How to Safely Store Christmas Decorations
Storing Christmas decorations requires some safety precautions in order to ensure the longevity of the lights and decorations. This can also preserve the decorations and prevent any potential fire dangers from occurring the following year.
Here are some tips to keep in mind while storing holiday decorations:
- Unplug electric decorations by gripping the plug directly. Never pull the cord to unplug a device. This can damage the wiring and insulation, which can lead to an electrical shock or fire.
- Take the time to inspect your light string for flaws. Throw out any sets that have loose connections, broken sockets, or frayed/bared wires. Do not store a faulty lighting set for next year's use.
- Pack lights appropriately to prevent the need to untangle a mass of lights next year. Consider purchasing a light storage reel or use whatever system works best for you.
- Store electrical decorations in a dry place where they cannot be damaged by water or dampness. Keep them away from children and pets to ensure that nothing is damaged while in storage.
Do You Have Your Emergency Kit Ready?
SERVPRO is a proud sponsor of the American Red Cross. As disaster can strike at any time, the Red Cross has recommended that each family have an emergency kit prepared.
Here is what the Red Cross suggests for what to stock your emergency kit with:
- water: one gallon per person, per day (3 day supply for evacuation, 2 week supply for home)
- food: non-perishable, easy to prepare items (3 day supply for evacuation, 2 week supply for home)
- battery powered or hand crank radio
- extra batteries
- first aid kit
- 7 day supply of any medications
- multi-purpose tool
- sanitation and personal hygiene items
- copies of important personal documents
- cellphone with chargers
- family and emergency contact information
- extra cash
- emergency blanket
- maps of the area
ITEMS FAMILY MEMBERS MIGHT NEED
- medical supplies
- baby supplies
- games and activities for children
- pet supplies
- two-way radios
- extra set of car/house keys
- pet supplies
- two-way radios
- manual can opener
- surgical masks
- rain gear
- work gloves
- tools/supplies for securing your home
- extra clothing, hat, sturdy shoes
- plastic sheeting
- duct tape
- household liquid bleach
- entertainment items
- blankets or sleeping bags
The Red Cross sells a wide variety of emergency kits here. Additionally you can build your own based off of your family's needs.
Smoke Alarms Safety Tips
Functional smoke alarms are key for any fire emergency at home as they provide you and your family an early warning of fire danger. Check out these safety tips.
- install smoke alarms in each bedroom, in each level of the home, outside of sleeping areas, and in the basement
- keep smoke alarms at least 10 feet from the stove/kitchen to avoid false alarms
- try to use interconnected smoke alarms where if one goes off, they all do
- larger homes may need more smoke alarms
- test each smoke alarm once a month to make sure they are functional
- people who are hard of hearing can use special alarms that strobe flashes of light or shake the bed
- replace smoke alarms after 10 years
Winter Holiday Safety
The winter holidays are the perfect time of year to get together with family, but it is also a time where the risk of a house fire is greater. Here are some practical suggestions to help keep your holiday season safe and drama free.
- Choose holiday decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
- Keep decorations away from windows and doors.
- Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.
- Some lights are only meant for outdoor use while some are only meant for indoor use. Make sure you know before you set up your lights.
- Inform your guests about your fire escape plan in the case of an emergency.
- Keep children and pets away from lit candles.
- Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop.
- Ask smokers to smoke outside and remind them to keep their smoking materials with them to prevent any small children from getting a hold of them.
Why is Asbestos Hazardous?
A microscopic view of the asbestos fibers.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos refers to six naturally occurring fibrous minerals that have the ability to resist heat, fire and electricity. These microscopic fibers are also resistant to most chemical reactions and breakdowns, resulting in a very versatile building material.
These properties resulted in asbestos being used for many years in a wide range of commercial and industrial settings, as well as in a large variety of consumer products. Although its use has diminished in recent decades, there are still many products that contain asbestos, especially in older homes, schools, and public buildings.
Asbestos can still be found in many household items including drywall, flooring, ceiling tiles, etc. Since the late 1970s, the use of asbestos has almost stopped. However, homes and other buildings built before 1978 have a higher likelihood of testing positive for asbestos.
Why is Asbestos Hazardous?
The reason why asbestos is so hazardous is because when it becomes brittle, agitated, or destroyed, it breaks into microscopic fibers that become airborne and very easily inhaled. Because of the shape of these fibers, they cling to the lining of the lungs and possibly result in respiratory ailments.
How Does SERVPRO Handle Asbestos?
When SERVPRO of Lake Forest South/Laguna Woods is called to inspect a home, the technicians must know what year the home was built. If the home was built in the late 1980s or earlier, an asbestos testing company must be dispatched and test the affected areas for asbestos.
If asbestos is not found, then the SERVPRO team can continue with their work on the property. If the asbestos testing comes back positive, an abatement company will need to come out in order to remove the affected areas in a safe manner. Once the removal process is complete, then the SERVPRO team can begin their work.