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BBB Torch Scholarships

12/5/2017 (Permalink)

Community BBB Torch Scholarships $20,000 in scholarships through the BBB of Eastern North Carolina

As a member of the BBB Educational Foundation of Eastern North Carolina, we proudly announce the 2018 BBB Torch Scholarships.  Check out the flyer about the scholarships or you can find out more information through the BBBscholarship.org . The application is easy and it is all online. It is a great way to get extra money for college and get recognized at our annual luncheon!  There is over $20,000 in scholarships available.

WHAT IS THE INTERNET OF THINGS?

11/8/2017 (Permalink)

What Is the Internet of Things?

The internet of things (IoT) is the technology that allows objects -- like home appliances and fixtures, cars, or devices -- to send and receive data via the internet.

For me, it helps to visualize it. When I think of the word "internet," for example, I think of a giant center of content, resources, and cute dog photos -- and the people who can share and obtain this information, all while communicating with each other, via a massive network that keeps us connected.

When it comes to the IoT, then, imagine adding inanimate objects to the situation, exchanging information and communicating with each other (and their end users) via the internet. It allows these objects to execute different commands and actions, making them "smart" or "connected."

For that reason, IoT typically has to be comprised of devices with power -- things that can be turned on or off, like lights or a refrigerator. But that's not always the case, which we'll get into later.

And that's just on the household level. On a much larger scale, IoT is used to connect and power entire transportation or manufacturing systems. It's referred to many as an "ecosystem," in that it's essentially an interconnected community of interacting people and objects, and the environments in which they operate.

So, Why Should You Care?

Consumers everywhere -- many of whom could very well be your customers or within your target audience -- are becoming more and more connected. As of January, about 4.917 billion of us are connected via mobile alone (up 5% from the previous year).

And as we, as humans, become more connected -- so do our surrounding lives and routines. How easy would it be for you to get through an average workday without your mobile device, for example? Personally, it almost seems impossible. It's all I use to make calls, get directions, and hail a car through a ride-sharing app when I need to get somewhere quickly. Plus, it's how I keep an eye on my pet, by way of a handy dog cam app. 

Chances are, I'm not alone in my dependence on connectivity. Many of your customers probably are, too. So, where does your brand fit in?

You might not think you have a product or service that, say, can be connected to the internet or to users via a digital network in the ways we described above. But when you consider that 30.7 billion devices are expected to be connected by 2020 (there were 15.4 billion in 2015), you may not be thinking ambitiously enough.

f you're not sure where to begin, here are three steps to get started.

1) Pay attention to the technology available to you.

Recently, at its annual Developer Conference, Samsung introduced Project Ambience: a small dongle that can be plugged into home objects and devices -- like an everyday speaker, for example -- and turn them into "smart," connected devices.

Now, bear in mind that this technology is equipped only to work with Bixby, Samsung's voice assistant. But it's a start. In my humble opinion, Project Ambiance is one small step at the start of a long, productive road toward smart technology's full capabilities. Other manufacturers are working on similar initiatives (such as Baidu DuerOS and Amazon Alexa, which have created tools for developers to build these AI assistants into applications and products) -- eventually, and hopefully, we'll reach a point where technology is developed that can work with any number of voice assistants. 

For that reason, it's a good idea for marketers to keep their fingers on the pulse of resources like these and how they're evolving, so that when they become available for use within your field, you can be one of the first to utilize them.

2) Anticipate the problems you'll run into.

When you kick off any new campaign or initiative, there's always chance that you'll run into a challenge. Sometimes, they're unanticipated -- but whenever you can plan for contingencies, do it.

That's one reason why I love the data in the image below. Although it's from 2015, because IoT is still an evolving piece of technology for many marketers and brands, it's good to keep in mind as you embark on incorporating it into your own strategies. Have a look, and think about the ways you can preemptively solve these challenges.

3) Start brainstorming, and look for inspiration in history.

One of the most important elements of staying ahead of the curve in marketing is -- if you'll excuse the cliche -- maintaining an open mind. Let's revisit the words I opened with: "Those of us who ignored [new technology] quickly fell behind the curve."

So, don't ignore it. Embrace it. Start thinking about the ways it can apply to what your business offers.

And if you're seeking inspiration, the Diageo example I used above is just one instance of how marketers have successfully used IoT. There's the ceiling fan company that use IoT to help customize its users' experiences with products. Or, have a look at the manufacturing automation company that uses connected, smart devices to reduce inventory cycles in plants.

In other words: There's still time to figure out where your brand fits in. But don't let it go to waste.

This information came from HubSpot.com, a great source of information about Technology.

WHAT'S THAT SMELL?

10/26/2017 (Permalink)

Odor removal is arguably one of the trickiest elements of the restoration process. Most damage is visible to the eye, and when it’s properly remediated, there is no argument the job is done. Odors, however, are very psychological in nature. As humans, we often associate smells with memories. That means before someone even enters their grandparents’ home, they may have the sweet smell of pipe tobacco embedded in their memory, and the moment they step into that home, they smell pipe tobacco, whether the smell is there or not.

When dealing with odors, there are 3 things that should always be remembered.

Do minimize the influence of psychological odors, there are a few things you can do:

  1. Ask them questions about the loss – and use that to help determine what odors they likely consider bad odors. Remember, odor is subjective. What might smell wonderful for some people might smell terrible to another. House fire victims may have at one point loved the smell of a bonfire, but may find that same smell nauseating after the loss.
  2. Minimize exposure – start the odor removal process right away, and keep the owners out of the home as much as possible to help keep that smell from becoming embedded in their brain when they look at their living room.
  3. Be kind – this can be hard when they smell something you don’t. But you need to trust them, and do what you can to eliminate even “phantom” odors.

Remember, communication is key in any restoration job, whether odor is involved or not. The more you communicate with the customer from the beginning about the restoration process, including what you do to thoroughly remove odors, the more they will trust that the job is getting done right from the very start.

A WALK TO REMEMBER

10/26/2017 (Permalink)

Community A WALK TO REMEMBER The Shore Grief Center

The Shore Grief Center is holding its annual Fundraiser walk “A Walk to Remember” on 11/11/17 at Southeastern Seminary. Registration opens at 12:00 pm and the walk starts at 1:00 pm. 

We start at the back of Patterson Hall which is across from the main campus. 

There is no charge to walk but donations are requested so we can continue to provide free grief support groups for kids, teens and adults. 

Register at bitly.com/shorewalk2017

For more information on The Shore Grief Center and the walk, visit theshoregriefcenter.org

P.S. we are still accepting sponsors as well as raffle items! 

 SERVPRO of Franklin, Vance and Granville Counties are proud to be a part of the YABA organization (Youngsville Area Business Association) who assists local businesses in the area with fund raisers, networking and fellowship. If you are a business owner in the area, I urge you to become a part of this great organization.

FOOD AND WATER SAFETY AFTER A STORM

10/26/2017 (Permalink)

Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, wildfires. Food and water safety may not be the first things people think about when they’re trying to put their lives and homes back together after a disaster, but the two should be near the top of their priority list.

The CDC has a wealth of information available on the subject.

After A Disaster:

Food: Throw away food that may have come in contact with flood or storm water; perishable foods that have not been refrigerated properly due to power outages; and those with an unusual odor, color, or texture. Unsafe food can make you sick even if it looks, smells, and tastes normal. When in doubt, throw it out.

Water: Do not use water you suspect or have been told is contaminated to wash dishes, brush your teeth, wash and prepare food, wash your hands, make ice, or make baby formula. Safe water for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene includes bottled, boiled, or treated water. Your state, local, or tribal health department can make specific recommendations for boiling or treating water in your area.

In greater detail:

Throw away the following foods:

  • Food that has an unusual odor, color, or texture. When in doubt, throw it out.
  • Perishable foods (including meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers) in your refrigerator when the power has been off for 4 hours or more.
  • Food not in packages or cans.
  • Canned foods or food containers that are bulging, opened, or damaged. Throw away the food if the container spurts liquid or foam when you open it or the food inside is discolored, is moldy, or smells bad.
  • Packaged food: Throw away food containers with screw-caps, snap-lids, crimped caps, twist caps, flip tops, and snap-open, and home-canned foods because they cannot be disinfected. Throw away food in cardboard containers, including juice/milk/baby formula boxes.

How to reuse commercially prepared cans and retort pouches (like flexible, shelf-stable juice and seafood packages):

  • Remove labels if they are removable.
  • Brush or wipe away dirt or silt.
  • Wash cans and pouches with soap and water, using hot water if available.
  • Rinse cans and pouches with water that is safe for drinking, if available.
  • Sanitize cans and pouches in one of two ways. 1.) Place them in a solution of 1 cup (8 oz/240 mL) of unscented household bleach in 5 gallons of water for 15 minutes. OR 2.) Submerge in a pot of water, bring to a boil, and continue boiling for 2 minutes.
  • Re-label cans or pouches with a marker. Include the expiration date.
  • Use food in reconditioned cans or pouches as soon as possible.

thawed food that contains ice crystals can be refrozen or cooked. Freezers, if left unopened and full during a power outage, will keep food safe for 48 hours (24 hours if half full).

Store food safely

  • While the power is out, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.

Feeding infants and young children when your tap water is unsafe

  • Breastfed infants should continue breastfeeding(https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/recommendations/food-safety-for-infants-after-a-disaster.html). For formula-fed infants, use ready-to-feed formula if possible. If using ready-to-feed formula is not possible, it is best to use bottled water to prepare powdered or concentrated formula when your tap water is unsafe. If bottled water is not available, check with local authorities to learn the status of your drinking water to see if boiling it will make it safe to drink. Use treated water (see water treatment instructions below) to prepare formula only if you do not have bottled or boiled water.
  • If water is contaminated with a chemical, boiling it will not remove the chemical or make it safe to consume.
  • If you prepare infant formula with boiled water, let the formula cool sufficiently before giving it to an infant. Put a couple drops of formula on the back of your hand to see if it is too hot.
  • Clean feeding bottles with bottled, boiled, or treated water before each use. Throw away baby bottle nipples or pacifiers that have been in contact with flood waters; they cannot be sanitized.
  • Wash your hands before preparing formula and before feeding an infant. You can use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if water is limited or unsafe.

Clean and sanitize food-contact surfaces that have been flooded

Throw out wooden cutting boards, baby bottle nipples, and pacifiers if they have come into contact with flood waters because they cannot be properly sanitized. Clean and sanitize food-contact surfaces in a four-step process:

  • Wash with soap and hot, clean water.
  • Rinse with clean water.
  • Sanitize by immersing for 1 minute in a solution of 1 cup (8 oz/240 mL) of unscented household chlorine bleach in 5 gallons of clean water.
  • Allow to air dry.

Note: Do not use your fireplace for cooking until the chimney has been inspected for cracks and damage. Sparks may escape into your attic through an undetected crack and start a fire.

Safe drinking water

Make water safe

Water often can be made safe to drink by boiling, adding disinfectants, or filtering.

IMPORTANT: Water contaminated with fuel or toxic chemicals will not be made safe by boiling or disinfection. Use a different source of water if you know or suspect that water might be contaminated with fuel or toxic chemicals.

Boil water:

If you don’t have safe bottled water, you should boil water to make it safe. Boiling is the surest method to make water safer to drink by killing disease-causing organisms, including viruses, bacteria, and parasites.

You can improve the flat taste of boiled water by pouring it from one clean, disinfected container to another and then allowing it to stand for a few hours, OR by adding a pinch of salt for each quart or liter of boiled water.

If the water is cloudy:

  • Filter it through a clean cloth, paper towel, or coffee filter OR allow it to settle.
  • Draw off the clear water.
  • Bring the clear water to a rolling boil for one minute (at elevations above 6,500 feet, boil for three minutes).
  • Let the boiled water cool.
  • Store the boiled water in clean sanitized containers with tight covers.

If the water is clear:

  • Bring the clear water to a rolling boil for 1 minute (at elevations above 6,500 feet, boil for 3 minutes).
  • Let the boiled water cool.

Store the boiled water in  clean, sanitized containers(https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/emergency/drinking/cleaning-preparing-storage-containers.html) with tight covers.

WATER DAMAGE DUE TO BROKEN PIPES

10/26/2017 (Permalink)

Addressing A Water Damage Crisis Due To Broken Pipes

The average home and business owner doesn't have even a working knowledge of the sophisticated pipe systems that make for a smoothly functioning environment. Water Damage professionals certainly know these systems well, though. They are often to blame for accumulating water in the home. Over time, these pipes can corrode, leading to a pipe break that eventually results in a flooded home. The pipe break may be confined to a single room, such as the kitchen and bathroom, where water pipes reside.

Water damage from a pipe break is a common reason to call restoration professionals. A restoration company can assess water in the home or water in the business and determine if it is a result of a pipe break. When pipes break, it's natural to not immediately know the cause of the leak. All the home or business owner might know is that water is leaking out into the floor and the flooded home is a cause of distress.

Even more distressing, water cleanup after a broken pipe can result in a messy cleanup. Sometimes these pipes are corroded and just plain old, leading to dirty water accumulating on floors and the bottoms of other surfaces. There's no reason to panic and let water damage invade a kitchen or bathroom. A restoration professional can quickly be on the scene to assess the situation and begin mitigation.

In the case of broken pipes, the water is likely to be confined to a single room. If the break is big enough, though the water can quickly accumulate on the floor and begin to spill over into other rooms, making it vital to get speedy water cleanup professionals on the scene. Having experience in these situation, restoration professionals will either know how to stop the leak altogether or they will know exactly what other professionals to bring on the scene to halt the accumulation of water in the home or water in the business.

Mitigation involves several steps that the restoration company will be able to take on first thing upon arrival. They will inspect the area and determine the cause of the water accumulation. Sometimes it's coming from flood damage, sometimes from a supply line break, and sometimes from other sources of water in the home or water in the business. When it's from a broken pipe, it's vital to have the leak stopped before water cleanup.

Once they've inspected and stopped the leak, mitigation continues to prevent further damage. The restoration company will begin by inspecting the scene, extracting water from the area, drying and humidifying the area, cleaning and sanitizing the area, and then restoring anything that was damaged in the break. A supply line break, flooding, or leaking appliance will differ from a pipe problem. Experienced mitigation experts generally know when to skip a step or more fully concentrate on a particular step.

Water damage from a broken pipe can damage flooring very quickly, spilling over onto carpeting, and quickly getting on furniture. Restoration will be necessary if the leak continues for long enough. Water cleanup steps like drying will be an essential part of the water cleanup efforts. If you're wondering why you can't do the drying yourself, keep in mind that deep water is going to quickly begin to damage the structure of flooring. Time is of the essence and only a restoration company is going to have the drying equipment that makes a speedy cleanup possible. The same goes for when pipes leak water in a business. The professionals are the only people with the necessary equipment.

Mitigation experts are capable of extracting and cleaning water due to broken pipes, but they're also capable of helping people who have flood damage from a flooded home, or people who have water due to a supply line break. Flood damage can be an especially tricky cleanup matter, due to the amount of mud and chemicals often found in flood water. No matter what the reason - a supply line break or a flooded home that causes flood damage - you can always call on restoration professionals to get the job done.

FIRE DAMAGE RESTORATION

10/26/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Restoration Tips

According to the National Fire Protection Association, one out of 320 homeowners may experience a fire in their home. Commercial fire damage is also very common in the United States, averaging around 80,000 yearly due to kitchen fires, electrical problems, or even arson.

Experiencing fire damage can be devastating for homeowners or business owners. Whether you have experienced commercial fire damage or a fire in your home, not knowing what to do next can add to your frustration.

After a fire, it is essential to start fire damage restoration immediately to avoid the skyrocketing costs associated with delayed repair. Below are some tips to help you with the process fire cleanup, typical services of a restoration company and problems to expect after fire damage.

What to expect after experiencing fire damage

After having a fire in your business or in your home, it is important to inform your insurance to let them know that you will need a fire damage restoration company to perform your fire cleanup. It is recommended that you do not attempt to do it yourself because after the fire, you will likely have to clean up toxic materials or may not have the proper equipment needed to eliminate problems such as soot damage or smoke smell.

If you have a fire in your home or if you have commercial fire damage, some common issues that you likely face will be:

Soot damage: It is best to hire a restoration company to do fire cleanup for ash residue. Soot is highly acid. Therefore, expect discoloration and deterioration of anything within the vicinity of the fire.

Any porous materials that were near the fire in your home or business will usually start changing color immediately or after a few minutes. It usually takes a few hours for home appliances, carpets and walls to start yellowing from soot damage. If you have any upholstery that is contaminated by ash, the fabrics may start deteriorating after the fire. Furthermore, fires in a business may also experience corrosion in the bathrooms and ventilation system.


Solution: For soot damage, you will need to make sure the property is vacuumed with a HEPA vacuum cleaner. The entire area will need to be cleaned with a soot sponge and an alkalizing cleaner to neutralize the acid within the ash. If you have contact with ash residue, you may experience a skin irritation, so it's best to leave this process to a professional restoration company. Also, if improper fire cleanup is used, you could risk driving the soot deeper into the material you are cleaning.

Smoke damage and smoke smells: Unfortunately, getting rid of smoke damage can be a pain, especially after commercial fire damage. If not fixed immediately with appropriate fire damage restoration techniques, smoke smells can potentially reappear later, which can potentially turn off customers. Also, smoke damage will leave a film over any materials in the area. Also, furniture may rust or the paint may stain your carpet after a prolonged period of time.

Solution: Smoke damage isn't always permanent. To get rid of smoke smells, experts will likely use specialty equipment such as rotary scrubbers and steam extractors for deep cleaning. For smoke smell, they will likely use foggers to deodorize the area. To protect your floors from staining, proper tools such as foam blocks should be used. Also, if you have any important documents that experienced fire damage, your restoration company may be able to perform document restoration to your files.

Broken windows and collapsed walls: After a fire, it's possible that you will need to board up your walls or windows. If you delay in boarding up after a fire in your business or home, however, you run a risk of potential theft or vandalization inside your property.

Solution: To avoid the hassle of having to find the proper equipment to protect your property, hire a good fire restoration company to do the boarding up for you. The most important thing after a fire in your business or a home fire is having a peace of mind and knowing that everything is boarded up properly will help. If your roof is damaged, expert fire damage restoration should include emergency repair services or they will hire a subcontractor for help.

HOW DO YOU RECOVER FROM A COMMERCIAL FIRE DAMAGE

10/26/2017 (Permalink)

After the fire suppression process is over and the fire truck pulls away, you're responsible for the fire restoration. Here are the steps that you need to follow after the firefighters leave:


1. Finance The Fire Restoration:


The best way to finance fire restoration is to contact your insurance company immediately. It might be possible to contact the company immediately even if the fire damage occurred outside of business hours. Look to see if they have a separate number for off hours emergencies. If they don't have an emergency line, it may be possible to contact them using an online chat. Also, check to see if your insurance company covers fire damage board up services.

Your insurance company is likely to have information about the fire restoration companies in your area. They also may be able to recommend a fire damage board up company.

2. Hire A Board Up Service As Quickly As Possible:


Once the fire truck is gone, your business is extremely vulnerable to burglary and graffiti. Additionally, firefighters don't remove soot from surfaces. If soot settles over a period of several weeks, it can become nearly impossible to repair soot damage. A board up service can secure the building and remove soot from surfaces, including materials that were damaged in a utility room fire.

3. Pick The Right Company To Repair The Commercial Fire Damage:


The company that you choose should be experienced with commercial fire damage, including recovery from electrical fires and utility room fires. Attempt to find a company that has been certified by the IIRC, and look for a Better Business Bureau accreditation.

It's important to see what customers have said about the fire damage restoration company. These are some of the best websites to look for reviews:

Google
Angie's List
Yelp
The Better Business Bureau Website

Soot Damage And Smoke Damage:


In many cases of commercial fire damage, soot damage and smoke damage is most destructive. Therefore, it's extremely important to pick a company that specializes in fixing soot damage and smoke damage. It's also essential that the company offers smoke damage deodorization.

Damage Caused By The Fire Truck And Fire Sprinkler System:


The fire hoses that most firefighters use cause water damage. A fire truck has multiple fire hoses capable of spraying more than 1,000 gallons of water per minute, and this is more than enough to cause mold growth. The fire sprinkler system often makes the water damage even more severe. The high pressure of the fire hose also increases the severity of the water damage. Therefore, it's important to make sure that the restoration company you choose specializes in repairing the damage caused by the fire hose and fire sprinkler system.

Damage Caused By Other Fire Suppression Techniques:


Many dry chemical fire suppression techniques can be as damaging as water. Make sure that the restoration company you choose specializes in repairing damage caused by all fire suppression techniques, including dry chemical fire sprinkler systems.

4. The Cause Of The Fire Must Be Determined:


If the firefighters didn't determine the cause of the fire, make sure that the restoration company will investigate the cause of your commercial fire damage and repair it. Make sure that the company considers the following potential causes during the investigation:

Electrical Fire
Utility Room Fire (can be caused in multiple ways, including by electrical fires)
The Heating System (sometimes an electrical fire and a common cause of utility room fires)
Cigarettes
Cooking

JOIN YOUR LOCAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

10/19/2017 (Permalink)

Commercial JOIN YOUR LOCAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce promoting our Local Police Department

Being a member of your Local Chamber of Commerce can give you many advantages in marketing your business. They are very supportive of all the local businesses and you will be put on their company directory, that way, if someone new moves in to the area and are looking for a specific kind of business or industry, they can go to the Chamber Directory and you will be listed there. Not only that, the Chamber sponsors many networking events throughout the year that gives you an opportunity to mingle and meet the other businesses in your community and they will then be able to recommend your business to someone who is looking for your specific type of business or product. Not only is this a benefit for your business, but it also promotes buying at home.

ATTENDING LOCAL EVENTS

10/19/2017 (Permalink)

Commercial ATTENDING LOCAL EVENTS 6th Annual Business Summit

There are so many helpful events that are held during the year for small businesses that can give you insight to what is happening in the Business World in your area. I will be attending the 6th Annual Business Summit sponsored by CenturyLink at the Lake Gaston Lions Club in Henrico, NC on Tuesday, October 24, 2017. This even is an all day Summit that incorporates Networking between local businesses as well as speakers that have wonderful tips on growing your business in a local community like ours. Everything from Shopping local to how to boost your business during the Holidays will be covered. Come on out and join us for this fun and educational day that can help you boost your business not only during the busy times of the year, but the entire year and meet some of your business colleagues at the same time.