Protecting Your Employees and Patrons During Spring Weather Emergencies
Spring begins March 1, and if you are a business owner in Comal County, this typically means warm-weather activities will start to bring in those seasonal tourists. This also means having employees help keep things running smoothly in your establishment during this peak season.
However, with changing seasons, along comes the unexpected weather hazards that could disrupt your business with little to no warning.
According to weather.gov some of the Spring weather hazards include:
As a business owner, it is essential to have a severe weather policy in writing and communicate it to all your employees during various times of the year to effectively have them follow out those policies in a safe manner.
A few examples of what could be implemented in your weather policy are:
- When should outdoor workers seek shelter indoors when there is a threat of thunderstorms and/or lightning?
- Should employees try to intervene if customers want to leave your business in the middle of a threatening severe weather warning (ex. Tornado spotted in the area or high-water levels making travel unsafe)
- If the power goes out, how are the employees expected to handle the customers still on the premises, or if the power does not come back on in a timely fashion, what next?
Training your employees on how to guide patrons to where they need to take shelter or even vacate the property immediately will not only ease your employee's minds, but your customer will put more thought into returning to your place of business because you, as the owner, made a plan that included looking out for their safety.
Fires Are Not the Only Hazard of Keeping Warm During Winter Weather Conditions
As people in Texas face a winter-related crisis, most do not realize attempting to keep their residence warm during a time states are experiencing rotating power outages can lead to dire consequences if not careful.
Home fires aren't the only danger to happen when unsafe practices take place out of desperation to keep warm. Carbon Monoxide poisoning is just as harmful and potentially deadly.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death if inhaled.
When power outages occur during emergencies such as hurricanes or winter storms, the use of alternative sources of fuel or electricity for heating, cooling, or cooking can cause CO to build up in a home, garage, or camper and to poison the people and animals inside.
The sad part is that every year, more than 400 people die in the U. S. from accidental non-fire-related CO poisoning.
The CDC has some helpful tips to prevent your family from being a victim of carbon monoxide poisoning are:
- Never use a gas range or oven to heat a home.
- Never leave the motor running in a vehicle parked in an enclosed or partially enclosed space, such as a garage.
- Never use a generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine inside your home, basement, or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent. Use an extension cord that is more than 20 feet long to keep the generator at a safe distance.
- When using a generator, use a battery-powered or battery backup CO detector in your home.
- Never run a generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine inside a basement, garage, or other enclosed structure, even if the doors or windows are open unless the equipment is professionally installed and vented. Keep vents and flues free of debris, especially if winds are high. Flying debris can block ventilation lines.
- Never use a charcoal grill, hibachi, lantern, or portable camping stove inside a home, tent, or camper.
- If conditions are too hot or too cold, seek shelter with friends or at a community shelter.
- If CO poisoning is suspected, call 911 or your local Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 or consult a health care professional right away.
One vital thing to note is every home should have at least one working carbon monoxide detector. The detector’s batteries should be checked at least twice annually, at the same time smoke detector batteries are checked.
State of Emergency: What Does This Mean for Local Texas Residents?
Blankets of snow appeared after the recent shift with weather conditions; a very unexpected occurrence in the climate that made it necessary for Governor Greg Abbott to take immediate action in all citizens' best interest. He announced yesterday evening that the White House issued a Federal Emergency Declaration for Texas in response to the severe winter weather areas across the state are experiencing.
If you have never experienced a State of Emergency, it can cause you a little bit of uncertainty about what this means for you and your loved ones.
A state of emergency or emergency powers is a situation in which a government is empowered to put through policies that it would typically not be permitted to do for the safety and protection of their citizens.
A disaster declaration was issued in all 254 counties in response to severe winter weather impacting Texas.
You can read the Governor’s Declaration here: https://gov.texas.gov/uploads/files/press/DISASTER_severe_weather_FINAL_02-12-2021.pdf
What can you and your family do now that the temperatures will remain at a record time low over the next few days?
- Continue listening to local news for updated information and instructions. Access to some parts of the community may be limited, or roads may be blocked.
- Help people who require special assistance—infants, elderly people, those without transportation, large families who may need additional help in an emergency situation, people with disabilities, and the people who care for them.
- Avoid driving and other travel until conditions have improved.
- Avoid overexertion. Heart attacks from shoveling heavy snow are a leading cause of death during the winter.
- Check on your animals and ensure that their access to food and water is unimpeded by drifted snow, ice, or other obstacles.
- If you are using a portable generator, take precautions against carbon monoxide poisoning, electrocution, and fire.
Remember to stay warm and safe during what will be remembered as the Winter Storm of 2021.
Power Outages: When Storms Affect Your Residence
Experiencing severe storms in our area can lead to one of the most significant factors preventing residents from the task of recovering and assessing their property damage, which is power outages. Being without power for a short or extended period can be a costly factor for some homeowners.
Knowing how to prepare for a power outage can help your family salvage more of your resources.
- Invest in flashlights, a battery-operated radio, and, of course, extra batteries. There are even lanterns used for camping that double as a phone charger. Remember to check your items occasionally to ensure they're all functioning and store them together for easy access.
- Always have bottled water and a variety of snacks that do not require refrigeration.
- An easy-to-miss but crucial consideration: if you have medication that needs to be refrigerated, remember to ask your pharmacist for information on storing it during a power outage.
Tips for your family once the power is out:
- Don't open the refrigerator or freezer door if you can help it. Refrigerated food can stay cold (and safe for consumption) for up to 4 hours, while frozen food can last up to 48 hours if the freezer is densely packed (or 24 hours if it's not as full). For more on food safety in an emergency, check out these guidelines from the USDA.
- To avoid a power surge when the electricity returns, turn off computers, TVs, and other nonessential electronics. But be sure to leave a light on so you'll know when the power is restored.
- If someone has medical equipment that requires electricity, call for help or get them to a place where the power is working.
In the aftermath of a power outage due to harsh weather, practice extreme caution if you go outside to survey the damages after a storm.
Remember that fallen trees or other wreckage can hide downed or hanging electrical wires. Always assume that a downed line is a live line and highly dangerous.
SERVPRO of San Marcos/New Braunfels knows your family's well being is your number one priority and wants everyone to be safe. Allow us to be there to help eliminate some of the burdens you're facing in the aftermath of any storm destruction inflicted upon your home.
We have trained technicians on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ready to take action when needed. If water affects the structure of your home in the middle of the night, our crew will be there for you to start the recovery work immediately.
If you need emergency clean up or restoration work, call us any time at (830) 625- 0578.
Prevent Frozen Pipes with These Helpful Tips
Weather is ever-changing in Texas. So, when temperatures in the Comal County area begin to drop below 32 °F, water pipes can freeze, burst, and cause a great deal of damage.
To help protect your home, residents are strongly advised to take the following steps during a freeze:
1) Heat your home! If you leave for the day (or an extended period), do not turn the heat completely off. Please turn it on and set the temperature to the lowest setting you wish (65 °F is recommended). Remember, if this is the first time you have used your heater in a while, you may notice a burning smell. Once the heat comes on, any collected dust burns off, and the odor passes through your air vents. The smell should go away after a while. We understand that this may be alarming, but rest assured this is completely normal.
2) Let your faucets drip! Run both hot and cold water in a very fine stream in each of your home’s faucets: kitchen sink, bathroom sinks, bathtubs, showers, etc.
3) Leave the cabinet doors under all sinks open so that the pipes will be ventilated with warm air. Leaving the bathroom and kitchen doors open helps too.
Precautionary efforts like those listed are essential to avoid the more drastic measure of temporarily cutting off the water and draining the lines to prevent damage from bursting pipes.
When water damage does strike, a fast response is critical. Day or night, Comal County residents can expect us to respond immediately to their water emergency. Call SERVPRO of San Marcos/New Braunfels at (830) 625-0578.
Storm Damage in Hays County: Count on SERVPRO to Help!
Texans spend most of their time learning to adapt to how the seasons change faster than you can blink. One second your air conditioner is cranked to its coolest temps because it is too hot to move, then the next, you're bundled up in a coat trying to keep warm, and an hour later, you are back to needing that cold air blowing on your face.
Just think about all that your house endures with those swift climate changes. We want the dwelling we live in to withstand any natural disaster. Our treasured belongings stay stored within those walls and those mementos occasions we create with loved ones. Not taking all the proper precautions to keep our home up to code could leave us without those cherished keepsakes, making new memories, and at a substantial financial loss.
While various factors can damage our home's foundation - extreme temperatures, tree roots; moisture is the number one culprit that weakens and compromises the home's base.
Once water collects around your house from rain, on occasion some snow, or burst pipes, the saturated soil around the foundation expands and shifts — the pressure on the foundation walls increases and results in cracks. Leaks form, allowing water to penetrate the foundation and cause electrical hazards, mold growth, and structural damage to the house.
There are a few precautionary measures you could take to lessen the chance of your home enduring such structural damages.
• Clean Rain Gutters: Inspect your gutters or schedule a licensed professional to clean them annually. A clogged rain gutter can send water cascading down the exterior wall, resulting in water entering the interior walls.
• Roof Maintenance: Where rain is concerned, the roof is the first line of defense. Regular maintenance can preserve the life expectancy of your home's roof.
• Window Repairs: Proper window installation and maintenance is imperative. Leaks in your windows could be the result of poor maintenance or missing caulking.
At SERVPRO of San Marcos/New Braunfels, we make it our business to immediately respond to storm damage. If your property is struck unexpectedly by a storm or natural disaster, we will work quickly and efficiently to fix the problem and get your life back on track.
If your house sustains significant weather-related damages, our experienced team is geared up to help clean up homes that are damaged.
Let us answer any questions you have at (830) 625-0578. We are ready to make this situation “Like it never even happened.”
SERVPRO of San Marcos/New Braunfels Offers a New Standard of Clean
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed what it means to be clean in our community.
SERVPRO of San Marcos/New Braunfels offers a program called Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned because we know that getting back to business relies on easing the mind of your employees and customers worried about how sanitized the inside of your building is for them.
This is a level of clean that goes way beyond janitorial or carpet cleaning. This is proactive viral pathogen cleaning. When businesses chose to use our services, their employees, customers, and community can rest assured that they’ve selected a “higher standard of clean”—Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.
The Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned process is grounded in three “Cs”:
- Consult: A SERVPRO representative will develop a tailored cleaning program to meet your needs.
- Clean: SERVPRO will deliver both proactive and COVID-19 emergency response cleaning.
- Certify: SERVPRO will certify that your business has been cleaned and sanitized for your employees and customers.
We are also placing our Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned logo in designated areas throughout your establishment to help communicate that you have committed to a higher standard of clean for your hard-working employees and devoted patrons.
For more information about the Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned program, call us at (830) 625-0578.
Helpful Tips on Keeping Your Important Documents Safe From Water Damage
Throughout the year, Texans experienced severe thunderstorms, leaving many residents stuck with the grueling job of doing house repairs themselves or filing claims with their homeowner's insurance agencies.
With the amount of flooding that can take place over parts of Comal County, both the interior and exterior parts of homes endured various levels of water damage. Sometimes the living quarters and furniture are not the only things of importance that undergo destruction. Essential documents might have become ruined as well.
One of the most vital pieces of information to your family's existence is documented mostly on legalized forms. Replacing a lost or damaged document can be rather time-consuming or, in some instances, difficult if you do not have all the appropriate required documentation on hand to request new records.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) suggests making copies and arranging safe off-site storage for the following essential documents.
Vital Personal Records
These include photocopies of personal identification such as driver's licenses, birth certificates, and Military I.D. cards, if applicable. Social Security cards, passports, and marriage licenses should also be copied.
Keep copies of your homeowner's and flood insurance policy. Also, include health and life insurance coverage information as well as contact information for your local agent.
Record relevant account numbers for all financial matters. Include bank contact information as well as investment firms such as brokerages, retirement accounts, and credit card companies.
Copy the deed to your home or the mortgage documents provided by the title company. These should state the value of the house at the time of purchase. If you are a renter, retain a copy of the lease or rental agreement. Also, duplicate all automobile, boat, and R.V. titles and registration papers.
Make copies of all ongoing prescriptions plus records of immunizations, health insurance I.D. cards, and names and contact information for primary physicians. If you have a living will include that as well.
Include a copy of your will, instructions for a funeral, documents for power-of-attorney designation, and contact information for your personal attorney.
Once the worst has passed and you're able to take a moment to check on all of your personal belongings for damages, remember SERVPRO of San Marcos/New Braunfels is always here for you.
We are a trusted leader in the water restoration industry that is locally owned and operated. If you are looking to have a stress-free claim process, our SERVPRO employees work with your insurance to manage the insurance process and paperwork.
If you have water damage, give us a call at (830) 625-0578.
Why Your Business Needs an Emergency Ready Profile in Place
Develop a SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile for your business to help minimize business interruptions due to unexpected natural or synthetic disasters.
The best way to reduce Business Interruption following a disaster is to plan for it now.
Did you know a recent research shows that 50% of businesses close following a disaster? Of those that do survive, many of them had a preparedness plan in place. SERVPRO of San Marcos/New Braunfels offers a solution for any business owner looking to protect their property and even give their employees some peace of mind.
A representative from our franchise will come out to your property or properties and help you develop a SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) to minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your business.
The advantages of having our team set up an ERP for your company are:
• No costs are involved in conducting an assessment of your facility or facilities
• A concise profile document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency – access to a profile you can view on various electronic devices.
• A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster – this helps your business minimize the amount of time it is inactive by having an immediate plan of action in place.
• Establishes SERVPRO of San Marcos/New Braunfels as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider – we are recognized as an industry leader and are close by to handle any large or small emergency situation that arises.
• Identification of the line of command for authoring work to begin – a vital part of saving precious time and unnecessary damages on your property, have your employees know who to contact to make essential decisions in the workplace.
• Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas, priority contact information – having a quick reference of what to do, how to di it, and who to call provides solutions in advance of an emergency so that it is during an emergency you are ready to take appropriate action.
Call us today to have your business scheduled for an Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) at (830) 625-0578.
When Disaster strikes, know that SERVPRO of San Marcos/New Braunfels is ready to help and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays.
Emergency Board Services for Comal and Hays County Businesses
A local commercial property needed help from SERVPRO of San Marcos/New Braunfels to board up their place of business after experiencing vandalism
Vandalism occurring on your commercial property is something no business owner imagines happening to them. Still, if it does, you want to rely on someone with the expertise and prompt service to manage your unexpected loss.
SERVPRO of San Marcos/New Braunfels wants business proprietors to know we have their property in our best interest and are available to offer emergency board up services to protect what matters most to them.
The weather and predators can come from several sources both inside and outside a structure. That is why we take the time to assess the damages from a mitigation standpoint, meaning restore, not replacement. Preserving your commercial property is our goal.
Our crew will first install emergency board-up materials to prevent any precipitation from entering the building and deterring possible break-ins. The public needs to know the building is being cared for and watched. We will board up damaged doors, windows, and even portions of the building.
Rest assured, our trained technicians will do their part to make it Like it never even happened."
Call us at (830) 625-0578.
We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for all your commercial property's emergency needs.