® is a company with the resources and experience to be a national leader in cleaning and restoration.

     When you call SERVPRO® of Lexington, you can expect:

  • Fast Response. . . . . . . . . . Uniformed technicians will arrive on-site usually within four hours of notification.
  • Damage Containment. . . . . Timely response can mean the difference between restoring property and replacing it.
  • Extensive Experience.. .SERVPRO® has been a leading provider of fire and water cleanup and restoration for over 40 years.
  • Vast Resources. . . . . . . . . . SERVPRO® has large loss capabilities and can handle any fire or water damage—no matter how big.
  • CHECK US OUT! WE’LL DO IT RIGHT!

    Our Goal:

  • To make you feel Like it never even happened.®
  • Minimize customer interruptions
  • Complete the job properly
  • Provide regular updates on progress
  • Restore the property to pre-loss condition in most cases
  • Insurance protection
  • Exclusive products and equipment
  • Extensive training programs
  • Safety compliance
  • Complete documentation, no surprises
  • Defined work processes
  • Active customer communication
  • Fast work completion
  • When fire and water take control of your life, we help you take it back. 

    Our Highly Trained Restoration Specialists can restore your Lexington Home

    5/25/2016 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Lexington is an IICRC firm. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) creates the standards for the restoration industry and provides training and certification to restoration companies. IICRC Certified Firms have the right to display the IICRC Certified Logo.

    IICRC Certified Firms must

    • Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.

    • Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.

    • Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.

    • Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.

    • Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.

    The IICRC Develops The Standards For The Restoration Industry

    The IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals.

    Every five years, the standards are reviewed and updated. The water damage restoration field changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science, and therefore the standards must evolve to keep pace.

    SERVPRO of Lexington specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. We believe in continuous training: from initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

    Celebrate Summer with SERVPRO

    5/13/2016 (Permalink)

    Nothing says Summer time like- Southern Peach Cobbler!

    Ingredients

    ·         Fresh Peaches, Peeled, Pitted and Sliced into Wedges - 8

    ·         White Sugar - 1/4 Cup

    ·         Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed - 1/4 Cup

    ·         Cinnamon - 1/4 Teaspoon

    ·         Nutmeg - 1/8 Teaspoon

    ·         Fresh Lemon Juice - 1 Teaspoon

    ·         Cornstarch - 2 Teaspoon

    ·         Cake Topping:

    ·         All-Purpose Flour - 2 Cups

    ·         White Sugar - 1/2 Cup

    ·         Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed - 1/2 Cup

    ·         Baking Powder - 2 Teaspoon

    ·         Salt - 1 Teaspoon

    ·         Cold Unsalted Butter, Cut into Small Pieces - 12 Tablespoons

    ·         Boiling Water - 1/2 Cup

    ·         Sugar Topping:

    ·         White Sugar - 3 Tablespoons

    Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

    2. In a large bowl, fold the peaches, 1/4 cup each white and brown sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice and cornstarch until all ingredients are well combined.

    3. Pour fruit mixture into a 9X13 inch baking dish.

    4. Place in preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes.

    5. While peaches are in the oven, add all the cake topping ingredients, except the boiling water, to a medium bowl. Use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Pour in the boiling water and stir just until the mixture comes together and is just mixed through.

    6. After the peaches have baked the 10 minutes, pull them from the oven and drop large spoonfuls of the dough topping over peaches. Sprinkle the top of the dough with the 3 tablespoons of sugar evenly. Place the baking dish on a cookie sheet, in case the cobbler bubbles over and drips, and bake for 30 minutes or until the topping is golden and baked through and the peaches are tender.

    Content Credit: gonnawantseconds.com

    Electrical Safety Month

    5/9/2016 (Permalink)

    May is National Electrical Safety Month and a good time review electrical safety practices. Increasing electrical safety awareness, following electrical safety guidelines, and using tools and technology designed to address electrical hazards are all components of a safety program. What causes the top electrical hazards? Many are the result of the growing use of electrical power, combined with electrical systems that are over 20 years old. Wiring hazards are both a major cause of electrocutions and home fires, killing hundreds and injuring thousands each year. Misuse of surge suppressors, power strips and extension cords is also a cause of electrocutions and fires. Contact with power lines and major appliances contribute to hundreds of deaths annually, both at home and in the workplace. Eliminating these electrical hazards will help reduce deaths and injuries. Eliminating electrical hazards begins with education and awareness. A focus on electrical safety, both at home and in the workplace, can prevent the hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries and billions of dollars in economic losses that occur each year because of electrical hazards. Use of tools and technology can also make our reliance on electrical power less hazardous. Investing in ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs), circuit testers and where necessary, personal protective equipment (PPE), can significantly reduce risk.

    Electrical safety tips to help avoid tragic and costly injuries:

    Use appliances and equipment according to the manufacturer's instructions. 

    Replace damaged electrical equipment or have it repaired at an authorized repair center. 

    Make sure power strips, cords and surge suppressors are designed to handle the loads for their intended use.

    Avoid overloading circuits by plugging too many items into the same outlet.

    Use ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection when working where water is near electricity to protect against electric shock.

    AVOID OUTDOOR ELECTRICAL HAZARDS AT WORK AND HOME

    Warmer weather brings an increase in outdoor work in many parts of the country, both on the job and at home. Increasing electrical safety awareness can help ensure those activities do not result in injuries and deaths, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI).

    ESFI notes that following safety rules can reduce electrical deaths and injuries:

    Ladders—even those made of wood—that contact a power line can prove fatal.

    Unplug outdoor tools and appliances when not in use.

    Inspect power tools and appliances for frayed cords, broken plugs and cracked or broken housing and repair or replace damaged items

    Water does not mix with electricity. Avoid damp conditions — including wet grass — when using electricity.

    Content Credit: ccd.fnal.gov/

    Clean Air Month

    5/2/2016 (Permalink)

    Supported by the American Lung Association, Clean Air Month educates people about the impact clean air can have on their lives.

    This observance also encourages people to take positive steps to help improve air quality.

    What exactly is clean air?

    Clean air, is air which has a natural balance of gases such as oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide. Clean air does not contain pollutants or allergens.

    Clean air does not harm the environment, nor is it a cause or trigger of health problems.

    Consequences of poor quality air

    Poor quality air can harm the environment and can affect us all.

    Toxic air pollution is linked to serious conditions such as cancer and chronic bronchitis. Air pollution can exacerbate pre-existing conditions such as asthma.

    Air pollution can also harm the environment. The burning of fossil fuels (often for transport or electricity generation) releases high levels of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide into the atmosphere. These gases react with other gases and water to create rain which is acidic.

    Acid rain raises the acid levels of water and disrupts the natural balance of life in lakes and rivers; acid rain can also damage plants and trees.

    Pollutants Which Can Affect Clean Air & The Environment Include:

    Acid Rain

    Ozone

    Toxic Air Pollution

    Lead

    Sulfur Dioxide

    Particulate Soot

    Carbon Monoxide

    Clean Air Month: Taking Positive Steps

    The Clean Air Act came into force in 1970. This Act has been successful in reducing air quality related health conditions and premature death.

    Clean Air Month is a time for many states to celebrate the impact the Clean Air Act has had on the way people think about the environment and on the overall health of its people.  Clean Air Month is recognized in many states across America. Events are held throughout the month of May to promote awareness. Some states offer Air Management Programs and timely reporting on state and federal air quality issues.

    We can all make positive steps to improve the quality of our air. Ways we can improve air quality are often based around reducing our use of electricity and using transport more efficiently. We can also support legislation which improves air quality.

    SERVPRO of Lexington, Cayce/ West Columbia professionals can help clean your air with our state of the art equipment and professional cleaning experience. Call 1-803-755-9774 to take care of your clean air needs.

    Content Credit: whathealth.com 

    Save some time to do your taxes

    4/18/2016 (Permalink)

    Did you know taxes are do three days later this year? The tax return time is over TODAY the 18th. Here is a recipe to help you save some of your time in case you are in a tax crunch. You literally toss together some dry pasta, some frozen (fully cooked) meatballs, marinara sauce, and water in a big baking dish. Cover it and bake it in the oven while you deal with TAXES, laundry, homework, feeding the dog, and all of the 18909809832429508 other items on your “To Do” list. Sprinkle some cheese on top to melt at the end and dinner is DONE! 

    DUMP AND BAKE MEATBALL CASSEROLE

    Author: The Seasoned Mom

    Prep time:  10 mins

    Cook time:  40 mins

    Total time:  50 mins

    Serves: 4-6

    INGREDIENTS

    ·         1 (16 ounce) package uncooked rotini pasta

    ·         1 (25 ounce) jar marinara sauce

    ·         3 cups water

    ·         1 (14 ounce) package fully-cooked miniature (cocktail-size) meatballs (if using frozen meatballs, make sure that they are completely thawed before using)

    ·         2 cups shredded mozzarella (or Italian blend) cheese

    ·         Optional: Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped herbs (such as basil, oregano, and parsley) for garnish

    INSTRUCTIONS

    1.   Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

    2.   In a large baking dish, stir together uncooked pasta, marinara sauce, water, and meatballs. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.

    3.   Uncover; stir.

    4.   Sprinkle mozzarella over the top and bake uncovered for 10 more minutes (or until cheese is melted and pasta is tender).

    http://www.theseasonedmom.com/

    Danger with Asbestos

    3/21/2016 (Permalink)

    Continuing Studies are shedding new light on asbestos-related cancer

    US scientists analyzing tumor samples from patients with mesothelioma – a form of cancer linked with asbestos exposure – have mapped out the gene faults associated with the disease in unprecedented detail.

    "We still need to dig deeper into the genetics and work out how to exploit what we find." - Professor Dean Fennell, Cancer Research UK

    The findings, by researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston working with colleagues at pharmaceutical company Genentech, suggest some patients may respond to existing experimental drugs.

    An expert from Cancer Research UK said the discovery, based on samples from more than 200 patients, were the most detailed analysis to date.

    “Mesothelioma is a cancer for which we're urgently searching for new treatments, and this study provides us with a map of how to find them,” said Professor Dean Fennell, a Cancer Research UK-funded expert in mesothelioma from the University of Leicester.

    “It's the most comprehensive analysis to date of the gene defects in mesothelioma cells, and confirms what previous, smaller studies have shown. Most notably it confirms the importance of several genetic flaws, suggesting that some patients could do well on a number of experimental drugs being tested for other cancers - this will now need testing in clinical trials.” 

    The researchers compared genetic data from normal and cancerous tissues from 201 patients’ tumor samples, unearthing more than 2,500 faults, and 10 genes commonly altered genes. 

    "By studying so many samples, we've been able to describe a spectrum of mutations for this rare disease. A small number of these mutations have been found previously in other cancers, and drugs have been developed to target these mutations," said study leader Dr Raphael Bueno. 

    "This new work suggests that patients with such mutations may benefit from certain existing drugs."

    Two patients appeared to have mutations that suggested they might have responded to a leukemia drug called imatinbib, which targets a gene defect called BCR-Abl. Others had tumors that produced high levels of a molecule called PD-L1, thought to confer sensitivity to new immunotherapy drugs.

    "We plan to continue this important research through investigator-sponsored trials evaluating the potential use of cancer immunotherapies for the treatment of mesothelioma," said Bueno.

    The research also identified hallmarks of several processes at play inside cancer cells as the disease developed. But what was still missing, said Professor Fennell, was detailed information about how asbestos triggered mesothelioma. 

    “What’s still not clear is the identity of the key gene faults responsible for mesothelioma’s initiation. Finding this out will be key to understanding how to beat this terrible disease. So we still need to dig deeper into the genetics and work out how to exploit what we find - something several research teams, including my own, are working on." 

    Be A Hero

    3/7/2016 (Permalink)

     Every eight minutes, the American Red Cross brings help and hope to people in need, thanks to heroes like you. Whether people donate funds, donate blood or volunteer, Red Cross depends on the community’s support to make a difference across the country.

    Each year, the president of the United States proclaims March "Red Cross Month.” Red Cross uses this month as a chance to honor and celebrate the everyday heroes who help them fulfill their mission. This March, we at SERVPRO encourage you to uncover your inner hero. Choose to Donate, Give blood, take a class or Volunteer. Be a hero today!

    The history of the American Red Cross is inseparable from the history of America itself. Since 1881, American Red Cross members and volunteers have been an essential part of our nation’s response to war, natural disaster and other human suffering. We’ve been witness to great tragedy, but more importantly we’ve seen the triumph of the human spirit as people work together to help each other rebuild their lives and communities. Through the links below, you can explore some of the key points when Red Cross history and American history intersect.

    Mission Statement

    The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.?

    Vision Statement

    The American Red Cross, through its strong network of volunteers, donors and partners, is always there in times of need. We aspire to turn compassion into action so that...

    ...all people affected by disaster across the country and around the world receive care, shelter and hope;

    ...our communities are ready and prepared for disasters;

    ...everyone in our country has access to safe, lifesaving blood and blood products;

    ...all members of our armed services and their families find support and comfort whenever needed; and

    ...in an emergency, there are always trained individuals nearby, ready to use their Red Cross skills to save lives.

    Fundamental Principles of the Global Red Cross Network

    Humanity

    The Red Cross, born of a desire to bring assistance without discrimination to the wounded on the battlefield, endeavors—in its international and national capacity—to prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found. Its purpose is to protect life and health and to ensure respect for the human being. It promotes mutual understanding, friendship, cooperation and lasting peace amongst all peoples.

    Impartiality

    It makes no discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. It endeavors to relieve the suffering of individuals, being guided solely by their needs, and to give priority to the most urgent cases of distress.

    Neutrality

    In order to continue to enjoy the confidence of all, the Red Cross may not take sides in hostilities or engage at any time in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.

    Independence

    The Red Cross is independent. The national societies, while auxiliaries in the humanitarian services of their governments and subject to the laws of their respective countries, must always maintain their autonomy so that they may be able at all times to act in accordance with Red Cross principles.

    Voluntary Service

    The Red Cross is a voluntary relief movement not prompted in any manner by desire for gain.

    Unity

    There can be only one Red Cross society in any one country. It must be open to all. It must carry on its humanitarian work throughout its territory.

    Universality

    The Red Cross is a worldwide institution in which all societies have equal status and share equal responsibilities and duties in helping each other.

    Contents Credit: www.redcross.org

    World Thinking day

    2/22/2016 (Permalink)

    During World thinking day, let’s be ready for damage if it happens with these helpful SERVPRO tips with what to do until help arrives.

    During a fire or smoke damage

    DO:

    Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded in to upholstery and carpet.

    Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, wall and woodwork.

    Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.

    If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator completely and prop doors open to prevent odor.

    Wipe soot from chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim and appliances, then protect these surfaces with a light coating of lubricant.

    If heat is off during the winter, pour RV antifreeze in sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks and tubs to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures.

    Wash both sides of leaves on house plants.

    Change HVAC filter, but leave system off until a trained professional can check the system.

    Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system.

    DON’T:

    Attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting your SERPRIO Franchise Professional.

    Attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture without first consulting your SERVPRO Franchise Professional.

    Attempt to clean any electrical appliances (TV sets, radios, etc.) that may have been close to fire, heat or water without first consulting an authorized repair service.

    Consume any food or beverages that may have been stored close to the fire, heat or water. (They may be contaminated.)

    Turn on ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet. Wiring may be wet or damaged and cause electrical shock and air movement may create secondary damage.

    Send garments to the dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set in smoke odor.

    During a water damage from clean water

    DO:

    Shut off the source of water if possible or contact a qualified party to stop the water source.

    Turn off circuit breakers for the wet areas of the building, when access to the power distribution panel is safe from electrical shock.

    Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting.

    Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items.

    Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions for even drying.

    Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.

    Remove to a safe, dry place any paintings, art objects, computers, documents and other materials that are valuable or sensitive to moisture.

    Use wooden clothespins to keep furniture skirting off damp floors.

    Hang draperies with coated hangers to avoid contact with wet carpeting or floors.

    Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature.

    DON’T:

    Enter rooms with standing water where electrical shock hazards may exist.

    Enter affected areas if electrical outlets, switches, circuit breakers or electrical equipment are exposed to water. Always avoid electrical shock hazards.

    Leave books, newspapers, magazines or other colored items on wet carpets or floors to cause staining.

    Leave Oriental rugs or other colored rugs on wet wall to wall carpets to cause staining.

    Use your household vacuum cleaner to remover water possibly causing electrical shock or damage to the vacuum cleaner.

    Use TV’s or other appliances while standing on wet carpets or floors, especially not on wet concrete floors.

    Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet or enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.

    During water damage from contaminated water 

    DO:

    Avoid all contact with sewage and items contaminated by sewage.

    Wash your hands thoroughly after contact with contaminated items.

    DON’T:

    Spread contaminated water by walking unnecessarily on damaged or wet areas.

    Turn on HVAC system if there is a possibility of spreading contaminated air.

    Use household fans to dry the structure and spread contaminants.

    Use products for personal hygiene and cleanliness of exposed to the contaminated areas. 

    During vandalism damage

    DO:

    Hose or wash egg damage from building exterior as soon as possible

    Vacuum glass particles from carpets and upholstery.

    Save containers which reveal the ingredients for spilled inks, cosmetics and paints. 

    DON’T:

    Attempt to remove ink, paint or cosmetic stains.

    Operate damaged lamps or appliances.

    Discard furniture wood chips, broken pieces from porcelain, furniture or art objects.

    During harmful waste damage

    DO:

    Stay out of affected areas.

    Call emergency service personnel if the situation is life-threatening.

    Treat all bodily fluids as if they are contaminated.

    DON’T:

    Attempt cleanup of any kind.

    Touch or handle items that might be contaminated with bodily fluids.

    These tips will assist you in taking proper action until SERVPRO arrives

    Care for your Caregiver

    2/19/2016 (Permalink)

    Care for the Caregivers

    Over 50 million Americans are providing care to a family member. The value of these services, provided by family members caring for loved ones, is estimated to be $306 billion annually.  We recognize these unsung heroes during National Family Caregiver Day

    Sponsored each year by the National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA), focuses on the challenges facing family caregivers. Family caregivers provide a wide range of emotional, financial, nursing, social, homemaking and other services on a daily or intermittent basis. While some family caregivers provide 24/7 care for loved ones who require assistance for all daily living activities, others may provide care on a part-time basis. Family caregiving can extend for a few years or a lifetime.

    It’s time to thank, support, educate, and celebrate family caregivers who are America’s primary long-term care providers. Families or friends provide Eighty percent of long-term care. 

    Top 10 Ways to Celebrate National Family Caregivers Day 

    Offer a few hours of respite time to a family caregiver so they can spend time with friends, or simply relax.

    Send a card of appreciation or a bouquet of flowers to brighten a family caregiver’s day. Encourage local businesses to offer a free service for family caregivers through the month of November.

    Help a family caregiver decorate their home for the holidays or offer to address envelopes for their holiday cards.

    Offer comic relief! Purchase tickets to a local comedy club, give a family caregiver your favorite funny movie to view, or provide them with a book on tape.

     Find 12 different photos of the caregiver’s family and friends. Have a copy center create a 2008 calendar that the family caregiver can use to keep track of appointments and events.

    Offer to prepare Thanksgiving dinner for a caregiving family in your community, so they can just relax and enjoy the holiday.

    Take a few minutes to write a letter. Encourage your faith community to ask for prayers not only for those who are ill, but also those who care for them.

    Encourage family caregivers to become a part of the National Family Caregiver Story Project. It’s a great place to not only share but read about others in like situations.

    Help a family caregiver find new educational materials and support through family caregiving web sites or by calling local social service agencies for help. 

    Visit the National Family Caregiver Association website to learn more about National Family Caregiving Day and for additional resources and information.

    Here is a fun craft to complete for your special caregiver:

    Materials Needed:

  • Felted wool
  • Rice
  • Pinking shears
  • Muslin fabric
  • Template
  • Heart Hand Warmers Tutorial:

  • Make a heart template and cut out
  • Cut out 2 hearts out of muslin and 2 hearts out of wool
  • Layer the 2 muslin hearts, wool heart on top and bottom
  • Sew all the way around the heart, leaving a 1″ opening for rice filling
  • Use a funnel and fill with rice
  • Sew the opening closed
  • Using pinking shears, trim the edges
  • Warm in the microwave for 30-45 seconds. 
  • Fire safety cookies

    2/5/2016 (Permalink)

    Be aware and ready for fire safety while working in the kitchen

    No Bake Cookies

  • Prep 10 m
  • Ready In 45 m
  • Recipe By: Denise

    "Tasty no-bake cookies made with oatmeal, peanut butter and cocoa. Start timing when mixture reaches a full rolling boil; this is the trick to successful cookies. If you boil too long the cookies will be dry and crumbly. If you don't boil long enough, the cookies won't form properly."

    Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Directions

    1. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa. Bring to a boil, and cook for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in peanut butter, oats, and vanilla. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper. Let cool until hardened.

     Content credit: allRecipes.com

    Avoid Busting pipes

    1/6/2016 (Permalink)

    With the upcoming cold front here are some tips to help prepare your home from winter mayhem

    1. Wrap outside faucets.
    2. Caulk around pipes where they enter the house. 
    3. Disconnect garden hoses. 
    4. Drain in ground sprinkler systems.
    5. Let a stream of water run, if the temperature dips below freezing. 
    6. Open cupboard doors in the kitchen and bathrooms. 
    7. Shut off and drain your water system if you are leaving home for several days. 

    The Experience

    5/8/2015 (Permalink)

    With over 40 years experience, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals have restored flood-damaged homes and businesses from coast to coast.  SERVPRO's Disaster Recovery Team is trained and equipped to handle the largest storms and the highest floodwaters.

    If a flood does strike your home or business, give your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional a call.  Even minor floods have the potential to cause major damage to a structure when not treated quickly and properly.  and the cleanup is often an overwhelming task.  The SERVPRO system is prepared to handle any size disaster and help make it "Like it never even happened." 

    Disinfectant & Sanitizers

    4/29/2015 (Permalink)

    Disinfectant-Any chemical or physical process used on objects that destroys more than 99% of microoganisms capable of causing human disease.  Disinfectants may not be effective sporicides.  In many countries, government registration of disinfectants provides assurance of performance when the product is used on specific strains of microoganisms according to label directions.  registraion as a disinfectant applies to hard surfaces only and does not include textiles.  

    Sanitizer-A sanitizer is regarded as the lowest level of anti-microbial or biocidal activity provided in that it significantly reduces the number of bacterial contaminants to safe levels as judged by public health requirements.

    Why Mitigate?

    4/28/2015 (Permalink)

      As mitigation specialists, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals focus on reducing loss, enabling quick recoveries and lessening costs inolved with restoration of prperty damage events.

    • Mitigation reduces losses of life and property.
    • Mitigation enables people to recover more quickly from a disaster.
    • Mitigation lessesns the financial impact of disasters.

    When to Mitigate:

    • Water
    • Fire
    • Vandalism
    • Crime Scene

    "Like it never even happened"

    EMERGENCY SUPPLY KIT

    4/24/2015 (Permalink)

  • Water (one gallon per person per day)
  • Food (non-perishable 3-day supply)
  • Manual can opener
  • Battery operated radio, preferably a NOAA Weather Radio.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Clothing
  • Dust masks or bandanas
  • Plastic sheeting, garbage bags and duct tape
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Hygiene items
  • Important documents; copies of insurance polocies, identification and bank account information.
  • Cash
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container 
  • CONDENSATION

    4/22/2015 (Permalink)

    General CONDENSATION Photo Credit:nbdnano

    • Keep humidity levels as low as you can-no higher than 50%- all day long.  An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low.  Humidity levels change throughout the day as changes occur in the moisture in the air and the air temperature, so check the humidity levels more than once a day
    • If you see condensation or moisture collecting on windows, walls or pipes ACT QUICKLY to dry the wet surface and reduce the moisture/water source.  Condensation can be a sign of high humidity.
    • Be sure your home has enough ventilation.  Use exhaust fans, which vent outside your home in the kitchen and bathroom.  Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home.
    • Fix any leaks in your home's roof, walls, or plumbing so mold does not have moisture to grow.
    • Clean up and dry out your home thoroughly and quickly (within 24-48 hours) after flooding.
    • Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried promptly.  Consider not using carpet in rooms or areas like bathrooms or basements that may have a lot of moisture.

    We want to help

    4/16/2015 (Permalink)

    General We want to help Photo Credit: artofmorning.com

    Anyone who suffers a loss due to fire or water damage knows all too well that it is not just the home's structure that is damged, but also the contents of the home; the sentimental items, family heirlooms, and other personal belongings.  In many cases, these things can also be restored.  Give us a call 803-755-9774 and let us see what our professionals can do to help you.

    A wrap up of our week.

    2/27/2015 (Permalink)

    It has been a Busy week here at SERVPRO West Columbia/Cayce and Lexington.  The freeze last week brought in so many water damages. Our crews have been working so hard around the clock to take care of our amazing customers.  Here at our SERVPRO we are more than a team, we are a family, every person in the building has a huge part in getting our customers the best care possible and with out one person our team would not be the same.  This week we have also been sitting down with our Marketing Director also known as our EMPLOYEE OF THE QUARTER and have gotten the chance to get to know her better.  Denea Duran is so much fun to have around and is always ready to help.  Today we finished up with our interview with her.

    DAY 5 of questions

    What is under your bed? My child’s toys

    Favorite hobby? Writing

    If you could have one super power what would it be? FLY

    What is your biggest pet peeve? Tardiness 

    DAY 4

    2/26/2015 (Permalink)

    DAY 4

    What is your favorite genre of music? EVERYTHING except COUNTRY

    What is your favorite sport? BASKETBALL

    Last movie you saw in the movie theater? TAKEN 3

    Favorite movie or TV show?  FRIENDS

    DAY 2 & 3 of getting to know DENEA DURAN

    2/25/2015 (Permalink)

    DAY 2 & 3 of getting to know our EMPLOYEE OF THE QUARTER!

    1) How long have you been working for SERVPRO? 3 Years

    2) What do you love most about your job? Interacting with different people.

    3) What do you consider a good day? Connecting with someone we have helped.

    Coffee or Tea? COFFEE

    Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate

    Salty or Sweet? SWEET

    Pearls or Diamonds? DIAMONDS

    Summer or Winter? SUMMER

    Hugs or Kisses? KISSES

    Morning or Night? MORNING

    Get to know our Employee of the Quarter

    2/23/2015 (Permalink)

    Every quarter we choose an employee who is always exceling at their job. This Quarter the winner is Denea Duran.  She is always bringing new ideas to the table and never says no when asked to take on a new task.  Stay tuned throughout the week as we get to know her a little bit better.

    1) Do you have any nicknames? NOPE

    2) Where were you born and raised? San Francisco, California

    3) Do you have any kids? 1 with another on the way

    4) Are you married? Nope, but i am engaged

    ELSAPALOOZA

    2/18/2015 (Permalink)

    The Midlands will be rocked with freezing temps this week.  Last year when temps reached such lows, we recieved hundreds of calls in Lexington County alone!  Take all necessary precautions to prevent water damage from busted pipes.  Utilize our free app to prepare for emergencies and minimize damage.  Search "SERVPRO" in the app store or go to www.SERVPRO.com/ready

    ARE YOU PREPARED?

    2/10/2015 (Permalink)

    From a burst pipe in an office building to faulty wiring in an apartment complex - fire and water losses are never planned, but they do occur.  SERVPRO Franchise Professionals know there's no such thing as a small emergency when it threatens the welfare of the tenants and the revenue of the property owner.

    ENJOY THE WEATHER!!!!!

    2/6/2015 (Permalink)

    While you may be tight on cash, you should still be able to enjoy the weekends of nice weather that are fastly approaching.  Venture outdoors, it can be all too easy to spend money!  So we rounded up 50 things to do outside the home.

    1. Attend a free concert in your area
    2. Go on a hike
    3. Go on a photography adventure
    4. Walk your dog
    5. Go to your favorite park
    6. Attend a free museum
    7. Do some amateur star gazing
    8. Meditate
    9. Go for a run
    10. Go on a bike rid
    11. Sunbathe
    12. Watch a sunrise
    13. Climb a tree
    14. Play frisbee with friends
    15. Walk across your citys bridge
    16. Climb a tree
    17. Fly a kite
    18. Window shop
    19. Daydream
    20. Stage a water balloon fight
    21. Go camping
    22. Go fishing
    23. Make S'mores
    24. Go on a scenic drive
    25. Attend a Home Depot workshop
    26. Learn how to skateboard
    27. Go open house hopping
    28. Attend a free mixer
    29. Check our local garage sales
    30. Play volleyball with friends
    31. Play Softball at a local park
    32. People watch
    33. Jump rope
    34. Perfect your football spiral
    35. Visit a farm
    36. Go on a blind date
    37. Go to the community library
    38. Attend a free yoga class
    39. Go to zoo on a free day
    40. Write your own poetry
    41. Play flashlight tag
    42. Sell old clothes to a consignment shop
    43. Explore your city's downtown
    44. Explore a creepy haunted house
    45. Host a potluck picnic
    46. Go to karaoke night
    47. Tour a factory
    48. Help out a disabled or elderly friend or family member
    49. Garden in your neighborhood
    50. Window shop

    Pick whats best for you.

    2/5/2015 (Permalink)

    When picking out an insurance agent, it is always a good idea to do some homework!  Go with some personal recommendations, ask co workers. Ask friends. Asking a perfect stranger is better than relying on ads or the yellow pages.  People tend to refer people with whom they have had a positve experience.  Ask what their experience was in dealing with the agent.  Yelp, Linkedln, Facebook and other social media tools can help you gauge good service and quality businesses.  These sites can be helpful, but a face-to-face with an agent is one of the best ways of figuring out if they will take good care of you.  Every state has an agency (or "department") that keeps track of insurance companies doing business in the state. You will find your states insurance department website link in the State by State Assistance section of www.uphelp.org.

    Questions to ask?

    1. How long have you been in business?
    2. Are you "captive" agent?
    3. If I  cancel the policy mid-term will there be an "earned mimimum premium"?
    4. If I have a loss and need to file a claim, how will you assist me?

    The bottom line is the "right company"  for you is the one that provides you with appropriate recommendations, products and prices, has a record of outstanding customer service, and the financial capacity to meet its financial obligations to you and your beneficiaries when they come due.

    But I dont feel like it....

    2/4/2015 (Permalink)

     I am NOT a professional at any of this procrastination business, I am just a life long procrastinator who thinks about this topic all of the time.  I am still in a total battle with my own terrible habits, but since having my daughter 11 months ago, I think I am starting to overcome this thing called procrastination.

      Procrastinators love planning, quite simply because it does not involve doing, and doing is the procrastinator's kryptonite.  For me, I always make a list example:

    1) Fold Laundry

    2) Call and make a doctor appt.

    3) Call SERVPRO to get my carpets cleaned (from my always on the move baby who takes her diaper off and crawls around the house naked)

    There is always a list I am working on.  Its not that we as procrastinators don’t like the concept of doing, its that we look at the bricks on our calendar and think, "Great, this will be fun".  So here is what I have been trying to do.  Try and visualize yourself completing the list, create methods to help you defeat the list, aim for slow steady progress.  You need to show yourself you can do it, not just tell yourself.  Things will change when you show yourself you can. 

    "Its just the flu"

    2/3/2015 (Permalink)

    "Its just the flu"

    I seriously cannot tell you how many times I have heard that expression.  Yet each time i hear it, I cringe.  "Its just the flu" is high across most of the country with flu illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths elevated.  Flu season will probably continue for several weeks.  It is a disease that makes those of us who work with the public very nervous.  The only real certainty is that there will be a flu season each winter.  Other than that, there are many unknowns: When will it start? What strains will be circulating? Who will be at great risk? How severe will it be? How well will the vaccine work?

    Unfortunately, the flu season is in full swing, so we will tell you what we do know.

    We know that the number of flu cases started to spike first in the southeastern United States.  Visits for flu like symptoms start to rise in December and have continued to rise and spread.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 states have high levels of flu activity.  Although the flu season is in full swing, it often continues into March.  What is the best flu prevention? Get vaccinated! While the flu vaccine is not working as well as usual against some H3N2 viruses, vaccination can still protect some people and reduce hospitalizations and deaths, and will protect against other flu viruses.

    Influenza antiviral drugs can treat flu illness.  CDC recommends these drugs be used to treat people who are very sick or who are at high risk of serious flu complications with flu symptoms.  Early antiviral treatment works best.

    If you are sick, stay home. Set an example so maybe others will do the same.

    And please, whatever you do, don’t say "Its just the flu" 

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

    1/19/2015 (Permalink)

    “We cannot walk alone. As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.”

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was one of the most quotable speakers of the 20th century. Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is a key event that changed the course of civil rights and American history.  He was born January 15th, 1929. He was born the middle child of Michael King Sr. and Alberta Williams King. The King family was rooted in rural Georgia. Dr. King married Coretta Scott King and they had four children. In 1948, Martin Luther King Jr. earned a sociology degree from Morehouse College and attended the liberal Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania. Throughout the years, Dr. King has become an icon of promise. Justice and hope for millions. In the spring of 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. organized a demonstration in downtown Birmingham, Alabama. Entire Families attended. City police turned dogs and fire hoses on demonstrators. Martin Luther King was jailed along with large numbers of his supporters, but the event drew nationwide attention. On August 28, 1963 the historic March on Washington drew more than 200,000 people in the shadow of Lincoln Memorial.  It was here that made King’s speech famous “I Have a Dream”. During his life, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led the Civil Rights Movement through nonviolent acts of protest and helped end legal segregation of African American citizens. He was known for his fight for equality and service to others. To honor him, the 3rd Monday of January is recognized as the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Dr. King has now been dead longer than he lived, but what an extraordinary life it was. His name will always be a name that is known for his fight to change America, the land of the free.

    “Free at last! Free at last!”

    Sooo Cold...

    1/9/2015 (Permalink)

    General Sooo Cold... Photo credit to: https://michellegregg.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/its-the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it-and-i-feel-fine-the-winter-solstice-2012-and-th

    Whether your area is colder or warmer, keeping warm is a basic need that we all share.

    Dress in layers, Bundle up! I recommend a polyester undershirt next to your skin versus cotton.  I gave a polyester t-shirt to my dad and he keeps talking about the amazing difference as if I had invented sliced bread.  Keep your feet  warm, I highly recommend "house slippers" indoors.  I know it sounds a bit old fashioned but having the rubber sole does make a noticeable difference.  Also, keep changing your socks, everyone seems to forget your feet do sweat and THAT can make you cold even when you are layered up.  For outdoors, it really helps to insert foam liners in your boots or hiking shoes to give your toes an extra layer of insulation.

    Turning on the stove for heat is NOT a safe option.  Have at least one of the following heat sources in your home:

    • Extra blankets, sleeping bags, and warm winter coats
    • Fireplace with plent of dry wood or a gas fire log

    Leave No Tree Behind!

    12/5/2014 (Permalink)

    Ahhhh Christmas! You take the family out to pick the perfect fresh Christmas tree. You found it! You cut right through the trunk, the tree is loose and it's yours! You triumphantly carry it to the car. It's time to tie the fresh Christmas tree down onto the car. Holiday music fades and cursing ensues! Follow these easy steps to securely tie your tree down to the car for a safe and stress free ride home!

    The first step to tying the tree down onto the car is to place the fresh Christmas tree on the car, trunk of the tree facing forward. Open your car doors so that they do not get tied shut!

    Take the end of one side of the rope and tie a bowline knot. Throw the end with the loop over the top of the tree and wrap it around the trunk right in the middle of the tree.

    Take the rope through the inside of the car and pass one side through the loop made from the bowline knot. Pull all slack through and pull tight. Repeat this process at least twice more, once in the front of the tree and once in the rear of the tree. The rope should pass through the inside of the car 3 times.

    Use the rope to tie half hitches around the base of the trunk. Then tie half hitches along each of the ropes passing into the car on the way back. Pass the rope under the open trunk and close it. Tie half hitches along each of the ropes passing into the car on the other side of the car.

    Take the remaining part of the rope inside the car and secure it. The Christmas tree should be securely tied to the car.

    Read more : http://www.ehow.com/how_4677440_christmas-tree-top-of-car.html

    Winter Driving Tips

    12/4/2014 (Permalink)

    Driving your car while the roads are snowy and icy can be a stressful ordeal. While some vehicles are well-suited for the snow, some are not and require preparation and know-how to keep the car under control.

    Get your car serviced regularly. Preventive maintenance is key. Make sure your battery, cooling system, and windshield wipers are in tip-top shape. You'll spend less money servicing your car than you'll spend towing and fixing it if your car gives out while you're on a dark, snowy road.

    Buy snow tires or add chains to your existing tires if you live in a very snowy climate. Snow tires have special treads that cut through the snow and allow the vehicle to have better traction. They're also made of a more flexible type of rubber, so that they don't freeze and become hard in cold temperatures. It is best to get snow tires for the drive wheels. For rear-wheel drive, add snow tires to the rear. If your car is equipped with tires that have predominantly thin tread lines, they will clog easily, making steering or getting traction difficult.

    •Some all-season tires do not rid themselves of snow properly and become clogged in deep snow. These tires may be unsafe to drive with in extreme conditions.

    •Most tire stores will insist on snow tires or studded tires to all four wheels of a front wheel drive vehicle. The rear tires should have adequate or equal traction as the front tires for proper handling and preventing fish tailing, especially when making turns. It isn't critical to have studs on all four ties of a front wheel drive car, but highly recommended so the traction is equal.

    Thanksgiving is nigh. Be mindful and take necessary prep precautions.

    11/25/2014 (Permalink)

    The kitchen is the heart of the home, especially at Thanksgiving. Kids love to be involved in holiday preparations. Safety in the kitchen is important, especially on Thanksgiving Day when there is a lot of activity and people at home.

    Safety tips

    • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
    • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
    • 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 a candle.
    • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.

    http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/holidays/thanksgiving-safety

    Having trouble with your Thermostat?

    11/13/2014 (Permalink)

    A thermostat is a highly sensitive control instrument that responds to even the slightest changes in temperature. While it has fewer parts to malfunction than the other components of your heating and cooling system, it can be a source of problems.

    A thermostat cover that's improperly installed or inadvertently bumped can cause the heater or air conditioner to fail to start. Or the thermostat base may slip out of level, causing it to operate incorrectly. A far more common problem, however, is dirt. Dirt can affect the thermostat's calibration and interfere with its operation. If a thermostat set for 70 degrees Farenheit, for example, is really maintaining the temperature at 73 degrees Farenheit, the additional energy used can increase your fuel bill by as much as 7 percent. To prevent this, check your thermostat for accuracy every year before the heating season begins.

    Other problems with a thermostat can often be traced to switches on the base and wires near the bimetallic element that loosen and become corroded. Tighten loose connections with a screwdriver, and use a cotton swab to clean away corrosion.

    http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/heating-and-cooling/thermostat-maintenance-tips.htm

    Where does our Employee of the Quarter like to travel?

    11/7/2014 (Permalink)

    Today we will go even more into detail with Heather who is our Employee of the Quarter.   When asked what her favorite vacation spot to go to be, she replied with a trip to Boston to see her family, or going out on the water with her family somewhere.  While Boston is nice and a favorite spot, Heather says that if she could vacation to any place in the world, she would visit Hawaii for the amazing weather, gorgeous beaches and landscape, and amazing natural wonders like Mauna Loa.

    Heather’s favorite type of food is Italian food, and I must say I have to agree.  Her favorite sport is baseball, so naturally her favorite team is the Red Sox.  I don’t know if I’ve ever met anyone from Boston who would give a different answer than that.  

    Our Employee of the Quarter's artistic tastes

    11/6/2014 (Permalink)

    I asked Heather, our Employee of the Quarter, questions involving her artistic tastes.  Currently she is reading Bag of Bones by Stephen King.  I've personally read this novel, and I must say it is quite the story.  It’s about a writer suffering from writer’s block who has to confront his nightmares while secluded as his lake house in rural Maine.  Stephen King also happens to be her favorite author, and I don’t know if there is a better choice than the master of horror himself.  

    Heather’s favorite movie is Outsiders directed by Francis Ford Coppela based on the novel of the same name.  This coming of age film is a cult classic and highly revered throughout film buffs everywhere.  When asked about favorite genre of music, she states that all genres of music are present in her house, but through personal experience of listening to whats playing at her desk, its either classic rock or the popular hits of today. 

    Her favorite quote is:  “A father may turn his back on his child, brothers and sisters may become inveterate enemies, husbands may desert their wives, wives their husbands. But a mother's love endures through all.”

    --Washington Irving

    More from our Employee of the Quarter!

    11/4/2014 (Permalink)

    Heather, our Employee of the Quarter, was very surprised when it was revealed that she had won the honor.  She didn’t really think that she deserved it because she just goes about her business doing her job, but we love that humble attitude.  Heather has been working at SERVPRO for just over 6 years and she attributes her start in the company to Ms. Billie who Heather says “worked here for years and I grew up with her daughter and she was like family.”  Her favorite thing about working here at SERVPRO is the family atmosphere, and I must say during my brief time here so far I can absolutely confirm the family atmosphere around here that she holds so dear. 

    Heather’s day mainly consists of invoicing, scheduling, speaking to customers on the phone, and collections, but her job is much more nuanced than that.  Almost everything that the company receives goes through her, and she acts as the de facto gatekeeper for SERVPRO.  She is the grease that keeps the gears turning, and no here could do her job better.  

    Introducing our Employee of the Quarter!

    11/3/2014 (Permalink)

    This week’s blogs are going to be all about our second ever Employee of the Quarter, Heather Young!  This whole week’s blog theme will be interesting things about Heather so that you all can get a little taste into what makes her such a great part of the team and why she was chosen as the Employee for the Quarter this quarter.  Each one of the five days this week will focus on different categories of question with the purpose of giving you all a little bit of insight into Heather’s personality and a little bit of insight into why our office is such a tight knit group and so much fun.  

    Heather was born is Boston, Massachusetts. She then moved here to Lexington when she turned 14 and attended Airport High School.  Heather now has a family of her own in Lexington that consists of her 3 children, all boys of the ages of 18, 13, and 10.  She loves being a mother and uses her own mother as her biggest inspiration in life.

    Flu Season is on its Way!

    10/31/2014 (Permalink)

    Influenza viruses are constantly changing. They can change in two different ways.

    One way they change is called “antigenic drift.” These are small changes in the genes of influenza viruses that happen continually over time as the virus replicates. These small genetic changes usually produce viruses that are pretty closely related to one another, which can be illustrated by their location close together on a phylogenetic tree. Viruses that are closely related to each other usually share the same antigenic properties and an immune system exposed to an similar virus will usually recognize it and respond. (This is sometimes called cross-protection.)

    But these small genetic changes can accumulate over time and result in viruses that are antigenically different (further away on the phylogenetic tree). When this happens, the body’s immune system may not recognize those viruses.

    This process works as follows: a person infected with a particular flu virus develops antibody against that virus. As antigenic changes accumulate, the antibodies created against the older viruses no longer recognize the “newer” virus, and the person can get sick again. Genetic changes that result in a virus with different antigenic properties is the main reason why people can get the flu more than one time. This is also why the flu vaccine composition must be reviewed each year, and updated as needed to keep up with evolving viruses.

    The other type of change is called “antigenic shift.” Antigenic shift is an abrupt, major change in the influenza A viruses, resulting in new hemagglutinin and/or new hemagglutinin and neuraminidase proteins in influenza viruses that infect humans. Shift results in a new influenza A subtype or a virus with a hemagglutinin or a hemagglutinin and neuraminidase combination that has emerged from an animal population that is so different from the same subtype in humans that most people do not have immunity to the new (e.g. novel) virus. Such a “shift” occurred in the spring of 2009, when an H1N1 virus with a new combination of genes emerged to infect people and quickly spread, causing a pandemic. When shift happens, most people have little or no protection against the new virus.

    Enhance Your Home network!

    10/27/2014 (Permalink)

    A home network allows you to share data between all your home computers, phones, printers, etc. from your home Wifi connection.  This powerful took can be very useful for syncing your work and home devices, sharing pictures, videos, music, and other data with other family members, having a combined storage center for all your files, and using the network as a home file backup service.  There are many step by step instructions online that are very sufficient in help you set up your home wireless network.

    Here are some steps that should help you in setting up your own home network:

    1.      Purchase your networking supplies. Most technology today supports 802.11g so purchase a router and wireless card with those specs. 802.11g is compatible with all other current networking technologies. If you purchase both the router and card, look for the two items bundled together. You might save some money. Also try to buy the same brand router and network card.

    2.      Print these directions for installation. You must temporarily disconnect from the Internet. Keep the instructions that came with your modem handy as well.

    3.      Unplug your cable, DSL or other broadband modem, or turn it off. Connect the wireless router to the cable modem. Do not disconnect the modem from the jack. Move the computer's Internet connection cable from the modem to the router. Plug it into the port labeled "Internet," "WAN" or "WLAN" on the router.

    4.      Reconnect the cable modem. Give it a few minutes to re-connect. Next plug in the wireless router. The "Internet," "WAN" or "WLAN" light should light up if you have a connection.

    5.      Configure the wireless router. Follow the directions that came with your router. After each step remember to click "Save," "OK" or "Apply" so the router will keep your settings. Write down any passwords or keys.

    6.      Set up the wireless card. Insert the card into an empty PC card slot in your laptop. You may need to insert the CD that came with the card. Follow the prompts to install the card.

    7.      Connect computers to your home network. Right-click the wireless network icon in the lower-right corner of the screen. Click "View Available Wireless Networks." The name you chose when you configured your wireless router should appear. Highlight that name, and then click "Connect." You may need to provide a network key and confirm network key.

    8.      Read more : http://www.ehow.com/how_2098433_set-up-home-network.html

    Halloween Safety Tips

    10/23/2014 (Permalink)

    Decorating for Halloween can bring out creativity in everyone, but many elements of Halloween decorating can pose hazards to unsuspecting visitors. Here are a few safety tips to keep handy when preparing for Halloween:

    • Clean up your mess: Do your pumpkin carving on absorbent newspaper and scoop those pumpkinseeds and slimy innards into a bowl.
    • Say “No, no,” to knives: Don’t let your children handle sharp carving knives and keep an eye on them while you’re carving. If possible, purchase specific tools that are geared just for pumpkin carving (for your safety, too!). If the kids really want to participate in the carving, you can let them make the pattern or poke the pumpkin flesh in after you’ve done the carving.
    • Reconsider the candles: If you’re going to have many children around, nix the candles. It’s just too much of a fire hazard. Buy a bunch of glow sticks readily available at any party supply or discount store and place them inside your jack-o’-lanterns. They cast an eerie green glow and are safe all around.
    • Pay attention: Never leave a candle anywhere unattended, and never leave burning candles where children (or people who act like children) can reach them or accidentally knock them over.
    • Blazing fires aren’t allowed: Keep a fire extinguisher handy. You never know when a gourd will go up in smoke (no, dear, that’s not a special effect).
    • Secure the perimeters: Make sure that all props hanging, dangling, draped, staked, or set are steadily secured. Where there will be foot traffic, tape down loose wires with duct tape. You don’t want people to trip. And check these places often during the course of the evening for any loose edges that need retaping.
    • Follow the package directions: If a package of lights says that they’re only for indoor use, don’t string them outside. Read the fog machine directions. Take every precaution when it comes to decorating with materials you’re not familiar with.

    Why is it necessary to rake leaves off the lawn?

    10/21/2014 (Permalink)

    Question: Why is it necessary to rake leaves off the lawn?

    We spend a lot of time in fall raking leaves (or, if not actually raking leaves, then using blowers, etc. to clean them up). Did you ever wonder why...?

    Answer:

    Is there a sound reason behind raking leaves pertaining to lawn health, or is it simply an aesthetic choice?

    You’ve probably heard that lawns, too, have to "breathe," and that they can be smothered if a thick layer of non shredded leaves is left on top of them over the winter, causing problems such as snow mold. That is true, but it is only part of the reason why we rake lawns.

    Most lawns in the Northern U.S. are composed of one or more cool-season grasses. "Cool-season" lawn grasses are so called because they're most active during those periods of the year when moderately cool weather predominates. Fall is one of those times. Blessed with sufficient sunlight, nutrients and water, and enjoying temperatures that are neither too cold nor too hot, cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass revitalize them in fall. This is when they must "make hay," strengthening their root systems.

    But a thick layer of fallen leaves can impede the growth of these grasses. Why? Because they can deprive the grass of one of the key elements I mentioned: sunlight. If not raked up in time, a thick and/or matted layer of fallen leaves casts excessive shade over the grass below. You don't have to rake up every last leaf; a shortcut is to mow, so as to shred left-over leaves.

    Credit: http://landscaping.about.com/od/landscapecolor/f/why_rake_leaves.htm

    How Secure is Your Password?

    10/17/2014 (Permalink)

    Is your password secure enough?

    Make sure that your personal information is secured away from all sorts of internet predators by following these simple tips in making your password.  Avoid having your password as the top most used passwords in the world.

    • password
    • 123456
    • qwerty
    • abc123
    • admin
    • letmein
    • adobe123
    • 111111
    • azerty
    • iloveyou

    If your password is any one of the above 10 passwords, or even close to any one of those, then I strongly suggest that you change it and all accounts that it is bound to.

    Most people who will be trying to steal your password will use a method called “brute forcing.”   This is a program that very quickly and efficiently comes up with all possible combinations of characters until it matches your password.  The way to beat this is to have a password that is so difficult to brute force that no one will ever take the time to do so.  Someone might wait 4 days to crack your password, but no one can wait over 400 years to crack a password!  The best and easiest way to make your password more difficult to brute force is to

    1. Lengthen it
    2. Mix uppercase and lower case letters
    3. Add numbers
    4. Add punctuation
    5. Add special characters
    6. Use this nifty calculator to determine how long it would take a brute force program to crack your password. 

    http://lastbit.com/pswcalc.asp

    Electronics Overheating?

    10/16/2014 (Permalink)

    Prevent your expensive electronics from overheating. 

    Many people don’t realize how easily electronics can overheat when there is no proper airflow for the device.  Electronics need to breathe just like us living things too!  The insides of your electronic appliances heat up with use, and storing them in small shelves or tight spaces will not let them get the proper airflow that they need.  Electronics that use fans as a means of cooling are especially susceptible to this type of failure. 

    If your desktop has a tendency to overheat then the fan in your computer might need cleaning.  This is a very easy and cheap fix that should be done routinely.  Go down to your local electronics or hardware store and pick up a can of compressed air.  When home, turn off your computer, then carefully spray that air along your computer fan to clean the dust all off the vent cover and the fan itself.  For a more thorough cleaning, you probably should take the hard case off your computer for easier fan and vent access.  If it’s your laptop that needs cleaning, then to do so you will more than likely need to remove the battery and unscrew the access panel off of the bottom of your laptop.

    Invest in a UPS

    10/13/2014 (Permalink)

    Working on your home computer when the power goes out?  Don’t lose all that work you’ve been working on and have time to save everything.  Invest in a UPS.  UPS stand for Uninterruptible Power Supply, and it is an emergency battery that keeps anything plugged into it on long enough for you to save your work, check the news to find out emergency information, use your home phone to call relatives during emergencies, charge any of your home appliances, or any other use that might need electricity for a small amount of time. 

    For more tips and a small buying guide for a UPS, visit this site:

    http://www.smps.us/uninterruptible-power-supply.html

    Fun Friday: Chicken Kebabs

    7/22/2014 (Permalink)

    It's Friday, and we all love something fun on Friday (and might I add delicious)! Check out this amazing dish: Chicken Kebabs with Creamy Pesto!

    The ingredients you'll need are:

    • -2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
    • -4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, divided
    • -2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
    • -2 teaspoons olive oil
    • -1/2 teaspoon salt
    • -1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    • -8 (1-inch) pieces yellow bell pepper
    • -8 cherry tomatoes
    • -1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
    • -1 small red onion, cut into 8 wedges
    • -Cooking spray
    • -2 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt
    • -2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
    • -1 tablespoon commercial pesto

    And then there's the preparation.

    First, preheat the broiler.

    For the kebabs:

    1. Combine lemon rind, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, garlic, oil, salt, and pepper.
    2. Toss your mix with the bell peppers, tomatoes, chicken, and onions.
    3. Thread vegetables and chicken onto 4, 12-inch, skewers.
    4. Place skewers on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray.
    5. Broil 12 minutes, or until chicken is done, turning occasionally.

    For the creamy pesto sauce:

    1. Combine 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, yogurt, sour cream, and pesto.

    Last, but not least:

    SERVE this yummy meal and ENJOY!

    Blog credit: Chicken Kebabs with Creamy Pesto Recipe

    Home Emergency Tips

    6/25/2014 (Permalink)

    Here at SERVPRO we clean and restore fire and water damage, but our desire is that you never need to call us.

    Harmful Waste (Sewage, Bloodborne Pathogens, Etc.)

    Here are some home emergency tips:

    Do:

    • Stay out of affected areas
    • Call emergency service personnel if the situation is life threatening.
    • Treat all bodily fluids as if they are contaminated
    • Turn off the HVAC system if there is sewage damage.

    Don’t:

    • Attempt cleanup of any kind
    • Touch or handle items that might be contaminated with bodily fluids.
    • Eat, drink, smoke, apply cosmetics or handle contact lenses in affected areas. 

    *If exposed to harmful waste, OSHA recommends a post- exposure medical evaluation. Consult your local health department or physician.

    From Wildfires to Hurricanes: Here's Why You Want SERVPRO

    5/19/2014 (Permalink)

    In the midst of the drought-related wildfires that are devastating the West and the hurricane-induced water and wind damage hitting the East Coast, people everywhere are having to make tough decisions about where to go from here. Particularly in large-scale disasters, being taken advantage of is a threat that faces many homeowners. On the other hand, taking on fire and water damage cleanup yourself can be overwhelming and not entirely possible without the right equipment. So take it from a neighbor you can trust: here are 7 reasons to choose SERVPRO.

    Timely mitigation is key to controlling damage, downtime and recovery costs. The training of your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional will help limit damage and get your facility back in operation quickly. You can count on our nationwide coverage, full line of restoration services, and the 1-4-8 service guidelines.

    They key to a good relationship is good communication. With SERVPRO, you’ll know what is happening every step of the way. From the first telephone call within the first hour following damage notification, until the job is complete, we are dedicated to effectively communicating with you. You will be aware of the job status and the progress toward project completion.

    Jobs are documented with itemized estimates, digital photographs, signed work authorization forms and regular progress reports. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals, utilizing technology developed for documenting insurance claims, electronically collect and store project information which is accessible to you via a secure e-mail link 24 hours a day. Upon project completion, a signed customer satisfaction form is the final piece of information entered into the file.

    When fire, water or mold damage strikes a commercial facility, it has a negative impact on everyone — the owner, the management team, employees, tenants and even customers. Even small fire or water damages must be addressed quickly in order to limit secondary damage. We understand the urgency in responding to your facility or home following a disaster. By arriving quickly, mitigating damage to the structure and contents, and providing effective cleanup and restoration services, we will get you back in business as soon as possible.

    We help you save money: Emergency mitigation services help minimize secondary damages; proper restoration versus replacement of contents is less expensive; faster recovery lessens loss; pre-approved pricing and procedures; and comprehensive cleanup and restoration services help prevent future problems and potential liability risks.

    Commercial properties probably have an emergency exit plan in place with illuminated signs leading occupants to safety and even facility maps strategically placed to identify alternate routes out of the building. But have you developed a thorough Contingency Plan? Is the emphasis on the first 24-48 hours, to help you get back in your building as quickly as possible?

    Your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional can provide you assistance in developing an Emergency Response Profile. As part of a well-thought-out Contingency Plan, your Emergency Response Profile will contain information you need in the event an emergency situation occurs.

    An added advantage to utilizing SERVPRO in the development of your Emergency Response Profile is the opportunity to coordinate a preferred provider relationship including pre-arranged pricing and procedures for handling emergency response for your facility before damage occurs.

    We have the solution to your cleanup needs. Utilizing the right equipment and supplies, SERVPRO can handle all of your cleanup needs. In addition to our superior fire, water and mold restoration services, we provide cleanup services for those special needs that surpass the capabilities of your regular maintenance staff: Fire, Smoke and Soot Cleanup and Restoration; Water Removal and Dehumidification; Crime Scene, Biohazard and Vandalism Cleanup; Mold Mitigation and Remediation; Contents Claim Inventory Service; Air Duct and HVAC Cleaning; Carpet and Hard Floor Cleaning and Care; Stain Removal, Stain Resistance Applications; Odor Identification and Deodorization; and Upholstery and Drapes: Wet or Dry Cleaning Methods.

    In the event of a major catastrophe, SERVPRO has a nationwide Large Loss Response Team comprised of trained and equipped professionals capable of responding to your facility. While most systems have a waiting list, you get priority service with SERVPRO. Call us today to find out how.

    Each of SERVPRO’s over 1,400 nationwide Franchises is independently owned and operated by trained professionals committed to providing the highest level of emergency cleanup and restoration services and customer satisfaction. What this means to you, the commercial property owner or manager, is that should fire, water or mold damage occur in one of your local facilities or a facility across the country, a SERVPRO Franchise Professional will provide quality professional service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

    Smoke Alarms Save Lives

    3/24/2014 (Permalink)

    Smoke alarms play a vital role in saving lives, and when properly installed, can reduce the risk of fire injury in half. The National Fire Protection Association recommends smoke alarms be installed in every bedroom, outside all sleeping quarters and on every level of the house. Business owners should consult the local Fire Marshall to ensure specific building fire codes and smoke detector requirements are met. 

    Smoke alarms work best when paired with a fire escape plan. A plan allows your family, employees or clients to escape quickly and safely in an emergency situation. 

    Smoke Alarm Safety Tips

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, including the basement. 
  • Smoke alarms should be installed away from the kitchen to prevent false alarms. Generally, they should be at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance. 
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button. 
  • Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm "chirps", the battery is low and should be replaces right away. 
  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old. 
  • More Tips for Weathering the Winter

    1/7/2014 (Permalink)

    •  Consider using non-toxic de-icing substances such as clean clay cat litter, sand, or fireplace/stove ash to prevent hazardous waste from chemicals. Chemical de-icers can be hazardous to your pets, your trees and shrubs, and the environment. Antifreeze that leak from car engines and chemical snow melters on driveways, roads, and runways can pollute surface waters and groundwater through the soil. 

    •  Winterize your vehicle by checking your air filter and fluid levels, checking tires for tread wear and proper inflation, and checking the condition of your windshield wipers. Ensuring your vehicle is ready for weather changes will reduce damage, which prevents waste from broken parts, and will keep you safe on the road.

    •  If you have a wood-burning fireplace, save your ashes in a tin instead of throwing them away. Cold wood ashes can be mixed in your compost heap to create a valuable soil amendment that provides nutrients to your garden.

    •  Use electric snow removal products rather than gasoline-powered ones. While electric products consume energy, they do not emit greenhouse gases. As alternatives, use snow shovels, ice crackers, and brooms to clear snow from your sidewalk, porch, or driveway.

    •  Close the recycling loop. Many articles of clothing, such as jackets, scarves, gloves, and boots, are now made from recycled materials. Most fleece products are made from recycled plastic soda bottles, and certain clothing and shoe manufacturers use recycled cotton scraps and rubber tires to make their products.

    •  Winter storms often cause power outages. Prevent waste by keeping rechargeable batteries rather than disposable ones stored throughout your house with your flashlights. If you do use disposable batteries, prevent hazardous waste by buying batteries with low mercury content.

    •  Recycle old newspapers by making rolled paper logs for your fireplace. Roll newspaper sheets around a broom stick until your log is the desired size, then soak your log thoroughly in water. Dry the log overnight and use like ordinary wood. Always follow proper safety precautions when burning anything around your home.

    •  To make sure your heating system (boiler, furnace or heat pump) is operating at its most efficient, it is a good idea to have a contractor perform a routine check-up and any necessary maintenance on the equipment before freezing weather drives up your energy bill.

    Fight the Flu

    1/7/2014 (Permalink)

    Don't be fooled, influenza (or, the flu, as we commonly call it) is fairly likely to impact your holidays, as one in five Americans suffer from it every single year. According to Pride Staff, the flu, combined with pneumonia, is the nation's 8th leading cause of death. So what can you do take preventive actions to stop the spread of germs and shield yourself (and others) against the flu?

    One of the first and most important preventive actions you should take is getting a yearly flu vaccine. Don't know where to get one? Flu.gov has a flu vaccine finder that is very helpful!

    Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. No tissue? Aim your cough/sneeze into the bend of your arm.

    Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.

    Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. This, my friends, is how germs are spread.

    Those are the basics, but what about everyone else? How can you help others do the same? Try these actions:

    • Encourage great hygiene among your family members and coworkers.
    • Put up posters addressing prevention: how to stop germs from spreading, how to recognize cold/flu symptoms, etc.
    • Identify local resources for flu shots and make this information available to coworkers.
    • Stock up on hand sanitizer/anti-bacterial wipes and make these available to others.
    • Wipe down all flat surfaces: keyboards, mouse, phone and common areas daily.
    • Use hand sanitizer after shaking hands with others.
    • Contact your office janitorial service to see if they offer any special treatment or processes to prevent the spread of cold/flu germs.


    • Don't wait.

    CE CLASS SCHEDULE

    12/17/2013 (Permalink)

    Good News! Our CE Classes are scheduled for the entire year of 2014! 

    2014 CE Classes (Between 6-8 credits offered per day)



    • March 5

    • May 15

    • Aug 7

    • Nov 6


    Where - Wingate Hotel: 108 Saluda Pointe Ct, Lexington, SC 29072

    Feel free to go ahead and RSVP with me if you are interested in any or all of those dates. For those of you who were interested in the first class, please let me know if the new March 5th date works with your schedule. We will be getting official invitations out to the offices at least a month before each class. 

    Exercising Caution with Alternative Heat

    12/6/2013 (Permalink)

    Everyone wants to keep his or her homes and workspace warm during the winter. In an effort to keep heating costs down, many residents and employees will turn to an alternative heat source, such as fireplaces, wood-burning stoves and portable space heaters.

    When used and maintained as directed, these methods can effectively warm your home or office. However, there is also an inherent danger, as heating equipment is the leading cause of home fires during the winter months.

    In 2008, the most recent years statistics were available, heating equipment caused more than 66,000 fires and led to more than $1.1 billion in direct property damage. Portable space heaters were responsible for nearly one third of these fires. Some authorities believe the public is at an increased risk of alternative heating fires this year as residents search for ways to cut heating bills in tough economic times.  

    Statistics to share

    12/6/2013 (Permalink)

    Based on 2006-2010 annual averages:



    • Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in home cooking fires.

    • Two-thirds (67%) of home cooking fires started with the ignition of food or other cooking materials.

    • Clothing was the item first ignited in less than 1% of these fires, but these incidents accounted for 16% of the cooking fire deaths.

    • Ranges accounted for the largest share (58%) of home cooking fire incidents. Ovens accounted for 16%.

    • Three of every five (57%) reported non-fatal home cooking fire injuries occurred when the victims tried to fight the fire themselves.

    • Frying poses the greatest risk of fire.


    Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires.

    Are you really prepared?

    12/6/2013 (Permalink)

    If a natural disaster were to strike today would you really be prepared? If the answer is yes, then  CONGRATULATIONS!  9 times out of 10 a household is not prepared for a disaster. After my last blog, I wondered if I was prepared for a disaster. Living in California our teachers and parents prepared us on what to do in case of an earthquake.

    "DUCK AND COVER."

    To be honest "duck and cover" is all that I am prepared for, which isn't saying much. Here is a helpful list to get you and your family prepared!

    Please go through this list and make sure that all of these items are in your emergency kit. You never know when an emergency can strike you or your community!

    • Water—one gallon per person, per day (3 ­day supply for evacuation, 2­ week supply for home)
    • Food—non­perishable, easy­to­prepare items (3­ day supply for evacuation, 2 ­week supply for home)
    • Flashlight
    • Battery­-powered or hand­crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
    • Extra batteries
    • First aid kit
    • Medications (7­day supply) and medical items
    • Multi­purpose 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
    • Map(s) of the area

    Consider the needs of all family members and add supplies to your kit. Suggested items to help meet additional needs are:

    • Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)
    • 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 keep at home or in your kit based on the types of disasters common to your area:

    • 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

    The Danger of not having a Emergency Kit:

    Though most households are located in reasonable proximity to an emergency respondent, access to an emergency kit is often critical in securing the health and safety of residents before help arrives. For those located a significant distance from emergency assistance, or homes that contain injury-prone children or older adults, an emergency kit is non-negotiable.

    Now ask yourself are you prepared for a natural disaster to strike?

    So You Can Focus on Your Customers

    9/25/2013 (Permalink)


    • Quick response may help avoid revenue loss for property owners and minimize inconvenience to tenants

    • Restoration services can help you resume normal business functions quickly while avoiding costly construction downtime

    • Professional equipment and industry-approved techniques


    Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals will work hard to restore the property and its contents to pre-loss condition helping you become the hero in a disaster situation.

    Contact your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional or call 1-800-SERVPRO.

    Time Is A Precious Commodity

    9/25/2013 (Permalink)

    When you need it done right and done fast, call your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional for all your commercial cleaning needs. Did you know when you hire SERVPRO Franchise Professionals for maintenance cleaning; you get around-the-clock restoration services built with you in mind? Quality cleaning and quick response -- that's the SERVPRO way.

    Can't figure out how to get the job done? Call your local Franchise Professional for all your emergency restoration needs. Because when you experience a fire, water or mold damage in your facility, you need fast response and the expertise to get the job done right, ensuring your business can get back into operation as fast as possible. Through it all, you expect the most reliable information and the very best service at a fair price.

    SERVPRO Franchise Professionals are committed to providing fire and water cleanup and restoration services to reduce business interruptions and recovery costs.

    Your Possessions Could Be At Risk

    8/1/2013 (Permalink)

    An accurate record of your possessions is worth more than you think. A videotape recording is not enough to protect your contents.

    Reasons to Inventory Your Home Contents:

    Before damage or disaster strikes

    -Better information to settle claims quicker

    -Add legitimacy to loss

    -Assist with burden of proof for claims

    For estate planning and will preparation:

    -Less stress for your family and heirs

    -Efficient estate closing can lessen expenses

    -Ensure your heirs recieve possessions

    -Factual records to fight bureaucracy

    -Better information to reduce taxes

    Servpro Contents Inventory Means:

    -Complete preloss list and value of contents

    -Detailes and accurate report filed with insurance agent or court

    -Peace of mind

    Back To School Supply Drive

    7/15/2013 (Permalink)

    We have seven bins out to collect school supplies for families in need! Visit Flight Deck Restaurant, Misty Stathos - State Farm Agent, The Little Gym of Lexington, SC, Minuteman Press of Lexington, SC and Bi-Lo (378) or the Greater Lexingt...See More
    Richard Smith of SERVPRO prepares for their "Back to School Drive"

    Thank you SERVPRO for helping LICS provide the tools needed for our students to succeed.
    For additional information about how you can help, please contact SERVPRO at 803-755-9774

    The Right Stuff

    6/27/2013 (Permalink)

    We understand that our equipment makes a measurable difference in reducing claims loss expense. When time matters, the right technology and equipment are vital. So not only do we answer your call with fast action and trained, uniformed personnel, but also with the right equipment for the job!

    When it comes to fire damage, we train our teams thorougly. For instance, knowing the different types of smoke and their behavior patterns are vital to proper restoration.

    Wet Smoke -- Plastics and Synthetics; Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary.
    Dry Smoke -- Paper and Wood; Fast burning, high temperatures, dry, powdery, nonsmeary residues.
    Protein -- Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
    Fuel Oil Soot -- Furnace Puff Backs
    Other Types -- Tear gas, fingerprint powder and fire extinguisher residue.

    Pretesting determines the proper cleaning method and allows us to focus on saving your precious items (what really matters).

    Two amazing pieces of deodorization equipment include ultra low volume (ULV) foggers and thermal foggers. ULV foggers will atomize liquid deodorizing agents, producing a fine mist that easily penetrates sites where odor-causing residues accumulate. The device can also be used to apply fungicides and disinfectants. Thermal foggers dispense solvent-based products in large volume, dense fogs suitable for confined areas. The fog consists of tiny particles of deodorant solution that pair with and neutralize odor-causing particles.

    We've got the right stuff.