Keeping Your Business Protected in Storms
While we just welcomed the spring season, Central Coast residents know that the rains are here! Protecting your commercial property form severe storms is critical for business owners of all kinds. When a big storm is approaching, the best strategy for business owners is to be proactive it preparedness in order to protect your employees, your property, and your business as a whole.
Minimizing damage is essential for your business in the event of a major rainstorm. Things like high winds and heavy rain can do a lot more damage than many would think. As such, it is important to take careful note of the following tips for keeping your business protected in storms:
- Remain watchful of storm forecasts to give yourself plenty of time to prepare
- Make sure that your employees all have specific action plans in place
- Keep your staff contact list updated and readily available
- Check your utilities to make sure that your lines are not connected
- Ensure that your landscaping is trimmed and prepared for storm winds
- Unclog your gutters
- Double check your fire protection equipment
- Remove any potential debris from the commercial property
- Give your staff ample time to leave and prepare their own homes
With heavy rains and high winds, it is important to prepare sooner rather than later. Commercial water damage can be stressful, but SERVPRO is here to make sure that you can go back to business as usual as soon as possible following a large storm. Our team of commercial property damage professionals will take care of your property like it’s our own! Call us today to learn more!
Tips for Business Owners to Reduce Liability Claims
Being aware of the possibility of a liability claim is the first step in being proactive to prevent this from happening.
General liability insurance claims are those that typically come from either your customers or your vendors. As a small business owner, the ability to reduce the risk of these potential lawsuits is imperative for keeping your business running smoothly. One of the most common claims comes from slip and fall accidents. In these situations, a customer is walking through your store when they fall on the wet floor, causing injury or damages. In this scenario, the business is often held responsible for the accident and will therefore be liable for any type of injury or any damage that the fall caused. Being aware of the possibility of a liability claim is the first step in being proactive to prevent this from happening.
While there are certainly things out of the hands of a business owner, preemptive measures can absolutely be taken to reduce the likelihood of something like that occurring. Keep the following tips in mind to reduce liability claims in your business:
- Be sure to keep the store well-lit so that customers can see where they are walking. We also advise that you conduct emergency lighting system checks each month.
- Keep floors and carpeting as clean as possible. Place signage in areas that could be deemed a potential walking hazard.
- Install handrails on any stairways in the building.
- When a spill occurs, place an employee near the spill to warn customers until the spill is properly cleaned.
- Keep the bathrooms extremely tidy.
- Check the outside walkways near your store and look for any potential hazards.
- Keep trash and any other clutter away from the areas where customers walk.
- Be aware of condensation drips from things like air conditioners and refrigerators.
- Avoid the use of extension cords and other dangerous items in areas where foot traffic is heavy.
General liability insurance is crucial for business owners. However, it is important to continually make improvements to keep your store as safe as possible for all of your patrons. If you are in search of a reliable, professional commercial restoration and cleaning service, contact SERVPRO at your earliest convenience!
Minimizing Safety Hazards in the Workplace
The following are some important tasks in the effort to minimize safety hazards in the workplace.
Protecting both your workers and your customers from workplace injuries is extremely important. Employers are tasked with the responsibility to create a safe environment for anyone stepping foot on their commercial property, and this can seem like an overwhelmingly daunting and stressful duty. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), over 4,000 workers in the United States were killed on the job in 2014. The construction industry leads the pack in terms of the most workplace fatalities. However, workplace injuries are far more common and are the focus of our article today.
The ability to minimize safety risks in the workplace while educating the staff about their possible risks is imperative to keeping everyone as safe as possible. Both routine plans and emergency plans should be set in stone and communicated to the entire workforce. The following are some important tasks in the effort to minimize safety hazards in the workplace:
- Clearly communicate all safety and health policies to entire staff
- Pay special attention to things like slippery flooring and poor lighting, as slip and fall accidents account for about one-third of all workplace injuries
- Survey the entire property to identify any and all possible risks
- Prominently display safety information throughout the property
- Be aware of fire safety standards
- Keep the property clean at all times
- Encourage feedback from staff and customers regarding safety improvements
- Update safety policies and procedures at least once per year
While some industries are known to be “dangerous” and procedures are in place accordingly, other industries that are deemed “safe” may fall through the cracks and not be prepared for workplace accidents. Whether you are an employer or an employee, it is important to take an active role in ensuring that proper workplace safety measures are taken and enforced at all times.
OSHA Guidelines For Fire Extinguishers
SERVPRO of Morro Bay / King City knows that the proper use of fire extinguishers can prevent fire from destroying lives.
Owning a fire extinguisher is not enough. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) requires that employers train their employees how and when to use fire extinguishers. They must provide the training shortly after the employee is hired, and then every year thereafter.
OSHA does not allow untrained employees to use a fire extinguisher.
OSHA also requires monthly inspections of the fire extinguishers.
Fire extinguishers have to be placed where they cannot be moved or damaged..
The carrying handle should be 3-1/2 to 5 feet above the floor.
Employees must know when to use fire extinguishers.
SERVPRO of Morro Bay / King City suggests asking yourself these questions regarding fire extinguishers.
- Have I pulled the fire alarm?
- Is the fire extinguisher easy to reach?
- Do I know how to use it?
- Is the fire contained in a small area?
- Is the smoke non-toxic?
- Can everyone get out?
- Do I have an escape route?
If you can answer “yes” to all of the questions, it is reasonable to use the fire extinguisher.
SERVPRO of Morro Bay / King City reminds you that fire is fast. If you cannot contain it within 30 seconds, get everyone out of the area. Call 9-1-1 once you are outside.
Prevent Mold Growth In Your Central Coast Business
SERVPRO of Morro Bay / King City is licensed in mold remediation. We hope you never have a mold problem.
Mold starts growing within 24 hours of exposure to moisture.
To prevent mold from getting a start in your office building, SERVPRO of Morro Bay / King City suggests:
- Elevate equipment above floor when possible
- Repair leaky pipes
- Remove any damp areas near sinks and tubs
- Maintain humidity below 40%
- Use water-resistant materials when you build or rebuild. Materials include:
- galvanized or stainless-steel hardware
- waterproof wallboard
- sealed stone
- sealed concrete
- water-resistant glues
- synthetic fibers
- Use gutters to divert rain water
- Landscape, so water moves away from the house
- Cover dirt in crawl spaces. Moisture can seep up through dirt
- Ventilate as much as possible
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines a “large amount” of mold as 10 square feet or more. The EPA rules that only licensed professionals can remediate large areas.
You cannot prevent storms or floods. However, if a storm or flood affects you, we can help you clean up the damage.
Fire Hazards in the Kitchen San Luis Obispo County
Fire accidents are something that people think will never happen to them. As we’ve seen in recent months in California, forest fires can be extremely dangerous and destruction to anything and everything near and in its path. It is important as California residents to understand that there are still a lot of risks when it comes to fires and your home or commercial property. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recently released a report stating that 2 in every 5 home fires in the United States begin in the kitchen.
Cooking is a fun activity that is enjoyed by friends and family of all walks of life. Some of a family’s best moments are those spent in the kitchen cooking, eating, and enjoying each other’s company. Unfortunately, the kitchen is also a potentially hazardous place when it comes to fires. The following are some of the biggest fire hazards in the kitchen:
- Grease build-up on stovetop
- Electrical wiring
- Loose clothing near open flames or on the stovetop
Being aware of the above hazardous items is important to maintain a safe and secure kitchen area. It is important to keep a fire extinguisher near or inside of the kitchen in the event that a fire starts. Cooking fires are the leading source of fires throughout the country, so being hyper-aware of the potential risks associated with kitchen items is important. If you have experienced a kitchen fire, contact our team at SERVPRO to take care of the cleanup and restoration.
Electrical Safety for Your Children
Homeowners often think of fire and electrical safety in regards to protecting their family and their property, but considering these practices from a child’s perspective is imperative to truly keeping your loved ones and home safe from harm. When discussing these issues with kids, it is best to break things into two categories in order for them to be easily understood and readily followed. Far too many parents sit their children down and offer guidelines given to them, which are difficult for kids to understand and put into practice. As such, today we offer some easy tips for explaining electrical safety to your children.
Below, we will break down how to help your children with identifying safe practices versus unsafe practices. Be sure to talk through these items with your kids slowly and carefully.
The following practices and ideas are positioned in the “safe” category:
- Help your parents by reminding them to test your smoke alarm monthly and change the smoke alarm batteries yearly
- Be sure to turn off the lights when leaving a room and before going to sleep
- If you see smoke or a fire, leave your home right away and call 911 from a safe location
- Make sure space heaters have a space, do not place anything that can burn anywhere near them
The following practice and ideas are positioned in the “unsafe” category:
- Never use or touch electrical cords that are broken or frayed
- Always keep electronics far away from any liquids
- Do not overcrowd electrical outlets with cords, if there are too many in one location ask an adult to remove some
- Do not put anything that can burn near lightbulbs or lampshades
Electrical safety and fire safety are important subject matters that must be addressed by parents on a regular basis. Make it a habit to ask your children questions to ensure that they are well-versed on the above safety tips at all times.
Fire Disasters Not Covered by Standard Home Insurance in San Luis Obispo County
Many people assume that a home fire is covered by their insurance policy. In reality, most insurance plans only cover specific types of fire disasters. Learn which circumstances can qualify you for reimbursement and which ones can leave you with a large bill.
Arson: A Dead End
When a homeowner deliberately sets fire to property, then authorities consider it a criminal offense. A common motivator for this crime is to collect insurance money, and companies are aware of this fact. They often send investigators to assess the fire damage to a property. If arson is suspected then there is no financial reimbursement.
Fire in a Vacant Home: No Luck
Insurance companies typically define a vacant home fire according to these points:
- No occupation for at least 30 days
- A property that is purchased, but the homeowners haven’t moved in yet
- Homes that are rented out but currently free of tenants
Vacant homes are a large risk to insurance companies because a fire cleanup tends to be more severe. If you want to secure your property against a possible home fire, then you can purchase an endorsement to an existing policy. This is a good idea for a summer home, for example, that is not occupied for part of the year.
Commonly Covered Circumstances
Disasters and fires that occur from an appliance malfunction, vandalism, wildfire or lightning strike can often qualify for coverage. In these cases, you and your family may not have to pay for a fire damage cleanup company in San Luis Obispo County, California out of pocket. If someone was hurt during the incident, then insurance can also cover medical costs. Insurance companies have to make a profit, but they are also concerned about the well-being of their clients.
Understanding the details of your homeowner's insurance can be useful in the event of a home fire. Fires resulting from arson and vacant home fires often do not receive financial assistance.
Surviving Thunderstorms Outside
Minimize your risk. If you absolutely cannot reach shelter during a lightning storm, do everything you can to reduce your risk of being struck by lightning.
- Move to a lower elevation. Lightning is much more likely to strike objects at higher elevations. Do what you can do get as low as possible.
- Avoid large open spaces where you are taller than anything else around you, like a golf course or soccer field.
- Stay away from isolated objects such as trees and light posts.
- Get away from unprotected vehicles, such as golf carts, and unprotected structures, such as picnic shelters. Avoid long metal structures, i.e. bleachers.
Get out of the water. If you are fishing or swimming, get out of the water immediately, and move away from the body of water. Being near water is extremely dangerous during a lightning storm.
Spread out. If you are caught in a lightning storm with a group of people, maintain a distance of at least 50–100 feet (15.2–30.5 m) between each person. This will reduce the risk of lightning traveling from one person to another.
- Take a headcount after every close strike. This will ensure that anyone struck will get emergency attention quickly.
Remove your backpack. If you are hiking with a metal frame backpack, remove it as soon as you detect lightning. Make sure to leave it at least 100 feet (30.5 m) from wherever you are taking shelter.
Assume the “lightning crouch”. Squat down with your feet together, your head tucked to your chest or between your knees, and your hands covering your ears or flat against your knees. Do not lie flat on the ground, as this gives the lightning a larger target.
- This is a difficult position to hold, and it definitely doesn't guarantee your safety. However, by making it easier for a lightning strike to flow over your body rather than through vital organs, you may be able to sustain a smaller injury from it.
- Cover your ears and close your eyes to protect against nearby thunder and bright lightning flashes.
Be alert for an imminent lightning strike. If lightning is about to strike you or strike near you, your hair may stand on end, or you may feel a tingling in your skin. Light metal objects may vibrate, and you may hear a crackling sound or "kee kee" sound. If you detect any of these signals, assume the lightning crouch immediately.
Wear rubber boots. They are made of a material which is a bad electrical conductor.
Plan ahead. The best way to avoid injury from a lightning storm is to avoid it completely. Make your plans with dangerous weather in mind. Listen to the local weather forecast, and pay special attention to thunderstorm advisories.
- Research the local climate: in some areas you can almost guarantee a thunderstorm on summer afternoons. Schedule your activities to avoid many high-risk situations. Those hot, muggy days are just the thing that a thunderstorm needs to get going.
Watch the skies. When you’re out and about, watch the sky for signs of approaching thunderstorms, such as rain, darkening skies, or towering cumulonimbus clouds. If you can anticipate lightning before the first strike, you can avoid being caught in a bad situation.
- Note that lightning can, however, strike even in the absence of these indicators.
Calculate the distance to the lightning. If conditions permit good visibility, and it’s not practical to seek shelter whenever you notice a strike, use the 30 second rule: if the time between a lightning flash and the resulting thunder is 30 seconds or less (aka 6 miles (9.7 km) or less), get to shelter immediately.
Plan your response. If you are in an area that you expect will see lightning storms, know where safe shelters are. Communicate your plans to your group so that everyone knows what to do in an emergency.
Prepare an emergency kit. Be ready with first aid and other disaster essentials. You may lose power during a thunderstorm, so have alternative light sources available.
Install a lightning rod. If you live in a lightning-prone area, installing a lightning rod can help protect your family and your property.
- Have your lightning rod professionally installed. An incorrectly installed rod can increase the chance of a lightning strike.