How to Protect Your Family Against COVID-19 When Schools Reopen

As kids go back to school, they run the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19. Protect your kid from getting the virus while ensuring your family is prepared with plenty of precautions in case they do bring it home.

protect your kid against COVID-19 at school

 

Cities and states across the country are grappling with how to reopen schools safely even as coronavirus cases continue to climb in many places. Already, we’ve seen reports of hundreds of kids getting COVID-19 at school in certain southern states and cities. In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that schools will remain closed beginning September 8 through at least the end of the first quarter (November 6). With a deadly pandemic raging, officials and families alike are worried about how to keep kids safe at school during COVID-19. With lots of people in one indoor place, the fear is that reopening schools could lead to an increase in infection rates and deaths, although many issues influence the specific risks for any given school. Once schools do open, it’ll be up to each family to evaluate the risks of sending their children back to school. If you do choose to, you’ll want to make sure you’re sending them back to school safely. Here are some ways to protect your kids against COVID-19 at school.

 

Precautions Children Can Take to Protect Against COVID-19 at School

 

Parents can take steps to help reduce the risk of their kids getting COVID-19 at school. Dr. Dyan Hes, a pediatrician in New York City, offered the following tips for parents: 

Have your child wear a mask to prevent them from getting COVID-19 at school – “If your child can tolerate wearing a mask, you should really have them go to school with a mask,” she said. But she admitted that this may be difficult for young children especially. Parents should stock up on the washable variety, as children shouldn’t wear the same dirty mask day after day, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). 

Supply them with disinfectant wipes so they can disinfect against COVID-19 at school – “I really think that you should send your child to school with Clorox wipes or Wet Ones and teach them how they can clean their desk,” she said. Unfortunately, these have been in short supply. But you can make your own using either bleach or alcohol. 

Use washable backpacks – Hes said it may be a good idea to wash your child’s backpack every day because it’s possible droplets from an infected individual could land on them.

Wash hands frequently – To ensure your kid doesn’t get COVID-19 at school, make sure they know how to wash their hands correctly and frequently. Be sure they have hand sanitizer, as well: “I always say that the little kids — when they learn to wash their hands in school, sometimes they wash them so much that they get irritated and eczema, so checking your kids’ skin to make sure there’s no cracks from washing so frequently and moisturizing well, maybe putting Vaseline on their hands at night,” Hes said. 

Precautions to Take When Children Return Home From School

Thankfully, it’s rare that school age children are adversely affected by COVID-19. But if they get COVID-19 at school, the biggest concern is they might then carry it home and transmit it to parents, grandparents, or anyone who may have a suppressed immune system. “The priority is to keep a decontaminated home environment because that’s where we worry about the spread to older individuals who are definitely going to be at risk for more severe disease than kids,” said Dr. Sandra Kesh, Deputy Medical Director and Infectious Disease Specialist at Westmed Medical Group.

So, what actions should Chicagoland kids take one they get home to prevent spreading COVID-19 after school? Here are some suggestions:

  • Change clothes immediately so they don’t spread COVID-19 they may have gotten at school. “When your kids come home from school, you should have them undress at the door and wash all their clothes as best as you can,” Dr. Hes said. She also suggested leaving their shoes outside.
  • Any electronic devices they’re carrying, like phones or tablets, should be wiped down with  disinfectant wipes each day. Keep them in protective cases so they can be easily cleaned. But be careful to read the directions on the cleaning supplies so you don’t harm the device.
  • In case your kid was exposed to COVID-19 at school, have your kids remove whatever supplies they need for homework but leave backpacks in the car or at the door when they get home. Wash backpacks at least once a week and spray them with a disinfectant daily.
  • Any books or other supplies brought home for homework should be wiped down before being used.
  • If your kids take a lunchbox to school, be sure to give them a good wipe down or wash in the sink at the end of each day.

As kids go back to school, it’s important to protect your family against COVID-19. If you’re concerned that you may not be getting your home as clean or disinfected for your family as you would like it to be, let ServiceMaster Cleaning By Simons help you. We’ve been provided Specialty Cleaning Services for Chicago’s homes and businesses for over 65 years. Additionally, ServiceMaster Cleaning By Simons utilizes CDC approved and EPA registered industrial-strength disinfectants with a broad spectrum kill claim for our Coronavirus Cleaning Service.

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.

Residential Water Damage: What Do I Do If I’ve Got a Faulty Water Line?

Faulty Water Supply Line - Water Damage Restoration - ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons - Chicago - Oak Park - River Forest - North Shore IL

Faulty Water Supply Lines – Stabilization & Recovery – Residential Water Damage – ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons – Chicago

 

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, Chicagoland’s Trusted Name In Water Damage Restoration and Fire Damage Restoration, has compiled this checklist of things that you can do to help stabilize your property after the discovery of a Faulty Water Supply Line.

 

 

I’ve got a faulty water line! Now what?

 

Even though it is now spring, it looks like the chilly weather might be sticking around in Chicago for a little while longer. As the frost from the latest storms melts and soil surrounding your property corrodes, it is possible that holes or cracks may develop in your water main. If left untreated, these cracks and holes can cause extensive damage in office buildings, churches, schools, multi-family residential buildings, and standard homes, leaving property owners inconvenienced and with a hazard on their hands.

 

Why should I care about my waterline?

 

On another property, the main water line is the primary pipe that brings water into the building. This pipe is typically located underground and connects your property to your community’s water source. Your water line is not the same as your private sewer lateral, which removes used water and sewage from your property. Since water lines remain underground and under constant pressure, it is easy for them to break and cause water to flow to surface levels. Though this may seem like something fairly easy to deal with, faulty water lines can lead to contaminated water entering your property, presenting significant health hazards to those in the building.

 

What steps should I take if my waterline is faulty?

 

When you discover or even suspect that your water line is faulty, it’s crucial that you shut off all appliances in the building and avoid drinking or using tap water. There should almost always be a shutoff valve somewhere on the property that will allow you to cut off the flow of water through the primary pipe in the event of an emergency or it is being faulty. Sometimes your public utility service will shut off the water before you even notice there is a problem, but if this does not occur you can always find the property-owner shutoff valve and turn off the water yourself. You will need a water meter key to do this. After you manage to get the water to stop flowing, be sure to call a plumber ASAP so they can fix the problem before the water starts to damage your property beyond repair.

 

Why Choose ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons?

 

As an IICRC Certified Firm, ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons follows IICRC S500 Standards for professional water damage restoration. Our IICRC certified technicians will assess the water damage on-site and determine the best course of action to restore your damaged property. For example, clean water damage from a faulty water line pipe on your property is considerably different than water damage from a sewer backup. As leading experts in the field, we will quickly determine the best course of action so your family or business can get back to normal as soon as possible.

 

The different water damage restoration services we perform include:

 

 

What is our Water Damage Restoration process for a  faulty water line?

 

Upon ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons’s arrival to your property, our trained IICRC Certified project manager will begin the assessment of any damage and will plan the mitigation of the water’s damage to the property.

 

Some of the faulty water line assessments we perform include:

 

  • Identifying the specific location of the waterline and the subsequent water damage to your property.
  • Determining the water’s path throughout the property using thermal imaging equipment.
  • Determining areas in the property affected by the water damage, such as ceilings, walls, flooring, fixtures, and mechanical damage.
  • Determining the best plan of attack. We will determine the best way to dry your property and what equipment we’ll use to do it.

 

D.I.Y. – Can I handle cleaning up any water damage or faulty water lines myself?

 

Simple drying techniques are often not enough when drying water in the aftermath of a leak, spill or flood. Carpets, walls, paneling, baseboards, and floor coverings are porous, which means extensive water damage cleaning is required. Surface cleaning only removes visible contamination, but microorganisms are often left behind, which can potentially cause health problems, unpleasant odors or, worst of all, mold growth! All surfaces affected by water damage must be thoroughly cleaned, dried, disinfected and deodorized by a trained professional like the ones at ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons in order to properly eliminate disease-causing bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

 

What are the 3 basic categories of water found when water damage strikes?

 

Category 1: Known as “clean water,” this type of water originates from a sanitary source and poses no substantial risk from dermal exposure, ingestion, or inhalation. However, it may not always remain clean after it comes into contact with other surfaces or materials. Some examples of “clean water” are broken water supply lines, tub or sink overflows or appliance malfunctions that involve water supply lines.

Category 2: Known as “grey water,” this type of water contains significant contamination and has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if contacted or consumed by humans. It may contain potentially unsafe levels of microorganisms or nutrients for microorganisms, as well as other organic or inorganic matter (chemical or biological). Examples of this category of water include toilet bowls filled with urine (but no feces), sump pump failures, seepage due to hydrostatic failure, and water discharge from dishwashers or washing machines.

Category 3: Known as “black water,” this water is grossly contaminated and may contain pathogenic, toxigenic or other harmful agents. Such water sources may carry silt, organic matter, pesticides, heavy metals, regulated materials, or toxic organic substances. A sewage back-up will typically include category 3 water. Other examples of this type of are toilet bowl water (with feces), sewer back-up, seawater, rising water from rivers or streams, ground surface water or standing water.

 

What kind of equipment will we use?

 

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons uses state-of-the-art equipment and technology to get your properties’ structure dry. Our advanced technology is necessary for the efficacy and efficiency of the drying and restoration process of your property.

 

Some of the equipment used for structural drying includes:

 

  • Dehumidifiers
  • Air Movers
  • Negative Air Fans
  • Thermal Imaging Cameras
  • Moisture Meters
  • Wood Floor Drying Systems
  • Desiccants
  • Anti-Microbial Solutions
  • Truck-mounted Water Extraction Units
  • Portable Water Extraction Units

 

How much does water damage clean-up cost?

 

The average cost of drying out your property, performing restoration services from a “clean” water leak (not grey or black water) can be costly and average anywhere between $3,000 and up. Reconstruction work to correct the damage done to areas like drywall, baseboards, paneling, carpeting, and padding range from $5,000 and up, depending on the size of the affected area.

 

Will ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons guide me through the insurance process?

 

As a QRV or Quality Restoration Vendor, ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is part of the elite group of national ServiceMaster franchises chosen to take part in the national contract agreements with most major insurance companies. Some of the insurance companies we work directly with include State Farm, Allstate, Liberty Mutual, Hanover, Chubb, Asco, Progressive, Travelers, USAA, Farmers, Nationwide, AIC, Zurich, American Family, and Erie, among others. That means that we prescribe to the strict guidelines and to the required estimating software administered by these insurance companies and provide a direct pipeline to your insurance company. It also means that you don’t have to be the middle person in the process. We work and communicate directly with your insurance provider to ensure your property is properly restored after water damage, bringing your home or property back to its pre-loss conditions.

 

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 residing 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.

 

 

Nasutsa Mabwa
Nasutsa Mabwa
Nasutsa Mabwa is President of ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, an MBE/WBE City of Chicago and State of Illinois certified firm. She is a 2018 Chicago Business Journal Influential Women in Business Honoree, a member of Crain’s Chicago Business 40 under 40 and a 2018 ServiceMaster(c) Achiever Award recipient. She serves on the board for the Civic Federation, sits on the Board of Directors-Executive Committee of the Evanston Chamber of Commerce, and the serves on Advisory Board for Roosevelt University’s Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate. She is IICRC certified for WRT & FSRT.

Does Your Building Project Budget for Post Construction Cleaning Costs? Here’s Why It Should.

If you’re planning a residential or commercial construction project and you’re not already thinking about a plan for clean up afterwards, you should be. The professionals at ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons have decades of experience in cleaning up after construction projects. You’d be surprised how often we find that customers have forgotten to budget for or schedule a post-construction cleaning until the very last minute.

Post-Construction Cleaning Chicago - Oak Park - River Forest - North Shore Illinois - ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons - ServiceMaster Cleaning By Simons

Budgeting For Post Construction Cleaning Costs – ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons Chicago – Oak Park/River Forest – North Shore IL

 

If you’re planning a residential or commercial construction project in Chicago, Oak Park/River Forest, or the North Shore, and you’re not already thinking about a plan for clean up afterward, you should be. The professionals at ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons have decades of experience in cleaning up after construction projects. You’d be surprised how often we find that customers have forgotten to budget for or schedule a Post Construction Cleaning until the very last minute.

The problem is, customers, don’t realize that post-construction cleaning is an important part of any building project. They don’t understand that Post Construction Cleaning is some of the most important projects a restoration company will take on. These kinds of jobs usually require a company’s entire crew to be onsite for anywhere between a few days to a whole week depending on whether it is a residential or commercial project.

We like to make sure that customers understand the level of care and commitment that goes into each of our post-construction cleaning projects. The professionals at ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons are IICRC Certified and well-trained in providing unrivaled and thorough post-construction cleaning. We use products and equipment that meet the highest standards to remove all dust and debris properly. Some of the post-construction cleanup services we offer the Chicagoland area include:

  • Dusting air diffusers
  • Cleaning light fixtures within the construction area
  • Cleaning restroom fixtures
  • Wall washing or spot cleaning walls
  • Ceiling washing
  • Cleaning interior windows
  • HEPA Vacuuming
  • Cleaning carpet areas
  • Damp mopping hard-surface floors
  • Renewing hardwood floors
  • Roto buffing ceramic tile or linoleum

For larger jobs that need further cleaning after construction work has cleared, we often bundle the cleanup with these services:

Our process is one that maximizes efficiency while still delivering the highest level of service. Ideally, our process begins well before the construction project occurs — when a customer reaches out proactively for a quote. No worries if you’re one of the many who let post-construction fall by the wayside during the planning stages; if we can accommodate your dates, we will absolutely still offer quotes to contractors and homeowners who reach out during the construction project. After our professional quote is approved and we are hired for a Post Construction Cleaning, we begin to formulate a scope based on the job’s specific needs and we gather up the necessary personnel and equipment.

Sometimes, we are asked to begin our on-site cleaning for a mid-way cleaning while construction is still taking place. This is helpful for large construction projects that generate so much debris that it creates an unsafe environment and poor air quality for workers. We are available to come in and clean periodically during construction so that waste and dust are properly removed and workers can continue building and renovating on schedule.

Most of the time, though, our on-site cleaning starts immediately after construction concludes. We have two primary objectives during our cleanup: The first, to eradicate and control the dust generated by sanding and plastering before it ends up in the air ducts; and the second, to remove all dust and debris in a timely manner to restore safety to the job site. We do this in five steps:

  1. Schedule air duct cleaning
  2. Wipe down all hard surfaces, nooks and crannies, furniture, and items in renovation space
  3. HEPA vacuum carpet and upholstery
  4. Clean flooring with wet mopping, WoodGlo Renew, or roto tile buffing depending on the floor material
  5. Dispose of all construction debris on-site according to municipal guidelines and regulations in a safe manner

Because these jobs can be so large and costly, it’s important that customers budget for them in their initial construction project plan. Customers are sometimes floored to learn the cost of their site’s post-construction cleanup and are too late in the game to make room in the budget for it. Instead, they choose to DIY the cleanup or, worse, forego it altogether. We never recommend this and we would rather see customers reach out for a quote during the planning stages of a construction project so they can budget accordingly.

Though professional cleanup services are costly, they are always one hundred percent worth it. Here are three reasons why:

  • A professional cleaning increases safety

With construction projects, there will inevitably be debris left behind. From sawdust to nails and broken glass to stray wires, these debris present dangers to both the building crew and those responsible for a DIY cleanup. Accidents during cleanup happen more often than you might think. Hiring a professional crew trained to deal with hazardous materials will ensure the safety of everyone involved. A restoration company is equipped with better equipment than a broom and a dustpan.

  • Professional cleaning ensures debris is properly disposed of

Most municipalities have special rules for the disposal of residential and commercial construction waste, like paint and other chemicals. In general, they must be separated, sorted and eventually delivered to a special facility for lawful disposal. It is important to work with a professional restoration company like or you could face a fine.

  • A professional cleaning promotes efficiency and timeliness

We estimate that a professional cleaning crew will likely be able to complete a post-construction cleanup job four times faster than a DIY-er. Professional crews come with the necessary equipment it takes to clean thoroughly and efficiently. A quick cleanup allows you to move on to the final stages of your construction project. Plus, calling in the professionals for a quick turnaround can mean all the difference for contractors whose agreements include penalties for going overtime on the project.

Here at ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons, we understand that every good construction project includes a professional and thorough post-construction cleanup. Our crews have decades of experience clearing construction job sites safely and quickly to ensure peace-of-mind for contractors, homeowners and business owners alike. For a professional quote, please give us a call as early as possible in your construction planning process. As always, your satisfaction is our number one priority!

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore.  Recently, the company was awarded a variety of honors, including the ServiceMaster Achiever Award and outstanding service in disaster restoration by Build Magazine. 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 residing 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.

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Fire Prevention

Fire prevention shouldn’t be hard this Thanksgiving. Follow these top tips to keep your family, friends and belongings safe from the flames this holiday season.

home fire prevention

Halloween has come and gone, which means Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Soon, ovens will be busy tackling stuffing and turkey. While the holidays are a fun time to celebrate family and togetherness, they’re also a time of increased fire hazards that beg some mindfulness of fire prevention measures.

Cooking and reveling without the proper precautions can lead to a house fire, a tragedy that has caught many unsuspecting homeowners off guard during the holiday season. In fact, damaging fires happen every 24 seconds in the United States, according to the National Fire Protection Association. While the number of fires and fire-related deaths has been trending down since the 1970s, they still continue to wreak havoc all across the country.

Residential properties are no exception to this reality. In fact, an average of 382,397 fires that occur in the United States happen on residential properties. These fires typically result in nearly 12,000 civilian injuries and over $7,298,475,292 in property damage. But ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons is here to help you increase your fire prevention and preparedness, as well as to react to fire disasters if they do occur.

What do I do if there’s a fire in my home this holiday season?

  • Act immediately but stay calm.
  • Alert everyone in the home and make sure to leave the property immediately. Use your pre-planned escape route if you have one, and consider developing one now if you don’t.
  • When everyone is evacuating the building, make sure everyone stays low and crawls since smoke rises.
  • Do not stop to retrieve any valuables or collectibles.
  • Do not stop to find your pets and help them out of the home.
  • If you can, close the door to the room the fire started in and close doors as you continue to exit the building.
  • Before opening any closed doors on your way out, touch it with the back of your hand. If the door is warm, then there is likely fire behind it and you must find an alternative route to exit the building.
  • Do not attempt to extinguish a fire unless you are trained to do so.
  • Do not go back into the building.
  • Call the fire department as soon as you safely have the opportunity to do so. If there is anyone remaining in the building, make sure to inform them of this.

What should I do after the fire department leaves?

Once the fire is extinguished and the dust settles, call a restoration company immediately to address the damage. Only those who are equipped to handle the water, smoke and fire damage your home has suffered should be entering the building and handling the situation.

How do I prevent my oven from catching on fire while I’m cooking?

  • Fire prevention starts by ensuring your oven is clean before using it
  • Don’t leave cooking food unattended
  • Put a cover on food that might splatter
  • Keep an eye on your timer

How do I prevent my mantel from catching on fire by holiday decorations and candles?

  • Consider using battery operated candles
  • Make sure you don’t hang paper ornaments over open flames
  • As long as flames are ignited, be sure to monitor your mantel
  • Increase fire prevention by keeping decorations far away from open flames

Why should I choose ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons?

We recognize that buildings in Chicago’s Gold Coast and Downtown have guidelines that set them apart from other properties and homes in the city. Occasionally, there are more than one insurance policy involved. It takes an experienced and knowledgeable company like ours to know how to navigate these situations.

We’ll work closely with your family and the various adjusters to make sure that the job is done right. We understand that your home needs to be cared for and respected during this difficult time. We pride ourselves on limiting our interruption into your lives. When possible, we will work around your schedule so that the day-to-day routine of your family is not disrupted further.

What steps do we take to handle fire damage restoration?

Though we always encourage adequate fire prevention before disaster strikes, sometimes the unthinkable finds a way to wreak havoc on plans anyways. In the event of a holiday fire emergency, ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides Structural Cleaning and Content Cleaning for Chicago & Suburban homes that have been affected by Smoke or Fire Damage. The following is a brief description of those services.

Structural Cleaning Services:

Structural cleaning involves the cleaning of the property itself. This covers soot sponging of walls & ceilings, including crown molding and baseboards. It also includes: Cleaning of floors, doors, and windows. Cleaning of all flat surfaces including countertops and windowsills. Cleaning of all ventilation and duct systems for HVAC.

Content Cleaning Services

Content cleaning includes the cleaning of all soft goods including garments, drapes, bedding, carpet & upholstery. It also includes: Cleaning of all electronics, appliances. Drying and restoration of documents.

Art Restoration

Cleaning of bookshelves, shelving, furnishings and light fixtures

What services do we provide?

  • Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration for Home-owners
  • Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration for Business-owners
  • Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration for Places of Worship
  • Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration for Educational Institutions
  • Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration for Multi-Family Properties
  • Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration for Medical Facilities
  • Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration for Manufacturing Facilities

What equipment do we use?

Air Scrubbers
Air scrubbers use High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration to remove these particles from the air, enhancing the efficiency for cleaning and clearing the air for safe breathing. Please do not move or turn off this equipment.
Thermal Fogging
This process neutralizes odor, using a strong deodorizer that penetrates everywhere the smoke traveled and will require the removal of pets, plants and humans occupants for a short period of time.
Ozone
Ozone is an oxidizing agent produced by a portable ozone generator. This process will require the removal of pets, plants and human occupants for a short period of time.
OdorKlenz Technology
This environmentally friendly deodorizing process removes odors and particulates using OdorKlenz air cartridges in traditional air scrubbers. Safe for people, pets and plants.

How much will it cost?

The costs of restoration depend on the insurance provider you have. Fortunately though, as a QRV or Quality Restoration Vendor, ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is part of the elite group of national ServiceMaster franchises chosen to take part in the national contract agreements with most major insurance companies. Some of the insurance companies we work directly with include State Farm, Allstate, Liberty Mutual, Hanover, Chubb, Asco, Progressive, Travelers, USAA, Farmers, Nationwide, AIC, Zurich, American Family, and Erie, among others. That means that we prescribe to the strict guidelines and to the required estimating software administered by these insurance companies and provide a direct pipeline to your insurance company. It also means that you don’t have to be the middle person in the process. We work and communicate directly with your insurance provider to ensure your property is correctly restored after water damage, bringing your property back to its pre-loss condition.

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is a 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 residing 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.

Commercial Fire Damage 101: What do I do if there’s a fire in my restaurant?

Restaurants are no exception to this reality. In fact, nearly half a million structure fires occur in the United States during any given year. These fires result in over a whopping $10 billion of property damages and over 13,000 civilian injuries. During 2010-2014 alone, approximately 7,410 structure fires occurred in restaurant establishments in the country. According to the NFPA, the cooking equipment used in restaurants is the main cause of these reported incidents. Surprisingly, fires related to electrical distribution, lighting and heating equipment only accounted for 27 percent of these fires.

Commercial Fire Restoration - Restaurant Fires - ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons - Chicago IL

What Do I Do if There’s a Fire In My Restaurant? Helpful Tips On Navigating The Fire Damage Restoration Process For Restaurant Owners In Chicago IL

Damaging fires happen every 24 seconds in the United States, according to the National Fire Protection Association. While the number of fires and fire-related deaths has been trending down since the 1970s, they still continue to wreak havoc all across the country.

Restaurants are no exception to this reality. In fact, nearly half a million structure fires occur in the United States during any given year. These fires result in over a whopping $10 billion of property damages and over 13,000 civilian injuries. During 2010-2014 alone, approximately 7,410 structure fires occurred in restaurant establishments in the country. According to the NFPA, the cooking equipment used in restaurants is the main cause of these reported incidents. Surprisingly, fires related to electrical distribution, lighting and heating equipment only accounted for 27 percent of these fires.

Dealing with an emergency like this is extremely stressful and often unplanned. Fortunately, ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is equipped to handle the aftermath of incidents like this in any kind of commercial or residential property, including restaurants.

What do I do if there’s a fire in my restaurant?

  • Act immediately but stay calm.
  • If the fire is relatively small, like most restaurant fires are, gauge if you can put it out yourself with a fire extinguisher. Even if it is a manageable fire, it is advised that you evacuate the building and leave the extinguishing to professionals.
  • If a fire occurs in a pan, do not move the pan. Instead, deprive it of oxygen by placing a lid over it. Cookie sheets or pizza pans can also do the trick.
  • Try to cut any sources of heat if you can do so without putting yourself in harm’s way.
  • Alert everyone in the building and make sure to leave the property immediately. Use your pre-planned escape route if you have one, and consider developing one now if you don’t.
  • When everyone is evacuating the building, make sure everyone stays low and crawls since smoke rises.
  • Do not stop to retrieve any valuables, documents or collectibles.
  • If you can, close the door to the room the fire started in and close doors as you continue to exit the church.
  • Before opening any closed doors on your way out, touch it with the back of your hand. If the door is warm, then there is likely fire behind it and you must find an alternative route to exit the church.
  • Do not go back into the building.
  • Call the fire department as soon as you safely have the opportunity to do so. If there is anyone remaining in the building, make sure to inform them of this.
  • Make sure to thoroughly document any and all damage.
  • Take steps to prevent a similar incident from happening again in the future.

What should I do after the fire department leaves?

Once the fire is extinguished and the dust settles, call a restoration company immediately to address the damage. Only those who are equipped to handle the water, smoke and fire damage your restaurant has suffered should be entering the building and handling the situation.

Why should I choose ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons?  

We recognize that restaurants in Chicago’s Gold Coast and Downtown have guidelines that set them apart from other properties and homes in the city. Occasionally, there is more than one insurance policy involved. It takes an experienced and knowledgeable company like ours to know how to navigate these situations.

We’ll work closely with your property manager, facility manager, and the various adjusters to make sure that the job is done right. We understand that your restaurant needs to be cared for and respected during this difficult time. We pride ourselves on limiting our interruption into your lives and services. When possible, we will work around your restaurant’s hours so that your day-to-day operations are not disrupted further.

What steps do we take to handle fire damage restoration? 

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides Structural Cleaning and Content Cleaning for Chicago & Suburban properties that have been affected by Smoke or Fire Damage. The following is a brief description of those services.

Structural Cleaning Services

  1. Structural Cleaning involves the cleaning of the property itself. This covers soot sponging of walls & ceilings, including crown molding and baseboards.
  2. In some cases, using a soft detergent to clean walls & ceilings.
  3. Cleaning of floors, doors, and windows.
  4. Cleaning of all flat surfaces including countertops and windowsills.
  5. Cleaning of all ventilation and duct systems for HVAC.

Content Cleaning Services

  1. Cleaning of all soft goods including garments, drapes, bedding, carpet & upholstery.
  2. Cleaning of all electronics, appliances
  3. Drying and restoration of documents
  4. Art Restoration
  5. Cleaning of bookshelves, shelving, furnishings and light fixtures

What services do we provide?

  • Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration for Home-owners
  • Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration for Business-owners
  • Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration for Places of Worship
  • Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration for Educational Institutions
  • Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration for Multi-Family Properties
  • Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration for Medical Facilities
  • Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration for Office Spaces
  • Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration for Manufacturing Facilities

What equipment do we use?

Air Scrubbers: Air scrubbers use High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration to remove these particles from the air, enhancing the efficiency for cleaning and clearing the air for safe breathing. Please do not move or turn off this equipment.

Thermal Fogging: This process neutralizes odor, using a strong deodorizer that penetrates everywhere the smoke traveled and will require the removal of pets, plants and humans occupants for a short period of time.

Ozone: Ozone is an oxidizing agent produced by a portable ozone generator. This process will require the removal of pets, plants and human occupants for a short period of time.

OdorKlenz Technology: This environmentally friendly deodorizing process removes odors and particulates using OdorKlenz air cartridges in traditional air scrubbers. Safe for people, pets and plants.

How can I prevent a fire from happening in my restaurant in the first place? 

Designate a safety officer: Having a fire prevention officer is essential for any business.. This is due to the fact that they are held responsible for planning fire escape routes, safe meeting places for all employees and educating everyone in the restaurant about fire safety. While it may seem like having a fire in your restaurant is highly unlikely, having someone stay up to date on fire safety and a plan of action for the worst-case scenario is critical.

Regulate where you and your employees smoke: Perhaps a minor detail at first glance, having a designated smoking area outside of the building is something that should not go overlooked. Fires often start from sparks that come from cigarettes and other lighters. By having a designated smoking area removed from your main structure, the risk of stray sparks igniting paper or other objects in your restaurant is reduced. By having several ashtrays and containers for employees to trash used cigarettes, the risk of a fire is eliminated even further.

Check the wiring in your building: If any of the electrical cords or wiring in your building appear to be broken or cracked, they need to be replaced immediately. Do not let clusters of wires converge over one another on one outlet. Either of these situations can result in an electrical fire and can easily be prevented.

Maintain machines: By maintaining your machines and keeping them up-to-date, you will prevent any machine-related fires from sparking. By keeping your machines clean, there is less debris that can light on fire. Leave them unplugged when they are not in use. You should also inspect solid fuel appliances on a monthly basis. In a low volume kitchen, cooking appliances can be inspected quarterly.

Make sure each cooking appliance has a non-combustible grease filter: This will significantly reduce the risk of oil catching on fire in your kitchen.

Cooking appliances should vent toward the outside of the building: When exhaust from machines accumulates inside your restaurant, the risk of fire increases. You can reach out to a local inspector or company like ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons to see if your ventilation system meets your local region’s kitchen codes.

Grease containers should be emptied at least once a day: Grease accumulates much faster than you would think and becomes harder to clean and remove the longer it is left on appliances. The only exception to this rule is that grease accumulating underneath sinks can be cleaned by professionals on a monthly basis.

Make sure your fire extinguisher is updated: Not only must your extinguisher be kept in a location that is easily accessible, but it should also be charged completely and checked by a professional at least once a month to ensure it is in proper working order.

Regularly test smoke alarms: Smoke alarms need to be replaced every ten years. They should be checked at least once a month to make sure they are in working order and their batteries need to be changed regularly.

Make sure you’re up to date on any recent fire code changes: Knowing the latest information on your local region’s fire code is extremely important and can provide you with even more insight as to how to protect your business.

How much will it cost?

The costs of restoration depend on the insurance provider you have. Fortunately though, as a QRV or Quality Restoration Vendor, ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is part of the elite group of national ServiceMaster franchises chosen to take part in the national contract agreements with most major insurance companies. Some of the insurance companies we work directly with include State Farm, Allstate, Liberty Mutual, Hanover, Chubb, Asco, Progressive, Travelers, USAA, Farmers, Nationwide, AIC, Zurich, American Family, and Erie, among others. That means that we prescribe to the strict guidelines and to the required estimating software administered by these insurance companies and provide a direct pipeline to your insurance company. It also means that you don’t have to be the middle person in the process. We work and communicate directly with your insurance provider to ensure your property is correctly restored after water damage, bringing your property back to its pre-loss conditions.

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 residing 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.

Nasutsa Mabwa
Nasutsa Mabwa
Nasutsa Mabwa is President of ServiceMaster by Simons, an MBE/WBE City of Chicago and State of Illinois certified firm. She is a 2018 Chicago Business Journal Influential Women in Business Honoree, a member of Crain’s Chicago Business 40 under 40 and a 2018 ServiceMaster(c) Achiever Award recipient. She serves on the board for the Civic Federation, is the Government Liaison to the Evanston Chamber of Commerce, and the serves on Advisory Board for Roosevelt University’s Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate. She is IICRC certified for WRT & FSRT.