Posts Tagged ‘fire damage restoration’

4 Fireplace Safety Tips

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

safe fireplaceAs the autumn leaves fall and the temperature dips lower, you may begin to regularly use a fireplace or wood burning stove to fend off the autumn chill. That means now is the time to make sure your wood burning system is in proper working order and that you're using it safely. Chimney fires can be hard to detect, but even if you're alerted to it right away you'll have the headache of smoke, fire and water damage to deal with afterward. Here are some tips to make sure your fireplace or wood burning stove is safe and cozy:

Have your chimney cleaned by a professional

Some homeowners clean their own chimneys, but it's well worth the money to bring in a professional. Not only will you avoid the risk involved in climbing up to the peak of your home with tools you almost never use, you'll benefit from the professional chimney sweep's valuable expertise. For example, a professional would recognize a flue that's not the proper size for the stove or fireplace it serves, but few homeowners would have that knowledge. A trained sweep will know exactly what signs to look for in a damaged chimney and be able to perform any repairs or modifications your wood burning system needs. Some sweeps can even check your chimney with video inspection equipment. In addition, if you use a professional chimney sweep, you'll know you've eliminated all creosote, the source of chimney fires. Creosote is also a very efficient insulator, so removing it makes your home more energy efficient as well as safer.

Up on the roof

Even if you're hiring a professional chimney sweep, it's helpful to know the signs of a problem. If creosote buildup or other problems have caused excess heat in the chimney, bricks and mortar may be cracked. You may also find black creosote deposits on the roof or on the ground around your home. Check your chimney's protective cap for discoloration from exposure to flame or extreme heat. If your chimney doesn't have a cap, get one installed as soon as possible; debris or nesting animals entering the chimney can cause a fire.

Inside, by the fire

Before you start using your stove or fireplace, clean out any debris or ashes and check the inside for cracks, damaged or discolored flues or anything else that seems out of place. If in doubt, have a professional inspect it and make any necessary repairs. Make sure there's nothing flammable near your stove or fireplace and use a mesh screen to protect against flying sparks. Make sure air flows freely through the fireplace and even the fire stack itself when it's burning. The better the airflow, the less creosote buildup will occur in the chimney. Using very dry wood in a loose stack will give you a clean-burning fire with a strong airflow. Avoid wood that's green or wet and never arrange your wood in a tight, compact stack. Make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector in every room that has a fireplace or stove. Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, so using a detector is the only way you can be sure it will be revealed before it becomes a lethal threat.

Ensure you're insured

Lastly, make sure you know how your homeowners’ insurance policy addresses stoves and fireplaces. You should also be absolutely sure your insurance company knows you're using one. If they're unaware that you have a wood burning system installed, they may not cover any damage resulting from a fire. Tired after all that work? The good news is you now have a warm, cozy (and safe and efficient) place to rest in comfort. LDR Cleaning and Restoration is one of the premier restoration companies in Rockford, Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. LDR provides restoration services from water damage, mold removal, fire damage restoration, storm and hail damage repair for commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Click here to contact LDR, or call 1-888-874-7066. Download your free home disaster planning eBook  


 

10 Things to do Before, During and After a Power Failure

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

power outagePower outages are hazards of home dwellers everywhere. An outage can result from a variety of causes, including storm damage and construction activity, especially where electrical wires are exposed above ground. Most outages are short-lived, and a power loss of two hours or less won’t ruin perishable foods. However, in the event of an extended outage, as with most things, the better you prepare, the easier you’ll get through it. Consult the following checklist to know what to do before, during and after the electricity goes out.

Before power goes out

First and foremost, prepare an emergency kit. Every home should have an emergency preparedness kit to meet the needs of family members for at least three days. Items to have for an outage include:
  • Flashlights and batteries for every family member
  • Extra batteries
  • Battery-powered radio and clock
  • Bottled water
  • Canned food
  • Manual can opener
  • First-aid kit
  • Sternos or similar heat source for cooking
Backup candles and matches should also be on your list of emergency items to keep on hand, but use caution with the open candle flame to avoid starting a fire. Get a landline and at least one traditional wall phone. Even when power fails, phone service usually continues. Make sure you have at least one traditional, corded wall phone, without a powered base, that will work even when the rest of your electronics are down. Have the number to your power company’s emergency line written on it or near it. Get to know your circuit box. If you’re not familiar with your home’s circuit box and its location already, there’s no time like the present. Practice re-setting switches, and know what they look like when tripped. If there’s not a listing already, complete a full listing of which circuit breaker powers which room. Depending upon its age, the box may use fuses, which you’ll need to learn how to change, and make sure you keep extras on hand. It’s also a good idea to know the location of your main water shutoff [link to flood prevention blog], in the event of bursting pipes. A roll of duct can prove handy in the event of leaks. If you rely on electrical life-support or other medical equipment, be sure to check with your doctor or equipment supplier about emergency power sources and battery packs. In remote areas that may suffer outages of a week or more, you may consider investing in a gas-powered generator. See below for safe generator usage. In advance of an oncoming storm, or scheduled construction outage, you may consider turning your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings. Just put a sticky note on the door to remind you to return them to normal.

When the power goes

When the house goes dark, your preparation will prove invaluable in helping everyone remain calm. Your first job is identifying the source of the outage. If streetlights and neighbors’ lights are out as well, it’s not rocket science to figure out your neighborhood, at least, is experiencing a blackout. Call your power company’s dedicated number to report outages. You may get an automated response listing areas with reported outages and estimated time of restoration. If power has not been cut due to lack of payment, it’s off to check the circuit box. Reset any tripped switches or replace any blown fuses. Otherwise, check outside to see if there’s construction work or some other digging that may be the cause. Next unplug refrigerators and other appliances and electronic gear such as computers and televisions to prevent damage from an electrical overload when power is restored. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Food in the freezer can stay frozen for two to four days. During an extended power outage, you can use blocks of dry ice, if available. Use dairy and cooked items first, and discard after them after couple of days. For more information, visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Use extreme caution when using alternative heating or cooking sources. Never use camp stoves, charcoal-burning grills or propane/kerosene heaters indoors. And do not use gas stovetops or ovens as heat sources. They all pose risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. If you have a generator, plug appliances directly into it. Connecting the generator directly to your home’s electrical system can send power up the line and kill a utility repairman working to restore power. Make sure to place the generator outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. More than 400 people die each year from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Be on the lookout for symptoms including headache, dizziness, nausea, chest pain, and confusion. Never refuel a generator while it’s running.

After power is restored

When the lights come back on, the first thing to do is inspect your freezer and especially refrigerator. If you detect any malodor or mold, it’s time for a good cleaning with a mold and mildew remover. In the event of leaking, be sure clean the gaskets. If you lowered the settings prior to a storm, be sure to reset them to normal. If outage was caused by storm, it’s wise to check your home exterior and yard for any damage. Make sure there are no hanging branches or uprooted trees that may pose danger. Your final duty is replenishing your emergency kit including food items and batteries. Make sure to store it in an easily accessible area that will remain dry. Note to get an extra amount of any items that ran short. Then pat yourself on the back for making sure you and your loved ones are ready in the event of another power outage. Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net Free Disaster Planning Checklist  


 

9 Things to Know About Your Homeowner’s Insurance

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

homeowners insuranceYour home, your castle, your escape from the world. It’s also, almost certainly, the single largest investment you’ll ever make, by far. Thus your homeowner’s insurance policy is of vital importance, and usually required by the lender. Homeowner’s plans vary, but no matter your neighborhood or locality, sufficient protection includes four components:

Coverage of structure

The most important part of any policy, coverage of structure applies to damage to your home itself from fire, storms, vandalism and other disasters (save exceptions listed below). Protection usually applies to other structures on your property such as a storage shed or detached garage. Insurers typically offer coverage for as little as ten percent of the cost to rebuild. A word to the wise: make sure you have coverage for 100 percent of the cost to rebuild. In the event your home is destroyed, for instance burning to the ground, you’re protected. To determine the right amount of coverage, get an estimate from a builder, or figure it out yourself with the calculator at Building-Cost.net.

Coverage of contents

Most policies will cover the value of your personal belonging from theft or damage due to fire, storms and covered disasters. The typical coverage limit is 50 percent of the coverage value of the structure. So if your rebuilding coverage is $200,000, then your contents coverage can’t exceed $100,000. If you have expensive artwork or other significant valuables, you’ll likely need a separate policy to cover them. To help you determine the replacement value of your home’s contents, make a detailed list of all your belongings – furniture, jewelry, clothing, tools, computers, appliances, electronics and other items of value. A good idea is to take pictures of major belongings and store them in a separate location. Having photos will be a big help when filing replacement claims.

Liability protection

Your policy should also cover any damage to your neighbors’ home, for instance if your son breaks a window with a baseball. This protection extends to personal liability in the event a visitor is injured on your property. They can usually submit any medical bills directly to your insurer. In the event someone files suit, liability coverage pays for legal fees and any court awards, up to your policy limit. Experts recommend at least $300,000 of liability coverage. Most insurers will offer coverage starting at $100,000.

Living expenses reimbursement

In the event you and your family are displaced due to fire or other damage to your home, coverage for living expenses will pay for hotel bills, restaurant tabs, rental cars and other associated costs while repairs are underway. While the huge majority of insurance needs are covered above, it should be noted that most policies do not cover the following:

Flooding

While most policies cover water damage from storms and bursting pipes, as a rule they do not cover damage due to water flowing into the home from rising riverbanks or broken levees and dams. If you live at or near the waterline or in an area at risk of flash floods, you’ll need to get flood insurance provided by the National Flood Insurance Program.

Earthquakes

That’s right, among “acts of god” clauses in most policies, earthquakes are not covered. To cover shakers and tremblers, you’ll need an extra policy. Prices vary widely based on location and age of structure. Deductibles are usually based on a percentage of structure value, rather than a fixed amount.

Trampolines

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, trampoline accidents account for over 90,000 emergency room visits each year. Most insurance companies refuse to cover injuries suffered due to trampolines, and some will refuse coverage altogether if one is on the property.

“Aggressive” dog breeds

Justified or not, most insurers will exclude coverage of injuries due to dog bites from breeds identified as “aggressive,” such as Pit Bulls, protection that would usually apply under most liability policies. These lists comprise breeds with the most reported bites annually and they change each year. News reports and popular culture also are influencers. Dobermans were the feared breed decades ago, verses Rottweilers and “Pitties” today.

War

Whether nuclear, biological or conventional, insurers recognized a long time ago that warfare in any form is uninsurable. However, unless specifically excluded, most policies do cover home damage from acts of terrorism. In fact some states, including Florida, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Texas, prohibit insurers from excluding terrorism. For more information on insurance and other home-related issues, consult the Homeowners’ Resources page at USA.gov. LDR Construction Services, Inc. Cleaning & Restoration has proudly served all of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin since 1991. LDR specializes in the complete repair of fire, smoke, wind, water and vandalism damage to both commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. For more information, visit www.ldr4service.com or call 1-888-874-7066. Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net Download your free home disaster planning eBook  


 

Disaster Recovery: A Vital Part of Your Business Plan

Friday, March 1st, 2013

disaster restorationAs a business owner or manager, planning ahead for the future is part of your job. Most often, you find yourself contemplating the positive: What advantages set us apart from the competition? How can we grow our business? What staff and initiatives to do we need to put into place today to get where we want to be tomorrow? It’s all good. But smart business people also keep in mind that somewhere down the road, the inevitable may occur: a natural or man-made disaster that’s out of our control. That’s why you have insurance, right? Along with a business emergency preparedness plan? If you have a disaster plan, pat yourself on the back because you’re among the proactive minority: Nearly two-thirds (62%) of respondents to a recent Ad Council survey did not have an emergency plan in place for their business. However, having a workplace disaster strategy is only half the job. You also need to have a good handle on the disaster recovery process—what it involves and whom to call should things take a sudden turn for the worse. We've put together a free "Disaster Planning Checklist," to help you get started.

“Disaster” defined

Generally speaking, disaster can be divided into two categories. Natural disaster is the first and includes floods, tornadoes, forest fires, epic snowstorms, and the like. The second category, man-made disaster, is more ambiguous and can encompass arson, hazardous material spills, power failure, terrorism, and more. While each category of disaster presents its own unique challenges, they do have something in common: a significantly reduced recovery time thanks to planning ahead and pre-selecting a professional cleaning and restoration company to assist you in the process. Professionals? That’s correct; simply search “disaster restoration companies” and you’ll find a myriad of businesses promoting their “expertise” at getting your business back on its feet after any emergency. A word to the wise, though: Not every company has the experience, training and technology it takes to do the job right. And because every minute counts immediately following a flood or fire, this is not the time to spend precious hours researching disaster restoration specialists…or picking a random agency under pressure. Rather, do your homework BEFORE disaster strikes to have full confidence in your disaster team’s capabilities—and eliminate at least one stressful aspect of the disaster recovery process. Let’s take a look at the most common disasters to befall a business, and how qualified recovery specialists work to reverse the aftermath…

After the fire

When you think of a fire in the workplace, visions come to mind of charred electronics, scorched office furnishings and years of important documents up in flames. But often, possessions are just coated by layers of smoke and soot and can be salvaged by a professional fire damage restoration company. Disaster recovery experts will first secure the building for safety reasons and to prevent further damage. Working alongside your insurance company, they will assess the situation and separate items that can be salvaged from those that need to be inventoried for replacement. They will then get to work using the latest technology to meticulously clean the items and pack them away into a secure storage facility until your workspace is habitable. The top disaster recovery experts will also have skilled carpenters in house to rebuild your structure, all the while working closely with local building departments to ensure that codes and requirements are met or exceeded.

After the flood

A pipe breaks or a roof leaks in your office space, and whoosh—years of hard work can be washed away in minutes. Or, a fire breaks out and gallons of water are sprayed by brave firefighters (not to mention, the ceiling sprinkler system) in their efforts to extinguish the blaze. What seems an insurmountable, soggy mess to you is just another day in the lives of disaster recovery experts. Quick action is the key: State-of-the art water extraction equipment is used on furniture, carpets and even walls to begin the drying-out process right away. Salvageable items are separated from those that need to be replaced; in some cases, saturated carpets are removed and discarded to prevent further damage to floors below. With any extent of water damage, mold is always a concern, so make sure that the cleaning company you select has extensive knowledge of mold prevention and removal techniques.

A final thought

No one ever kicks off their workday expecting a fire, flood or other disaster (natural or man-made) to wreak havoc upon their life, much less their business. But with a business emergency plan in place—one that addresses the disaster recovery process—you’ll increase your company’s chances to rebound from the brink and rapidly rebuild your empire. LDR Construction Services, Inc. Cleaning & Restoration has proudly served all of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin since 1991. LDR specializes in the complete repair of fire, smoke, wind, water and vandalism damage to both commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. For more information, visit www.ldr4service.com or call 1-888-874-7066. Image courtesy of renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net How to make a business disaster plan. Free eBook.  


 

How Smoke, Chemicals & Water Impact Fire Damage Restoration

Friday, February 15th, 2013

fire extinguishers sosIt’s the day after the worst night of your life: when a fire broke out in your living room. You’re kicking yourself for forgetting to turn off that space heater, and for positioning it too close to the curtains in the first place. You’re thankful no one was hurt and that firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze fast—thankful, too, that most of your possessions were spared from fire damage. That is, until you get word from your claims adjustor that additional damage has been caused by smoke as well as the water and chemicals used to fight the fire. The damage is so extensive that it calls for professional help. Even more distressing is the news that because you do not have comprehensive coverage to insure all losses related to a fire, these “indirect” causes of damage are not covered. Lesson learned: Review your home insurance policy language for any exclusions or loopholes, and consult with your agent to ensure complete fire coverage. There’s also a lot to be learned from the fire itself; for example, how do smoke, water and chemicals cause damage? And how do disaster restoration specialists clean it all up?

Smoke Damage

Let’s start with the effects of smoke damage, which can appear in two forms. In the case of a slow, smoldering fire, the resulting smoke residue (soot) will be sticky, wet and strong smelling. Wet soot has an oily texture that stains carpets, furniture and any cloth furnishings in the house. A fast burning fire, however, leaves behind dry soot that smears and stains less—but the dry soot often becomes damp due to the moisture from the fire hose. Smoke damage remediation involves the use of industrial-strength vacuuming to suck up the soot without smearing it. Attempting to brush off soot only embeds it deeper into the fabric. As the pros vacuum the room, each area is covered with a drop cloth to protect it. Smoke odor, on the other hand, lingers in fabrics and is not as straightforward to remove. Professional cleaners use different chemicals to break down smoke molecules. Other methods including ozone treatment and applying specially formulated paint that seals up the source of smoke odor.

Extinguishing the Fire

Firefighting chemicals are catch-22s because while they can (thankfully) extinguish a blaze, they can also wreak havoc upon your possessions. Dry chemicals like Ammonium Sulphate produce a crust that can extinguish almost any classification of fire and prevent re-ignition of a combustible material that is on fire. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) puts out a non-corrosive gas that removes the oxygen that fuels the fire. Fire extinguishers emit low-expansion foam, while high-expansion foam is used for fighting fire in a confined space such as a basement. All of these firefighting chemicals—with the exception of Halon, used in electrical fires and known as a “clean agent”—leave behind a residue that requires professional-grade equipment and expertise to remove from a fire-stricken home or workplace.

Water Damage from Fire

Finally, anyone who has been through a fire knows that where there’s smoke, there’s water—and lots of it after firefighters have finished battling a blaze. The key to salvaging your belongings from water damage and preventing mold is to act quickly to begin the process of removing the moisture from your carpets, furniture and walls. Left unattended, mold spores reproduce rapidly, may cause allergies and asthma, and can even render a space uninhabitable. Professionals use mobile, state-of-the-art water extraction equipment and technology to get the job done as quickly as possible. Standing water is removed from flat surfaces by sponging and blotting. Electronics such as computers are transported to a dry environment, their cases removed and blown dry with low-pressure air. Saturated rugs and carpets are taken up when hardwood floors are at risk…these are just a few examples of the many steps involved in drying out a structure and restoring its contents. With proper precautions (and a dose of good luck), you may never experience the trauma of a fire or dealing with its messy aftermath. But just in case, it’s helpful to know just how destructive the combination of smoke, chemicals and water can be—and who to call when the prospect of cleaning it up yourself is overwhelming. LDR Construction Services, Inc. Cleaning & Restoration has proudly served all of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin since 1991. LDR specializes in the complete repair of fire, smoke, wind, water and vandalism damage to both commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. For more information, visit www.ldr4service.com or call 1-888-874-7066. Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net download the free Emergency Response Plan guide.


 


 

After the Fire: Smart Steps Toward Fire Damage Restoration

Friday, January 11th, 2013

fire damageThe hours, days and weeks following a fire in your home or business can be simply overwhelming. Surrounded by your soot-covered and flame-damaged possessions, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture: As long as everyone got out—thanks to proper disaster planning and preparation—everything else is just stuff. But once the smoke clears, you will need to deal with that stuff, and the sooner the better. From the get-go, it’s imperative to stay organized amidst the chaos of your scorched surroundings. A three-ring binder with pockets is your new best friend. Take notes on every conversation and online correspondence with your insurance company and restoration professionals, because in any stressful situation, miscommunication can happen. Save all receipts and original documents; only give photocopies upon request. Binder in hand, your first call should be to your insurance agent. Not only is it required that you file your claim as soon as possible, it is also in your best interest. At this time, you’ll be asked to submit a proof of loss claim. The sooner you get the ball rolling, the sooner an insurance adjustor will arrive at your door to begin assessing damage. A reputable local cleaning and restoration team should be next on your call list. If you can find one that also specializes in professional construction services, you’ll save yourself time, money and headaches. Depending upon the extent of damage, your property will first need to be secured (boarded up, for example), and a high quality restoration team with carpentry skills can perform that service for you. On a side note, be sure to remain vigilant in the days ahead, because a fire-damaged residence or business is an easy target for theft and vandalism. Your restoration team should work with your insurance company to initiate a fire damage recovery plan that includes the complete restoration of your structure. Again, if your team is truly “full service,” the construction side will assess the structural damages while the cleaning and restoration specialists will work closely with you and your adjustor to determine which of your possessions can be cleaned…and which need to be inventoried for replacement. Often these services can be provided on site, but in the event that your contents have to be removed, make sure your team also offers the capability to electronically inventory, package, transport and store your belongings in a safe, heated facility. Now that you know the initial steps of the fire damage recovery process, here are a few tips on what NOT to do before the pros arrive:
  • Do not wipe or attempt to wash fire residue from walls, ceilings, or other absorbent surfaces
  • Do not use carpeting or upholstered furniture impacted by heavy smoke residues or debris
  • Do not use food items or canned goods exposed to heat
  • Do not turn on computers, televisions, stereos or electrical appliances until they have been professionally cleaned and checked
With preparation, resources and trusted professionals in place—plus a healthy dose of patience and perspective, after the fact—you and your family or co-workers will make it through the process of fire damage recovery. LDR Construction Services, Inc. Cleaning & Restoration has proudly served all of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin since 1991. LDR specializes in the complete repair of fire, smoke, wind, water and vandalism damage to both commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. For more information, visit www.ldr4service.com or call 1-888-874-7066. Image courtesy of twobee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net download the free Emergency Response Plan guide.  


 

Firing Up your Furnace: Fire Safety Tips for Fall

Monday, October 15th, 2012

furnace fire safetyBrrrrrr—! There’s no denying it: Summer has finally flown the coop and frosty nights are in the forecast. If you have yet to crank up your furnace this fall, you’re a braver soul than most. And although you’ll soon have warm, fuzzy feelings toward your furnace during the frigid winter months, a furnace fire in your home or place of business can be your worst nightmare. According to FEMA, heating is second only to cooking as the leading culprit behind residential fires in the fall and winter months. The good news? The percentage of heating-related fires is on the decline, dramatically down from about 30 years ago when a surge in the use of space heaters and natural wood stoves (due to the energy shortage and environmental concerns) caused a spike in the nation’s heating-related fires.

How can you help prevent heating-related fires?

Generally speaking, there are three leading factors in ignition: operational error, misuse of heating equipment and mechanical failure. For starters, before the first hard freeze hits, it’s a good idea to fire up your furnace (no pun intended) and make sure everything’s running smoothly. Pick a mild day when you can open the windows and air out that musty odor that emanates from a furnace that’s been idle for the summer months. With furnace fires, something as simple as a ball of lint trapped in the heating ducts can start trouble. Thus, routine maintenance—at least yearly—is key. Have a professional cleaning and restoration service check your ductwork for any obstructions or buildup; they have professional-grade vacuum equipment that ensures a thorough cleaning. It’s also recommended to schedule an annual house call for your furnace (especially if it’s an older model) by an HVAC professional, who will perform a careful inspection and make sure everything is up to code.

Furnace 101: Don’t be caught unfiltered

Do-it-yourselfers, here’s a recurring item to add to your honey-do list: Stock up on properly sized furnace filters and change them often! It’s a small task that can make a big difference in safety, not to mention the health of your family and friends—especially allergy sufferers—by providing improved air quality. On average, it’s suggested that furnace filters should be changed every three to four months. Here are a few more tips to consider while trying to stay toasty:
  • Remove all flammable materials and chemicals from the area surrounding your furnace
  • Be aware of changes in the air, such as an unusual odor, that may indicate your furnace is on the fritz
  • Newer furnaces have a hot-surface ignition system which is safer than old pilot-light systems; however, even newer models should be regularly maintained for safety
  • If your home is heated by a hot-water radiator, bleed the valves by opening them slightly; close them when water appears
  • Swap out your old system for a programmable thermostat for energy and cost savings
If a fire does occur despite taking precautions, the professional restoration service you would contact to clean your ducts may also be an invaluable resource for putting your life back in order after a disaster. For example, LDR Cleaning & Restoration headquartered in Rockford, IL, is also a disaster restoration specialist capable of containing the smoke damage, removing soot and odor, and guiding you through the entire fire restoration process. The sooner you contact them after the blaze, the better. Save $25 on Air Duct Cleaning - Free Coupon


 

Firearmed: How to Practice Fire Safety in the Workplace

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Fire Safety at workPutting out fires. It’s an idiom used to describe a frustrating day at work…productivity lost addressing random problems that pop up. But what if you literally had a fire at your workplace? Would you know what to do? Where to go? How to keep your staff, co-workers and critical documents safe? On an average day, it’s estimated that over 200 fires occur in U.S. businesses. Annually, those blazes kill about 200 workers, injure thousands more and cost American companies over $2 billion. In mere minutes, lives can change forever—and everything you’ve worked for can go up in smoke. What’s the best advice for fighting a fire at work? Squelch the sparks before they ignite by making fire prevention part of your business emergency preparedness plan. Begin with a risk assessment that includes identifying potential hot spots in your place of business:
  • Are power cords and outlets in good working condition?
  • Are electrical circuits overloaded?
  • Kitchen appliances like coffee makers left on for long periods?
  • Are any chemicals or combustible materials stored properly?
  • Space heaters used to warm cubicles during chilly months?
  • What about holiday decorations like trees, lights and candles?
  • Is smoking on the premises entirely prohibited?
  • And more
While you’re taking note of the potential fire hazards in your workplace, also take inventory of the resources you might rely upon should a blaze break out. These may include but are not limited to:
  • Smoke detectors with fresh batteries
  • Pull alarms
  • Sprinkler system
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Emergency lighting
  • Method of alerting employees, such as a public address system
  • Emergency phone numbers
  • Evacuation routes/map posted
  • Emergency exits suitable for all, including wheelchair users
  • Clearly marked exits
  • Safe shutdown procedures for equipment (if need be and time allows)
  • A meeting point to account for all staff members
Of course, no resource is as useful as a calm, informed and well-prepared staff. This is where your business emergency preparedness plan really comes into play. Make your employees an important part of the planning process from day one. Ensure that every staff member has a copy of the plan and familiarizes himself with it. Determine who will lead your staff in evacuation efforts and confirm that each team member understands her role. Review, update and practice your plan regularly. When putting your plan in place, enlist the help of professionals to make sure you’ve covered all the bases. Your insurance agent will be able to advise you on securing adequate disaster coverage. Local firefighters often visit businesses to conduct inspections and give safety presentations. And don’t forget to pre-select a reputable disaster cleaning and restoration specialist that provides such services as water extraction, structural and contents drying, and soot and odor removal, as well as pre-loss inventory of your salvageable and non-salvageable items. A final thought: With any workplace or residential fire, the top priority is ensuring that everyone can reach a safe place quickly. Putting out the fire is always secondary because the greatest danger is not the blaze itself, but being rapidly overcome by the heat and smoke caused by it. By taking these tips to heart…and planning ahead…hopefully the only workplace fires you’ll encounter are the ones you can put out with a quick email and another jolt of coffee. Want to learn more about developing a workplace disaster plan? Download our free e-book, Emergency Preparedness: It’s Your Business—Five Tips to Kick-Start Your Company’s Disaster Plan. LDR Construction Services, Inc. Cleaning & Restoration has proudly served all of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin since 1991. LDR specializes in complete fire restorationwater damage restoration, and repairs from smoke, wind, and vandalism damage to both commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. For more information, visit www.ldr4service.com or call 1-888-874-7066. Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net Download your free home disaster planning eBook  


 

Safety Tips to Prevent Fire Damage This Fall

Friday, August 24th, 2012

fire damage restorationMany people love this time of year, transitioning from warm summer days to cool fall nights – football season, pumpkin picking and cozying up to a warm fire.  September is also National Preparedness Month and it is the time when several fire safety issues should be addressed in order to prevent fire damage to your home or business in the upcoming months.

Think ahead to prevent fire damage when burning wood in your fireplace or wood stove.

The chimney isn’t just a place to enjoy a warm fire, but almost all heating appliances, whether they burn gas, wood or coal, rely on the chimney to safely carry toxic carbon monoxide out of the house.  Proper cleaning of the chimney can also help to prevent carbon monoxide gases from entering the home in the first place.
  • Have your chimney and flue cleaned by a professional. A dirty chimney or damaged flue can cause smoke damage.
  • Clean your woodstove and remove any clutter that has accumulated on or near the stove or fireplace
  • Be sure that your chimney, flue, bricks and mortar are all in good condition and that you don’t have more than one heating device in a single flue.

Test your smoke alarms and CO2 dectors.

Going along with chimney safety, you should also test all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms as well as replace any worn out batteries.  A good way to remember is to change your batteries when you "Fall Back," and turn your clocks back to Standard Time in the fall.

Make a fire safety plan.

In the event of a fire, remember - time is the biggest enemy and every second counts! Make sure that you have a fire safely plan in place with all family members, especially children, in case of emergency so that everybody can get out of your home quickly. It takes less than 30 seconds for a small flame to get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. A house can fill with thick black smoke and become engulfed in flames in just a few minutes. Designate a meeting location away from the home, but not necessarily across the street. For example, meet under a specific tree or at the end of the driveway or front sidewalk to make sure everyone has gotten out safely and no one will be hurt looking for someone who is already safe. Designate one person to go to a neighbor's home to phone the fire department.

Check your dryer vent.

Fall is also a good time to check for build up in your dryer vent, while you still have access to the outside vent. This is an easy maintenance task, but one that often goes overlooked, and can be dangerous if left to build up for too long. People tend to clean out the lint traps on their dryers after every use or so, but don’t give much thought to the lint that can build up in your dryer vent or hose attached to your dryer. Follow these steps to check your dryer vent:
  • Loosen the vent clamp on the back of your dryer
  • Slide the vent off and reach in as far as you can in order to remove any lint and buildup.  You can also use a vacuum cleaner to help reach inside to remove additional buildup
  • Make sure to clean out the vent tubing as well
  • If you have a larger buildup, you may need to use a plumbing snake or wire brush to help remove the lint farther up the hose
  • Remove the vent on the outside of the house and repeat the above steps

Here are a few more things to consider when preparing your home or business for the fall months.

  • Clean out gutters from leaves or debris
  • Check your roof shingles to be sure they are in good condition for wind, ice and upcoming snow
  • Check windows for deteriorated sills and fill with putty to prevent water damage due to leaks
  • Take a look at the trees on your property and remove any limbs that would be in danger of falling on property or people during a large storm
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net download the free Emergency Response Plan guide.  


 

Benefits of Hiring a Professional Emergency Restoration Company

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

fire damage restorationWhen you have a flooded basement or need fire damage restoration in your home or business, there are many things that need to done simultaneously.  Due to the fact that the clean up process needs to begin as quickly as possible in order to prevent further damage and expense, a decision needs to be made:  Hire a professional restoration company or do it yourself? When you choose to hire the restoration company, a team of professionals will be sent to your home to deal with the cleanup, repair and restoration process immediately.  They are also able to deal directly with your insurance company.  LDR has years of experience and employs a highly trained and certified staff. Another benefit of hiring a professional company is the expediency with which they can get your home or business back to normal.  By acting quickly, you can prevent the growth of mold and mildew, which can cause serious health risks.  LDR employs very knowledgeable project managers that work directly with the homeowners and insurance companies to run a smooth project from start to finish. Restoration companies also have access to specialized equipment that is either expensive to rent, expensive to own, or useless outside of a restoration atmosphere.  Industrial strength dehumidifiers, specialized air-moving machines, ozone generators, and powerful chemical cleansers are some of these items.  LDR fully uses this state of the art technology and equipment. By working directly with your insurance company this helps to ease some of the stress that your disaster has caused.  This also includes working closely with the adjuster to determine which of your contents can be cleaned and which ones need to be replaced. A disaster of any kind in your home or business can be a devastating and stressful experience.  We at LDR take great pride in helping to minimize the stress and getting your life back to normal as quickly and professionally as possible by taking great care in restoring your property and your most valued possessions.  This will help restore your sense of security and safety as well. download the free Emergency Response Plan guide.


 

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