Mold and Your Pet
Molds are neither plants nor animals — they're fungi that play a vital role in the ecosystem by biodegrading organic matter. However, certain molds can cause health effects in pets who inhale or ingest them. In addition, mold is ubiquitous. It can grow in any moist, warm environment, both indoors and out. Mold can grow in everything from wet towels to drywall, and around windows and floors. Outdoors it can be found in food thrown in the garbage, rotting tree stumps and in soil.
Mold can easily be licked or the spores inhaled wherever it grows. There are five species of mold that can cause health effects: Cladosporium, Penicillium, Fusarium, Aspergillus and Stachybotrys.
Treatment for Mold Exposure
If the mold was ingested, natural detoxifying agents such as glutathione, NAC, artichoke extract, milk thistle and SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine) can be very beneficial.
Preventing further exposure is the key to keeping your pet healthy going forward, so it's important to identify and eliminate or avoid all sources of potential mold.
Tips for Keeping Your Pet Safe From Mold
A good rule of thumb is to develop the habit of keeping anything your pet comes in contact with clean and dry:
- Keep pet food in a sealed container in a cold, dry area (freezer)
- Wash food and water bowls at least once a day and throw out plastic dishes
- Launder your pet's bedding frequently, and immediately if it becomes damp
- Wash pet toys once a week
Fire Damage Caused by Lightning
Home that caught on fire after a lightning strike.
The National Weather Service reports that lightning starts about 4,400 house fires each year, causing around $283 million in damages. About 16 deaths are attributed to lightning-caused fires each year, most of the victims being occupants of houses ignited by a bolt.
Although every lightning strike could start a fire, some are more likely than others to do so. Some flashes contain a continuous flow of electricity, known as a continuing current or "hot lightning." In such cases, the charge flows continuously over a sustained period of time rather than in intermittent surges. This longer period of charge flow causes the stricken object to heat up and possibly ignite.
The chances of a specific building being hit by lightning are based upon the location and the topography. Because of this, Louisiana ranks second behind Florida in the list of most lightning-prone states in the U.S., according to The Weather Channel. Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas round out the top five. The ranking is based on the average number of cloud-to-ground lightning flashes per square mile each year.
In terms of individual structures, the Empire State Building in New York City is struck on average about 23 times per year.
Experts say that while lightning strikes randomly choose their victims, there are preventative steps that residents may take. They include:
Staying away from windows
Getting off land-line telephones
Use a home lightning protection system
Unplug electronics and appliances
Install transient voltage surge suppressors
Check your homeowners and renters insurance coverage
Donating to CASA
SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville, and Vinton is very happy to have been able to donate several Sonic gift cards to the teenagers at the local CASA for Christmas this year!!
SERVPRO First Responder Bowl
SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton's Marketing Rep was very excited about being able to get out for this special marketing adventure! She was able to meet with so many local First Responders, which included, Military Police, Military Fire Fighters, along with other members of the Military, all local Police Officers, all local Fire Fighters (including the volunteer stations), Emergency Medical Technicians, and local Hospital staff, to give out gifts and information about how they could get free tickets to the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl!! This was such an amazing experience to have had the opportunity to gift so many wonderful and brave men and women who put their lives on the line everyday by doing what they can to keep everyone else safe.
A Brave Little Boy in Vinton
SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville, & Vinton started a GoFundMe Campaign for a little boy named Drake to make his Christmas wish come true!! On March 12, 2018, Drake, now 8, was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma , or DIPG. It's the most deadly form of childhood cancer, with no known cure. Drake is from Vinton, LA and like any good ol' country boy he likes to fish, hunt, be outdoors, and loves LSU Football!! We discovered Drake after reading a news story about his wish to receive 190 Christmas cards in the mail. We asked for everyone's help to fulfill one of Drake's biggest wishes..to attend a LSU game. Our goal was set at $10,000 and with all of the love and support that flowed in from people all over the United States we were able to send Drake, along with his Mom, Dad, & 2 Brothers to the Fiesta Bowl in Arizona on New Year's Day. He got to watch his beloved LSU Tigers play against the UCF Knights. Drake and his family had so many adventures while in Arizona and made so many lasting memories. We at the office are so touched by Drake and pray for a miracle.
Fire Safety for Small Businesses
Fire Extinguisher How-To
According to OSHA, the most common emergency small businesses must plan for is a fire. Fire extinguishers can be invaluable tools to help fight smaller fires in the workplace or to protect evacuation routes in the event of a larger one.
OSHA requires employers to thoroughly train workers not only how to use an extinguisher properly, but also how to accurately assess a situation and determine when evacuation is the safest course of action. OSHA requires employees to be trained in fire extinguisher use on an annual basis.
A simple fire extinguisher training technique to use with employees is the PASS method:
- Pull the pin on the extinguisher.
- Aim the hose nozzle low toward the base of the fire.
- Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.
- Sweep the nozzle from side to side at the base of the flames until extinguished.
Knowing how to operate the extinguisher is not the end of training. Employees responding to a fire should also be trained to adhere to the following protocol:
- If appropriate, sound the fire alarm or call the fire department immediately.
- Before approaching the fire, determine an evacuation route safe from flames, excessive heat and smoke. Do not allow this evacuation route to become blocked.
- Use the PASS technique for discharging an extinguisher and back away from the area if the fire flares up again.
- If the extinguisher is empty and the fire is not out, evacuate immediately.
- If the fire grows beyond what can be safely handled, evacuate immediately.
Fire extinguishers are meant to handle only small fires. If a fire becomes too large or the environment becomes too dangerous, employees should know when and how to evacuate the area. If any of the following conditions are present, workers should follow evacuation procedures immediately and should not attempt to fight the fire with an extinguisher:
The fire is too large. The fire involves flammable solvents, is partially hidden behind a wall or ceiling, cannot be reached from a standing position, or covers more than 60 square feet in area.
The air is unsafe to breathe. Levels of smoke make the fire impossible to fight without some form of respiratory protection.
The environment is too hot or smoky. Radiated heat is easily felt, making it hard to approach a fire within adequate range of using the extinguisher (about 10-15 feet). It is necessary to crawl on the floor to avoid heat or smoke. Visibility is poor.
Evacuation paths are impaired. The fire is not contained and heat, smoke or flames block potential evacuation routes.
Prayers during devastating Florida hurricane
SERVPRO Technician praying with a local homeless man.
Let's be thankful this holiday season for all we have and let's help those who have so much less than we do. When choosing a company to help you and your family after a devastating event, you want to go with a company that will show care to your situation, as well as to your property. That is what we strive for with our employees. This is one of our Technicians, who is currently in Florida helping with the cleanup from the disastrous hurricane Michael, kneeling down to pray with a local homeless man. Neither one of the men knew the picture was being taken, but it is things like this that make us proud of our employees at SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville, & Vinton.
National Safety Month Spotlight: Summer Safety
With summer just around the corner, this National Safety Month blog is dedicated to... you guessed it...summer safety! As school is out for the summer, many families head out to the beach or pool. Here are a few quick tips on how to keep you and your family safe this summer:
1. Wear sunscreen. Apply at least an SPF 15 about 30 minutes before leaving the house. Re-apply every 2 hours or each time you towel off.
2. Teach your kids how to swim. Sadly, drowning remains one of the leading causes of death among children. Consider enrolling your children in swim lessons as early as age 4.
3. Avoid wearing perfumes and scented soaps to prevent attracting mosquitoes.
4. Use sunglasses. Not only does this accessory look cool, it protects your eyes from UV radiation.
5. Stay hydrated. Drink some water every 20 minutes if you're going to be out for more than 1 hour to prevent heat exhaustion, or worse, heat stroke.
6. Always keep a first aid kit stocked and handy. You never know when you or someone around you will need it.
National Safety Month Spotlight: Forklift Safety
Part 3 of the National Safety Month blog is dedicated to forklift safety in the workplace. Forklifts are used to transport heavy objects within short distances. As these big machines deal with heavy objects, safety measures have to be practiced in order to avoid injuries and deaths. Here are some safety tips you can share with the rest of your team:
1. Forklift operators MUST be qualified. Only individuals who have had sufficient training in forklift operation should be allowed to use the equipment.
2. Wear the right clothes. Loose fitting clothes can get caught in the machinery.
3. Check the equipment. Plan for regular maintenance checks to make sure the forklift is in good, working condition.
4. Look at your surroundings. Only drive the forklift through clear pathways.
5. Don't speed. Drive at a reasonable speed to avoid mistakes.
6. Avoid hazards. Avoid slips and cracks that may make you lose control of the machinery.
7. Make sure the load is stable. Stabilize and secure the load before you move.
8. Check for even loads. Always lift with both forks.
9. Make sure you can see. Use a designated lookout person if you need one.
10. Keep clear. Inform your employees that the forklift is being used and advise everyone to keep clear of the area.
National Safety Month Spotlight: Preventing Electrical Fires
Electrical fires are one of the top leading causes of house fires in the U.S. Most of these fires could have been avoided by following certain safety tips for protecting your home. Some easy things you can do in your home are:
1. Discarding cords that are worn or frayed. When live wires are exposed, they are susceptible to starting house fires.
2. Never breaking the third prong to fit a plug into an outlet. The third prong creates an alternate pathway for electricity in the event of an error.
3. When unplugging a device, hold the plug securely and don't yank the cord. This motion may cause a short circuit.
4. Avoid water and heat sources with cords.
5. Do not overload outlets. HowStuffWorks recommends using this formula: p/e=i (wattage divided by volts equals amps to know if you're overloading your outlet.
6. Do an electrical inspection. The standard rule is that homes with copper wire need an inspection every 20 years and 5 years for aluminum wire. You should also do an inspection if you're buying a century home, a resale home or if you're doing a home renovation.