5 Tips to Help Protect Your Pipes From Freezing During the Winter
To protect pipes in your home or business from freezing in cold temperatures follow these tips from the American Red Cross:
- Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children.
- When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.
- Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
- If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
How and When to Test Your Smoke Alarm
According to the National Fire Protection Agency, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 358,500 home structure fires per year between 2011 and 2015. Working smoke alarms give an early warning of fire, give people additional time to escape, and thus cut the risk of dying in a reported home fire in half. However, a significant percentage of residential smoke alarms fail to operate during a fire. The two main reasons for a failed smoke alarm detector are simply missing or disconnected batteries and dead batteries. Both cases are easily preventable.
How to Test Your Smoke Alarm
Most smoke alarms have a clearly labeled "test" button. Make a habit to press this button at least once a month to ensure the batteries are properly working. This sound will be loud, but make sure everyone in your family is involved in this exercise to learn what noise to expect in case of an emergency. If the alarm does not sound when tested, then it is time to replace the batteries.
Once you've established that the smoke alarms are properly working, determine if it responds to smoke particles by using a smoke detector test aerosol spray can (be sure to look for one that is UL listed).
When to Test Your Smoke Alarm
You should test your smoke alarms at least once a month to make certain they are operating properly. Another good habit is to change the batteries in your smoke alarms twice each year, once in Spring when we turn the clocks forward an hour and once in Fall when we turn the clocks back an hour. Also, smoke alarms should be replaced every ten years. Dust and debris can settle inside of the alarm and cause the sensors to fail. If you have recently purchased your home, then you should replace all of the smoke alarms unless you can prove the manufacturing date.
Need Assistance With Obtaining Or Installing a Smoke Alarm?
The state of Louisiana supplies each fire station with smoke alarm detectors for the public every year. If you can't afford a smoke alarm or cannot install them by yourself, then please reach out to your local fire department for help. Your local fire department will give and install smoke alarms in your home free of charge as a part of their program Operation Save A Life.
Fire Districts in St. Tammany Parish:
- Fire District 1, Slidell
- Fire District 2 Fire Department, Madisonville
- To contact someone in this fire department call the administrative office at 985-845-3330 or send an email here .
- Fire District 3, Lacombe
- To contact someone in this fire department you can dial 985-882-5977 or send an email to email@example.com.
- District 4, Mandeville
- St. Tammany Fire Protection District No. 4 encompasses an approximate 70 square mile region on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain in Southern Louisiana. The District boundaries are formed by the fourth ward of St. Tammany Parish. It is bordered to the east at Pontchartrain Drive on Highway 190, west to the Tchefuncte River, north to Ponchitalawa Creek (including additional areas along LA Highways 36, 59, Interstate 12, Helenburg Road and the River Oaks subdivision), and south extending 13.4 miles on the Greater New Orleans Expressway (Causeway).
- To contact someone in this fire department dial 985-626-8671 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- District 5, Folsom
- To contact someone in this fire department dial 985-796-5266.
- District 6, Covington and North Lee Road Areas
- To contact someone in this fire department dial 985-809-1768.
- City of Covington Fire Department
- To contact someone in this station dial 985-898-4727 or send an email to email@example.com
- District 8, Abita Springs
- To contact someone in this fire department dial 985-892-2065 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- District 9, Bush
- District 11, Pearl River
- To contact someone in this fire department dial 985-863-3132 or send an email to email@example.com.
- Fire District 12
- The District’s boundaries wrap around the City of Covington to the south, east and north, and take in one of West St. Tammany’s busiest corridors – Hwy. 190 between I-12 and Covington. From rural areas north of Covington to the densely populated Tammany Hills and Crestwood subdivisions, FD12 provides service to more than 25,000 people and 1,200 businesses.
- To contact someone at this department dial 985-892-5161 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- District 13, Goodbee Fire Department
Fire Facts and Fire Safety Resources:
Relief Efforts for Florida Residents Affected by Hurricane Michael
From left to right:Kayla Theriot (SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville), Kelly Dabdoub (Dabdoub Insurance and Investments), Alison Ceuvas(TWFG)
On October 10, 2018, Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, Flordia as a Category 4 Hurricane. Hurricane Michael affected Cuba, parts of Central America, Georga, North Carolina, Virginia, and caused devastating damages to the Florida panhandle. Mexico Beach and Panama City suffered catastrophic losses as Hurricane Michael was the strongest storm on record to hit the Florida Panhandle. As numerous relief efforts began to organize, the Northshore chapter of the Professional Insurance Agents of Louisiana gathered supplies and donations for those in need. Our marketing coordinator Kayla Theriot joined other members of Northshore PIA with a group of Louisiana residents on October 20th to help make and package meals for those affected by Hurricane Michael. Each day the group prepared between 1,500 and 2,500 meals. Numerous local volunteers picked up the meals and delivered them to first responders and Hurricane Michael victims who had to evacuate their homes. As of now, no other Northshore PIA members are scheduled to return to Flordia for relief efforts, but the organization is still raising money to send to those in need. If you would like to donate to the relief efforts, please visit https://myemail.constantcontact.com/You-asked--and-here-is-how-you-can-help---.html?soid=1118092548365&aid=BqQhtUHm_Mo
Volunteering for Habitat for Humanity St. Tammany West
2018 Women Build Project
Habitat for Humanity St. Tammany West is a non-profit, ecumenical Christian organization that helps families in need realize their dream of homeownership. The homes are built with the help of donations from sponsors, profits from the Habitat Restore, and volunteers throughout the community. Women Build is one of Habitat for Humanity St. Tammany West's annual projects that empower women to build homes. This year our marketing coordinator, Kayla Theriot, participated in one of the Women Build volunteer dates along with other professional women from St. Tammany Parish. We are honored to give back to our community by participating in local charitable projects.
Habitat for Humanity St. Tammany West is currently building three homes in Covington.
If you or your organization would like to get involved, then please send an email to Habitat for Humanity St. Tammany West's Volunteer Coordinator Katie Melucci at email@example.com.
Mold Removal with Air Scrubber
Microscopic mold spores are filtered through an air scrubber
Part of the mold remediation process includes removing mold spores from the air of the affected space. This piece of equipment can serve as either a negative air machine or a HEPA air filtration machine. HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air.
During the mold remediation process, we first set up containment around the affected area to prevent further spreading of particulates. Then, we either use this machine to create negative air and pump air outside of the area or we can utilize this machine as an air filtration device. When used as an air filtration machine, or "air scrubber" as it is commonly called, air passes through a two-stage filtration system and the HEPA filter captures 99.97% of smaller particles down to 0.3 microns.
2018 National Preparedness Month
September is National Preparedness Month
National Preparedness Month, recognized each September, provides an opportunity to remind us all to prepare ourselves, our families, and our businesses for each kind of disastrous situation we may have to endure. The overarching theme for this year is “Disasters happen. Plan now. Learn how" and each week we are encouraged to focus on specific emergency preparedness tasks.
Week 1: September 1st-8th
Make and Practice Your Plan
- To learn how to create a hurricane evacuation plan click here.
- To learn how to create a fire escape plan click here.
- To learn how to make an emergency plan for your pets click here.
- To learn how to create an emergency plan for your business click here.
Once you have created a plan specific to your needs, then remember to practice the plan with your family, employees, and pets a few times a year.
Week 2: September 9th-15th
Learn Life Saving Skills
- Check the batteries in the smoke alarm detectors in your home and business.
- Learn how to help mitigate damages after a disaster has happened.
- Learn how to turn off certain utilities, like the fire suppression system, main water supply, and gas line.
- Compile a contact list for emergency service providers such as these:
- Local fire department
- Local hospital
- Local police department
- HVAC company
- SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville
- Create emergency disaster kits to keep in your home and car. Click here to see the list of supplies you will need to assemble a kit.
Week 3: September 16th-22nd
Review Your Insurance Policy
Insurance plans can be hard to understand. Most people do not completely understand what situations they are covered for or the specific damages that may be excluded from their policy. Do you have flood insurance? Do you have mold coverage? Would your insurance company pay for the cleanup after your sewage system backed up? Did you know it takes thirty days for flood insurance to go into effect? Schedule a meeting with your insurance agent this week to discuss your coverage and to adjust your policy to better suit your needs.
- To learn more about homeowners insurance policies click here.
- To learn how to create inventory lists for your home and business click here.
- To learn more about flood insurance click here.
Week 4: September 23rd-29th
Save For an Emergency
Any size disaster can place a heavy financial burden on a homeowner or business owner. To help be better financially prepared for an emergency follow these tips:
- Create an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit. To learn how to do so please click here.
- Build up an emergency fund. To learn how to do so please click here.
- If you must evacuate, then remember to take certain financial documents with you. You can prepare ahead of time by gathering important financial documents, creating copies of them, and putting them on the cloud. To learn which documents you should make copies of please click here.
SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville is an IICRC Certified Firm
SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville 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 Greater Covington and Mandeville
SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville 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.
How to Prevent Further Damages After a Water Damage Event
Water damage is the second most common insurance claim filed in the United States. Unfortunately, accidents do happen and it's fairly common for appliances and water pipes to break and cause gallons of water to leak into your home. If you notice a water leak in your home, then please follow these tips to prevent further damages:
- Shut off the water source if possible or contact professional to do so
- Remove excess water by mopping and blotting
- Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions for even drying
- Place aluminum foil or wood blocks under furniture legs to prevent discoloration
- Hang furs and leather goods separately at room temperature
- Remove Oriental or other colored rugs from wet carpeting to prevent staining
- Do not use a regular vacuum to remove water
- Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet, and keep out of areas where ceilings are sagging from retained water
- Do not leave books, magazine or other colored items on wet carpeting.
- Call SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville at 985-871-5375. We have water damage restoration technicians available 24/7 for emergency services.
How Do You Know If It's Mold?
Do you have visible microbial growth in your home? How can you tell if it is indeed mold or specifically which species of mold it is? There are at least twenty thousand different species of mold that have been scientifically identified. The only way to determine if the microbial growth in your home is mold or not is to have the growth tested by an Industrial Hygienist or an Indoor Environmental Professional. SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville does not perform mold testing due to our ethical standards. However, we are happy to refer you to someone who is a trusted Indoor Air Quality and Mold Inspector in our community. When testing for mold the Indoor Environmental Professional will take samples of the air inside of your home or business and also a sample of the air outside to compare mold spore counts. The Indoor Environmental Professional will also swab the suspected mold growth. The samples collected will then be sent to an AIHA accredited laboratory for analysis and you can expect results in a few days. If you have any questions or would like more information about hiring a reliable Indoor Air Quality and Mold Inspector on the Northshore, then please feel free to give us a call at 985-871-5375.
Mold vs. Mildew
What's the difference between mold and mildew? This is a fairly common question our mold remediation technicians are often asked. Both mold and mildew thrive in humid, warm environments. Also, mold and mildew are equally able to grow on an array of surfaces, from food to drywall to kitchen cabinets. Mold and mildew do differ in size, texture, and color though. Mildew is a surface fungi that tends to be gray or white in color and is usually found on a moist surface. Mold is usually green or brown in color and sometimes may even seem to look fuzzy. Discovering mold growth inside of your home of business is typically the result of a much larger issue. While mold and mildew share a few similarities, their most significant difference is how they should be removed. Mildew can easily be removed by simply wiping down the affected area with store bought chemicals. Mold remediation needs the attention and expertise of trained professionals like our SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville technicians. We may need to recommend removing certain affected materials. Furthermore, we utilize antimicrobial agents specifically formulated by chemist for mold remediation. To learn more about our mold remediation process please click here. To prevent either from growing in your home or business read these tips. If you have suspect mold growth in your home or business, then please give us a call immediately at 985-871-5375.