Summer Safety for Playing Outside
We at SERVPRO of West Brown County have teamed up with Jason Weber to put together some summer safety video and blog reminders. Jason is the Vice President of the Wisconsin Crime Prevention Practitioners Association.
For our first topic Jason spoke with us about safety for children playing outside this summer.
Jason says the first and most important thing for kids to do is to let their parents and/or guardians know where they’re going. If they’re headed to the park, tell mom and dad where and when they plan to leave and plan to get home.
Jason tells us it’s also very important for children to use the “buddy system” when they head out to play. That means going with at least one friend, because there is safety in numbers!
Jason advises that children take note of the rules at parks and playgrounds and follow them to stay safe. If the rules say you shouldn’t climb up the slide, don’t do it! By following the rules kids can avoid injuries.
Jason has some advice for bike riding too. He says children need to make sure to follow the rules of the road on their bikes and try to ride on safe trails when possible. Wearing helmets is important to avoid serious injuries as well! Finally, Jason says, if a child is going to be biking late in the day, he or she should make sure to have reflectors and/or lights on their bike in case it gets dark!
Above all, we want to wish everyone a very safe and happy summer! Have fun out there!
Meet Jason Jilg: Reconstruction Project Manager for SERVPRO of West Brown County
It’s time to introduce you to another one of our team members at SERVPRO of West Brown County. Meet Jason Jilg.
Jason is one of our newer employees, as he started working here in February of 2018. He is our reconstruction project manager.
In his position Jason is responsible for managing the rebuild part of the projects our team performs. So, once any necessary tear down or clean up is complete, Jason figures out and manages how the team will rebuild and reconstruct the home or business.
Jason says he likes his new job because it’s fast paced and it’s different every day. There is not much downtime, so it never gets boring!
Jason is originally from Nebraska. His hometown is a small community called Broken Bow.
He says he is happy to be living in Wisconsin now because “the summer weather is amazing.”
Jason has been married to his wife Linda for nine years. Together they have two children, a boy and a girl.
When he has some spare-time Jason enjoys doing “anything outdoors,” including barbecuing, fishing and hiking.
An interesting fact about Jason is that he was a firefighter in the Navy for four years. He was stationed all over the world and, when asked where he was stationed said, “on every continent except for Australia and Antarctica.”
We’re thankful for Jason and his service.
Yes, Mushrooms CAN Grow Inside Your Home
Mushrooms growing out of floor
We recently did a big cleanup job at a Green Bay area home that experienced a water loss.
As with many water losses, aside from the damage the water itself caused, mold was growing all over the house. But something a little different with this case was that, along with the mold, mushrooms were growing out of the carpeted floors as well! That’s right, honest to goodness mushrooms were growing out of the floors. (In the photo we posted with this blog, you can see the mushrooms, they’re the brown spots on the floor)
What happened was the house was unoccupied and the boiler broke, which led to water and high humidity across many of the rooms. Because the home was not occupied, the situation sat for a long time before the owners found it. As the mold grew, so too did the mushrooms.
Like mold, mushrooms are fungi. They require moisture, a food source and oxygen to grow. Factor in the right temperature and they’ll grow. It’s actually not all that unusual for mushrooms to grow in a home when the conditions are just right.
SERVPRO of West Brown County was called in to clean up. We dried up the home and cleaned up and remediated the mold and mushrooms.
Unfortunately, when mold and fungi get to this point in a home, a lot of the building materials, like affected drywall and flooring, need to be fully removed to ensure all the water damage and the fungus growth is removed. Once the affected walls are down to the studs, we then make sure any mold on them is fully removed. Then the surfaces are cleaned and all remaining surfaces are HEPA vacuumed to remove any traces of mold spores.
Fortunately, once our cleanup was complete, the owner was able to have the home rebuilt and it is now in beautiful condition.
If you notice fungi of any kind growing in your home or business (mushrooms included!), we can help take care of that problem for you. Just give us a call at 920-434-8224.
What Does the Chamber Do?
The Chamber logo
As a member of the Brown County and Green Bay area communities, SERVPRO of West Brown County likes to make sure it is fully involved in those communities. That means forming meaningful relationships with some of our fellow community organizations.
One particularly important and rewarding relationship is the one we have with the Greater Green Bay Chamber of Commerce.
For those who are curious about the Chamber and what it does, we decided to get together with the organization’s director of membership and retention, Renae Schlies. In addition to answering some of our questions, Renae did a little video with us explaining the Chamber’s work. You can watch that video here on our website, or on our social media pages!
But back to the matter at hand, what does the Chamber do? Well, the short answer is…a lot!
Renae tells us there are several arms of the Chamber from government affairs, to economic development, to workforce development.
Perhaps most importantly, she says, the Chamber brings people and businesses together. The organization has nearly 1,200 member-businesses, representing about 86,000 people. That means there are many opportunities for networking and marketing business to business.
To help facilitate these connections, the Chamber offers several events throughout the month from a Power Networking Breakfast, to after hours get-togethers. The Chamber also promotes and facilitates ribbon cuttings and groundbreakings for members.
Under the government affairs arm, the Chamber has a lobbyist on board who can look out for local business interests as political decisions are made.
When it comes to economic development, Renae says the Chamber has a strategic plan for keeping the area business climate vibrant and growing. One example of the work it does is that it has an incubator program through Northeast Wisconsin Technical College for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
As for workforce development, according to Renae, the Chamber has a mission to keep good talent local and to attract new talent to the area. The Chamber works on this mission through programs like the Young Professionals group and the youth apprenticeships with area schools.
These are just a few examples of the work the Greater Green Bay Chamber of Commerce does.
As for SERVPRO of West Brown County, we find being a part of the Chamber is beneficial to our team. Membership makes us more credible to potential clients. Customers know we’ll be able to provide quality work, because we have such a large network backing us up.
The connections and relationships we’ve been able to build with fellow, local businesses and organizations are extremely valuable. We are able to get our name out there and market ourselves, not only at networking events, but with every individual connection we make as well.
Our sales and marketing manager, Jim Knopf is very involved with the Chamber. He is actually an ambassador for the Chamber.
We spoke with Jim and Renae about the ambassador program and we’ll bring you a video and blog about that for this week’s Profile Friday. Be sure to check back in for that!
Meet the Chamber Ambassadors
The Chamber logo
Instead of introducing you to one of our employees this week, we’re profiling the Chamber Ambassadors.
The Chamber Ambassadors are a group of about 35 volunteers who work with the Greater Green Bay Chamber of Commerce.
In a previous blog and video posting we spoke about the Chamber, what is does and why we’re members. This is an extension of that and you can also watch a video about the Ambassadors on our website and social media pages! For that video and for this article we spoke with Renae Schlies, the director of membership and retention for the Chamber, and with SERVPRO of West Brown County’s sales and marketing manager Jim Knopf, who is a Chamber Ambassador.
Schlies tells us the Ambassadors are a great asset to the Chamber, because they help keep the Chamber connected with its business members. Ambassadors are responsible for meeting with members, inviting members to events and encouraging members to engage with and invest in the Chamber. The Ambassadors ensure Chamber members are getting the most out of their membership by connecting members to all the resources the Chamber offers.
Schlies says Ambassadors also represent the Chamber at ribbon cutting, ground breaking and grand opening ceremonies.
Finally, the Ambassadors host the Chamber’s Business After Hours networking events and the annual Chamber Classic Golf Outing.
As we mentioned, our own Jim Knopf is an Ambassador.
Jim tells us he enjoys the volunteer gig and says it’s beneficial to SERVPRO of West Brown County and the work he does for us.
Jim says when he meets with other businesses or goes to a ribbon cutting, he’s representing the Chamber, but he’s also representing SERVPRO. So, he’s able to network and market our business during those calls and events.
According to Jim, having a Chamber Ambassador on our team and being a Chamber business member adds credibility to our name.
The Ambassadors wear signature green blazers when they’re out at official Chamber events, so you’ll know them when you see them! And if you happen to see Jim, tell him hello, he loves meeting new people!
How Mold Sneaks into Your House
Mold growing on a piece of furniture in the Green Bay area
As we’ve said time and time again, mold is a very tricky, sneaky fungus. It likes to infiltrate your home or business and grow where you might not expect or even be able to see it.
According to the CDC, mold spores are found pretty much everywhere: indoors and outdoors. With about 100,000 of varieties in existence, it’s no surprise we come into contact with molds of all kinds on a daily basis. Some of those contacts are more positive than others.
We don’t have to tell you, mold growing on walls or furniture in your home or office are on the negative side of things.
The CDC says outdoor mold spores can get inside through pathways like open windows and doors, as well as heating and air conditioning systems and vents. The spores can also hitch a ride on you, your clothing, shoes and even your pets!
The website homes.com also has a list of ten “unexpected” places mold can sneak inside and start growing. The site says a good rule of thumb is that “if it uses water, chances are it’s going to leak,” and if it leaks, chances are mold can grow there.
So, what are those ten places? Here’s the list:
- The dishwasher
- Icemaker connections
- Washing machine connections
- Hot water heater
- Plastic “p-trap,” a connection under your sink
- Toilet connections
- Shower doors
- Exterior hose bib
- Outdoor sprinklers (these can spray water on your home at an angle that is optimal for mold growth)
The CDC says the way to prevent mold from growing in these places and spreading to more of your property is to keep them as clean as possible. The best advice is to try to control humidity levels in your home, promptly fix any leaky pipes or water connections (or leaks in roofs or windows!), and ventilate shower, laundry and cooking areas.
According to the CDC, there is evidence that links indoor mold exposure to certain health issues like upper respiratory tract reactions.
So, to keep the air clean and safe in your home, try to keep things as dry as possible!
And if you see or suspect mold growth in your home, give SERVPRO of West Brown County a call. Our technicians are trained to specialize in fast and efficient mold remediation. You can reach us any time at 920-434-8224.
A Different Kind of Cleanup
Our crew poses before the clean got underway
At SERVPRO of West Brown County we’re used to cleanups of all kinds, from fire and water damage to biohazard and mold remediation.
However, we recently took part in a clean of a different kind: we adopted a roadway in the Village of Howard close to where our office is located.
About 15 of our team members, along with a few friends and family, volunteered picking up trash along a few miles of roads near our building. We spent about three hours filling about 40 large trash bags full of garbage.
This was a great team-building opportunity for us to work together in a different kind of environment and do something good for our community.
At SERVPRO we appreciate how much this community does for us and we like to give back when we can. This road cleanup was just one way. We’re happy to help keep our hometown cleaner and greener.
It was hard work, but we were lucky to have spent a few hours outside, talking and laughing together…and we lucked out with great weather! (Oh, and the boss got us pizza afterward, so that was an excellent way to wrap things up!)
Next time you’re driving through Howard, maybe you’ll see our ‘Adopt a Roadway’ sign on Velp Avenue!
Navigating the Waters of Flood Safety
Flooding photo courtesy of Wisconsin DHS
Spring showers can bring a lot more than flowers this time of year. Depending on where you live those showers can also bring floods.
And just because it’s never flooded where you live before does NOT mean it can’t or won’t happen in the future.
According to Ready Wisconsin, flood risk is based several factors. Those include:
- River Flow
- Flood-control measures
- Any changes due to building and development
So, depending on all of that, even if your property has been safe in the past, something could happen to put your home or business in danger of flooding.
FEMA advises buying flood insurance for just this reason. According to FEMA:
- One inch of water in a home can cause $25,000 worth of damage.
- Homeowners and renters insurance do not typically cover flooding.
- More than 20% of flood claims come from properties outside high-risk flood zones.
Ready Wisconsin says a typical flood insurance policy will cost you about $700 a year, but that will, of course, depend on your location and the risk for flooding.
Now that we’ve talked about insurance to protect your property, let’s talk about protecting yourself.
Please remember to be safe if flooding is in the forecast and you’re going to be out and about. According to the CDC, over half of all flood-related drownings happen as a result of vehicles being driven into flood waters. AND, the CDC says, the next most common reason for flood-related drownings is when people walk into or near flood waters.
The experts advise staying away from all kinds of flood waters and any barriers or signs warning about flooding. It’s not worth the risk.
According to Ready Wisconsin, as little as six inches of rushing water can knock over an adult, and as little as two feet of rushing water can sweep away a vehicle as large as a pickup truck or SUV.
So, remember, take care of yourself and your property when floods are in the forecast.
And, as always, if a flood should affect your home or business, we at SERVPRO of West Brown County can help in the recovery process. You can reach us at 920-434-8224.
Clean Your Dryer Vents!
Photo of a dryer lint filter courtesy of FEMA.
A clothes dryer is one of those household conveniences most of us can’t imagine living without. But, if you’re not taking a few simple steps to ensure your dryer is safer, the machine could become a veritable tinder box.
Dryer lint is extremely flammable and if you’re not keeping your dryer clean and well-ventilated, you’re putting your home and yourself at risk.
According to FEMA 2,900 home dryer fires are reported yearly. Those fires cause an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries and $35 million in property damage each year.
FEMA says 34% of those fires are caused by failure to properly clean the dryer.
Luckily there are a few simple steps you can take to prevent dryer fires.
- Have the dryer installed by a professional in the first place.
- Clean the lint filter before and after each load of laundry and in between cycles, if it needs to run more than once.
- Clean the back of the dryer where lint can build up.
- Clean lint out of the vent pipe once every three months.
- If it’s taking longer than normal for clothes to dry, have a professional inspect it.
- Ensure the venting system behind the dryer is connected and un-damaged.
- Check regularly to make sure things like animal nests are not blocking the outside vent.
- Keep anything flammable away from the dryer.
- Do not leave the dryer running when you leave home or go to bed.
Something as small as a little bit of lint can be easy to overlook, but it can also have big consequences if you do.
So please keep your dryer clean and your home safe!
And should you experience a fire of any kind, remember, we are here to help with cleaning, recovery and reconstruction. Simply give SERVPRO of West Brown County a call at 920-434-8224.
Showing Compassion Every Day
At SERVPRO of West Brown County we deal with disasters every, single day. We come in and perform clean up after traumatic incidents like fires, floods and crimes.
It’s not an easy job. However, we understand, as difficult as it is for us to see the aftermath of these tragedies, it is far more difficult for the home and business owners who have to experience them.
These kinds of events throw a person’s world into chaos. It’s our team’s goal of coming in and calming that chaos. We want to help people through the anxiety that comes with these situations.
In that spirit, it is so important that each and every member of our team shows compassion and empathy. That means everyone from the techs who perform the cleanups, to the people who answer the phones, to the sales team out on the road.
Owner Mike Bogenschuetz says he makes it a point to talk with employees about compassion and empathy and how they can show it to people who are going through very difficult times. He says it is an extremely important part of the job.
Mike says clients often compliment our team on their ability to show compassion and understanding. Clients will often tell us the team helped them calm down and better understand the cleanup process.
You can see some of those compliments in the testimonials on our website and in the online reviews on our Google, Yelp and Facebook pages.
It is our ultimate goal to help you recover from a traumatic event as quickly and inexpensively as possible. We want you to be able to get back to normal life.
We hope that you never need us, but we’re here for you if you do. Just call 920-434-8224.