Calgary Business Fire Awareness Tips
Commercial building fire safety tips
Here are a few fire-safety tips focused on keeping the workplace safe.
- Keep your workplace clean and organized. Mess contributes to fires by providing more fuel to the flames and by limiting access to exits and emergency equipment.
- Place all oily/chemical covered rags in a seal-able metal container. Dispose of this waste on a regular basis.
- Keep machinery on an appropriate maintenance schedule and keep to it, to prevent overheating and sparks.
- Report all electrical hazards immediately faulty wiring is a common cause of fires along with and malfunctioning electrical equipment. Never attempt electrical repairs unless you are qualified and authorized.
- Have easy access to all electrical control panels. Clutter and equipment stored in front of the panels slow down your ability to shut down the power in emergencies.
- Use and store chemicals safely. Read the label and the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) to determine if the substances are flammable or hazardous in any way. Provide proper ventilation when using and storing these substances.
- Smoke only in designated areas and extinguish smoking materials safely and thoroughly. Never smoke in storerooms or chemical storage areas. Never exposes areas containing chemicals to open flames of any variety.
- Never block sprinklers, firefighting equipment, or emergency exits.
- Have an emergency information list near telephones. The list should include emergency numbers, company address, and fire evacuation plans.
- Learn the location of all fire extinguishers and how to properly use them.
The Basic Categories of Water
The 3 basic categories of water help explain the severity of a water damage situation.
The 3 Basic Categories of Water
Category 1: White/Clean Water
The water stems from a clean source and poses no substantial risk from contact, ingestion, or inhalation. However, it can develop in another category if it comes into contact with other surfaces or materials. Typically, Category 1 water will evolve into Category 2 after 24 hours if left untreated.
Category 2: Grey Water
Grey water is contaminated water that doesn’t contain sewage. It may still contain some contaminates and has the potential to cause illness if contacted or ingested. It may contain potentially dangerous levels of microorganisms or nutrients for microorganisms, as well as other organic or inorganic matter (chemical or biological). Grey water can arise from sources such as a sink, washing machine, or the shower. Grey water can be used on your lawn or garden but if left unattended for 48 hours it can become Category 3.
Category 3: Black Water
Black water contains sewage or has encountered fecal matter. It is grossly contaminated and may contain pathogenic bacteria or other harmful agents. Such water sources may carry silt, organic matter, pesticides, metals, or toxic organic substances.
Time and temperature can also affect the quality of water and change its category.
*Refer to the IICRC S500 for complete definitions.
SERVPRO of Calgary South is equipped and ready to handle any water situation. Please call anytime 403-255-0202
Tips for Heavy Rainfall in Calgary
Here are a few tips to handle the increasing frequency of heavy rain storms in Calgary
The number of severe storms and natural disasters in Canada has been increasing at a dramatic rate over the past few years. Heavy rainfall can cause damage to your property, here are a few tips to get you through the season with hopefully minimal damage.
Home and Business Tips
- Look into purchasing flood insurance. Call your insurance agent make sure flood insurance is right for you.
- Install rain gutters and other drainage systems. Clean out rain gutters frequently, proper water flow will direct water away from your property.
- Fix any leaks ASAP, a small leak can quickly turn into something greater.
- Extra roof protection. You can spend a bit more to install a rubber roof underlay, a waterproof barrier that goes under the shingles and protects the roof from water intrusion. This will also help with insulation in the wintertime.
Rainy Driving Tips
- Don’t use cruise control. This feature works great in dry conditions, but when used in wet conditions, the chance of losing control of the vehicle can increase, as you will have less control over the vehicle.
- Slow down and leave room in front of you. Slowing down during wet weather driving can be critical to reducing a car’s chance of hydroplaning, when the tires rise up on a film of water.
- Posted speed limits are the recommended speed during ideal conditions. Do not feel pressured to drive at the posted limit during a rainstorm, but do not drive too slowly either. As other drivers may have to make dangerous maneuvers to avoid you.
Alberta Wildfires - What you should know
Alberta wildfire rages on
At SERVPRO of Calgary South we have had our fair share of experience with Alberta wildfires. Wildfires are nothing new to Alberta, on average over 1000 wildfires happen each and every year. Wildfires are a natural event and an important step in the life-cycle of our ecosystem. But human intervention has increased the frequency and severity of Alberta wildfires. Most often the flames occur in unpopulated areas and they rarely affect humans in the way Fort McMurray was affected in 2016. In 2018 alone there was almost 1300 wildfires, which is below our 5-year average of around 1400 (this number is skewed slightly by the large influence of 2016). On average humans are responsible for 65% of wildfires, while the remainder is attributed to lightning. Human causes can range from recreational fires, house fires, and the power line industry. Also in 2018, 59,809 Hectares of land was burned. I know the average person (myself included) is unfamiliar with a hectare but that equates to almost 120,000 Canadian Football Fields of land burned. Below are a few resources to help familiarize yourself with wildfire safety.
Alberta Wildfire has all the information you need about the current status and location of wildfires and can inform you of local fire bans or burning restrictions.
The Government of Canada website uses the Air Quality Health Index to judge the quality of the air we breathe. Even though Canada’s air is constantly ranked one of the cleanest in the world (due to municipal, provincial, and federal governments teaming up to limit emissions) there are still days we the smoke from wildfires can be too much. For example in May 2019, Calgary faced days of 10+ when the average is around a 2.
A few Alberta 2018 Wildfire Facts:
- 97% of all reported wildfires were contained within 24 hours.
- On June 22nd, 2018 113 wildfires were reported in 24 hours.
- Alberta had almost 700 firefighters from other provinces and the US come to our aid.
Calgary Commercial Water Damage
Commercial buildings are not free from the dangers of water damage.
When speaking with local Calgary business owners and property managers in regards to potential water damage situations, the knee-jerk reaction is to picture a massive storm, flooding offices, and shutting down businesses for days to weeks. It is true that commercial water damage is often the result of floods, which we saw in 2013, but living in Calgary storms of that degree are very rare.
However commercial water damage in Calgary can happen all year but is usually focused in the fringe seasons, when the weather switched from hot to cold and vice-versa, and it can drastically affect the operation of your business. Here are some of usual culprits of water damage to commercial buildings.
- Faulty sprinkler systems
Some offices and retail buildings still have old and outdated sprinkler systems that work together with fire protection systems. When a fire happens, these sprinklers are very useful in limiting damage, but they can also cause commercial flood damage if they are defective or in need of replacement.
2. Damaged equipment
This cause of commercial water damage is more common in businesses that use appliances and equipment that make use of water, such as restaurants. If the appliance fails and sends water throughout your building, you will face a water emergency. This can be extra damaging if it occurs after hours and is left alone for long periods of time.
3. Broken pipes and plumbing
Just like in a house, if the plumbing system in your property fails water damage could be the result. Bursting pipes are a regular occurrence in Calgary with our fluctuating weather patterns that can result in pipes freezing and thawing out rapidly.
4. Sewer Backups
One last cause of commercial water damage that often catches business owners by surprise, is the sewer backup. Should the sewer or sump pump to your building back up or become damaged it can result in Black Water rising into your building. Contaminated Black Water can cause adverse health effects and ruin products and office furnishings. SERVPRO of Calgary South has certified IICRC technicians that specialize with this type of water damage.
If your business has suffered commercial water damage, SERVPRO of Calgary South will get you and your business back up and running again. Call us anytime at (403) 255-0202!
The SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile
Call us today to get started with a personalized Emergency READY Profile.
Disasters can strike your business at any time, whether it is a pipe bursting, a fire occurring, or mould growing. It has been estimated that up to 50% of businesses may never open their doors again after a disaster happens. One tool that SERVPRO of Calgary South can provide to you to help you avoid this unfortunate conclusion is to be prepared, with our SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile (ERP).
Being prepared is an integral component in responding to a disaster of any size, from the smallest leak to a basement full of water. A well-constructed plan reduces the time and stress required to make it through a disaster and the best time to make a plan is well in advance. It is always better to plan for “when” instead of “if”.
The SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile is the first step that provides the critical information needed to begin mitigation and recovery services. It is designed to serve as a quick reference of important building and contact information.
By working with SERVPRO of Calgary South and developing a personalized ERP you will take the Proactive > Reactive approach. Get your facility on the right track to dealing with disaster! Call Us Today 403-255-0202
SERVPRO's Backyard Fire Safety
Please follow these backyard firepit safety tips to ensure your evening is safe and fun.
Nothing beats sitting around the backyard firepit with your family and friends swapping stories and roasting marshmallows. SERVPRO of Calgary South and the City of Calgary have a few tips and tricks to make your fire safe and fun for you and your community.
Calgary By-law firepit hours: 10 am – Midnight (until 1 am on Friday and Saturday)
- Always check to see if there is a fire ban in effect. Lately we have seen Alberta face many wildfires and fire bans are for everyone’s safety.
- Know who to call.
- 3-1-1 = to report a complaint about a backyard fire (noise, size, etc.)
- 9-1-1 = to report an out of control fire.
- Backyard firepits should be built on a flame-resistant surface such as the ground, brick, or stone. Portable firepits should never be placed directly on a wooden deck.
- Firepits should be at least 2 meters (about 6 feet) away from your property line and any structures (garage, house, tree, etc.)
- Keep fires to a reasonable and manageable size and use a mesh screen to reduce flying embers and the spreading of sparks.
- Only burn clean/dry wood. Do not burn painted or treated wood, wet/green wood, backyard waste, grass clippings, garbage. Only burn wood from Alberta, never transport wood across borders to reduce the spread of disease and parasites.
- Do not leave a fire unattended and always have an extinguish strategy close by (a bucket of water or a garden hose will work).
- Be courteous to your neighbours. Watch where your smoke is going and be wary of your noise levels, quiet hour in Calgary is 10 pm.
For more please visit the City of Calgary’s website @ https://www.calgary.ca/CSPS/Fire/Pages/Safety-tips/Safety-tips-home/Fire-pits.aspx
SERVPRO's Tips For Your Calgary Summer BBQ
Summertime in Calgary, BBQ tips
Calgary, it is finally time to get back outside and turn on that barbecue. Here are a few safety tips to keep you and your grill in tiptop shape.
- Keep you barbecue at least 3 meters (10 feet) away from any structures, this includes your house, garage, carport, patio, or any sheds.
- Clean you grill frequently, grease and fat inside your barbecue can flare up and create bursts of flames. If there is a build up of fat from past grills, this can ignite and provide more fuel for the flame. A clean grill is a happy grill.
- Check all connections and hoses for leaks. Make sure there are no gas leaks from source to flame. You can check the hose and all connections by mixing dish soap with water and wiping it on the hose/connections. Open your BBQ lid and turn on the gas, if any bubbles form that is a tell-tale sign of a leak. Fix/replace any leaks before use.
- Remove clutter from the immediate area. Decorations or Knick-Knacks can ignite from flare ups and add more fuel to the fire. This tip also includes the grill itself, do not overload the BBQ with food, as more drippings increase the chance of larger flare ups.
- Keep a fire extinguisher close by in case a fire gets out of control. If you are unsure how to use a fire extinguisher an emergency is not the time to learn, Call 911 first.
- Never turn on the gas while the lid is closed. This can create a buildup of flammable gas that when lit can cause a large flame that you may not be expecting (your eyebrows will thank you for this one).
- Do not leave you BBQ unattended. Fire grows at a surprising rate, always keep a watchful eye on your grill to limit any surprises.
- Be safe and enjoy!
For more tips and suggestions you can visit the Government of Canada’s website @ https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/home-garden-safety/barbecue-safety.html
SERVPRO of Calgary South, Smoke and Soot Info
Smoke damage can make restoring a property extremely difficult, but we can do it!
Smoke and soot are very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odour. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.
Smoke and soot facts:
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
- The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
Different Types of Smoke
There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Calgary South will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:
Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber
- Low heat, smoldering, pungent odour, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood
- Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.
Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire
- Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odour.
Our Fire Damage Restoration Services
Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.
Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today! 403-255-0202
Be Thunderstorm Ready: What to do Before, During, and After Thunderstorms
Calgary Thunder Storm
All storms are dangerous and thunderstorms are no exception. Every thunderstorm produces lightning and other hazardous weather conditions, which can include tornadoes, strong winds, hail and flash flooding.
In Western Canada we tend to get a mix of heavy rain and dry thunderstorms, those storms do not produce rain that reaches the ground. As the raindrops fall they are evaporated, with that said the storms lightning can still reach the ground and can start wildfires. Below are great tips from READY to help prepare you for what to do before, during and after a thunderstorm.
What to do before a thunderstorm
To prepare for a thunderstorm, you should do the following:
- To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
- Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage during a severe thunderstorm.
- Postpone outdoor activities.
- Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
- Get inside a home, building, or hard top automobile (not a convertible). Although you may be injured if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside.
- Remember, rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning. However, the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal.
- Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades or curtains.
- Unplug any electronic equipment well before the storm arrives.
Lightning Risk Reduction When Outdoors
If you are:
In a forest: Seek shelter in a low area under a thick growth of small trees.
In an open area: Go to a low place such as a ravine or valley. Be alert for flash floods.
On open water: Get to land and find shelter immediately.
Facts about Thunderstorms
- They may occur singly, in clusters or in lines.
- Some of the most severe occur when a single thunderstorm affects one location for an extended time.
- Thunderstorms typically produce heavy rain for a brief period, anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
- Warm, humid conditions are highly favourable for thunderstorm development.
- About 10 percent of thunderstorms are classified as severe – one that produces hail at least an inch or larger in diameter, has strong winds or produces a tornado.
Facts about Lightning
- Lightning’s unpredictability increases the risk to individuals and property.
- Lightning often strikes outside of heavy rain and may occur as far as 15 km away from any rainfall.
- “Heat lightning” is actually lightning from a thunderstorm too far away from thunder to be heard. However, the storm may be moving in your direction.
- Most lightning deaths and injuries occur when people are caught outdoors in the summer months during the afternoon and evening.
- Your chances of being struck by lightning are estimated to be 1 in 600,000 but could be reduced even further by following safety precautions.
- Lightning strike victims carry no electrical charge and should be attended to immediately.
What to do during a thunderstorm
If thunderstorm and lightning are occurring in your area, you should:
- Use a battery-operated weather radio for updates from local officials.
- Avoid contact with corded phones and devices including those plugged into electric for recharging. Cordless and wireless phones not connected to wall outlets are OK to use.
- Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords. Unplug appliances and other electrical items such as computers and turn off air conditioners. Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.
- Avoid contact with plumbing. Do not wash your hands, do not take a shower, do not wash dishes, and do not do laundry. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.
- Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches, patios and deks.
- Do not lie on concrete floors and do not lean against concrete walls.
- Avoid natural lightning rods such as a tall, isolated tree in an open area.
- Avoid hilltops, open fields, the beach or a boat on the water.
- Take shelter in a sturdy building. Avoid isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas.
- Avoid contact with anything metal—tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs, and bicycles.
- If you are driving, try to safely exit the roadway and park. Stay in the vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside the vehicle.
What to do after a thunderstorm
If lightning strikes you or someone you know, call 9-1-1 for medical assistance as soon as possible. The following are things you should check when you attempt to give aid to a victim of lightning:
- Breathing or Heartbeat - if the heart or breath has stopped, administer CPR.
- Pulse - if the victim has a pulse and is breathing, look for other possible injuries. Check for burns where the lightning entered and left the body. Also be alert for nervous system damage, broken bones and loss of hearing and eyesight.
After the storm passes remember to:
- Never drive through a flooded roadway. Turn around or wait till water subsides.
- Stay away from storm-damaged areas to keep from putting yourself at risk from the effects of severe thunderstorms.
- Continue to listen to local radio and television stations for updated information or instructions, as access to roads or some parts of the community may be blocked.
- Help people who may require special assistance, such as infants, children and the elderly or those with access or functional needs.
- Stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately.
- Watch your animals closely. Keep them under your direct control.