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The Importance of Fire Preparedness as a Business Owner | SERVPRO® of East Honolulu

2/17/2020 (Permalink)

Fire escape If your business has experienced a fire, we’re here 24/7 to respond and begin restoration. Call us 808-395-9545 today to learn how we can help you

For those who own their own businesses, you are likely well aware of the industry risks you face. However, there are other risks, too—namely, emergencies such as fires—that should be prepared for in order to keep your investment and staff safe. Planning ahead can not only decrease your liability, but it can also dramatically reduce the recovery time required to reopen your business’ doors.

Because business owners are busy, we have put together some of the top tips for increasing fire preparedness in the workplace in one convenient spot for your reference. By doing a little bit of planning on the front end, you can experience less stress should you find yourself dealing with a fire in the future.

A Reference Guide for Business Fire Preparedness Tips

Follow code guidelines and inspection schedules. Making sure your business adheres to codes put in place by the National Fire Protection Association is the first step to fire preparedness. Your local fire department can help you make sure everything is up to standard and set up a schedule for inspecting equipment and alarms to ensure operation.

Identify your specific risks. There are many things that could lead to a sudden fire, but you should also identify risks that are specific to your line of work. Restaurant cooking equipment, heavy machinery and even a high number of electronics can all impact your fire risk, so doing a custom assessment to determine where your business may be vulnerable is wise.

Create (and practice) a fire evacuation plan. Having prepared employees greatly reduces the chance that panic will ensue if a fire begins. Make sure to designate multiple exits out of the building and rehearse escape routes with staff regularly to help everyone stay calm in a real-life scenario.

Have regular fire safety seminars with staff. You should draft a fire safety tip list for your business, make sure all of your employees have access to it and schedule group training on it frequently. Go over cooking safety, fire extinguisher use and any other relevant tips so everyone is aware of their role in the fire safety process.

Recover With Our Help | SERVPRO® of East Honolulu

2/8/2020 (Permalink)

removed flooring If you have experienced storm damage or want to learn more, you can call us 24/7 for more details.

The frequency with which storms occur can sometimes cause individuals to forget about how much danger they pose to life and property. Storms were responsible for around $2 billion in damages in 2018, and are something homeowners should prepare for and take seriously.

Putting a plan in place for storm damage restoration in advance is wise—there are many post-storm restoration scams, and it is important to choose a company you can trust. With our upstanding reputation and highly trained professionals, when storms strike, we can help you.

How We Can Help After Storm Damage Strikes

By Handling All Types of Damage
Because of high winds that blow objects, fallen branches and high volumes of rain, storm damage can be a severe and multifaceted problem. That is why we make sure we are fully certified and prepared for all types of damage, including structure and water-related issues, so we can provide you with a full restoration after a storm.

By Sending Our Highly Trained Technicians
Because of the complications of storm damage, it is important that you work with a company that is fully aware of the intricacies. That is why we keep our technicians up-to-date with the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification guidelines and provide continuing education opportunities throughout their careers.

By Bringing in Assistance From All Over the Nation
As a member of the local community, we are proud to be a small business in Honolulu, but we also have the benefit of a national name behind us when large-scale issues arise. We are able to call for backup from other SERVPRO® owners across the nation, which means that no storm front or disaster is too large for us to take care of.

By Upholding Our Positive Reputation
Communities are vulnerable after destructive storms move through, giving rise to unscrupulous restoration scams designed to take advantage of the victims. Because we have a long-standing reputation as leaders in the restoration industry, you can rest assured that we are a legitimate business that is here to work for you and the entire community.

If you have experienced storm damage or want to learn more, you can call us 247 for more details.

Disasters Happen- How to Prepare Your Business and Recover

2/8/2020 (Permalink)

flooded desk An estimated 25% of companies are unable to resume operations after a major disaster, according to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safe

A natural disaster can often catch small businesses off-guard. In fact, it's estimated that 25 percent of companies are unable to resume operations after a major disaster, according to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety.

How quickly a company is able to recover after a disaster usually determines how succesful they are in the future. Adequate preparation creates trust among your clients and will allow your business to continue without too much damaging effects.

Here are the six ways small businesses should prepare for a natural disaster.

1. Make a reliable emergency response plan

To protect your employees and clients, business owners should know all the proper evaucation routes and make sure everyone else is informed as well. It is recommended to post escape routes and plans throughout the building and keep emergency phone numbers readily available.

2. Create a survival kit

Every business in operation should have a survival kit with disaster-ready items, such as a flashlight, plastic sheeting, garbage bags, etc. Consider storing a digital camera as well to take photos of the property damage for your insurance company.

3. Ensure that you have enough insurance coverage

Before a natural disaster is given the opportunity to blow your business away, make sure to review your insurance policies. What kind of coverage do you have on your facilities and properties? Are they enough to insure your recovery if a disaster does physically destroy your business? Small business owners should also consider business interrruption insurance in case you have to close your doors for a substantial amount of time.

4. Back-up all your electronic data

With most business transactions conducted electronically, it is crucial that files and data are backed up and saved. A company may not be able to reestablish itself without important financial and client databases. It is recommended to save all your files—including the last few years of taxes—at least two times and store one in a waterproof container at the office, and the other in an offsite facility. Anything that you are currently working on should be mailed to yourself on a Web service that can be accessed from any computer.

5. Determine a communication strategy

Plan a strategic and efficient way to communicate with employees and clients while your business operations are down. Also, make sure everyone understands their communication responsibilities. For example, who is going to be responsible for contacting the insurance company? Or who will contact clients to update them? Or who will be the spokesperson in case information needs to be relayed immediately?

6. Consider temporary relocation if needed

If you can't get into your office, how do you continue business operations? Think about another location that you may work at if disaster strikes. 

Would your business be prepared in the case of a fire?

2/8/2020 (Permalink)

Fire extinguisher Whether you’re a small business owner or are in charge of a large corporation, commercial fire protection is not a step you can afford to skip.

If you’re a small business owner, your very livelihood depends on your company’s ability to function. A workplace fire can have disastrous consequences on your business — which is just one of the many, many reasons it’s important to prevent a fire before it ever starts. Not every fire can be prevented, but by following this safety checklist, you’ll be able to eliminate the majority of fire risks from the get-go. Here are some fire safety rules you should be sure to follow for your small business:

    • Occupancy rating
      Buildings have specific occupancy ratings that specify how it can be used and how many people can be inside at one time. In order to reduce the chances of a fire and to be able to follow proper safety procedures in the event of one, you must comply with these rules. The occupancy rating will also outline the types of fire-resistant construction and fire protection systems that are required for that location. These are not merely suggestions; these are rules that you must implement and maintain in order to ensure safety and lawful compliance.
    • Fire protection systems
      Your business and area will determine the requirements for fire extinguishers and protection systems. Typically, every 3,000 square feet of area requires one fire extinguisher. Extinguishers also have specific ratings that need to be met. In addition, your business will need a commercial fire sprinkler system and fire alarm systems. Many restaurant owners or hoteliers may also want a fire suppression and detection system, as non-chemical suppression systems operate effectively 96% of the time in commercial areas with large oven ranges. This can have a huge impact on the amount of damage a kitchen fire can do.
    • Regular inspections
      Fire inspectors will typically conduct examinations for commercial buildings every two years in order to identify fire safety code violations and to educate owners on fire safety. Routine inspections have been proven to reduce fires and the losses they create. In addition, you should have your fire protection systems examined on a routine basis, especially in the event they have been recently used. Fire extinguishers need to be replaced after use and should be examined monthly.
  • Evacuation plan
    The amount of businesses that have a solid plan for evacuation in the event of an emergency is inexcusably low. Out of 119 businesses surveyed, only 35% had any sort of fire evacuation plan. At a minimum, your plan needs to include a preferred method for reporting emergencies, evacuation policy and procedure, a floor plan and emergency escape route, and safety procedures during an emergency. Having a clear plan that’s accessible to all employers and employees is vital during an emergency.

Recover From Storm Damage With Our Help | SERVPRO® of East Honolulu

2/1/2020 (Permalink)

flood When flood warnings are issued, take them seriously.

The frequency with which storms occur can sometimes cause individuals to forget about how much danger they pose to life and property. Storms were responsible for around $2 billion in damages in 2018, and are something homeowners should prepare for and take seriously.

Putting a plan in place for storm damage restoration in advance is wise—there are many post-storm restoration scams, and it is important to choose a company you can trust. With our upstanding reputation and highly trained professionals, when storms strike, we can help you.

How We Can Help After Storm Damage Strikes

By Handling All Types of Damage
Because of high winds that blow objects, fallen branches and high volumes of rain, storm damage can be a severe and multifaceted problem. That is why we make sure we are fully certified and prepared for all types of damage, including structure and water-related issues, so we can provide you with a full restoration after a storm.

By Sending Our Highly Trained Technicians
Because of the complications of storm damage, it is important that you work with a company that is fully aware of the intricacies. That is why we keep our technicians up-to-date with the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification guidelines and provide continuing education opportunities throughout their careers.

By Bringing in Assistance From All Over the Nation
As a member of the local community, we are proud to be a small business in Honolulu, but we also have the benefit of a national name behind us when large-scale issues arise. We are able to call for backup from other SERVPRO® owners across the nation, which means that no storm front or disaster is too large for us to take care of.

By Upholding Our Positive Reputation
Communities are vulnerable after destructive storms move through, giving rise to unscrupulous restoration scams designed to take advantage of the victims. Because we have a long-standing reputation as leaders in the restoration industry, you can rest assured that we are a legitimate business that is here to work for you and the entire community.

If you have experienced storm damage or want to learn more, you can call us 247 for more details.

A Reference Guide for Fire Safety Tips

2/1/2020 (Permalink)

house fire Being able to escape quickly is much easier with a fire evacuation plan.

House fires are a leading concern amongst homeowners, and considering how frequently they occur, this concern is a valid one. House fires can quickly get out of hand and cause damage to property, belongings and livelihood.

Because house fires are such a universal worry, there is a plethora of information about how to prevent them and protect yourself. To make these safety tips easier to find, we have compiled a quick reference guide that has all the most pertinent house fire tips you should note.

Fire Safety Tips for Your Reference

Frequently Check Smoke Detectors. Smoke alarms are recommended again and again as the top measure for fire safety. Install them in every room of the house, check them every 30 days and consider getting a model that utilizes an interconnected alarm system for peak effectiveness.

Have a Fire Escape Plan. Designing a fire escape plan that is customized to your home is the best way to ensure you will be able to escape once a fire begins. It is advised to have two exits out of each room and to designate a meeting place outside of the home for everyone to go to.

Know How to Operate a Fire Extinguisher. There are several different types of fire extinguishers that can be purchased, so it is important to select the model most pertinent to your needs and be aware of how to operate it.

Never Leave Flames Unattended. Open flames are a part of everyday life, but it is important to not minimize the risk they pose just because they are common. Whether using fire for cooking, heating or candle-lighting, never leave a flame unattended and always be cautious that it does not spread.

Keep a Closed-Door Policy. It is not uncommon for fires to start in the middle of the night, so taking precautions in your nighttime routine is recommended. Shutting bedroom doors at night can significantly slow a fire’s spread, allowing everyone to have an extended reaction time and execute the escape plan.

If you’d like to learn more about protecting yourself from a house fire and how our restoration services can help you recover, get in touch today to learn more.

Appliances That Commonly Cause Water Leaks

1/4/2020 (Permalink)

Kitchen appliances Water damage caused by an overflowed dishwasher

There are an alarming number of situations that can cause water damage to homes—weather incidents, flooding and burst pipes often come to mind.

However, the source can also be from things we utilize every day, such as appliances that require water to operate. Prevention is key to stopping small, sneaky leaks from becoming a big problem, which is why we put together a guide of what appliances to watch out for and how to check them for drips.

What Appliances to Check for Water Damage

Hot Water Heater
Though hot water heaters can typically last as many as 15 years, they can begin leaking water much sooner due to faulty pipes and seals. Check regularly to avoid this from catching you by surprise, and be sure you replace it based on the manufacturer’s recommended time frame.

Refrigerator
The ice maker inside of the refrigerator pulls water in to manufacture the ice, but the tubing it uses to do so can often falter. Add that to the fact that refrigerators are seldom moved, and you have a recipe for water damage to get out of hand before you even realize it has begun. Simply pulling the fridge away from the wall and checking for drips regularly is enough to prevent this from becoming an issue that gets out of hand.

Dishwasher
A dishwasher can be another common culprit for secluded damage because of how they are typically built into cabinets. Pulling them out of their cubby often is wise, especially if you have an older model. It is not uncommon for homeowners’ insurance policies to not cover water damage from older appliances, so this is extra important to note.

Washing Machine
Washing machine leaks are such a common problem that it is recommended to check their hoses as frequently as once a month to guard against wear and tear. Even with regular checks, exercise caution by replacing these hoses every five years regardless of if they appear worn.

Air Conditioner
All air conditioning units manufacture condensation as part of their operations, but if there is an issue with their draining capabilities, issues can arise. The best way to prevent this is by following your manufacturer’s instructions regarding inspections and maintenance, as well as doing your own visual checks to ensure there is no water out of place in and around the unit.

If your home has been impacted by water damage or you’d like to put a plan in place in case it happens to you, contact us to learn how we can help.

Small Business Fire Safety Tips

12/28/2019 (Permalink)

Fire extinguisher Are you a small business? Is your fire evacuation plan compliant?

One fire can completely destroy a company's finances and productivity. In severe instances, the risk can lead to a closure. In addition to ensuring you are compliant with all the fire safety codes, here are some tips to mitigate the threat fire poses to you business:


  • Have the right equipment - make sure you have functioning smoke alarms and extinguishers in the workplace at all times. A fire suppression system is also recommended. 
  • Minimize flammable material in storage - packaging materials, paper files amd batteries, as well as other common office items, can be highly flammable. Minimize the amonth of these materials kept in the workplace, and safely store those that are kept. 
  • Manage electronics safely - when leaving for the day, always turn off everyting plugged into an outlet. Make sure electrical cords are not damaged as broken wires can start fired, and never allow circuits to be overloaded.
  • Regularly check fire alarms - conduct monthly checks to ensure that all fire alarms, as well as the systems that monitor the building, are functioning properly. Alert employees therein to give them ample time to evacuate in the event of a fire. 
  • Have a written plan - write out a plan that includes evacuation protocols, fire prevention policies, emergency phone numbers and all other matters pertaining to procedures. Make sure all employees have access to the plan.

Emergency Preparedness 101: What to keep in your emergency kit

12/28/2019 (Permalink)

emergency kit For more information on emergency preparedness, visit Ready.gov or the American Red Cross.

When it comes to family safety and home security, top-of-mind concerns usually involve crime or household accidents. However, environmental factors force millions of people to evacuate their homes or shelter in place every year. An emergency kit, also known as a survival kit, is the cornerstone of emergency preparedness for these situations. Assemble a well-thought out emergency kit, either in your home or in a travel-friendly “go bag”, to help you stay safe and sound.

While some locations face greater environmental risks than others, dangerous weather can strike anywhere. In 2018, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recorded 124 emergency declarations, which included fires, storms, flooding, high winds, mudslides, tornadoes, earthquakes and even volcanic eruptions. These events and related emergencies often result in the loss of electricity, water, heat, phone lines or other utilities. They may also prevent you from traveling, so plan accordingly using this list.

Emergency kit basics

Your basic preparedness kit should include everyday staples like water, food, essential toiletries, batteries and backup communication devices. The following recommendations are intended to last through relatively minor emergencies until your power can be restored or emergency personnel can reach you.

  • Water: The Department of Homeland Security recommends at least one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation.
  • Food: Assemble a three-day supply (or more) of nonperishable food items. Keep food in a cool, dry place with basic cutlery, including a can opener, easily accessible. If you’re sticking to the basics, choose food items that don’t need much preparation or heating. Some suggestions: granola or protein bars, peanut butter, jerky, nuts, cereal, dried fruit and canned items like legumes, fruit and tuna.
  • Family first aid kit: At minimum, your first aid kit should include treatments for minor injuries (bumps, scrapes, cuts, burns, etc.) as well as general purpose over-the-counter medications like pain relievers, cold medicine, anti-diarrheal medicines (Immodium, Pepto-Bismol) and hydrocortisone cream. Create your own from scratch or opt for a preassembled kit. This all-purpose first aid kit represents a good value and includes plenty of kid-friendly items like junior band-aids and topical pain relief. No matter which kit you choose, you should always review its contents and supplement it with items that are relevant for your family. For instance, you might need allergy medicine like Benadryl or epinephrine pens or additional NSAIDs for chronic aches and pains.
  • Medical items & prescriptions: The first aid kit prepares you to respond to new injuries and conditions, but anyone in your household with pre-existing conditions should also have a 7-day emergency supply of prescriptions and/or medical devices.
  • Toiletries and sanitation items: Prioritize toiletries that you can use without water, especially if you rely on an electric water pump. Moist towelettes/wet wipes with plenty of sealable trash bags are good all-around use items. If you have an infant, baby supplies (diapers, rash cream, etc.) are of utmost importance. Also consider hand sanitizer, feminine hygiene products and toilet paper.
  • Glasses and/or additional contact lenses with solution: Coping with an emergency is particularly difficult if your vision is compromised. Make sure to have backup glasses, contacts and contact solution if you have issues with your eyesight.
  • Lighting: flashlight, lanterns, candles: Flashlights and camping lanterns are excellent options, as long as you include an ample supply of batteries. Hand-crank flashlights are an even better choice because they don’t require batteries at all. Energizer makes some of the best rated mini versions; this Thorfire flashlight is another great option, with features like solar power, waterproofing and various light settings.
    If you stock up on candles, be sure to include matches or lighters, and use them extremely judiciously. Open flames present safety issues of their own. Use tip-proof, heat-proof candle holders and never burn a candle unattended.
  • Backup cell phone chargers/battery: Cellular networks often remain up and running even when electricity is spotty. If you can keep your device charged, you can preserve a connection to the outside world. Car chargers can be useful in a pinch, as long as you have the resources to start and run your car. Backup battery packs are reliable, but keep in mind that they usually recharge your device only 1-3 times, depending on the pack size and the type of phone you have.
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio: Though radios might seem old-fashioned, they’re the best tool for staying up-to-date on emergency broadcasts during a time of need. AM/FM radios are better than nothing, but they may not provide the best information during hazardous weather. Look for an emergency radio that supports NOAA weather radio. These types of receivers tune into specific public safety radio frequencies that broadcast comprehensive governmental weather news and alerts.
  • Multipurpose tool or tool kit: A multi-tool or a small toolkit will help you respond to the environment. At the very least, keep a wrench and/or pliers on hand to turn off natural gas and damaged water valves. Hammer, nails, plywood, tarps and rope may be necessary to re-secure doors and windows. Plastic sheeting and duct tape are also handy reinforcements if the structure of your home is compromised.
  • Pet supplies: Don’t forget your furry family members in your planning. Stock up on extra food, bedding and important medications.
  • Whistle, maps and compass: Many security authorities recommend packing a high-decibel whistle into your emergency kit in case you need to signal for help. Local maps and a compass can also be lifesavers if you need to travel without your go-to GPS device.
  • Emergency blankets or sleeping bags: During an emergency, you or your family members may need to recover from dangerous weather exposure. Heat-retaining household safe or in a waterproof bag or portfolio within your emergency kit.

Advanced survival kit items

There are several possible reasons to increase your level of emergency preparedness, many of them personal. Some people prefer to keep an elevated level of independence and preparation because they live in an isolated setting. Others just want maximum peace of mind. To increase your preparedness level from covering basic needs for a few days to enhancing your comfort and readiness for an extended period of time, start with the items listed above and expand on them as your priorities and resources allow. In some cases, “more” is simply better – more food, more water, more tools. In other cases, consider additional strategic investments in the following items.

  • Water filtration:  Disease-causing bacteria and other organisms may lurk in seemingly innocuous water, and natural disasters can cause these pathogens to multiply. If you don’t have a way to boil water to sanitize it, emergency water filtration can make non-potable water safe to drink. Make sure to use filters specifically designed for untreated water. Most kitchen water filters are simply meant to make already-drinkable water taste better, not to sanitize it. Water filtration systems meant for the outdoors are more appropriate for emergency prep.
  • Generator and fuel: Backup electric generators are available in a variety of sizes, price points and run times. Many people consider quiet, low-capacity inverter generators sufficient for emergency prep in smaller households. Larger portable generators have greater wattage loads and run time, while standby generators are the type that automatically kick on when you lose power, keeping your home (or a significant portion of it) up and running without disruption. All generators require fuel (propane or natural gas) and the greater its size, the more installation and safety concerns it presents. Do your research carefully, matching your wattage needs with your requisite appliances. Amazon has a great guide to get you started.
  • Cooking supplies: In an emergency, a hot meal goes a long way. Look for a survival cooking kit that includes a safe heating element or fuel. Many of these emergency stoves work well with either solid emergency kindling or canned liquid fuel. Butane camping stoves and self-heating cooking bags are also an option. Proceed cautiously: cooking flames are dangerous, especially in enclosed spaces. A fire extinguisher makes an excellent addition to your emergency kitchen.
  • Comforts (clothing, towels, games, activities): Pleasant diversions can be hard to come by during long-lasting emergencies. Paper, pencils, books, crosswords, puzzles and other games go a long way in keeping spirits up. Cozy clothing, towels and additional bedding are other comfort measures that may make the difference between feeling hopeless and staying positive.

How Planning Helps Reduce Risks for Your Business | SERVPRO® of East Honolulu

12/21/2019 (Permalink)

Words Choose SERVPRO of East Honolulu for your restoration needs

Managing your time investments properly is one of the most important aspects of strategic business ownership, but one area where most business owners could stand to invest more time is in their disaster preparedness efforts.

Natural disasters are happening more often than ever before, and while some areas of the country might be more vulnerable, they can occur anywhere and it is important for business owners to have a plan.

Preparing for a natural disaster involves planning both for the occurrence of the event and what to do in the aftermath to resume operations as quickly as possible. By knowing the details about your insurance coverage, creating an emergency plan and understanding how to get your property restored, you can ensure you are prepared for whatever nature sends your way.

Planning for Disasters as a Small Business Owner

1. Double-Check Your Insurance
While business insurance is a must for small business owners, not all insurances will cover the same amount of damages after a disaster. Extremely damaging events such as flooding are often not provisioned for in standard insurance policies and require supplemental commercial coverage in order for businesses to be protected.

2. Create Your Action Plan
When a disaster is imminent, those affected often have only minutes in order to evacuate and get to a safer area. For this reason, having an emergency action plan for how you will respond if your business is in immediate danger is quite helpful, as you will not be wasting time deciding what needs to be done. Make sure you determine evacuation procedures, what emergency supplies to take and make copies of all important documents that might need to be salvaged.

3. Rehearse Drills and Prepare Staff
Preparing your employees for a disaster scenario will help everyone stay safe and limit your liability when an emergency occurs. Come up with different, likely scenarios to practice workplace safety drills so it is clear how to proceed when a natural disaster is on the way.

4. Choose a Restoration Company to Work With
In the aftermath of a natural disaster, recovering quickly is one of the most important things for businesses, as a lapse in operations can be devastating for financial security. For this reason, choosing your preferred restoration company well in advance is advised. By doing this, you can call immediately to have your restoration begun and work to reopen as quickly as possible.

If you need to pick a commercial restoration company that’s right for you, call us today! We can tell you all about what sets our process apart.