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Is Your Home or Workplace at Risk?

Is Your Home or Workplace at Risk?

Tips to Help You Prevent a Fire

Fires kill more than 4,000 people in the United States each year and cause more than $7 billion in property damage. A fire at home or work can be devastating but is easily preventable. You can help protect your property, family and co-workers by taking crucial steps today to prevent fires at home and at work.

Keep Safe and Warm

  • Keep furnaces, stoves, chimneys, and other heating sources clean and in good working order by having them inspected, cleaned and repaired by a professional once a year. Have creosote buildup eliminated and broken, cracked or rusted parts replaced.
  • Use a metal or glass fire screen to prevent catch sparks and prevent logs from rolling out of your fireplace.
  • If you have to use a space heater, put it on a sturdy, nonflammable and level surface, not on carpeting or rugs. Keep bedding, drapery, clothing, paper, rugs, children and pets at least three feet away from fireplaces, stoves and heaters.
  • Buy space heaters that turn off automatically if the heater tips over.
  • Never leave a portable heater or fireplace unattended. Before leaving or going to bed, turn off all space heaters and extinguish all embers in the fireplace.
  • Do not use an oven or cooking range to heat your home or business.
  • Unplug electric blankets when not in use.

Check Your Wiring

  • Examine electrical wiring and have exposed wires, loose plugs and worn extension cords repaired or replaced.
  • Ensure wiring is not under carpeting or affixed by nails.
  • Check that all electrical outlets have cover plates and that no wiring is exposed.
  • Have ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets installed, especially in your bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, and near other water sources.
  • Don’t overload extension cords and outlets with too many plugs.

Use with Care

  • Keep all machinery and appliances in good working order by having a qualified professional service them regularly. Replace or have repaired any appliances that overheat, spark, or release an unusual smell.
  • Ensure all appliances and other electrical devices in your home or workplace are labeled by an independent testing lab.
  • Keep electrical equipment away from flammable materials.
  • Use machinery and equipment only in well-ventilated areas.
  • Use only the correct wattage bulbs in lamps and light fixtures, and keep lamps away from flammable materials like curtains or bedding.

Prevent a Reaction

  • Make sure all flammable chemicals are stored in cool, well-ventilated areas far from heat sources.
  • Store rags that have been used to apply flammable chemicals in tightly closed metal containers.
  • Do not use any open flames near chemical storage areas.
  • Do not smoke near chemical storage areas or other flammable materials. It’s a good idea to reduce fire risk by smoking only in an open area outdoors.

Keep it Neat

  • Keep emergency exits clear and keep clutter that can fuel a fire to a minimum.
  • Keep electrical panels easily accessible so they can be shut down quickly in the event of a fire.

Stay Alert

  • Keep all flammable materials away from the stove.
  • Never leave cooking food unattended; use a timer and check cooking food regularly.
  • Do not use the oven or stove if you are sleepy or have been drinking alcohol.
  • Store all matches and lighters in a locked cabinet, out of children’s reach.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended. Ensure candle flames are out of reach of furniture, curtains, paper and other flammable materials.
  • Use only flameless candles, when possible.

Get Alarmed

  • Install smoke alarms on the ceiling of bedrooms and outside sleeping areas on every level of your home. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, use alarms with strobe lights and bed shakers. To reduce false alarms, install smoke alarms at least 10 feet away from the stove.
  • Manually test fire and smoke alarms every month. Have faulty alarms repaired or replaced by a qualified professional so the devices don’t become a fire hazard.
  • Replace smoke alarms that are 10 years old or older.
  • Replace smoke alarm batteries each year.

More Tips

For tips on how to prepare a fire emergency evacuation plan for your home or business, visit the American Red Cross and US Department of Labor websites.

Best Cleaning and Disinfecting Practices for Reopening Your Business

Best Cleaning and Disinfecting Practices for Reopening Your Business

When you reopen your business, your customers and employees will feel more comfortable knowing that your physical environment has been adequately cleaned and disinfected to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Developing a cleaning plan for your business, implementing the plan, maintaining a cleaning routine and making revisions as necessary are crucial activities for any company planning to reopen during these challenging times.

Create Your Cleaning Plan

A thorough evaluation of what surfaces and objects need cleaning is the first step in creating your cleaning plan. Consider removing items that aren't essential to your business to free up space and reduce the number of surfaces that will need to be cleaned regularly. Area rugs, upholstered furniture, and drapes are especially challenging to clean and disinfect and should be removed if possible.

You’ll need to disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as tables, chairs, desks, countertops, drawer handles, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, touchscreens, gas pump handles, ATMs, doorknobs and light switches often. While initial soap-and-water cleaning is important to help decrease the amount of the virus on surfaces, using EPA-approved disinfectants will further reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure. Note that certain disinfectants may require specially trained personnel for safe and proper use. For guidelines on the personal protective equipment (PPE) you'll need for cleaning and disinfecting, visit the CDC's website.

Take Action!

Your employees and customers will feel more comfortable knowing you've properly cleaned and disinfected your business space. While implementing your cleaning plan, remember to make sure the area where you'll be cleaning is adequately ventilated, always keep all cleaning products out of the reach of children, store and use disinfectants according to the instructions on their labels, and don't mix different types of cleaning products together as this can create fumes that are very dangerous to your health. Be sure to wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE), including disposable gloves, while cleaning, to protect yourself from exposure to the virus and chemical disinfectants.

Before disinfecting hard surfaces and objects, clean them with soap and water. Disinfect these surfaces and objects with an appropriate EPA-approved disinfectant or a suitable replacement. For effective disinfection, follow label instructions for how long to keep the wet product on your surfaces before wiping it off.

For instructions on cleaning upholstered and other soft surfaces, such as carpets, area rugs and drapes, visit the CDC's website. In most instances, you'll need to launder upholstered or cloth items in the warmest water possible according to manufacturer instructions and dry the items thoroughly.

Always remember to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and clean or dispose of your PPE correctly after you have finished cleaning.

Follow Through

Regularly cleaning and disinfecting your business environment can help reduce the risk COVID-19 infection and enable you to keep your business open. Clean and disinfect frequently handled surfaces after each use and at the end of each day. To the extent possible, keep enough PPE and disinfectant on hand for your needs. You can find cleaning and disinfecting guidelines for specific industries here. Revise your cleaning and disinfecting plan as needed based on new guidelines and circumstances.

Get Help from the Pros

With more than four decades of commercial cleaning experience, Gemini Restoration is uniquely qualified to clean, sanitize and disinfect your business. We use only EPA-approved cleaners and disinfectants and follow all CDC Cleaning and Disinfecting Guidelines. Whether you need a one-time deep cleaning or weekly, bi-monthly or monthly cleaning services, we can help you reopen your business with peace of mind.

Get Your Clean Start Today!

Re-opening your business under COVID-19 safety guidelines? Kick-off your clean start by calling the experts at Gemini Restoration 24/7 at 877-774-3646 or by filling out our commercial cleaning request form for an estimate.

Are You Prepared for Hurricane Season?

Are You Prepared for Hurricane Season?

Tips for Keeping Your Family, Home and Business Safe During a Storm

Hurricanes can produce high winds, heavy rainfall and flooding that can cause bodily injury, property damage or destruction of your home or commercial building. Storm damage can force you to move out of your home or close your business until repairs are possible. Knowing how to keep yourself and your family, home and business safe during a hurricane can reduce the likelihood of serious injury, save you time, money and inconvenience, and protect your source of income. We’ve compiled the following tips to help you prepare for hurricane season:

Gather Emergency Supplies

During Hurricane season, which peaks from mid-August through October, keeping a well-stocked emergency kit on hand is important. Having what you need to survive at home or when evacuated will enable you to shelter in place comfortably and help reduce your family’s anxiety before, during and after the storm. When you know a storm is approaching, filling your car's gas tank is also a good idea, in case you need to evacuate quickly. See the sidebar for a list of items to pack in your emergency preparedness kit.

Create an Evacuation Plan

Make sure everyone sheltering with you knows how to get out of the building in an emergency. Know the local emergency routes and have a plan for contacting each other if family members become separated during an evacuation.

Safeguard Your Property in Advance

Securing your property when you’re first warned that a hurricane is approaching can prevent personal injury or costly damage to your home or business:

  • Secure items that could be moved by strong winds but are unsafe to bring inside, such as barbeque grills and propane tanks. Store lightweight items, such as trash cans, patio furniture, lawn tools, toys, bicycles and sports equipment, inside if possible.
  • Trim tree branches that could fall on buildings.
  • Move indoor furniture and other valuables to the upper floors of your home or business.
  • Unplug small appliances to prevent potential power surge damage.
  • Help prevent flooding by cleaning and unclogging rain gutters and downspouts.
  • As your budget allows, install sump pumps with a water alarm and battery backup, and sewer backflow valves, elevate your furnace, water heater and electric panel, and waterproof your basement.
  • Reinforce windows and doors with ½-inch marine plywood pre-cut to fit or installing permanent storm shutters.
  • Turn off your power and gas mains if instructed to do so by local authorities.
  • Consider investing in flood insurance, since standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flood damage.

Protect Yourself During the Storm

Throughout the storm, keep your emergency storm preparedness kit handy while following these safety guidelines:

  • Stay indoors if possible.
  • Keep informed of storm and evacuation updates by listening to local TV or radio stations.
  • Stay away from windows by sheltering in an interior room at the lowest unflooded level of the building.
  • Use flashlights, not candles, as light sources if the power goes out.
  • Avoid all contact with floodwater, which may be fast-moving or contaminated by sewage. If you are evacuating in a vehicle, avoid driving through floodwater. A car can float in only two feet of water.

Be Smart About Post-Storm Recovery

Staying safe during the storm is essential, but keep in mind that hazards like fallen or unstable trees, downed power lines, heavy debris and floodwaters can pose hazards to yourself, your family, your home or your commercial building even after the storm has passed. Proceed with caution, stay out of buildings whose walls or roofs have been damaged, and avoid contact with floodwater. If possible, open all doors and windows to air out your property, and protect yourself from exposure to possible mold and bacteria by wearing gloves, goggles, rubber boots and an N95 mask when inside the building.

Get Help from the Professionals

If your home or business has flooded, it should be inspected by a qualified professional who can recognize potential hazards and mitigate further damage to your property. Drywall, paneling, insulation, flooring, and electrical outlets that have absorbed floodwater may need to be torn out and replaced. Materials that have absorbed water, such as mattresses, cushions and upholstered furniture, will need to be removed, dried and inspected for fungal growth. All items that can be dried and salvaged will need to be disinfected to the growth of mold, which can cause your family or the occupants of your commercial building to become sick.

With over 45 years of storm-recovery experience and an extensive inventory of specialized equipment, the specialists at Gemini Restoration are exceptionally qualified to provide you with storm damage remediation services for your home or business. The Gemini team follows all safety guidelines when meeting all of your restoration needs and has an excellent reputation for high-quality service, professionalism and competitive pricing that meets insurance industry guidelines.

Emergency Preparedness Kit

It's important to always be prepared! Make sure you have an emergency preparedness kit full of essential items. Pack your kit in one or more waterproof containers and update it regularly by replacing anything that’s outdated. HERE is a link to the full list of items you should include in your kit.


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