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Pet Fire Safety

7/15/2019 (Permalink)

Pets are a part of your family and should be included in your family's home fire safety and escape plans. Follow the tips below to help prevent your pets from starting fires and to help protect them during an emergency. 

Preventing Fires

The National Fire Protection Association estimates that nearly 1,000 home fires each year are accidentally started by the homeowners' pets.  The American Kennel Club and ADT Security Services have joined forces to provide the following tips to help prevent pets from starting fires:

  • Extinguish open flames - Pets are generally curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles, or even a fire in your fireplace. Do not leave your pet unattended around an open flame and make sure to thoroughly extinguish any open flames before leaving your home.
  • Remove stove knobs - Be sure to remove stove knobs or protect them with covers before leaving the house - a stove or cooktop is the number one piece of equipment involved in fires started by pets.
  • Invest in flameless candles - These candles contain a light bulb rather than an open flame and take the danger out of your pet knocking over a candle. Cats are notorious for starting fires when their tails turn over lit candles.
  • Secure young pets - keep them confined away from potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from home such as in crates or behind baby gates in secure areas.

Preparing for a Fire

  • Include them in your escape plan - Include your pets in the exercise when practicing your fire escape plan with your family.  Practice calling for your pets while existing your home. Teach young children to focus on existing the home as quickly as possible and to never reenter the home to search for a pet. Teach them the firefighters will help search for pets once it is safe to do so. 
  • Help firefighters help your pets- Put a decal on your home's front window showing the kind and number of pets you have. 
  • Make sure your pet can be found - During a fire emergency it may be hard to locate your pet if they run off. To prevent your pet from getting lost, make sure their collar has updated information on it. Also, having your pets microchipped will help relocate them if they do become lost. Keep leashes by your front door for easy access as your escaping your home. 
  • Use smoke alarms connected to emergency responders - Install a smoke alarm that will alert the local fire department in case no one is home. 

Important Information Regarding Tropical Storm Barry

7/12/2019 (Permalink)

Over the past few days, our team has been meeting with other SERVPRO® disaster recovery team members to complete our response plan for Tropical Storm Barry. We understand the stress and worry both homeowners and business owners are currently feeling, but please rest assured SERVPRO® of Greater Covington and Mandeville is prepared to handle any size disaster. With our local resources and the help of our national resources, we are prepared and ready to help. Our emergency restoration team will be available 24/7 this weekend to help once it is safe to do so. 
We offer the following emergency restoration services:

  • Board-up
  • Roof tarping and repair
  • Flood damage restoration
  • Contents restoration
  • Document restoration
  • Mold remediation 
  • Project management
  • Rebuild 

As of now, we urge you to check off the following items from your personal emergency preparedness checklist as soon as possible:

  • Fill up vehicles with gas
  • Withdraw cash to keep on hand
  • Charge your phones and recharge portable phone chargers 
  • Stock up on enough food and water for at least 3 days
  • Stock up on toiletries (don't forget toilet paper or wet wipes) and refill your first aid kits if necessary 
  • If a storm drain is located outside of your home, then please try to clean it or reach out to someone for help. 
  • Pick up sandbags and stage outside any areas where water may enter your home
  • Continue watching the news and social media  for updates
  • Be home as early as possible (New Orleans residents are required to be home by 8:00 pm tonight) 

For tomorrow:

  • Due to the recent algae bloom in Lake Pontchartrain, everyone should avoid coming into contact with any flood waters around the lakefront in Mandeville.
  • Stay off the roads as much as possible. If you have to question whether you should drive down the street or not, then don't! Turn around and find another way. 
  • If your home or business does experience flooding:
    • Make sure the property is safe before entering
    • Take pictures of everything
    • Do not throw anything away before taking pictures and itemizing the items
    • Contact us immediately to begin cleanup and reduce secondary damages
    • Begin the claims process by contacting your insurance company and/or agent
    • If any important documents have been damaged by flood waters and you still have power, then place the documents in a freezer. We can help with document restoration.  

Important Resources:

Fourth of July Fun on the Northshore

6/24/2019 (Permalink)

This year the fourth of July falls on a Thursday and celebration events will kick off the weekend before. 

The partying will kick off on Friday, June 28th with the Columbia Street Block Party in downtown Covington. This free, family-friendly event is a great way to stroll down Columbia street, view classic cars, and show your support for local businesses. Columbia street blocks 200-500 will be blocked off from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm. 

On Saturday, June 29th the cities of Abita Springs, Mandeville, and Slidell will each offer family-friendly events with musical performances. Abita Springs will host a free Independence Day Celebration from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Presented by VFW Post 8720, the celebration starts with a decorated bike and wagon parade rolling through the town (patriotic costumes encouraged!) and features live music, a flag retiring ceremony, local civic organizations with fun activities and games, Abita Beer and concessions by a local restaurant as well as hot dogs, baked treats and snowballs. In Mandeville, people are encouraged to picnic and celebrate on the lakefront beginning as early as 10:00 am. The Old Mandeville Business Association Food Court will begin selling food at 5:00 pm. Entertainment on stage begins at 6:00 pm, with a special patriotic tribute to all who have served and continue to serve in our nation's military. The tribute will be followed by live music featuring Four Unplugged. Fun, free activities will be provided by Keep Mandeville Beautiful’s Kid's Tent, and the evening closes with fireworks over Lake Pontchartrain sponsored by The City of Mandeville, Lakeview Regional Medical Center - A Campus of Tulane Medical Center, and Baker Pile Driving.  The stage will be located between Coffee and Carroll Streets. And lastly, the Slidell Heritage Festival offers families music, entertainment, food, fireworks, and so much more to celebrate America's birthday. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids ages 4-12, and free admission for children 3 years old and younger. The festival is from 4:00 pm to 11:00 pm, with a firework show at 9:00 pm. 

On July 3rd, Pearl River will host a fourth of July celebration from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm throughout downtown Pearl River and at the Pearl River Town Hall. This celebration is free and will feature a pie eating contest, a petting zoo, a firework display dusk, and much more. Also on July 3rd, is the Sparks in the Park celebration at the Bogue Falaya Park in downtown Covington. This free, family-friendly event will be from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm and boasts music, a firework display, games, and even a hot dog eating contest. 

And finally, on July 4th, you can celebrate America at three different events across the Northshore. Bright and early at 7:30 am, there will be a Four on the Fourth Family Fun Run/Walk in Covington's Hubie Gallagher Park. The Land-O-Pines Campground will have a DJ and a firework display from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm. And for a place to celebrate all day, you can head over to Madisonville for the Madisonville Old Fashioned 4th of July Celebration beginning at 11:00 am. This event offers music, games, food, the Miss Madisonville Beauty Pageant, and a firework show at 8:30 pm.  

Dedication Ceremony for Ernest Cooper Memorial Fire Station

6/24/2019 (Permalink)

A brief Dedication Ceremony recognizing the completion of the 2-Bay expansion and the interior renovations at the Ernest J Cooper Memorial Fire Station will be held on Wednesday, June 26th at 10:00 am. Citizens of Covington, area first responders, and the general public are invited to attend. This finished project will provide for better fire protection for our community.

Did you know the Covington Fire Department has one of the best response times in the state of Louisiana and responds to over 1,700 emergency calls each year? Our Covington Fire Department firefighters and administrative staff members spend countless hours teaching fire prevention and fire safety throughout our community. Members of the department also help teach emergency planning for residents and business owners. To contact someone with the Covington Fire Department please visit http://www.covla.com/fire_department/contact_information2.php

Responding to a Water Damage Event

6/24/2019 (Permalink)

We see it every day, a pipe under the kitchen sink breaks or a water heater explodes and causes a water damage event in your home or business. Chances are that at least once in your lifetime you will deal with a water damage event at home or the office. So, what can you do to prevent unnecessary damages following one of these emergencies? Firstly, as an insured, you have the responsibility to immediately mitigate damages as best as you can. In the examples of a pipe breaking or a water heater exploding, your responsibility would then be to find the source of the water leak, turn the source off by shutting off the water supply line and to begin mitigation as soon as possible. SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville's water damage restoration technicians are available 24/7 every single day of the year to respond to water damage emergencies. After reaching out to our team for help, you can rest assured our team will help make your water damage event seem "Like it never even happened". By utilizing the science of drying techniques and our state-of-the-art drying equipment, most water restoration projects are complete with the drying process within three days. Next, while our technicians are in route to your home or office you can begin to move any furniture or belongings away from flowing or standing water, take pictures of anything damaged, and start documenting any items that may be ruined beyond repair. All of this information will be helpful should you choose to file an insurance claim. 

For more questions regarding water damage claims or water damage restoration, you can send an email to kayla@SERVPROofcovington.com

American Red Cross: Pillowcase Project

6/21/2019 (Permalink)

The Pillowcase Project is a program that was developed in New Orleans after college students were seen using pillowcases to carry their belongings during a hurricane emergency. Now the American Red Cross is distributing pillowcases throughout the country and teaching children how to stay safe during emergencies specific to their region and how to respond during a home fire. Through the Pillowcase Project, children will learn how to prepare for an emergency, practice what they have learned, and share this information with their family and friends. 

In Louisiana, children taught the Pillowcase Project will learn about preparing for home fires, hurricanes, and tornadoes. Children will learn how to fill their pillowcases with items needed during an emergency, like a flashlight, radio, a change of clothes, medications, and other necessities. An American Red Cross presenter, be it a volunteer or an American Red Cross employee, will also help explain healthy coping skills so that the children can learn how to emotionally process an emergency. Pillowcase Project presentations can be done for a wide variety of groups, such as classrooms, girl or boy scout groups, and church organizations. 

To learn more about preparing your child for an emergency please visit https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/emergency-preparedness-for-kids.html

For questions regarding the Pillowcase project please send an email to kayla@SERVPROofcovington.com

Networking on the Northshore

6/20/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial Networking on the Northshore Northshore Young Professionals Luncheon

Yes, “Northshore” is one word here. The Greater New Orleans Northshore area is comprised of St. Tammany Parish, Tangipahoa Parish, and Washington Parish. This region has become known not only as an idyllic place to live and visit, but also a community where both small and large businesses can thrive. St. Tammany Corporation explains, “St. Tammany boasts low business costs, successful workforce development initiatives, and responsive incentive programs”. As a small, locally owned and operated business located in Mandeville, the team at SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville is proud to be a part of this community and we believe working with other Northshore businesses has contributed greatly to our success throughout the past ten years.

According to the United States Small Business Association’s 2018 Small Business Profile, 30.2 million businesses in the United States are small businesses, accounting for 99.9% of all United States businesses. This statistic rings true for the Northshore’s business economic makeup as well. A casual stroll throughout charming downtown Covington or historic Old Mandeville will serve as proof. As the marketing and sales manager for SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville, small business owners and entrepreneurs often ask me about networking events and referral groups around town. Everyone is surprised to hear me say that if you really wanted to, you could attend a networking event almost every day of the week on the Northshore. From networking opportunities specific to a particular industry to events more inclusive of businesses from a certain neighborhood, the Northshore hosts dozens of organizations focused on helping businesses grow. Below is a list of local organizations focused on helping business owners and entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

Northshore Networking Organizations:

St.Tammany West Chamber of Commerce

The St.Tammany West Chamber of Commerce is a 5 star accredited chamber of commerce. Their mission is to help support and promote local businesses. The St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce offers members networking opportunities, seminars, business counseling services,industry-specific roundtables, and other member perks. Each month members can attend no cost networking events like Business After Hours, Business to Business meetings, and ribbon cuttings for new businesses. Membership prices are determined by the company size. For information regarding membership, please send an email to meredith@sttammanychamber.org.

Northshore Young Professionals

The Northshore Young Professionals organization is a subcommittee within the St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce that promotes networking for young professionals within our community. NYP membership is available to any young professional who is a St.Tammany West Chamber of Commerce member free of charge. Admission to networking Pop-Ups is $15.

Covington Business Association

The Covington Business Association (CBA) is a nonprofit organization that works to raise awareness of businesses operating in Covington and to advance their interests. At the monthly CBA meetings, local business owners and entrepreneurs can network and receive updates about local projects and upcoming events. Annual membership dues are $120. To join or for more information, please send an email to treasureer@gocovington.org.

Old Mandeville Business Association

Old Mandeville Business Association (OMBA) is a non-profit organization made up of a network of businesses in the Old Mandeville area and resident members which share the same commitment to serve, support, and advance the interests of local commerce while remaining true to the unique, soulful spirit of the Old Mandeville community. Throughout the year OMBA hosts a handful of networking happy hours and a few very well-attended events, like the Girod Street Stroll and Empty Bowl. Yearly membership dues are $125 for businesses and $45 for residents. For more information click here.

Referral Groups

If you’re looking to join a networking organization that meets more frequently and is strictly focused on passing referrals between members, then maybe joining a referral group would be best for your business. Two of the more notable networking referral groups in our community are BNI and Master Networks. BNI, Business Network International, is a popular international networking organization based upon the principle that “givers gain”. There are thousands of BNI “chapters” around the world and dozens located throughout the Greater New Orleans area. For more information about local BNI chapters please visit bnilouisiana.com. Master Networkers is also a referral based networking organization. While Master Networks is a referral based group, their mission “is to lead a movement of learning-based, service-orientated, entrepreneurs and business leaders”. For more information about local Master Networks groups go to masternetworks.com.

Industry-Specific Organizations

Joining an industry-specific group is another way to network with like-minded business professionals. Besides being kept informed with recent events or legislature concerning your industry, most organizations host luncheons, continuing education classes, happy hour networking events, and fundraisers throughout the year.

A few industry-specific organizations with chapters located throughout New Orleans and the Northshore area include:

I told you that if you wanted to, then you could spend almost every night of the week at a networking event around town! Hopefully, this list helps inspire you to get more involved with the networking scenes on the Northshore, Southshore, or both sides of the lake. For questions regarding a specific organization or upcoming event, please feel free to send an email to kayla@SERVPROofcovington.com.

Kayla Theriot

Marketing and Sales Manager

2019 National Hurricane Preparedness Week

4/23/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage 2019 National Hurricane Preparedness Week National Hurricane Preparedness Week 2019

Hurricane season begins June 1st. This year National Hurricane Preparedness Week is May 5th through May 11th. Each day we are urged to focus on specific emergency planning tasks to help prepare our families and communities for hurricanes.

May 5th – Know Your Risk

How at risk of hurricane damages is your home or business? Evaluate what you need to do now in order to best protect your home and business. Sign up for local alerts online or download a weather app, like the FEMA app or the WDSU weather app.

May 6th – Develop an Evacuation Plan

The first thing you need to do is find out if you live in a storm surge hurricane evacuation zone or if you’re in a home that would be unsafe during a hurricane. If you are, then figure out where you’d go and how you’d get there if told to evacuate. You do not need to travel hundreds of miles. Identify someone, perhaps a friend or relative who doesn’t live in an evacuation zone or unsafe home, and coordinate with them to use their home as your evacuation destination. Be sure to account for your pets, as most local shelters do not permit them. Put the plan in writing for you and those you care about.

May 7th - Assemble Disaster Supplies

 A hurricane emergency kit should include all the necessities for surviving at least 72 hours and any unique items your family may need, like items for pets or seniors. In addition to storing copies of important documents in your emergency kit, you should also have documents stored on the cloud or saved as a Google document.

May 8th - Get an Insurance Check Up

Is your home properly protected? Read our latest blog about flood insurance to learn important facts about flood insurance that may probably surprise you. For instance, just one inch of water in your home can cause up to $25,000 in damages. Imagine having to cover the restoration and rebuild costs without having insurance. Also, flood insurance doesn’t go into effect until thirty days after the purchase date and insurance cannot be purchased when a named storm is in the Gulf of Mexico. So, plan a meeting with your insurance agent today to review your policy and make necessary changes before it's too late. 

May 9th - Strengthen Your Home

If you plan to ride out a hurricane in your home, then make sure it is in good repair and up to local hurricane building code specifications. Have the proper plywood, steel or aluminum panels to board up the windows and doors. Remember, the garage door is the most vulnerable part of the home. So, it must be able to withstand high winds. You can reduce property damage in the event of a hurricane by retrofitting (i.e., reinforcing) the roof, windows, and doors.

May 10th - Help Your Neighbor

Many Americans rely on their neighbors after a disaster, but there are also many ways you can help your neighbors before a hurricane approaches. Learn about all the different actions your community can take to prepare and recover from the hazards associated with hurricanes by visiting ready.gov/neighbors.

May 11th – Make an Emergency Plan

Write down your full emergency plan and share it with your friends and family. Having a written plan will take the guesswork out of your response and allow you to calmly make decisions during a disaster. For help creating your emergency plan, you can visit ready.gov/make-a-plan.

Remember, it only takes one storm to change your life and community. For more information on hurricanes and hurricane safety, visit weather.gov/safety/hurricane

Create an Emergency Ready Profile for Your Business and Enter to Win Jazz Festival Tickets

3/6/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial Create an Emergency Ready Profile for Your Business and Enter to Win Jazz Festival Tickets 2019 Jazz Festival Ticket Drawing

At SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville, we often see disasters become major issues because of a lack of readiness. This is why we offer free emergency planning services to every business owner and property manager in our area. Our disaster planning services help businesses mitigate damages following a storm or accident while ultimately saving them time and money on restoration. This month, in an effort to promote business continuity within our community, we've decided to give away a pair of Jazz Festival tickets to one lucky person who participates in our Emergency Ready Program. 

All local residents, business owners, and property managers are eligible to win. To enter the drawing you must create an Emergency Ready Profile for your business or for a property that you manage with our marketing coordinator Kayla Theriot by April 12th. You can also refer a local business to create an Emergency Ready Profile. If that business completes an Emergency Ready Profile, then both you and the business owner will be entered into the drawing. Again, this service is free and only takes about thirty minutes to complete. We will choose one winner on Monday, April 15th. 

Together let's make sure every business is ready to respond to any size disaster! To learn more about our Emergency Ready Program or to schedule an appointment with Kayla please send an email to kayla@SERVPROofcovington.com.

NFPA's Most Recent Home Structure Fire Research Report

2/25/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage NFPA's Most Recent Home Structure Fire Research Report National Fire Protection Agency

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a global nonprofit organization, established in 1896, devoted to eliminating death, injury, property, and economic loss due to fire, electrical, and related hazards. NFPA is a great resource for fire safety tips, fire safety training, and fire research. In December of 2018, NFPA released their most recent research publication of fire statistics and findings from 2012 to 2016. Below are a few important statistics to note:

  • More than one-third of reported fires (27%) occurred in the home.
  • During this five-year period, firefighters responded to an average of 355,400 fire per year.
  • Roughly one of every 326 households per year had a reported home fire during this period. On average, seven people died in a fire in a home per day.
  • Leading causes of home structure fires from 2012- 2016 are as follows: Cooking equipment accounted for 48% of home structure fires. Heating equipment accounted for 15% of home structure fires. Electrical distribution and lighting equipment accounted for 10% of home structure fires. Eight percent of the fires were deemed intentional. And lastly, five percent of the home structure fires from 2012-2016 were caused by smoking materials.
  • Candles started an average of 8,200 fires annually, resulting in an average of 80 deaths, 770 injuries, and $264 million in direct property damage per year.
  • Someone, usually a child, playing fire or another heat source, started an average of 5,700 home fires annually in 2012-2016.
  • The kitchen was the leading origin in home structure fires.
  • Almost three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in which either no smoke alarm was present (40%) or at least one alarm was present but did not operate (17%).

Ways to help protect your home from fire damages:

  • Pay attention when cooking. Never leave food cooking on the stove unattended. 
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Do not pour water on a grease fire, either use a fire extinguisher or baking soda to put out the fire. 
  • Do not overload outlets or power strips. 
  • Do not plug more than one heating appliance into an outlet.
  • Make sure flammable items are kept a respectable distance away from the stove, fireplace, and appliances. 
  • Teach children not to play with fire and other fire safety tips. 
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and in each bedroom. 
  • Test smoke alarms every month and replace batteries every six months. Smoke alarms should be replaced every ten years. Check the back of the smoke alarm for the manufacturer's date. If not date is noted, then replace that smoke alarm and install a new one. 
  • Clean out the lint screen before each drying cycle. 
  • Unplug appliance when they are not in use. 

For more fire safety tips, please visit https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/fire.html