Recent Posts

Signs that you may have a water damage in your home

6/17/2020 (Permalink)

ceiling falling from being wet ceiling falling from being wet

Being aware of the signs of water damage in your home could potentially save you hundreds even thousands of dollars.  Most people overlook everyday things that should raise red flags and alert you to a problem.  Here at SERVPRO of Piatt/DeWitt County we want you to be aware of these signs.

  • Sudden unusual dampness or humidity
  • An unexplained increase in your water bill
  • Hearing running water when all faucets are turned off
  • Damp, musty, moldy or even sewage smell
  • Puddles or wet spots around plumbing
  • Cracked or flakey drywall
  • Dark or wet spots on the walls or ceiling

Seeing any of these things in your home should alert you to the possibility of a problem.  The faster you respond to this potential problem the less risk for secondary damage you will have.  Reducing the amount of damage to your home will greatly reduce the amount of money spent to fix the issue.  Should you notice any of these 7 things please do not hesitate to call SERVPRO of Piatt/DeWitt County at 217-935-2992 and speak with one of our friendly team members today!  We are here to help!

What's Needed In An Emergency Evacuation Kit?

6/12/2020 (Permalink)

An emergency evacuation kit should contain the documents and personal items needed to maintain yourself and your family for up to a week in the event of an emergency evacuation.  Your kit may look very different from your neighbor’s kit, depending on the number of children, pets, and advance preparation for such events. The following are suggestions of what you may need in your emergency evacuation kit.

Emergency Evacuation Kit Basics

The American Red Cross, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and FEMA all recommend that water, food, a flashlight, appropriate batteries for your accessories, a first-aid kit, and a battery or hand-operated radio be included in your evacuation kit.  Regardless of the size or needs of your family, here is a list of additional items that should be included in every evacuation kit.

Along with bottled water, pack a small filtration system for an unlimited water supply

Pack solar device chargers and solar lights (similar to those used in landscaping)

Flashlights are good but LED headlamps free up your hands

Emergency whistles (one for each family member)

7 days of nonperishable food (don’t forget the can opener)

7 days or more worth of under garments and socks

Multiple days worth of prescription medication

Surgical or dust masks

Maps of your area and of your destination

Cash or traveler’s checks (without power, ATM machines are rendered useless)

A tool kit that includes a sharp knife, pliers, tweezers, electrical, and duct tape

An extra set of house, car, and safe keys

Charged two-way radios (walkie-talkies)

Add extra bandages, gauze, sanitizing washes and burn cream to your first-aid kit

 

Note: For items like clothing, food, cash, batteries, etc., use watertight resealable bags to keep them dry until needed.  Part of your evacuation plan should include how you intend to reach out-of-town family members and/or friends.

Evacuation Kit Items for Infants and Children

During an evacuation, special attention should be given to the needs of your children. Older children in their teens may want to prepare an evacuation kit of their own. Consider the following:

Infant formula, diapers, wipes, pacifier, extra bottles

Water (1gallon per day, per child)

Nonperishable food and snacks like energy bars, jerky, and trail mixes

Multiple changes of clothing

Mylar blankets (regular blankets and sleeping bags can get bulky and overwhelming)

Extra glasses, medication, inhalers, and other medical or individual necessities

 

Evacuations can be extremely stressful for children. Take the time to practice or run an evacuation drill. The more your children are familiar with what they need to do, the less difficulty you will have getting them to do it.

Evacuation Kit Important Documents

The following list of documents will help you to prove your identity, as well as give you access to insurance benefits, medication, finances, and much more:

Notarized copies of everyone’s birth certificates

Copies of passports, identification cards and driver’s licenses

Copies of health insurance cards, current prescriptions, and medical needs

Copies of credit cards and your ATM card

A hard copy of your online usernames and passwords

Copies of your auto and homeowners insurance cards and or policies**

Copies of recent utility bills (to turn service on or off)

Copies of the deed or lease to your home

Notarized copies of wills

Family and emergency contact information (telephone numbers and addresses)

Copies of pet identification and proof of vaccination

Current pictures of your self, your spouse, children and pets in case of separation

 

The importance of the above-listed documents cannot be overstated. During major evacuation events, you may be away from your home for several days or weeks. The ability to use and manage your resources will help you get back to your home and back to normal quickly.Keep all of your documents, cards, and copies protected in airtight and watertight envelopes, bags, and/or containers.  Upload your copies to a cloud service or save them on a memory stick along with safeguarding hard copies in your evacuation kit. Keep in mind that the cloud or a memory stick will do little good during wide-spread power outages.

Evacuation Kit Items for Pets

Your pets are essential to the well-being and happiness of your family. The following items should be included in your (or their very own) evacuation kit:

Enough food for 7 days (don’t forget the bowl)

1/2 to 1 gallon of water per day

Collar, leash or carrier

ID tags

Proof of vaccinations and any medical needs

Grooming accessories

Blanket or bed

Note: Pets can feel stress and inherently catch on to your change in mood and/or way of being. When running an evacuation drill, make sure your pets and their evacuation kits are a part of it.

Evacuation Kit Items for The Elderly

In the case of the elderly, the following items should be a part of your evacuation kit or ready to take at a moment’s notice:

Water (1gallon per day) for drinking and hygiene

Special hygiene necessities (adult diapers, denture containers, etc)

Food for a minimum of 7 days (attend to special requirements or needed supplements)

Medications and copies of prescriptions (especially life-preserving ones)

Canes, walkers, wheelchair, and other devices for support and mobility

Books, cards, or activities to occupy time

Identification or medical bracelets or necklaces

Everyone has a different take on what they prioritize when making disaster plans or assembling evacuation kits. Except for newborns and infants, everyone should be allowed to express what they feel is necessary for their comfort during an emergency evacuation.

Emergency Evacuation Kit Maintenance

It is crucial to periodically check prescription medication expiration dates, use by dates on canned goods, battery charge, and the proper functioning of all electronic items.  This is the time to update your action plan and remove or add items your family has either outgrown or has come to require.  This maintenance should be done bi-annually and can accompany your family’s evacuation drill. If your region is prone to flooding, there are steps you can add to your action plan in the event your home is flooded.

By preparing and keeping up with your emergency evacuation kit, you are positioning yourself to successfully navigate the disruptions of a natural disaster or mandatory evacuation.  Without an evacuation kit, you could be left scrambling to assemble vital information, documents, and necessities when you should be moving yourself and your loved ones away from danger.

FIRST RESPONDER VEHICLES GET PRE CLEANED FOR COVID-19

6/10/2020 (Permalink)

Crew Outside of Clinton Fire Station Crew Outside of Clinton Fire Station

When the call came in from the Clinton Fire Department that they had concerns about sanitizing their firehouse and vehicles because of the Covid-19 Pandemic, we let them know that SERVPRO of Piatt/DeWitt County was here to help!  Arrangements were made and soon after a team from SERVPRO of Piatt/DeWitt County arrived at the firehouse.   After hearing the concerns from the Captain, we went to work. 

With a game plan in hand, the team started sanitizing all touchpoints inside and outside of all of the emergency response vehicles including the mighty fire truck referred to as Tower 3.  Five vehicles were sanitized to include seats, knobs, hoses, axes, handles, radios and so much more.  The team then proceeded to sanitize fire helmets and equipment, telephones, computers, light switches and everything else that first responders would come in contact with.  Even broom handles and dustpans were sanitized!

Then we moved upstairs and sanitized the common area and its contents along with the sleeping quarters.  All in all the team was quick and efficient.  The fire Captain stated “I had no idea you guys were going to be that thorough!” As we headed downstairs and past the fire trucks the team noticed a local police officer getting out of his vehicle.  Within minutes not only was his vehicle being sanitized, but also the Police Chief's and the detective's that were also on duty.  A very good day to be sure.  Have questions about having your business sanitized?  Give one of our friendly staff at SERVPRO of Piatt/DeWitt County a call at 217-935-2992.

After the Fire trucks leave…..then what?

6/10/2020 (Permalink)

Fire Trucks at Fire Fire Trucks at Fire

The fire has been put out by the firemen and they were able to save your family and your home. After they leave you walk back into your home onto saturated carpet, tile floors with puddles, charred walls and baseboards, soot, smoke odor and a huge hole in the wall where the fireman entered your home.  This is a very devastating time in anyone’s life.  This is when you call the Professionals for help. This is when you would call SERVPRO of Piatt/DeWitt County (217)-935-2992.  The SERVPRO Professionals have specialized in fire and water damage restoration and move quickly to clean up and restore your home to pre-fire condition

SERVPRO can do any size board up to secure your home.  The board up is important in keeping your home safe and secure until work can be scheduled.  The Company also extracts water and has dehumidifiers.  

SERVPRO of Piatt/DeWitt County can also take care of not only cleaning your sentimental items but are also equipped with the environmentally friendly cleaning products to clean your walls, carpet, and upholstery.  SERVPRO also offers soda blasting.  Soda blasting is also environmentally friendly and removes soot, badly charred and other types of residue caused by fire.  The procedure may be used on brick, ceramic, glass, mortar, concrete and wood without damage.  Along with cleaning it also helps to absorb the smoke odor.  

SERVPRO provides equipment for helping with the odor.  Air scrubbers, ozones and hydroxyls are 3 pieces of equipment that can be set up for odor.   Once the structure has been cleaned and odor free, the Sevpro of Piatt/DeWitt County also has a Construction Department for the put back.  

We are here for you in your most difficult time.  All you have to do is call 217-935-2992.

Fire Starters

6/8/2020 (Permalink)

Pet Alert Window Cling Pet Alert Window Cling

Many are unaware that nearly 1,000 residential fires a year are started by pets.  We love our four-legged friends, but their natural curiosity can cause a devastating fire, especially when they’re left alone. To bring awareness to this, National Pet Fire Safety Day to take place every July 15th.

National Pet Fire Safety Day was created in 2007 by the American Kennel Club and ADT Security Services.  The day is intended to educate pet owners about simple changes they can make that will help prevent house fires caused by pets.  These changes could save your home or even the life of you and your pet.

Be Mindful Of Open Flames

Candles, stoves, and fireplaces should be carefully watched if pets are around.  Besides being curious creatures who will sniff and paw at the pretty flames, wagging tails can also catch embers and knock over candlesticks.

Remove Stove Knobs

This may sound extreme, but having knobs on your stove that pets can turn has caused many house fires. If your dog is tall enough to reach the stove knobs, remove them or invest in safety knobs that won’t turn. This can save a lot of heartache later:

Forget Glass Water Bowls

Trade any glass water bowls for plastic or metal. If a glass water bowl is sitting outside on a sunny day, it can result in a “burning ants with a magnifying glass” effect and cause a fire on a wooden deck or even in the grass..

Use Fire Alert Window Clings

Many pet owners take advantage of fire alert window clings to help firefighters find which room their pets are located in in the event of a house fire.  These window clings should always be updated to include how many pets you have in the house and should be on the window of every room where they are kept while you’re away.

Hide Your Electrical Cords

If your dog is a chewer, secure any electrical cords by covering them up or hiding them. An electric blanket can also be very deadly.  A chewed-on cord can become damaged and spark, creating a risk for fires. Some pet owners even choose to unplug their electronics completely while they’re away, if their pets are big chewers or clawers.

Have A Plan

It’s very important to have an emergency plan in case of house fires, whether they’re started by your pet or not. Sadly, an estimated 40,000 pets die in house fires each year, so it’s absolutely crucial to have a solid plan in place. Practice escape routes with your pet, and be sure to include all members of your family to make sure everyone understands exactly what to do.

 

Anyone who owns a pet, specifically families with younger children, should take advantage of National Pet Safety Day and go over these safety measures and even have a safety drill to practice.  Questions?  Give one of our friendly staff here at SERVPRO of Piatt/DeWitt County a call by dialing 217-935-2992 today!  We are here to help!

When the Storms Comes

6/8/2020 (Permalink)

Storm Damage to Home Storm Damage to Home

Every spring, we here in the Midwest get ready for storm season.  The severity and frequency of bad weather is anyone’s guess.  Sooner or later, unfortunately, a lot of homeowners end up dealing with property damage as a result of storms.

The most common type of property damage seen is roof and siding damage following heavy winds and/or hail.  None of us can control the weather, but there’s still a lot you can do to protect your home and your family.  So, what are some quick and easy precautions you can take to minimize property damage and expenses during storm season?

1. REPLACE MISSING OR DAMAGED SHINGLES

If a shingle is damaged, it’s more likely to break free. If it’s missing, well then you’ve got a gap for wind and water to get underneath and do even more damage.  This will help keep the health of the house intact as water intrusions can be slow developing and are noticed after they have done much damage over time.

2. REPAIR LOOSE SIDING

The same rules as roofing apply to siding: it’s important to ensure your siding isn’t damaged.

3. KEEP YOUR GUTTERS CLEAR

Make sure your gutters are free-flowing and your downspouts flow away from your foundation. Water damage or flooding is one of the quickest ways to devalue your home.  So ensuring your gutters are clear is the first line of defense in helping water to flow away from your home.

4. ENSURE WATER CAN FLOW AWAY FROM YOUR HOME

The grade of your lot should keep water flowing away from your home and into a ditch, drain, or some other proper retention area.

5. KEEP YOUR SUMP PUMP IN WORKING ORDER

Before the Spring rains start up, check to see whether your sump pump is in good working order.  Having a backup sump pump is a great way to help prevent basement flooding.

6. ENSURE YOUR DOORS AND WINDOWS ARE PROPERLY SEALED.

Wind only needs a small opening to get underneath something like a shingle or siding and rip it off.  In the event of tornadic winds, a small opening in your windows or doors could enlarge and allow enough wind inside to compromise your home’s roof.

7. CHECK FOR LOOSE FENCE POSTS

Wind will surprise you.  Anything that’s not nailed down is a liability and that includes fence posts, which are often forgotten or ignored in homeowner’s storm-prep.  Checking your fence’s footing is as easy as giving each post a strong shake to check for loose ones.

8. REGULARLY TRIM YOUR TREES

Problem tree limbs can damage your home, a vehicle or even your neighbor’s property.  Regularly trimming the trees on your property is an excellent way to protect your roof and windows.

9. WALK AROUND YOUR PROPERTY

A lot of people don’t have the time or skills to check and/or repair everything on their property before storm season kicks up.  You can, however, do some very basic steps you can take to minimize its impact. Identifying items such as lawn furniture, tools, flower pots, or other yard debris that can become dangerous projectiles. Do yourself a favor and move those items to a garage, a shed, or indoors.

10. KEEP A GENERATOR ON HAND

A bad storm could potentially knock out power to your home for a couple of hours — or days. Having a generator on standby could go a long way towards ensuring you don’t lose your food, or the livability of your home until power is restored.

 Should you experience storm damage to your home or business, we can help!  Call SERVPRO of Piatt/DeWitt County at 217-935-2992 and speak with one of our friendly team members today!

What To Do When A Pipe Bursts

6/1/2020 (Permalink)

Water Shut off Water Shut off

It’s the middle of the night. You’re sound asleep and then BOOM a water pipe bursts. There is never a convenient time for this situation, and the middle of the night is definitely not convenient.  This may cause many people who have never dealt with it to panic. After all, what do you do when a water pipe suddenly bursts in your home?  Call SERVPRO of Piatt/DeWitt County at 217-935-2992 and speak with a friendly team member!  We can help walk you through the steps to take if this should happen to you.

Shut Off the Water

Go to your main valve and turn the water off. They usually have a stop tap on them. It’s good to know where your water main is in case of emergencies, so if you don’t already know now is a great time to find out. Commonly this is found in the basement or garage, but may be found in other places as well.  Shutting it off will stop the water flow. If you find that the pipe that burst is a hot water pipe then close the valve that’s on top of the water heater as well.

Remove Any Nearby Electronics

If there’s anything electric plugged in near the burst pipe that is not in or requires you to be in standing water go ahead and unplug it from the socket and move it away. This will prevent risk of a fire.  DO NOT touch any electronics that are in standing water, do not walk thru standing water as there is a real risk of electrocution.  Shut off the electricity from the breaker if possible, if not then call an electrician for assistance. 

 Call A Professional Immediately

Finding a 24-hour service to handle an emergency can be tough, but emergency water damage companies do exist, like SERVPRO of Piatt/DeWitt County. We are fully licensed, highly trained and qualified.

Have Someone Check Everything Out

If there’s significant water damage, it’s extremely important to the health of your home that you have it examined by a water damage professional. It’s also a good idea to have an electrician check to make sure that no electrical aspects of your home were damaged. The owners, Dave and Suzi McGuire, have been building trust for 30 years.  They have accomplished this with hard work, having a highly trained staff, meeting commitments and going the extra mile for their customers. 

File An Insurance Claim

You’ll need to contact your insurance company immediately to begin an insurance claim for the damage.  SERVPRO of Piatt/DeWitt County can help walk you through this process.  We strive to make the entire process from start to finish both painless and seamless for you.  Call SERVPRO of Piatt/DeWitt County at 217-935-2992 and speak with a friendly team member today!  We are here to help!

Good Tips for Making a Storm Damage Insurance Claim

5/30/2020 (Permalink)

Insurance Claim Insurance Claim

Sometimes Mother Nature likes to shake things up a little or even a lot. If your home didn’t weather a storm as well as you hoped it would, we’ve got some tips to help you file an insurance claim and get back on track quickly. Here’s where you should start.

Act quickly. Filing a claim with your insurance company in a timely manner is important for a couple reasons. Most insurance policies limit your time to file a claim, which makes being quick to connect essential. You’ll also want to repair the damage to your home or property before it has a chance to get worse.  Both of these are very good reasons for reporting your claim promptly.

Review your policy. Know what your homeowners policy and optional insurance covers. How to proceed and what you can expect from the process, SERVPRO of Vermilion County can help with this! Every insurance policy and claim is different. Reviewing your policy gives you information that specifically applies to you.

Document everything. It’s smart to keep a log of the storm and the damage. Save news reports and take pictures immediately after to document any damage. Don’t start cleaning up until you’ve documented as much of the damage as is safe and wait to handle the big messes until after a claims adjuster has assessed the situation.  A reputable mitigation company like SERVPRO of Vermilion County will document and take pictures both before, during and afterwards so your claim tells a story that is both easy to follow and informative.

Be wary of scammers. Unfortunately, storm damage can bring scammers to your area with promises of quick and cheap repairs. Whether you’re filing an insurance claim or not, research anyone who offers to repair your home. Look for businesses who are licensed, insured and experienced such as SERVPRO of Vermilion County.

Mitigate your damages. If the storm affected a large area, you may have to wait a while before a storm assessor can review your damage.  Contacting SERVPRO of Vermilion County right away can help speed up the process.  They can do things to help stabilize your situation and prevent the damage from becoming worse. This could include tarping your roof, cleaning up a wet basement, boarding up holes and more. They will document the damage, then document the steps taken to protect your property. Should you find yourself having to deal with storm damage, call SERVPRO of Vermilion County at 217-443-0077 and speak with one of our friendly staff today!  We are available 24 hours a day seven days a week and we are here to help!

We have your back

5/23/2020 (Permalink)

Owners of SERVPRO for 30 years Owners of SERVPRO for 30 years

From a small business to a large business SERVPRO of Piatt/DeWitt County has your back!  Owners Dave and Suzi McGuire work tirelessly to ensure that every job from the smallest to the largest gets handled in the quickest, most efficient and thorough manner possible.  This includes having a highly trained work force, the right equipment and best strategy to get your business operational again.

On top of having a team highly trained in fire, water, mold, bio-hazard and smoke mitigation, we also have our own Construction Department so you do not have to deal with several companies to finish one job should you choose.  This makes for a seamless conversion from disaster to open for business that will have your doors open quicker than imagined.

Have questions?  Give SERVPRO of Piatt/DeWitt County a call and speak with one of our friendly team members today at 217-935-2992.  We are here to help!

Top Five Causes of Home Fires and How to Avoid Them

5/20/2020 (Permalink)

Lucy putting out a stove fire Lucy putting out a stove fire

Home is where we relax, unwind, and connect with family and friends.   This is our safe haven. Unfortunately, it’s also where nearly a third of all fires begin. To help keep your home and loved ones safe, here are some tips to prevent leading causes of fire in your home.

Cooking

Kitchens are the heart of a household and one of the most visited rooms in the home.  The leading cause of fires in the home start in the kitchen.  They’re responsible for almost half the injuries from home fires. Most kitchen fires involve the stove.

Safety Tips:

  • Never leave the stove unattended.  Turn off the stove if you leave the kitchen even for a brief time.
  • Using a timer to remind you that you’re cooking is a great idea.
  • Keep flammable items such as paper, packaging, towels, oven mitts and wooden cooking utensils away from the stove and oven.
  • Never pour water on a grease fire, this will only make the fire worse.
  • If you decide to fight a fire, smother it by turning off the burner and covering it with a metal or glass lid or pot. If you can’t extinguish the fire, leave the room, close the door and call 911.

Smoking

Smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths in the home. Cigarettes, pipes, cigars and other smoking materials started fires that caused 21 percent of home fire deaths. Tragically, one out of four victims was not even the smoker whose cigarette ignited the fire.

Safety Tips:

  • If you smoke, do it outside. Many smoking fires begin in the bedroom or living room when the smoker falls asleep.
  • Use a sturdy ashtray. Don’t toss cigars or cigarettes into bushes or leave
  • Be cautious with E Cigarettes.   It is not a good idea to leave them charging unattended or overnight. If the battery gets wet or damaged, replace it. Definitely don’t tamper with safety features.
  • Smoking near where medical oxygen is used is very dangerous. It can make materials ignite more easily and fuel a faster fire.

Electrical and Lighting Equipment

Electrical equipment can also create hazards in the home. Wiring, lighting, electrical cords, and plugs cause about 10 percent of home fires each year.

Safety Tips:   

  • Having Arc-fault circuit interrupters installed to monitor a circuit’s electrical current and shut the circuit off if unintended arcing happens.
  • Using light bulbs higher than the recommended wattage in lamps can be dangerous.
  • Unplug appliances when not in use is a great idea.
  • Being careful with electrical cords is very smart.  Avoid in places where they could get run over or damaged.
  • Child proof unused electrical outlets with child safety covers.
  • Use lampshades or other covers to make sure a light bulb isn’t bare and radiating heat near flammable material.
  • Call an electrician if you have sparks from an outlet or frequently blown fuses.  It is a good idea to have a electrician you trust number on hand.
  • Heating Equipment

Heating equipment is the second main cause of home fire fatalities. December, January, and February are the peak months for home heating fires. Most heating fire deaths (86%) involve space heaters.

Safety Tips:

  • Having a professional clean and inspect your chimney each year is a great idea. A leading factor in home heating fires was the failure to clean chimneys.
  • Keep flammable materials away from heaters.
  • Test smoke alarms once a month and change out batteries at least once if not twice a year.
  • Vent fuel-burning equipment to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Candles

Candles are a lot of fun especially around the holidays.  The highest rates of home candle fires are on New Year’s Day, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve.

Safety Tips:

  • Put candles out before going to bed. Sleeping was a factor in 11% of the home candle fires.
  • Candles should be at least one foot away from anything that could catch fire.
  • Place candles on a sturdy surface.
  • Something we do not think of, but be careful when lighting candles to keep hair and clothing away from them. Don’t burn a candle all the way down.
  • Keep lit candles out of reach of small children and pets.

Hopefully you found these tips helpful!  We at SERVPRO of Piatt/DeWitt County, want you and your family and your home to be safe.  In the unfortunate event you do have a fire, SERVPRO of Piatt/DeWitt County is here to help.  We specialize in clean up of your home and cleaning your contents from furniture to clothing.  Give us a call at 217-935-2992.