Power Outage Preparedness
Don't be left in the dark, be prepared for power outages.
Before the Outage
- Create an emergency preparedness kit. This should include a flashlight, batteries, and first aid supplies.
- Keep a spare power source available to charge cell phones and any other important devices that require power.
- If you have an electric garage door opener, make sure you know where the manual release lever is located and how to operate it.
- Use ice and frozen water bottles to help keep perishable food cold.
- Keep your vehicles gas tank full to make sure it’s available for immediate use. Additionally, if you use your vehicle to charge your phone or other devices, don’t keep your car running in a closed space (such as a garage) as this can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Learn and keep copies of your communities pre-established emergency preparedness plans. These can help you locate available shelters to help keep you warm/cool and provide assistance as needed.
- Create a backup plan for any essential, power dependent medical devices that you rely on.
During the Outage
- Prioritize the use of flashlights for emergency lighting over candles. If not careful candles can cause fires.
- Don’t open refrigerator and freezer doors closed unless absolutely necessary. An unopened freezer can keep cold for approximately 48 hours; while an unopened refrigerator can keep items cool for approximately 4 hours.
- If it’s cold outside, layer up with warm clothing. Never attempt to burn charcoal indoors to keep warm or cook food with. Never use an oven as a source of heat. If the power outage is for an extended period of time, make arrangements to go to another house or public facility that has a reliable form of heat to keep warm.
- If it’s hot outside, drink plenty of water to help you stay cool, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Consider going to a cooling shelter, movie theater, or shopping mall that might be open around you. If you decide to stay at your own home, move to the lowest level of your home since cool air falls. Additionally, wear lightweight light colored clothing.
- Consider using surge protectors in the event of a power surge; otherwise unplug your electronics as a sudden power surge can cause permanent damage to your electronic devices.
- Talk to an electrician or engineer before purchasing and installing a generator for your home
- Make sure any generator you use is away from your house and don’t connect it to your homes electrical system for use inside your home.
After the Outage
- If you have any perishable food that was in 40°F for more than at least 2 hours, has non-normal odor, color, or texture, dispose of it immediately. Better to be safe than sorry!
- If food in your freezer is colder than 40°F but still has ice crystals on it, it can still be frozen again and recovered.
- Fully restock your emergency kit with all new supplies.
How to Remove Mold from Carpets
If your carpet looks like this, look no further for mold removal services.
Carpets, old and new, are a common source of mold growth. They fit all the requirements needed for mold to grow — moisture, a food source, and a surface to grow on. As dust builds up in the crevices underneath carpets all it takes is exposure to water for mold to begin growing. Both area rugs and wall-to-wall carpets are at equal risk to mold growth. High-risk areas inside homes include: ground-floor or basement carpets in warm-climate homes, such as those in the Albuquerque area.
If you have any carpet mold damage, contact SERVPRO of NE Albuquerque to have it completely remediated — give us a call at (505)-828-3567 to schedule your mold removal.
Identifying Carpet Mold
Touching mold or inhaling airborne mold spores can cause allergic reactions, including flu-like symptoms, skin rash, and asthma attacks. Mold allergies are common and can be immediate or delayed. Even non-allergic individuals may being experiencing irritated eyes, nose, throat, and lungs when exposed to mold. It’s important that you identify carpet mold as quickly as possible. Some things to look for include:
- Visible growth: Often times the worst sign of mold growth. If the mold is visibly growing through the carpet fibers its likely you will need to replace the carpet. Mold growth is most commonly only on the underside of the carpet, which can only been seen when the carpet is pulled up.
- Discoloration: Carpet fibers can begin to change colors if mold has been growing there.
- Musty odor: Before you begin to see visible mold infestation the infected area will begin to smell. It will be a stuffy, musty smell that lingers even after you clean. Instead of trying to cover up the smell, get it checked for mold.
- Moisture: The source of all mold damage. If you experience any flooding, pipe leaks, or any other water damage make sure to dry it fast. If the area is dried within 24 to 48 hours your chances of mold growth are drastically decreased.
How to Remove Carpet Mold
The severity of the mold damage in your carpet will determine if you can clean it yourself or if a mold remediation specialist, like SERVPRO, is needed. By the time it is visible, mold damage has most likely grown to a point where a specialist is highly recommended.
- Steam cleaning: For smaller areas of carpet that has been infected using a commercial steam cleaner filled with water and detergent can help clean the affected area. It’s important to make sure the carpet is completely dried after cleaning to prevent recurring mold damage.
- Use stronger cleaning agents: This is where it’s recommended to call a mold remediation specialist, as they have easy access to specialized cleaning agents to take care of mold damage. They can help determine what type of mold is growing in your house and use the correct strength of cleaning solution to properly clean your carpet.
- Replace the damaged area: If the mold growth is severe enough or past cleaning attempts have proved ineffective, the most full proof action is to replace the rug. Once the rug is pulled up it will help expose the full problem area. This will allow the mold to be cleaned at its source before putting in a new carpet.
- Clean area rugs: Take any area rugs that have mold growth on them outside; clean them with a mold cleaning solution and scrub thoroughly. Fully rinse all the solution out of the rug and let dry in the sun. To speed up the drying process you can use wet vacuum to help take out all moisture. Make sure the rug is completely dry before putting it back into your house.
Schedule Your Mold Remediation Today!
Even with these tips to remove mold in carpet, remember that the most effective method is to hire a professional. SERVPRO of NE Albuquerque has the expertise, knowledge, and equipment to perform any mold remediation you may have, on carpets or other areas. Contact us today at (505)-828 -3567 to start the cleanup process without delay.
Learn Wildfire Safety Tips
Would you know what to do in the event of a wildfire?
Wildfires are usually preventable because many originate from human error.
Unlike many natural disasters, most wildfires are caused by people—and can be prevented by people, too. Meteorologists are not yet able to forecast wildfire outbreaks, so people in fire-prone areas should plan ahead and prepare to evacuate with little notice. Here are some tips on how to prevent wildfires and what to do if you're caught in the middle of one.
HOW TO PREVENT A WILDFIRE
- Contact 911, your local fire department, or the park service if you notice an unattended or out-of-control fire.
- Never leave a fire unattended. Completely extinguish the fire—by dousing it with water and stirring the ashes until cold—before sleeping or leaving the campsite.
- When camping, take care when using and fueling lanterns, stoves, and heaters. Make sure lighting and heating devices are cool before refueling. Avoid spilling flammable liquids and store fuel away from appliances.
- Do not discard cigarettes, matches, and smoking materials from moving vehicles, or anywhere on park grounds. Be certain to completely extinguish cigarettes before disposing of them.
- Follow local ordinances when burning yard waste. Avoid backyard burning in windy conditions, and keep a shovel, water, and fire retardant nearby to keep fires in check. Remove all flammables from yard when burning.
- If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
- Know your evacuation route ahead of time and prepare an evacuation checklist and emergency supplies.
- Wear protective clothing and footwear to protect yourself from flying sparks and ashes.
BEFORE YOU LEAVE, PREPARE YOUR HOUSE
- Remove combustibles, including firewood, yard waste, barbecue grills, and fuel cans, from your yard.
- Close all windows, vents, and doors to prevent a draft.
- Shut off natural gas, propane, or fuel oil supplies.
- Fill any large vessels—pools, hot tubs, garbage cans, or tubs—with water to slow or discourage fire.
IF CAUGHT IN A WILDFIRE
- Don't try to outrun the blaze. Instead, look for a body of water such as a pond or river to crouch in.
- If there is no water nearby, find a depressed, cleared area with little vegetation, lie low to the ground, and cover your body with wet clothing, a blanket, or soil. Stay low and covered until the fire passes.
- Protect your lungs by breathing air closest to the ground, through a moist cloth, if possible, to avoid inhaling smoke.
Spring Cleaning List for Businesses
Not sure where to start your spring cleaning? Here's a spring cleaning list for businesses to help you out!
Spring time has become a staple time of year to undertake deeper cleaning projects. Although this is commonly associated with residential homes, it is just as much needed for workplaces as well as homes. The cold winter months keep everyone cooped up inside and messes start to grow. A good cleaning helps to give workers a more open and less hectic environment; additionally, a clean and welcoming place of business helps to attract customers.
Unless you’re an archetypal Danny Tanner or Monica Geller, chances are cleaning isn’t near the top of your to-do-list. Lucky for you, we are here to help make that part just a tad bit easier with a list of some important areas to inspect during your spring cleaning.
Windows are one of the simplest yet crucial areas to clean. Beyond making sure you have squeaky clean windows, check to make sure they have tight seals. Small gaps in window seals can cause cool air to seep out (and warm air in the winter months), as well as allowing water to trickle in. Checking caulking and weather stripping remains intact and up to par can save you money in the long term.
This is very important for the presentation of your business. Now the grass, flowers, weeds and other plants are starting to grow, it’s important to start grooming your landscape. Don’t wait till your plants get out of control, hire someone now or take some time yourself to pull the weeds, mow the grass, and trim any trees or bushes. Additionally, this is a great time to plant some flowers if you want to spruce up your place of business.
When converting your buildings air flow system from heating to air conditioning now is the best time to quality check your system. Test your system by running it for a while to make sure it’s working properly, check any old or out of date parts that might need replacing. Clean out the ventilation system by removing dust particles and any other debris lying inside. Ventilation systems are rarely cleaned, which is why lots of building owners tend to find pest infestation or mold problems when cleaning their vents/ducts. It’s best to take these precautions while the temperature is in a transitioning period.
Along with the rebirthed trees and plants, spring also brings back hordes of pests. Ants, spiders, termites, mosquitoes, and even bed bugs can become a problem. It’s best to take preventative measures to ward off pests instead of being forced to shut the business down for a couple weeks in order to fumigate for pests. Keep in mind your locale because different areas attract different pests, this will help inform you what to spray for. If you’re located near a ditch you’ll have more mosquitoes, among other pests, than a more urbanized area. Lastly, if you are continually having the same pest problems year after year, try to identify exterior factors that might be attracting those pests and any defects in your building that might be letting them in.
Simple and effective. Even if you already dust on a regular basis now’s a good time to dust those harder to reach, and often ignored, areas.
As people come in from the rainy times and wipe their feet on your carpets, dirt begins to build up. Don’t let this grime buildup in your building; buy some strong cleaning products for your floors and a top quality vacuum for carpets. In addition to constantly maintaining floors and carpets, now is a great time to hire a professional carpet and floor cleaner to give your floors a deep clean.
Reorganizing comes in two parts. The first is the organizing of all the previous years files into a consolidated area for ease of access. Best practice is to do this at the beginning of every year so that your files are neatly organized and easy to find when needed. The second is the reorganization of the office itself. This is more to keep a clean and presentable workplace. Ideally this is a continuing process year round. If the office has gotten out of hand this can be a good time of year to tidy up the office and breathe some fresh air into the workplace.
Depending on your type of business will help determine what type of spring cleaning takes priority. For example, if you are in a retail business many of these basic cleanings, such as windows and organization, might already be factored into your weekly/monthly workflow. Although it never hurts to go over all areas to make sure everything is getting done properly and efficiently. Additionally, there will be some other more industry specific actions that require priority over window cleaning. Remember, it’s most importantly to consider your specific business and the area in which you are doing business when prioritizing your spring cleaning.
No End in Sight to Drought in Southwestern U.S.
The amount of moisture received across the United States’ southern high plains since October has been ridiculously low, and forecasters warned Friday that the intensifying drought has resulted in critical fire danger and some winter wheat crops being reduced to stubble across several states.
Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon said during a national briefing that some areas in the region have received less than one-tenth of an inch of rain in the past five months and that’s perhaps the longest period of time these areas have been without rain since record-keeping began decades ago.
The lack of rain combined with above-normal temperatures across parts of New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas have left livestock watering tanks dry, agricultural fields wind-blown and rangeland charred.
“Of course, you can never predict something this severe several months in advance, but we did know going in it was going to be a challenging cold season for the southern plains,” Nielsen-Gammon said.
He showed satellite images of smoke and dust plumes moving across the region and warned that the warm and dry weather is expected to continue through the spring. That could mean continued crop damage, dwindling irrigation supplies and more fires.
“Any precipitation that does fall over the next three months is likely to evaporate relatively quickly at the same time that crops and forage are requiring more water because of the high temperatures,” he said. “That means if and when the rains do return, drought recovery … will proceed slower than expected.”
Due to the dry conditions, the National Weather Service issued fire warnings Friday for most of Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, southern Kansas, northeastern New Mexico, southeastern Colorado and southeastern Missouri.
Oklahoma Forestry Services already has requested and received firefighters and equipment from Alabama, Kentucky and Louisiana because of the fire threat. Additional firefighters and equipment from Georgia and Mississippi are on the way.
Oklahoma Forestry Commission spokeswoman Michelle Finch-Walker said early to mid-afternoon is the time many fires begin.
“We call that the witching hour. It’s getting warmer, the humidity is dropping and wind gusts are picking up,” she said.
For Oklahoma, this marks the first time exceptional drought – the worst category of drought – has made an appearance since May 2015. Several counties in the northwest and the panhandle have gone 155 days or more with less than one-quarter of an inch of rain, marking just a fraction of average precipitation for this time of year.
The latest map shows swaths of red – indicating extreme to exceptional drought – covering the southern high plains and the Four Corners region where the borders of New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Utah meet.
In New Mexico, the lack of water and an unseasonably warm winter have already resulted in a high demand for hay, and some livestock owners have been forced to trim their herds. The last time this much of the state was grappling with extreme drought was July 2014.
Winter wheat crops in Texas are also struggling. Officials there say almost one-third of the crop is rated as poor.
Wildfires in Kansas have already burned thousands of acres, and agricultural officials were prepared to move hay to ranchers who need it most or work with the federal government to access additional grazing land.
Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer declared a drought emergency last week, citing the persistent dry conditions and growing fire hazards.
That state’s average precipitation over the past six months was only two-thirds of the normal rate, and in January and February the statewide average precipitation was even less, at less than half of normal.
Fighting to Help Homeless – Not Criminalize Them
The pending lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against the City of Albuquerque has halted the implementation of the new Pedestrian Safety Ordinance (PSO). This ordinance was passed by the city council on November 6th, 2017.
The ACLU held private conversations with the city where they persuaded them not to begin implementation of the PSO until the litigation has been resolved.
The PSO makes it illegal for “physical interactions or exchange with a pedestrian” at specific locations, such as street medians and highway entrances. This makes it illegal for both parties to engage in interactions; prohibiting people from giving food, money, and health products to those in need.
The ACLU banded together to sue the City of Albuquerque, claiming this ordinance criminalizes free speech in public areas, siting the broad language of the ordinance. The areas cited in the document are commonly used for political speech and protests, in addition to homeless men and women looking for aid.
Back in 2015 New Mexico was at the heart of a positive new program that continues to combat homelessness by assisting these individuals instead of criminalizing them. This has been the objective of the “There’s a Better Way” initiative (see: http://bit.ly/2D5N8Qk). Cities around the United States have looked toward Albuquerque’s initiative when creating their own policies in combating homelessness.
Instead of trying to criminalize and incarcerate homeless people, “There’s a Better Way” seeks to assist the homeless by giving them shelter, food, and helping them find work.
In 2016 The University of New Mexico’s Institute for Social Research followed Albuquerque’s Heading Home initiative (AKA “There’s a Better Way” program) and reported that for every dollar invested into this initiative, taxpayers saved $1.78.
Other reports indicate similar savings when addressing the problem of homelessness by attempting to assist them instead of trying to punish them. Central Florida’s Commission on Homelessness researched their region and discovered “the annual cost of leaving people homeless – the costs of policing them, throwing them in jail for largely non-violent offenses, and providing medical care – were three times as expensive as providing them with permanent housing and caseworkers.”
It’s becoming more and more prevalent that instituting programs to assist the homeless works better not only from a humanistic standpoint, but also from an economical one.
Still the practice of housing first programs has largely been swept under the rug from a political standpoint. This may be in part because of the prevalent, negative stigma surrounding communities of homelessness.
Eliminating this negative stigma is no easy task. It starts by not initiating more backwards thinking programs like the Pedestrian Safety Ordinance, but instead; implementing programs of positive change in mentality and action, like the “There’s a Better Way” program.
As we are seeing with the PSO, lazy, backwards thinking lawmaking can begin to imperil the basic rights of communities like Albuquerque. These lawmakers may be trying to solve a serious problem, but the negative stigma given to the homeless perpetuates the lack of critical thinking in solving the problem of homelessness. As long as our laws continue to push the stigma that homeless people are criminals, true progress and change cannot be accomplished on a massive enough scale for it to begin to truly make a dent in this nationwide problem.
Luckily there is a strong if not small contingent of people, like those in the American Civil Liberties Union and the Heading Home foundation, who continue to fight for a more holistic solution. Change of this nature is often sparked by a close knit group of people working for a better tomorrow, a tomorrow for all.
Works cited: https://shadowproof.com/2018/03/05/albuquerque-wont-enforce-draconian-anti-panhandling-ordinance-aclu-lawsuit-pending/
SERVPRO Earns Top Restoration Services Franchise
SERVPRO Named Top Restoration Services Franchise
As one of over 1,700 individually owned and operated SERVPRO franchises, we are proud to acknowledge the achievements of the corporation we belong to. This year, 2018, marks the 15th consecutive year SERVPRO has been named the top franchise opportunity within the restoration services category by Entrepreneur Magazine.
When looking beyond just the restoration services industry, SERVPRO ranks as the 12th best Franchise opportunity, just behind Jimmy John’s Gormet Sandwiches and right above Culver Franchising System Inc. McDonald’s is at the top of the list followed by 7-Eleven Inc.; Dunkin’ Donuts, The UPS Store, and RE/MAX LLC round out the top 5.
Entrepreneur Magazine is diligent in creating a ranking system that maintains objectivity, through quantifiable metrics, to best inform readers. Their system is called the “five pillars of the Franchise 500”. Included underneath each pillar, as bullet points, are the key factors which makeup that pillar.
Costs & Fees
- Franchise fee
- Total investment
- Royalty fees
Size & Growth
- Open & operating units
- Growth rate
- Training times
- Marketing support
- Operational support
- Franchisor infrastructure
- Financing availability
- Social media
- System size
- Years in business
- Years franchising
Financial Strength & Stability
- Franchisor’s audited financial statements
SERVPRO surely excels in the areas of “brand strength” and “support”. The bright orange and vibrant green colors allow for a strong, impactful, and recognizable brand. In addition, with over 1,700 franchises, SERVPRO’s brand impresses with a depth of industry knowledge and experiences shared between all past and existing franchises.
With so many franchises many areas are home to multiple SERVPRO’s. At the corporate level SERVPRO has a well-defined territory map that allows all franchises to not compete against one another, but support one another. This allows SERVPRO franchises to share jobs as well as industry knowledge.
Corporate headquarters is also very responsive and always available to assist franchises with any new obstacles encountered. When trying to contact corporate headquarters they don’t encumber you with automated answering services, multiple phone transfers, or constantly referring you back to the website for help. You often end up talking to many of the same people, which helps build a more personal and honestly helpful communication structure. This all leads to a truly helpful support system that flows from the top down.
Here at SERVPRO of NE Albuquerque we’ve been in business for 20 years now. We can testify for the longevity of opening up a SERVPRO franchise. We’ve been able to grow locally over this time along with corporate nationally. We are just one of over 1,700 different entrepreneurs whom have benefited from the top quality franchisor that is SERVPRO. If you, or anyone you know, is interested in getting into the restoration industry with their own business, we highly recommend considering franchising with SERVPRO. The help and brand name recognition gives benefits in the short and long term.
As one of the many limbs that makeup the franchise, we are proud to share in the announcement of SERVPRO’s award.
DIY Projects Still Require Building Permits
With the popularity of home improvement TV shows, many home owners are taking matters of their house into their own hands. With the use of these TV shows, Youtube, and the internet as a whole, it has become more practical to make your own renovations and additions to your house than ever before.
One of the main attractions of going the DIY route is it can help you save lots of money. This money can be used in turn to fund better quality materials for your home. However, if you overlook the necessity of a building permit all those savings can go down the drain.
Most people aren’t aware that their city requires a building permit even for many DIY home improvement projects.
Even minor fixes can require a permit. Replacing appliances? Yup a permit is required. Building a fence? Don’t forget your permit. Building a patio? You’ll need a permit for that too.
Depending on the work needed to be done, a permit can range from $50 upwards to $7,500 (information based on data collected by HomeAdvisor from its members actual project costs). The average lies around $1,200. However, the cost fluctuates depending on the type of project and the state you’re in. Before proceeding with any DIY projects, check with your municipal building department for all necessary forms and to get an estimate of the permit(s) needed and its cost(s).
Any additions your home are for your long term benefit. Don’t think short-sighted when making renovations; it’ll only hurt you in the long-run.
For example, at a parking meter, it’s better to pay the meter $1.50 for an hour instead of getting a ticket for $50. When tackling projects in your home it’s better to pay $200 for a permit instead of paying three times that to pay a contractor to redo your work to bring it up to proper standards.
Before going out and buying all of the necessary equipment to tackle a DIY home improvement project, become aware of the necessary permits. Ignoring permits, knowingly or unknowingly, can cause major roadblocks when you decide to sell your home in the future.
Positives of Mold
Blue Cheese is just one of the multiple, positive uses of mold.
When most people think about mold they tend to only think of the negative side of mold. Such as their spoiled bread from a week ago, or those leftovers in the fridge that are starting to smell. Us at SERVPRO of NE Albuquerque mostly deal with mold growth within homes. Although none of these types of mold are beneficial, it doesn’t mean that mold can’t be used positively.
Today we are going to highlight some of the more beneficial uses and forms of mold. Learning to understand the positive effects of mold can lead to a more balanced and appreciative opinion on the greater impact mold plays in our lives.
Mold in Food:
Cheese – White molds on the rinds of Brie and Camembert cheese contribute to their smooth creamy texture and unique aroma. Blue molds create striking veins in blue cheeses like Stilton and contribute a peppery taste and distinct aroma.
Soy Foods – Fermented soy sauce, miso and tempeh owe much of their desirable taste and texture to mold fermentation.
Molds in Medicine:
Antibiotics and other drugs – Penicillin and other essential antibiotics were developed from molds, as were some other medications/
Molds in Manufacturing:
Enzymes – Molds are used industrially to produce enzymes that are used in the production of other products. For example, mold can be used to make the enzyme rennet that curds milk for cheese production.
Molds in the Environment:
Decay – Molds play a key role in the breakdown of organic materials and recycle nutrients back through our ecosystem.
If you learned something please share this post. Otherwise, we hope the next time you are dealing with the negative side effects of mold you can think about all of the positive ways it affects our lives.
Irreplaceable History Trickling Away
Don't let water damage destroy priceless memorabilia.
The worst type of water damage isn’t always the damage caused to the building, but what is inside the building. This is the case for the library department at Eastern New Mexico University located in Portales, New Mexico. While faculty and students alike were at home enjoying the last week of their winter break, a disaster struck. Unbeknownst to them a pipe in the ceiling busted due to the cold temperatures.
When the faculty returned to their beloved library, they arrived to find a portion of books located in their closed stacks area to be damaged by water. Due to the busted pipes in the ceiling, water began to build up until the ceiling boards. After enough buildup the ceiling caved in causing water to rush downwards, building up on the floor, corrupting invaluable history in the form of literature.
This was the true disaster awaiting the library staff on their return from their winter break. Some books had autographs of authors long past, but the text can still be bought anew. Other documents were of intimate history directly related to the school, such as editions of the student newspapers dating all the way back to its inception in 1934. With no digital copies available, these snapshots of history are in danger of being lost forever. Maybe the biggest lost for the library is the Mexican Antiquity Books. A collection of 9 books dating all the way back to the 1700s. The monetary loss of these books (worth thousands of dollars) is nothing compared to the loss of history and culture stored in this books.
No matter the damage to these books, hope has not been lost. The university took the proper procedure in this situation. They called a restoration company to help remediate all of the damage. In this scenario that includes document recovery. Started by flash freezing the papers then putting them through a process that transfers the water directly from a frozen state into the evaporated state, thus skipping the liquid state; the chance of recovering these documents and their information is still possible.
The best defense against unwanted water damage is constant maintenance and upkeep of your pipes. Although accidents can occur no matter how prepared you are; in such a situation don’t hesitate to call SERVPRO of NE Albuquerque, were here to help 24/7, day or night. You can reach us at (505)-828-3567