Boating Safety Tips
Have peace-of-mind this boating season by employing proper safety precautions.
The flooding on the Mississippi River has finally gone down. The rain has stopped (mostly) and the weather has been warm and sunny. For many of us here in the Quad Cities, this means it is time to get our boats back on the water. However, before you "dive in" to this year's boating season, it is important to be prepared in order to ensure you and your passengers are safe.
Before launching your boat, always make sure to check the weather. If the water is going to be rough and choppy, it can be unsafe for boating or swimming. Once swells pick up with high winds and currents, it becomes much easier for your boat to capsize. Also before launching, make sure that friends and family are aware of your trip, where you will be going, and what time they should expect you to return.
Once you check the weather and inform others of your trip, you are almost ready to go. But, lastly, you need to make sure you have the essentials onboard in case of an emergency. The following is a list of safety items you should carry in your boat at all times:
- Life jackets
- Life-saver flotation ring
- Horn or other sound-producing device, such as a whistle
- Fire extinguisher
- Navigation lights for night boating
- First-Aid kit
Fireworks can be fun to watch, but dangerous to use.
For many, fireworks are an important component of any 4th of July celebration. However, fireworks can be extremely dangerous, especially if handled without care. In fact, an average of 230 people are sent to the emergency room each day with firework-related injuries in the weeks leading up to the 4th of July. This is because fireworks can cause serious damage to hands, fingers and eyes. In addition, fireworks are responsible for 18,500 fires per year, which cause deaths and serious property damage. For these reasons, it is very important to use caution and practice safety measures when handling fireworks. Do your best to employ the following safety tips this 4th of July:
- Do not allow young children to handle fireworks; older children should be supervised at all time when handling or igniting fireworks of any kind.
- When lighting a fuse, do not allow any part of your body to be above the firework. Once lit, always retreat to a safe distance until the firework is finished.
- Do not attempt to re-light fireworks that did not go off.
- Always keep a container of water near your fireworks site in case of a fire.
- Do not carry fireworks on your person for any reason.
- Before throwing away your used fireworks, submerge them in water to avoid starting a trash fire.
- Do not ignite fireworks near your home or any other structure.
While we offer tips to stay safe when using fireworks, you should always follow all of your local laws and ordinances. Stay safe and have fun!
Summer Outdoor Maintenance Checklist
As the weather gets nicer, we are ready to emerge from our indoor winter hibernation. For many of us, nicer weather can often mean we have some work to do In our yards and home exteriors. This is because the long winters sometimes leave our homes and outdoor spaces in need of maintenance. If you own a home or have an outdoor space, see our list below for some project ideas:
- Check the exterior of your home for damaged or rotting pieces of siding. To keep siding looking fresh and to protect it from the elements, it is good to use a power washer for a deep clean every year.
- If you find any chips, cracks, or fading on your siding, it is important to touch them up. This will ensure your siding is protected from further damage and will ultimately last longer.
- Wash your windows on both the inside and outside. Dirty windows make your view less than satisfactory and let in less light.
- Inspect your foundation for cracks . Cracks in your foundation can spread and create entry points for water and pests. If you find significant cracking, you may need to have it inspected by a professional to avoid further damage.
- Power wash your wooden deck or patio. Not only does this make your outdoor spaces look like new, it can protect your wood surfaces and prevent it from cracking.
- Inspect your driveway for cracks. Small cracks can eventually turn into structural damage over the years, as water continues to freeze inside these cracks every winter. For this reason, it is important to refill these cracks as you discover them.
The Dangers of Boating in Flooded Waters
Trees and brush get caught on bridges, creating a hazardous station for boaters.
The flooding this year has put a damper on the nice weather we are having, especially for those of us who like to spend time on the water. It was a long, cold winter and our rivers and lakes were to be our escape! But with a record number of days at flood stage, our spring water activities have been put on hold. While it may be tempting to get out on the water with our boats, canoes or kayaks, it is extremely dangerous to do so. Below are a number of reasons not to try boating on flood stage waters:
- Debris: As the water rises on the banks of a river, the water starts to pull debris into its flow from the riverside. This debris can be made up of any possible object along the riverside such as fallen trees or parts of fallen structures. All of these objects are extremely hazardous to boaters and often hard to see.
- Strainers: These are made up of trees and logs that become lodged in a river or stream. Boats can easily become hung up on these hazards.
- Bridge abutments: As debris gets caught on bridges, it creates significant hazards for boaters. These blockages can even spread to completely block channels with debris. Bridge abutments can even cause treacherous water conditions without debris catch, as the resistance between the water and the structure creates high currents.
- Murky waters: Because flooding stirs up a lot of mud and sediment, the water will be very murky. For this reason, it is impossible to see hazards that are potentially below the service. In this way, it may seem safe above the water as a dangerous situation lurks below.
Stay safe this season and wait for the flooding to go down before boating!
Flooring Material Options for Flood-Prone Basements
Tile can be a good option for basement flooring.
If you get water in your finished basement during floods or heavy rains, chances are you’ve had to replace the flooring at some time or another. But what is the best material to put in a basement susceptible to water damage? While we all have certain flooring materials that we prefer, some are more resilient than others when it comes in contact with water. Regardless of the flooring you choose, the faster you clean up the water the better.
Carpet is a popular choice for basements. It makes it feel warmer and more livable. However, removing water from carpet and carpet pads can be difficult. If your carpet gets wet, you have to act very quickly to avoid mold growth. Carpet without a pad in your basement is a lot easier to salvage after water damage. We recommend calling SERVPRO right away in order to save your carpet, as we have specialty equipment that will work fast to extract the moisture and dry your carpet and pad. If your carpeting does not survive a flood, a great alternative is carpet tiles, which are easy to dry and/or replace.
Tile can be a great, low-maintenance option for your finished basement. Being made of stone or porcelain, tiles absorb very little standing water. In this way, tile flooring is essentially water-proof. Tile flooring is easy to clean and can individually be replaced if damaged.
Vinyl flooring is the best option for finished basements in flood-prone areas. It is 100% waterproof and is very easy to clean. Vinyl flooring also comes in a variety of styles, including tile and planking. In fact, many vinyl flooring options look identical to wood or laminate options.
Wood and laminate options can be quite problematic for basements, even if it does not flood. Because wood products are porous, they will absorb water. Even an overly humid basement can damage wood floors. Should your wood or laminate floors get flooded, they will almost always need to be replaced. This is because the material changes shape and warps as it absorbs water.
If you have questions about basement flooring, feel free to call SERVPRO!
How To Build A Camp Fire
Camp fire using the teepee technique.
To make a good camp fire, you will need to start with 3 types of materials. First is tinder: these pieces are made up of small twigs, leaves and dried pine needles you can find on the ground. Second, you will need kindling materials: these are made up of small tree branches that are 1 inch in diameter or smaller. Lastly, you will need what is called fuel: this term refers to large pieces of wood, like big branches and thick logs. Fuel should be stacked upwind and away from the fire.
Once you have collected your wood, and of course have water on hand in case of a fire emergency, you are ready to build your fire. While there are many techniques for building a camp fire, a classic model is the teepee technique. You will want to take some of your tinder and start a small pile in the center of your fire pit. Then drive a long piece of kindling into the ground in the center of the fire pit. Then, to build the teepee, lean other long kindling sticks against your center support pole. Do this until you have a structure that fairly represents a teepee, but try not to over load the center kindling pole.
Once you have your structure build, whether you have chosen the teepee technique or other trusted method, you will need to ignite the tinder within your structure with matches or a lighter. As the fire grows, continue to add more tinder. To help the tinder ignite, you may need to blow lightly at the base of your kindling structure.
Once your fire is strong and catching your kindling on its own, it is now time to add your fuel. Carefully add your larger wood pieces to your fire, while avoiding breaking your original structure. Once your fuel pieces start to burn, you have successfully build your campfire! Make sure to keep it to small, safe size and never add too much fuel.
For more information, call SERVPRO!
Reasons Your Sump Pump May Fail
At SERVPRO, we receive a lot of calls regarding flooded basements. A major cause of flooded basements is sump pump failure, especially during flooding or heavy rains. A number of things can go wrong with your sump pump, and it is important to act fast to fix it to avoid water damage. Below is a list of common reasons for sump pump failure:
The most common and unavoidable case of failure is power outages. This can be disastrous if it happens during a flood or heavy rains, especially if you have a basement prone to seepage. The best way to solve this issue is to have a backup generator that you can activate in case of power outages. However, never run a generator inside your home.
Sump pumps can also be damaged during a power surge. For this reason, make sure to check your pump regularly. You can also install a power surge protection device.
If your sump pump is too small, it may have trouble keeping up with the relative amount of water. Pump size can be determined depending on the size of your basement. If you are unsure, contact a plumber to estimate the adequate pump size based on your basement square footage.
Some manufacturers recommend that you run your sump pump every 2-3 months to ensure it I working properly. This can help you determine any possible issues and address them before the pump stops working when you need it most. Make sure to check for clogs in your pipe, check for proper operation of the float, test your back up pump, and make sure the air hole on the discharge line is not plugged.
If you have have water damage in your basement, call SERVPRO of Moline/Rock Island at 309-797-1199 to make it "Like it never even happened."
What to Know Before Burning Yard Waste
Spring is here and it is time to get our lawns back in order. Getting our yards clean can produce a lot of waste: grass, tree limbs and twigs, or other natural materials. While there are many ways to dispose of these materials, some find it easiest to burn them. If you are one of these people, make sure you are in compliance with local burn ordinances.
Once you understand the rules and regulations relative to your local jurisdiction, it is also extremely important to follow strict safety procedures in order to: remain compliant with local laws; stay safe and avoid fire-related injuries; and reduce likelihood of destruction of property. Once you’re ready to burn, following the guidelines listed below can insure you keep yourself and your surroundings safe:
- Always check your local regulations regarding yard burns. Many localities throughout the Quad Cities have completely different rules that determine what you can burn, times and dates you can burn, and how far a burn must be from structures and public streets.
- Make sure the conditions are right for burning. If it is windy, you should not burn, as fire can spread easily in close quarters. Also make sure your yard is not exceedingly dry, as this can pose a fire-spread risk.
- You should not burn synthetic materials in your yard. This means no household items, garbage, or plastics of any kind. Stick to burning naturally occurring materials that come from your yard alone.
- It is important to be aware of what is above your burn site. Always keep your distance from powerlines, tree limbs, and building overhangs.
- Have at least 10 feet of clearance around your burn, as well as a barrier around your burn made of soil or rocks. It is also helpful to water down the earth around your burn to avoid spreading, especially if the ground is very dry.
- Never leave your fire unattended. Once the fire appears to be out, drown the remains with water, then turn over all of the ashes and repeat. Do not leave the burn alone until it is entirely out.
For more information, feel free to call SERVPRO of Moline/Rock Island at 309-797-1199.
How to Prevent a House Fire
Damage caused by a fire can be extremely devastating for your family and home. By being prepared and taking essential precautions, such as regular safety checks, you can drastically reduce your chances of suffering the losses that come with fire damage.
Make sure to test your smoke alarms at least every 6 months and to change the batteries as needed. Don’t ignore a “chirp”—if your smoke detector is chirping, the battery should be changed immediately to ensure it functions properly in case of a fire.
Make sure to inspect heating devices in your home. Whether you have a forced air furnace or use space heaters, it is important to ensure that they are functioning properly to avoid a possible fire. This means changing filters or discarding heaters with damaged wires. In addition, your risk for a fire can be reduced substantially with yearly inspections.
Always be sure that nothing flammable is on or near your oven or stove top, such as curtains, potholders, rags, or paper towels. Also never leave burners unattended while you are cooking, as this is a leading cause of house fires. If you must leave the room, remove the pot or pan from the heating source and turn it off.
It is important to keep the lint trap on your dryer clean, as it can be a possible fuel source for an impending fire. For the same reason, make sure to check behind the dryer for stray lint or objects that may have fallen. Also, if you have a gas dryer, it is helpful to have it inspected once a year to ensure all connections are secure.
Always be aware of where cords are plugged in and that they are being used properly—this means not overloading outlets or power strips with too many electrical devices. Also watch out for any damaged wires and repair or replace them as needed. And remember, because electrical cords can produce heat, do not cover them with anything, such as with rugs or furniture.
For more information, please contact SERVPRO Moline/Rock Island at 309-797-1199.
How to Have a Safe Fire Pit
Fire pits are a great addition to your outdoor space and can be fun to gather around with family and friends. As the weather is getting nicer, they are a great excuse to get outside and enjoy spring. But as fun as fire pits can be, taking safety precautions is extremely important to avoiding possible fire-related disasters. Misuse use of fire pits can often lead to grass fires that can spread to neighboring properties, or worse: house fires. The following tips will help you enjoy your fire pit while also staying safe:
Placement of Your Fire Pit
- At least 10 feet away from homes, other structures, and neighboring yards
- Never place under a covered porch, low hanging tree branches, or mounted awnings
- Make sure the surface under your fire pit is non-flammable
Preparing for Your Fire
- Make sure no flammable materials are place near your fire pit
- Create a barrier of rocks or cement blocks to keep fire contained (if you are not using store-bought)
- If you are building your own fire pit, make sure the pit is at least 6 inches deep at center and at least 2 feet across
Starting Your Fire
- Be conscious of wind direction and move flammable materials accordingly
- Do not light your fire if it is exceedingly windy
- For extra safety, you can use fire-starter sticks instead of lighter fluid
For more information, call your fire professionals at SERVPRO of Moline/Rock Island.