Recent Posts

Appliance Safety for the Thanksgiving Holidays

11/12/2019 (Permalink)

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. That means it time for those holiday dishes to make their appearance across dining room tables everywhere.  While most people are concerned about having enough food to feed their guests, they tend to forget about paying attention to other details like putting a larger than usual strain on the appliances used to cook their holiday feast.

Chances are your oven will be the one appliance with an increased workload.

Other common appliances like your microwave or slow cooker may also play some role in food preparation.

Whatever you're baking, you'll want to make sure all of the electrical connections have been inspected to ensure proper functionality. Always make sure the power is off and use caution when working near anything electrical.

By taking the time to do a quick inspection, like looking over the oven coils, you could save a kitchen disaster from happening over the holiday season. Even after your family and friends have feasted on your Thanksgiving meal, you'll want to be sure that the coils didn't take any damage.

Depending on your setup, your stove may be right above your oven, or it may be on the other side of the kitchen. It's a good idea to go ahead and make sure all four burners are in good working order, whether they're gas or electric. If you ever suspect a gas leak, it's always best to call a professional to get this fixed immediately!

Everyone's cooking habits and skills are different, but one thing is certain. The microwave gets used regularly to save time. Just like your oven, there are a few things you'll want to check to get ready for the holidays.

As with the oven, inspect all electrical connections to be sure nothing is loose. It's possible one or more of these connections could have come loose during use. After you've checked for loose connections, take a look at the door of the microwave, as well as the turntable. The door should not be loose, and it should close properly. If your door is falling off, or not shutting completely, it is probably time to get a new microwave. Your turntable should be free of any damage and shouldn't wobble when it's rotating.

When it comes to your slow cooker, make sure to check both ends of the cord for any frayed or exposed wires. If you spot any, cut the cord and dispose of your appliance immediately — black tape is not a safe remedy. Though slow cookers have been around for a long time, technology has improved a lot in recent years — older models don't offer modern safety features like auto-shutoff. If you notice any off odors or see that the exterior of your slow cooker feels hotter than it should when in use, unplug it right away and toss it. If there's a chance your slow cooker has spent time in someone's garage, you should probably consider upgrading.

SERVPRO of West Brown County wants you to have a worry-free Thanksgiving. In the event a faulty appliance causes an unexpected fire emergency in your home, know that we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer the call should you need restoration help following fire damage.

Our technicians are highly trained and ready to take on any project to get your life back in order. Give us a call us at (920) 434-8224.

Teaching Kids the Essentials of Fire Safety and Extinguisher Use

11/7/2019 (Permalink)

With the holiday season in full swing, most kids and teens will be spending a few days at home during their Thanksgiving school break.

Teaching adolescents to prepare and cook their meals with various kitchen appliances like a toaster oven or microwave shouldn’t cause too much concern for parents; however, there are those unexpected moments when things could go suddenly wrong. Whether its siblings watching out for one another or a babysitter caring for your kids during that vacation break, it is essential to go over emergency procedures with any individuals that will be in your household in the event of an unexpected fire.

The very first step towards fire prevention is awareness about fire and precautionary measures. It’s not enough if you alone learn about fire prevention. Children need to possess a basic knowledge of dealing with fire breakouts. They need to learn about the different types of firefighting techniques, especially those adopted for small homes. Dousing the flames with the right kind of fire extinguisher is also essential. For instance, you can’t extinguish electrical fires with water and would instead need a Class C rated fire extinguisher.

The ability of your kids to help you douse the flames and at times, even handling fire extinguishers all by themselves is subject to proper training and awareness about firefighting. You can’t leave your kids to the mercy of any size of flames. Instead, train them to deal with fire breakouts by learning about fire prevention. Your kids need to learn about the PASS method for handling small fire and dousing the flames with home fire extinguishers. Here is a training method developed to deal with fires.

Your kids need to remember the PASS method while using the fire extinguisher:

P – pulling the extinguisher pin
A – aiming the fire extinguisher low
S – squeezing the handle
S – sweeping the extinguisher sidewise

Besides just using your home fire extinguishers, you need to train your kids on how to prevent fires, as well. You need to inform them about not leaving any flammable items like gas cylinders in front of flames or fire and ensure that the easily accessible appliances they use are switched off and unplugged before it is left unattended. You also need to tell them to call the emergency fire service; they notice flames in any corner of your residence.

Avoiding scenarios that could lead to fires breaking out minimizes the chances of an actual fire taking place. Your kids can play a vital role in preventing accidental fires just by learning about the prevention techniques and even handling home fire extinguishers efficiently.

At SERVPRO of West Brown County, we know that despite taking precautionary measures to avoid a home disaster from transpiring, fires still take place.

Certain circumstances require someone knowledgeable in various levels of the restoration process. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s Corporate Training Facility to regular IICRC industry certifications, rest assured our team is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property. Our training program includes the following:

  • IICRC Training
  • Employee Certification Training
  • Initial Franchise Training
  • e-Learnings
  • Continuing Education Classes

If you have any questions or need our services, give us a call at (920) 434-8224.

Fire Prevention Month: What Should You do After a Fire Disaster Affects Your Residence

10/29/2019 (Permalink)

An unexpected house fire in the West Brown County area could be a very traumatic and unsettling experience for your family. Having to deal with the aftermath can leave anyone feeling uncertain about the future of the place they call home. Where does one start once the smoke as settled, and are now faced with making decisions you never thought possible? 

One of the critical factors about your living quarters is knowing whether it is safe to enter after a fire. As a rule of thumb, it is best to wait until the professionals called in to extinguish the fire and inspect the structure, state it is fine to do so. 

Knowing who to call after a fire is equally important. Don't assume that someone is going to contact your insurance. This will not only enable documentation of the event and set in train the insurance claim, but your insurer will be able to talk you through emergency lodging and living expenses. Remember to retain all receipts to make a claim. The insurance company will also assist with clean up options.

Depending on your housing situation, you may need to contact additional people, especially if you are a tenant. The owner/landlord needs as much information that you can offer them for their insurance company to process the claim that will get you back into the place you call home sooner than later.

If your place only sustained damage rather than being destroyed, an interior cleanup will be required. Be aware that destruction to the property often goes beyond what the eye can see. Some of those damages include soot, ash, charring, smoke, and odor.

The smoke alone is known to leave an undesirable odor on items from treasured belongings, to all thing's upholstery, and your clothing. Also, be aware that soot and smoke damage might be significant. It often creates a film on the walls. There will also be residue from the extinguishers used by the fire crew.

Do keep in mind, water damage is typical if water hoses were used to put out the fire. Your possessions could end up soggy. Anything you want to preserve, or reuse will need careful cleaning. When you have a critical cleanup situation, it is best to take immediate action and hire professionals that specialize in both fire and water restoration services. 

SERVPRO of West Brown County specializes in fire and water restoration. We've received advance training in restoration techniques, and we have the experience and specialized equipment to restore your property quickly.

Our Technicians train in the following areas:

  • Fire & Smoke Restoration 
  • Odor Control 
  • Upholstery & Fabric Cleaning
  • Water Damage Restoration Technician

We are a locally owned and operated business that is strategically located to respond quickly to your smoke or fire damage event. If you have questions about fire, smoke, or soot damage, call us today at (920) 434-8224.

Fire Prevention Month: Wood Stove and Fireplace Safety

10/28/2019 (Permalink)

The climate in Wisconsin usually feels a handful of freezing temps a few short weeks before winter finally decides to set up camp in the Midwest and stick around for an extended period of several months.

Using a modern-day wood stove has many advantages over traditional models. The newer models use high-grade glass-ceramic on the front, which can withstand higher temperatures than other materials.

Even with a wood stove, people still enjoy the warmth generating from a fireplace. Whether it’s your primary or secondary source of heat, it’s important to always take extra safety measures against any fire emergencies.

To help you with some of those precautionary tasks, here are a few essential safety tips you can implement while using your fireplace or wood stove this winter.

Fireplace Safety:

  • The best tactic for making sure your fireplace is safe to use for the winter season is to have regular visual inspections – both inside and out.
  • If using a gas fireplace, make sure the flame burns blue. A yellow or orange flame is a sign that something is wrong, and that you need to contact a licensed technician immediately.
  • Finally, always open the damper before lighting a fire. Don’t shut it until the ashes are cold to avoid the risk of a burn.
  • Proper fireplace ventilation is essential to fireplace safety. When looking outside, be sure to inspect the chimney cap, since it keeps foreign objects out of your home while preventing hot embers from flying out of your chimney and on to your roof. You should also check above your fireplace to assess whether the mortar is intact and to ensure there is no physical damage.
  • Check the integrity of the chimney plumb on the roof to make sure it has not begun to tip to one side. A tilting chimney is a sign of a bigger structural problem and requires immediate inspection.
  • If you have household equipment that vents carbon monoxide, be sure not to run it while using your fireplace. Make sure the vents in each room of your house are open, as well. This will prevent any gas or fumes from getting trapped and accumulating inside a single room. 
  • Consider getting a fire screen. These areinexpensive and don’t require installation. Purchase your chosen screen and stand it in front of the fire. It’s a simple item, but it plays a considerable part in fire safety by shielding people, furniture, and carpets from errant sparks.

Wood-burning Stove Safety:

  • Proper wood-burning stove maintenance is essential. One tip is to make sure to clean the wood stove properly to remove all ash before you use it for the first time in the winter, as well as before each subsequent use through the season.
  • The chimney used with a wood-burning stove must be mason-built or manufactured in a factory. You cannot use metal chimneys or single-brick chimneys as they deteriorate and may pose a fire hazard over time. Older homes that have double-bricked chimneys should be inspected for any deterioration in the lining or loose mortar before using a wood-burning stove.
  • If using coal in your stove, do not use a metal chimney as the fumes from that particular resource will corrode the metal almost instantly. In this case, your metal chimney will need to be uninstalled and inspected.
  • Do not under any circumstances use a smoke duct that has previously been used with an oil burner. The unburned vapors will ignite backward into the wood-burning stove and your home.
  • Your stove should always be on a stable surface.Unlike fireplaces, stoves can be positioned wherever you like. It’s crucial to position stoves on a durable, fireproof surface. Brick and tile are ideal places for a stove to rest. Regular maintenance, cleaning, and sensible precautions when choosing the wood and starting a fire, all contribute to fire and stove safety.  

One last important matter is to make sure you are disposing of the ashes correctly. Many home fires are started because of fireplace ash. A buildup of ash can also shorten the life of the fireplace. Ashes must be raked out regularly – always use an ash shovel. If possible, wait 24 hours from when the fire burned out before raking the ashes. Store ashes in a metal ash bucket outside of the home, and away from fallen leaves, wood or kindling. Only transfer ashes to the trash when they have cooled down.

At SERVPRO of West Brown County, we understand with all of the precautions you take to ensure a safe environment within your home, unexpected emergencies can happen. If you end up with fire, smoke, or soot damage in your residence our trained technicians use the appropriate equipment, expertise, and experience to restore things.

We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call us at, (920) 434-8224.

Fire Prevention Month: Keeping Your Home and Pets Safe from Electrical Fires

10/17/2019 (Permalink)

Having a cat or dog in your home means taking the time to safeguard certain areas of your residence to avoid your furry friend’s curious nature. What we view as an everyday household item, they tend to see as something to play with or a chew toy. A hyperactive dog or inquiring cat can easily cause an electrical hazard or fire in ways you may not have considered. 

Here is a checklist to help you protect against your pets being in any danger of being hurt.

  • To avoid any temptation on their part, keep electrical cords away from your pets, so they don’t chew on them and receive a severe shock. Cover the cord with a heavy plastic sleeve. Ask your pet store for a bitter-tasting product you could put on the cord.
  • Check that your nightlights and appliances are completely plugged into wall outlets. Small paws, or tongues can easily find partially unprotected prongs and are a hazard for curious children, puppies, and kittens.
  • Halogen lamps should never be used in play areas. Halogen bulbs can reach very high temperatures, and if knocked over during play, could quickly start a fire.
  • All appliances near sinks or bathtubs should be plugged into an outlet equipped with a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). Playful pets can knock radios, curling irons, and other items into the water, creating a dangerous situation. GFCIs stop the flow of electricity instantly if there is a problem, and when properly used, can save lives.
  • Do not allow pets to curl up for a nap behind warm computer equipment. They need to learn to stay away from all electrical connections. If your pets are reluctant to cooperate, consider investing in baby gates to keep them away from your equipment.

The team over at SERVPRO of West Brown County wants your fury friends and house to remain safe at all times. If the unfortunate circumstances of an electrical fire arise, know that we respond quickly to your smoke or fire damage.

As a locally owned and operated business. We are strategically located to respond quickly to your emergency needs. Call us at, (920) 434-8224.

Fire Prevention Month: Basement Fires

10/10/2019 (Permalink)

Now that Fire Prevention Month is underway, SERVPRO of West Brown County would like to remind you there are several ways to prepare your household for unexpected fire emergencies.

This week's focus is on ways you can fire-safe your basement.

The basement is a room in the house that most people use as a secondary area to entertain guests, living quarters, or a site to store seasonal items. It could also be the one place in your house you may not spend that much time in; therefore, it would be a good idea to inspect the room for certain safety features that could contain a fire if one were to break out unexpectedly.

The following tips are helpful suggestions from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):

Early Warning Devices

  • Install a smoke alarm in the basement. Test the alarm each month and clean as needed. The basement smoke alarm should be connected to other smoke alarms in your home.
  • If you have oil, gas or wood-burning equipment in the basement, you should also have a carbon monoxide alarm installed in the basement.

Utilities

  • Maintain easy, quick access to your fuse box or circuit breaker panel.
  • Keep the burner access doors on gas water heaters and gas furnaces closed to prevent flames from escaping and starting a fire.

 Housekeeping

  • Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet from the furnace, oil burner, wood stoves, water heaters, and other heat-generating equipment.
  • Keep oily rags in airtight containers and away from heat sources.
  • Trash should not be stored in the basement.
  • Washers and dryers should be plugged directly into wall outlets.
  • Clean lint filters every time you use the dryer.
  • Clean the dryer vent ductwork every year.
  • Keep stairs free of clutter and safe for quick exit in an emergency.

The best thing you could do for your home and family is to practice these precautionary measures several times throughout the year.

In the event your basement was to catch fire, chances are certain areas of your home could also suffer from fire and smoke damage from firefighting efforts. SERVPRO of West Brown County wants you to know we have technicians specialized in fire restoration training that is needed to restore your basement to pre-fire conditions. 

We have technicians on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ready to go into action when they are needed. If you have questions about fire, smoke, or soot damage, call us today at (920) 434-8224.

October Kicks off Fire Prevention Month

10/4/2019 (Permalink)

Every month SERVPRO of West Brown County offers helpful tips on how your family can navigate through various emergencies.

October is nationally known as Fire Prevention Month. This month's prevention initiative intends to raise awareness about fire safety and home safety to help ensure your home and family are prepared in the case of an emergency. Think of this as a perfect opportunity to review the current plans your household has in place for any fire emergency that may unexpectedly arise.

Some interesting facts shared by First Alert include:

• 3 of every 5 home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no working smoke alarms.
• Less than 50% of homeowners have an escape plan.
• Carbon monoxide (CO) is the #1 cause of accidental death.
• 60% of consumers do not test their smoke and CO alarms monthly.
• Only 47% of people report having CO alarms in their homes.
• Just 43% of homeowners have an escape plan.

These are some pretty alarming statics!

The best way to get started on the process to protecting your loved ones is to do a thorough inspection and inventory of all of your fire extinguisher and smoke detectors. By checking your alarms, testing the alarms regularly, and adding reliable protection when replacing expired alarms urges the household to improve your home's safety.

It is not that all uncommon for anyone living under your roof to easily forget where each of these essential items are found. Making a detailed layout, then printing multiple copies to leave in designated areas in your house, is an excellent way for family members to refresh their memories on where each of these resourceful items resides. For the younger members of your family, consider using colorful graphics for them to relate to. A house scavenger hunt would be a fun way to educate and prepare your little ones to not be afraid in the event of a fire crisis.

Don't forget your pets! Include them in all of your emergency plans. Do this by having one or two members of your family designated to help your pets safely vacate your property.

Did you know SERVPRO of West Brown County's staff are highly trained in property damage restoration?

From the initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO's Corporate Training Facility to regular IICRC industry certifications, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property. Our training program includes the following:

• IICRC Training
• Employee Certification Training
• Initial Franchise Training
• e-Learnings
• Continuing Education Classes

Let us be the ones you turn to for all of your fire restoration needs. Give us a call at, (920) 434-8224.

Jim Knopf Speaks with Local Schools About the Golden Apple Awards

10/1/2019 (Permalink)

Male employee speaks with classroom full of students on award nomination process Marketing & Sales Manager Jim Knopf visits a local elementary school to share how students nominate teachers for the Golden Apple Awards

SERVPRO of West Brown County knows how hard our employees work to give our customers the best possible service. Seeing a member of our team go the extra mile to volunteer their time in the community is something we are proud to acknowledge.

This week, we want to share what our Sales and Marketing Manager, Jim Knopf has been up to in the Green Bay area. 

As most of our West Brown County customers know, Jim enjoys his role as one of the Ambassador for the Greater Green Bay Chamber. His involvement with the Chamber extends from answering questions about the Chamber to helping promote member businesses through Chamber functions. 

Chamber Ambassadors recently began speaking with local schools to influence students to nominate their most inspirational educator for the prestigious Golden Apple Award.

The Golden Apple Awards is a yearly program that improves community awareness of the quality of education in the Greater Green Bay area by recognizing high standards of professionalism, leadership, and innovation in teaching with the Golden Apple Awards.

Eight recipients (individuals and/or teams) are selected annually through a multi-level screening of anonymous applications and personal interviews. Selection criteria are based on the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, which identify the essential knowledge, skills, and dispositions expected of experienced, quality teachers.

The following information is the process of how the events will unfold:

  • Nominations are due October 31, 2020.
  • Nominees for the Golden Apple Awards will be announced on January 5, 2020. 
  • Teachers of Distinction will be announced on January 26, 2020.
  • The full list of recipients will be announced on February 2020.

 The 27th annual Golden Apple Awards ceremony is scheduled for April 15, 2020. This event is held at Radisson Hotel & Conference Center and goes from 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.

You can obtain a nomination forms for the 27th annual awards program on the Greater Green Bay Chamber's website.

National Preparedness Month: Keeping Important Documents Safe from Water Damage

9/27/2019 (Permalink)

Wisconsinite's experienced severe thunderstorms throughout this summer leaving many residents stuck with the grueling job of doing house repairs themselves or filing claims with their homeowner's insurance agencies. 

With the amount of flooding that took place over parts of West Brown County, both the interior and exterior parts of homes endured various levels of water damage. Sometimes the living quarters and furniture are not the only things of importance that undergo destruction. Essential documents might have become ruined as well. 

As we near the end of National Preparedness Month, it is important to remember being prepared for the unexpected should be a year-long practice. One of the most vital pieces of information to your family's existence is documented mostly on legalized forms. Replacing a lost or damaged document can be rather time-consuming or in some instances, difficult if you do not have all the appropriate required documentation on hand to request new records.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) suggests making copies and arranging safe off-site storage for the following important documents.

Vital Personal Records

These include photocopies of personal identification such as drivers licenses, birth certificates, and Military I.D. cards, if applicable. Social Security cards, passports, and marriage licenses should also be copied.

Insurance Policies

Keep copies of your homeowner's and flood insurance policy. Also, include health and life insurance coverage information as well as contact information for your local agent.

Financial Information

Record relevant account numbers for all financial matters. Include bank contact information as well as investment firms such as brokerages, retirement accounts, and credit card companies.

Property Records

Copy the deed to your home or the mortgage documents provided by the title company. These should state the value of the house at the time of purchase. If you are a renter, retain a copy of the lease or rental agreement. Also duplicate all automobile, boat and R.V. titles and registration papers.

Medical Information

Make copies of all ongoing prescriptions plus records of immunizations, health insurance I.D. cards, and names and contact information for primary physicians. If you have a living will include that as well.

Estate Documents

Include a copy of your will, instructions for a funeral, documents for power-of-attorney designation, and contact information for your personal attorney.

Once the worst has passed and you're able to take a moment to check on all of your personal belongings for damages, remember SERVPRO of West Brown County is always here for you.

We are a trusted leader in the water restoration industry that is locally owned and operated. If you are looking to have a stress-free claim process, SERVPRO works with your insurance to help manage the insurance process and paperwork. 

If you have water or flood damage, give us a call at, (920) 434-8224.

National Preparedness Month: Storm Damage and Power Outages

9/20/2019 (Permalink)

Dark clouds surrounding a field of power lines An incoming storm surrounds an open field with power lines

Wisconsin experienced a high volume of tornadoes this past July. According to the National Weather Service, 16 touched down in just three days. These widespread storms forged through our state with winds speeds ranging from 90 to 120 mph. The damage in most areas was catastrophic.

One of the biggest factors preventing residence from the task of recovering and assessing their property damage was the power outages. Being without power for a short or extended period can be a costly factor for some homeowners. Knowing how to prepare for a power outage can help your family salvage more of your resources.

There are several ways you can keep your homestead functioning as well as you possibly can if the power were to go out unexpectedly.

Prepare in advance for a power outage:

  • Invest in flashlights, a battery-operated radio, and, of course, extra batteries. There are even lanterns used for camping that double as a phone charger. Remember to check your items occasionally to ensure they're all functioning and store them together for easy access.
  • Always have bottled water and a variety of snacks that do not require refrigeration.
  • An easy-to-miss but crucial consideration: if you have medication that needs to be refrigerated, remember to ask your pharmacist for information on storing it during a power outage.

Tips for your family once the power is out:

  • Don't open the refrigerator or freezer door if you can help it. Refrigerated food can stay cold (and safe for consumption) for up to 4 hours, while frozen food can last up to 48 hours if the freezer is densely packed (or 24 hours if it's not as full). For more on food safety in an emergency, check out these guidelines from the USDA.
  • To avoid a power surge when the electricity returns, turn off computers, TVs, and other nonessential electronics. But be sure to leave a light on so you'll know when the power is restored.
  • If someone has medical equipment that requires electricity, call for help or get them to a place where the power is working.

In the aftermath of a power outage due to harsh weather, practice extreme caution if you go outside to survey the damages after a storm.

Remember that fallen trees or other wreckage can hide downed or hanging electrical wires. Always assume that a downed line is a live line and highly dangerous.

SERVPRO of West Brown County knows your family's well being is your number one priority and wants everyone to be safe. Allow us to be there with helping eliminate some of the burdens you're facing in the aftermath of any storm destruction inflicted upon your home.

We have technicians on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ready to go into action when they are needed. If flood waters hit your home in the middle of the night, or a fire breaks out on Christmas Day, our technicians will be there for you to start the recovery work immediately.

If you need emergency clean up or restoration work in the West Brown County area, call us any time at, (920) 541- 2128