Thanksgiving Dinner Fire Safety
Happy Thanksgiving from the SERVPRO of Kelowna Team
Oct 4 to 10th is “Fire Safety” week. As many of us will be gathering to enjoy a yummy Thanksgiving feast this weekend, we wanted to provide some reminders and tips for your Thanksgiving dinner:
- Ensure your smoke alarms are connected and working
- Never leave your food unattended. Use a timer and routinely check you’re cooking
- If frying or deep-frying, keep the fryer outside, away from walls and moisture
- Ensure pot holders and food wrappers are always at a safe distance from the stove
- Avoid wearing dangling accessories or loose clothes while cooking
- Never douse a grease fire with water!! Turn off the burner, smother the flames, or douse with baking soda……or use a fire extinguisher
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy in the kitchen, and know how to use it
Winterizing your AC Unit
A close up of a frosty top of AC Unit. Lake Country, BC
As the warm summer days fade to fall weather, it's time to winterize your AC unit. Winterizing your central air conditioner prevents rust damage and keeps rodents from nesting inside.
4 Easy Steps:
- Remove leaves, branches and any other debris. Use a garden hose to rinse the unit- removing bugs, dirt and dust. Allow the HVAC unit to dry completely.
- Locate the electrical circuit. It usually has a plastic or metal lid. Remove the lid and flip the switch to cut power supply. (This prevents the unit from turning on during a warm winter day, which will keep water out of the unit that could freeze overnight and cause potential damage.)
- Install tubular foam or rubber pipe insulation with tees and elbows around pipes to protect against freezing.
- Cover the HVAC unit with a waterproof air conditioner cover, or use a tarp with bungee cords/vinyl tie-downs and a piece of plywood and/or brick to further secure the cover and protect the unit.
Throughout winter, be sure to remove snow, ice and debris from the top of your AC unit. Adjust the cover to keep in place. These simple steps will help prolong the life our your unit and ensure when the warm weather returns your ready.
Improving Air Quality in Your Home
View of heavy wildfire smoke blanketing Okanagan Lake at sunset. Kelowna BC, September 2020
With thick smoke drifting in from wildfires in Washington state, Oregon and California, the entire Okanagan has been sitting at high-risk for air quality. Many of us have been staying indoors, but the air outside is constantly entering our homes.
There a few tips and best practices you can incorporate to improve indoor air quality.
- Running central air or air conditioning units during a wildfire is safe. This is because the outside air isn’t replacing your indoor air with smoke. The unit is simply expelling hot air and exchanging it. Tip: Keep the fresh-air intake on your machine closed. Filters should be as clean as possible and changed frequently during smoky events to reduce the amount of smoke particles. Central air systems should be set to recirculate to avoid drawing in smoky air.
- Air-sealing your home is one of the best ways to improve energy efficiency and limit the amount of outdoor air that enters. While air sealing prevents the loss of heated or cool air and conserve energy, it also prevents smoke from wildfires from entering your home. Air-sealing is the process of filling in gaps, cracks, and other spaces where air can find a pathway into your home.
- Houseplants- Similarly to going outside to get fresh air and relieve stress, using houseplants incorporates those properties inside your home. Houseplants have the ability to naturally filter air. Place houseplants in different areas of the home (1 plant per 100 sq ft) to get the maximum benefit. According to a study by NASA, certain plants are better at eliminating significant amounts of benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene than others. The top plants for air purification are Golden Pothos, Boston Fern, Snake Plant, English Ivy, Spider Plant and many more.
- Activated Charcoal, also known as active carbon. Activated charcoal air filters are a great way to naturally filter and purify the air quality within your home. These carbon air filters can be easily found in stores or online and the charcoal will absorb toxins in the air without releasing any odor.
- Clean Air Filters & Air Ducts- One of the easiest ways that you can improve the air quality within your home is to regularly change the air filter within your heating/cooling system (every 2 to 3 months). Choose a HEPA filter in order to effectively clean the air of contaminants in your home.
Home Fire Safety Checklist
Fire fighters extinguishing a house fire in West Kelowna, BC
A fire in your home is devastating, and sadly many times could have been avoided. Ensuring your home is fire safe on a regular basis is crucial for prevention. Below is a fire safety checklist to use. Protect what’s most important…your family, loved ones and home.
- Ensure each level of your home has a working fire alarm and carbon monoxide detector
- Clean vents/air ducts & dryer vent
- Check appliances (even hair dryers and lamps) for worn or frayed cords (Damaged cords should be replaced and discarded)
- Avoid “knock-off” electrical products (these products can easily overheat or short circuit)
- Check extension cords and wall sockets- do not overload
- Do not run cords under rugs or carpeting
- Change your air filter and inspect your furnace
- Check your range hood and fan are fully vented and remove greasy buildup
- Create a fire escape plan with your family
- Prepare a home emergency kit
- Create a home inventory of your belongings (Take pictures or make a video)
- Invest in a fire proof safe to keep all your irreplaceable/important documents protected
Did you know? According to the province of BC, in 43% of home fires causing a loss of life, there was no working smoke alarm. Be prepared, be safe.
The Importance of Drying & Dehumidification
Drying flooring using SERVPRO's advanced equipment in a home in West Kelowna, BC
Once your home has experienced water damage, just removing the visible water does not eliminate all of the moisture. Water can pool behind walls & floors, and soak into porous material.
Majority of your home is made porous materials. Wood, drywall, flooring, and other items may appear to be dry after water removal, but in fact they retain a significant amount of water. If this water is not addressed materials can warp, swell, or create an ideal environment for mold to grow, causing even more significant damage to your property. Mold can start growing within 48 hours and cause structural damage down the road, as well as potentially causing health issues to those living in your home.
Consider water in 3 states: standing, absorbed, and evaporated. During and after a water emergency, all three of these states are present. Once the standing water has been removed, drying and dehumidifying need to follow.
With SERVPRO’s moisture detection equipment, we are able to identify all affected areas. This allows us to strategically place our drying & dehumidification equipment for maximum effectiveness, removing both the visible and non-visible moisture.
SERVPRO of Kelowna’s Water Drying Process:
Summer Home Maintenance
Recently cleaned and maintenance air conditioner in Lake Country, BC
Just like you need to wipe counters, clean floors & bathrooms to keep your home usable and clean, you need to clean and maintain other parts of your home. If you don't, you will end up having your home run less efficient or even worse experience possible fire or water damage.
When you maintain your home, you keep it running efficiently, as well as reducing the likelihood of potential water or fire damage. Not to mention it will save you money with lower utility bills.
Here are some quick and easy summer maintenance tips:
- Switch off your humidifier and use a dehumidifier instead
- Replace air filters throughout your home
- Look at the condition of your roof. Consider having it professionally inspected
- Inspect weather-stripping, caulking and vents for any blockages and/or cracks. Repair as needed
- Change/clean your central air conditioner filter. Book annual maintenance
- Inspect the irrigation lines and valves for leaks
- If your planning on a trip, ensure you have someone checking on your home for leaks/damage regularly
Staying on top of things with minor fixes and maintenance will help you to avoid big problems later down the line.
Are you Flood Ready?
Flooded community garden in Lake Country in 2017 from high water levels and rain.
There have been a number of extreme flooding events occurring in Canada over the last few decades. Sadly, as a result of climate change, these events are increasing in both frequency and magnitude.
Floods can happen anywhere and at any time of the year here in the Okanagan. It’s important to take time to understand and prepare your home. Below are some helpful tips to ensure your home/property is flood ready
- Downspouts should extend at least 2m from your basement wall. Water should drain away from your property
- During heavy rainfall, check that your roof and eaves are draining properly
- Use rain barrels to catch water runoff
- Put weather protection sealant around basement windows and ground-level doorways
- Install flood shields/barriers for basement windows and doors. The tops of the shields should extend above ground level
- Raise large appliances, furnaces, hot water heaters, and electrical panels up on wood or cement blocks above the potential water level
- Make sure your plumbing system and drains follow all code requirements
- Install backwater valves or plugs for drains, toilets and sewer connections
- Check to ensure your sump pump is working. Consider installing a battery-operated backup encase of a power outage
- Ask your insurer about your flood insurance and review the coverage
- Create an emergency kit
Take the Government of Canada’s flood ready quiz today! https://www.canada.ca/en/campaign/flood-ready/quiz.html
Back to Business: Shaw Kelowna is Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned!
Cleaning certified technicians spraying EPA-approved emerging pathogen disinfectant in one of the office spaces at Shaw Communications in Kelowna, BC.
SERVPRO® of Kelowna had the pleasure to complete our "Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned" service at Shaw in Kelowna, BC earlier this month.
As their staff re-enters the workplace, they can be reassured Shaw took the extra steps in preventing the spread of COVID19.
We have experience in dealing with biological contaminants. This proactive viral pathogen cleaning program goes well beyond janitorial cleaning. Our product line carries EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims & hospital-grade disinfectants. We spray the entire space with disinfectant, as well as wipe all high touch surfaces. The service is safe, affordable and requires no wiping after we complete the work!
Call us today for a Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation. We service the ENTIRE Okanagan valley. Let us help you get back to business!
Aberdeen Hall is Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned as Students Return to the Classroom
A technician spraying EPA approved, hospital grade disinfectant on lockers at Aberdeen Hall Preparatory School in Kelowna BC.
Disinfecting is a vital part of preventing the spread of COVID-19 and essential to the safe return of students and staff back into the classroom.
As members of the Okanagan community and with many of our own staff having school aged children; our top priority is the health and safety of the students and staff as some return to class this June.
Our team had the pleasure and opportunity to assist in the transition back to school; completing a thorough Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned service at Aberdeen Hall Preparatory School last weekend.
Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned is a proactive viral pathogen cleaning program that goes well beyond normal janitorial cleaning. The service follows processes and procedures that adhere to the standards set by the Public Health Agency of Canada. We use EPA-Approved Hospital-Grade Disinfectants certified for direct food contact surface use. Meaning its safe for you, but not for viral pathogens. Our technicians have advanced training that covers disinfection and the proper use of personal protective equipment. Improper use of products or cleaning methods can actually spread the microorganisms that are responsible for infections.
It was a unique experience to walk through the empty halls and classrooms at Aberdeen Hall. Seeing water fountains closed, distance markers and arrows on the floor. Desks spaced 6 feet from one another and safety & closure notices up on doors confirmed to us that the administration and staff at Aberdeen Hall were doing everything they could to keep their students safe.
"Our staff and faculty have worked diligently to ensure that everyone who returned to Aberdeen Hall felt comfortable in doing so. The health and safety of our students and staff has always been our #1 priority and this message rings true now more than ever. We're very happy with the thorough fog cleaning service provided by SERVPRO last Saturday and feel confident in the knowledge that we have adhered to the highest possible safety standards as we welcome our students back to campus. SERVPRO was very professional, knowledgeable and a pleasure to work with. We are so appreciative to them for reaching out to our school and providing us with this service." - Lindsay Grieve, Director of Operations Aberdeen Hall Preparatory School
As the SERVPRO team completed the disinfecting process in each classroom, hall and office; it was heart warming knowing that we were assisting in ensuring the school was appropriately disinfected. Further providing reassurance that this wonderful school is safe.
SERVPRO of Kelowna is proud to be Here to Help®
Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned – a defensive cleaning program
A technician spraying SERVPRO disinfectant and wiping high touch-points at a local furniture business in Kelowna, BC.
Let us help you get back to business
As our communities re-open, we’re all moving back toward a new kind of normal. The expectations of visitors, customers, and employees who come into our establishments have evolved, and staying safe and well is a top concern. The global COVID-19 pandemic has changed what it means to be clean, and we’ve developed a program to help your business meet the new higher standard of clean that is now expected.
Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned is a defensive cleaning program we’re offering to businesses and commercial locations to address the current COVID-19 pandemic. This proactive viral pathogen cleaning program goes well beyond janitorial or carpet cleaning. By choosing Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you, your employees, your customers, and your community can rest assured that you’ve selected a higher cleaning standard – you are Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.
Extensive training and specialized products
As the #1 choice in cleanup and restoration*, we stand on more than 50 years of experience and expertise to help your business become Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned. Beyond fire & water, SERVPRO professionals are trained and experienced in biohazard decontamination and chemical spills – always adhering to the cleaning and decontamination standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local authorities.
From formulating and creating our proprietary cleaning products, like SERVPROXIDE, at our headquarters in Gallatin, TN, to taking the utmost care while disinfecting, we will ensure you and your business are set up to inspire consumer confidence as the economy continues to reopen.
3 C’s – Consult, Clean, and Certify
When the stakes are this high, you want a partner who has developed an industry leading, proprietary training program, cleaning solutions, and remediation processes over decades. We’ve cleaned up some of the most challenging biohazards imaginable. Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned reflects our unique experiences and capabilities. The program is grounded with our unique 3 C’s: Consult, Clean, and Certify.
- Consult – Every business is different, which is why you’ll be assigned a Cleaning Protocol Consultant who understands your business and will create a cleaning program to meet your specific needs. This program will be developed based on your business type, size of space, amount of high frequency touch-points, foot traffic and congestion points.
- Clean – Based on your specific business needs, your location will undergo a thorough, deep clean, using exclusive cleaning products, according to protocols set forth by the CDC. Our employees have years of experience, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform. Cleanup procedures generally include cleaning of porous and non-porous surfaces, disinfecting of non-porous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, tools, and/or supplies used for cleanup process, and disposal of hazardous materials. In the event of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 event, we will be there cleaning within 24 hours to ensure you get back to business as quickly as possible.
- Certify - Once your business location has been Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you will gain access to proprietary signage, digital emblems, and other collateral that communicates that you’ve selected a higher standard of clean available to help protect your employees and customers. And because we add the day, month, and year to that proprietary stamp of clean, your guests will know that not only did you choose Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, but that your location is being cleaned regularly at this standard.
Call today for a Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation
We’re Here to Help – 24 hours a day, seven days a week – until life is back to normal in the communities we all call home.
Call SERVPRO of Kelowna today at 250-899-9789 for your Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation.
* #1 Choice in cleanup & restoration based Commercial Attitude & Usage Tracking study. Polling 816 commercial business decision makers on first choice for future needs related to cleanup & restoration work. Study conducted by C&R Research: October 2019
Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned means professionally trained SERVPRO franchises perform the requested cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection services according to proprietary SERVPRO protocols and recognized industry and CDC standards with EPA approved cleaning products to deliver a SERVPRO certified cleaning experience. Each SERVPRO franchise is independently owned and operated.