Recent Posts

Area Rug cleaning

8/4/2020 (Permalink)

Area Rug cleaning Cleaning an Area Rug in our warehouse

An area rug can be used a few different ways. To designate a certain area of a room or to protect the flooring underneath.

SERVPRO of Columbia and Suwannee Counties offers a few different options for cleaning area rugs.

Our fantastic team can clean your area rug where it is located in your home but we also have options for having it cleaned at our warehouse. We can either bring the rug to our warehouse or you can drop it off and then we can begin the process of steam cleaning your area rug.

Once your area rug is cleaned, SERVPRO of Columbia and Suwannee Counties can either deliver the rug to your home or you can stop by our warehouse and pick up the area rug.

Whichever option you choose, feel free to call SERVPRO of Columbia and Suwannee Counties and we will be more then happy to assist.

Wood laminate floors--Friend or Foe

7/30/2020 (Permalink)

Bubbled wood laminate flooring Water damaged wood laminate flooring

Let's play through a scenario, you purchase a home that has wood laminate flooring. On one hand the wood laminate looks great because it gives the appearance of hard wood floors. On the other hand, you could potentially run into an issue where if you have a water damage in your home and have wood laminate flooring down, a lot of that flooring may need to come up due to the fact that water cannot be extracted through the wood laminate. The wood laminate and the padding underneath would need to be removed and then you are left with a portion of your home that has the always fashionable concrete slab flooring. In no way am I saying that wood laminate flooring is something you shouldn't consider having in your home, I am just mentioning that if a water damage occurs in a home with wood laminate flooring the process is much more defined as to how our team would be able to assist with your water damage compared to carpet flooring. If you run into an issue where you see water coming up from between the pieces of wood laminate flooring in your home, do not hesitate to call SERVPRO of Columbia and Suwannee Counties and we will be more then happy to assist you in getting your home back to the point where it looks "Like it never even happened."

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

7/30/2020 (Permalink)

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned logo Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned logo

"We intend to be THE AUTHORITY on what it means to be clean in the new world. It’s important for us to be assertive, making our case that our cleaning is unlike any other such that all of America will demand that the places they visit and the places they work are not clean unless they are Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned."

This is a quote from SERVPRO Chief Marketing Officer Mike Stahl. Certified SERVPRO Cleaned is a new program being implemented by SERVPRO to better assist businesses in establishing themselves as locations that are "Safe to Visit" during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Through this program, SERVPRO is allowing businesses and local SERVPRO franchises to create a custom cleaning plan that fits with the schedule and budget of the interested business. Whether you want SERVPRO to come in and disinfect your business as little as once a month or as frequently as a daily visit, your local SERVPRO franchise will be more then happy to assist with explaining which options will work best for you and your business.

If you have any other questions, feel free to contact SERVPRO of Columbia and Suwannee Counties at 386-754-0261 for more information.

Saharan Dust

7/2/2020 (Permalink)

Saharan Dust off the coast of Africa Saharan Dust off the coast of Africa

SERVPRO of Columbia and Suwannee Counties likes to keep you informed on the coming storm season and changes that could happen to it.  As we all know, storms are unpredictable especially when other factors come into play that may cause less storms during a season but more powerful storms.

This is where the Saharan Dust come into play. Personally, I had not heard of the Saharan Dust until just a few weeks ago, but natural phenomenon attract my attention so I began to do some research.  Saharan Dust travels across the Atlantic Ocean to different parts of the world. Every so often, particularly during the warmer months, blankets of the dust are carried by strong winds from the Sahara Desert in Western Africa to Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada and Barbados.

This years Saharan Dust is what's being called a "Godzilla" cloud.  I have linked an article below with more information on the Saharan Dust and how it is also affecting the view of the sunrise and sunset.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/06/22/saharan-dust-heads-u-s-bringing-sunsets-and-fewer-tropical-storms/3235299001/

4 Most Common Fires

6/5/2020 (Permalink)

Fireman saving child Fireman saving child

While fires can start at anytime and anywhere, below are descriptions of the four most common types of fires. Acknowledging these types of fires may help you to reduce or even eliminate the risk of starting a fire.

1. KITCHEN FIRES

The most common type of fire in the U.S. is the kitchen fire. The reason that the kitchen is the source of many fire hazards is because the kitchen is where heat, electricity, water, and grease come together.
 
The most common type of kitchen fire is the grease fire. A grease fire is extremely dangerous as it can get out of control quickly and spread from the stove throughout the kitchen and into other rooms of the house.
 
Many grease fires occur because someone leaves a frying pan on the stove unattended. They also occur when someone overheats a pan during attended cooking if the grease catches fire. Grease fires can cause serious injury and extensive property damage.
 
Other types of kitchen fires include oven fires and appliance fires. Fires can also get started in the kitchen when electricity comes in contact with water.

2. ELECTRICAL FIRES 

Electrical fires are caused by a number of different factors, including faulty appliances, worn or faulty electrical wiring, improper use of electrical outlets and worn out breaker boxes.
 
Older homes often do not have the proper wiring to handle the amount of electrical appliances in use today. Often old wiring inside walls becomes frayed or worn, causing shorts and sparks that can ignite.
 
Old breaker boxes are made to shut off electrical current when the circuit becomes overloaded as a fire prevention measure, but often the connections are worn or broken and do not activate the breaker switch.
 
Lighting is another cause of electrical fires, which can be triggered by improper wiring or the use of bulbs that are higher in wattage than the amount recommended for the lighting appliance.

3. HEATER FIRES 

This type of fire is particularly common in the winter months. Portable heaters should always have automatic shutoffs that activate when they overheat as a fire precaution.
Coil space heaters are especially hazardous because the coils will ignite anything combustible nearby. Always keep any type of space heater a minimum of three feet from anything combustible. That includes curtains, bedding, clothing and furniture. Always shut space heaters off when you’re not in the room.
 
Extension cords should not be used with space heaters as they generate too much electricity and can start a fire.

4. SMOKING-RELATED FIRES 

Fires caused by cigarettes account for 1,000 deaths in the U.S. every year. Many times the smoker is not the person who dies.
 
Most smoking fires are started by embers igniting on furniture, bedding and trash cans. Smokers should always be sure cigarettes are completely extinguished before emptying ashtrays into the trash.
 
Never smoke in bed and never smoke when you are tired, inebriated, or drowsy from medication. Do not place ashtrays on flammable surfaces like couches, chairs, or beds where they can tip over and start a fire.
 
The best way to prevent smoking-related fires is to smoke outside the house and have a can filled with sand to extinguish cigarette butts.

SERVPRO of Columbia and Suwannee Counties are always here to help when it comes to making it "Like it never even happened."  Feel free to give us a call at 386-754-0261 if you have any questions.

Always have a plan

6/2/2020 (Permalink)

Home on fire Home on fire

SERVPRO of Columbia and Suwannee Counties hates to see anyone have any type of fire issue in their home.  Here are some tips we would recommend for making a plan to leave your home if a fire was to occur.  Fire can spread rapidly through your home, leaving you as little as one or two minutes to escape safely once the alarm sounds. Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes. Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors. Also, mark the location of each smoke alarm. Here are some tips for helping you with your home fire escape plan!

  • Know the plan
    Make sure that you’re familiar with your building’s evacuation plan, which should illustrate what residents are supposed to do in the event of an emergency. The evacuation plan should be posted in places where all residents can see and review it, and the building management should hold a fire drill with occupants at least once a year. Most states also require that buildings periodically test their fire safety systems as well.  Be sure to participate when your building drills take place. When looking for an apartment or high-rise home, look for one with an automatic sprinkler system. Sprinklers can extinguish a home fire in less time that it takes for the fire department to arrive.
  • Practice is key
    Whether your building has one floor or 50, it’s essential that you and your family are prepared to respond to a fire alarm. Identify all of the exits in your building and if you are using an escape planning grid, mark them on your escape plan. Make sure to mark the various stairways too, in case one is blocked by fire.
  • Never use the elevator
    In case of fire, always use the stairs to get out, never the elevator. Make sure to practice using the stairs as part of your escape plan. If someone in your family has difficulty climbing down steps, make sure to incorporate a contingency for this into your plan.
  • Stay low
    Smoke from a fire is toxic and deadly no matter what kind of structure you live in. When you hold your fire drill, everyone in the family should practice getting low and going under the smoke to the exit. In the event of a fire, if both stairwells are filled with smoke, stay in your apartment and wait for the firefighters.
  • Seal yourself in for safety
    If you can’t exit an apartment building due to smoke or fire in the hallway, call the fire department to report your exact location and gather in a room with a window to await their arrival. Close all doors between you and the fire. Use duct tape or towels to create a seal around the door and over air vents in order to keep smoke from coming in.
  • Stay by the window
    If possible, you should open your windows at the top and the bottom so fresh air can get in. Don’t break the window – if smoke enters the room from outside the building, you won’t be able to protect yourself.
  • Signal to firefighters
    Wave a flashlight or light colored cloth at the window to let the fire department know where you are located.

Hurricane Seasons around the world

6/2/2020 (Permalink)

Hurricane from space Hurricane from space

A hurricane season is a distinct time of year when tropical cyclones (tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes) usually develop. Whenever we mention hurricane season here in the U.S. we're usually referring to the Atlantic Hurricane Season, whose storms most commonly affect us, but ours isn't the only season there is...

Hurricane Seasons Around the World

Besides the Atlantic hurricane season, 6 others exist:

  • the Eastern Pacific hurricane season
  • the Northwest Pacific typhoon season
  • the North Indian cyclone season
  • the Southwest Indian cyclone season
  • the Australian/Southeast Indian cyclone season
  • the Australian/Southwest Pacific cyclone season  

While each of the above basins has its own particular seasonal patterns of tropical cyclone activity, activity tends to peak worldwide in late summer. May is typically the least active month, and September, the most active.

Hurricane Season Predictions

Several months before the season starts, several well-known groups of meteorologists make predictions (complete with guesstimates of the number of named storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes) about how active the upcoming season will be.

Hurricane forecasts are usually issued twice: initially in April or May in advance of the June season start, then an update in August, just before the historical September peak of hurricane season.

  • The NOAA releases its initial outlook the week prior to the June 1 season start.
  • Colorado State University's Department of Atmospheric Sciences has been making and publicizing their tropical forecasts since 1984.
  • Tropical Storm Risk (TSR) (a consortium of insurance, risk management, and climate forecasting experts based out of University College London in the UK), first introduced its tropical cyclone forecasts in the late 90s and early 00s.
  • The Weather Channel is considered a relative newbie to the hurricane forecast arena.

Think Ahead for This Hurricane Season

6/1/2020 (Permalink)

Grey sky with lightening and a sign saying Hurricane Prep ARE YOU PREPARED THIS SEASON?

With Hurricane Season starting June 1st, now is the time to think ahead and get ready.

Did you know that many people believe that hurricanes are just a threat to coastal communities? The truth is that high winds, flooding, and potential tornadoes can reach residents many miles inland. For this reason, it is important everyone thinks as far ahead as possible to get ready for the upcoming hurricane season. When you are prepared and the time comes to spring into action, you will be more calm and confident because you already have a plan in place.

One thing that should be at the top of your list is learning your evacuation zones. Evacuations are more common that people think, and when you know your evacuation zone you will be ahead of the game. Also have a communication plan with any extended family members in case you need to meet somewhere.

Another thing that should also be added to your list is to check in with your insurance company. Make sure you know in advance what your deductibles are and what all (inside and outside) is covered. This includes the personal belongings in your home as well.

Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. To really think ahead you need to make sure you have your emergency supplies on hand, as well as prepare your house.

It’s never too early to stock up on emergency supplies, and the sooner you get them, the better. These supplies should include:

  • Water, one gallon per person per day (three-day minimum)
  • Food, a three-day supply of no-cook foods
  • Any medications you or any family members will need (of course a three-day minimum as well)
  • Flashlights with extra batteries
  • Hand-crank or battery-powered radio with extra batteries
  • First-aid kit
  • Cellphone charger with a backup battery or portable charger

Last, but not least, let’s get your home ready. Here is what we recommend:

  1. Trim or remove any damaged trees or limbs to keep your property safe. Hurricane winds can cause trees and branches to fall or be thrown. If you have any loose limbs, the higher the winds the higher the chance of them damaging your home or a neighbor’s home.
  2. Secure rain gutters and clean out any clogged areas or debris to prevent water damage to your home.
  3. Secure and reinforce your windows and doors, including the garage doors. This can be done with the help of hurricane screens.
  4. Have a power backup plan! You can do this by purchasing a portable generator or installing a generator.
  5. If possible, consider building a safe room or storm shelter to protect you from high-winds, but this is best done in locations above flood levels.

Your #1 goal is to keep your family safe, second is your home or business.   Here at SERVPRO of North Clay County/Oakleaf/North Middleburg our goal is to be "Here to Help" if your home or business is affected and get you back to normal as quickly as possible.  

NOAA Predicts an Above-Normal 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season

6/1/2020 (Permalink)

List of Names for the 2020 Hurricane Season 2020 Looks to be a busy season for Hurricanes

June 1st marks the official start of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season which will continue through November. On May 21st, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) published their outlook for the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. NOAA predicts that the 2020 Atlantic basin hurricane season will be above-normal.

Forecasters predict a 40% chance of a near-normal season, a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season, and only a 10% chance of a below-normal season.

The 2020 outlook reflects several climate factors that are conducive to increased hurricane activity, including the ongoing high-activity era that has been in place since 1995. Forecasters are predicting ENSO neutral or La Niña conditions, along with warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, coupled with reduced vertical wind shear, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, and an enhanced west African monsoon.

The 2020 outlook reflects several climate factors driving the strong likelihood for above-normal activity in the Atlantic. El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions are expected to either remain neutral or to trend toward La Nina, meaning there will not be an El Nino present to suppress hurricane activity. Also, warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, coupled with reduced vertical wind shear, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, and an enhanced west African monsoon all increase the likelihood for an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. Similar conditions have been producing more active seasons since the current high-activity era began in 1995.

For 2020, NOAA predicts a likely range of 13 to 19 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes.

With all of this in mind, remember, SERVPRO is here alongside you.    We take the same precautions each of you do.  We pray for the safety of our communities and are "Here to Help" if help is needed.

Commercial Cleaning 101: Clean, Sanitize & Sterilize

5/22/2020 (Permalink)

Cleaning products Cleaning products

What is the difference between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting? You might be tempted to say that, there is, in fact, no difference between them. All of those terms basically mean clean something right? Hopefully you commercial cleaning company will disagree with you on this point. The language and science of cleaning has evolved, and will continue to evolve and grow more complex as the industry expands to meet the needs of an ever-changing marketplace. While it is the responsibility of your commercial cleaning company to keep up, as a Facility Manager, it is wise to have a handle on some of the basic terms. Should you be on the look out for a new commercial cleaning company, understanding some of the industry terms can help you keep prospective janitorial service companies on their toes and ask all the right questions. Have you ever wondered what the difference is between cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting? Want to know what pathogens are & why your commercial cleaning company should too? We have the answers to your burning cleaning questions. We’ve put together a list of some key terms that will undoubtedly be useful to know:

Cleaning: Most of us would like to think we know this one! But surprisingly, cleaning only refers to removing visible gunk from a surface.

Mechanical Cleaning: Good, old fashioned elbow grease. Mechanical Cleaning is when you put away the fancy tools and give the surface a good scrubbing.

Sanitize: Sanitizing isn’t the same as cleaning. Think about hand sanitizer for a moment. Put it on dirty hands and they aren’t magically clean, just de-germed if you will. In your building, before a surface can be sanitized it should be cleaned. Then, an antimicrobial solution is applied for a specific dwell time to achieve the desired 99.9999% bacterial and viral kill rate.

Dwell Time: This is a word you would only know if you spend your time reading the back of cleaning products! You might not do that but we do. Dwell times refer to how long an antimicrobial or disinfectant solution must be left on a pre-cleaned surface before it can be considered sanitized or disinfected. The product needs a specific amount of time to do its intended job. This one is important because if your cleaning company is rushing through their work and not following manufacturer recommendations, you will not get as safe, healthy and effective as possible.

Sterilize: To sterilize something requires the almighty autoclave or something equally as powerful to insure a 100% kill rate on microorganisms, viruses, and any type of fungal spore. For those of you that have seen an autoclave before, you know that this isn’t a practical cleaning solution for a big, busy building and for that reason is only used on medical and dental tools as necessary.

Microorganism:The word you missed on your high school biology test has come back to haunt you. All a microorganism is is any bacteria, virus, or spore that can’t be seen without a microscope.

Pathogen: When microorganisms turn evil. Any microorganism that can cause illness or disease is a pathogen.

Hot Spots: Similar in nature to the touch point. Hot spots are areas within a building that are frequently traversed and touched, like handles, shared business machines, any surface, knob, handle, switch or the like. These areas need extra attention to make sure that they are truly clean because as they are touched often and by many, they become the perfect little hubs for the evil pathogens, those microorganisms intent on making you, your employees and building’s visitors sick.

Bactericide: When life gets to be a little too much for the bacteria. A bactericide is any solution that is specifically targeted to destroy bacteria.

Touch Points: The locations in your office or workplace that are touched the most often. Knowing the touch points in your workplace lets you know which areas need special attention because these areas see many hands and many hands see many mouths and noses which see many microorganisms, many of which are pathogens.

Team Cleaning: With team cleaning, a building is divided by duties, not zones so team members specialize. There may be one vacuum specialist, one restroom specialist, one duster and light duties specialist and similar. This specialization of members of a team creates more efficient, more consistent results and reduces training costs and equipment costs and well as increases accountability and professionalism.

Zone Cleaning: In zone cleaning a building is divided into zones, sometimes floors or areas and there is one cleaner to one zone. This is an outdated cleaning style that is inefficient because it results in duplicated equipment and inconsistent results.

Cleaning for Health: Unsurprisingly, exactly what it sounds like. Cleaning for health is not only to clean to make something visually appealing, but also to sanitize a surface to prevent the spread of those pesky pathogens and other microorganisms.

Smart Cleaning: Smart cleaning uses a detailed analysis of your building to provide customized solutions to reduced budgets and cuts by optimizing services and identifying livable service cuts and scheduling services in a way that balances your budget and building maintenance needs.

Cross Contamination: When you use the same rag on to wipe the break room lunch tables that you used on the restroom toilets, things don’t get too clean. In fact, they get even dirtier are germs, microorganisms and pathogens are spread around the various parts of your facility. This is called cross contamination and the best way to address it is with a color coded cloth system, team cleaning, proper product use like utilizing dwell times and manufacturer recommendations and other janitorial best practices.

If you have any other questions, feel free to call SERVPRO of Columbia and Suwannee Counties.