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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

Overview Of Commercial Service

11/30/2017 (Permalink)

Your commercial property’s appearance speaks volumes to your clients. So when the need arises for professional cleaning or emergency restoration services, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals have the training and expertise to help make it “Like it never even happened.”

Have Questions? Call Today

Commercial Building Restoration Services

We are available 24 hours a day to get your business back up and running. Our expertise includes restoration services for fire and water damage, including electronics restoration and document drying. We are also your business’s best resource for mold remediation. Learn more about our commercial restoration services:

Commercial Building Cleaning Services

Whether your need is removing an odor problem or deep cleaning flooring or carpets, you can depend on a SERVPRO Franchise Professional to get the job done right the first time. They’ll respond promptly and make your workspace look its very best. Learn more about our Commercial Cleaning Service.

https://www.SERVPRO.com/commercial-restoration-cleaning

Fire Damage Emergency Tips

11/30/2017 (Permalink)

After any fire damage situation, your primary focus should be safety:

  • Is it safe to stay in the house?
  • Electrical and "slip and fall" hazards are some of the most prevalent concerns.
  • Only do activities that are safe for you to perform.
  • Wet materials can be VERY heavy. Be careful!

Have A Fire or Smoke Damage Emergency? 
Call 1-800-SERVPRO

What To Do After A Fire

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
  • Keep hands clean so as not to further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
  • Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open.
  • Clean and protect chrome with light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.
  • Wash houseplants on both sides of leaves.
  • Change HVAC filter.
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.

What NOT To Do After A Fire

  • Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting your SERVPRO Franchise Professional.
  • Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat or water without consulting an authorized repair service.
  • Don't use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat or water.
  • Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.
  • Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.

https://www.SERVPRO.com/fire-damage-tips

Fire Damage And Restoration

11/30/2017 (Permalink)

Fires can be especially devastating to your home or business. After the fire trucks leave, your property will likely suffer from not only fire and smoke damage, but also widespread water damage and flooding from firefighting efforts. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals have specialized fire and water damage restoration training and experience to quickly clean up and restore your home to pre-fire condition. They also can remove the pervasive smoke odor and deep-clean soot from upholstery and carpet. 

Please refer to our Fire Damage Tips - Until Help Arrives Guide and follow these tips to protect yourself and your property.

SERVPRO Franchise Professionals

Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage? Call Today 1-800-SERVPRO

Why Choose SERVPRO Franchise Professionals?

They’re Faster to Any Size Disaster

SERVPRO Franchise Professionals are dedicated to responding immediately when you need help with a fire or water damage event. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces cost.

Learn More

They’re Fire and Water Damage Specialists

They specialize in fire and water damage restoration, the cornerstone of our business. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals have extensive training and equipment to get your property back to pre-fire condition.

  • Fire & Smoke Restoration Technician
  • Odor Control Technician
  • Upholstery & Fabric Cleaning Technician
  • Water Damage Restoration Technician

Learn More

They Have a Restore vs. Replace Mentality

SERVPRO Franchise Professionals clean and restore your property using specialized equipment and cleaning techniques. Their “restore first” mentality reduces interruption and gets you back to your life.

Learn More

The Fire Damage Restoration Process

SERVPRO Franchise Professionals know just how devastating a fire can be. Fire and water damage can leave your house unsafe and unlivable. They’re trained to clean and restore your home with as little disruption as possible. Learn more about the fire damage restoration process.

Step1: Emergency Contact

Step 2: Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment

Step 3: Immediate Board-Up and Roof Tarp Service (if needed)

Step 4: Water Removal and Drying (if water damage is present)

Step 5: Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces

Step 6: Cleaning and Repair

Step 7: Restoration

https://www.SERVPRO.com/fire-smoke-damage-restoration

Safe Flood Clean-Up Tips

11/30/2017 (Permalink)

Before entering a building where flood damage may have occurred, make sure it’s safe: check for electrical hazards and structural damage, and use proper protective gear like boots, gloves and respirators. Before you start any construction or repairs, check for common hazardous materials like lead paint and asbestos, which may require help from professional and State-licensed contractors.

Then, follow these tips:

  • Act quickly
    The severity of damage escalates the longer water sits and building components and contents stay wet, so time is of the essence in the aftermath of a flood. In fact, mold will grow within 48-72 hours, so aim to start removing water and drying the environment within 48 hours. Have a list of professionals on hand to call, and understand your insurance policy, as some only cover mold damage up to a certain amount, while others don’t provide any reimbursement for mold.
  • Ventilate affected areas to prevent mold growth
    Mold loves moisture and organic materials such as paper or particleboard. In order to mitigate or slow damage, open windows if weather permits and place fans inside of them to keep air moving and maintain moderate temperatures. Work toward the fan as you clean to minimize cross contamination.
  • Assess damage to items and materials
    Assess the type of water absorbed by items, such as rainwater, water from broken pipes, contaminated river water or bacteria-filled sewage. There are ways to salvage specialty items but the decision on whether to save or trash an item will vary depending on the dollar and sentimental value to the owner. It may not be worthwhile to salvage drywall, carpets and pads, mattresses, pillows, box springs and particleboard. On the other hand, it might be worthwhile to restore costly Persian rugs, leather couches and antiques or heirlooms. Wet clothing and many household fabrics may be salvageable through machine washing, and a 10-minute soak in detergent and hot water, to remove contamination and stains. The IICRC strongly recommends that in water damages where there are contaminants present (e.g., bacteria, sewage, mold) or where small children or immune-compromised individuals are present that an inspection be conducted by an appropriately trained restorer and remediator.
  • Expose pockets of saturation
    Hidden and concealed pockets of saturation need to be opened for cleaning and drying. Layers between building materials hold water that must be discovered and removed or dried. On walls, find the water line and inspect at least a foot beyond it to make sure all damage, wet materials and mold are discovered. Remove and discard the damaged drywall and wet wall insulation. Wet carpets can usually be dried by professionals with the right equipment, but carpet padding, which is like a big sponge, should be discarded. Wood base trim and hardwood can also be saved with the right equipment if they can be accessed and completely dried on both sides. Remember to investigate concealed cavities such as behind walls, in mechanical spaces, under cabinets and furniture, and in crawl spaces.
  • Conduct a thorough cleaning
    Durable, non-porous or semi-porous materials, such as studs and joists, hardwood flooring and vinyl products, can be cleaned with common cleaning products or specialized products with detergents. During cleaning, take care to protect areas that are unaffected by the water or mold. After a thorough cleaning of salvageable materials, a disinfectant solution may need to be applied in case of harmful bacteria from sewage, river water debris or even standing water that has gone bad. Professionals like water restoration and mold remediation contractors and indoor environmental professionals can help you decide what is best for your situation. Once you’ve cleaned the wet materials, conduct another round of cleaning. If you choose to vacuum, use a HEPA-filter vacuum to remove allergens, fine dust and spores.
  • Confirm drying before reconstruction
    In order to prevent dry rot and structural damage, it’s important not to reconstruct or cover wood and other wet materials until the moisture content has been adequately reduced. A water restoration professional can confirm proper drying before reconstruction.

Water Damage Overview

11/30/2017 (Permalink)

Water damage can be deceptive. Water penetrates into structural cavities creating trapped pockets of saturation. The detection of water in these areas can often only be discovered with sophisticated moisture detection meters. Undetected moisture will continue to cause damage. This damage, at a minimum, will cause odors. Greater damage will surface when materials delaminate, shrink, split and further deteriorate to where costly repairs are required.

More than just removing excess water, IICRC-certified restorers have the knowledge and equipment to further dry a home or facility (including substructure materials) completely back to preloss conditions. Through timely response and the careful monitoring of water damage, mold and other health issues can be prevented. If water damage has been present too long, mold will occur.

All IICRC-certified professionals have the training and experience to identify moisture sources, evaluate mold growth (visible or suspected), contain damage, remove contamination and dry materials to ensure that mold will not return.

Professional restoration technicians understand the need for quick response. Immediate remediation is key to controlling any escalating costs. The longer the remediation is delayed, the higher the cost of restoration. Certified restorers have the knowledge to test materials and apply the restoration techniques required to return the items to their preloss condition.

How To Prepare For The Next Big Storm

11/27/2017 (Permalink)

Damage from a neighbor’s tree is usually covered by your insurer, not your neighbor’s.

Cover windows properly. Experts used to recommend taping windows to limit breakage to a few large pieces, rather than many smaller ones. But small and large pieces can be equally deadly. A safer bet: Keep windows shut and close blinds, shades, and drapes. Longer-term, consider impact-resistant windows or hurricane shutters (about $40 per square foot), which might also net you an insurance discount.

Secure outdoor items. High winds can turn lawn chairs, potted plants, trash cans, and other outdoor items into deadly projectiles. Move whatever you can into a garage, a shed, or a basement.

Park cars on high ground. Two feet of floodwater can carry a car away. What’s more, driving in water just 8 inches deep can ruin the engine if the water seeps in through the air intake. Park at a high elevation or on a hill—but not beneath trees.

Protect your valuables. Move what you can to higher floors if you expect flooding. Also think ahead by documenting and photographing items you’d include in an insurance claim if lost or ruined.

Stock up on essentials

Build an emergency kit. It should have a whistle to attract help, dust masks, duct tape, a wrench or pliers to turn off water if needed, flashlights and batteries, and local maps. Plan on 1 gallon of water per person per day for at least three days. Include moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation. Also consider changes of clothing and sleeping bags or blankets.

Be prepared for injuries. A first-aid kit should be stocked with bandages in various sizes, sterile dressings and gloves, hand sanitizer and antibiotic towelettes, a thermometer, pain medicines, tweezers, and scissors.

Fuel up. Fill all of your vehicles’ tanks, because gas stations could lose power. ­Remember that most gas generators ­require roughly 12 to 20 gallons of gas per day. Also figure on at least a gallon of gas for extensive chainsawing. Store all fuel away from the house.

Have the right phones. Keep at least one corded phone because cordless phones require AC power. Our post-Sandy survey also found that cell phones were more reliable than landline phones, though we lack data on differences for fiber and cable vs.older copper-wire systems. Be sure cell phones are charged. And have an out-of-town contact you can call, because long-distance phone service can be more reliable than local service during and after a storm.

Get the right foods. Frozen food may last two days without power, but refrigerated items can spoil after 4 hours. Keep at least a three-day supply of nonperishable foods such as crackers, whole-grain cereals, and canned foods. And don’t forget the manual can opener.

Check your fire extinguishers. You should have one with a minimum classification of “2-A:10-B:C” on each floor. Check the dial or pop-up pin for adequate pressure each month. Professionally repressurize extinguishers older than six years, and replace any older than 12 years.

Prepare for special needs. Tell your utility and local fire department before a storm if someone in your home uses an oxygen concentrator, ventilator, or medical bed; your power could be restored sooner. And keep a one-month supply of medication during hurricane season.

Tune in. A battery-powered or hand-cranked radio will keep you connected if your computer or the Internet is down. NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather radios are also handy for emergency information.

Have some ready cash. Banks and ATMs could be out of service, assuming you can get to them.

Stay safe during the storm

Find the safest place. Stay in a central room without windows. Have kids? Ease the fear factor with books, a toy or two, and if you have power or a generator, some movies and video games.

Avoid electrocution risks. Don’t use any plug-in device if flooding or wetness is nearby. Landline phones can also be a shock hazard in an electrical storm. If you must make a call during a storm, use a cell or cordless phone if possible—or use a land­line phone’s speaker mode to reduce contact with the handset. Avoid baths and showers until the storm passes. And watch out for downed power lines and live wires.

Use cars safely. Obey emergency crews and follow designated routes. If your vehicle stalls in water, shut off the ignition and seek higher ground; the leading cause of Sandy-related deaths was drowning.

What To Do In A Storm

11/27/2017 (Permalink)

What to do in a storm

There are a number of things that you can do to make sure you and your property stay safe during storms. For life-threatening emergencies call 911.

What to do before the storm

Ensure you do the following before a severe storm arrives:

  • Check that loose items such as outdoor settings, umbrellas and trampolines are safely secured.
  • If it is safe to do so, check gutters, downpipes and drains are not blocked.
  • Park your car undercover and away from trees.

What to do during the storm

Ensure you do the following during a severe storm:

  • Stay indoors and away from windows.
  • If outdoors, shelter away from drains, gutters, creeks and waterways.
  • Be prepared for power outages.
  • Floodwater is dangerous – never drive, walk or ride through floodwater.
  • Floodwater is toxic – never play or swim in floodwater.

What to do after the storm

Ensure you do the following after a severe storm:

  • Check your home and property for damage.
  • Keep clear of damaged buildings, powerlines and trees.
  • Be aware of road hazards such as floodwater, debris and damaged roads or bridges.
  • Do not drive through affected areas unless it is necessary.

Reduce Flood Damage To Your Business

11/27/2017 (Permalink)

Your plan for disaster preparedness should include flood information and outline how to prepare for floods. Read on for information about floods and flood safety tips, and how to make them part of your emergency preparedness plan as you prepare for a flood.

Types Of Flooding

Topography and weather conditions play a prominent role in the impact different types of flooding have on specific locales. The following are some examples of specific types of flooding.

  • Rising water may be the greatest risk to inland areas away from a river bed after a heavy snow pack begins to melt or after heavy rainfall.
  • Moving water is a serious risk in areas near rivers or in coastal storm surge areas because it creates significantly larger lateral forces on a building.
  • Overtopping, breaching or opening of dams, levees, and other flood control mechanisms, which are designed to divert the flow of water to provide protection, can lead to flood damage that may be more significant than if the levees were never installed. The Mississippi and Missouri River floods of 2011 included breaches of levees, as well as controlled flooding by the opening of various flood gates on levees. The result was thousands of acres of farmland, crops, livestock and fish farms being destroyed to protect urban areas.
  • Flash flooding can occur in every region as a result of slow-moving thunderstorms or excessive rainfall from any storm system.
  • Large, slow-moving tropical storms can dump excessive amounts of rain on coastal locations and then move inland to continue the devastation, resulting in widespread flood damage.

Floods can occur anywhere, often with little or no warning, and with devastating consequences. Protecting the bottom line in order to remain open, or to re-open quickly after a flood disaster, requires taking steps now to prevent or reduce flood damage should your business be in the path of rising water. Below is a brief overview of issues that small businesses must address to reduce the likelihood of flood damage and to prepare financially and operationally should a flood occur. Many of the topics covered here involve complex issues that are best addressed by hydrological, engineering, regulatory or insurance experts; the goal here is simply to outline the basics in order to help business owners understand why they need to mitigate against flood risk and some of the challenges they may face.

Tropical Storm Allison (2001): A Case Study in Flooding

Often, businesses and homeowners let down their guard when a tropical weather system does not result in hurricane-force winds. Tropical Storm Allison is a good example of how rains associated with a tropical system can be equally devastating. The storm dumped approximately 32 trillion gallons of rain (enough to meet U.S. water needs for an entire year), according to the Tropical Storm Allison Recovery Project. This included 28 inches of rainfall during a 12-hour period just northeast of downtown Houston, and rainfall amounts ranging from 10, 20 and 30 inches in locations throughout the Southeast—earning Allison the infamous distinction as the costliest tropical storm in U.S. history.

Understanding Your Flood Hazard

There are several flood principles that should be considered to determine your facility’s exposure to flood waters and the type of protection to be deployed:

  • Duration: It is important to know if flood waters are expected to recede quickly or may be trapped due to the slope of the land. The longer a facility is exposed to flood waters, the greater potential for flood-proofing failures due to a breach in the protection.
  • Depth: Flood waters greater than 3 feet create hydrostatic pressure on walls that can cause cracks in masonry and greatly increase the potential of collapse to unreinforced masonry. When estimating the potential depth of flood waters, it is always best to include a safety factor to account for inaccuracies in the estimate.
  • Velocity: As flood water velocity increases, so does the pressure exerted on flood protection. River flooding can be very fast moving water at first and then may settle down. Coastal locations may be exposed to wave action from storm surge.
  • Water Condition: Many times flood waters are dirty, brackish or contaminated with biological and chemical materials including waste water, sewage, pesticides, industrial waste, toxic and non-toxic chemicals, or oils. Debris that is churning in the water can impact buildings and flood protection systems, create breaches in the protection and cause extensive damage.

Location, Location, Location

Proximity to water is the number 1 risk factor for flooding, but property owners should not assume being out of the floodplain will help you entirely avoid the possibility of flooding. It is always a best practice to locate your property as far away from bodies of water as possible. Flood maps available from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) identify 100-year and 500-year flood zones throughout the United States. The flood zones also delineate participation in the NFIP, as well as permitting and other requirements that communities adopt in order to meet NFIP standards and qualify their citizens for lower flood insurance rates. By definition, the 100-year and 500-year flood zones mean there is a 1 (.20) percent chance of flooding annually in an area based on topography and historical data; it does not mean that flooding will occur only once in a century (or 500 years). There also are other important points to consider.

  • Floods can and very often do occur outside the 100-year flood zone. In fact, approximately 25 percent of all flood damages occur in relatively low risk zones commonly described as being “outside the mapped flood zone.”
  • Specific boundaries on some flood maps may be arbitrary or include inaccuracies. For example, a property lying just outside the 100-year flood zone is almost equally likely to be flooded as one just within.
  • Obstructions or landfill can change the topography, storm-water drainage patterns, and flow of water over natural floodplains. Although permits are required for flood zone fill (and must be based on engineering assessments demonstrating “no impact”), it is possible that non-permitted work has occurred near your property.
  • Floods show no respect for the estimated probabilities. As Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Director Craig Fugate observed following a spate of natural disasters, “It just seemed like it was back-to-back and it came in waves. The term ‘100-year event’ really lost its meaning this year.”

The Importance of Elevation

When it comes to flooding, there really is no better solution than adequate elevation, aside from choosing a location well outside of a 500-year flood plain. If such a location is not possible, the best way to increase the safety margin against flood damage is to raise the elevation of your building above the 500-year flood elevation. Flood-proofing your building is another option to reduce damage. Through the NFIP, there is extensive regulation of floodplain development at the community level.

Permits are needed for a wide range of activities including construction of new buildings, additions to existing buildings, and substantial improvement to the interior of existing buildings that are within the most hazardous flood zones. Part of the permitting process involves whether your building site is higher than the base flood elevation (BFE), which is the elevation at which your property has a 1 percent chance of flooding annually, as indicated on the NFIP flood maps. Major storms and flash floods can cause waters to rise higher than the BFE—therefore, it is always a good investment to build in a safety factor several feet above the BFE. This safety zone is called “freeboarding.”

For example, IBHS’s FORTIFIED for Safer Business™ Standards, a package of enhanced voluntary construction standards that greatly increase a new light commercial building’s durability and resilience to natural hazards, requires FORTIFIED buildings to be at least 3 feet above the BFE or above the 500-year flood elevation. There are also ways to retrofit your existing building so that it meets or exceeds BFEs. While only a structural engineer/design professional can determine what is right for your property, the options include raising foundation onto pilings or columns or adding landfill, as long as “no impact” floodplain requirements are met.

  • When elevating a building so that the walking surface of the lowest floor is at the minimum elevation, areas under the BFE can be used only for parking and limited storage—under-floor bathrooms, utilities, and ductwork are not allowed.
  • Equipment, utility connections and all interior utility systems including ductwork must be elevated above the BFE. In addition, fuel and propane tanks must be properly anchored, since they can become buoyant even in shallow water.

What is “Dry Flood-Proofing”?

Sealing a building so that water will not enter is called “dry flood-proofing” or “flood-proofing.” Flood-proofing protects your building by coating the exterior with a membrane to prevent flood waters from entering. NFIP regulations allow flood-proofing as an alternative to elevation above the BFE for newly constructed or substantially improved non-residential structures only—new and improved homes must be elevated above the BFE to meet NFIP requirements. It is important to determine whether dry flood-proofing will provide the protections your property needs before choosing this option. This also applies if your business is located outside the 100-year flood zone, but you want to invest in additional flood protection. Dry flood-proofing is a complex procedure that should be done by professional experts. If done incorrectly, it may not protect your property and can lead to decay, mold, or termite damage:

  • As a general matter, dry flood-proofing is best suited to areas with clay soils where floods are short in duration and less than 3 feet deep.
  • Buildings in poor structural condition should not be dry flood-proofed, as the exterior walls will be under extreme pressure during a flood.

There are a variety of dry flood-proofing measures; a professional can help to determine whether any of them are right for your situation:

  • Applying a waterproof coating or membrane to exterior walls
  • Sealing all wall penetrations including where utilities enter the building
  • Installing waterproof shields over all openings, including windows and doors
  • Anchoring the building to resist flotation
  • Strengthening walls to withstand flood water pressures and flood debris

The Vulnerable Basement

Even above the BFE or outside the floodplain, basements are prone to floods because water may flow down into them. They also may have an increased hydrostatic pressure exerted upon them when the surrounding ground is saturated. Recognizing that elevation is the best form of mitigation, there are a number of additional measures business owners can take to reduce the likelihood and scope of basement flood damage.

  • Thoroughly inspect your basement and the surrounding property for evidence of water entry and sources of water flow and leakage.
  • Correct potential problems—for example, extend and redirect downspouts, re-grade sloping landscape, and caulk any interior wall cracks.
  • Basement walls should be designed to resist hydrostatic pressure.
  • Use flood-resistant materials where possible, including floor coverings, wall coverings, and wall insulation. Most flood-resistant materials can withstand direct contact with water for at least 72 hours without being significantly damaged.
  • Do not store valuable equipment, documents, or inventory in any crawlspace or basement where flooding is possible.

The “Green” Factor

In addition, there are steps you can take now to reduce health and environmental damage should a flood occur.

  • Anchor fuel and propane tanks to prevent them from being swept away. When they break away, the contents may leak, creating fire, explosion and pollution risks that can adversely affect health and the environment.
  • Install sewer backflow valves to block drain pipes from sewage back-up, which can occur if there is flooding in your area.
  • If you are supplied by well water, protect your well from contamination. A licensed well drilling contractor can inspect your well and suggest improvements.

https://disastersafety.org/flood/reduce-flood-damage-to-businesses/

3 Ways To Prevent Flood Damage To Your Business

11/27/2017 (Permalink)

The reality of nature unleashing its wrath can cause you to lose thousands of dollars in flood damage. Small businesses, which are the economic and often social engine of many communities, can be the most adversely affected by this calamity.

Floods can occur anywhere, often with little or no warning, and with devastating consequences. Protecting the bottom-line in order to remain open, or to re-open quickly after a flood disaster, requires taking steps now to prevent or reduce flood damage should your business be in the path of rising water.

Below are issues that small businesses must address to reduce the likelihood of flood damage and to prepare financially and operationally should a flood occur.

Elevate Your Property

The most effective ways to reduce or avoid flood damage are to elevate the building properly and/or choose a location well outside a high-risk flood plain. If such a location is not possible, the best way to increase the safety margin against flood damage is to raise the elevation of your building above Base Flood Elevation (BFE) for your location. Generally, buildings be at least 3 feet above the BFE, to account for flash flooding or higher than expected flooding levels. You can learn what the BFE is on your property by contacting your local building department.

Transfer All Important Items to Higher Levels

As a business owner, you know how important your documents and equipment are to effectively run your business. If you have a 2nd floor, locate your computers, servers, files and other equipment on the 2nd floor or higher. No matter how much you try to prevent flood damage by choosing a location for your business which is in higher ground, you can never be too sure. To avoid the hassle of panicking and making last-minute efforts to bring all heavy and vital equipment upstairs.

http://www.msfs.com.au/3-ways-to-prevent-flood-damage-in-your-business/

What To Expect When Mold Remediation Takes Place

11/15/2017 (Permalink)

Day 1: Kill Mold with Biocide

  • Company Prepares:  The mold remediation company will park a truck as near as possible to the doorway, lay down plastic sheeting, and run hoses through the house to the mold area. If the mold area is accessible from the outside (such as a crawlspace), so much the better. A good mold remediation company will take care to keep your house clean while they do the work.
  • Suiting-Up Process:  As with any other potentially hazardous process, such as the removal of lead-based paint or asbestos, mold remediation workers fully suit up for action: head-to-toe white suits, booties, respirators, and goggles.  This does not necessarily mean that the mold remediation company will be removing toxic mold. This is the usual procedure for any job they are dealing with.
  • Spray Down:  The first step of this two-step process is to spray the mold area with biocide. Biocide is an EPA-approved liquid which kills mold. Note that bleach is not approved by the EPA for killing mold. Typically, this first step should take less time than the second step.
  • Wait:  After the workers leave, the biocide goes to work, killing the mold spores.

Day 2: Spray Mold Area with Encapsulant

Next day, the mold remediation company returns. Again, clear access is needed.

  • Encapsulation:  The workers will spray the area with a type of paint or whitewash that encapsulates the remaining mold spores. The mold remediation company should spray well beyond the moldy area to ensure that no more mold grows. For example, if only a limited area of an attic exhibits mold, the company will probably still spray down the entire attic. This is more desirable, and you should confirm with the company that they will do this.

Safe Flood Clean-Up Tips

11/15/2017 (Permalink)

Before entering a building where flood damage may have occurred, make sure it’s safe: check for electrical hazards and structural damage, and use proper protective gear like boots, gloves and respirators. Before you start any construction or repairs, check for common hazardous materials like lead paint and asbestos, which may require help from professional and State-licensed contractors.

Then, follow these tips:

  • Act quickly
    The severity of damage escalates the longer water sits and building components and contents stay wet, so time is of the essence in the aftermath of a flood. In fact, mold will grow within 48-72 hours, so aim to start removing water and drying the environment within 48 hours. Have a list of professionals on hand to call, and understand your insurance policy, as some only cover mold damage up to a certain amount, while others don’t provide any reimbursement for mold.
  • Ventilate affected areas to prevent mold growth
    Mold loves moisture and organic materials such as paper or particleboard. In order to mitigate or slow damage, open windows if weather permits and place fans inside of them to keep air moving and maintain moderate temperatures. Work toward the fan as you clean to minimize cross contamination.
  • Assess damage to items and materials
    Assess the type of water absorbed by items, such as rainwater, water from broken pipes, contaminated river water or bacteria-filled sewage. There are ways to salvage specialty items but the decision on whether to save or trash an item will vary depending on the dollar and sentimental value to the owner. It may not be worthwhile to salvage drywall, carpets and pads, mattresses, pillows, box springs and particleboard. On the other hand, it might be worthwhile to restore costly Persian rugs, leather couches and antiques or heirlooms. Wet clothing and many household fabrics may be salvageable through machine washing, and a 10-minute soak in detergent and hot water, to remove contamination and stains. The IICRC strongly recommends that in water damages where there are contaminants present (e.g., bacteria, sewage, mold) or where small children or immune-compromised individuals are present that an inspection be conducted by an appropriately trained restorer and remediator.
  • Expose pockets of saturation
    Hidden and concealed pockets of saturation need to be opened for cleaning and drying. Layers between building materials hold water that must be discovered and removed or dried. On walls, find the water line and inspect at least a foot beyond it to make sure all damage, wet materials and mold are discovered. Remove and discard the damaged drywall and wet wall insulation. Wet carpets can usually be dried by professionals with the right equipment, but carpet padding, which is like a big sponge, should be discarded. Wood base trim and hardwood can also be saved with the right equipment if they can be accessed and completely dried on both sides. Remember to investigate concealed cavities such as behind walls, in mechanical spaces, under cabinets and furniture, and in crawl spaces.
  • Conduct a thorough cleaning
    Durable, non-porous or semi-porous materials, such as studs and joists, hardwood flooring and vinyl products, can be cleaned with common cleaning products or specialized products with detergents. During cleaning, take care to protect areas that are unaffected by the water or mold. After a thorough cleaning of salvageable materials, a disinfectant solution may need to be applied in case of harmful bacteria from sewage, river water debris or even standing water that has gone bad. Professionals like water restoration and mold remediation contractors and indoor environmental professionals can help you decide what is best for your situation. Once you’ve cleaned the wet materials, conduct another round of cleaning. If you choose to vacuum, use a HEPA-filter vacuum to remove allergens, fine dust and spores.
  • Confirm drying before reconstruction
    In order to prevent dry rot and structural damage, it’s important not to reconstruct or cover wood and other wet materials until the moisture content has been adequately reduced. A water restoration professional can confirm proper drying before reconstruction

Water Damage Overview

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Water damage can be deceptive. Water penetrates into structural cavities creating trapped pockets of saturation. The detection of water in these areas can often only be discovered with sophisticated moisture detection meters. Undetected moisture will continue to cause damage. This damage, at a minimum, will cause odors. Greater damage will surface when materials delaminate, shrink, split and further deteriorate to where costly repairs are required.

More than just removing excess water, IICRC-certified restorers have the knowledge and equipment to further dry a home or facility (including substructure materials) completely back to preloss conditions. Through timely response and the careful monitoring of water damage, mold and other health issues can be prevented. If water damage has been present too long, mold will occur.

All IICRC-certified professionals have the training and experience to identify moisture sources, evaluate mold growth (visible or suspected), contain damage, remove contamination and dry materials to ensure that mold will not return.

Professional restoration technicians understand the need for quick response. Immediate remediation is key to controlling any escalating costs. The longer the remediation is delayed, the higher the cost of restoration. Certified restorers have the knowledge to test materials and apply the restoration techniques required to return the items to their preloss condition.

5 Principles Of Mold Remediation

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  1. Make sure safety and health precautions are taken by cleanup professionals and occupants. Mold-contaminated buildings can be associated with a number of health problems. Anyone involved in the mold remediation process must be protected from exposure through a combination of practices and controls.
  2. A post-cleanup assessment by an independent environmental expert. An      effective mold remediation cannot be developed without first determining the extent of the contamination to be removed. To ensure that remediation work is being properly performed, it is highly recommended that appropriate documentation of the remediation process be kept by project management
  3. Control of mold before it spreads further. Eliminating mold at the source of      contamination is essential. Once mold spores spread through the air, it will be much more difficult to capture.
  4. Oversee the proper physical removal of the mold. The mold must be physically removed from the structure. Attempts to isolate mold or remove signs of mold on the surface are not adequate. Note that bleach alone cannot kill mold.
  5. Ensure that moisture is controlled to limit future contamination or recontamination. Mold growth is virtually inevitable if moisture is not controlled. Moisture problems must be identified, located and corrected or controlled as soon as possible.
  6. Application of these principles may involve multiple disciplines and professionals from a wide range of restoration and indoor environmental fields.

Overview Of Mold Remediation

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Mold becomes a problem inside a home or business when there's excessive humidity or moisture for an extended period of time. The problem can originate from sudden water releases, like a burst pipe or large spill that goes untreated, or from a chronic condition, such as a leaking roof or plumbing. Even high humidity or warm, moist air condensing on cool surfaces can trigger mold problems. It's always best to have the mold evaluated and removed by a certified professional.

Mold can grow almost anywhere in a home or business if conditions permit. If there is visible growth on painted wall surfaces, property owners should be concerned about what may be growing on the wall's opposite side. The environment inside the walls of a house often differs drastically from the outside and could create a perfect haven for mold. If the wall remains wet for a prolonged period, it's almost guaranteed that the mold growth on the back side will be worse than on the front. At that point, containing the work space and removing moldy materials, followed by cleaning of salvageable framing, are the best options.

Certified professionals have the training and experience to:

  • Identify moisture sources
  • Evaluate mold growth (visible or suspected)
  • Contain damage to the smallest area possible
  • Physically remove contamination
  • Dry materials to ensure that mold will not return
  • Perform or recommend procedures for returning property to a preloss condition

What Would You Do If Your Business Flooded?

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Flooding, whether it occurs as a flash or from a slow buildup, is a common occurrence in many parts of the country. If you're wondering how to prepare your business for a flood, the post below highlights some key steps you should consider in your flood disaster planning.

Flood Planning Need-to-Knows 

National Flood Safety Awareness Week took place from March 16 to March 22 and with the recent flooding we've had along the east coast of the country, it's a perfect reminder of the importance of flood preparedness for your business.

Even if you think the flooding risks are low in your area, it’s important to be vigilant. For example, during the 2013 floods in Colorado, a very rare weather event hit Boulder County and surrounding areas hard. A stalled weather front dropped 21 inches of rain very quickly, and the resulting damage to businesses, homes and civic infrastructure was devastating and widespread.

The first step to prepare for flooding is to understand your potential exposure. Fortunately there are some convenient resources. For example, the NOAA Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service provides quarterly updates and maps showing areas that are higher risk during certain times of the year. Historic flood maps are also a great resource for understanding the potential risks in your area. Knowing how high water could potentially rise and how long it will take to drain are valuable insights for developing a response plan.

In addition to getting flood insurance, here are some other important steps to keep in mind for preparedness:  

  • Safeguard key information—be sure you keep copies of flood insurance and other key business information in a safe place where it won’t be damaged or swept away by flooding.
  • Prepare your building—depending on your building layout, it may be worth getting a sump pump to help minimize potential damage. Be sure to keep gutters and drains clear of debris, and to anchor fuel tanks. Also, if possible, minimize storage of especially valuable assets in the lowest-lying areas of the building.
  • Develop an emergency plan—design a flood evacuation route and share it with employees so they can get themselves and customers to higher ground, if it becomes necessary. Also, be sure to have an emergency kit onsite, in case people are stuck in the building. 

 Key Take-Away

And take it from the experts—preparation pays. "Flooding is dangerous and costly, killing nearly 100 people and causing an average of eight billion dollars in property damage in the United States each year," said Dr. Louis W. Uccellini, director, NOAA's National Weather Service, which produces an array of flood outlooks and forecasts, including watches and life-saving warnings. "A weather-ready nation is a prepared nation; one that will reduce flood losses by planning ahead, staying abreast of weather forecasts, and heeding the warnings."

3 Business Fire Prevention Tips

11/15/2017 (Permalink)

A fire can cause severe damage to business equipment, materials, and structures. As a business owner, focusing on fire risk assessment, fire prevention, and staff education can help reduce your chance of fire and smoke damage. Here are three tips to help.

Assess the risk of fire hazards : The National Fire Protection Association offers handbooks and other publications on the fire safety code in place for businesses. If your local government offers it, a visit from a fire marshal is a great step for your fire prevention plan. If a marshal visit isn't available, ask for workplace fire risk assessment guidance from your building's property manager.

Have fire protection equipment : If you have an automatic sprinkler system in place, this will provide primary fire protection for your business.

Standard fire safety practices call for smoke detectors and fire extinguishers on every floor. Your best bet is multipurpose extinguishers, which will douse most small fires with ease, without shorting out your electronics.

Protect your people : Your employees are your most important business asset. These tips can help prevent them from being injured in a fire.

  • Fire Plans: Make sure your employees know what to do if there's a fire, including calling 911 immediately. Conduct a fire drill at least once a year to keep employees aware of your workplace fire safety protocol.
  • Evacuation Plan: In larger buildings, post a fire evacuation plan in several spots around the workplace. Never include elevators in an evacuation plan; always use the stairs.
  • First Aid: In case of fire injuries, your employees should be familiar with the location of the first-aid kit, which should be kept where possible hazards can occur most-such as in the kitchen.

Why Professionals Should Clean Smoke Damage From A Fire

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When the firefighters leave, it may seem like the danger has passed and the home is safe from further destruction, but without professionals to help clean the smoke damage, the building will never return to normal. While the principles behind fire restoration are fairly simple, it requires a lot of experience and manpower to perform adequately, and this means that it shouldn’t be attempted by a homeowner on his or her own.

While fire is always the immediate danger, once it is gone, what it leaves behind will continue to affect the house
. Ash and smoke, if left unhindered, will cause extensive corrosion, etching and discoloration, not to mention lingering powerful odors. Professionals that clean fire and smoke damage can stop this before it becomes a major problem, assuming they are contacted soon enough. There are many companies out there that advertise their ability to restore areas affected by fire, but only those with proper training and certification should be considered. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is the main oversight agency in this industry. The IICRC requires its registrants to take extensive coursework before earning their certification. This is a symbol of excellence, and those that uphold the standards that have been set can be contacted through the IICRC.

These professionals can clean smoke damage and restore items affected by a fire, but they must be brought to the site as soon as possible to halt the ongoing issues that ash residue can cause. The first thing that ash does to the home is discolor most surfaces. Anything that is made of plastic or was close to the fire will start discoloring within minutes, and within several hours, fiberglass and finishes on appliances will begin to yellow. Metals may also tarnish. After a few days pass, the ash will cause walls to discolor permanently, along with clothing and upholstery. Wood and vinyl will need to be refinished or replaced, and metal will start corroding.

If a professional isn’t hired to clean smoke and fire damage, the costs for restoration will skyrocket after a few weeks
. Metals may need to be replaced, carpet will permanently discolor and glass may be severely etched, which will necessitate replacement. It will also become apparent that the odors caused by the disaster may still be present and intense enough to be distracting. Because ash is acidic, the longer it takes to hire experts, the more destruction it will cause.

The first thing a trained, certified, professional company will do when on site is to identify all affected materials and the source of any odors. The only way to properly clean smoke and fire damage is to be extremely thorough. Ash residue is easily disturbed and can spread through the building with ease, causing nearly everything to need restoration. The experts will identify what can and cannot be salvaged, and will remove any built-up ash residue that is coating surfaces. Over time, ash builds up in layers, and may eventually form into a lacquer-like consistency. Once this is done, the restorers will locate the source of the odor, and treat it with specialized detergents that are formulated for neutralizing this kind of odor. Once materials are treated, they may be sealed off to prevent any further odor from permeating the air in the future.

This entire process is very detailed, and hiring a professional that can be trusted to do the job right is imperative

What To Do After Smoke Damage Has Happened?

11/15/2017 (Permalink)

Fire and smoke damage can be devastating to personal property and structures. Quick action is the only way to minimize the destruction. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, IICRC, is a globally recognized organization whose mission is to establish higher industry standards. As a referral source for consumers, IICRC  certified firms are more likely to provide a faster, better service  than non-certified competitors.

Restoration costs increase and damages escalate when the cleaning process is extended. By hastening the hiring process and using an IICRC certified technician, owners  will be rewarded by having the damage stopped so repairs can begin.

What happens only minutes after the disaster?

Immediately after a fire, soot residue settles onto the property. Discoloration of porous materials is permanent, but other surfaces may be properly cleaned to remove the discoloration. Acidic soot begins staining other surfaces if not treated quickly.

Within hours all surfaces begin to suffer from fire and smoke damage. Wooden furniture may require refinishing. Metal begins to rust, pit and corrode. Painted walls begin to yellow. Clothing  can become permanently stained. And finally, flooring may require refinishing or replacement.

If left untreated, within weeks the restoration process will take longer and cost more.  Prolonged soot exposure permanently harms all surfaces and embeds in fibers. Replacement of property may be the best option at this point. The structure may continue deteriorating if not properly restored.

IICRC suggests the following steps after the incident:

  • Remember safety comes first. Do not enter the property without proper work gloves and  appropriate respiratory protection. Exposure to soot residue causes respiratory distress and other medical emergencies.
  • Bring along a few box fans. Upon entering the property open the windows and place the box fans in the windows to force out the contaminated air and dust. Proper ventilation helps to prevent further smoke damage and reduces potential injury to people.
  • Remove loose smoke contamination with a professional dry cleaning soot sponge.
  • Clean every surface with soap and water. Begin at the top and work down to the floor. Be sure to get inside cabinets and cupboards.
  • Using a high efficiency vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) Filter, vacuum upholstery and carpet. A good filtration system on a high efficiency vacuum prevents the soot from being blown back into the cleaned space. Clean or change the filter regularly.
  • Launder bedding, clothes, curtains, and other washable materials. An alkaline cleaner neutralizes the acid found in the soot. Fine materials should be professionally dry-cleaned by a dry-cleaner who is experienced in smoke damaged articles.
  • Clean the exterior walls and eaves using a water hose attached to the proper cleaner. Agitate and loosen stuck-on soot. The smoke damage to the outside of the property will continue until the soot is removed.


Though heavy residues require the assistance of professional restoration technicians, a certified technician may be contacted for any amount of smoke damage. Improper processes can further harm the property or belongings.

Mold Cleanup

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Who should do the cleanup depends on a number of factors. One consideration is the size of the mold problem. If the moldy area is less than about 10 square feet (less than roughly a 3 ft. by 3 ft. patch), in all cases it is recommended to call a reputable mold mitigation company:

    • If you choose to hire a contractor (or other professional service provider) to do the cleanup, make sure the contractor has experience cleaning up mold. Check references and ask the contractor to follow the recommendations in EPA guide Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, the guidelines of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygenists (ACGIH), or other guidelines from professional or government organizations.
    • If you suspect that the heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) system may be contaminated with mold (it is part of an identified moisture problem, for instance, or there is mold near the intake to the system), consult EPA guide Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned? before taking further action. Do not run the HVAC system if you know or suspect that it is contaminated with mold - it could spread mold throughout the building.
    • If the water and/or mold damage was caused by sewage or other contaminated water, then call in a professional who has experience cleaning and fixing buildings damaged by contaminated water.
  • If you have health concerns, consult a health professional before starting cleanup.*

Prepare For Flooding

11/15/2017 (Permalink)

With all of the flooding that is happening in the Pacific Northwest SERVPRO of Skagit County, Marysville/Arlington wants to make sure that you are all staying safe! If you have yet to experience any flooding but are on alert remember to be prepared. Here is a list of essential preparation items that the American Red Cross recommends:

·  Water—at least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day

·  Food—at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food

·  Flashlight

·  Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)

·  Extra batteries

·  First Aid kit

·  Medications (7-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)

·  Multi-purpose tool

·  Sanitation and personal hygiene items

·  Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, deed/lease to home, birth certificates, insurance policies)

·  Cell phone with chargers

·  Family and emergency contact information

·  Extra cash

·  Emergency blanket

·  Map(s) of the area

·  Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)

·  Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)

·  Tools/supplies for securing your home

·  Extra set of car keys and house keys

·  Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes

·  Rain gear

·  Insect repellent and sunscreen

·  Camera for photos of damage

Remember that SERVPRO is always here to help if you experience any flooding or water damage within your home! Stay safe! Check out http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/flood for more great flood preparedness and safety tips!

Is Your Company Prepared For When Disaster Strikes?

11/15/2017 (Permalink)

Did you know that upto 50% of businesses that close due to a disaster never reopen? Are you, and your property prepared for an emergency or disaster situation? Don't worry SERVPRO of Skagit County - SERVPRO of Marysville/Arlington is Here to Help.

SERVPRO of Skagit County - SERVPRO of Marysville/Arlington is offering Emergency Ready Profiles (ERPs) to local businesses and community members. The ERP is a no cost assessment, all it requires is a little time, making it a great value that could save your business in the future. 

What is the ERP you ask? The ERP is a compliation of everything you may need handy when disaster stirkes.

The information incudes (but is not limited to):

  • Emergency Tips
  • A facility overview
  • Emergency Contacts
  • Facility entry points.
  • Utility shut-off locations
  • Other crucial source information.
  • Fire extinguisher locations.
  • Urgent Contacts

As you can see, the ERP is a great resource for when disaster occurs. The better prepaired you are the better you are able to minimize business interruption in a disaster situation.  Feel free to call SERVPRO of Skagit County - SERVPRO of Marysville/Arlington at (360) 873 - 8744 to schedule an ERP appointment!

American Red Cross and SERVPRO Team Up!

11/15/2017 (Permalink)

We’re thrilled to be partnered with the American Red Cross as a Disaster Responder because here at SERVPRO of Skagit County, we’re always “Ready for Whatever Happens” and we want you to be too! You never know when a disaster may strike, so it is important to have an emergency preparedness kit ready to go at a moment’s notice to use at home or to take with you in the event you must evacuate.

According to our friends at the American Red Cross, you should, at minimum, have the basic supplies listed below:

  • Water: one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home).
  • Flashlight
  • Battery powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Maps of the area

You should also consider the needs of all family members and add supplies to your kit as needed. Suggested items to help meet additional needs are:

  • Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc)
  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • Games and activities for children
  • Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
  • Two-way radios
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys
  • Manual can opener

Additional supplies to consider keeping at your home or in your emergency supply kit:

  • Whistle
  • N95 or surgical masks
  • Matches
  • Rain gear
  • Towels
  • Work gloves
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home
  • Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Household liquid bleach
  • Entertainment items
  • Blankets or sleeping bags

You never know when a disaster might arise.

Keep your Emergency Kit somewhere easily accessible for if and when the time comes that you need it. You should also practice fire drills with your family and plan out multiple evacuation routes should you ever need to evacuate your home.

Make sure that everyone knows what to do in case of emergency. Whether it’s the Big One, a house fire, or an unexpected storm, we want you to be “ready for whatever happens!”

Where To Use An Air Mover

11/15/2017 (Permalink)

Air movers are a great tool. They are similar to fans in that they circulate the air of the spaces in which they are placed. Unlike fans, however, they have the ability to start and stop immediately. They also blow over a more concentrated area rather than a wide space. Most commonly they are used for drying dampened areas after water has seeped in, however, commercial air movers have many uses for any workplace environment.

Drying

The most common use for an air mover is drying out water damaged areas. An air mover is considered a water damage restoration piece of equipment. It is designed to blow lower to the ground at high speeds, forcing water to quickly evaporate from floors and carpets. Being lower to the ground, it can be directed under cabinets or other heavier pieces of furniture. A huge benefit of reduced drying time is the prevention of mold growth. They can also be used to dry paint or other applications.

Cooling

As air blowers are similar to fans, they make excellent cooling devices. They can be used to ventilate stuffy work zones. They can also be directed onto specific objects that may get hot while being worked upon.

Removing Fumes

Depending on the type of work being done, contractors may want to buy a commercial air mover to help their employees. Workers could be subject to working in a poorly ventilated area with equipment and chemicals that produce unpleasant and even harmful fumes. In this instance, an air mover makes a great tool in directing these fumes away from and out of the area, creating a safer work environment.

Blowing

Since air movers circulate air at high speeds, they make great tools for removing unwanted debris, dust, dirt or leaves for instance, from a work area. They also work well for keeping insects away.   For example, when placed high above grocery store doors and directed downward, the draft created prevents insects from entering the building.

There are several uses for an air mover. While similar to a fan, it is much more effective. It has the ability to start immediately at the desired speed and stop just a fast. It can quickly remove unwanted fumes from a poorly ventilated work space as well as keep it cool. It can also help dry damp areas, preventing possible water damage. All of these show the air mover as an invaluable tool for any site.

5 Things You Need To Know About Water Damage

11/15/2017 (Permalink)

When a pipe bursts, a drain backs up, or a flood occurs in your home, it can be hard to see past the mess. A million questions will run through your mind.

What do I do now?

What’s going to happen?

Is my stuff ruined?

And the most important question of all: Will my homeowner’s insurance cover the damage?

There’s no doubt about it. Water damage is extremely stressful, and the more you know about it, the better you’ll be able to decide how to address it. Here are five things that every homeowner needs to know about water damage.

1. There are different insurance policies for flood damage and water damage.

You might think that water is water, whether it’s from flooding or a burst pipe, but flood damage is not covered under homeowner’s insurance. If you live in an area likely to experience flooding, you will probably already have a separate policy through the National Flood Insurance Policy (NFIP). When you report the claim to the insurance company, make sure to specify whether the claim is for water damage or for flood damage, so they can begin adjusting your claim correctly.

2. Not all water damage is covered by your insurance.

It is a good idea to look over your insurance policy and familiarize yourself with any exclusion to your water damage coverage. For instance, most policies cover sudden damage, like water damage from a really bad storm or from an overflowing washing machine. On the other hand, any water damage that happens because you didn’t maintain the property may be excluded, as well as gradual leaks that caused water damage over time.

3. Once water damage has happened, the clock is ticking before it gets worse.

When your property has been water damaged, you don’t have the luxury of waiting around for a convenient time to start the cleanup. Secondary damage from mold growth can present serious health risks associated with mold in the living environment.

Mold spores are everywhere, but they need moisture and a nutrient source to grow. And that is exactly what your wet carpet or drywall offers.

There is a 24 to 48 hour window from the time something gets wet until mold can begin to grow. After that time, mold will multiply rapidly. When mold growth is widespread, you may need the services of a professional mold remediation service to safely treat and remove the mold.

To prevent mold growth, you will need to get your property completely dry again within that 48-hour window. To do this, you’ll need to contact a company that specializes in water damage restoration and emergency water extraction. They will have the professional water removal equipment and drying equipment to get the job done as quickly as possible. Many have 24-hour a day emergency hotlines, so you can start recovering your property almost immediately.

4. Your insurance company needs to know right away.

It’s a good idea to call your insurance company right away when you discover water damage. Your insurance agent can start the claims process immediately, as well as guide you through the first steps you will need to take to protect your property from more damage, like stopping the source of the water at the main water turnoff.

Your insurance company may also direct you to a water damage restoration company that they have worked with in the past. Keep in mind that you do not have to call the company that they recommend. You may choose any reputable restoration specialist to restore your property for the insurance claim.

5. The pollution level of the water is important.

Water damage is categorized as one of three levels by how polluted the water source was that caused the damage.

Category 1: Water from a clean water source, like a fresh water line for a dishwasher. This water will not cause illness or any ill effects.

Category 2: Water that may cause illness through contact. It may have bacteria in it,

Category 3: Water that is highly contaminated. Contact can cause severe illness or death. Think sewage backup, an overflowing toilet, or storm waters.

Even though water may start out as Category 1, that doesn’t mean it will stay that way. Any contamination that the water touches, such as dirty carpeting or soil from the ground, can change water damage Category to 2 or even Category 3. And since standing breeds bacteria, the longer the water is around, the worse the contamination of your property.

More contamination can mean that the restoration team will have to use more aggressive measures to clean your structure and property, and it might mean that soft furnishings, like your carpet and the carpet pad, may have to be discarded for your safety.

Water damage can be dangerous and expensive, so preventing water damage is an important part of home maintenance. But if you know the basics of what to do once it happens, you can prevent it from doing its worst.

SERVPRO Equipment Guide: Direct In Systems

11/8/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPROs number one priority is restoring as much of your home as is possible, not only to keep your home “home”, but also to cause minimal disturbance to your day to day life. One of the many techniques that we use to make sure that your home remains as intact as possible during the mitigation process is the Directed In system.  The Directed In system is an attachment for one of our air movers that allows for the connection of many small tubes.  The tubes are run through an affected wall or tow kick, which grants access to an area that would otherwise be accessed with demolition   The air mover then blows warm, thirsty air (created by our dehumidifiers) into the affected space, creating an environment that is optimal for drying.  The Direct In system is another way that SERVPRO of Skagit County – SERVPRO of Marysville/Arlington ensures that your home is restored to preloss condition in a timely manner. 

Understanding The Three Categories Of Water

11/8/2017 (Permalink)

When dealing with water damage in your home or business, there are three different types or classifications of water that we use: Clean, Gray, and Black water.

Clean Water: This is water that does not contain contaminants. It includes broken water lines, malfunctioning appliances, toilets holding tanks, snow melt and rainwater. Overtime however, clean water can progress and become gray water within 48 hours, if left untreated.

Gray Water: Gray water does contain slight chemical or biological contaminants, and may pose a health risk. Gray water can discharge from dishwashers, washing machines, sinks, showers, aquariums and waterbeds, or come from a clean water source that leaked through a ceiling. It can also be clean water that was left untreated (and became gray water). Gray water can also progress to the next stage (Black Water) if left untreated within 48 hours.

Black Water: This water is a positive health risk as it is highly contaminated. Black water is presumed to contain multiple potentially harmful contaminants including fungi, bacteria, chemicals, viruses, and more. Black Water is typically caused by sewage damage, flooding, or any type of natural disaster. Black water should always be treated by a trained and certified professional.

For any type of water damage, it is always best to treat it quickly so as to avoid further contamination and risk mold growth. Call SERVPRO of Marysville/Arlington if you need services in your home!

Available 24/7 

360 873 3431

SERVPRO of Skagit Marysville/Arlington is an IICRC certified firm.

Content Restoration

11/8/2017 (Permalink)

CONTENTS RESTORATION

From furniture to antiques to artwork and appliances, we'll treat your treasures with the care they deserve. While some items can be cleaned on-site, in many cases we'll need to inventory, pack out and transport the contents of your property to our state-of-the-art facility to ensure the best care possible.

Key Issues

  • Contents may need to be cleaned off-site
  • Contents inventory
  • Determine replacement and restoration
  • Pack
  • Ozone treatment
  • Cleaning
  • Odor removal
  • Secure
  • Return

Contents Inventory

  • We arrive on-site and inventory all of your personal belongings.
  • We carefully pack all salvable items to transport to our secure warehouse and cleaning facility.
  • Unsalvageable contents are inventoried and discarded.

Contents Valuation

We have trained professionals to help you establish replacement values versus restoration costs. We are also available for pricing of non-salvable inventory items.

Restoration

  • Thorough cleaning
  • Proper handling of all electronics
  • Photographs and artwork
  • Fabrics
  • Clothes
  • Memorabilia
  • Antiques
  • Soft goods
  • Dry Cleaning
  • Appliances
  • Surfaces
  • Odor Removal

How To Survive Severe Storms

11/8/2017 (Permalink)

What to do during a severe storms

  • If you are indoors, stay away from windows, doors and fireplaces.
  • You may want to go to the sheltered area that you and your family chose for your emergency plan.
  • If you are advised by officials to evacuate, do so. Take your emergency kit with you.
  • You can use a cellular telephone during a severe storm, but it's not safe to use a land-line telephone.
  • Never go out in a boat during a storm. If you are on the water and you see bad weather approaching, head for shore immediately. Always check the marine forecast before leaving for a day of boating and listen to weather reports during your cruise.
  • If you are in a car, stop the car away from trees or power lines that might fall on you). Stay there.

What to do during

Blizzards

  • When a winter storm hits, stay indoors. If you must go outside, dress for the weather. Outer clothing should be tightly woven and water-repellent. The jacket should have a hood. Wear mittens - they are warmer than gloves - and a hat, as large portion of body heat is lost through the head.
  • In wide-open areas, visibility can be virtually zero during heavy blowing snow or a blizzard. You can easily lose your way. If a blizzard strikes, do not try to walk to another building unless there is a rope to guide you or something you can follow.
  • If you must travel during a winter storm, do so during the day and let someone know your route and arrival time.
  • If your car gets stuck in a blizzard or snowstorm, remain calm and stay in your car. Allow fresh air in your car by opening the window slightly on the sheltered side - away from the wind. You can run the car engine about 10 minutes every half-hour if the exhaust system is working well. Beware of exhaust fumes and check the exhaust pipe periodically to make sure it is not blocked with snow. Remember: you can't smell potentially fatal carbon monoxide fumes.
  • To keep your hands and feet warm, exercise them periodically. In general, it is a good idea to keep moving to avoid falling asleep. If you do try to shovel the snow from around your car, avoid overexerting yourself.
  • Overexertion in the bitter cold can cause death as a result of sweating or a heart attack.
  • Keep watch for traffic or searchers.

Hail

  • Take cover when hail begins to fall. Do not go out to cover plants, cars or garden furniture or to rescue animals. Hail comes down at great speed, especially when accompanied by high winds. Although no one in Canada has ever been killed by hail, people have been seriously injured by it.
  • When a hailstorm hits, stay indoors, and keep yourself and your pets away from windows, glass doors and skylights which can shatter if hit by hailstones. Avoid using the telephone during a storm, and do not touch metal objects like stoves, radiators, metal pipes, and sinks.
  • When a hailstorm hits, find shelter and avoid underpasses or any low lying areas that may flood.

Ice storms

  • Ice from freezing rain accumulates on branches, power lines and buildings. If you must go outside when a significant amount of ice has accumulated, pay attention to branches or wires that could break due to the weight of the ice and fall on you. Ice sheets could also do the same.
  • Never touch power lines. A hanging power line could be charged (live) and you would run the risk of electrocution. Remember also that ice, branches or power lines can continue to break and fall for several hours after the end of the precipitation.
  • When freezing rain is forecast, avoid driving. Even a small amount of freezing rain can make roads extremely slippery. Wait several hours after freezing rain ends so that road maintenance crews have enough time to spread sand or salt on icy roads.
  • Rapid onsets of freezing rain combined with the risks of blizzards increase the chances for extreme hypothermia. If you live on a farm, move livestock promptly to shelter where feed is available. Forage is often temporarily inaccessible during and immediately after ice storms. Animal reactions to ice storms are similar to that of blizzards.

Lightning

  • Always take shelter during a lightning storm.
  • There is no safe place outside during a thunderstorm. Safe shelter can be found either in an enclosed building or a hard-topped vehicle.
  • If you can see lightning or hear thunder, you are in danger of being hit. Seek shelter immediately.
  • Wait 30 minutes after the last lightning strike in a severe storm before venturing outside again.
  • Do not ride bicycles, motorcycles, tractors, or golf carts. These will not protect you from a lightning strike.

Thunderstorms

  • During thunderstorms, you should also stay away from items that conduct electricity, such as corded telephones, appliances, sinks, bathtubs, radiators and metal pipes.