Archived Blog Posts
SERVPRO and that 'New' Car Smell
According to AAA, the average American driver spends 17,600 minutes in their car per year. Breaking down the math, that is a little more than 290 hours, equaling about 12 days total. 12 days out of every year! That’s more days than the average American worker gets for paid vacation each year.
That being said, you probably want to be as comfortable as possible in your car. From the seats to the steering wheel, the sound system to the…smell?! Well, sure, why do you think they make car air fresheners?
Of course, the “new car smell” is very famous and popular, but what about the drivers out there who have pre-owned vehicles? It’s tough to control the scent in those cars…but team SERVPRO of West Brown County can!
We can provide very in-depth odor removal. If you’re a seller or a buyer dealing with issues like cigarette smoke, spilled food and drinks, or pet smells in a pre-owned vehicle, that is something our technicians can take care of.
The techs do that by using our ozone technology to eradicate those odors instead of covering them up.
As a reminder, ozone is a gas that’s made up of three oxygen particles (differing from the O2 we breathe, which is two oxygen particles). The ozone changes the chemical makeup of smoke particles (or bacteria, or whatever else is causing a bad smell) through the oxidation process, causing the odor to disappear.
The team will use our ozone machine to get rid of any bad scents and also do a deep clean of the car. The ozone process can be drying to the materials in the vehicle, so our technicians will make sure to wipe down the inside with a protectant to ensure nothing is damaged during that process.
All of this work can help ensure your return to the driver’s seat is as pleasant as possible! If you’re going to spend 17,600 minutes in your car this year, we want to make sure each one of those minutes is enjoyable.
Calls us all any time of the day or night at 920-434-8224.
Explaining Winter Weather Alerts
National Weather Service Logo
The weather this winter has been nothing short of wild. Wisconsinites have dealt with snow storms, rain and plunging and rising temperatures.
Since winter conditions can be dangerous, it’s a good idea to pay attention to the forecasts and make any preparations you can to stay safe.
But, in order to know how to prepare, you need to know what the forecasts are telling you. That’s where things like watches and warnings come into play.
We learned just what each watch and warning means from the National Weather Service (NWS) and we’d like to share that info with you!
According to the NWS there are Winter Storm Watches and Warnings, Winter Weather Advisories, Blizzard Warnings and Ice Warnings. Here’s what they mean:
- Winter Storm Watch – the NWS says, “A Winter Storm Watch is issued when there is the potential for significant and hazardous winter weather within 48 hours. It does not mean that significant and hazardous winter weather will occur...it only means it is possible.” (That hazardous winter weather can include snow, ice, sleet, blowing snow or a combination of these hazards.)
- Winter Storm Warning – according to the NWS, “A Winter Storm Warning is issued when a significant combination of hazardous winter weather is occurring or imminent.”
- Winter Weather Advisory – the NWS explains this as, “A Winter Weather Advisory will be issued for any amount of freezing rain, or when 2 to 4 inches of snow (alone or in combination with sleet and freezing rain), is expected to cause a significant inconvenience, but not serious enough to warrant a warning.”
- Blizzard Warning – the NWS says, “A Blizzard Warning means that the following conditions are occurring or expected within the next 12 to 18 hours: snow and/or blowing snow reducing visibility to 1/4 mile or less for 3 hours or longer and sustained winds of 35 mph or greater or frequent gusts to 35 mph or greater.”
- Ice Warning – According to the NWS, this is when ¼ inch accumulation or more of ice is expected.
All of these alerts can signal dangerous conditions. So, if you see them in the forecast, take precautions! Winter isn’t over yet. Be safe.
The Science of Deodorization
When you’re dealing with a bad smell in your home or office, it can be downright distracting.
And depending on what’s caused the smell, it might be really tough to get rid of it. If the odor was caused by a fire and/or smoke damage, for example, the scent can linger for months, if not years.
If this is something affecting your home or business, you might be tempted to spray an air freshener and try to forget about it, but we have some bad news: you won’t be able to forget. The air freshener won’t make the smell go away.
The good news is, team SERVPRO of West Brown County has the equipment and scientific know how to eradicate those bad odors. And we mean ERADICATE them. We don’t try to cover up the smell with perfumes, we use scientifically proven methods to get rid of them.
Here’s a few of the odors we can deal with:
- Cigarette Smoke
- Pet Odors
And we deal with those using a few different methods. One is by using a piece of equipment called an “ozone generator.”
An ozone generator works by pumping ozone into the affected area. Ozone is a gas that’s made up of three particles of oxygen. (Ozone is different from the “oxygen” or O2 humans need to breathe, which is made up of two oxygen particles). When the ozone comes into contact with the particles making the bad odors, whether they be smoke, bacteria, etc., the ozone will literally change the chemical makeup of those particles through oxidization. Changing the odor-causing particles’ chemical makeup destroys the smell. After use, the ozone then turns into O2, which we’re eventually able to breathe.
Another method our technicians use to destroy stinky smells is thermal fogging.
Through this method, a deodorizer is put through a machine that turns it into a fine fog. That deodorizer fog can then get into every nook and cranny of the affected area, even the smallest, most porous spaces. The fog is even able to reach under floors, into ceilings and behind walls. The fog is then able to alter the particles causing the bad odors and destroy them.
Both of these methods are extremely effective for ridding homes and businesses of bad smells. And both methods take a lot of knowledge and skill to perform correctly. Our technicians have the knowledge and the skills. We’re ready any time you need us, just call 920-434-8224.
Meet Sue: Crew Chief at SERVPRO of West Brown County
For this Profile Friday, we are pleased to introduce everyone to Sue, one of our crew chiefs here at Team SERVPRO of West Brown County.
Sue has worked here for four years, but she has 20 years of experience in the restoration business.
Sue leads teams of our production technicians on jobs of all kinds for SERVPRO. She handles just about any projects from fires to floods, to mold to biohazard.
Sue says she enjoys her job because this line of work is exciting. There is always something new to do or learn. No job is ever the same and every day is different too. Sue says she is never bored. The job is challenging and rewarding.
Sue was born and raised in the Green Bay area and she still lives here. She has two children and, fun fact, her son Zac actually works with team SERVPRO of West Brown County too!
Sue says she likes living in Wisconsin because we enjoy all four seasons here. In her free time, Sue likes to do things like go camping and spend time with her friends and family.
Project Profile: Garage Fire
Photo of garage fire.
A garage fire can be a devastating event. Flames can start fast, tearing through the garage itself and then, if it’s an attached garage, move just as quickly into and through the home. And even when the blaze keeps to the garage, soot and smoke damage can get into the house.
SERVPRO of West Brown County recently cleaned up after a garage fire in the Green Bay area. Luckily, in this case, the flames stayed contained to the garage.
The flames did cause severe damage in the garage. Pictures show soot and smoke damage left behind on just about every, single inch of the building. The damage was not limited to the structure itself, but also affected items stored in the garage like tools.
To start the cleanup, our technicians removed all the contents, threw away anything damaged beyond repair (after getting the client’s consent). Techs also photographed any non-salvageable items to ensure full documentation for the insurance company.
The crew then worked quickly to tear out and remove any severely damaged structural elements like drywall and insulation. Then the techs were able to clean the smoke and soot off the walls, ceilings and floors.
The team also took the damaged contents back to our shop to clean them individually, returning those salvageable items back to the property owners after cleaning.
At the end of cleaning we deodorized and ozoned the area to counteract smoke molecules and dissipate them to eliminate any remaining odor.
In this case it took us a couple of days to make the garage fire, “Like it never even happened.”
And if the blaze had been bigger, getting into the home, we would have been able to clean that up as well, taking care of any soot and smoke odors left behind too.
Our team works quickly, carefully and efficiently to clean up and restore any property damaged by a disaster.
If you need our help, call us 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 920-434-8224.
Get an Idea of the Areas We Serve
With the name “SERVPRO of West Brown County,” you might think we only serve West Brown County…BUT that is NOT the case.
Our team is able to go far and wide to help you recover from water, fire, mold and biohazard damage.
Let us paint a picture of our service area:
We cover a 70-mile radius around the Green Bay area that includes (and is NOT limited to) Shawano, Oconto, Menominee, and Marinette counties. Our sister franchise SERVPRO of East Brown County handles Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Calumet, Kewaunee, and Door counties.
If you’re in a different location and need help, but you’re unsure if we can serve you, give our office a call at 920-434-8224 to find out. If we can’t help you, we will gladly refer you to a different, local SERVPRO franchise that can!
SERVPRO franchises are all locally owned and staffed, but have the backing of that strong, national, corporate brand. When disaster strikes, SERVPRO is ready to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Meet Boo: Office Dog for SERVPRO of West Brown County
Boo hard at work!
Most of you are already a little bit familiar with our office dog Boo, thanks to #BooDayTuesday, but allow us to tell you more about him in this week’s Profile Friday!
Boo is a four-year-old “shorkie,” which means he is a half shih-tzu, half yorkie. Franchise owners Mike and Georgia Bogenschuetz have owned Boo since he was a pup and he’s been coming into the office ever since.
At work Boo brightens everyone’s day by being absolutely adorable. He’s also our office mascot, greeting people as they come in. That’s about the extent of his responsibilities, although he does enjoy the occasional nap on a desk or treat from a human.
When he’s not hard at work in the office, Boo has a lot of activities he enjoys in his free time. He likes to go outside when the weather is nice and lay in the sunshine or go for walks in the woods. In the summer, Boo likes short (and SLOW) ATV rides, as well as kayak trips. When he has to stay inside, Boo is content watching the squirrels and birds from the window, and playing fetch with his toys.
Mold Containment Keeps You Safe
Mold containment setup
Team SERVPRO of West Brown County is trained and ready to take on any mold remediation projects at homes and businesses across the Green Bay area.
Along with the right training and equipment, our technicians make sure to perform mold clean up in the safest way possible.
As we know, there is evidence that mold can create irritants and allergens that can have an impact on people’s health. Remediation can cause mold spores to spread in the air, so that means an increase risk in those irritants and allergens spreading as well.
To prevent the spread of those spores, our technicians set up what’s called containment while cleaning to keep the spores to the affected areas.
First, techs will make sure all heating and cooling systems are turned off during the remediation process, to keep moving air from blowing the spores around.
Then, our techs will build physical barriers using plastic sheeting. They will also used advanced techniques like creating negative air chambers to keep the mold spores within those physical barriers.
Our team is also trained to use specialized air filtration equipment like HEPA vacuums and air scrubbers to keep the air clean.
Your safety is always our number one priority and by setting up containment on each and every mold job we do, we are ensuring your safety.
If you need help with a mold issue at your home or business, call SERVPRO of West Brown County at 920-434-8224.
Meet Sage: Production Technician for SERVPRO of West Brown County
Team SERVPRO of West Brown County is proud to introduce you to one of our newer production technicians, Sage. Sage has worked with us since September of 2018.
Sage started out mainly assisting with fire contents and structure cleaning projects. She has continued to grow her skills during her time on the team and now works on a wide variety of cleaning and restoration projects.
Sage says she enjoys working for SERVPRO, because the job allows her to be physically active and provides a lot of variety. She says it’s nice to be able to work on something different every day.
Sage is originally from Green Bay and she now lives in the De Pere area. She says winter weather can make it tough to love living in Wisconsin, but that it’s great to live here because her whole family is here.
When she’s not hard at work, Sage enjoys going out with her friends.
The Danger of Ice Dams
This time of year, icicles can certainly make for a lovely sight hanging off gutters and roofs. However, those shimmery shards can be a sign of something serious: ice dams.
Ice dams are solid ridges of ice that form along the eaves of your home and can form on your roof during cold, snowy weather in the same way icicles do. Those dams can cause major damage to your roof, sometimes tearing off shingles and gutters. They can also force water to back up and spill into your house, causing water damage to your property.
Ice dams are created when heat from your home keeps much of your roof warm. That heat, however, does not extend to the eaves of the roof and those stay cold. So, when it snows, the snow will melt on the area of the roof that is warm and then that melted snow freezes on the cold eaves. That is an ice dam. And then, when it snows again, the snow will melt again on the warm part of the roof and then back up behind the ice dam, sending water under the shingles and into your home.
We don’t have to tell you what happens when water floods into your home. It’s not good.
If you’ve noticed ice dams forming on your roof, there are some quick fixes you can try to prevent damage.
We got these tips from thisoldhouse.com:
- First, you can rake the ice and snow off your roof using an ice rake.
- You can purchase heated cables and attach them to the eaves of your roof to melt the ice that’s formed there.
- Blowing cold air onto your roof is also an option. You can place a box fan in your attic and aim it at the warmer parts of the roof to keep them cooler.
- You can also try to de-ice the eaves by filling pantyhose with ice melt and placing them on the icy areas of the roof.
These are just quick fixes for ice dams, but there are also steps you can take to solve the problem long term. If you notice ice dams have formed on your roof, you should take photos of the troubled areas of your roof and attic and show them to a professional roofer. They will be able to help you figure out what to do to prevent the dams in the future.
And if you have an issue with ice dams that have sent water into your home, SERVPRO of West Brown County can clean up the mess. Call us at 920-434-8224.
We're Here for Your Commercial Restoration Needs
Photo of a commercial restoration project we worked on in the Green Bay area.
At SERVPRO of West Brown County we know when disaster strikes it can strike anywhere. That means we need to be prepared to take on restoration and cleaning projects for homes AND businesses across the Green Bay area.
And we are. Team SERVPRO of West Brown County can take care of any commercial disaster recovery project large or small.
Because we’re a locally owned business, we understand that working time lost because of a disaster means money lost. Since we have that understanding, we strive to perform any commercial cleanup needs as quickly, efficiently and effectively as possible. Our number one goal is to make sure to get your business back to work as soon as possible. That way you can take care of your clients and your bottom line.
As we said, our technicians are trained and ready to take on any kind of disaster clean up like flood damage, fire and smoke damage, mold, biohazard situations and even crime scenes like break ins or vandalism.
Our techs can also help with more general tasks like carpet cleaning.
Here’s a list with examples of just a few of the commercial properties our team is ready to tackle:
- Small Office Buildings
- Large Office/High-Rise Office Buildings
- Apartment Buildings
- Small Retail Stores
- Large Retail/Big-Box Stores
- High-Rise Residential
- Manufacturing & Industrial
Another service we provide to local businesses is an Emergency Readiness Profile, or ERP. The ERP is a document that you can refer to in a disaster situation to know things like the first responders you need to contact, the areas of the building that might be affected by a particular incident and the chain of command in an emergency. Our marketing team will complete ERPs for Green Bay area businesses completely free of charge. It only takes about an hour of a business owner’s time.
If you need our services to help your business recover after a disaster, or if you’re interested in setting up an ERP appointment, call us at 920-434-8224.
Protecting Your Property with Board Ups
This photo shows one of the board up projects our team performed in the Green Bay area.
Imagine a tornado has ripped through your town. The wind was strong enough to rip the roof off your home. The cleanup alone is overwhelming and now you also have to deal with your property, your belongings being exposed to the elements.
That’s where SERVPRO of West Brown County can be your hero. Our team of qualified technicians can come in and help calm that chaos.
The techs will first board up the opening left behind by the storm. They will use different materials like boards, plywood and/or tarps, depending on the size of the hole, the surrounding damage and the weather.
The techs will then clean up and remove any debris left behind.
But we know the board up is just the start of the recovery. We are able to provide reconstruction services as well, to rebuild your property. Our master carpenter can bring your home back to its original glory.
And this imaginary scenario is not the only one our team can help with. If you have a fire in your home that leaves a hole in the wall, we can help there. If your business experiences storm or fire damage that leaves it open to the elements, we can help there too. Basically, if ANY of your property is damaged and you need it protected right away, we are there for you.
A board up will ensure that there is no further damage to your property and it will help the cleanup and recovery process go much faster. That way life can get back to normal sooner, meaning less stress for you.
If you should need these services, at any time, we are here for you. Just give us a call at 920-434-8224.
Meet Josh: Production Technician with SERVPRO of West Brown County
In this week’s Profile Friday, we are introducing Josh, who is a production technician for SERVPRO of West Brown County. Josh has been a part of the team for a little more than a year now.
Josh helps in any cleanup or restoration work we do, including water damage, fire damage, mold, biohazard and more. He has a background in landscaping, having worked in that industry for about 10 years. In addition to that, Josh does have previous experience in cleaning and building maintenance.
Josh really enjoys the variety of the work at SERVPRO. He says there the job is different every day and that keeps things exciting and interesting.
Josh comes to us from across the pond! He is originally from the Cotswolds in England. He now lives in the Green Bay area. He says he enjoys living here because of all the fun bars Wisconsin has to offer.
Josh married his wife Hollie in April of 2018.
In his free time Josh enjoys cultural activities like going to museums and aquariums and learning about history.
Meet Trevor: Production Technician for SERVPRO of West Brown County
Trevor is a production technician at team SERVPRO of West Brown County. He has been part of the team for a little less than a year now.
Trevor has a background in cleaning and building maintenance and uses those skills now to work on water, fire, mold and bio-hazard mitigation projects.
Trevor says he likes working at SERVPRO because no two days are alike. He says, “you could have two water losses and they will be completely different.” He says the differences in projects are challenging, which keeps the work interesting.
Trevor is originally from Carthage, Mississippi. Now he lives in Green Bay and says he enjoys living in the north. He explains what he enjoys most about Wisconsin life is the food!
Trevor has been married to his wife Janet for a little more than a year. Trevor and Janet have three children: two boys and one girl.
In his free time, Trevor’s favorite thing to do is travel. He is a big fan of tropical locations like Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Belize.
SERVPRO Products Set Us Apart
When team SERVPRO of West Brown County comes to clean up your home or business, we have a secret weapon that ensures we can make any disaster “Like it never even happened.” Well, make that DOZENS of secret weapons.
SERVPRO stands out among its competitors, because we use our very own line of proprietary cleaning products. Those products are made to handle restoration work from fires to flood damage, biohazard to mold.
By using our own cleaning agents, we know the exact ingredients in each one. This means our technicians can ensure they perform cleanup work safely and efficiently, with the very best results.
A team of chemists and blenders creates 95 of these cleansers in-house at our corporate facility in Tennessee. The team relies on outside vendors to concoct about 45 more products. Those products from outside vendors still carry the SERVPRO guarantee of Quality Assurance and Quality Control, of course.
Here is a list of the types of products our team uses:
- Spotting Agents
- Carpet & Upholstery Products
- Wood & Leather Care Products
- Decontamination Products
- Deodorization Products
- Ceiling & Wall Cleaning Producs
- Hard Floor Care Products
- Specialty Products
- Coatings & Sealant Products
SERVPRO has even created a line of environmentally friendly or “green” cleansers as part of the company’s efforts to better serve our clients and community.
And while the products are created by SERVPRO’s corporate team, they’re used locally by our team here in the Green Bay area. Our technicians are trained to use each product in the safest, most effective way possible. Whether we’re simply cleaning your carpet, or cleaning up after a major sewage spill, you can rest assured we’re using the best possible tools to get the job done right.
Call us day or night at 920-434-8224 and we’ll make any disaster, large or small, “Like it never even happened.”
Winter Prep Profile: Your Car
Graphic courtesy of clearroads.org.
It’s no secret winter driving conditions can be downright hazardous in Northeast Wisconsin. So, it’s best to play it safe if you plan on hitting the road during any storms this season.
SERVPRO of West Brown County wants you to arrive at your destination safely and that’s why our first piece of advice is to make sure your car is in good condition (if you haven’t already, of course!). That means ensuring everything is working properly from your brakes to your windshield wipers. If you’re not much of a mechanic yourself, it’s a good idea to have a professional check everything out for you, just to be on the safe side!
Now, making sure your vehicle itself is winter-ready is only the first step in seasonal car preparation. This is the time of year you should have an emergency kit in your car at all times. Unsure of what goes in an emergency kit? The American Red Cross has this handy checklist (make sure to bring enough of all of these supplies for every person you’re traveling with):
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- Rain gear and extra sets of clothing like socks, mittens and hats
- Newspapers for insulation
- Plastic bags for sanitation
- Non-perishable food items, like granola bars and nuts
- Bottled water
- A charged cell phone
- A full tank of gas
The Red Cross also advises driving during daylight hours, leaving your headlights on, leaving plenty of space between your car and the other vehicles on the road and taking your time.
If the worst happens and you become stranded during winter weather, the Red Cross asks you to be safe and smart until help arrives. Here are steps you should take:
- Call for help and stay in your car until help arrives.
- Hang a brightly colored cloth on your antenna (preferably red).
- Run the engine occasionally to keep warm. Turn on the engine for about 10 minutes every hour.
- Leave the overhead light on when you have the engine running, in order to be seen.
- Do light exercises to keep your circulation moving.
- If more than one person is in the car, take turns sleeping.
- Huddle together for warmth.
- Drink fluids to avoid dehydration.
- Avoid overexertion. Wait for help instead of shoveling snow or pushing your car.
In Northeast Wisconsin we’re not strangers to the dangers of winter weather. But, that doesn’t mean we’re always prepared for unpredictable conditions. As always, Team SERVPRO of West Brown County asks you to be safe!
Winter Prep Profile: Your Pets
Photo courtesy of the American Red Cross.
Our final Winter Prep Profile for the month deals with our four-legged friends. Yes, we’re talking about the furrier members of our families, our pets!
It’s no secret that at SERVPRO of West Brown County we consider our pets family, and we know many of you do too. So, it’s important to consider how to keep them safe and sound during the winter months.
Even though most pets like dogs and cats come equipped with their own fur coats, they can be susceptible to the cold, just like us humans. The American Red Cross says it’s important that you prepare your pets if they have to go outside, even for a little while. The Red Cross advises pet sweaters and booties for long walks to keep them warm and brining any outdoor pets inside during especially cold or snowy days. Booties are also a good idea to keep your pets paws safe from salt and other snow-melting chemicals. If your pet gets snow-melt on their paws, wipe them off before they lick their paws.
If you cannot bring an animal inside, you must ensure it has a proper shelter. According to the Red Cross, the shelter must reach these specifications:
- The enclosure must be dry and draft-free.
- The enclosure must be large enough for the animal to turn around and lie down, but small enough to hold its body heat.
- The floor must be raised a few inches off the ground.
- You should cover the floor with clean blankets, wood shavings or straw for added warmth.
- Ensure the animal has unblocked access to food and water (make sure the water does not freeze!).
- Keep the enclosure turned away from the wind.
- Cover the door with heavy plastic or burlap.
Wisconsin’s winter weather can become down-right dangerous if we’re not careful. So, SERVPRO of West Brown County asks you to please protect yourself and ALL the members of your family this time of year!
Winter Prep Profile: Preventing Frozen Pipes
Photo of a frozen pipe courtesy of the American Red Cross.
In last week’s Winter Prep Profile Team SERVPRO of West Brown County gave you a rundown of steps you can (and should!) take to prepare your home and/or business for the winter weather to come. One of the most important of those steps is preventing your pipes from freezing!
And, as we said last week, this is such an important step, we feel it deserves its very own profile.
As you probably know, freezing weather makes water freeze and when water freezes it expands. That means if water freezes in a pipe, whether that pipe is made of metal or plastic, that frozen water can be strong enough to break that pipe. And if a pipe breaks, that can lead to serious consequences like flooding and water damage in your home or business.
SERVPRO of West Brown County does not want to see you experience any of that damage this winter. So, we’re sharing the American Red Cross’s advice for preventing frozen pipes. First, here’s a list of the pipes the Red Cross says are most likely to freeze:
- Any pipes that are outside and exposed to severe cold. These include outdoor hose bibs, sprinkler lines and swimming pool supply lines.
- Water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets.
- Pipes that run along exterior walls with little or no insulation.
To prevent these pipes from freezing the Red Cross advises the following:
- Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed.
- Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
- Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces.
- Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
- Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
- Consider running water (even a drip) through faucets served by exposed pipes on extremely cold days.
- Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both day and night.
- If you leave for an extended period of time, keep your thermostat at at least 55 degrees.
According to the Red Cross, if you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, you likely have a frozen pipe. You can try to fix the problem by taking the following steps:
- Keep the faucet open. Running water will help thaw the pipe. You will also be able to tell when the problem is fixed when water starts running normally again.
- Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. DO NOT use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
- If you cannot find the frozen area or fix the problem on your own, call a licensed plumber right away.
- If you have one frozen pipe, check other faucets in your home to see if you have others.
And remember, if worse comes worst and you do experience a frozen pipe that leads to water damage at your home or business, you can call us any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (even on holidays!) at 920-434-8224.
Continuing Education Classes Coming Up
At SERVPRO of West Brown County, one thing we take great pride in is providing continuing education classes. These classes are aimed at our friends in the insurance business and help keep their licenses up to date!
This coming March 12th (of 2019), we will be holding two seminars at the Marq on French Road in De Pere.
The first seminar will deal with ethics and will run from 8:00am through 11:00am. Registration for this course will start at 7:15am. 100% completion of this course will result in three insurance credit hours.
The second seminar will deal with biohazard cleanup and will run from 11:30am to 1:30pm. Registration for this course will start at 11:15am. 100% completion of this course will result in two insurance credit hours.
The only cost to attend these seminars is a $5.00 state credit processing fee per attendee.
Continental breakfast will be provided by Sherwin Williams and lunch will be provided by Electronic Restoration Services.
To reserve your spot or ask any questions, reach out to Jim Knopf at 920-434-8224 or at jknopf@SERVPROgreenbay.com.
We hope to see you out there!
Winter Prep Profile: Your Home or Business
We’re officially into December and with a new month, comes new Profile Friday subjects!
This month we’re focusing on how you can prepare for the deep winter months to come.
At this point, we’re not even officially into winter yet, but we’re already experiencing wintry conditions. So, it’s good to take the necessary precautions now before conditions get worse.
In this profile, we’re going to talk about steps you can take to ensure your home and/or business is ready for the season. (Most of this advice can be used in either your home or business!)
The American Red Cross recommends the following advice:
- Protect your pipes from freezing (this is such an important step, we’re going to do an entire blog on it in our profile next week!)
- Make sure your home heating sources are installed properly and are clean and in good, working condition.
- Make sure your home is properly insulated.
- Caulk or weather-strip any drafty doors or windows.
- Install storm windows.
- Consider buying back up heating sources like a wood stove or space heater. Make sure those heating sources are properly cleaned and maintained.
- Make sure to keep extra fuel for heating sources on hand in case of storms. (But, make sure to take caution with extra fuel sources to protect against fires.)
- Consider installing a portable generator.
- Ensure you have carbon monoxide detectors installed on every level of your home and in every bedroom.
- Consider buying flood insurance. Flood insurance is not part of a home-owner’s policy, but is purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program.
- Clean your gutters.
- Look for loose tree limbs and other debris in your yard that could be blown around during a storm and get rid of them so they don’t cause damage to your property.
- Make sure your sump pump is working.
It’s also a good time to remind you about Winter Storm and Blizzard Warnings. According to the Red Cross, a Winter Storm Warning means that life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin in the next 24 hours. The Red Cross says a Blizzard Warning means there will be sustained winds or frequent gusts of 35 miles per hour or greater, plus considerable falling or blowing snow reducing visibility to less than a quarter mile, expected to prevail for three hours or longer.
If severe weather is in the forecast, make sure to prepare your home with the supplies you need to ride out the storm. It’s also a good idea to stay home during bad weather if you can! If you must be on the road, take precautions and look out for our winter prep profile about safety in your car!
Bell Ringing for the Salvation Army
Jim and Bill bell ringing
It’s become a tradition for SERVPRO of West Brown County employees to volunteer as bell ringers for the Salvation Army of Greater Green Bay’s annual Red Kettle Campaign.
This year the marketing team, which includes Jim, Bill and Alex have been ringing for donations at the Festival Foods in Suamico on Tuesday afternoons.
The trio has been having a lot of fun getting out in the community for a good cause. They’ve been singing and ringing, talking to people and handing out candy.
It’s not just about having a good time though, the money raised through the Red Kettle campaign will go on to help thousands of families in Brown County throughout the year. The local Salvation Army provides all kinds of services to those in need from serving hot lunches every Monday through Friday, to organizing toy and coat drives, to assisting families with energy bills, to distributing food to the hungry.
The Salvation Army does a lot of good work, both locally and internationally and we are so happy to play a teeny tiny role in that great mission.
We recommend anyone who’s interested to consider bell ringing, even an hour of time can make a difference! The Salvation Army has a lot of hours to fill with ringers and the red kettles fill up much faster when there is someone ringing.
For more information on how you can volunteer, check out the Salvation Army of Greater Green Bay website here: https://app.betterimpact.com/PublicOrganization/b946a969-edef-41a4-a666-fd4cf1e93bc8/3.
And if you see the SERVPRO team out there, stop, say hello and ask for a song in exchange for your donation…they will definitely sing for you!
Holiday Prep Profile: Christmas Trees
Photo of a decorated tree courtesy of the American Christmas Tree Association.
As we reflect on our Thanksgiving and look forward to the rest of the holiday season, for many of us, this time of year would not be the same without a Christmas tree.
It’s likely you’ve already started to see lots full of trees popping up all over town, maybe noticing the well-lit evergreens appearing in your neighbors’ windows, or, possibly, you’ve even set up your own tree! These festive firs bring back fond memories for many of Christmases past.
And while the tree if often the centerpiece of the Christmas decorations in many homes, the holiday symbol does come with dangers. We do hate always being the bearers of bad news here, but according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Christmas trees are responsible for about 210 home fires each year in the United States, leaving behind about $13 million in damage.
So, what can you do to ensure your Christmas tree is safe for the season?
First, the NFPA, advises using a modern, artificial tree from a reputable company. These artificial trees are less likely than live trees to start a fire (although you should still make sure to use proper lights on artificial trees and to turn off the lights when you go to bed or leave your home).
However, if you cannot imagine an artificial tree in your home and a real, live tree is the only one for you, there are precautions you can take to lessen your fire risk. The NFPA advises the following:
- Choose a very fresh, green tree with needles that do not fall off when touched.
- Make sure the tree is at least three feet from any heat source like fireplaces, candles or heat vents.
- Make sure to water the tree daily.
- Make sure the tree is not blocking any exits.
- Use only lights from reputable companies that have been independently tested.
- Replace any lights with damaged bulbs or cords.
- NEVER use lit candles to decorate the tree.
- Do not overload electrical outlets.
- Turn off lights when you go to bed or leave the house.
- Get rid of the tree after Christmas, or as soon as it starts to lose its needles.
Please keep these safety measures in mind as you get into the holiday spirit this year.
Enjoy the holidays, be safe and, remember, you can call us any day of the year, at any time of the day at 920-434-8224.
Holiday Prep Profile: Christmas Lights
Christmas lights courtesy of NFPA.
Thanksgiving has just passed and we here at SERVPRO of West Brown County in Green Bay hope you and your family had a wonderful holiday!
As you recover from turkey and pumpkin pie overload, you might already be starting to look ahead to what’s next…we’re talking the big one…Christmas!
It might seem early to some, late to others, but for many it’s time to start planning your holiday decorations, including lights! As always, we’re here to help…well, we can’t come hang your lights for you, but we HAVE compiled a list of helpful tips to keep you safe while you turn your home into a winter wonderland!
Christmas lights are beautiful, but they do come with safety concerns whether they’re hanging inside or outside your home. They can be responsible for fires and injuries during the hanging process. According to the National Fire Protection Association, holiday decorations cause 860 house fires each year (that number does NOT include fires caused by Christmas trees).
So, please, take this advice and be safe.
Starting with indoor Christmas light decorations, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) advises the following:
- Use LED lights, which use less energy and run cooler than incandescent lights.
- If you DO use incandescent lights, never connect more than three strands together.
- Plan your light displays according to the outlets in your home.
- Carefully inspect each electrical decoration. Cracked or damaged sockets, loose or bare wires, and loose connections may cause a serious shock or start a fire.
- Follow all the manufacturer’s directions for displaying lights.
- Do not overload electrical outlets.
- Make sure wires and chords are not pinched in doors, windows or under anything heavy. Ensure wires are not twisted.
- Turn off all decorations before leaving the house or going to sleep.
Now that we’ve taken a look inside, let’s take a look outside. The ESFI recommends these steps when hanging holiday lights outdoors:
- Make sure any lights or extension cords you plan to use are marked for outdoor use.
- Match power needs (amperage) of electrical products with amperage rating of extension cords.
- Outdoor electric lights and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).
- Inspect all lights, decorations and extension cords before using.
- Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, the house, or other firm supports to protect them from wind damage, but take care not to attach the lights in a way that could damage the cord’s insulation.
- Avoid overloading electrical outlets with too many decorations or electrical devices. They can overheat and cause a fire.
- Do not mount or support light strings in a way that might damage the cord’s insulation.
- As with the indoor lights, turn off all outdoor lights before leaving home or going to bed.
And finally, make sure you get the lights up without hurting yourself. To do so, ESFI says:
- Inspect ladders for loose or missing screws, hinges, bolts, and nuts before using.
- Use wooden or fiberglass ladders. Don’t use metal ladders, as they conduct electricity.
- Use the correct ladder height, ensuring the ladder extends beyond the height of the roof by at least 3 feet.
- When decorating keep yourself and your equipment at least ten feet away from powerlines.
Have fun and get creative this holiday season, but make sure, as always, to keep yourself, your family and your home safe!
And should you ever need us for holiday mishaps, like fire damage, water damage, mold and more, call us anytime (even on Holidays themselves!) at 920-434-8224.
Holiday Prep Profile: Deep Frying a Turkey
Turkey photo courtesy of NFPA.
We’re less than a week away from one of the most delicious holidays of the year. That’s right, Thanksgiving is almost upon us.
Most people who plan to host family and friends this year already have a plan in place for what they’re going to cook: what sides they’ll make, what dessert they’ll serve and how they’ll prepare the main dish, the turkey.
And while most home chefs will probably put old Tom Turkey in the oven for the traditional roasting, some cooks will likely try something more adventurous: deep frying.
Deep frying a turkey can certainly create something delicious, but it is one of the most dangerous activities of the holiday.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are five major concerns when it comes to turkey frying:
- Turkey fryers can easily tip over spilling hot cooking oil over a large area.
- An overfilled cooking pot will cause cooking oil to spill when the turkey is put in, and a frozen turkey will cause cooking oil to splatter when you put it in the pot.
- Even a small amount of cooking oil spilling on a hot burner can cause a large fire.
- Without thermostat controls, deep fryers can overheat oil to the point of starting a fire.
- The sides of the cooking pot, lid and pot handles can get dangerously hot.
So, if you’re planning to try out deep frying a turkey this year, you need to be prepared and take serious precautions to avoid any of those above concerns.
State Farm Insurance Company has a long list of safety steps you should take:
- Keep outdoor fryers off decks, out of garages and away from trees and bushes.
- Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and dry before frying to keep oil from splattering.
- Do NOT operate a fryer outdoors in the rain or snow.
- Place the fryer on a level surface and don’t move it once it’s in use.
- Follower the manufacturer’s directions to avoid overfilling the oil.
- Choose a smaller turkey, between 8 and 10 pounds for frying.
- Never leave fryer unattended.
- Use a fryer with temperature controls. Watch the controls to make sure the oil does not get too hot. If the oil starts smoking, turn off the fryer.
- Turn off the burner before putting the turkey in the fryer. Once the turkey is in the fryer, turn the burner back on.
- Wear goggles and over mitts to protect your eyes and arms.
- Keep an ABC-rated fire extinguisher (one that can be used on grease fires) on hand. Never try to put out a grease fire with water.
- Keep children and pets away from fryers at all times.
- Once finished, carefully remove the pot from the burner. Allow the oil to cool overnight before disposing of it.
Keep in mind that, even if you follow all the safety tips, frying a turkey still comes with risks. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association and State Farm recommend using an oil-less fryer, one that uses infrared heat instead of oil, to fry your turkey. Both organizations say that is the safest option.
Whatever you decide for your Thanksgiving celebration, we wish you a very happy one!
And if you should even need our help with fire damage restoration in the Green Bay area, we’re just a phone call away at 920-434-8224.
Mold and Cold: What You Need to Know
Photo of mold inside a home.
We’ve written and posted many times about mold in the past.
So, by now you probably know that it’s a sneaky fungus that grows given three optimal conditions: a food source, moisture and an ideal temperature (70-90 degrees are most conducive to mold growth, but the spores can thrive anywhere from 32 to 120 degrees).
But as much as you might know about mold, did you know the cold, late fall and winter months can be ideal times for mold to grow in your home?
This may come as a surprise since we know mold likes those warmer temperatures. However, despite the cold air outside and dry air from heating systems inside, certain areas of the house may be more prone to warm, humid air than they would during other times of the year.
Bathrooms and kitchens are two areas that get a lot of hot, steamy air and they may not have the proper ventilation to let that steam out. This can be a particular problem in winter, because you’re less likely to have any windows open when the weather outside is frightful. Mold will take any chance it can get to start growing in that nice, humid environment.
And as the cold air from outside hitting windows and doorways meets hot air from inside the home, condensation will likely develop around those windows and doors. Mold loves to grow where condensation exists.
Another concern with cold weather and mold is that the fungus can and does flourish in dead vegetation (like those leaves that may be covering your yard as we speak!). Even a frost is unlikely to kill mold spores, so when you walk through those dead leaves and then into your house, the spores can hitch a ride on your shoes or clothes. The more spores that make it inside, the more likely you’re going to have a mold problem.
No matter the season, it’s always a good idea to be on the lookout for mold in your home. If you see it growing, you can always count on SERVPRO of West Brown County for help with mold remediation. Call us any time at 920-434-8224.
Holiday Prep Profile: Fire Extinguishers
Fire extinguisher photo, courtesy of OSHA.
It is officially November!
Halloween is behind us, Thanksgiving and Christmas are still ahead, and while it might be too early for some to hear Christmas carols on the radio and in the stores, it’s NEVER to early to do some safety prep for the holiday season.
On Fridays this month we will take a look at some different safety considerations you might want to take before your celebrations begin.
For our first Holiday Prep Profile, we’re going to talk about fire extinguishers.
Why fire extinguishers? Well, according to the National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA (one of our favorite sources, don’tcha know!), cooking fires peak during the holiday season. The NFPA says the most cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving, then Christmas Day, then Christmas Eve. Oh, and cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires.
So, all those statistics are certainly reason enough to consider getting a fire extinguisher for your home before the holidays AND learn how to use it properly.
First and foremost, you’re going to want to choose the right fire extinguisher. There are several classes of them, which the NFPA describes:
- Class A – this is the most common extinguisher and can be used to put out fires on cloth, wood, rubber, paper and many plastics.
- Class B – this is used on fires involving flammable liquids like gasoline, grease and oil.
- Class C – this is used for fires that involved electrical appliances and tools that are plugged in.
- Class D – this is used on flammable metals and is typically only found in factories that work with those metals.
- Class K – this is used on fires that involve oils and animal fats INSIDE cooking appliances. These are typically only found in commercial kitchens; however, they are on the market for use in homes.
The NFPA advises choosing a fire extinguisher for your home that is multi-purpose and large enough to put out a small fire, but not so large that it is difficult to handle.
The association also recommends reading all of the fire extinguisher’s directions and becoming familiar with it as soon as you buy it. This way you’ll know how to use it if you need it.
And when it comes to using it, remember the acronym PASS:
- P – Pull the pin. Hold the nozzle away from you and release the locking mechanism.
- A – Aim Low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
- S – Squeeze. Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
- S – Sweep. Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.
The NFPA WARNS a fire extinguisher should ONLY be used if the fire is contained to a SMALL area, is NOT growing and the room is NOT filled with smoke. Otherwise, it is far too dangerous to try to put out a fire using an extinguisher and you should leave the home immediately. And, the NFPA says, you should always call the fire department.
A fire extinguisher is certainly a good tool to have in your home, particularly around the holiday season. However, it is not the be-all or end-all for fire safety. Take care of yourself and always put your safety first.
Fire Prevention Profile: What to Do Until Help Arrives
Damage from a fire in the Green Bay area.
October has come to an end and, with it, so has Fire Prevention Month. However, you are in luck, as we have one more, bonus prevention profile to share! (And, let’s be honest, it’s never a bad time to talk about fire prevention.)
Aside from the obvious dangers house fires present, even the smallest blazes can bring big headaches. Meaning, even fires that are put out quickly without injury can leave soot, smoke damage and other nasty problems.
That’s where SERVPRO of West Brown County comes into the picture. After the you or firefighters have done the heavy lifting of putting out the flames, our technicians come in to clean up the damage left behind. We have the expertise and equipment to make a fire “like it never even happened.”
There are some things you can do to make that recovery process go smoothly and ensure the damage doesn’t get any worse before our team arrives.
SERVPRO advises these DOs:
- Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpet.
- Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can cause further damage to upholstery, walls and woodwork.
- Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpeting.
- Wipe soot from chrome kitchen/bathroom faucets, trim and appliances. Then protect these surfaces with a light coating of lubricant.
- If heat is off during winter, pour RV antifreeze in sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks and tubs to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures.
- Change HVAC filters; leave system off until a trained professional can check the system.
- Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop soot particles from getting in or out of the HVAC system.
And along with those DOs, there are a list of DON’Ts:
- Don’t attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting your SERVPRO professionals.
- Don’t attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstery without first contacting your SERVPRO professionals.
- Do not attempt to clean nay electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat or water without first contacting an authorized repair service.
- Do not consume any food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water, as they may be contaminated.
- If ceiling is wet, do not turn on any ceiling fans. Wiring may be wet or damaged and cause electrical shock, and air movement may cause secondary damage.
- Don’t send garments to dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set in odor smoke.
Hopefully you never need this advice, but if you do, the steps are simple ones to take to ensure your property can be restored as easily as possible.
At SERVPRO of West Brown County we know a fire of any size can be a traumatic event and we know the damage left behind, the sights and smells of soot and smoke, can amplify and prolong that trauma. It is our goal to take care of that damage quickly and efficiently to help minimize the trauma and get your life back in order.
We are always just a phone call away at 920-434-8224.
Fire Prevention Profile: Home Heating Safety
House fire photo, courtesy of FEMA.
As October comes to an end, we can all start to feel that chill in the air.
Fall is a time known for “sweater weather,” a time of year to get cozy. And as we get deeper into autumn, we know old man winter is not far behind.
When winter arrives, the sweaters are no longer enough to keep us warm and snug and we all start to rely on home heating to get us through the bitter months (honestly, some of us have already turned on our thermostats!).
However, when it comes to home heating, the threat of fire is never far behind. In fact, according to FEMA, heating is the second leading cause of home fires after cooking.
Furnaces, space heaters, fireplaces and woodstoves all have the potential to cause a blaze. So, it’s important to follow some safety rules when using any of these.
FEMA has a list of advice for each piece of equipment we listed:
- Have your furnace inspected each year by an HVAC professional.
- Keep anything flammable at least three feet from your furnace.
- Keep anything flammable away from implements like heat registers too.
- Have your chimney inspected and cleaned once a year.
- Keep anything that can burn at least three feet from your fireplace or woodstove.
- Do not burn paper in your fireplace or woodstove.
- Put the fire out before you go to sleep or leave the house.
- Put ashes in a metal container with a lid, outside, at least three feet away from your house.
- Keep a glass or metal screen in front of your fireplace to keep sparks and embers from jumping out.
- Space Heaters:
- Again, keep anything flammable or that can burn, at least three feet away from the space heater.
- Make sure the heater has an automatic shut off on the event it falls over.
- Turn heaters off when you leave the room or go to bed.
- Plug portable heaters directly into wall outlets, never into extension cords or power strips.
- Only use space heaters from a recognized testing laboratory.
These are some easy tips to follow and they’re also very important. According to FEMA, 75% of home heating fires are “confined,” meaning they are confined to chimneys, flues or fuel burners (so get those chimneys cleaned!) and 29% of heating fires that are not confined are caused when something flammable is left too close to a heat source.
It’s also important to note that, as FEMA reports, home heating fires peak in January (that’s the month when 21% of those blazes occur) and those fires peak between the hours of 5:00 and 9:00 p.m.
So, be sure to stay warm and cozy and SAFE during the cold months ahead!
Cleaning in the Community
SERVPRO crew after road clean.
As we’ve written in the past, SERVPRO of West Brown County is invested in making the Green Bay area a better place and that includes doing adopt-a-road clean up!
We recently completed our second volunteer road clean of 2018 in Howard. The village assigned our team Pamperin Road and part of Velp Avenue at the start of the year.
A group of about 20 volunteers from team SERVPRO (along with some of our friends and family members) hit the streets for our first clean last spring…and phew, let us tell you, there was a lot of garbage that needed picking up!
We were out there for more than three hours and we collected more than forty very large bags full of trash.
As part of our commitment to the village, we’ve agreed to do this clean up twice a year: one in spring and one in fall.
So, last weekend, another group of SERVPRO volunteers set out, pounding the pavement, to clean up our streets.
We were in for a very pleasant surprise: the roadways were MUCH cleaner this time around! Thanks to the spring clean, our fall clean was a breeze. It took us about two hours this time and we collected about 15 trash bags full and while 15 bags is an improvement over 40 bags, we still hate to see even that much trash on our roadways.
Our crew certainly enjoys helping make the community a bit cleaner and brighter, and we recommend any local business or team get together and adopt a local road of their own. It sounds like a lot of work, but it’s really a great time. You get out, enjoy some nice weather and get to know your co-workers a little bit better.
And although we really do have a good time volunteering, we must ask all the drivers out there to please not litter! It takes everyone, working together, to make the community the best it can be.
Fire Prevention Profile: Electrical Fires
Picture courtesy of FEMA.
As the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer, we all start to rely more heavily on our lights and other electronic devices to keep our homes bright and warm. But, along with the increased use of electricity comes a greater risk of electrical fires.
And since October is fire prevention month, now is a great time to ensure your home is safe from this risk before we get into the bitter winter months.
According to FEMA there are more than 45,000 home electrical fires each year in the United States. Half of those are caused by lighting equipment or home electrical wiring. FEMA says the peak months for these fires are December through March and deaths caused by these blazes peak between the hours of midnight and 6:00 in the morning (a very good reason to have working smoke detectors in your home!).
There are some very easy steps you can take immediately to prevent electrical fires. FEMA has an easy to follow checklist for you:
- Always plug appliances (especially major appliances like washers, dryers and refrigerators) directly into wall outlets.
- Never use an extension cord with those major appliances, as the cords can overheat quickly and cause a fire.
- Unplug small appliances when not in use.
- Plug only one heat-producing appliance (like a coffee maker or microwave) into an outlet at a time.
- Never use an extension cord with a heat-producing appliance.
- Keep light fixtures and lightbulbs away from anything flammable.
- Use lightbulbs that match the recommended wattage of the light fixture.
- Check the cords on appliances often. Replace any cracked, damaged or loose cords.
- Do not overload wall outlets.
- Insert plugs fully into sockets.
- Never force a three-prong plug into a two-prong outlet.
- If you have young children, be sure to install tamper resistant outlets.
- Replace old, worn or damaged extension cords right away.
- Use extension cords for temporary purposes only.
- Avoid putting cords where they can be damaged or pinched (like in heavy traffic areas where they might be stepped on).
- Do not overload power strips.
- Only use power strips with internal overload protection.
Now that you have this list, we recommend you go through your home and check off every bullet point on there (What are you waiting for? Do it now!). Doing so can help protect you, your family and your property, while keeping things bright this winter.
Fire Prevention Profile: Kitchen Fires
A stove that caught fire in the Green Bay area
Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires in the United States and the dangers only rise as we get into the holiday season. So, (since October is Fire Prevention Month) now is a good time to learn more about these incidents and what you can do to prevent them.
The statistics when it comes to kitchen fires are stark. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking accounts for about 47% of home fires, 20% of fire-related deaths and 45% of the fire-related injuries reported across the country each year. The NFPA says Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and then Christmas Eve.
Luckily, there are many simple steps home chefs can take to avoid these fires. One big step? Always watch what you’re cooking. The NFPA tells us one third of kitchen fires happen when a person leaves the equipment they’re using unattended. So, particularly if you’re using the stove top, stay in the kitchen and watch closely. If you’re using the oven, experts advise checking in regularly.
It’s important to remember, kitchen fires don’t just happen when food burns, anything flammable can catch fire if it’s too close to the heat. So, keep anything like oven mitts, dish cloths and paper towels AWAY from heat sources.
We have saved the BIGGEST culprit of cooking fires for last: frying. The NFPA says frying dominates the cooking fire problem. So, the Association has some advice you’ll want to follow this holiday season (and, of course, all year long):
- Always stay in the kitchen when frying.
- If you see smoke coming off the food you’re frying, turn off the burner or safely remove the pan from the burner. Smoke it a sign the oil is too hot.
- Slowly heat the oil to the temperature you need.
- Add food to the oil gently so that it does not splatter.
- Always keep a lid beside your pan. If the pan does catch fire, cover it with the lid and turn off the banner. Let the oil cool before removing the lid again.
- NEVER put water on a grease fire. If a fire starts to spread, leave the house immediately and call 911.
Now you know a little bit more about how to stand the heat and stay in the kitchen SAFELY. Team SERVPRO of West Brown County wishes everyone in the Green Bay area and beyond a very safe and happy holiday season!
Fire Prevention Profile: October is Fire Prevention Month
October is Fire Prevention Month
October is National Fire Prevention Month and we at SERVPRO of West Brown County want to ensure you are staying safe this month and all year long.
And in that spirit, we will be posting Fire Prevention Profiles each Friday in October.
For this first profile, we will provide some general prevention tips. The second week we will talk about preventing kitchen fires, the third week we’ll cover electrical fire prevention and the final fire prevention profile will discuss home heating safety and how that relates to fire prevention.
So, diving in to this week, the National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA, provides a theme each year for fire prevention and 2018’s theme is “Look. Listen. Learn. Be Aware. Fire can happen anywhere.”
So here is what the NFPA advises:
- LOOK – look for places in your home fires could start. Identify any possible hazards and take care of them.
- LISTEN – listen for the sound of your smoke alarm. If you hear the smoke alarm, leave the building immediately. You only have minutes, sometimes seconds to escape the smoke and flames safely once you hear the alarm.
- LEARN – learn (and teach your family) two ways out of every room and make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily and are free of clutter.
This is also a great time of year to PREPARE for emergencies! In case you didn’t see our Preparedness Profiles from last month, they are all still in our blog archives, which you can find easily on our website and our social media pages. You can find out more about preparing for evacuations, pet safety in emergencies and proper use of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
And always remember, if a fire should damage your home or business, SERVPRO of West Brown County is always here for you. You can reach us, day or night, at 920-434-8224.
Preparedness Profile: Emergency Finances
It's a good idea to have an emergency "piggy bank."
For our final Preparedness Profile as September (AKA National Preparedness Month) comes to an end, we’d like to talk to you about emergency finances.
Being ready for a disaster doesn’t just mean having a plan in place, or creating an emergency kit, it means making sure your bank account and insurance policies are ready if worse comes to worst.
Having your finances in place is so important, because disasters can be devastating financially. For example, Ready.gov, says that just one inch of water in your home during a flooding situation can cause $25,000 worth of damage.
Now, it’s unlikely that you have (or can get) a spare $25,000 in your bank account on short notice and that’s why it’s so important you make sure you have any insurance coverage you might need. Have a conversation with your insurance agent about your policy. What possible holes exist in your coverage? What might you need if disaster strikes?
There are a lot of unknowns when it comes to insurance that only a professional can help with. For example, did you know that most homeowners’ and renters’ insurance does NOT cover flood damage? You often need an additional flood insurance policy. Even if you don’t live near a body of water, the experts say, anywhere it rains it can flood.
In addition to having the right insurance coverage, it’s also a good idea to have SOME money set aside for a disaster, or emergency situation. This will ensure you can still care for your family if something prevents you from working.
Ready.gov advises putting aside a little bit of money each month in a savings account that is only to be used in case of emergencies. The website also advises you have any paychecks or benefit checks directly deposited into your bank account to ensure you continue to receive your money in the midst of any disasters.
In addition, Ready.gov has a list of identifying and financial documents you’ll want copies of in case of emergencies. Those documents include:
- Photo ID
- Birth certificates for all household members
- Social Security card
- Any military ID
- Pet ID tags
- Housing payment records
- Insurance policies
- Proof of income
- Tax documents
- Health records
- Health insurance documents
- Immunization records
It’s likely no surprise disaster situations can be costly, but if you plan ahead you can offset those costs and ease any burdens that might come your way.
Jim Knopf Named 'Ambassador of the Year'
Jim gives a speech after receiving the award for 'Ambassador of the Year.'
At SERVPRO of West Brown County we love to highlight the good work our employees do both on and off the clock. And you’ve probably noticed we spend a lot of time talking about our Sales and Marketing Manager Jim Knopf.
Jim is constantly volunteering with community organizations to make the Green Bay area a better place.
One project that is particularly important to Jim is his work as an Ambassador for the Greater Green Bay Chamber of Commerce.
As an Ambassador Jim volunteers his time to help the Chamber reach out to current and new members and to make sure Chamber members are getting the most out of their membership benefits. You can also see Jim out and about in his green jacket helping at ribbon cuttings and other big Chamber events.
Last week the Chamber recognized the great work Jim does by honoring him with the “Ambassador of the Year” award. This is so exciting for us and we could not be prouder of Jim’s commitment.
Renae Schlies, the Vice President of Membership for the Chamber, spoke with us about why Jim was chosen for this honor.
Schlies explained that the top six Ambassadors were chosen on a point system and they were asked to fill out an application to be Ambassador of the year. From there, the Chamber’s membership committee used a scoring rubric to vote on the best candidate.
Schlies told us what makes Jim a good Ambassador, writing in an email, “Jim is a great ambassador for many reasons. He is very giving of his time to the chamber. He comes to almost all of the ribbon cuttings and events. We can always rely on him to support our members and our overall mission. He often refers people to the chamber and bringing in new members. He helps organize the ribbon cuttings and makes sure that everyone feels welcome at events such as the Business After Hours. He is also very giving of his time in the community for other non-profits. He is a very valuable volunteer/advocate for the chamber. We are fortunate to have him as part of the ambassador group.”
As for Jim, he was thrilled with the recognition. He is very excited and extremely thankful for the award and said that every one of his fellow Ambassadors who were up for it were more than worthy.
In his own words Jim said, “Winning the Ambassador of the Year Award is not just about winning the title, it makes me realize the work I do as a volunteer is a huge privilege, I have the backing of my company (SERVPRO of East/West Brown County). I get the opportunity to network with new and existing companies on behalf of the Chamber and, at the same time, get a chance to talk about what I do. I feel connected to my community and that I am making a difference through this work.”
SERVPRO of West Brown County is so proud of Jim and the team members are so lucky to call him a co-worker. We have no doubt he will continue this great volunteerism for years to come.
Preparedness Profile: Sound the Alarm
Smoke alarm photo courtesy of the CDC.
There is no reason to be alarmed by this week’s Preparedness Profile! We’re simply talking about some of the important alarms/detectors you should have in your home to ensure your family’s safety.
Those include: smoke, carbon monoxide and radon detectors.
At this point, it’s likely you have at least one smoke detector in your home. These are designed to sound an alarm when smoke is in the vicinity of the detector. However, one alarm is not enough to ensure your safety, especially if that device is not working.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has a few tips when it comes to installing and maintaining smoke alarms in your home:
- Install smoke alarms in each bedroom.
- Install smoke alarms outside each sleeping area.
- Install smoke alarms on each level of your home, including your basement.
- On levels without bedrooms, install alarms in living rooms or dens and/or at the bottom of staircases.
- Smoke alarms should be mounted high on walls or on ceilings.
- Smoke alarms should be at least 10 feet from any cooking appliances to prevent them being set off by cooking.
- Test your alarms once a month to ensure they’re working.
- Change batteries at least once a year. If you have ten-year battery-operated alarms, make sure to buy new ones every ten years.
- The alarms will chirp if the batteries are low.
- Keep alarms clean and follow all manufacturer’s instructions for maintenance.
According to the NFPA, about 3 out of every 5 fire-related deaths occur in homes with no working smoke alarms.
The bottom line: smoke alarms save lives. So, make them a top priority in your home.
Now we move on to carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that is known as the “invisible killer.” The NFPA says the deadly gas is created when fuels like wood, propane and gas burn incompletely.
A large amount of carbon monoxide can kill a person in a short amount of time, while a small amount of the gas can kill a person over a longer amount of time. This is why CO detectors/alarms are so important for your home.
The tips for CO alarms are similar as those for smoke alarms. The NFPA advises:
- Install CO alarms in a central location outside each sleeping area.
- Install CO alarms on every floor of the home, including basement.
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions for installations and placement.
- Test batteries once a month, replace yearly (or if the alarm chirps, signaling low battery)
- If the alarm sounds immediately move all people and pets out of the home and call for emergency responders.
Remember: because carbon monoxide is invisible to the senses you will not be able to tell if It’s in your house. That means you need an alarm to do that for you!
And finally, we are talking radon. Radon is probably the least talked about behind smoke and carbon monoxide, but it poses significant dangers too.
According to the CDC, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking, resulting in about 20,000 deaths every year.
Like CO, radon is a colorless gas that you cannot see or taste. The CDC explains that radon occurs naturally in the ground and is created when radioactive metals like uranium, thorium, or radium break down. The gas can then seep into your home through cracks and crevices.
The CDC says you should test your home for radon levels. You can do so using a kit, which you can buy online or in most home improvement stores. If your test shows high radon levels you can make changes to your home to lower those levels, like sealing up cracks. The CDC does recommend hiring a professional to make those changes, however, if you’re not an expert yourself.
These are just three easy things you can do to ensure your home is safe for you and your family. So, take the opportunity to get into the spirit of National Preparedness Month and make sure you have all the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors your home needs and do a radon test for good measure!
Remember, you’ll have a lot less cause for alarm in the future if you take the steps to prepare now!
Reminders for Farm Safety Week 2018
Farm Safety Week
At SERVPRO of West Brown County, we serve more than just Green Bay and the surrounding cities. We know our community includes a lot of rural and farm areas. That's why National Farm Safety Week (September 16th-22nd, 2018) is so important to us.
And knowing that, we would like to take a moment to talk about safety on the farm. Farmers are some of the most hard-working, conscientious people out there and we understand they take safety very seriously each and every day. However, it never hurts to go through some of the big safety issues every once in a while!
The National Farmers Union (NFU) has a lot of great information for farm workers to stay safe and healthy while on the job. The NFU provides advice for several, potentially, dangerous situations on the farm.
Here are a few of those situations, with some safety reminders:
- Grain Bins – According to the NFU, Grain Bins accidents are a leading concern on farms. People can sink into, or become trapped by grain, leading to suffocation and other injuries. The NFU advises:
- Drying and cooling grain properly to ensure it stays in good condition, flowing smoothly.
- Be knowledgeable about proper grain bin entry procedures.
- Stay clear of grain augurs in operation.
- Use lock out mechanism to shut off power to augurs.
- “Tag Out” to ensure other works know someone is in the bins.
- Tractors – Tractors are an essential tool of the trade for farmers, but they can pose risks from accidents and rollovers. So, it’s important to take this advice:
- Ensure rollover protection structures are installed on all tractors (particularly those predating 1985).
- ALWAYS wear your seatbelt.
- ATVs – Like tractors, ATVs are often essential for farm work. They help workers get from point a to point b in an efficient manner. However, they also pose accident and rollover risks. So, remember:
- Children under 16 should never operate ATVs with engines over 90 CC.
- You must follow all the manufacturer’s safety guidelines.
- Single riders only…do not carry passengers.
- Wear a helmet.
- Ensure the ATV has lights and reflectors on it to ensure visibility.
- Livestock – Many Northeast Wisconsin farms are home to livestock like cows and pigs. These animals bring hazards with them, just like equipment can. The key is knowing how to handle them.
- Make sure to provide all herding animals with gentle guidance. Be a dominant, gentle leader. The NFU says cows, for example, follow simple commands like a hand on the back.
- Respect an animal’s “flight zone.” This is the area of personal space in which the animal is comfortable. It’s often 5-25 feet around the animal, depending on how often it’s handled.
- NEVER trust a bull. Always be on alert around bulls and work with the in two-person teams.
- Chemicals – Handling different chemicals often comes with the territory on farms. So, to avoid illness or injury, follow the NFU’s guidelines for doing so safely:
- Get proper training on the chemicals.
- Read any relevant safety material.
- Wear protective equipment like gloves and goggles, when necessary.
- Store chemicals safely.
- Always wash your hands after handling chemicals, even if you were wearing gloves!
- Fatigue -According to the National Farmers Union, the number one danger on a farm is fatigue. Being over-tired paves the way for accidents and injuries that might not happen otherwise. So be sure to get your rest!
So, during Farm Safety Week (and always), we ask that our local famers stay safe out there and know that we appreciate all you do!
Preparedness Profile: If Disaster Strikes, Will You Be Ready?
In our line of work we know disasters can strike at any time and they can often leave devastation behind.
So, in this week’s Preparedness Profile, we’re asking you this question: If Disaster Strikes, Will You Be Ready?”
We know it’s not always easy to answer ‘yes’ and mean it fully, but there are some easy steps you can follow to be as ready as possible:
- Sign up for local alerts – You can get often get text messages, emails or phone calls about emergencies from your city or county. You can also sign up for alerts or download smart phone apps from organizations like FEMA and the National Weather Service.
- Develop and test emergency plans – Know how your family will get out of the house in case of a fire or flood, know where your family will meet if you can’t go home, talk with neighbors about how you can work together. Run drills of all of these plans.
- Assemble emergency supplies – Have a kit ready with things like non-perishable food, water, medications and important documents.
- Know your local hazards – What are the risks where you live? How can you prepare for those specific risks? For example, in Wisconsin we experience natural disasters like blizzards, tornadoes and floods. How would you react in each of those unique situations?
- Collect and safeguard critical documents – Have copies of documents like birth certificates, passports, car titles and house deeds in a safe location, out of harm’s way. Know where they are so you can grab them and go at a moment’s notice.
- Protect your property – Take photos of your property and valuables for insurance purposes, make any necessary improvements to your property to make it safer in case of disaster and make sure you have all the insurance coverage you need.
At SERVPRO of West Brown County our business is helping people recover after disasters of all kinds from storms, to fires, to floods. We want you to stay safe and protect your family and property.
If the worst happens and you need our help in the wake of any emergency, remember we are a locally-owned business with the backing of a billion-dollar brand. There are 1,700 SERVPRO franchises and they are ready to assist us and you, should the need ever be that great.
Be safe. Be prepared.
And know you can get in touch with us, day or night, at 920-434-8224.
Hard Rain Means Hard Work
A photo from just one of the businesses our team has been working at during the rain storms.
If you live or work in Northeast Wisconsin, you’ve no doubt been affected in some way by the recent, intense rain storms we’ve been experiencing. Whether it’s a slow commute due to flooded streets, or worse, flooding in your own home or business, it’s been a difficult few weeks for everyone in the Green Bay area.
It’s no surprise that, in our line of work, the SERVPRO of East Brown County Team has been faced with a lot of hard work thanks to the extreme weather.
We have received numerous calls each day since the end of August from people across the area asking for help with flooding in homes and businesses. Our technicians have been working around the clock to help those who need it. While many enjoyed end of summer barbecues and parties over the Labor Day weekend, we had crews drying up flood waters without a day of rest.
The schedule became so hectic at times that even the office workers AND the franchise owners have been working alongside technicians to get the jobs done. At those times, the only person left in the office was our office manager who stayed behind to answer the never-ending calls and solve the maze of scheduling issues.
At one point we even had to request additional drying equipment, like fans, from out of state to keep up with the demand. This is due to the fact all of Wisconsin has been experiencing flooding, with southern parts of the state even worse off than our own.
And even with all this labor, we have a waiting list of people who still need help. Believe us, if you are on that list we have not forgotten about you. We are doing our very best to ensure we can assist as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, without sacrificing any of the quality of our work.
We know that as hard as our crews are working, the emotional and physical toll this devastation has taken on our clients is even harder to deal with. We want those who are struggling right know to know that we are here for you. We will do our very best to see you through this extremely difficult time and get your life and property back to normal again.
We are not sharing this story to complain about the job our team needs to do right now, because our team doesn’t complain. We tackle each project in front of us until it is complete, because we love the work we do. We love helping people who need it. We’re in the business of being there for you when you need us most.
Preparedness Profile: Business Continuity Plan
A flooded office space.
September is National Preparedness Month all across the United States. In an effort to help you be more prepared, we’re putting together a different “Preparedness Profile” each week this month.
For the first week, we’re talking about how business owners can plan and be prepared in the event of a disaster. Just like a family needs to plan for things like fires and floods: how they will get out of the house if dangerous conditions occur, what items they will need in an emergency and what insurance they might need to cover any losses; a business needs to do the same.
The key to taking care of your investment and employees is to create a business continuity plan. The SERVPRO team cannot recommend this enough. Having a plan will ensure everyone’s safety and ensure that you can get back to work as soon as possible. This also helps ensure you will lose as little productivity as possible.
According to ready.gov, there are four main steps to creating a business continuity plan:
- Do a Business Impact Analysis
- Ask how a disaster would affect your business’s ability to function.
- Would there be a loss of production? How long? How will that loss affect the bottom line?
- What equipment (like computers or machinery) might be affected? How can you protect those ahead of time.
- Come up with Recovery Strategies
- What resources can you fall back on? Do you have another location to work from, for example?
- Who will you turn to for help in the recovery? Will you call on SERVPRO to clean up, for example?
- Can work be done remotely?
- Develop Your Plan
- Organize a recovery team among your employees.
- Make sure you have any necessary insurance to replace what could be lost.
- What resources will your business need during the recovery process, in the hours, days, weeks and months that follow a disaster?
- Create a relocation plan, if necessary.
- Test Your Plan
- Run emergency drills with your employees to ensure they know what to do in the event of unsafe conditions like fire or biohazard spills.
- Encourage your employees to consider how they would react and work after a disaster.
- Run through your plans. Will they work? If not, come up with a new plan.
At SERVPRO we ask that, as a business owner, you plan to stay in business, encourage your employees to be ready and protect your investment. Planning ahead can help make all of this possible.
As a business leader, you are a community leader. You can set a good example for your community by having a disaster plan. If you do it, that will encourage others to do it too. And that will make everyone safer.
And SERVPRO of West Brown County can help you in all of this planning by doing an Emergency Readiness Profile (ERP) for your business, free of charge. The ERP is a document that you can refer to in a disaster situation to know things like the first responders you need to contact, the areas of the building that might be affected by a particular incident and the chain of command in an emergency.
Call us anytime to schedule an ERP at 920-434-8224 and make sure you are prepared for the worst.
Heading Back to School Safely
School Bus photo courtesy of FEMA
As the nights grow cooler and the leaves begin to turn, it’s hard not to notice more school buses and backpacks out and about.
August is winding down and it is, of course, back to school season! Depending on who you are it’s a time of year that brings joy or dread, but either way it’s here.
And as the students of all ages head back to the classroom, we wanted to provide some safety reminders for this incredibly busy time of year.
For students, parents and anyone else who will be out and about, it’s important to remember traffic on the roads and sidewalks will be increasing very soon! So, be sure to pay extra close attention. Here are a few tips from the National Safety Council (NSC):
- For Children Walking to School:
- Walk on the sidewalk. If you must walk on the road, walk facing traffic.
- Look both ways before crossing the street.
- Do not walk and text or talk on the phone.
- Do not run out in front of parked cars.
- For Children Biking to School:
- Always wear a helmet.
- Follow the rules of the road: obey stop signs and lights, ride single file on the right side of the road, stop before crossing the street and walk the bike across.
- Use hand signals when making turns.
- Wear bright/reflective clothing.
- For Children Riding the Bus:
- Stand at least six feet away from the curb while waiting for the bus.
- Wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before approaching it.
- Wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before standing to exit.
- If you must cross the street in front of the bus, walk far enough in front of it to be able to see whether traffic from the other direction has stopped.
- For Drivers:
- Don’t block crosswalks.
- Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
- Take extra care and slow down in school zones.
- Never pass a vehicle stopped to pick up pedestrians.
- Never pass a school bus that is picking up or dropping off students.
Getting to school poses dangers on the road, but parents will want to be aware of possible dangers during the school day itself. For example, the NSC asks parents to be sure to buy their children proper backpacks to avoid any back pain or injuries. The council also advises parents run through playground and recess safety reminders with their young children.
From all of us at SERVPRO of West Brown County, we wish you a very safe, fun and happy back to school!
Meet Scott Coates: Production Technician at SERVPRO of West Brown County
For this week’s profile for team SERVPRO of West Brown County, allow us to introduce production technician Scott Coates. Scott has worked here for about two years.
As a production technician, Scott is part of the team that will help clean up and restore properties following disasters like fires, floods, mold and biohazard incidents. Scott also performs general cleaning at corporate locations. His specialties are in demolition and cleaning.
Scott says he enjoys working for SERVPRO of West Brown County, first of all, because of the people he works with. He says it’s a really good team of co-workers. Scott also enjoys the work itself and getting to help customers who are going through tough times.
Scott is originally from Green Bay and he still lives here with his wife Tammy and four stepchildren. Scott and Tammy have been married for almost five years (they’ll be celebrating their anniversary in November)!
When he’s not working, Scott likes to hang out at home, watching sports like football. You’re also likely to see him out taking his dog for a walk.
Scott says he likes living in Wisconsin, because his family is here.
Continuous Training for SERVPRO Team
SERVPRO fleet with mascots Stormy and Blaze
The idea of training is certainly something anyone in any field can relate to: you’re hired into a new job, you get training to learn that job. It’s a pretty similar situation across the board.
What sets the SERVPRO of West Brown County team apart from some, however, is that our training never stops. New employees are trained and so are veterans. Our industry is always changing, so there is always something new to learn to make our work better. And our technicians also benefit from refreshers on the topics that don’t change!
When it comes to training, there are several kinds our techs go through. The big training comes from the IICRC, the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification. The IICRC is an international, governing body that sets the standards for best practices in restoration and remediation work.
Our technicians and attend IICRC classes and receive certifications across a range of topics including water restoration and mitigation, fire restoration and mold remediation.
But the training does not stop with the IICRC. Our team goes through weekly training sessions in house, right in our Howard location.
Once a week, techs will learn about a different production subject to ensure they’re knowledgeable about the latest and greatest techniques.
Techs will also go through a safety training session on a different topic each week. This ensures our team stays safe while working in your home or business. Safety training also ensures our team members keep you, the client, safe while working in your home or business.
If you ever need our services in the Green Bay area, you can trust our team will be well-trained and well-informed. Call us any time at 920-434-8224.
On the Road Again: Sales Routes and SERVPRO
A Sales and Marketing car
If you live in Northeast Wisconsin, you may have noticed SERVPRO’s bright green trucks and cars out on the roadways.
You may assume those vehicles are filled with expert technicians and equipment on the way to help clean up and restore a home or business.
Much of the time you’d be right in that assumption. However, there are other SERVPRO of West Brown County team members who hit the road every day: the sales and marketing staff.
Business owners, managers and those in the insurance field are the most likely to run into Jim, Bill or Alex out and about.
Those three SERVPRO employees complete what are called “sales routes” during the weekdays as part of their jobs. Who you see depends on what kind of business you’re in. For example, if you work in insurance, you’re going to see Jim; if you work in property management, you’re going to see Bill; and if you’re a small business owner of, say, a café or veterinary hospital, you’re probably going to see Alex.
The goal of the sales routes is for our marketing folks to stop into specific businesses and explain the work SERVPRO does. It’s a way for you to get to know us before you need us. One day they might come to talk to you about flood damage recovery. Another day they might come in to talk to you about mold prevention.
You’ll probably only see them stopping in once every few months to say hello and bring you some new information. If you’re busy the day they stop by, Jim, Bill or Alex will simply leave the information on your desk (as well as a little present or two!) and get out of your hair so you can get back to work. If you’re not busy and you want to stop and chat, they’d love to talk about SERVPRO, of course, and fun things like the events your business has planned or your families and pets!
So, be on the lookout for the SERVPRO sales and marketing staff and if you see them out in the community, please say hello!
If one of those three does not already come to visit your business, but you’d like them to visit, or at least learn more about the work our team of technicians do, you can call SERVPRO of West Brown County any time at 920-434-8224! Just ask for Jim, Bill or Alex and one of them will help you out!
It's the Water You Don't See
It's the Water You Don't See
When your home or business experiences a major flood, chances are you’ll notice it.
A few inches of water in your basement, an overflowing toilet or a broken sprinkler are tough to overlook and so is the damage they cause.
However, there is a culprit that might not make a big splash, but can cause serious structural and indoor air quality issues: the water you don’t see.
Sometimes you might have hidden leaks or humidity issues that can start small and grow large in their destruction over time. The little leaks might turn into large deluges or wear away at structures, the humidity could make conditions right for mold growth and bad odors.
As a home or business owner, you want to be on the lookout for these sneaky sources of water loss. You also want to make sure that, if you do experience a large flood, to get it cleaned up properly. Improper water cleanup can leave those hidden problems behind.
This is where SERVPRO of West Brown County comes into the picture. We have the knowledge and experience clean up water damage of any size and get it done right the first time.
We also have the proper equipment to find any moisture lurking out of sight and do away with it.
For example, we have moisture sensors, which are used to detect moisture in carpets, baseboards and walls. We have moisture meters that we use to test the actual moisture content of materials. The meters allow our technicians to accurately monitor the drying process. Our team also has thermohygrometers on hand to measure temperature and relative humidity, which ensures techs can calculate and create an environment that is most conducive to drying.
And if hidden water leads to bad odors in your business, we have the tools necessary to take care of those as well.
Some examples are ultra low-volume foggers and thermal foggers. The ultra low-volume foggers atomize liquid deodorizing agents, producing a fine mist that can penetrate the site where odor-causing residues accumulate. The thermal foggers dispense solvent-based products by creating a dense fog. The fog consists of tiny particles of deodorant solution that attach to and neutralize odor-causing particles.
The lesson here is to be aware that water losses can be hiding in your home or business and if you find them, you can count on us to fix them.
Call SERVPRO of West Brown County at 920-499-7050.
Come See What Howard-Suamico Has to Offer
HSBPA Sidewalk Sale
At SERVPRO of West Brown County, we love being a part of the Howard community. As part of this community, we like to be in the know about fun, local events. And we want to help keep you in the know too!
So, in the spirit of keeping you in the know…the Howard-Suamico Business and Professional Association (HSBPA) is holding its annual sidewalk sale this week!
More than 20 local businesses will take part throughout Howard and Suamico from Thursday August 9th through Saturday August 11th. Those businesses will be offering deals, free samples and demonstrations during all the days of the events.
Whether you live here, you’re new to the community, or you’ve never been to the Howard-Suamico area, the sidewalk sale is a great time to come out and see what the local businesses have to offer.
Our sales and marketing manager Jim Knopf is on the board of directors for the HSBPA so he’s seen first-hand how this event has grown. He says it’s incredible to see so many businesses get involved in the event and to see how the community itself has grown over the last few years. Visiting the sidewalk sale is a great way to see for yourself the growth that’s taking place!
For more information on the event, participating vendors and demonstration times, visit the HSBPA website here: https://hsbpa.org/sidewalksale/.
And if you do head out to the sidewalk sale, come say hello to us in Howard on Pamperin Road! We always like to meet new friends.
Meet Marc Seelye: Shop Steward for SERVPRO of West Brown County
This week we are pleased to present a profile on Marc Seelye! Marc is the shop steward for SERVPRO of West Brown County.
One of the newer employees to the join the team, Marc has been working here for about six months (as of August, 2018!).
As shop steward, Marc is responsible for making sure the shop is clean, organized and that all the equipment is ready to go at a moment’s notice. Marc not only maintains the equipment, he also ensures the supply shelves are always filled. This way the technicians don’t have to waste valuable time looking for what they need, which is particularly important if and when emergency calls come in.
Marc says he enjoys working at SERVPRO, because he gets a lot of independence. He is given a list of tasks to complete and says he likes that he is trusted to get them all done.
Marc is originally from Boyne City, Michigan. He now lives in Sobieski. Marc explains that he likes living in Sobieski because he can be out in the country, while staying close to the larger metropolitan areas.
Marc has been married to his wife Cindy for 34 years. They have three children: two girls and a boy.
During his free time Marc enjoys hunting, fishing, gardening, woodworking and cooking.
The Water is Dry...Now What?
This photo is from a home that experienced flooding. You can see our technicians has remove floorboards, baseboards and sheetrock.
When a home or business experiences floods, leaky pipes, or sewer backups, drying up the water is only half the battle in a recovery story.
As part of the drying process, the SERVPRO team often has to do a bit of deconstruction to properly find and dry all of the water.
Depending on the amount and type of water and how long it sat, our technicians may need to remove things like wet carpet pad, floorboards, baseboards and even sheetrock. This is to ensure all the water damaged materials have been removed and that mold can’t grow on any materials left behind.
For example, our team recently handled a major water loss at a Green Bay area home. The water line to a refrigerator broke, flooding several rooms on the first floor of the home and even seeping into much of the basement. The owners were on vacation when this happened, so the water sat for almost a week.
Because of the extensive damage, our team had to pull up carpeting, remove some wooden floorboards and cut out several inches of sheetrock, among several other steps. Fans and commercial dehumidifiers then dried the remaining structural components back to pre loss condition.
Now, the water is gone and the structure is dried out but the story is not over.
Our reconstruction project manager now steps in to put the home or business back together. It is a process called reconstruction. It is up to the reconstruction project manager to figure out what needs to be done and put an estimate together. Insurance also plays a big part at this stage (as you might expect!).
The adjuster and our project manager will negotiate on the estimates along with the home owner.
Once everyone is in agreement on coverage and the scope of reconstruction, it is up to our reconstruction project manager to schedule the work and make sure our team gets that work done ASAP.
The ultimate goal is for SERVPRO of West Brown County to make that flood seem “like it never even happened,” bringing that story to a happy ending.
If you need our help with a water loss and reconstruction, you can call us any time at 920-434-8224.
Northeastern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial
An earlier concept picture showing the reflecting pool and monument.
For several years there have been plans to build a veterans memorial in the Village of Howard.
This is a project that’s close to our hearts at SERVPRO of West Brown County. That’s because, not only, are we located in Howard, but also because our Sales and Marketing Manager Jim Knopf is on the Northeastern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Board.
The plan is to build a memorial on two acres of land at Howard’s Memorial Park. This specific memorial would honor veterans from 17 different Wisconsin counties.
On Wednesday, Brandon Bauer, an associate professor of art at St. Norbert College, presented a revamped design concept to the Northeastern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Fundraising Cabinet. (Our Jim Knopf is also a part of this cabinet!)
Bauer’s proposal took the original concept, which was a very linear design, and made it more interactive and educational.
Bauer’s design includes a central monument, a reflecting pool, an education center, an open-air amphitheater, an eternal flame, a nature observation deck, a gazebo and several individual conflict memorial sites interspersed throughout the park. Those individual conflict memorial sites would each be devoted to a specific war, like, say World War II. Each site would have information about that specific war, such as the names of the Wisconsin service members who lost their lives in that conflict.
Of his concept Bauer said, he thought about “really making this a destination,” meaning he wanted to incorporate as many elements as possible to draw in visitors and to give those visitors a good, educational experience.
At this point, the memorial is still in the early planning phase. So, it’s unclear what the ultimate cost could be. However, the Northeastern Wisconsin Veterans Board had previously set a fundraising goal of a little more than one million dollars. To date about $170,000 has been raised. The board is accepting a mix of public money and private donations and sponsorships to bring the memorial to life. Board members say they will also seek out grants to help with funding.
The next steps in the process are for the full board to review Bauer’s concept and for the Village of Howard’s engineering department to come up with a rough estimate of the cost of that concept.
The board is scheduled to meet on Wednesday August 1st at 9:00 in the morning.
For more information and to find out how you can donate, you can visit the memorial’s website here: http://newivetmemorial.org/.
Meet Mike Miller: Reconstruction Project Manager for SERVPRO of West Brown County
It is Profile Friday once more and this week we’re pleased to introduce our newest employee (as of August 2018), Mike Miller!
Mike started as our new reconstruction project manager on July 23rd, 2018.
As the reconstruction project manager, Mike is in charge of any reconstruction jobs our team takes on following mitigation or remediation work. He comes up with the estimates for reconstruction costs and ensures that reconstruction work gets done in a cost-effective and timely manner.
Mike comes to us with more than three decades of experience in carpentry. He says carpentry and construction work are in his blood and that he enjoys the work because he gets to see a project through from start to finish.
Mike is originally from Chicago, but he has lived in Clintonville for more than 20 years.
Mike has been married to his wife Kirsten for 36 years. They have three children: a girl and two boys.
In his spare time Mike enjoys being musical. He plays the guitar and sings. Mike is also active in church worship.
Mike says he likes living in Wisconsin because it’s a beautiful state.
Lobbying for Local Businesses: Talking with Jayme Sellen of the Chamber
For the business owners out there, it’s no surprise that local, state and federal governments have a huge impact on the work they do. It MAY be a surprise for some, however, to find out there is a lobbyist working with the Greater Green Bay Chamber of Commerce to ensure lawmakers make decisions that impact local businesses in a POSITIVE way.
That lobbyist’s name is Jayme Sellen. Sellen is the vice president of governmental affairs and community relations for the Greater Green Bay Chamber. She has been a registered lobbyist in Wisconsin for 15 years. She has worked at the chamber for 5 years.
Sellen’s position comes with a lot of responsibilities. For one, she helps member businesses get through government red tape when obtaining things like permits.
Sellen works to get legislation passed that would benefit local businesses, including measures like tax reform, regulatory reform and workforce development.
Sellen is also responsible for helping member businesses understand the political process and for keeping those business owners up-to-date on decisions being made at the local, state and federal level.
Sellen says business people are often too busy with their own work to be able to pay close attention to what the government is up to at all times. So, it’s up to her to scrutinize what lawmakers are doing for them.
Sellen tells us, “Government can impact you more than anything…they impact every aspect of your business.” And that’s why she says her job is an important one. She also says that’s why it’s crucial for business owners to get involved in the political process when they can.
Some projects Sellen and the chamber are working on include getting a second bridge in De Pere to ease congestion and enhance safety; focusing on early training for students to get into the workforce as soon as possible and making K-12 funding more equal across the board.
If you have questions for Sellen, she encourages you to contact her at 920-593-3428 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What's that Smell? Talking Odor Removal
Photo of Smoke courtesy of the NFPA
While a fire can happen in the blink of an eye, the damage it leaves behind can go on for ages.
This is true when it comes to the severe, physical damage flames cause. It’s also true when it comes to something unseen, but no less tangible: the smell. Odors from smoke can and will linger for years, especially if they’re not dealt with quickly.
Smoke, soot and ash are made up of tiny particles that move around easily and get into hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. Those little particles are very clingy and stick to surfaces of all kinds, the more porous the better.
The good new is, SERVPRO of West Brown County can destroy those odors left behind by a fire.
And when we say “destroy,” we mean it.
Many people think that getting rid of bad smells simply means covering them up with some sort of perfumed product. That will NOT do the trick. The odors must be completely eradicated.
That’s where trained SERVPRO technicians come into the picture. They will seek out and remove the SOURCES of the smells. The techs are trained to remove those sources using deodorization techniques and equipment like ozone machines and hot thermal fog.
We understand that fires are traumatic events that can have a long-lasting effect on a person’s emotional and mental state. Having the smell around only serves as a reminder of what happened and can make that trauma even worse for a person.
We’re here to help you make things better.
And we can help you in other situations where unpleasant smells are making your home or office miserable.
These are just a few of the other odors we can clean up:
- Cigarette Smoke
- Pet Odors
If you need to breathe a little easier, we’re here to help clear the air. Give us a call at 920-434-8224.
Meet Elaine Pena: Production Technician at SERVPRO of West Brown County
Elaine Pena is a production technician who has been working at SERVPRO of West Brown County since March of 2018.
Elaine joins the team with several years of experience working in the restoration business under her belt. She is certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification in Fire and Smoke Restoration and Odor Control.
Elaine works on just about any job that comes our way including water, fire, mold and biohazard restoration and cleanup projects.
Elaine says she enjoys working for SERVPRO because it’s a challenging job. She like getting to do something different each day and overcoming the new challenges that come with each project.
Elaine is originally from Neopit on the Menominee Reservation here in Wisconsin. She currently lives in Green Bay.
Elaine has been married to her husband Vince for four years. She has three children: two girls and one boy.
When she’s not working, Elaine likes to get outside and do things like go swimming, boating, four-wheeling and, in the winter, snowmobiling.
Elaine says she likes living in Wisconsin because there is so much to do outside!
Celebrating an Anniversary
Outside of the SERVPRO of East/West Brown County building in Howard.
Five years ago, this summer Mike and Georgia Bogenschuetz took ownership of SERVPRO of West Brown County.
When they bought the franchise, it had already been serving the Green Bay area for 20 years. So, we’re also celebrating more than a quarter of a century in business.
As Mike reflects on the last five years he says the franchise has made significant growth. He says he owes it to the team that works here.
From the technicians to the project managers, the office manager to the sales people, Mike says everyone plays their part in making the business successful. He explains that the employees working here are extremely loyal and hardworking.
The business has grown so much since Mike and Georgia took over that, in 2015, they had to move operations to a larger facility in Howard to accommodate all work the employees do and the equipment they need to do that work.
Mike thanks, not only the SERVPRO team, but the entire community for supporting their success so far.
He says it will always be his and Georgia’s goal to be the number one restoration company in Northeast Wisconsin.
And at this point, Mike says, the future looks very bright.
An Introduction to Document Drying
An office in the Green Bay area that experienced a broken sprinkler.
When a business experiences flooding, the work flow can be thrown completely out of whack. The facilities, floors and furniture may be wet AND so might important documents and paperwork.
To help get your business back to work as fast as possible, SERVPRO is able to offer document drying services.
Our team is capable of drying content of all kinds including:
- paper documents
- books and magazines
- manuscripts and files
- photographs, films, negatives, and microfiche
- blueprints and maps
How do we do it? We use state-of-the-art technology, that’s how. That includes using the same freeze-drying methods used by the Library of Congress to dry valuable historic documents and books. Our vacuum freeze-drying process is the only method approved by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the General Services Administration (GSA).
The freeze-drying process is done at SERVPRO’s corporate facility in Tennessee. Our local franchise team would send your documents there securely, packaged with dry ice. Once they arrive at the facility, the documents are handled by The Document Restoration Team. They are highly trained in the vacuum freeze-drying technique. The team is also HIPPA Master certified, so you can trust them with any sensitive information your documents might include. It takes about 7 to 10 days to dry everything out.
The SERVPRO team can also disinfect and sterilize any documents we dry too. We do that by using a process called gamma irradiation. Gamma irradiation is the same process used to sterilize certain medical equipment.
In addition, SERVPRO is able to digitize any documents that we dry. That way you won’t have to worry about those contents being lost or damaged in the future.
This service is NOT just for businesses. If you’ve experienced a water loss or flooding in your home we can help dry and restore any important papers or beloved photos that might have gotten wet.
If you should ever need document drying, SERVPRO of West Brown County is just a phone call away. Just dial 920-434-8224, any time day or night!
Meet Scott Berendsen: Master Carpenter at SERVPRO of West Brown County
We are pleased to introduce you to our Scott Berendsen this week! Scott is the master carpenter for SERVPRO of West Brown County.
Scott has worked here for three and a half years. He is in charge of any reconstruction projects we perform. That means once our technicians have finished any mitigation work, Scott comes in and rebuilds the property, taking it back to its former glory.
Scott says he enjoys his job, because he loves carpentry and working with his hands. He has been interested in woodworking his entire life. According to Scott, it’s extremely satisfying to build something yourself. He also says he likes working for SERVPRO, because he never tackles the same project twice, which keeps work interesting!
Scott is originally from Green Bay and he still lives here. He is engaged to his fiancée Amy and, between the two of them, they have four children.
Outside of work Scott enjoys being outdoors and hunting, particularly “up north.”
Take Precautions During Extreme Heat
Extreme heat graphic from the CDC
In the Green Bay area, we are certainly feeling the heat as we get into the dog days of summer.
With the one-two punch of high temperatures and humidity, the weather can feel downright miserable. But, besides just being uncomfortable, the heat can present a lot of dangers as well.
According to the CDC, prolonged exposure to extreme heat can lead to heat exhaustion, which can lead to heat stroke, a potentially life-threatening condition. The signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating; weakness; cold, pale and clammy skin; nausea or vomiting; and fainting. The CDC says the signs of heat stroke are a body temperature of 103 degrees or higher, rapid and strong pulse, and possible unconsciousness.
If you suspect someone is suffering from heat stroke or exhaustion, you must call 911 immediately and move that person to a cool location.
You can take several steps to prevent heat stroke and exhaustion. The first is to stay inside a cool location, if possible.
If you absolutely must be outside in the heat, experts advise wearing loose and light-color clothes, staying hydrated, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, and applying sunscreen often.
Ready.gov also advises you follows these tips to prepare your home for extreme heat conditions:
- Install window air conditioners snugly.
- Check air conditioning ducts for proper insulation.
- Install temporary window reflectors to reflect heat back outside.
- Weather-strip doors and windows to keep cool air in and hot air out.
- Cover windows with drapes, shades or awnings.
- Keep storm windows up year ‘round.
If you can, try to check on anyone you know who is homebound to ensure they’re safe when the heat rises.
And remember, pets face the same dangers we do when it’s hot outside. So be sure to check on them, keep them inside and give them plenty of water.
Summer is a fun time of year, so enjoy it, but keep yourself and your loved ones safe!
Jim Knopf Volunteers with American Cancer Society
Anyone who knows our Sales and Marketing Manager Jim Knopf knows he is extremely devoted to his community. Jim is a part of non-profits across the Green Bay area and spends much of his time outside of SERVPRO doing volunteer work.
Jim’s latest endeavor is working with the American Cancer Society. Jim will be raising money to be a part of the “Real Men Wear Pink Green Bay” campaign.
By taking part Jim has pledged to raise at least $3,000 for “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.” He has also pledged to wear (at least a little bit of) pink every day for the month of October.
If Jim is to qualify to become a NATIONAL “Real Man” candidate, he must raise a minimum of $2,500. So, he definitely has some work to do!
Luckily, Jim is not afraid of a little hard work.
He cares deeply about this cause, saying “the American Cancer Society is an amazing and worthwhile charity” he believes in very strongly.
Jim lost his mother and brother to cancer. He also has friends who have fought and who are fighting the disease. These experiences have left him with a passion to do all he can to help find a cure.
Every donation adds up for “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.” As little as $15 can provide a breast cancer patient with a ride to treatment. The money raised during this campaign will also help patients get the information and support they need, as well as help pay for things like lodging for overnight travel to treatment.
If you’re interested in helping Jim reach his fundraising goals, he would love to hear from you! You can reach him by email at jknopf@SERVPROgreenbay.com.
Fireworks: Play it Safe this 4th of July
Fireworks photo from the CDC
As we celebrate our country’s birth and Independence Day, we know a lot of fun comes with that celebration. However, sometimes that fun comes with dangers.
We’re talking about fireworks. The explosions in the sky are synonymous with the 4th of July, but, if not used properly, they can cause fires and severe injuries.
The best advice to remember is that fire officials, both locally and nationally, advise you leave any exploding fireworks displays to the professionals. They say you should go see your local community’s fireworks show and enjoy it!
When it comes to trying out your own, personal pyrotechnics, however, there’s a lot more you need to know.
First of all, fireworks that leave the ground and/or explode may not be legal, depending on the community you live in. You must check in with your local municipality to see what is or is not legal, or else face punishments like heavy fines.
When it comes to the fireworks that ARE legal, if you want to put on your own show, the National Council on Fireworks Safety has a list of reminders for you to avoid any mishaps:
- Read all cautionary labels before lighting fireworks.
- A responsible adult should supervise all activities.
- Do NOT drink alcohol while using fireworks.
- Light one firework at a time and walk away from it.
- Use fireworks outdoors in an area clear of buildings and trees.
- Always have a water source nearby.
- Never relight a “dud.”
- Soak any used or dud fireworks in water and throw them away in a metal trash can.
- Remember, even sparklers get EXTREMELY hot.
- Veterans groups ask that you consider your neighbors. If you know your neighbor is a combat veteran, check with them before putting on any pyrotechnics.
According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, an average of 280 people go to the emergency room with fireworks-related injuries each 4th of July. Of those injuries, 53% are burns and 14% come from sparklers. The commission says the age group reporting the most injuries includes people between the ages of 25-44-years-old.
Fire officials say it’s important to remember your pets this time of year too. According to the Wisconsin Humane Society, more pets are lost on July 4th than any other day of the year. Experts say this is because pets can become frightened by the loud noise of fireworks and run off. They advise keeping your pets inside and safe during any displays.
And if something should go awry because of fireworks this holiday, remember, SERVPRO of West Brown County is here for you to help recover from any fire damage. You can call us at 920-434-8224.
Pet Evacuations: What You Need to Know
We recently wrote a blog post about keeping your pets safe in case of house fires. In this post we’re taking a look at what you need to know and how you can prepare in the event you and your pets need to evacuate your home.
There are many reasons you might need to evacuate your home including fires, floods and storms.
If you must leave and go to a shelter it’s important to understand, you most likely will not be able to bring pets with you to a public shelter. There are usually separate shelters set up for pets.
Regardless, it’s a good idea to prepare an emergency evacuation kit for your pets in case you need to leave your home quickly.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has a list of items you will want to include in your pet’s evacuation kit:
- Copies of Vaccination Records
- Medication or a List of Needed Medications
- Lists of Any Special Needs or Allergies
- Ownership Records (things like adoption paperwork, microchip paperwork registration papers, or at least photos of you with your pets)
- Leashes, Harnesses, Collars and/or Carriers
- Pet Food and Treats (enough for each pet for 3 to 7 days)
- Water (enough for each pet for 3 to 7 days)
- Cat Litter and Box
- Dog Waste Bags
- A Pet First Aid Kit (including cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape, scissors, antibiotic ointment, medical-type gloves, isopropyl alcohol and saline solution)
- Cleaning Supplies (in case your pet has an accident)
- List of Important Phone Numbers (including your veterinarian, local animal shelters, local pet-friendly hotels, local animal control, local pet boarders)
The NFPA advises keeping all of this in a large, waterproof, plastic tote in a convenient place. You’ll want a spot that stays at a stable temperature to prevent food and water from freezing or spoiling.
The NFPA says you should also keep track of any possible natural disaster predictions in your area and ensure you know where your pets are in case disaster strikes and you need to leave fast.
At SERVPRO of West Brown County, our pets are our family and we know it’s the same for many families in the Green Bay Area. Be sure to plan ahead to keep those four-legged family members safe!
An Introduction to PPE: Personal Protective Equipment
A photo from SERVPRO corporate of technicians wearing PPE
When it comes to SERVPRO of West Brown County, our number one concern is safety: the safety of our clients and the safety of our employees.
To make sure the job is done right, employees need to take proper precautions when working in specific situations. Each job comes with its own safety concerns. For example, flood waters can come with contaminants from things like sewage; mold remediation jobs come with possible irritants to people’s eyes, skin and lungs; fire damage can come with worries like smoke inhalation and possible falling debris; and biohazard incidents can come with exposure to dangerous chemicals and bodily fluids.
SERVPRO teams are given the proper training and personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure they are prepared to safely handle each one of those incidents and a wide range of others. They follow specific guidelines laid out by our company and by the National Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Some of that PPE includes the following:
- Tyvek Suits and Booties: which are made of a strong, but lightweight material that can protect a person from contaminants in the air. These suits cover a person from head to toe (except the face).
- Dust Masks: which are lightweight masks worn around the nose and mouth to keep out less serious contaminants like typical, household dust.
- Full Face Masks: which are more heavy-duty, plastic masks, seal off the entire face and include respirators. These are used in more dangerous conditions. The respirators filter out any harmful airborne pathogens and mold spores.
- Gloves: different kinds of gloves are used depending on the situation. Nitrile gloves are used to protect from certain contaminants like bodily fluids. Whereas, stronger rubber gloves are used to protect when handling sharp or rough objects.
- Goggles: are used to protect the eyes in dangerous conditions.
- Hard Hats: are used to protect employees in situations where there is a risk of building collapse or falling debris.
By ensuring their own safety in the field, our team members are better able to ensure your safety and the safety of your home or business.
Remember, if you experience an incident that requires restoration work, you can count on SERVPRO of West Brown County to get the job done in the SAFEST and most efficient way. Call us any time at 920-434-8224.
Biohazard and Crime Scene Cleanup
Biohazard symbol from the CDC
The SERVPRO team is well known in the Green Bay area for our work with fire, water and mold damage restoration, but our technicians’ skills go well beyond those subjects. Did you know they’re trained to handle biohazard, crime scene and vandalism cleanup as well?
Hazards like biological and chemical contaminants can pose serious health risks to people and animals. If you experience an issue with these kinds of contaminants, you can put yourself in danger trying to handle the cleanup on your own.
SERVPRO professionals are trained to safely, efficiently and effectively remove these biohazardous substances. They have the necessary equipment and cleaning products to ensure your home or business will be clean and safe once more.
It’s important to note, SERVPRO teams are trained to meet all OSHA, EPA, state and local health regulations.
A few examples of the biohazards our technicians can take care of include:
- Bloodborne Pathogens – Techs are trained to remove and dispose of bodily fluids, tissue and other pathogenic substances that may result from accidents, trauma, crimes or deaths. The technicians will thoroughly clean, disinfect and deodorize following any such incident.
- Methamphetamine (Meth) Labs – The chemicals that go into the meth making process can be volatile and dangerous. Such chemicals are often left behind after a meth lab is found. SERVPRO professionals follow state and federal guidelines to properly clean these up.
- Crime Scene Residues – Our techs are able to clean up anything from fingerprint power to tear gas and pepper spray residues, ensuring safety and cleanliness.
- Vandalism – SERVPRO’s team can clean up vandalism like graffiti.
The technicians are not limited to those four categories, some more biohazard incidents they’re prepared to handle include:
- Sewage Backups
- Animal Waste
- Certain Chemical Spills
- Black Water Intrusions
SERVPRO of West Brown County is here for any home or business owner with biohazard, crime scene or vandalism cleanup. Simply give us a call, any time day or night, at 920-434-8224.
Summer Safety for Hot Cars
Graphic from NHTSA
Our final installment in this early summer safety series with Jason Weber is all about hot cars. The bottom line of this blog? Do not leave children or pets in a car when the weather is warm.
As a reminder, Jason Weber is the Vice President of the Wisconsin Crime Prevention Practitioners Association. He shot a brief video with SERVPRO of East Brown County recently, just reminding people that it is extremely dangerous to leave ANYONE in a hot car, even for a few minutes.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 744 children have died in hot cars since 1998. The NHTSA says about 3 in 10 heat stroke deaths happen when children gain access to unlocked cars on hot days.
So, it’s a good idea for parents and caregivers to always keep their cars locked to ensure children don’t climb inside and get locked in. The NHTSA also recommends parents with children in car seats take a stuffed animal along for car rides, leaving it on the front passenger seat as a reminder there is someone in the car seat in the back. Always check to make sure everyone is out of the car!
Weber says even if you’re only planning a quick stop, take your child or pet inside. The temperature inside a car can rise 20 degrees in 10 minutes. On days that are around 60 degrees, the temperature inside a car can reach above 110 degrees. It is always better to be safe than sorry!
Even though the Green Bay area is known as the “Frozen Tundra,” our summers can get very hot and humid. So, please make sure you children and pets are safe when it comes to hot cars!
Fire Safety for Four-Legged Family Members
Boo, the SERVPRO of West Brown County office dog
We at SERVPRO of West Brown County consider our pets to be part of our families. We suspect most pet owners feel the same way. So, it’s important to consider your four-legged friends when planning for emergency situations. Top among those emergencies are house fires.
According to the United States Fire Administration, about 500,000 pets are affected by fires each year.
The Red Cross says the easiest and most important way you can protect your pets is by including them in your fire plans. That means practicing your escape routes with your pets and training them to come when you call.
As important as our furry friends are, however, you should NEVER waste time during a fire to go looking for your pets. Do NOT put your life or your families lives at risk.
Luckily, there is more you can do to ensure your pets’ safety. You can help firefighters find them by putting a pet alert cling in your front window with the accurate number and types of pets you have written on it. Your local fire department likely has these clings available.
You can also make sure to keep any crated pets close to the door to help firefighters find them right away. In addition, keeping leashes or carriers near the door can help too.
Aside from planning for your pets, the Red Cross says you should also make sure to keep your four-legged friends from STARTING fires.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, about 1,000 pets are responsible for starting house fires each year.
The Red Cross recommends you follow these steps to help prevent a similar situation in your home:
- Keep pets away from open flames like candles or fireplaces. Cats and dog tails can easily knock over lit candles.
- Invest in flameless candles or air fresheners.
- Take knobs off the stove when you’re out of the home.
- Block pets, particularly young pets, from any possible fire-starting materials with crates or baby gates.
We know how much you love your pets. So never underestimate how important it is to make family plans for emergencies and include the furballs in those plans.
And should fire damage ever strike your home, we are here to help you recover. You can call us, day or night, at 920-434-8224.
Explaining the ERP: Emergency Readiness Profile
It’s estimated 50% of businesses that are hit with a disaster never reopen. And you can never predict when or where a disaster will strike. That’s why preparing for the worst can be such a valuable step to take.
One of the services our marketing team provides can help you prepare your business for the worst. That service is called an “Emergency Readiness Profile, or ERP.” It’s FREE and doesn’t take much of your time.
The goal of the ERP is to compile a long list of information that you will need following a disaster like, let’s say, a tornado that damages your business and causes flooding. The information compiled includes emergency phone numbers to call, locations in the building to turn off (or on) water and electrical supplies and steps to take to start cleaning up the damage. The profile also includes photos that go along with the information showing exact locations of things like entrances and exits, locations of water and electrical shut offs and any security codes.
SERVPRO’s marketing team members will walk through your business with you to perform the ERP free of charge. It takes just an hour or two of your time.
Once the ERP is complete, SERVPRO will be able to provide you with digital copies (via email or flash drive), as well as a hard copy. This way it will be accessible the moment you need it.
The idea behind the ERP is that it will jumpstart the cleanup and recovery process so that business downtown is at the bare minimum. (SERVPRO’s contact information will also be in there so we can get to the scene ASAP, should the damage require our services!) The goal of the ERP is to ensure YOUR business is in the 50% that DO reopen should the worst happen.
If you’re interested in an ERP, please give SERVPRO of West Brown County a call at 920-434-8224!
Meet Brandon Sweeney: Production Technician at SERVPRO of West Brown County
For this week’s profile feature, we are pleased to introduce production technician and crew chief Brandon Sweeney. Brandon has worked at SERVPRO of West Brown County for about a year and a half.
Brandon is one of the people you may meet if you need our help at your home or business. He is qualified to do just about every job you can imagine: from cleaning up after water losses and fire damage, to carpentry, assisting in reconstruction after a clean up job. Brandon describes himself as a ‘jack of all trades!’
Brandon says he likes working here because of the people, most of all. He says the SERVPRO team is made up of “really good people,” who are great to work with.
Brandon has some very exciting news! He just married his (now) wife Tierney about a week ago in a beautiful ceremony at Heritage Hill. Brandon and Tierney have a three-year-old daughter.
Outside of work Brandon says he most enjoys spending time with his family.
Brandon is originally from Green Bay and says he loves living here because of the Packers!
Meet Brandon Selisson: Production Technician at SERVPRO of West Brown County
It is our pleasure to introduce you to SERVPRO of West Brown County team member Brandon Selisson. Brandon has been a part of the team for about a year.
Brandon is one of the friendly faces you may see doing restoration at your home or business. Brandon performs just about every task we cover: from water and fire restoration to mold remediation, biohazard to crime scene clean up.
Brandon says he enjoys working here, because he gets to help people every day. He gets to come in and clean up after disaster strikes, setting everything right again. Brandon says he especially likes seeing how he and his teammates can take something that was destroyed and make it beautiful again.
Brandon is engaged to be married next year to his fiancée Kayla. He has two daughters, a step-son and a step-daughter.
Brandon was raised in the Green Bay and Oconto areas and says he loves living in Wisconsin because of at least three of the seasons (we’ll let you guess which one he doesn’t love so much)!
In his spare time Brandon enjoys getting outside, doing activities like fishing and grilling.
Meet Alex Ronallo: Sales and Marketing Coordinator for SERVPRO of West Brown County
In this profile we’re introducing Alex Ronallo. Alex is one of the newest employees at SERVPRO of West Brown County. She has worked here as our Sales and Marketing Coordinator for a little more than two months.
Alex’s responsibilities are mostly internet-based. She is responsible for keeping our website updated with new blogs, photos and videos. She also runs all our social media accounts. In addition, Alex helps the marketing and sales department as needed.
Alex says she likes working here, because this is a new environment. She used to be a news reporter, so she likes being able to continue using her writing and social media skills. Alex also likes the fact that she gets to learn something new about the restoration business every day.
Alex is originally from a small town in Pennsylvania called Oxford. She has lived in Wisconsin for about 8 years and says she enjoys living in this state because the people are so nice, the food is great and the summer weather is the best!
Alex has been married to her husband Tyler for 4 years. They live in Appleton with their cat Warren and their dog Ladybird.
In her spare time, Alex enjoys activities like cooking, reading and writing.
Summer Safety for Keeping Your Property Safe from Theft
We’re into our third week talking with Jason Weber, the Vice President of the Wisconsin Crime Prevention Practitioners Association. This week, Jason has some advice for folks to keep their property safe from theft this summer.
Jason says the warm weather can bring with it a rise in so-called “crimes of opportunity.” Those tend to be thefts from unlocked cars, garages and homes. He tells us many thieves won’t waste time or energy trying to break into a locked vehicle or building, rather, he says, those thieves are much more likely to go for an easy (unlocked) target.
So, a simple solution is making sure you lock up every, single time. Lock your car doors when you’re out and about, lock your car doors when you’re at home. Also, be sure to close and lock you garage. In addition, Jason advises always locking your house doors and windows, and having some outdoor lights on at night to deter thieves.
Jason says it’s a good idea to take things a step further and remove all temptation for would-be thieves. This means taking any valuable items out of your car, or at least hiding them in the trunk. He tells us it’s a good practice to also try to avoid having any valuables in plain sight in your garage or home.
As the weather warms up, be sure to play it safe with your property this summer!
Water Damage Timeline
Water damage at a home in the Green Bay area
When flooding or water damage happens at your home or business, time is of the essence. The faster you call team SERVPRO for help, the less damage that unexpected water will be able to do.
According to the American Insurance Association, 37% of all homes will suffer water damage each year. Of the water damage that occurs, the association says 93% of that damage is preventable. According to the association, the first 24 to 48 hours are the most crucial when dealing with water damage.
SERVPRO has a timeline that lists the damage you can expect following a flood or water loss:
- Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.
- Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.
- Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.
- Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.
Hours 1 - 24:
- Drywall begins to swell and break down.
- Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
- Furniture begins to swell and crack.
- Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
- A musty odor appears.
48 Hours to 1 Week:
- Mold and mildew may grow and spread.
- Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.
- Metal begins to rust and corrode.
- Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.
- Paint begins to blister.
- Wood flooring swells and warps.
- Serious biohazard contamination is possible.
More Than 1 Week:
- Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
- Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants pose serious risks to occupants.
The message here is that if water ends up where it does not belong, you should NOT WAIT to call for help. Getting someone on the scene ASAP will only save time and money in the long run.
We’ve heard before that people will sometimes not even realize they’ve experienced a water loss until days, maybe even weeks later. For example, they may have a basement they don’t go into very often that floods. So, we recommend checking those isolated areas on a regular basis and after any major weather event, like torrential rains.
There are some steps you should also take while waiting for help to arrive. SERVPRO recommends as follows:
- Stop the source of the water: if, for example, you have a broken pipe, make sure to turn off the water supply to prevent anymore leaking.
- Remove items of value: move any valuables and furniture away from the water, to prevent permanent damage to those items.
- Prevent the spread of moisture: as best you can, try to soak up any water by toweling or mopping the area. This will be a good temporary help. (Only do this if the water is clean!)
- Take notes and photos for your insurance company.
- Stay Safe! Make sure to turn off any electrical connections that could pose a danger in the flooded area. DO NOT mop or towel up any water that may be contaminated, if it came from a sewer backup, for example.
As we have said, time is not on your side when it comes to water damage. So, the sooner you call for help, the better!
You can always contact us a SERVPRO of West Brown County at 920-434-8224. We’re faster to any size disaster!
Meet Alyssa Doubeck: Production Technician at SERVPRO of West Brown County
For our latest team profile, we would like to introduce you to Alyssa Doubeck. Alyssa has been working as a production technician at SERVPRO of West Brown County for about a year.
Alyssa has past experience in restoration and content cleaning. She works on all the jobs our team encounters out in the field from water and fire damage to mold remediation and general content cleaning.
Alyssa says she likes working here because she does something different every day. No two jobs are the same and that helps keep things interesting!
Alyssa is originally from Green Bay and says she likes living here because this is where her family is.
Alyssa has three sons, who certainly keep her busy outside of work! When she does have spare time, Alyssa enjoys spending it with her sons, doing things like going to the beach and having picnics.
Alyssa is one of the people who might come to your home or business if you need team SERVPRO’s help someday!
Summer Safety for Playing Online
Summer break is just around the corner for school kids of all ages and that means many will have a lot of extra free time on their hands.
With that free time, children and teens may find themselves turning to their phones and other electronic devices, spending more time online.
This week, Jason Weber, the Vice President of Wisconsin Crime Prevention Practitioners Association spoke with SERVPRO of West Brown County about online safety for the kids this summer.
Jason says, first of all, it would be ideal if parents can have their children limit their screen time. He says it’s great to get online, talk with friends and play some games, but that it is important to be active as well. Jason encourages getting outside to play.
Jason advises that when you do get outside, leave the phone alone. He says too often young people are so distracted by their phones when they’re out and about they can injure themselves by walking into things like trees and trashcans, or even into traffic.
When it comes to online activity, however, Jason says there is really one rule above all that EVERYONE should follow. That is only speaking to or playing games with people that you know. Children, in particular, should only interact with friends they’ve met in real life or family members.
There are too many people out there with ulterior motives. Jason says making sure your kids know who they’re talking to can cut down on the danger significantly.
However, Jason reiterates, that it’s a good idea to limit screen time this summer and get outside and enjoy the great weather!
On the Scene of a Water Loss
Water loss scene
A very common call in our line of work is for water in basements.
And a very common way water gets into basements is when sump pumps stop working for various reasons. Broken sump pumps allow ground water to rise and seep into the cracks in the concrete floors. So, often, you’ll notice water does not come up evenly, but tends to gather in certain areas where the foundation is lower.
We recently had a call for a broken sump pump and water loss in a finished basement in a home in the Green Bay area.
The first step we take when this happens is to go to the home and assess the damage. We inspect the situation, see what’s gotten wet and speak with the client about what we’ll do to remediate the water loss and what they can expect when it comes to the process, insurance and the work in their home.
After that our team gets to work.
In this recent situation, the finished basement had several rooms that were carpeted, as well as storage rooms that were not.
The first move the technicians made was to get any furniture and personal belongings moved off the wet floor and carpeting. They blocked up anything that got wet from being in contact with the wet floor to allow it to dry.
The next step was to do what’s called ‘extraction’ on the carpeting. That means using a machine to, in a sense, vacuum water up out of the carpet. (It is a labor-intense process, but very important to kick start the drying!)
After that, the technicians pull up the edges of the carpeting and then rolled the carpeting back to expose the padding underneath. They then cut out and removed all of the wet padding, throwing it away. This is because according to IICRC standards, sump water is contaminated water and is considered category 2 water. The standards say the carpeting can be cleaned and disinfected but the pad cannot be and needs to be replaced.
Once the padding was gone, the technicians put an antimicrobial spray on the floor to kill any germs or bacteria that may have been left behind by the water. Afterward, they rolled the carpet back down across the floor, extracted the carpet once more to make sure as much water is removed and then put antimicrobial spray on top of the carpet.
The technicians repeated this process several times over in several carpeted rooms in the basement.
They also removed the baseboards from walls that were affected by the water. ¾” holes are then drilled in the drywall every few inches where the baseboard was. That ensures that walls will dry fully and mold has nowhere to hide and grow in the future. These holes will later be covered fully when the baseboards are reapplied to the drywalls.
Finally, the techs set up dehumidifiers and fans to really get the drying process going. They did a process called “floating the carpet,” where they put a few fans blowing underneath the carpeting, making it float and flutter slightly. This helps the drying process along more quickly.
The drying process can take several days to complete and our team will go back to monitor the process. When they monitor, the techs use equipment to measure the temperature and humidity in the room to see how things are coming along. They also directly measure the moisture content in affected wood and drywall to determine when the materials have reached dry standards.
Once the drying process is complete in any water loss case, the SERVPRO team will put the property and belongings back together. We are also able to provide reconstruction services for anything that needed to be torn out during the remediation, like the pad in this recent case as well as having the carpet re-stretched in place and the baseboards reapplied to the walls.
SERVPRO of West Brown County is just a phone call away (920-434-8224) if you need our help following a water loss at your home or business. Give us a call anytime!
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.
Meet Bill Miner: Production Manager at SERVPRO of West Brown County
This week, we at SERVPRO of West Brown County would like to introduce you to Bill, our production manager.
In November it will be Bill’s 10th anniversary working here and he does a lot to keep the business running on a daily basis. Some of his main responsibilities include: coordinating crews with the work they’ll be doing, completing initial walkthroughs of potential jobs and projects the crews will be taking on, and determining the types of equipment necessary to get the work done.
Bill says he enjoys working here because he likes the fact that no two days are the same so, ‘you never get bored.’ Bill also says he enjoys the work because he gets to help people who are sometimes in ‘very dire straits.’
Bill was born in Los Angeles, California; he grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and he’s lived here in Wisconsin for about 15 years. Bill says he enjoys living in Wisconsin, because there are a lot of great parks all across the state, so there’s always something fun to do outside.
Bill has been married to his wife Barb for 13 years. They have four children: three boys and a girl. He says in his spare time he enjoys ‘being a father.’
Putting it All Back Together Again
This photo shows the office after we removed the floorboards and before we got everything completely dry.
In Mid-April the Green Bay area was hit by a blizzard. The storm left about two feet of snow all over.
This led to many calls to SERVPRO of West Brown County for issues like broken sump pumps and water damage. However, one call was particularly interesting.
A commercial property was stuck with that wet, heavy snow on its roof. The challenge of holding that weight was too much for the roof and a section collapsed. That collapse caused a broken sprinkler head. Those combined led to water all over the building, including the office.
SERVPRO of West Brown County came in to take care of that water.
Our crews removed everything from the office: we took down cubicles and removed floorboards. Then the team brought in equipment, like our fans and dehumidifiers, and got everything dry. We also got rid of any debris from the incident.
After the drying process was done, we put everything back together again. That required rebuilding the office from, almost, the ground up. That entailed replacing the floorboards, putting the cubicles back together and moving all of the furniture and other equipment back in.
Once we were done the office was as good as new once more.
The entire process took only days. We were called in Monday morning for the water damage and everything was back in place by Friday afternoon.
This story is just one example of how SERVPRO of West Brown County works in an efficient, fast and professional manner. Our goal is to get your business, or home, back in order quickly and at the lowest cost with the best work possible.
For any type of water, fire, mold, storm, biohazard or crime scene clean up and/or restoration we are here for you. Reach us any time at 920-434-8224.
Meet Beki DeMoulin: Office Manager at SERVPRO of West Brown County
It’s time for another profile to help you get to know the people who work at SERVPRO of West Brown County.
Today we’re introducing you to our office manager Beki DeMoulin. Beki keeps the day-to-day operations running smoothly.
Beki has worked here for three and a half years and, as the office manager, she is responsible for quite a lot. Among her responsibilities are: working with the SERVPRO corporate office, working with insurance companies, handling billing, ensuring all employees are following safety standards, ensuring that the business is compliant with all necessary guidelines.
It’s safe to say we would struggle to get everything done without Beki.
Beki says she likes working here because the job is never boring. She likes that every day is different because every project the team works on is “different, fresh and new.”
Beki is originally from West De Pere and says she likes living in her home state because of ‘the four seasons.’ She says it’s nice to be able to experience fall, winter, spring and summer, ‘sometimes in the same week!’
In what little spare time she has outside of work, Beki enjoys golfing, gardening, fishing and golfing. (She and her fiancé really enjoy golfing!
Beki recently got engaged and is the mom of twin sons who will be turning 24-years-old in June!
It's Easy Being Green
At SERVPRO of West Brown County we’re invested in being green and that goes for more than just our famous trucks.
Our interest in being environmentally friendly starts with the building we operate from. Our home base is an office and a large shop in the Village of Howard. On the roof you can see a few dozen solar panels.
Those panels produce the majority of the electricity we use here. The investment was a large one up front, but we’ve found it’s definitely worth it to produce clean electricity for our own use.
Outside our home base, we’re concerned with conservation as well.
When we work on a home or business that’s been damaged by an incident like a fire or flooding, we try hard to salvage as much of the items in that home or business as possible. We work on cleaning and restoring furniture, for example, instead of throwing it out. That way less trash ends up in the dump AND we’re able to save our clients money. If clients can keep their old belongings after an incident, they don’t have to spend money to buy new ones.
When we DO need to remove items that are beyond repair from a home or business, we make sure as little of those wind up in the dump as possible. That means we ensure whatever can be recycled is recycled and that all materials, be they metals or electronics, get to the right locations.
Being as environmentally friendly as possible is important to us. So is saving you money. Luckily there are a lot of times when those two goals go hand in hand and we take advantage of them when they do.
We’re all about being green and saving green at SERVPRO of West Brown County.
Wildfires: Watches and Warnings
National Weather Service photo of a wildfire
In our last blog post we discussed wildfires. We took a look at how you can help prevent wildfires and how you can protect your property against them.
Now let’s take a look at what you need to know when it comes to the National Weather Service’s (NWS) Watches and warnings for wildfires. Do you know the difference between a red flag warning and a fire weather watch? If not, it’s an important distinction.
Let us break it down for you:
- Fire Weather Watch: According to the NWS, a Fire Weather Watch is when you need to PREPARE, because weather conditions over the next 12 to 48 hours are expected to create a critical risk for wildfires.
- Red Flag Warning: According to the NWS, a Red Flag Warning is when you need to TAKE ACTION, because this is the alert that is sent out when fire conditions are ongoing or are expected to occur within the next 24 hours.
- Extreme Fire Behavior: This is the alert the NWS will put out when an already ongoing wildfire is likely to rage out of control. To send out this alert, one of the following conditions must be met:
- The fire is moving fast.
- There is prolific crowning, meaning the tree canopy is catching on fire, or spotting, which means embers from the main fire are blowing to new areas, starting new fires.
- Presence of fire whirls, which are like tornadoes of flame.
- A strong convection column, which is a column of gases, smoke and ash that is rising out of the wildfire.
Don’t forget, the Wisconsin DNR is another resource you can turn to in order to find out more about the risk of wildfires in your area and how you can work to keep yourself safe.
And if a wildfire leaves its mark on your property, SERVPRO of West Brown County is here to help you recover and rebuild from any flame, smoke or soot damage. Just give us a call at 920-434-8224.
Many Kinds of Mold
Photo of mold growing inside a home in the Green Bay area
Mold remediation is one of the most common jobs we help our clients with.
Because of that we’ve focused some recent blog posts on mold: where it’s likely to grow in your home, what to expect if you call us for help with remediation.
But did you know there are many kinds of mold that can affect your property?
We do know there are more than 100,000 species of mold that exist in the world. Not all of these can or will affect your home or office, but there are five main kinds you’re likely to encounter:
- Alternaria – is a genus of mold, meaning there are several species that are contained within it. Alternaria tends to grow in thick green, gray or black colonies. According to health experts it can affect a person's health.
- Aspergillus – is a genus of mold. One of the species is a main component of mildew. Health experts say some species of Aspergillus can affect a person's health.
- Cladosporium – Is another mold genus. The species within Cladosporium grow in olive-green, brown or black colonies. Cladosporium is rarely known to have adverse health effects on people.
- Penicillium – This mold genus contains over 300 species, some of which are used to make the medicine Penicillin, some of which are used to make cheese. However, some of those species can be commonly found growing in blue or blue-green colonies on plywood, carpet and inside walls.
- Stachybotrys chartarum – is the mold species the CDC considers ‘black mold,’ which you’ve likely heard of as ‘toxic mold.’ This species grows in greenish-black colonies and is actually NOT toxic. The CDC CAN have an effect on people's health, particularly those with weakened immune systems. (We wrote a full blog on this mold a few weeks back)
So now that we’ve told you a little bit about some of the different kinds of molds are out there, let us remind you that we can help clean up and mitigate ALL of them. So, if you’ve found mold growing in your home or business, reach out to SERVPRO of West Brown County at 920-434-8224.
Photo of a wildfire from the Wisconsin DNR
As Smokey Bear says, ‘only you can prevent wildfires.’
And, according to the Wisconsin DNR, spring is the riskiest time of year for wildfires across the state. Summer is a close second in that department.
The DNR says spring is especially dangerous once the snow melts, because even a few days without rain can lead to dry grasses, pine needles, and leaves. Combine those dry fuels with lower humidity, warmer temperatures and blustery winds and you have conditions that can easily create fast moving wildfires.
What Smokey says is certainly true too, because, according to the DNR, 98% of wildfires in Wisconsin are caused by people.
Here are some of the most common causes:
- Burning debris
- Using equipment and vehicles like lawnmowers and ATVs
- Power lines
There are some precautions you, personally, can take to prevent these fires:
- Have water on hand any time you burn or build a campfire.
- Fully put out a burn or campfire by drowning it with water, stirring it, drowning it again and feeling the area with the back of your hand to ensure it’s no longer warm. If it is warm, drown and stir it again!
- Do not use equipment like lawnmowers on especially dry days as they can spark, leading to fires.
- If you see smoke along the railroad tracks, call 911 and report it.
- Do not throw lit cigarettes away outside.
Now, depending on where you live and play, your home or other property could be at risk from wildfires. The DNR says your property is especially vulnerable if it’s in a rural or wooded area surrounded by tall grasses or trees like pines and oaks.
The National Fire Protection Association has named May 5th, 2018 Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. So, now is a good time to know the risk at your own property and take some precautions.
The DNR recommends:
- Rake leaves away from your house and from under your deck.
- Remove leaves and pine needles from your gutters.
- Clear a five-foot zone around your building of any flammable materials.
- Move firewood at least 30 feet from your home.
If you see a Smokey Bear sign in your community, take note of what it says. If Smokey says there’s a risk for fire danger, believe him and take precautions.
And if a wildfire should ever affect your Green Bay area property, SERVPRO of West Brown County is always here for you. We can help clean, restore and rebuild following any damage. Just pick up the phone and call us any time, day or night at 920-434-8224.
Meet Bill Kupsh: Sales and Marketing Representative for SERVPRO of West Brown County
For this week’s profile, allow us to introduce Bill Kupsh. Bill is a Sales and Marketing Representative for Team SERVPRO of West Brown County.
Bill will celebrate his second anniversary with us this August. His job here is to develop new business and maintain current relationships with commercial accounts in the Green Bay area. Bill has decades of experience in the business world, even owning his own business at one point.
Bill says he enjoys working at SERVPRO because we “provide a much-needed service,” elaborating on that idea Bill remarks that we “help people out of situations that they don’t know there’s help for.” Bill likes being part of a team that provides that help when it’s needed most.
Bill is originally from a small town in Manitowoc County called Menchalville. He grew up on a farm! Bill says he likes living in his home state because he loves outdoor recreation of all kinds. Bill is an avid deer hunter, both with a bow and gun, and a devoted fisherman. He says it’s never boring in Wisconsin.
In his spare time, Bill tries to get outside to enjoy those recreational activities. He also enjoys doing small home projects and rummage sales.
Bill has been married to his wife Amy, a teacher, for nearly 21 years. They celebrate their anniversary in May. Bill and Amy have three children, a son and two daughters. The family also has a dog!
Bill says the key to his success in life is that he never stops learning.
The Mold Remediation Process
Mold growing inside a home in the Green Bay area.
Recently we posted a video about a process the team at SERVPRO of West Brown County works on a lot: mold remediation. We thought a good idea would be to expand upon that video with a blog post explaining what you can expect when you call us in to your home or business for a mold remediation project.
As we’ve said in the past, mold will grow on wet, porous materials. The longer something like drywall or carpeting is wet, the more likely it is to experience mold growth.
So, at the first sign of fungus, call us at 920-434-8224.
Once our technicians arrive, they will do a full check to see where the mold is growing. Then they will set up a containment space to ensure mold spores do not travel outside of the affected areas.
The techs will set up that containment space by creating a negative air chamber by putting up actual plastic barriers. Then they will run a high-efficiency air scrubber that will contain the mold spores and keep the rest of the air in the building clean.
Our team may need to remove some affected building materials like drywall and carpeting if they experience mold growth. Often, those kinds of materials are not salvageable after mold. The technicians will clean any structural materials that cannot be taken out with a mold stain removal product.
In the final step of the mold remediation process itself, team members will spray anti-bacterial and anti-microbial solution over the affected areas to ensure they’re as clean as possible.
Our employees can also perform any reconstruction or rebuilding that may need to be done as a result of the mold remediation process.
We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call us at the first sign of mold.
What Drives Us
This is the vision board we look at every day during our morning meetings at work.
At SERVPRO of West Brown County we do this work because we want to serve the community. We have a vision that drives us every day to do the best work we can.
To help you get to know us a little bit better, we thought we should share a little bit more about that vision. We recently posted a video talking about it, let’s take more of an in-depth look here on the blog:
First, what is our VISION?
- “To be the premier disaster restoration and clean up company in Green Bay and the surrounding areas.”
So how do we achieve that vision? By completing the MISSION of “Bringing order to chaotic situations” by:
- Providing excellent customer service
- Using the latest restoration techniques
- Utilizing industry certified professionals
And we complete that mission by following these CORE VALUES every, single day:
- Integrity – Doing the right thing when no one is looking.
- Team Player – We accomplish much more together when we combine our talents and have each other’s backs.
- Positive Attitude – Leads to success and happiness.
- Accountability – Own your actions and be proud of them.
- Be Prepared – Start each day with the right tools, equipment and game plan.
SERVPRO’s philosophy is that we will only be successful by following all of these: the values, mission and vision. The idea is that all of them combined will ensure we are doing the best, most efficient and most cost-effective work for our customers.
Our team is ready and waiting to do any work you might need in the areas of mold remediation, water damage, fire damage and biohazard. We are available over the phone at 920-434-8224 all day, every day. Be a part of our vision by letting us be there for you.
Where Mold Could Be Hiding in Your House
This is a photo of mold at a Green Bay area home before we cleaned it up.
As we’ve said in the past, mold can be a very tricky fungus, sometimes growing behind walls and under carpets. But did you know there are areas all over your home mold could be hiding?
It’s true and it can happen even if you don’t experience a flooded home. Luckily, there are some things you can do to try to stop mold from growing. Many of these good practices involve keeping materials dry and ensuring good air circulation. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a list of rooms you might find mold and advice for stopping it in its tracks:
- The attic or roof: the EPA says not to ignore wet spots up here and have any leaks fixed ASAP.
- Bedrooms and closets: the EPA says not to ignore wet or flaking paint. Try to keep the humidity levels to between 30% and 60%.
- Bathrooms: all the water and steam here can cause mold growth. Try to run the exhaust fan or open a window when showering.
- Kitchen: leaking pipes can lurk under the sink, get them fixed! Cooking can also cause humidity, so run your kitchen’s exhaust fan.
- Basement: keep a dehumidifier down here and ensure your clothes dryer is properly vented to the outside.
- Yard: water pooling around the house can lead to moisture inside. Set up outdoor drainpipes at least five feet from the foundation and ensure land around the house slopes downward and away from the house.
- Windows: condensation on windows can be a sign of high indoor humidity!
The EPA says mold can cause immediate or delayed allergic reactions and can also cause asthma attacks in people who suffer from asthma. In addition, mold can irritate the eyes, skin, throat, nose and lungs of people with and without allergies. According to the EPA, research into mold’s effect on people’s health is ongoing.
To help ensure healthy air quality, SERVPRO of West Brown County is fully prepared to handle mold remediation at your Green Bay area home or business. You can always reach us at 920-434-8224.
And be on the lookout for our next blog post where we’ll describe and explain the equipment and techniques our team uses to clean up mold. That post will go live in two days!
Keep Your Sump Pump Performing
Photo of a sump pump failure from a home in the Green Bay area
Only a week after experiencing an APRIL blizzard, Northeast Wisconsin is enjoying a warm up. And as about two feet of snow starts to melt rapidly, we at SERVPRO of West Brown County have been busy.
One issue that’s come up from several clients over the last few days is sump pump failure. When a sump pump fails, that can lead to water in your basement and other parts of your home. That rogue water can go on to cause property damage.
So, we thought now might be a good time to put out some friendly reminders about sump pumps!
First, what exactly is a sump pump?
Well, a sump pump, is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a pump that’s often connected to your home’s electrical system. The pump is used to remove any water that collects in your home’s sump basin. The sump basin is typically in your basement to collect any water that makes its way inside thanks to issues like rain or ground water.
If the pump fails for whatever reason, any water that collects in the sump basin can eventually overflow into the basement and beyond. Because of that, some of the pumps come with battery-powered back-ups. HOWEVER, they don’t all have back-ups!!
And now is the moment we encourage you to check your sump pump to ensure it’s working properly! Here’s what you need to look for or do:
- If it’s running and seems to be running smoothly, that’s good!
- If the sump pump is not running, look a little closer to make sure it’s in good condition:
- Make sure the pump is upright.
- Check for any signs of damage, wear, or tear.
- Clean any dirt or debris out of the sump pit.
- You can test the pump by pouring a bucket of water into the pit. If the pump activates and the water drains quickly you’re in good shape.
- If the pump does not activate or appears damaged in anyway, fix it or call for maintenance right away.
Now that you’re back from checking your sump pump, if you’ve found it quit on you leaving water where it doesn’t belong, give us a call. We are here for you at 920-434-8224!
If everything is in order, that’s great news! Enjoy the warm weather!
Either way, experts recommend giving your sump pump a checkup once a year, but it certainly can’t hurt to do so more often if rain storms, snow melts, or any surprise spring blizzards are in the forecast
What You Need to Know: Generator Safety
Photo of a generator from the Wisconsin Red Cross.
As we’ve been writing recently about severe weather season and preparing for any possible flooding or storms, we thought it might be a good idea to tackle generators.
Generators are always great to have as a backup if your home or business loses power during a storm, but they can pose serious dangers if you’re not careful.
According to the American Red Cross the biggest dangers generators can pose are fires, electrocution and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
The Red Cross has a long list of safety measures to take if you need to use a generator personally.
- Turn the generator off and let it cool before refueling. Hot fuel can spark a fire.
- Keep the generator dry. Do not use in wet conditions.
- NEVER plug a generator into a wall outlet. That puts you and your neighbors at risk of electrocution.
- Read instructions thoroughly to avoid overloading the generator. Also, stagger use to avoid overloads. Overloads can lead to over-heating, which can lead to fires.
- NEVER use a generator inside your home or inside ANY partially enclosed space.
- Don’t put your generator close to windows or vents to avoid letting CO inside your home.
- Put CO detectors up in your home.
- If the CO alarm goes off, leave the building, go outside into fresh air and call 911 for help. Stay outside until help arrives.
Hopefully you won’t need the help of a generator this spring or summer, but if you do, please remember this advice.
And, also remember that if you do experience any fire, storm or water damage issues, West Brown County. Call anytime at 920-434-8224.
Meet Jim Knopf: Sales and Marketing Manager for SERVPRO of West Brown County
In this week’s profile, we would like to introduce you to Jim Knopf. Jim is our Sales and Marketing Manager and he’s worked at SERVPRO of West Brown County for seven years.
Jim’s job is to travel around Northeast Wisconsin meeting with and calling on all sorts of clients from insurance agents and adjusters to property managers and business owners. Jim meets with these folks and explains the work SERVPRO does in terms of mold remediation, fire and water damage restoration, biohazard cleanup and more.
Jim says he enjoys working here because he likes his fellow employees and the atmosphere. According to Jim the restoration business is a competitive one and the SERVPRO team is always striving to be on top. Jim likes working hard to be number one in the business.
Jim is originally from Milwaukee and says he is happy to be in his home state (despite the spring snow storms!) because this is where his family and friends are.
Jim fills up his spare time by working in the community. He is a member of several organizations, both local and international, like the Greater Green Bay Chamber of Commerce, the Howard-Suamico Business and Professional Association and the International Facility Management Association.
Jim has been married to his wife Irma for 34 years. Together they have a son who lives in Hartford, Wisconsin and a daughter who lives in San Francisco. Jim and Irma are grandparents to two grandchildren.
In addition to everything else Jim has done for his workplace, his community and his family, Jim is an Army Veteran. He served during the Vietnam War. SERVPRO of West Brown County is grateful for his service and is lucky to have him on the team.
First Comes the Blizzard, Then Comes the Flood
Be sure to shovel snow away from the foundation of your property to try to keep water from getting inside as the snow melts.
As you travel around Northeast Wisconsin it’s impossible to miss the snow piles and drifts climbing several feet high. Thanks to a spring blizzard, communities across the area are dealing with the aftermath of about two feet of the pesky precipitation.
For the first few days, clearing snow from driveways and sidewalks has taken up most home and business owners’ time and concerns. However, with warmer temperatures in the forecast, the piles of snow will soon be turning into puddles, LARGE, FLOWING puddles of water.
If you’re concerned about the snow or the water damaging your property, SERVPRO has some advice to try in the coming days:
- Prevent roof collapse: use a snow rake to clear your roof or hire a professional to shovel it.
- Prevent ice dams: keep your attic cool, significantly cooler than the rest of your home, to ensure the roof stays cool.
- Clear snow: shovel snow away from your foundation, sweep snow away from doors and windows.
- Clear drains: unclog snow from drainage pipes and catch basins to ensure water can flow freely away from your property.
- Check your sump pump to be sure it’s working properly.
- Rearrange basement storage: clear areas around appliances, put anything valuable or that cannot get wet up off the ground.
SERVPRO of West Brown County has been busy this week responding to homes and businesses that have experienced damage thanks to the blizzard. Our team is ready to help you too if you experience any kind of collapse or water damage from the storm or the flood that is likely to follow. You can reach us 24 hours a day at 920-434-8224.
IICRC: A Certification You Can Trust
Our IICRC Certification Plaque.
At SERVPRO of West Brown County we are an IICRC Certified Firm. You may not know what that means just yet, but it’s a big deal when it comes to the work we do.
IICRC stands for Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification. It is an international, not-for-profit organization that sets the standards for “technical excellence” in our field.
The IICRC covers all aspects of the work SERVPRO does, including: fire restoration, water damage restoration, mold remediation and inspection, as well as floor and upholstery cleaning.
To become IICRC certified a firm like ours needs to employ a certain number of certified technicians AND the owner needs to be certified as well.
For an individual to become certified they need to attend classes in person then take and pass tests from the organization.
The IICRC has become so trusted in this industry, because it creates the standards we need to work under by gathering peer-reviewed, industry-accepted best practices from around the world to ensure certified technicians are working as safely and efficiently as possible.
We’re at a point where some insurance companies will refuse to work with firms that are not IICRC certified. That’s how important this is.
Our IICRC certification means you can rest assured in the knowledge that SERVPRO of West Brown County will do the best, safest work for you, at the best price and in a timely manner.
We are available any time day or night if you need us for help following a fire, flood, storm or mold growth in the Green Bay area. We’re also here if you need help cleaning up your home or office. Call us at 920-434-8224.
Spring into the Season Safely
A photo of a smoke alarm from the CDC.
At SERVPRO of West Brown County we know fires can strike at any time of the day or night. We also know how devastating, even deadly those fires can be.
One great way to protect yourself and your family is to make sure you have working smoke alarms in your home. The key word here is WORKING.
The National Safety Council (NSC) has a spring safety checklist for you to check off when doing your annual spring cleaning. Number one on the list? Check those smoke alarms.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) goes a step further saying smoke alarms SAVE LIVES.
An NFPA study shows:
- A smoke alarm sounds in about half of U.S. home fires on average.
- Three of every five home fire deaths occur in houses where there are no smoke alarms, or no working smoke alarms.
- About 70% of the incidents in which the alarms do NOT sound the batteries are missing, disconnected or dead.
There are simple steps you can and should take this spring to make sure your smoke alarms are ready to go. The NSC advises:
- Test your alarms at least once a month.
- Change you alarm batteries at least once a year.
- If an alarm is making a chirping sound, replace the battery immediately.
- Put alarms up in each bedroom and common room on each floor of your home.
Going hand in hand with smoke alarms are carbon monoxide detectors. The NSC describes carbon monoxide (CO) as an “invisible, odorless gas, and it can kill you.”
The NSC has advice about protecting yourself from CO gas:
- Anything that burns fuel can produce CO.
- Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed outside each bedroom and on every level of your house.
- You should test the batteries monthly and change them yearly.
As we get deeper into spring it’s a good idea to go through this checklist to ensure your family is as safe as possible when it comes to fire and carbon monoxide.
Please protect yourself and if a fire should affect your property, we are here for you. Our SERVPRO team is well-prepared to clean up and provide any necessary reconstruction services. You can reach us at 920-434-8224.
Water Damage By the Numbers
A photo of a water damage situation our team at SERVPRO of West Brown County handled.
At SERVPRO, we are prepared for any kind of water damage or flooding you might experience at your home or business.
However, not all water damage situations are created equal. There are several categories that these situations can fall into that determine how dangerous they are to you and to our teams doing the cleanup. They also determine the amount of work needed to do the mitigation. It’s important you know what we mean when we talk about these categories if you ever have a water damage situation of your own.
So, let’s consider the categories:
Category 1: “Clean Water”
- Clean Water is any water that comes from a sanitary water source.
- Clean Water does not post any substantial risks to people’s health.
- An example of Clean Water would be any leaking from a water supply pipe.
Category 2: “Gray Water”
- Gray Water is water that contains significant contamination.
- Gray Water has the potential to cause people discomfort or sickness.
- Some examples of Gray Water are leaks from washing machines, dishwashers and water beds.
Category 3: “Black Water”
- Black Water is water that is grossly, or extremely contaminated.
- Black Water can contain pathogens, toxins or other harmful materials.
- Black Water can make people seriously ill.
- Some examples of Black Water are sewage backups, flood waters, and backups from a toilet trap.
Outside of the three main categories there are also special situations where an expert besides SERVPRO might need to aid in clean up. Those special situations include water leaks or losses that contain regulated or hazardous materials like mercury, lead, asbestos, pesticides and fuels.
When it comes to those three main categories, SERVPRO of West Brown County is prepared to help you recover from whatever loss might occur. For the more serious categories our team members will need to wear protective gear, because those categories can be very dangerous to people’s health. Depending on the situation our team members will use different methods to clean up, like using antimicrobial products to ensure the environment is safe.
It’s very important for you to know that a category can change over time. For example, a Category 1 can turn into a Category 2 if the water sits around for a day or more or even a category 3 if it sits for more than 3 days or mixes with certain building materials or very dirty situations.
So, if you have any unwanted water issues, it’s best to reach out to us for help ASAP to keep damage and costs at a minimum. You can do that by calling us at 920-434-8224 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Meet Georgia Bogenschuetz: Owner of SERVPRO West Brown County
In last week’s profile we introduced you to SERVPRO of West Brown County’s owner Mike Bogenschuetz, now we introduce you to his wife and the other owner of the franchise, Georgia Bogenschuetz.
Georgia and Mike have owned this franchise for five years this June. Over the years Georgia has been working in the office, taking care of bookkeeping and human resources matters. Georgia also makes sure to help Mike, her husband of 30 years come December, stay organized!
When asked why she likes being an owner and working here, Georgia responds that she loves the employees here. She says the team members are a dedicated and compassionate group of people who are wonderful to be around.
Georgia says SERVPRO “helps people who really need help,” people who’ve been affected by tragedies like fire and flooding. So, the employees must be understanding and compassionate. She says the people at SERVPRO of East Brown County go above and beyond what is expected in that regard and that’s why she likes being here.
Like Mike, in her spare time Georgia likes to get out in nature. The two own property with a lot of wooded area and they enjoy hiking and riding ATV’s through the woods. Georgia enjoys hiking so much she says most of the Bogenschuetz family vacations are to places where they can hike.
And like Mike, Georgia is very proud of their 24-year-old daughter Taylor, a recent graduate of UW-Madison.
Georgia is originally from Elkhart Lake. She says she enjoys living in her home state because “this is where family is.”
SERVPRO of West Brown County Dries Your Home or Business with Science
Drying your home or business with science!
Did you there is actually a science behind the drying process? Having the knowledge of psychrometrics is essential to restoring a water-damaged structure to its preloss condition. While your initial reaction may be to grab a few towels to mop up the mess and place a fan or two around the damaged area, SERVPRO professionals are trained in the science of drying and follow strict industry-approved standards to help lower the chances of any secondary damages. These processes include inspecting the building to detect every component that is wet, measuring how much moisture is in the wet materials, monitoring whether the materials are drying properly and speeding up Mother Nature by using professional drying equipment.
The bottom line is SERVPRO of West Brown County has the training and equipment to help make water damage "Like it never even happened." Call SERVPRO of West Brown County at 920-434-8224.
'Tis the Season for Spring Cleaning
As spring arrives, nature wakes up. The world turns green again, flowers bloom and the birds build their nests.
And as all this happens, we humans start to think of our nests as well: our homes and offices.
SERVPRO of West Brown County has what business and home owners need to get spring cleaning done right. Our team can freshen up your surroundings with HVAC cleaning, for starters. We are also trained to use state-of-the-art equipment to get your carpets their cleanest and focus on stain removal. We can even help you out with tasks like drapery cleaning, hard floor cleaning and deodorization.
If you need help getting rid of unwanted clutter, we can use our muscle to haul away any trash or unwanted items like furniture. Get that garage or basement cleaned out for the season!
For the homeowner, you may want to tackle some spring cleaning at your abode on your own.
And for you, we ask (as we often do) that you consider your safety when making plans for a big clean.
If you’re going to be using chemical cleaners inside your home Consumer Reports has some tips to play it safe:
- Open windows in your home to keep fresh air flowing.
- Read labels on the products you use to see if anything is potentially harmful.
- Make sure to NEVER mix ammonia and bleach.
- If you need to move furniture and other heavy objects, get someone to help you.
- Don’t do more than you physically can.
Of course, spring isn’t just a time to focus on our “nests,” it’s a time when a lot of us want to get out in our yards. Fall and winter can leave behind a bit of a mess and spring is a great time to make it beautiful once more.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has advice for getting the yard back in order safely:
- Dress appropriately for the work you’re doing. If you’re going to use power tools, avoid loose-fitting clothes.
- Walk around the yard or garden first to clear out debris like sticks, stones or even trash.
- Use any necessary safety equipment like goggles or gloves.
- Read all safety instructions and test power tools before using them.
- Never work with electric power tools in wet conditions.
- Handle gas cautiously, keep it away from spark or flame.
- Be sure any extension cords are in good condition.
Use your best judgment as you sweep the winter blues out of your home and yard while the world turns green again.
With cleaning your home or office, keep in mind, we can help with a lot of the heavy lifting. We have the tools and experience to get your surroundings looking and SMELLING their best. So, if there is anything we can do to help give us a call 920-434-8224.
Getting Serious About Severe Weather
A CDC graphic with reminders about preparing for and staying safe during severe weather.
The term “severe weather” covers a whole lot of activity that can affect people across the country on any given day, at any given time.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Americans deal with thousands of these weather events yearly.
Here’s a quick look at some of NOAA’s numbers for an average year:
- 10,000 severe thunderstorms
- 5,000 floods or flash floods
- 1,300 tornadoes
- 2 land-falling, deadly hurricanes
- Approximately 98% of all Presidentially-declared disasters are weather-related
- 650 deaths
- $15 billion in damage
To be prepared for severe weather, it helps to first know the hazards that can affect you, your family and your property.
In the Green Bay area, the National Weather Service (NWS) says we’re at risk for severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, flooding and, of course, winter storms. You’ve probably experienced a few of these in your time here (we know we have!).
At SERVPRO we recommend being prepared for the worst as we head into the warmest months of the year. According to the NWS, we’re much more likely to see those severe thunderstorms, floods and tornadoes during the spring and summer (although they can strike any time!).
To prepare we advise getting a NOAA weather radio and taking a look at the FEMA app, which we discussed in a previous blog post. That way you can hear about any watches or warnings headed your way and make sure to seek safe shelter.
It’s also a good time to come up with an emergency plan for your family and your business, put together or buy an emergency kit and keep important papers and valuables in a safe place.
SERVPRO also advises that you spread the word to your friends and family once you have your own plans in place. Post on your social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter that you have plans for staying during severe weather. Your good example could lead others to do the same.
If storms or floods come your way, remember SERVPRO of West Brown County can always help you out in the aftermath. We are here for your storm and water damage recovery needs. Just pick up the phone and dial 920-434-8224.
Just please be sure to take care of yourself and your family first.
Illuminating: Lightning Safety
A photo showing a lightning strike from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Did you know lightning strikes occur in the United States about 25 million times each year?
That statistic is according to the National Weather Service, or NWS, and is especially important to think about this time of year. According to the NWS, lightning is more likely to strike during the summer months, although it can happen any time of year.
The NWS says about 47 people, on average, are killed by lightning strikes, with hundreds more being injured.
Fortunately, there are ways to keep yourself safe.
If you’re able, the first piece of advice is to find shelter, preferably inside your own home.
If you are at home, the National Weather Service has several tips to stay safe:
- Stay off corded phones (you CAN use cell phones).
- Avoid plumbing: do not take a shower or wash your hands.
- Stay away from windows and doors.
- Do not lie on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls.
- Bring your pets inside.
- Remember that typical surge protectors will NOT protect against surges caused by lightning strikes.
If you are unable to get to shelter, the NWS advises you take these steps:
- Avoid open fields and hilltops.
- Stay away from tall, isolated trees or objects
- Stay away from water.
- Try to get into a low-lying area or keep heading toward shelter.
- If you’re in a group, spread out to avoid a strike hitting multiple people.
Lightning is hotter than the surface of the sun, reaching temperatures of around 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
And that hot, hot heat CAN cause fires. About 24,600 fires are caused by lightning in the United States each year, according to the NWS. Of those, about 4,400 are house fires.
In our line of work at SERVPRO of West Brown County we know just how much damage house fires can do. They can be devastating for families.
It’s unfortunate we know the damage, but luckily, we also know how to fix a lot of that damage. Our crews have the knowledge and experience to help you recover if the unthinkable happens. Just give us a call at 920-434-8224.
And always remember, despite the old saying, lightning can and often DOES strike the same place twice.
Preparing for the Worst: the FEMA App
A photo of the app from FEMA that shows the front page and the features it offers.
Spring has officially sprung (although some days the weather doesn’t quite feel that way!) and once spring has arrived, severe weather is often just around the corner. Are you prepared?
One tool we like at SERVPRO of West Brown County is the FEMA app. The cell phone app is free for iOS and Android devices and comes with a lot of cool features to help keep you safe in any kind of disaster.
The first feature provides weather alerts. You can input up to five different locations in the app to keep track of any alerts for severe weather watches or warnings in those areas.
The app also helps you get ready in the event a disaster should strike. It provides emergency safety tips and reminders, gives a checklist for building an emergency kit and allows you to set up an emergency meeting place with your loved ones.
Under the safety tips feature there is a laundry list of different topics the app provides information for. Just a few of those examples are tornadoes, house fires, floods and even cyber security.
If you end up experiencing a disaster, the app has more features that allow you to apply for assistance online, find a shelter and talk directly to someone at an area disaster recovery center.
The app also gives you the ability to share any disaster photos you might take, connect to FEMA’s Blog and call 911. The photos you share can help first responders and emergency managers in their recovery efforts.
With spring and summer often bringing severe weather, it certainly can’t hurt to be prepared and have prior warnings.
And while we’re on the subject of warnings, what’s the difference between a storm watch and a storm warning?
According to the National Weather Service, a severe thunderstorm or tornado WATCH is put out when there is a POSSIBILITY of a severe thunderstorm or tornado in that area. The WATCH does not mean the storms will actually happen.
The National Weather Service says a severe thunderstorm or tornado WARNING is put out when severe storms are actually occurring in that area, or tornadoes are imminent.
And if a disaster should strike, affecting your property. Remember, SERVPRO of West Brown County can help in the recovery efforts. We can repair storm damage and remediate any flooding or fire damage that might result. Call us anytime day or night at 920-434-8224.
Meet Mike Bogenschuetz: Owner of SERVPRO West Brown County
To help you get to know the people who work for our SERVPRO team, we’re going to be doing weekly profiles of the employees. This way you can know us before you need us to help in any restoration or remediation work.
For our first profile, we’re introducing you to Mike Bogenschuetz. Mike is the owner of the SERVPRO of West Brown County franchise. In June this year Mike will be celebrating five years as owner of this clean up, restoration and reconstruction business that was started in Green Bay. The business is celebrating it’s 25th Anniversary!
After spending 32 years working in the corporate world, for a large company, Mike decided it was time to branch out and become a small business owner. He says he specifically got into the restoration and remediation work with SERVPRO, because it’s a business that is here to help people when they need it most.
When asked what he likes most about his job, he has two answers. First, he reiterates that this is a business that helps people. He says, “it’s great to know the impact we have on clients when we bring order to the chaos by helping restore a home or business that’s been hit with water, fire or mold damage.”
The second thing Mike likes most about this job is that, because he is running a small business, he is able to have a hand in everything that goes on and not have to deal with the bureaucracy of larger organizations. Mike gets to do a little bit of everything, which keeps him very busy.
However, in the free time that he does have, Mike enjoys getting outside in the Wisconsin seasons doing things like golfing, riding his ATV through the woods, kayaking and hiking.
Of course, any free time he has, he makes sure to spend it with his family. He has been married to his wife Georgia for 30 years this year. They have a 24-year-old daughter, Taylor, who just graduated from UW-Madison. And we can’t forget, the family loves their two dogs Bella and Boo as well!
Mike is originally from Sheboygan and says he loves living in his home state of Wisconsin because the people here are “down to Earth, kind and hardworking.” He is happy to be part of Green Bay community and is a year-round Packer Backer!
A Word About Black Mold
A photo of black mold growth from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
You’ve likely heard of black mold or, as some call it, “toxic mold.” The information about this fungus can be confusing and downright alarming, depending on what, exactly, you’ve heard.
According to the CDC, the term “toxic mold” is incorrect. The black mold, scientifically known as Stachybotrys chartarum, is not actually poisonous.
The CDC says there IS evidence, however, that black mold can cause “hay fever-like allergic symptoms” like coughing and wheezing. Studies show the people most at risk of having reactions are those with chronic respiratory diseases like asthma.
The mold will grow in wet environments. So, it can show up after flooding, water leaks, even severe humidity. It usually brings with it a musty smell.
And that is where the SERVPRO team comes in. We are trained and fully equipped to tackle black mold, or any mold variety you might be having trouble with in the Green Bay area.
After you’ve contacted us to do mold remediation at your home or business, there are a few things you need to do (or not do!)
- Stay out of the mold affected areas.
- Turn off HVAC system and fans.
- Do NOT touch the mold.
- Do NOT blow air across the moldy surfaces.
- Do NOT try to dry the moldy surfaces yourself.
- Do NOT try to clean up the moldy areas with bleach or disinfectants.
Our team is fully trained to use special techniques and equipment to handle the mold growth safely.
We will first inspect your property for any signs of the fungus, keeping in mind that it can grow underneath carpeting and behind walls.
Once we’ve identified where all the mold is, we will work to contain it to the contaminated areas. That means using negative air chambers to prevent the mold spores from spreading. We’ll also perform air filtration using “air scrubbers” and HEPA vacuums.
We will then administer anti-fungal and anti-microbial treatments on affected areas. This may require going so far as to tear out any affected materials like drywall and carpeting.
We can also clean and disinfect any salvageable personal items like furniture, clothing and curtains and remove any remaining odors from the mold using fogging equipment.
Finally, If SERVPRO did have to remove any structural materials like walls or flooring, we are equipped to provide reconstruction services to complete the job. We want to leave your property looking its very best.
It’s important to remember: significant mold growth can occur over as little as 24 to 72 hours. So, if you suspect you have a problem, call us at SERVPRO of West Brown County as soon as possible. You can reach us as 920-434-8224, 24 hours a day.
Hoarding: A Dangerous Situation
A hoarding situation we helped clear to assist in eradicating a beg bug infestation.
From time to time SERVPRO of West Brown County helps-out in a hoarding situation.
Recently we assisted someone who had a bed bug infestation, along with a hoarding issue in the Green Bay area. In that case we helped remove items to aid in the eradication of the bed bugs.
In a typical hoarding situation, we are called in to help a person who is ready remove some of the extreme clutter that’s taken over their home and, possibly, even their life. We are also often called in to deal with water or fire and smoke damage that has affected an apartment or home that has a hoarding issue which compounds the cleanup.
So, what exactly is hoarding? According to the International OCD Foundation, hoarding disorder, or HD, is “a mental health disorder where people have difficulty getting rid of possessions that are no longer useful.” In these cases, a person can feel extreme, emotional distress at the thought of getting rid of those possessions.
With hoarding disorder, the clutter can become so thick that it prevents a person from getting around his or her living spaces easily.
Hoarding can create serious dangers. Experts say stacks of items can increase the risk of fire. Those stacks can also collapse on a person or cause structural damage. Also, in the event of an emergency, it can be difficult for rescue workers to get through the residence to provide help. Those experts say injuries can be severe and even fatal.
According to the International OCD Foundation, or IOCDF, 2-4% of the population has hoarding disorder. There are signs you can look for that your loved one may be suffering with it. Here is a list of some of those signs from the IOCDF
- Your loved one keeps parts of their home, or their entire home off-limits.
- You and your loved one talk a lot about “the stuff.”
- De-cluttering even a small area of the home is a major job that can take hours.
- Your loved one has trouble finding things.
- Your loved one puts off repairs to their home.
- Your loved one’s garage is over-flowing.
- Your loved one will not let you touch their possessions.
If you think someone you love might be struggling with hoarding disorder, it’s best to consult a mental healthcare professional to see how you can help.
If a decision is made to clear out some of the extreme clutter, SERVPRO of West Brown County can assist with that step. We will help you and your loved one sort through the items and help bring order back to the situation. You can always reach our team at 920-434-8224.
Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite
Photo of a bed bug from the CDC
Over the last week we handled cleanup at an apartment in the Green Bay area with a bed bug infestation.
We figured this would be a good time to tell you a little bit about the blood sucking critters and what you need to watch out for.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bed bugs, or Cimex lectularius, as they’re formally known, are small, wingless, reddish-brown insects. They feed on human and animal blood while the victims are sleeping.
The bite marks will often appear as slightly raised, reddish spots. They can sometimes appear in straight lines.
The CDC says the teeny-tiny vampires are mostly harmless to humans. If you have an allergic reaction it COULD call for medical care. The bites can certainly itch and may cause lack of sleep.
We’re hearing more and more about outbreaks of the bugs across the country and locally. Because they’re so small they’re able to hide and stow away in items like clothing, sheets and mattresses.
Some signs you’re facing an infestation are as follow:
- Bugs or their exoskeletons appearing in your sheets or mattresses
- Rusty brown stains on your sheets or mattresses
- A sweet, musty odor
A professional exterminator can treat a bed bug infestation.
SERVPRO teams don’t treat the bed bugs themselves, but we do help clean up during an outbreak. That means removing the infested mattresses, carpets, etc.
The recent incident we helped at was made worse by the fact that it was also somewhat of a hoarding scene. Stacks of furniture and other belongings provide good places for the bugs to hide.
Our teams need to take serious precautions in these cases like wearing full Tyvek suits and wrapping the items we remove to ensure no bugs get out during the moving process. We then drive the items straight to the dump and bug bomb our truck at the end of the day.
If the bed bugs bite, SERVPRO of West Brown County’s team can help with any cleanup efforts you might have. Just give us a call at 920-434-8224.
So you can sleep tight and…well, you know the rest!
Major Fire Restoration
Major fire damage to a home in the Green Bay area.
A fire can be a devastating event for anyone to experience. The team at SERVPRO of West Brown County understands that and we have seen just how bad that devastation can be.
This photo shows the damage to a home we helped to completely rebuild following a fire in the Green Bay area.
Just about everything was destroyed from the fireplace to the staircase, the dishes in the kitchen to the toilets in the bathrooms. Beautiful antiques were lost in the flames. Ash and soot even reached the parts of the home that were the farthest from the source of the blaze.
Early after the fire happened the homeowner debated whether to have the house demolished or to rebuild instead. They decided to rebuild and called SERVPRO in to do the job.
This was a large-scale residential fire project that required expertise in mitigation, restoration and reconstruction services. The home was completely gutted of all drywall and plaster, flooring materials, cabinetry and all burned or charred structural materials. We also dried out remaining structural components that suffered water damage when the fire department put out the flames with lots of water. Then we replaced the burned and charred structural components, including part of the roof rafters. The electrical and HVAC systems were redone followed by new drywall, paint, flooring, cabinetry, lighting and plumbing fixtures. We even added a new, stone fireplace. On the exterior, we installed new doors, hung new siding and put new shingles in place.
It took team members working tirelessly for several months to complete the restoration. In the end, the home is like brand new
We would never hope for a tragedy like this to affect you and your family, but we do hope if it does, that you’ll call on us to help on the mitigation, restoration and the rebuild. We understand what is lost when something like this happens and we’ll be there for you to lean on.
If you ever need us, please call us at 920-434-8224.
Never Stop Learning
SERVPRO continuing education class in Green Bay on March 13th.
As the old saying goes, ‘You learn something new every day.’ Here at SERVPRO of West Brown County we want to help you learn those new things when we can.
To do that we periodically offer free continuing education classes to our community partners. The topics of these classes can run the gamut from biohazards, to hoarding, to ethics.
Our most recent class was held on March 13th at The Marq in Green Bay. More than 50 people attended including insurance agents, property managers and realtors.
You can see a photo of the turnout right in this post.
SERVPRO taught two classes: one on ethics and one on restoration after mold.
Our friends at CRDN, the Certified Restoration Dry Cleaning Network, also taught a class. We can’t forget that ERS provided breakfast and Sherwin Williams provided lunch to all those who attended (a day of learning certainly works up an appetite!).
These classes are particularly important to those insurance agents. They need several continuing education credits each year to keep their licenses. That way clients can be sure they’re in good hands.
Property managers and realtors aren’t required to get these kinds of credits, but many want to take part anyway. They can learn more about providing tenants and clients clean and comfortable places to live.
So why do we at SERVPRO offer this education? We do this because we care about the community and we care about our partnerships here. We want to be sure we’re here for our partners AND our future customers.
We know any time you need us will be difficult. These classes help ensure you’re taken care of should that time ever come.
To learn more about what we have to offer at SERVPRO of West Brown County, give us a call at 920-434-8224.
SERVPRO Serves Communities
SERVPRO of West Brown County is happy to serve our communities in time of need.
As new owners of SERVPRO of West Brown County 5 years ago, my wife and I were surprised at the emotional connection our employees would form with various customers in what is usually a high time of need and trouble in their lives. It is the human element that is so very important at these times. Whether it is flooding, sewage backup, mold, fire, smoke or biohazard cleanup, each client is facing an uncommon disaster to them that is typically affecting their home or business in a very negative way. We get called in right after a fire that may have burned up many family possessions and memories. We get called in after a sewage backup floods the entire lower level of a finished basement with harmful bacteria on the structure and possessions. We get called in after a death in the family where the family is experiencing tremendous sorrow and grief.
It is our job to comfort our customers with kindness, understanding, and professionalism. It is our duty to take control of the disaster and put customer’s minds at ease knowing we have the knowledge and experience to pick up the pieces and put things back together. It is our opportunity to serve those around us in our communities. It is a pretty amazing business that we can help people on a daily basis.
Because we do get to do this daily in West Brown County and other communities like Green Bay, De Pere, Pulaski, Shawano, and Oconto, we are humbled and grateful our communities depend on us 24 hours a day and 365 days a year and call us in their time of need.
SERVPRO Supports The Salvation Army
Our Sales and Marketing Staff of SERVPRO of West Brown County, Bill Kupsh and Jim Knopf, joined forces with the Salvation Army to ring the bell for donations to this worthy cause.
Because volunteers give generously of their time, talent and energy on behalf of the disadvantaged, the Salvation Army is able to help thousands of Brown County families, children, individuals and seniors each year. They rely on volunteers to help every day, from serving a hot lunch Monday through Friday, to the special gift of time during the busy holiday season when they need nearly 10,000 hours of support by bell ringers alone.
Volunteers come to The Salvation Army as individuals, families or community organizations. Volunteer opportunities can be either short or long-term commitments. Much of the volunteer work is seasonal, helping with the many programs of The Salvation Army at Christmastime including toy, coat, and food distribution and bell-ringing.
Services of The Salvation Army continue year-round because they are committed to Doing the Most Good for those in need. Ongoing volunteer opportunities include working with young people at The Salvation Army Corps Community Center, helping with feeding programs for people of all ages, lending a hand in The Salvation Army’s food pantry, staffing The Salvation Army Thrift Store, assisting in the Senior Program or being an on-call driver for various needs as they arise.
The Salvation Army’s volunteer coordinator, works with groups and individuals to match their interests and needs with those of The Salvation Army. Our prayer is that volunteers experience joy and satisfaction as they continue to share their resources with others. If you are seeking a meaningful way to serve others, The Salvation Army would love to have you aboard.
Does Your Brown County Home Have A Mold Problem?
In Brown County, mold can spread through a home in as little as 48 hours.
Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:
- Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
- Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
- Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
- Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
- Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
- Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.
If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.
If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – 920-434-8224
SERVPRO Can Eliminate Odors in Your Green Bay Home
SERVPRO can eliminate odors in your Green Bay or surrounding area homes.
SERVPRO of West Brown County can eliminates odors from aLL sources including water, mold, fire, and bio hazard causes. We have a wide variety of proprietary solutions that include many different types of deodorizers that can be sprayed or ULV fogged in a room. We also have ozone generators that are used to actually break down smoke molecules and thereby eliminate the smell of smoke and soot from structures, building materials, and contents of an effected room. ULV Fogging and ozone allows the deodorizer or ozone to get into all the nooks and crannies where the originating odor or soot and smoke got into so it effectively eliminates the odors. SERVPRO of West Brown County has the expertise, resources and people to handle all of your mitigation and restoration needs. When disasters strike, you can turn to us. We specialize in getting you back on track and making it seem "Like it never even happened".
SERVPRO Handles Large Commercial Building Flood in Green Bay
The SERVPRO large loss equipment was brought in to quickly clean up this flooded warehouse.
A water main break under the floor of a 200,000 square foot warehouse in Green Bay caused a heck of a mess as tons of sand and silt flowed with the gushing water and ended up throughout much of the building and accumulated as high as 6". SERVPRO of West Brown County came in and started removing the dirt with a skidsteer and began extracting the muddy water with our extraction equipment. We brought in reinforcements from our SERVPRO network that included labor, a whole building desiccant dryer and generator, as well as additional equipment so that the loss was cleaned up as quickly as possible. This enabled the warehouse to keep working without much lost time. Through our network, we can handle all job sizes, from residential to huge commercial losses. You can count on us at SERVPRO to keep your operations going and get your home or business back on track "Like it never even happened".
Green Bay 24 Hour Emergency Water Damage Service
SERVPRO of West Brown County provides 24 hour fire and water damage restoration service in Green Bay
SERVPRO of West Brown County is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies, large or small. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.
We Answer the Phone Ready to Help 24/7/365
Call Today - 920-434-8224
We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO of West Brown County has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.
What to Expect
When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.
Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:
- Your name and contact information
- Your insurance information (if applicable)
- The street address of the water-damaged home or business
- When did the flooding or water damage occur?
- What caused the water damage (if known)?
- Is there electricity available (on-site)?
About SERVPRO of West Brown County
SERVPRO of West Brown County specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.
Meet Our Crew
SERVPRO of West Brown County is Ready to Help You Clean Up
SERVPRO has the right equipment and personnel to do your job right!
SERVPRO of West Brown County is always here and ready to help you clean up whatever mess you have going on at your home or business. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. Our goal is always for you to be able to talk to a honest to goodness live person when you call. We have the highly trained personnel coupled with the right equipment to clean and deodorize smoke, soot and fire damage, clean and mitigate mold and water damage, and even clean and mitigate biohazard situations like death and crime scenes. Whatever your situation is, if it calls for experts to help clean up, call SERVPRO of West Brown County today at 920-434-8224.
For Immediate Service in Oconto, Call SERVPRO
Oconto Residents: We provide immediate service day or night!
SERVPRO of West Brown County provides 24-hour emergency service and is dedicated to being faster to any-sized disaster in Oconto and surrounding communities. We can respond immediately to your emergency and have the expertise to handle your restoration or cleaning needs.
- 24-Hour Emergency Service
- Faster to Any-Sized Disaster
- Highly Trained Restoration Technicians
- A Trusted Leader in the Restoration Industry
- Locally Owned and Operated
- Advanced Restoration and Cleaning Equipment
Have Questions? Call Us 24/7 – 920-434-8224
Whether your Oconto home needs emergency flood damage or your upholstery cleaned, you can depend on us. Our technicians have extensive cleaning and restoration training and can make your property look its best. Learn more about our residential services:
- Water Damage Restoration
- Fire Damage Restoration
- Mold Remediation
- Storm Damage Restoration
- Cleaning Services
- Building/Reconstruction Services
There's never a convenient time for fire or Water damage to strike your Oconto commercial property. Every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when the need arises for professional cleaning or emergency restoration services we have the training and expertise to respond promptly with highly trained technicians to get your property back to business.
Restoring Your Green Bay Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event
Commercial Water Damage Events Present Unique Challenges
Flooding and water damage events at Green Bay commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.
Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges
Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.
About SERVPRO of West Brown County
SERVPRO of West Brown County specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.
Meet our trained and professional employees http://www.SERVPROwestbrowncounty.com/employee-photos
See our training certifications http://www.SERVPROwestbrowncounty.com/restoration-training-certifications
Brown County Residents: Follow These Mold Safety Tips If You Suspect Mold
Be careful! Without proper training, you could be spreading mold throughout your home.
If you see visible mold, do not disturb it. You can inadvertently spread the mold infestation throughout your home. When mold is disturbed, the mold can release microscopic mold spores which become airborne and can circulate inside your home.
What to Do:
- Stay out of affected areas.
- Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
- Contact SERVPRO of West Brown County for mold remediation services.
What Not to Do:
- Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
- Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
- Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
- Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.
About Our Mold Remediation Services
SERVPRO of West Brown County specializes in mold cleanup and restoration, in fact, it’s a cornerstone of our business. Our crews are highly trained restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your mold problem quickly and safely.
If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – 920-434-8224
When Storms or Floods hit DePere, SERVPRO is ready!
Our highly trained crews are ready to respond 24/7 to storm or flood damage in DePere.
SERVPRO West Brown County specializes in storm and flood damage restoration. Our crews are highly trained and we use specialized equipment to restore your property to its pre-storm condition.
Since we are locally owned and operated, we are able to respond quicker with the right resources, which is extremely important. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces the restoration cost.
Resources to Handle Floods and Storms
When storms hit DePere and surrounding communities we can scale our resources to handle a large storm or flooding disaster. We can access equipment and personnel from a network of 1,650 Franchises across the country and elite Disaster Recovery Teams that are strategically located throughout the United States.
Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today 920-434-8224
Saumico Smoke and Soot Cleanup
Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Your Suamico Home.
Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Your Suamico Home.
Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.
Smoke and soot facts:
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
- The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
Different Types of Smoke
There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of West Brown Countywill test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:
Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber
- Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood
- Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.
Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire
- Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
Our Fire Damage Restoration Services
Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.
Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 920-434-8224