With the Met Office issuing an amber weather warning for extreme heat this week, you need to know how to keep cool and beat the heat. Not only that, but the weather is set to turn again in the following fortnight, and we may see a barrage of thunderstorms across the UK. There are many ways to prepare your home for heat, but what about your family, and when those storm clouds roll around?

We’ve put together a blog post on how you can best prepare yourself to deal with heat, and prepare your home to deal with a thunderstorm.

How to prepare for a heatwave

Know the signs of heat-related illnesses:

One of the biggest harms that can come to human beings as a result of hot temperatures is heat-related illnesses like Heatstroke, heat exhaustion, and heat cramps. If over the coming weeks you experience dizziness, confusion, unconsciousness, a rapid/strong pulse, red skin that is hot and dry with an absence of sweat, and/or a high body temperature – you may have Heatstroke and should seek immediate medical attention.  that should be treated accordingly. If you suspect heatstroke, call 999 and move the person to a cool area as soon as possible, raise their feet slightly remove excess clothing, cool the skin and fan them whilst you wait for an ambulance – if they’re conscious give them cool (not cold) water to drink.

Heat exhaustion can be spotted by looking out for paleness, heavy sweating, vomiting & nausea, weakness, a fast or slow pulse, headaches, dizziness, muscle cramps or fainting. Heat cramps are muscle pains or spasms that are usually located in areas of the arms, legs or stomach. Unlike Heatstroke, heat cramps and heat exhaustion are not usually serious concerns but may develop into Heatstroke – in which case, you need to call 999. For less severe symptoms, the NHS advises calling 111 if:

  • You are feeling unwell after 30 minutes of resting in a cool place and drinking plenty of water.
  • You are not sweating even while feeling too hot.
  • You have a high temperature of 40ºC or above.
  • You are feeling confused.

And to prevent or minimize the risk of such conditions by:

  • Drinking plenty of cold drinks, especially when exercising.
  • Taking cool baths or showers
  • Wearing light-coloured, loose clothing
  • Sprinkling water over skin or clothes
  • Avoiding the sun between 11 am and 3 pm (peak temperature hours)
  • Avoiding drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
  • Avoiding extreme exercise

Other ways to prepare:

  • With the current cost of living and energy crisis, we would advise that you seek out communal areas with air conditioning, rather than purchase a unit. Identify places nearby where you can go to get cool if need be. These could include public libraries, shopping centres, coffee shops, museums and galleries etc.
  • Cover windows with fly screens or window reflectors.
  • Find an alternative cooling method to a fan. Fans may provide comfort during high temperatures, but they use a lot of electricity and do not reduce body temperature or prevent heat-related illnesses like Heatstroke.

So how can you keep cool during a heatwave?

  • Stay hydrated (keep pets hydrated and in the shade too!)
  • Take baths and showers with cool water
  • Apply cold compresses or ice the back of your neck to cool your body temperature
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol and partaking in strenuous exercise or work outdoors

And in the coming days and weeks, start thinking about preparations for thunderstorms.

How to prepare for a thunderstorm

  • Ensure your roof tiles are secure and any loose tiles are fixed and remove loose items in the garden like ladders
  • Prepare a first aid kit
  • Unplug non-essential electric appliances to protect against power surges
  • Secure doors and windows and keep them shut
  • Get acquainted with what to do in a power cut
  • Know whom you need to contact in case of an emergency, including insurance providers and damage restoration services like ServiceMaster Restore.

During a thunderstorm:

  • Be sure to stay away from windows
  • Furthermore, stay inside until the storm has passed – do not drive unless essential, and be sure not to park near trees or electrical lines
  • DO NOT shelter under trees
  • Avoid using the landline as phone lines can conduct electricity
  • If in an exposed location, squat close to the ground, and put your hands on your knees and with your head tucked between them. Try to touch as little of the ground with your body as possible, do not lie down on the ground
  • If you feel your hair stand on end, drop to this position immediately

But should the worst happen and you find that the effects of the sun or thunderstorm cause damage to your home, call 0845 762 6828 in an emergency or find your nearest ServiceMaster Restore business and we will restore your home to its former glory.

Written by Tom Page, Digital Content Writer

As we enter British summer, you may have a few things in mind to do to best prepare. This could be stocking up on sun cream, packing for your holiday, or picking out some summer reading material. What you might not be thinking about is how to prepare your home. That’s right, the sun and heat it brings in the summertime can have an impact on your property in ways you may not be aware of, and it’s important to know how to protect yourself, your home, and your family during very hot temperatures. Thankfully, at ServiceMaster Restore, we have you covered. Here are the best ways to prepare yourself and your home to beat the heat.

Stop sun and heat damage to paint

Most houses in the UK are built to withstand wind and rain. Sunlight and heat aren’t normally much of a consideration. So, when the sun does come along, our homes are not the best prepared. Heat has a bigger impact on our homes than we realise and usually, this is because the damage is invisible to the naked eye. For example, unlike warmer countries where heat is expected, our homes aren’t typically coated with a paint protector. The problem here is that heat and the invisible ultraviolet light from the sun can speed up the deterioration of the paint on your walls by drying it up and breaking down the emulsifiers that bind it together.

This can put you in danger of having paint that is cracked, or even powdery. Not only that, but high temperatures can also cause a further bubbling and flaking effect on your paintwork that causes the paint structure begins to degrade and fall away. To make matters worse, this can make your home susceptible to the spread of mould. To counteract this, consider applying a protective coating to your painted walls, especially if they were painted a while ago. There are many different types of exterior wall coatings on the market, so be sure to take the time to find one that best suits you.

Prevent damage to roof tiles

The sun and heat can also crack and damage your roof tiles. Not only can this be caused by direct sunlight, but also from the build-up of rising heat during warm weather. The increased humidity then also puts you in danger of your roof warping and expanding as excess heat and water vapour collect under the roof. Thankfully, there are measures you can take against such damages, including carrying out maintenance checks on your roof to ensure its condition. Alternatively, you could even apply a protective coating against UV rays and use a vapour barrier to stop water from amassing.

Minimize the heat… and the bugs

Most homes in the UK also aren’t equipped with air conditioning units – so when it gets hot, your only solution is to open windows and/or use a fan. The problem is, this always seems to invite a swarm of bugs inside, which can linger around for days! To beat the heat, try investing in some exterior window coverings or detachable screens. Not only do these provide you with some extra respite and shade, but they also prevent flies and other insects from making their way into your home.

Check your fridge and freezer are working properly

Your fridge and/or freezer units can use a lot of power, especially if there are struggling to work as they should. To make sure it’s working at maximum efficiency, it’s worth dusting off your appliance and then cleaning the coil to make sure your food stays cool when it’s hot out. Then it’s time to stock up. You, your family, and your pets may need a lot of things to keep cool when it’s very hot – and you’ll likely want to avoid going out in the heat as much as you can. So, make sure you have everything you need ahead of time.

Preparing the people in your household

Preparing the house itself is one thing, but preparing its inhabitants is a whole other story. Thankfully, we’ve also put together a checklist to keep yourself safe and happy during hot weather.

Preparing your home for heat

But should the worst happen and you find that the effects of the sun or heat cause damage to your home, be it mould, or surface damage. Don’t hesitate to contact the professionals. Our phone lines are open 24/7 so our ServiceMaster Restore technicians are here to help whatever the time, whatever the place. Call 0845 762 6828 in an emergency or find your nearest ServiceMaster Restore business today.

Written by Tom Page, Digital Content Writer

For many, December means the start of Christmas festivities, including putting up of a Christmas tree. These seasonal delights can be fun for the whole family, but they also come with potential dangers that you should be aware of:

Overloaded Plug Sockets

As a nation, we tend to use a lot of plug sockets when decking the halls – usually from things like fairy lights. Though they can add some cheer and light to your tree, these cheery favourites can also overload and overheat your plug sockets, which can give you a mean electric shock, or even cause flying sparks and fires. With this in mind, it’s no wonder that in the UK Christmas tree lights injure nearly 350 people every year.

How can you avoid this? About 10 million people surveyed by Peabody Housing Association said that they have overloaded their plug sockets from Christmas lights in the last 12 months, and 5.4 million said that they leave they have left their Christmas lights on overnight. So, be sure not to put all your plugs onto one extension cable, and to turn off any and all lights – be they from the tree or elsewhere – when you go to bed or leave the house.

Fire Risk

One of the biggest dangers posed by Christmas Trees are fires. A staggering 50% of fire related deaths happen over the Christmas period. These can be started by more than just Christmas lights. Between 2014 and 2016, there were approximately 100 Christmas tree fires and about 1,100 candle fires in the UK, resulting in 10 deaths, 150 injuries, and almost £38.4million in property damage.

As well as avoiding overheating your plug sockets, some preventative measures you can take to avoid Christmas tree and other festive fires are:

  • Do not leave open flames from candles or chimneys underneath your Christmas trees
  • Check fairy lights for electrical faults like fraying, gnawing, cracking, and water damage and replace them where necessary
  • Don’t tuck lights or extension cords under rugs or tree mats
  • Keep Christmas lights away from direct light & heat sources like space heaters
  • Turn the heating low or off if you’re going out or on a Christmas break
  • Don’t place Christmas decorations or other obstructions near exits from the property
  • Invest in some fire safety equipment – research has found that most UK residents are not prepared to deal with a house fire. 49% of 1500 people surveyed by Spray-Safe did not have any fire safety equipment in their homes.
  • If you have a natural tree, check when it was cut – Fire Services advise that anyone buying a real tree ensure that it has been freshly cut as older trees that were cut too long ago can dry out, making them a dangerous fire hazard.

Another note on real trees, is to ask your vendor to water them for you when you purchase it, and do not water them with the lights turned on, as has been the cause of 26 UK deaths between 1997 and 2010.

Falling Trees

Toppling Christmas trees are another potential hazard, particularly if you have little ones and/or pets running around near the tree. Be sure to make sure your tree is secured, especially if you’re needing to use a stepladder to decorate higher branches, as a large number of Christmas A&E visits are caused by people falling from tables etc. to decorate the tree.

Potential harm to pets

It’s not just the risk of falling, Christmas trees can actually be very dangerous if you have a dog. Both real and fake trees, as well as a host of other festive greenery, can be bad news for your canines. For more information on this topic, you can take a look at this blog by TruGreen Lawn care Specialists – one of ServiceMaster’s family of brands.

We at ServiceMaster Restore would like to wish you a safe and happy Christmas. Remember to enjoy yourself and be responsible by following these precautions. And if the worst does happen and your home suffers serious damage from a fire or something else entirely – ServiceMaster Restore will be here to aid with the recovery and restoration.

You can find your nearest ServiceMaster Restore business here.

It’s a common misconception that cleaning and disinfecting are the same thing. To put it simply, cleaning is the process of removing dirt and disinfection is the process of removing or controlling the spread of viruses and bacteria.

In order to do the latter, you must first, clean! Here are our tips on cleaning and disinfecting:

  1. Use effective products

Always read the label – Most cleaning products will have a list of the dirt they can remove and the same goes for disinfection products for listing the viruses and bacteria that they are effective against with proper use.

  1. Follow the label instructions

Instructions on how to use the product effectively can also be found on the label. It’s important to read these, as instructions from product to product may vary. Some require use on a wet surface, some say to spray on to a cloth, not the surface directly and others say that that the product needs to be wiped off after a period of time. It’s important to use the product properly to ensure that the product is effective.

  1. PPE & Equipment

It’s a good idea to protect yourself whilst using cleaning and disinfection products. Products can get in to broken skin or in to your eyes and cause irritation. Goggles and gloves can help to minimise this risk whilst spraying and wiping in particular.

It’s best to use a microfibre cloth to clean and disinfect with. The micro fibres in the cloth give you better contact with the surface so that you can use the product more effectively. They can also be machine washed afterwards – just remember to wash all cloths separate to any clothing, bedding or other household textiles and at a high temperature.

  1. Keep it clean!

That goes for your hands and surfaces.

Remember to thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Regular hand washing helps to minimise the spread of viruses and infections.

Highly touched surfaces such as door handles, light switches, television remotes etc need regular attention. Ensure that they are free of any dirt and then disinfect.

If you would like to find out more about our cleaning and disinfection services, you can read more here, alternatively, find your nearest ServiceMaster Restore branch to book your service here