Winterizing Your Cottage for Winter
Owning a cottage as a secondary residence could come with responsibilities you may not have with your primary home. If you only frequent your place during certain times of the year, there are several things you can do as the owner to ensure a successful winterization of your property.
Here are a few helpful tips you can incorporate when preparing your cottage for the winter.
- Shut off the water supply, drain the pipes and hot water tank, and leave taps open to allow them to breathe. Toilets should be turned off and flushed, and then any remaining water bailed out. Alternatively, pour antifreeze into the bowl to protect the lines; be sure to use RV (pink) antifreeze or another environmentally friendly product.
- Unplug all electrical appliances and electronic devices. Many modern electric and electronic devices continue to draw a small amount of power even when turned off; over a winter, it can add up to an expense you don't need.
- Thoroughly clean the kitchen and remove any food. During the winter, rodents and even bears can sniff it out. This could create a significant amount of structural and financial damages causing you to dig deep into your wallet.
- If you can, remove valuables, such as TVs and stereos, and take them down to the city. If any valuable items left at the cottage, make sure windows are covered so that thieves can't see in and become tempted to break in, leaving your cottage exposed to various outdoor extremities.
- Install a cover over the chimney opening to prevent raccoons or other furry tenants from moving in. Inspect the exterior of the cottage, looking for other small openings that could be co-opted for an animal home – including under the deck, at the foundation, or under eaves.
- Arrange to have a local snow removal company come at least once over the winter to remove snow and ice build-up from the roof. Even a relatively small load, such as a foot or so, can become dangerously heavy if there's a period of rain followed by a freeze-up. Put boxes over vents or skylights to protect them from snow loads or accidental damage by an over-eager person with a shovel.
- Consider hiring the same company or someone to maintain the road and walkways around the cottage over winter. This allows access in case of an emergency such as a fire. Keeping the paths and driveway shoveled also makes the cottage look more lived-in, which is a security advantage.
- Hire someone or ask a friend who lives up there year-round to check on the cottage periodically to make sure everything is okay if, for some reason, you are not able to get up there yourself. If something unfortunate has happened, from a break-in to a fire, to a roof cave-in, the sooner you are made aware and can deal with it, the better.
At SERVPRO of East Brown County, our business is helping people recover after any natural or human made disaster. Water recovery is one of our specialties. We know that every water damage situation is a little different and requires a unique solution, but the general process stays the same. Our trained professionals are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays to help take care of your emergency circumstances.
If you unexpectedly find yourself in need of our restoration services for your cottage, feel free to call us, day or night, at 920-499-7050.
Meet Tina Almaguer: Sales and Marketing Coordinator for SERVPRO of East Brown County
Tina Almaguer is a new hire that is responsible for coordinating the social media and online marketing material for SERVPRO of East Brown County
Tina Almaguer is one of the newest employees at SERVPRO of East Brown County. She's worked as the Sales and Marketing Coordinator for a little over two months now. Her favorite part about Social Media and Marketing is the challenge it provides and the opportunity to learn something new every day.
Tina's responsibilities are managing both of SERVPRO's East and West Brown County's social media accounts. She takes care of updating their website with new blogs, photos, and videos. She also attends monthly meetings throughout the Green Bay Area and participates with trade shows for the company.
Working for SERVPRO gives her a chance to do the one thing she enjoys the most; writing.
In her spare time, Tina is as a freelance writer and does media coverage at events like the NCAA Final Four and comic cons. You can find some of her work on the Today Show Parenting Team website where she's been a contributing writer for the past three years.
One thing Tina is very passionate about is her role as a patient advocate. You’ll find her around the community volunteering for the American Heart Association of Northeast Wisconsin. In addition to her role with AHA, she volunteers as representative from the State of Wisconsin for the following organizations: National Headache Foundation, U.S. Pain Foundation, Global Healthy Living Foundation, and American Migraine Foundation.
This former Texas Native moved to Wisconsin 21 years ago and loves being able to experience all four seasons. Fall is her favorite time of the year. It means football, crisp autumn air, and driving to Door County to observe all the colorful foliage.
Tina is a huge sports fanatic! You'll catch her cheering on the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers, and her alma mater Texas Tech University. She loves the outdoors — kayaking, fishing, and camping are a few of her favorite activities. The one thing Tina looks forward to the most is taking road trips across the country with her three kids: one girl and two boys.
Tina is excited about joining SERVPRO of East Brown County and looks forward working with their marketing team.
How to Avoid a Deep-Frying Disaster During the Thanksgiving Holidays
The holidays create an opportunity to bring family and friends together to feast on a meal that is either considered traditional or a modern spin on a classic dish.
No matter how you decide to prepare your meal, one thing is certain. Keeping the place, you call home free of any unnecessary disasters is a must.
A food trend that has grown in popularity over the past decade is deep-frying your holiday bird. This is one of those instances where if you are not careful with following directions, the one guest you weren’t planning on showing up will arrive in their firetruck to extinguish those flames that got out of hand.
To avoid any unexpected fire emergency, consider using the following tips.
- Thaw your turkey. Frying a frozen bird will make the oil splatter and cause a fire.
- Buy a frying thermometer. Know the smoke point of your oil and keep the temperature below it.
- Use a real turkey fryer. It is made to accommodate various sizes and adapts better to higher temperatures.
- Make sure to keep your skin covered to avoid burns when working with the fryer.
- Use an oil with a high smoke point. Peanut oil is always the best option.
- Allow the oil to cool down for a few hours before emptying it in a container.
- Don’t overfill the frying pot. While your turkey is still in the package, place it in the container and cover it with water until it’s reached the desired level. Remove the turkey and draw a line where the water comes up to on the pot. Fill the oil to this line, and you’ll have the right amount.
- Don’t fry inside. Fry outdoors on a level surface and kept at least 10 feet away from any structure.
- Don’t use water to extinguish a grease fire. Use a fire extinguisher and have it handy at all times.
- Keep your turkey less than 14 lbs. to ensure proper and thorough cooking.
- Don’t leave the fryer unattended. You should always be on hand in case there are any spills; you need to adjust the temperature or extinguish a fire.
- Don’t put marinade under the turkey skin. You can use a marinade, but it needs to be injected deep into the meat and allowed to sit for several hours before frying.
- Avoid splashing hot oil everywhere by slowly dropping the turkey into the oil.
Following these suggestions can lead to a safe and joyous Thanksgiving with your loved ones.
However, if your residence happens to endure an unfortunate fire disaster, know that the trained technicians at SERVPRO of East Brown County can provide cleanup of fire, smoke, and soot damage. We have specialized equipment to handle jobs of all sizes. We are also able to provide reconstruction services.
When you’re having an emergency, you don’t want to wait for a restoration company; you want help ASAP. Our company prides itself on having a fast response time. The holidays are no exception. We are here for you, 24 hours and day, 7 days a week.
Give us a call at (920) 499-7050.
Fire Prevention Month: How to Handle an Emergency Situation Before and After a House Fire
As we come to the end of October and Fire Prevention Month, SERVPRO of East Brown County would like to remind you that residential fires can happen at anytime to anyone.
When owning a home, it is always a best practice to compile a list of emergency contacts in the event of any accidental disasters. It can save a lot of stress off of you and your entire household if you have a plan in place if there were to be an unfortunate turn of events due to a fire emergency.
Some of the basic information you could include in your emergency contact information list are the following:
- Names, Ages and Birth Dates of Each Family Member: to eliminate any confusion about first responders wanting to ensure every person is accounted for.
- Home Address and Telephone Number: include the address of the where the list resides, include full street address, and your phone number with area code.
- Names and Phone Numbers for Your Insurance Agency: the agent you have your policy through or company that would deal with any claim that needed to be filed.
- Local Contact: someone close by - neighbor, relative, or landlord.
- Relative or Person Designated as an Emergency Contact: this person could make vital decisions for you if necessary.
- Work contact: your boss or supervisor, or a close co-worker.
- Family Physician and Hospital: your doctor’s full name and office number with an after-hours office or pager number as well, plus a non-emergency number for your local hospital.
- Police/Ambulance: 911 in most locations, but it may be different; also include non-emergency numbers.
- Fire Department: 911 in most locations, but that may be different in your area; include non-emergency numbers.
- Gas Company: contact information for emergencies.
- Electric Company: contact info for emergency situations.
- Other Utility Companies: emergency contact information
- List of Special Conditions and Equipment/Medication: list (by family member) special medical conditions, including allergies, and specific medications such as insulin, inhalers, Epi-pens, as well as important and necessary medical equipment such as blood pressure monitors, blood glucose testing machines, cpap machines and such.
- Health Care/Health Insurance Information: contact info for your insurance company or provincial/state health coverage providers, as well as personal health numbers (PHNs), insurance policy and group numbers for each person in the home.
A great resource to have on hand is the American Red Cross Picking Up the Pieces After a Fire Guide. They highly suggest the following tasks be done immediately after a home fire.
- Call 9-1-1. Give first aid where needed; cool and cover burns to reduce the chance of further injury or infection.
- Let friends and family know you’re safe.
- People and animals that are seriously injured or burned should be transported to professional medical or veterinary help immediately.
- Stay out of fire-damaged homes until local fire authorities say it is safe to re-enter.
Fires are capable of destroying anything in its path, but there are also times that the damage is manageable; especially with the help of the right restoration professionals.
After the fire trucks leave, your home likely suffers from fire and smoke damage and extensive water damage from firefighting efforts. SERVPRO of East Brown County have the specialized fire restoration training needed to restore your home to pre-fire condition.
We have technicians on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ready to go into action when they are needed. Give us a call at (920) 499-7050.
Holiday Preparation: Cooking and Unexpected Kitchen Disasters
The countdown to Thanksgiving has commenced. If you are the person in charge of hosting the time-honored feast, chances are you will begin with most of the holiday preparation’s days, possibly even weeks in advance.
While doing so, it would be a good idea to familiarize yourself with items that keep your kitchen a safe zone.
One of those items in particular, is your fire extinguisher. If you ever unexpectedly utilized one, then you know the importance in how to promptly follow the guidelines to effectively suppress its foamy contents. However, if you’ve never handled an extinguisher there are a few tips you can follow to make the process a less complicated task.
First, start by checking your fire extinguisher for:
- Easy access in an emergency- be sure nothing is blocking or limiting your ability to reach it.
- The recommended pressure level- many extinguishers have gauges that show when pressure is too high or too low.
- Working parts- make sure the can, hoses, and nozzles aren’t damaged, dented, or rusted.
- Cleanliness- remove any dust, oil, or grease that might be on the outside of the extinguisher.
- Guidelines and instructions- some extinguishers need to be shaken monthly; others need to be pressure tested every few years.
Next, know when to use a fire extinguisher.
Here is a simple checklist to help you prepare to use a fire extinguisher.
- Have I alerted others in the house that there’s a fire?
- Has someone called the fire department?
- Am I physically able to use a fire extinguisher?
- Is the fire small and contained in a single object; like a pan or a wastebasket?
- Am I safe from the fire’s toxic smoke?
- Do I have a clear escape route?
Finally, how to properly use a fire extinguisher.
When operating a fire extinguisher, it is important to remember the word PASS.
- Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.
- Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
- Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
- Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.
At SERVPRO of East Brown County, we know there are some fires that can get out of hand despite all efforts made to avoid experiencing a household disaster during your Thanksgiving Day festivities.
After the fire department handles the unfortunate matter of your fire, we are here to help with our SERVPRO technicians who are available in the middle of the night; including all holiday’s.
For our Emergency services, give us a call at (920) 499-7050.
Fire Prevention Month: Natural Gas Furnace Safety Tips
National Fire Safety month falls at the perfect time of year when some of the residents in the East Brown County area have already begun preparations for the colder temperatures.
Affordability and more accessible operational functions of a natural gas furnace tend to outweigh the need for electric furnaces. If your living quarters’ primary heat source solely relies on a natural gas furnace to keep your family warm throughout the winter months ahead, keep in mind one of the essential components to maintaining that warm environment, is safety.
There are various tips to prepare your household for the frigid months ahead. Here are a few to help with those tasks.
Change Your Filters
- One of the primary yet essential safety tips is to remove your dirty filter and replace it with a new one. It takes seconds and can reduce dust circulating in your home. Plus, changing an old filter helps to keep your furnace running more efficiently.
Keep Your Furnace and the Area Around It Clean
- Dirt, dust, and items could impact the safety and efficiency of your furnace. Eliminate fire hazards by keeping your furnace and the area surrounding it clean.
Install a Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detector
- Almost every home has smoke detectors, far fewer have Carbon Monoxide detectors. If you have a gas furnace, these are vitally important. A Carbon Monoxide detector will alert you if the CO levels in your home reach a dangerous level. The alert will allow you the opportunity, if ever needed, to evacuate and call for emergency assistance.
Keep Registers Open
- Keeping registers closed while your furnace is on can cause resistance and heat build-up in the furnace. This could lead to damage in your unit and create a fire risk. If you have to close multiple registers, it is best to turn the temperature down.
Keep Registers Clean
- Vacuum registers to remove dust, animal hair, and other pollutants that circulate in your home. Also, take the time to keep the area around registers unobstructed by furniture, rugs, toys, blankets, and other personal objects.
Schedule an HVAC Inspection
- Perhaps the most important way to ensure the safety of your home’s furnace is to get a furnace inspection before it’s time to begin turning on your heat. Local businesses like Healthy Home Heating and Cooling offers a thorough check of your furnace that includes inspecting for cracks in the combustion chamber, faulty wiring, dirty air filters, and more.
For further details, it is suggested to read over the complete list of safety items please see your furnace care and maintenance manual.
If a fire emergency were ever to take place in your home, know that SERVPRO of East Brown County is dedicated to responding when you need help. A fast response helps lessen the damage, limits secondary damage, and reduces cost.
Let our trained technicians handle all of your fire and smoke restoration needs. If you have any questions about our services, please give us a call at (920) 499-7050.
Fire Prevention Month: Testing Your Electrical Safety Knowledge
We are now halfway through Fire Prevention Month and with the recent drop in temperatures, people are finding various of ways to keep their households warm. Having a steady source of heat flowing throughout your living quarters, tends to have some individuals concerned about whether their place may be at risk for an electrical fire.
There are several safety measures you and your family can take to prevent your home from being a hazardous fire zone. Do you know if your home is currently safe against an unexpected electrical fire? Here are just a few questions to test your knowledge on electrical fire prevention.
1. Is it safe to run an extension cord under a carpet or along a baseboard for permanent use?
2. Which of the following are electrical hazards?
a. Flammable materials near electrical equipment and/or static electricity
b. Damaged insulation on wires, broken plugs, and overheated appliances
c. Overloaded circuits
d. All of the above are electrical hazards
3. Which one of the following statements is correct, regarding the use of extension cords?
a. Extension cords can be used on any piece of equipment.
b. Extension cords do not have to be UL listed as long as they are used for only 1 hour.
c. Extension cords can only be used for temporary, portable pieces of equipment.
d. Extension cords are not allowed to be used in the workplace.
4. You notice the electrical cord on a device is damaged or frayed. What should you do?
a. Wrap tape around the damaged area and continue using it.
b. Replace the frayed cord immediately.
c. Do nothing and keep using the cord, regardless of the frayed wires.
To check whether you answered these questions correctly, look for the answers listed at the end of this blog post.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in 2010 U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 46,500 house fires that were caused by an electrical malfunction of failure. From 2005-2009, 49% of those home electrical fires involved lighting or electrical distribution equipment; another 46% were attributed to other known types of equipment, including stove ranges, washers, dryers, space heaters, and fans.
If you find yourself needing a space heater, know that a modern model can be very safe to keep on for long unsupervised periods of time, including while sleeping. Be sure your heater is certified by one of the three major testing organizations. Also, check for features like automatic shutoff, tip over protection, a shut off timer, and adjustable thermostat. In addition, you should follow basic safety rules like having a working smoke detector and more the heater away from flammable materials.
If an electrical fire were to ever occur in your home, SERVPRO of East Brown County would like for you to know our trained technicians to provide cleanup of fire, smoke and soot damage. We specialize in reconstruction services and respond promptly which in return helps lessen the damage, limits secondary damage, and reduces cost.
If would like more information on our process, please give us a call at, (920) 499-7050.
1-FALSE: You should never run cords under carpets or rugs, as they can overheat and cause a fire risk. Also, never run cords through doorways and open spaces as this poses a tripping hazard as well.
2-D: All of the Above
3-C: Extension cords can only be used for temporary, portable pieces of equipment.
4-B: Replace the frayed cord immediately.
Fire Prevention Month: How to Safeguard Your Kitchen from Fires
Whether your spending time in the kitchen cooking your favorite meal or preparing a feast for a family gathering, fire prevention should be a priority.
Even professional chefs could tell you how a little grease splatter or a small flame on an open range stove can quickly escalate from being tamed to an uncontrollable fire. If you're not careful with the way you handle certain fire situations, there could be extensive damage to more than your kitchen appliances.
This week SERVPRO of East Brown County is focusing on kitchen fire safety. Here are some tips to help you safeguard against a fire breaking out in one of the highly trafficked areas in your house.
Stay in the Kitchen
An apparent practice for the person making the meal, but, according to the National Fire Protection Association, unattended cooking is the number one cause of cooking fires. If you must leave a stove unattended, turn off the heat and move the pan to a cool burner.
Use a Timer
Check food regularly, whether you're simmering, baking, boiling, or roasting. Using a timer can help remind you to check on your dish.
Keep the Stovetop Clear
Keep dish towels, oven mitts, paper towels—anything that can catch fire—away from your stovetop.
Wear close-fitting clothes and tightly roll up sleeves when you're cooking. Loose clothing can come in contact with burners and catch fire.
Immediately Wipe Up Spills
Cooking on a dirty stove, or in a dirty oven, is just inviting a potential fire. Grease buildup is flammable; clean your stove every time you cook and promptly wipe up any spills.
Don't Overheat Your Oils
Overheated cooking oil can start to smoke and bubble up, which can cause it to spill out and ignite. Uncertain about which oils begin to burn a certain temperature? What’s Cooking America offers an informative chart to help you with those burning questions.
Wait for Grease to Cool Before Disposing of It
Resist tossing hot grease into your trash can. It could go up in flames! It is best to allow it to cool before disposing of it in the garbage. You could even pour it into an old food can before tossing it out.
Keep Your Smoke Detector Working
A smoke detector is a vital fire safety device and your first line of defense. Make a mental note to change the batteries twice a year when you change your clocks for daylight savings time.
With these useful tips, your time can be well spent focusing on perfecting your culinary creations.
SERVPRO of East Brown County wants everyone to practice every precautionary measure while cooking. In case you happen to find yourself in the unfortunate situation where your kitchen sustained fire damage, know that we have Fire & Smoke Restoration Technicians available to handle the cleanup of fire, smoke and soot damage. These individuals have the training and specialized equipment to handle all size jobs. We are also on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ready to go into action as needed.
We are locally owned and operated business which means a prompt response time for your home.
Have any additional questions? Call us today at, (920) 499-7050.
October is Fire Prevention Month: Testing Your Knowledge
October kicks off Fire Prevention Month. The theme for this year's National Fire Prevention Week is all about smoke alarm safety.
The team at SERVPRO of East Brown County would like to encourage everyone to use this as an opportunity for testing your knowledge of fire emergencies in any environmental situation.
Most people first learn about fire safety during their earlier school years. Some even learned at home during a family orchestrated drill. In either event, knowing how to handle a fire emergency can help each person navigate through the situation with little or no overwhelming complications.
How much do you really know about fire prevention?
1. What is the leading cause of house fires?
A) Chemical and Glasses
B) Cooking Equipment
C) Smoking Materials
D) Heating Equipment
2. How long do most fire detectors work properly?
A) 2 Years
B) 15 Years
C) 5 Years
D) 8 to 10 Years
3. What about how often should you clean your clothes dryer vent?
A) Once every 5 years
B) Twice a Year
C) It Doesn't Need to be Cleaned
D) A Minimum of Once a Year
4. What's the minimum number of escape routes household members should have?
5. A closed interior door will slow the spread of:
D) All of the Above
6. Which is the most likely material to start to burn first in a fire caused by smoking?
A) Waste Basket Contents
B) Bedding and Mattresses
C) Upholstered Furniture
D) All of the Above
7. Where do most fires that are caused by children start?
A) Family room
D) Living room
Here are a few questions that may help rate your level of understanding when it comes to fire prevention awareness.
*The answers to these questions are listed at the end of this blog post. Questions are curiosity of FireRecruit.com
SERVPRO of East Brown County would like our local residence to know we strive to be the premier restoration company in Northeast Wisconsin. Part of ensuring we are that premier company means having a fast response time. When you're having an emergency, you don't want to wait for a restoration company; you want help ASAP.
If you need emergency clean up or restoration work anywhere in and around the Green Bay area, we have technicians on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ready to go into action when they are needed.
Call us at, (920) 499-7050
It is our job to make it “Like it never even happened.”
ANSWERS: 1) Cooking Equipment, 2) 8 to 10 years, 3) A minimum of once a year, 4) 2, 5) All of the Above, 6) Bedding and Mattresses, 7) Bedroom
Real Men Wear Pink: Jim Knopf Raises Funds for the American Cancer Society
Marketing and Sales Manager Jim Knopf spends a few hours as a server to help raise money for the American Cancer Society
SERVPRO of East Brown County's very own Jim Knopf has been rather busy these past few days. Besides making sure our customers are getting the best service possible, he is spending his free time helping to raise money during the American Cancer Society's "Real Men Wear Pink Green Bay" campaign.
Real Men Wear Pink gives men a leadership role in the fight against breast cancer. Community leaders around the nation use the power of pink to raise awareness and money for the American Cancer Society's breast cancer initiatives, including innovative research, patient services, and education around screenings and risk reduction. It's one important way we're attacking cancer from every angle.
Real Men Wear Pink participants raise awareness and money to fight breast cancer. Of course, the top fundraiser receives an exclusive prize - and bragging rights as the #1 Real Man.
As a Real Men Wear Pink candidate, leaders commit to:
- Wearing pink throughout October
- Raising awareness for the cause through their social media networks
- Raising a minimum of $2,500 to help the American Cancer Society fight breast cancer
Jim is on his 2nd year with this particular ACS campaign. He joined other "Real Men Wear Pink" participants during the September 26th lunch hour rush at the Green Bay Texas Roadhouse where he worked for 2 hours as a food server to customers.
All the food costs were covered by Texas Roadhouse, while all the servers donated their time. 100% of every dollar earned from tips or generous donations went directly to the American Cancer Society. The total amount made at the Green Bay food establishment was $8,826, breaking the prior's years funds raised for a similar luncheon event.
For Jim to qualify to become a NATIONAL "Real Man" candidate, he must raise a minimum of $2,500. As of this morning, Jim not only hit that mark, he's raised a total of $3,381! That's quite the extraordinary feat Jim has accomplished so far and doesn't surprise his SERVPRO family. He cares deeply about this cause. It was a personal journey that led him to want to make a difference in the lives of people diagnosed with cancer.
Jim lost his mother and brother to cancer. He also has friends who have fought and who are fighting the disease. These experiences have left him with a passion for doing all he can to help raise funds towards finding a cure.
Every donation adds up. As little as $15 can provide a breast cancer patient with a ride to treatment. The money raised during this campaign will also help patients get the information and support they need, as well as help pay for things like lodging for overnight travel to treatment.
There is still time to help Jim continue to exceed his fundraising goal.
If you're interested in donating to a worthy cause, Jim would love to hear from you!
He has a website set up specifically for the American Cancer Society “Real Men Wear Pink Green Bay” campaign. You can donate directly to that site: http://bit.ly/2uXhF35
Or you can reach him by email atjknopf@SERVPROgreenbay.com.