Fire Dangers Don’t End When the Flames are Dowsed

 

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One of your worst nightmares has occurred. You’ve experienced a fire at your Chicagoland home or business. So, once the firemen leave, your first inclination may be to go inside the structure to see what you can salvage and start the cleaning process. But cleaning up after a fire is much more complicated than regular cleaning. It’s also very dangerous. Because once the last flame has been snuffed out, the dangers from a fire continue.

Soot Hazards

Since fire destroys all materials, the soot that covers everything you touch and that you kick up in the air after a blaze is full of toxic substances. That’s why the highly trained professionals at ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons wear heavy duty personal protection equipment (PPE) on fire mitigation jobs until all the soot is removed.

Here are some of the poisons found in the soot and ashes of a building fire:

  • Mesothelioma (cancer) causing asbestos fibers from building materials
  • Carbon materials can produce carbon monoxide, ammonia, and nitrogen oxides
  • PVC can create hydrogen chloride, phosgene (used as a chemical weapon during World War I), dioxin, Refrigerant-40, bromomethane (a pesticide), etc.
  • Hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide (poisonous gasses)
  • Petroleum based items can produce formaldehyde, acrolein, furfural, cresols, and other harmful chemicals
  • Even wood smoke releases more than 100 chemicals also found in cigarette smoke

Children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems are predominantly at risk when exposed to smoke and soot. Its adverse effects have been known since the 19th century when the British Parliament passed the Chimney Sweepers Act 1875, partly in response to its association with cancer – the first ever occupational health legislation.

Professionals Not Immune

A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health has found that firefighters have higher rates of cancer than the general population due to exposure to smoke and toxic soot because many did not wear the proper gear. In fact, The International Association of Firefighters says cancer is now the leading cause of death among firefighters.

“It was never really something we thought about when I first started 32 years ago. It was a badge of honor to come out with all your gear dirty,” said Peter Silva Jr., a former firefighter. “If you didn’t wear your mask in there you were a strong, aggressive firefighter, and if you went in with your mask on, you were kind of ridiculed at times.”

Because of these dangers, incident commanders are now ordering firefighters to keep their masks on until they’re away from the smoke and soot and washed down by decontamination teams on the scene. Once back at the station, they’re being told to change into a second set of turnout gear while industrial washing machines clean the dirty outfits.

If fire professionals take this issue seriously, shouldn’t you? The advice of Boston Fire Commissioner Joseph Finn is priceless. He says, “I’ve buried way too many friends over my 33 years. Too many friends … so I tell them, ‘Think about your wife, your husband, your boyfriend, your girlfriend before you take that mask off your face.”

Because of these dangers, only fire remediation experts like those at ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons should be in charge of cleaning up after a fire. We have the experience, knowledge, equipment and PPE needed to safely and thoroughly clean and repair your home or business. We also make sure there are no lingering odors. And since smoke and soot affects not only the structure of your Chicagoland home or business but also your belongings, we will ensure that those items that are salvageable will be returned only after being meticulously cleaned and sanitized.

About Us: ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a 2020 recipient of the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-376-1110 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com or info@servicemaster-rbs.com

 

The Importance of Storm “Four” Knowledge

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Throughout life, there are many things you plan for. You try to structure your education so you’ll have a fulfilling and well-paying job. You may plan for a vacation weeks or even months ahead. Maybe you designed the type of home you wanted, gathering blueprints, getting contractors lined up, choosing color swatches, etc.

But unfortunately, many of us don’t plan for disasters, natural or man-made. When they happen, people may say things like, “But I never saw it coming,” and “We didn’t have time to react.” Well, the time for action is long before a tragedy befalls you or your property!

The Chicagoland area is susceptible to a variety of storms – everything from blizzards to floods to tornados. So, what can you do? According to FEMA, there are four main ways to prepare for storms that you can and should undertake NOW:

Four Main Ways to Prepare For a Storm

1. Get Informed – Chicago has an emergency management office and a Red Cross Chapter. These organizations provide vital information concerning local emergency response arrangements, evacuation plans and emergency shelters. It’s also a good idea to invest in a NOAA Weather Radio that will alert you during any time of the day or night when possible destructive conditions materialize.

2. Make a Plan

  • Conduct a family meeting that will inform everyone what your emergency plans are.
  • Have an out-of-town contact that each one knows the number to. This is who you’ll call to inform where you are after a disaster strikes.
  • Teach your children how and when to call emergency numbers.
  • Have a prearranged location picked out as the place your family will meet in case you get separated from one another. Make sure everyone knows not only the best escape routes but the safe places to go inside your home if a tornado approaches.
  • Know how and when to turn off water, gas and electricity at the main switches or valves.
  • Have fire extinguishers ready and show everyone where they’re located and how to use them.
  • Inventory your possessions and keep that list along with important documents in a safe deposit box.
  • Keep your homeowners or renter’s insurance company’s telephone numbers readily available. (Also, be sure to keep ServiceMaster Disaster Restoration By Simons phone number close at hand!

3. Assemble a Kit – this is a collection of basic family needs you’ll need after a disaster. These should be stored in a portable container and enough to last you three days. It should include food, water, a battery powered radio, a flashlight, etc. You can find a full list of items for your survival kit at redcross.org

4. Maintain Your Plan – every six months, review your plans with your family, conduct evacuation drills and restock expiring food and perishables in your kit. Also, confirm your fire extinguisher is recharged and smoke alarm batteries are replaced.

 

Alan Lakein, an author on personal time management, once wrote, “Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” That’s very empowering when you think about it. It’s almost like time traveling without a DeLorean or having to mess with all that space-time continuum stuff. Planning ahead for emergencies can also bring you great peace of mind. Think of it as an insurance policy against future disasters without the pesky premiums.

If your Chicagoland home or business has been damaged by ANY type of storm or disaster, be sure to contact ServiceMaster Disaster Restoration By Simons immediately. They’re the trusted name that will return your property back to pre-loss conditions – FAST!

 

About ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons:

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a 2020 recipient of the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-376-1110 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com or info@servicemaster-rbs.com

How a Disaster May Add Value to Your Chicagoland Property

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Property damage from water, fire, mold, and storms can feel devastating. While experiencing a disaster, it’s hard to find an upside. But a disaster could increase your Chicagoland property value in the long run if you have the right homeowner’s coverage and restoration professionals working on the job. You see, when you file a homeowner’s claim, your contractor’s job is to get the home back to pre-loss condition. But oftentimes it turns out better, particularly if you live in an older home.

The Importance of Proper Restoration

When you experience damage to your home, it’s extremely important to have the loss inspected by ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons. Proper restoration is the key to not only maintaining the value of your home, but potentially increasing its value. If damage is left unattended or is incorrectly restored or repaired by DIY efforts or a cut-rate contractor, you run the risk of additional and significant damage in the long run.

Insurance Terms to Understand

“Pre-loss condition” is an important insurance term and concept. The definition is: the condition property was in the moment before a damage occurred. Assuming your loss is covered under your policy, your insurance will pay to bring your property back to its pre-loss condition with your deductible being your only out of pocket cost.

Besides pre-loss condition, you may also hear the term “comparable materials and quality” when dealing with your insurance company. So, this means that any irreparably damaged materials resulting from the loss will be exchanged with the same or similar material of equal quality. For example, if the laminate flooring in your kitchen gets destroyed, it’ll be replaced with laminate flooring of like quality, even if the same flooring no longer exists.

In a home that’s relatively new, you probably won’t see much of an increase in value. But in an older Chicago area home, the damage to your property may turn out to be advantageous when decades old flooring, cabinets, carpets, etc., are replaced with brand new furnishings.

When to Upgrade

One thing many homeowners aren’t aware of is that they can choose to make upgrades in the event of an insurance claim. So, if you were planning a remodel but hadn’t saved up for it yet, you may be able to afford it now. This is the time to turn your damage into your benefit. Did you know that your insurance company will still only pay for comparable materials and quality less your deductible, but they certainly won’t complain if you decide to spend extra money out of your pocket to upgrade those materials. In fact, they’re happy if you do as they’re now insuring a higher quality home, and that’s a good thing in their book.

What your insurance will cover

As an example of how this would work, let’s say your kitchen cabinets and laminate counter were ruined by water damage. Your insurance will pop for replacement cabinets and a counter of comparable materials and quality, but you’ve already been thinking about a kitchen remodel and have been saving for a future project. So, you can now combine the money you’ve been saving and the money the insurance is paying to upgrade to much higher quality materials for a significantly lower out-of-pocket cost. By doing this, you vastly improve your Chicagoland property value, especially when upgrading areas of your home like the kitchen or bathroom that can be expensive to remodel but are extremely attractive to buyers.*

Whether you upgrade or not, having your home restored professionally should be your highest priority. Doing so not only increases the value of your home but will also ensure the damage is completely repaired and won’t come back to haunt you in the future.

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is the Chicagoland company of choice for commercial and residential disaster restoration. Our expert staff handles large and small insurance losses and works closely with insurance adjusters, managers, building owners, developers, homeowners, and renters.

*Do not purposefully destroy areas of your home you want remodeled so you can save some money! Besides being unethical, your homeowner’s policy will not cover intentional acts in which you deliberately try to damage your property.

About ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons:

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, 2020 recipient of the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the Honorable Mentioned Award for 2020 Skokie Business of the Year. We are MBE/WBE certified, and family-operated.  We are an IICRC Certified and OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-376-1110 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com.

Biohazard Cleanup – What, When and Why?

What Does Biohazard Mean?

When you hear the word “Biohazard”, what comes to mind? You may think of situations like the current COVID-19 pandemic. However, biohazards also emanate from traumatic events where blood, human or animal residues, chemical spills, and more are involved.

Biohazard Scenarios:

  • Crime or homicide scenes
  • Suicide or death
  • Blood and bodily fluid residues
  • Hoarding scenes
  • Animal waste or remains
  • Chemical/drug hazards
  • Virus contamination

Biohazard cleanup involves cleaning, sanitizing, and deodorizing areas where such traumatic events have occurred. Cleanup after these events is a serious business that not just anyone can handle. So, the threats involved posed by bacteria, viruses, and infectious diseases can put your health and safety at risk. Oftentimes, these pathogens are invisible, making cleanup an even more difficult task for the inexperienced.

You may think that if the police are involved, someone else will clean up the aftereffects. But the state of Illinois isn’t responsible for cleaning up crime scenes. After police investigators collect evidence from the scene, it’s up to the property owner to hire a biohazard remediation company. In any case, a professional cleanup team can arrive onsite only after the police have gathered enough evidence related to the crime.

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is trained in the cleanup and remediation of all types of trauma situations. We have a team of highly professional experts in the Chicagoland area who have experience in these matters who follow proper training and safety procedures. We specialize in fast and thorough cleanup work to ensure the safety and security of everyone involved.

Does Biohazard Cleanup Require Certification?

To become a biohazard technician, obtaining certification is not required. However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does require biohazard technicians to properly wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when dealing with bloodborne pathogens, because every time technicians handle potentially hazardous materials they’re put at significant risk.

The ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons team employs state-of-the-art protective equipment, along with cleanup and COVID-19 disinfection processes that follow strict safety protocols outlined by OSHA and EPA. Furthermore, we provide up-to-date bioremediation training for technicians that includes best practices, proprietary methods, and safety compliance.

The ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons Biohazard Cleanup Process

  • We start cleanup efforts as quickly as possible.
  • We remove all potentially infectious materials from the site.
  • Hazardous medical waste is handled in compliance with OSHA regulations. It’s then processed and sent to a licensed hazardous medical waste incinerator.
  • Technicians remove porous materials like fabric and carpeting following industry standards and Illinois state regulations.
  • Non-hazardous materials are either removed or decontaminated and sanitized if they are considered salvageable.
  • After cleanup and sanitization, affected areas are deodorized, and walls and flooring may be sealed to cover any remaining stains from the incident.

As with any type of property damage, the professionals at ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons ensure that our actions don’t worsen the sense of loss of a property owner. We strive to be exceptionally sensitive to these situations by showing extra care and compassion and do our best to understand that those involved may be emotionally vulnerable, and so treat grieving family members and other loved ones with respect and empathy.

About ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons:

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, the 2020 recipient of the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, is MBE/WBE certified, and family-operated.  We are an IICRC Certified and OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-376-1110 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com.

 

After a Fire in Your Chicago Home: What to Save, What to Toss

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One of the hardest tasks to deal with after a fire is deciding what you can keep and what to toss. Many objects are obvious losses but others may leave you unsure whether they’re salvageable or not. You want to save money yet you also need to stay safe. So, the following are some tips on how to handle some of the more questionable items that may have been exposed to fire and smoke.

Food

Throw out all food that’s been in contact with smoke and/or firefighting chemicals, including fresh produce, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, opened containers, food packaged in cardboard, foil, paper, plastic, cloth, screw-topped jars and canisters, and any foods stored outside the refrigerator that were exposed to smoke or fumes.

Some canned goods may still look good on the outside but heat damage can re-cook the ingredients in the can. This activates bacteria that causes food spoilage, making them unhealthy to eat.

But won’t foods that were in a refrigerator or freezer be safe?

Sometimes seals on those appliances aren’t air-tight and smoke can leak inside to damage food. If the electricity went out during the fire for more than 2 hours, then it’s likely spoilage occurred so all items should be discarded.

Medicines & Cosmetics                    

The Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) says the effectiveness of drugs can be destroyed by high temperatures from a fire. If you think your medicines have been exposed to excessive heat, consider replacing them. The same is true if they’ve come into contact with firefighting extinguishing chemicals.

As to cosmetics, high heat can change their composition without showing any visible signs. They could end up damaging hair and skin. Plus, they can absorb the toxic fumes that go along with all fires, which is not anything you want to put on your skin.

Clothing

Clothes, bedding, and other fabrics can often be salvaged after a fire with proper cleaning and disinfecting. However, if anything is burned, throw it away. Use even stricter judgment when considering your child’s or baby’s clothing as they’re more susceptible to any leftover toxic residue.

Aren’t clothes safe from smoke residue and odor?

No. Rapidly expanding air during a fire easily penetrates clothing even when plastic covers are used to protect them. As the air inside the home cools down and fresh air begins to circulate, garments covered by plastic with the odor inside are not subject to the normal airing-out process. This allows the malodors to thoroughly penetrate the garment.

But what about clothes that were packed in plastic bags and stored inside of drawers and closed closets?

To add to the problem, the plastic itself will attract and retain odor to a considerable degree and so must be removed and disposed of ASAP.

Never try to salvage any possessions that could put your health at risk. When in doubt, throw it out! If you live in the Chicagoland area and have any other questions or concerns about what can be salvaged after a fire, or if you need to schedule fire restoration services, please contact ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons today.

About ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons:

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, the 2020 recipient of the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, is MBE/WBE certified, and family-operated.  We are an IICRC Certified and OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential  and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-376-1110 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com.

Guide to Professional Cleaning and Disinfection for Reopening Businesses

Don’t let your business reopen without the proper safety precautions. Get professional cleaning and disinfection services today.

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The coronavirus has been more than a simple “inconvenience” for most of us in the Chicagoland area. It has shut down many businesses and adversely affected the livelihoods of many people. And, most importantly, it has claimed over 200,000 lives. Given the severity of the situation as businesses and offices begin to reopen their doors during Phase 4, it’s worth asking: What kind of COVID-19 professional cleaning and disinfection services will they need? 

Obviously, cleanliness and safety are top of mind right now. When businesses reopen, everyone working and visiting the premises will need to work together to practice social distancing and maintain other COVID-preventing daily habits to reduce our risk of exposure to the virus. But if a facility is just now reopening after weeks of being closed, what precautions should owners, management and administrators take? Aside from the usual social distancing, we can tell you with certainty that they will need to reopen safely with professional cleaning and disinfecting services.

Right now, we’re relying on the advice of the CDC and medical bodies for guidelines surrounding cleaning offices and keeping them safe for employees and guests alike. If a structure has been unoccupied for 7 days or more, it will only need normal routine cleaning and disinfection to reopen. This is because the virus that causes COVID-19 has not been shown to survive on surfaces longer than this time. For instance, the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that the virus exists on plastic for the longest period – up to 72 hours. On stainless steel the virus was detected up to 48 hours after transmission. For cardboard it was 24 hours and for copper just four hours. 

Dr Bharat Pankhania, clinical lecturer at the University of Exeter, says that rather than trying to remember how the virus operates on different surfaces and when you last cleaned them, “your mindset needs to be that everything, everyone, everywhere is contaminated. And whatever you handle is a potential risk.” But that doesn’t mean you need to be afraid to touch anything, it just means you should regularly wash your hands. “Do it meticulously every two hours, mindfully,” Dr Pankhania says, “and that is the solution.” This also calls to mind the assumption that your premises could be contaminated — and that you should always just assume that you need professional cleaning and disinfecting in the interest of everyone’s safety.

Additionally, what management and administrators need to be concerned with is that their premises stay clean and decontaminated after regular use has begun again. And of course, the best way to do this is to ensure regular professional cleaning and disinfection services. 

As the weather gets colder, we also need to keep in mind that we’re up against the challenge of large, indoor gatherings of people — whether they be employees, customers, students or churchgoers. Obviously, when numerous individuals regularly congregate or pass through a certain area, keeping that facility clean and disinfected becomes a huge task. That’s where ServiceMaster by Simons, a trusted Chicagoland professional cleaning and disinfection company, comes in. Our COVID-19 cleaning services are here to help, powered by professionals who truly do know what they’re doing when it comes to disinfecting your premises from the virus.

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons has developed a two-stage preventative cleaning process that provides the most effective cleaning possible. We disinfect all horizontal surfaces as well as any high-touch points such as door handles, elevator buttons, escalator rails, and so on. Next, we employ a specialized fogging system to provide the most complete coverage and disinfection of your facility. This two-stage preventative cleaning process provides the most comprehensive preventative cleaning available. We use EPA registered hospital-grade disinfectants throughout the entire process.

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons can provide regular, preventative professional cleaning and disinfection of your facility, giving you the peace of mind that your building or office remains safe. From daily cleaning to high-level disinfection, we offer all levels of service to fit your needs and budget. Give us a call to learn more!

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving Chicago, Oak Park/River Forest, and the North Shore.  ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides Disaster Restoration Services including  COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration,  Mold Remediation, and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning,  Post-Construction Cleaning,  Carpet Cleaning, and Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. ServiceMaster Cleaning By Simons provides Specialty Cleaning Services For Chicago, Oak Park-River Forest, and the North Shore.  For more information, give us a call at 773-376-1110 or visit servicemasterbysimons.com.

Is Bleach a Safe Disinfectant? Here’s How to Use it To Get Rid of COVID-19.

Is bleach a safe disinfectant? It depends. Read this guide to understand when bleach is dangerous — and why.

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Chlorine-based bleach has been around for a long, long, time. It was invented in Europe in the late 18th century, and many consider it the be-all and end-all solution to their cleaning needs. And now with concerns about the coronavirus (Covid-19), people are using bleach as a disinfectant at increasing rates. And with this increased use, we’ve heard households wondering, Is bleach a safe disinfectant? While bleach can be dangerous in some instances, the good news is that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a diluted bleach solution for disinfecting your Chicagoland home during Covid-19. (But make sure your bleach isn’t past its expiration date or it’ll be ineffective against the virus.)

The CDC recommends using the following solution on suitable  hard surfaces:

  • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water
    OR
  • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water

Be sure to let your mixed solution set for at least one minute before using it to disinfect. 

When Is Bleach Not Safe?

However, for some soft or hard surfaces, the CDC does say that bleach is dangerous — and instead recommends that you disinfect with any of these EPA-registered household disinfectants. (They meet EPA’s criteria for use against COVID-19.)

Even though in general bleach is a safe disinfectant, it’s important to remember that it can do your house great harm if you’re not careful. This is because bleach contains chlorine, which is a dangerous chemical. Here are ten reasons why bleach isn’t always the safest choice for cleaning your Chicagoland home:

  • Chlorine lacks detergency – in other words, it contains no wetting agents that allow it to penetrate soils, so surfaces must be pre-cleaned before chlorine will effectively kill germs. This is a 2-step process that requires more time.
  • Chlorine is very caustic to human tissue. It can produce irritation and burning on your skin and could cause blindness.
  • Chlorine reacts with other chemicals to create toxic byproducts and gases. For instance, when bleach mixes with ammonia, it can form chlorine gas, causing cellular damage in nasal passageways and lungs. The accidental mixture of these two products has resulted in death. It’s also incompatible with products that contain hydrochloric acid, phosphoric acid, and acetic acid (vinegar).
  • It may harm your children. After using, bleach remains on surfaces and continues to emit fumes. Recent studies show that children who been exposed to bleach in their homes are more likely to suffer from respiratory illness. In addition, various studies have linked the use of bleach in a household to a higher prevalence of asthma and allergies.
  • Using bleach can hurt your pets. Your cleaning products can stay on a pet’s paws or fur. Since cats and dogs often lick themselves, they may ingest harmful chemicals. Due to their tiny size, birds can become sick upon inhaling only a small amount of the fumes. Bleach poisoning in pets can result in vomiting, convulsions, and sometimes death.
  • Bleach can kill mold, BUT it depends on the surface the mold is on. Mold grows on both porous and non-porous materials. When dealing with mold on non-porous materials such as shower tiles, tubs, vinyl window trims, countertops, etc. you can use bleach to kill the mold and disinfect. But using bleach to remove mold from porous materials like drywall and wood can actually accelerate mold growth rather than killing it! How? When bleach is used on porous materials, the chlorine is left on the surface and only the water component of the bleach is absorbed into the material, aggravating the situation as this provides more moisture for the mold to feed on, where it may then produce allergens and irritants. If your Chicago area home or business has a mold infestation, call ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons to professionally remove it
  • Chlorine is extremely corrosive to metal surfaces and can permanently discolor countertops. It can also damage floor finishes, requiring them to be stripped and recoated, which is an expensive process.
  • Chlorine discolors fibers and colored surfaces. Carpets, upholstery, and clothing are just a few of the materials that may be damaged.
  • Chlorine bleach’s disinfectant power is rapidly inactivated by contact with organic matter, such as blood, saliva, tissue, urine, feces, dirt, etc. Chlorine is also weakened by sunlight.
  • Diluted chlorine bleach quickly loses its effectiveness, is unstable and can lose its disinfectant qualities very rapidly compared to other, more stable disinfectants.

Safe and Effective Alternatives to Bleach

If you’re looking for a safer alternative to bleach, here are some ideas:

  • Baking soda and white vinegar – they’re non-toxic and non-corrosive. Use them to freshen fabrics, eliminate grease, and clean glass. (Not effective against COVID-19)
  • Rubbing alcohol – effectively cleans plastic surfaces of electronics (A concentration of around 70% will kill COVID-19)
  • Hydrogen peroxide – it’s non-toxic and can be used to disinfect household surfaces. Unlike bleach, hydrogen peroxide is safe to use around food products. (Effective against COVID-19)
  • Soap and warm water – the basics! It’ll clean just about anything in your home and won’t present any health risks. (Follow up with a disinfectant to be effective against COVID-19)

Bleach is a safe disinfectant —usually. And, it’s a cheap chemical to find at the store, making a great purchase for families on a budget. However, although bleach products may be a bargain, you owe it to yourself, your family, and coworkers to use a product that truly cleans, thoroughly disinfects and is safe to use. We’re not saying not to use bleach to disinfect your home, but definitely consider if it’s safe in specific instances, and don’t be afraid to use alternatives that are just as effective if you are worried about it!

Sometimes, DIY disinfecting with bleach just isn’t an option. If you’re looking for COVID-19 disinfection or cleaning in the Chicagoland area, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We provide effective coronavirus cleaning and Decontamination Services to commercial and residential properties — complete with a stamp of disinfection! 

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving Chicago, Oak Park/River Forest, and the North Shore.  ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides Disaster Restoration Services including  COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration,  Mold Remediation, and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning,  Post-Construction Cleaning,  Carpet Cleaning, and Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. ServiceMaster Cleaning By Simons provides Specialty Cleaning Services For Chicago, Oak Park-River Forest, and the North Shore.  For more information, give us a call at 773-376-1110 or visit servicemasterbysimons.com.

Choosing a Restoration and Cleaning Company in the Chicagoland Area

Facing a disaster? We know how to help. Here’s why we’re your best bet for a restoration and cleaning company in the Chicagoland area.

Choosing a restoration company in the Chicagoland area

Disasters are devastating. Whether caused by water, fire, storms or pandemics, they can turn your world upside down in a matter of moments. Even the strongest of us can feel helpless not knowing where to turn after a catastrophe. But fortunately for those who are looking for a restoration and cleaning company in the Chicagoland area, ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons offers the cleanup help you need with the service you deserve.

OK, you might be thinking, but why ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons? After all, there are other restoration companies in Chicago who make the same claims of service and price that we do. Why not just pick one out of a hat? 

Well, consider this: if you had to undergo surgery, wouldn’t you insist on having a surgeon with extensive training, years of experience, and a sterling reputation to get you back to good health? Well, your property is one of the biggest investments you’ll make in your lifetime — so you’ll want to choose a restoration company wisely. Similar to choosing the best surgeon, you’ll want to choose  a company with the knowledge, experience and reputation you can trust to make your property like-new again.

Restoration Certifications are Key

Almost all trade industries that take seriously the safety and health of consumers are required to get licensing — for example, electrical contracting and plumbing. However, the water and fire damage restoration industries are not obliged to get licensed, making it possible for anyone to start their own firm and do the job without proper training, knowledge, and skills. Unfortunately for homeowners looking for a reputable restoration company in the Chicagoland area, water and fire damage restoration is a super  complex job — one that shouldn’t be handled by those who don’t know what they are doing. 

To help instill trust in our customers and ensure we provide the best restoration and cleaning services possible, we’ve obtained our IICRC certification. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification was established in 1972 and formulates health and safety standards and manages the quality of work done by all types of cleaning and restoration activities. It is composed of more than 50,000 certified technicians and more than 6,000 Certified Firms around the world. We are so proud to be one of them. We closely follow their guidelines to ensure each job is done correctly, and we’ve done such a good job that they even featured our co-owner and Master Restorer, Sam Simon, in their publication last year!

Aside from our certification, we offer a variety of benefits to homeowners looking for a restoration and cleaning company in the Chicagoland area. Here are four reasons why you should rely on ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons for your restoration needs:

  1. Training – We never stop learning! We’re trained to IICRC high standards in fire and water cleanup and restoration, mold remediation, carpet and upholstery cleaning, and other cleaning and restoration courses. Additionally, our professionals regularly attend industry continuing education classes to hone their skills.
  2. Scope of work – Besides being water, fire and mold remediation professionals, we’re also IICRC certified in COVID-19 cleaning services, trauma and biohazard cleanup, post construction clean up, hoarder clean up, duct cleaning, carpet and upholstery cleaning and general cleaning. No job is too big or too small.
  3. Equipment – We use the most current professional equipment to find, clean, and remove the effects of water, mold, soot, smoke, odor and more. During the past few years, there’s been a rapid advancement in the technology and techniques used in the restoration industry. These advancements allow us to restore your property quickly, reliably, and more effectively.
  4. Experience – ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is not some fly-by-night type of company. We started 20 years ago and boast an A+ BBB rating. The extensive knowledge, experience, and certifications we possess makes us the go-to Chicagoland disaster restoration company. 

We sincerely hope that you’ll never be in a situation where you need to call a disaster restoration company. But if you do, give us a shout to get the job done right. We are committed to serving as the best possible option for those looking for a restoration company in the Chicagoland area.

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving Chicago, Oak Park/River Forest, and the North Shore.  ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides Disaster Restoration Services including  COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration,  Mold Remediation, and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning,  Post-Construction Cleaning,  Carpet Cleaning, and Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. ServiceMaster Cleaning By Simons provides Specialty Cleaning Services For Chicago, Oak Park-River Forest, and the North Shore.  For more information, give us a call at 773-376-1110 or visit servicemasterbysimons.com.

Top Items for Tornado Disaster Kits

Tornado season is here! Are you ready? Increase your tornado preparedness this spring with these items for your tornado disaster kits.

Spring is upon us — and with it, comes tornado season. Are you prepared? Is your family? How about your home? Without tornado preparedness, they can cost homeowners huge sums of money in losses. And even worse, they cause dozens of human casualties each year. If there’s anything we can take away from the this week’s tornado tragedy in the southern US, it’s that the best time to prepare for a tornado was yesterday. You are always better to be better safe than sorry — which is why you need to be sure you have some very important items in your tornado disaster kit. 

Here at ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons, our number one priority has always been to help homeowners be ready for the unthinkable and practice tornado preparedness. Our experts have lived through many tornado seasons and helped clean up their brutal destruction. We’ve seen just how unpredictable tornadoes can be, and we understand the biggest challenges homeowners, residents and victims face in their immediate aftermath. W

Based on our experience, we’ve put together a list of 7 life safety items that are essential for homeowners in their tornado disaster kit this tornado season. Proven to increase tornado preparedness, these are crucial for survival during and after a tornado, especially if one hits unexpectedly without time for evacuation. Store these items somewhere easily accessible in your home for immediate use:

Water

Of course, keeping hydrated is the most important thing you can do for your body in the event of a disaster. That’s a no-brainer. But what people forget to plan out is where that water will come from. If water lines are down or contaminated, or pipes are broken, or the power goes out, you won’t have access to your tap water. Make sure you keep some bottled water or a few gallons of water in an allocated shelter space in case you are stranded after a tornado. You never know how long you may have to wait.

Non-Perishable Food

In addition to water, stock up on non-perishable food items that will keep stomachs full – especially those of young children. Keep an eye on the expiration dates and replenish your supply as needed. We recommend having at least 5 days worth of food on hand for all members of the household.

A Radio

Keep a portable radio with extra spare batteries near your designated shelter space. In a weather event like a tornado, you can use it to listen for any updates or changes to the expected trajectory of the storm.

First-Aid Kit

We cannot stress how much of a difference a well-stocked first-aid kit can make after an emergency, especially one that is from a survival company. You never know what injuries, minor or major, will occur during a storm.

Medications

Not many people think of this one before the storm hits which can cause a huge problem for those taking life-sustaining medication. Have extra amounts of any necessary prescription medications stored away for use during an emergency. Keep a few bottles of cold medication, over-the-counter pain medication and allergy meds on hand too.

Cell Phones and Chargers

You probably don’t have to take our word for it that in the event of an emergency, you are going to want a fully-charged cell phone in your tornado disaster kit so you can stay in contact with family, friends and emergency personnel. If possible, keep a backup phone and a portable, solar-powered charger ready to go in case the power goes out.

Copies of Personal Documents

Of all the tornado preparedness items we’ve listed, this is probably one of the most important. Because there is never any certainty when it comes to tornadoes and other storms, you should keep copies of birth certificates, social security cards, house deeds, insurance cards, passports, and other important documents packed in a safe place that you can easily transport with you to your secure shelter.

Tornadoes are costly and sometimes lethal, but with these essential items for your tornado disaster kit, you’ll weather the storm more easily. 

Here at ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons, we know weather emergencies like the backs of our hands. We pride ourselves on our emergency restoration services and storm damage restoration expertise. We will help you begin rebuilding so you can move forward after a life-uprooting natural disaster.  Our experts are standing by to serve you in the ways you need: From more tornado preparedness tips, to dealing with the aftermath of a disaster, to restoration services and cleanup, give us a call today!

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore.  ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration,  Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration,  Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning,  Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet Cleaning and Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers in Chicago, Oak Park-River Forest, and the North Shore.  For more information, give us a call at 773-376-1110 or visit servicemasterbysimons.com.