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What To Do After A Storm

5/29/2018 (Permalink)

Storm damage can occur at any time and can cause an immense amount of harm to your home. Heavy rains can cause flooding and powerful winds can cause roof damage and downed trees on your property. Some post-storm damage can create safety and health hazards as well, so having a strategy to deal with damage will help you to be ready to take steps immediately after the storm.

Take Safety Precautions

Heavy winds and rain can create physical hazards such as collapsed roofing materials, window damage, collapsed walls or standing water in the basement or home interior. In addition, moisture can soak into furniture, carpeting, and building materials making the perfect environment for mold growth that can cause health issues. Shut off the main gas line if you smell gas. Beware of broken glass, exposed nails, and other sharp objects on the property. Contact SERVPRO of Suffolk/Smithfield/Franklin to help to secure your property and make it safe to use. If necessary, arrange for an alternative place for you and your family to live while your property is being restored to safe living condition.

Photograph the Damage

If it is safe to move around your property, use your cell phone or a camera to photograph the damage so that you will have a record for your insurance company. This action will ensure that you are fully compensated.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Contact your insurance agent to notify them about the damage to your home immediately. The company will send out an adjuster to determine the extent of the damage so that payment for repairs can be made.

Look Into Federal Disaster Assistance

The federal government may have declared the area affected by the storm as a disaster area that is eligible for low-cost loans to help restore your property to normal. You will be required to file documents to receive these loans.

When a storm-related disaster strikes, it may seem overwhelming, but these steps can help you to begin the process of restoring your home, and your life, to normal. At SERVPRO of Suffolk/Smithfield/Franklin, we provide 24-hour emergency disaster service. We specialize in the stabilization and restoration of homes and businesses that have suffered small or large loss from water, flood, wind, storm, fire damage, and smoke disaster.

Steps To Take Immediately After a Home Fire

5/29/2018 (Permalink)

Experiencing a house fire is a scary situation. After the feeling of unbelief, people are wondering what they can do to start the cleanup process from the damage. It’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure you and your family are safe.

Get Permission Before Entering Your Property

Depending on how extensive the fire damage is, make sure the Fire Marshall tells you that the structure is safe to enter. There are possible dangers in your home such as hot spots and unsupported beams that could cause harm.  You also want to be careful no one in the household uses the electricity without permission from the authorities. Although you are anxious to find out if your favorite things survived the fire, waiting until it is safe prevents you from dealing with an injury that could delay cleaning up the fire damage.

Document the Damage

It is also a good idea to take pictures that can be used for insurance purposes and to give potential companies an idea of the damage when you are seeking quotes. It’s important to note that some damage may not be visible, such as getting that smoke smell out of clothes and furniture. Remember, it’s important to keep in mind that fire creates two types of smoke damage; visible soot and an invisible odor.

Call A Professional Fire Damage Restoration Company

Although there are some things you can do on your own, such as removing items like clothing and linens that can be washed or taken to the dry cleaners. But, you should not attempt to handle items that have severe damage from the fire, smoke or water. Contacting a restoration company is the best way to handle fire damages. These companies specialize in restoring and repairing what has been damaged.

SERVPRO of Suffolk/Smithfield/Franklin is available 24/7 to help. 757-934-8404

Water Damage Facts & Tips

5/29/2018 (Permalink)

Dealing with water damage is every homeowner's nightmare. Questions about what to do, what will be covered by insurance and what possessions to save first will start ‘flooding’ in.  When a pipe bursts or a basement floods, life is on hold until your home is dried and secured – and that’s not always an easy task.

Here are three facts about water damage that will help you secure your home and respond properly to a potential disaster:

1.    The Type of Water is Important

Generally speaking, there are three types of water that invade homes: rainwater, fresh water, and sewage. Depending on the type of water in your home, you may need to approach any contact or cleanup efforts differently. Sewage can contain harmful bacteria and make you violently ill. Fortunately, telling the difference is often easy, as it will typically smell just as terrible as you would expect. If you think that you are dealing with sewage, a professional water damage cleanup company will have the proper tools and equipment needed to handle the problem safely.

2.    The Trouble Doesn’t End When the Water is Gone

It may be tempting to let out a sigh of relief the moment the water is removed from your home, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t moisture still lurking in the shadows. When moisture is hidden in walls, crawlspaces and below floorboards, it can eventually lead to mold. Mold is toxic and causes damage to structural elements of a home, leading to serious consequences. Make sure you have a mold prevention expert inspect your property to ensure this dangerous substance isn’t invading your home.

3.    Attics Are a Cause for Concern

The most common source of water damage is a leaky roof or malfunctioning gutters, which means your attic is at the highest risk for water damage. Make sure to have your attic inspected regularly by a water damage professional to make sure that a small leak isn’t turning into a serious problem.

If your home is flooded, or you suspect you may be dealing with water damage or mold, call SERVPRO of Suffolk/Smithfield/Franklin, 757-934-8404! All forms of water damage require immediate attention to minimize further losses. We will help you stay safe and protect your assets.

Facts about Business Fires & Restoration

4/9/2018 (Permalink)

Know the Facts about Business Fires

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, as many as one in four businesses that suffer some kind of major disaster do not reopen afterward. It’s true, overcoming a major loss is extremely difficult, but with the right restoration company and team on your side, working hand-in-hand with your insurance company, the chance of your Indianapolis-area company surviving is pretty high!

Depending on the size of the fire, and the amount of damage, some businesses that have come to SERVPRO for help have reopened just days after the fire happened. Thanks to innovations in smoke odor removal, fire damage restoration, and cleaning in general, it is possible for crews to start work nearly immediately after the fire department clears the scene, and have things back up and running in no time. Although, again, that all depends on the severity of the fire. But no matter the severity, recovery is possible!

According to the National Fire Prevention Association, U.S. fire departments responded to about 3,300 office property fires per year between 2007 and 2011. Those fires resulted in about $112 million in property damage each year, and most were in business offices – and happened during business hours. However, the good news is the number of business fires was down a whopping 71 percent from 1980 to 2011.

Here are some other stats from the NFPA:

Time of Day

  • Peak time of day for office fires: Noon – 2 p.m. (a.k.a. lunch time!)
  • 69% happened between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
  • The 31% that occurred between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. caused 67% of recorded property damage because they went undetected longer. This also highlights the need for automatic detection equipment and working sprinkler systems.
  • 19% of fires happened on weekends.

Cause of the Business Fires

  • 29% were caused by cooking equipment. However, just 6% of these fires caused actual property damage.
  • Intentionally-set fires caused the most direct property damage – 21%.
  • Electrical equipment is the second leading cause of office fires.
  • Just 2% of office fires start in a concealed space like an attic, in the ceiling, or in another conceals space. However, these fires accounted for 13% of the direct property damage.

Containment & Putting it Out

  • 4 out of 5 fires were confined to the room of origin.
  • 90% of fires were large enough to activate sprinklers, which were effective 88% of the time.
  • Deaths per 1,000 stores were 62% lower in offices equipped with sprinklers compared to those without.

Industrial/Manufacturing Facility Fires

The NFPA also has statistics specific to manufacturing facilities. According to their research, there are about 37,000 fires at industrial or manufacturing facilities each year, resulting in 18 deaths, 279 injuries, and $1 billion in property damage. Heating equipment and stop tools were the leading cause – sparking 28 percent of the fires. Mechanical failure or malfunction caused 24 percent of the fires.

Planning for the Worst

As part of your emergency preparation plan, be sure to have a local, reputable restoration company – like SERVPRO– on speed dial. The sooner you get the professionals in cleaning up after the disaster, the sooner you can get back to business 757-431-1400.

Summer Fire Safety

4/9/2018 (Permalink)

It may not feel like it yet, but summer is quickly approaching. Each summer, families, and friends across the country enjoy the summer months with barbecues, camping trips, or by cooling off in a pool or lake. In order to enjoy these occasions, it is important to keep safety top of mind to ensure you have fun in the sun.

According to the United States Fire administration, just under 8,600 Americans are injured by fireworks and almost 5,000 are injured by charcoal/wood burning and propane grill fires, annually. A barbecue grill should always be supervised when in use. Keep children and pets a safe distance from the grilling area to prevent accidental burns or tipping off the grill.

If you enjoy lounging by the pool or going for a boat ride to cool off from the summer sun, make sure you exercise caution, especially when children are present. Only swim in approved areas and supervise children at all times when near the water.

Summertime should be a time to make memories and enjoy the great outdoors. The following tips, provided by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), will help keep you safe all summer long.

  • When using a charcoal grill, only use starter fluid designed for barbecue grills; do not add fluid after coals have been lit.
  • When using a gas grill, ensure the hose connection is tight; check hoses for leaks. Applying soapy water to the hoses will easily and safely reveal any leaks.
  • Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFD (personal floatation device) when boating, jet-skiing, tubing or water-skiing. Air-filled swimming aids, like water wings or inner tubes, are not substitutes for approved PFD's. An adult should always supervise children using these devices.
  • Be sure to extinguish all smoking materials and shut down motors and heating devices before fueling a boat. In case of a spill, wipe up fuel and check for fuel leakage and odors.
  • When camping, always use a flame retardant tent and set up camp far away from the campfire. Only use flashlights or battery-powered lanterns inside the tent, not liquid-filled heaters or lanterns.
  • Always build a campfire downwind from the tent area. Clear vegetation and dig a pit before building your campfire. Always extinguish the fire before going to sleep or leaving the campsite. To extinguish, cover with dirt or pour water over the fire.
  • Store liquid fire starter (not gasoline) away from your tent and campfire and only use dry kindling to freshen a campfire.
  • Consider leaving firework use to trained professionals. Stay back at least 500 feet from professional fireworks displays.

If you should need any help at all, call your local SERVPRO of Suffolk/Smithfield/Franklin, 757-934-8404.

Mold Prevention Tips

4/9/2018 (Permalink)

Mold. The very sound of the word is enough to make a person cringe. 
Yes, mold can be good-- it's essential in making brie and penicillin, for example, but it can also be very, very bad, especially when it grows undetected in your home.Some Facts About Mold
Mold spores spread easily and cannot be completely eradicated. Mold can grow anywhere: on carpet, clothing, food, paper and even in places you can't see, such as the back of drywall, areas inside walls around leaking or condensing pipes, or above ceiling tiles. Not only is a mold problem difficult and costly to fix, but mold can also produce allergens and irritants (and rarely, toxins) that may compromise your health. So what can you do if you're concerned about mold growing on a property? The best approach is preventing mold before it becomes a problem. And the key to mold prevention is simple: moisture control.  Mold Prevention Tips 
Click below for nine ways to curb moisture indoors, and the mold that thrives on it.  

9 Ways to Curb Indoor Moisture and Prevent Mold:

1. Identify problem areas and correct them. You can't mold-proof a property, but you can make it mold-resistant. Do an audit of the property: where are the problem areas? Does the basement flood? Do you notice frequent condensation on an upstairs window? Is there a water stain on the ceiling from a persistent leak? Preventing mold from growing or spreading might be as simple as ripping up carpet in a damp basement, installing mold-resistant products, or repairing damaged gutters. Or it may be a matter of major excavation and waterproofing. Whatever the case, address the problem now. It might cost some money up front, but it will surely be more costly down the road if mold continues to grow unchecked.

2. Dry wet areas immediately. Mold can't grow without moisture, so tackle wet areas right away. Seepage into the basement after a heavy rainfall, accumulation from a leaky pipe, even a spill on the carpet should be dried within 24 to 48 hours. If you've experienced a flood, remove water-damaged carpets, bedding, and furniture if they can't be completely dried. Even everyday occurrences need attention: don't leave wet items lying around the house, and make sure to dry the floor and walls after a shower. Don't leave wet clothes in the washing machine, where mold can spread quickly. Hang them to dry — preferably outside or in areas with good air circulation.

3. Prevent moisture with proper ventilation. It may be that your routine domestic activities are encouraging the growth of mold in the property. Make sure an activity as simple as cooking dinner, taking a shower, or doing a load of laundry doesn't invite mold by providing proper ventilation in your bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, and any other high-moisture area. Vent appliances that produce moisture — clothes dryers, stoves — to the outside (not the attic). Use AC units and dehumidifiers (especially in humid climates), but make sure they don’t produce moisture themselves by checking them periodically and cleaning them as directed by the manufacturer. Your energy-efficient property may be holding moisture inside, so open a window when cooking or washing dishes or showering, or run an exhaust fan.

4. Equip the property with mold-resistant products. Building a new home or renovating an old one? Use mold-resistant products like mold-resistant drywall or mold-resistant Sheetrock, and mold inhibitors for paints. Traditional drywall is composed of a gypsum plaster core pressed between plies of paper. Mold-resistant drywall is paperless — the gypsum core is covered in fiberglass, making the surface highly water-resistant. Moisture-resistant drywall is especially valuable in areas prone to wetness, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements, and kitchens. Not only is traditional drywall more susceptible to mold than the paperless kind, but it is also difficult to rid of mold, and removal and replacement can be expensive. Mold-resistant gypsum board is also available; the core of the drywall is developed in such a way to prevent moisture absorption, and thus prevent mold growth.

5. Monitor humidity indoors. The EPA recommends keeping indoor humidity between 30 and 60 percent. You can measure humidity with a moisture. You'll also be able to detect high humidity by simply paying attention to potential problem areas of the property. Telltale signs of excessive humidity include condensation on windows, pipes, and walls. If you notice condensation, dry the surface immediately and address the source of moisture. (For example, turn off a humidifier if water appears on the inside of nearby windows.)

6. Direct water away from the property. If the ground around the property isn't sufficiently sloped away from the foundation, water may collect there and seep into your crawlspace or basement.

7. Clean or repair roof gutters. A mold problem might be a simple matter of a roof that is leaking because of full or damaged gutters. Have your roof gutters cleaned regularly and inspected for damage. Repair them as necessary, and keep an eye out for water stains after storms that may indicate a leak.

8. Improve airflow in your home. According to the EPA, as temperatures drop, the air is able to hold less moisture. Without good air flow in a property, that excess moisture may appear on your walls, windows and floors. To increase circulation, open doors between rooms, move furniture away from walls, and open doors to closets that may be colder than the rooms they’re in. Let fresh air in to reduce moisture and keep mold at bay.

9. Keep mold off household plants. They're beautiful and help keep your indoor air clean — and mold loves them. The moist soil in indoor plants is a perfect breeding ground for mold, which may then spread to other areas of your house. Instead of getting rid of your plants, try adding a bit of Taheebo tea to the water you give to your houseplants. The oil of this tree, which withstands fungi even in rainforests, helps hinder mold growth in plant soil and can be found at natural food stores.

Finally, educate yourself on your region's climate — be it the cold and wet Northeast, the hot and wet South, the hot and dry Southwest, or the cold and dry West — and how it responds to moisture. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to mold prevention. Knowing what works for your climate and your home is an important first step.

3 Categories of Water - Know Your Water

4/9/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage 3 Categories of Water - Know Your Water Water Safety is Important!

3 Categories of Water

Water damage can cause stress in the home or workplace. Whether your water loss is large or small, it is crucial to remediate the situation quickly to prevent any further issues. Water is classified into 3 categories, and it’s important to be able to distinguish the differences among them.

The first category is “Clean Water.” Clean water is the least contaminated, and comes from a clean source, like a leaky faucet or water line. It can turn into a category 2 or 3 if left untreated and exposed to factors such as temperature and other contaminants.

The second category is “Gray Water.” Gray water is contaminated and can come from a dishwasher or washing machine overflow. It is important to remediate gray water as quickly as possible, as it may contain bacteria. And if left untreated, it can turn into a category 3- “Black Water.”

Blackwater is severely contaminated. Having contact with black water can cause serious illness, and in some cases even death. Examples of black water include flooding from waterways and standing water. Blackwater may contain chemicals, microbes, and sewage. Avoid any contact with black water.

At SERVPRO of Suffolk/Smithfield/Franklin, we want our customers to have peace of mind knowing they will be taken care of by our certified professionals. Our state of the art equipment will have your home or business dry, clean and back to normalcy in a timely and professional manner. If you have any concerns related to a water damage, or to schedule an estimate, please call us today at 757-934-8404.

Flood Waters

4/9/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Flood Waters SERVPRO of Suffolk/Smithfield/Franklin 757-934-8404

Floods are one of the most common and widespread natural disasters in the United States. Your location no longer seems to be a factor-there is always potential for flood damage.

Fema.gov reports that in the last 5 years, all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods. It’s not a matter of if, but when and FEMA reports that nearly 20% of all flood insurance claims come from moderate-to-low risk areas, and even just one inch of flood damage in an average home can cost you up to $27,000.

#TheAmericanRed Cross claims that floods cause more damage in the U.S. every year than any other weather-related disaster. Here are some tips they advise to follow:

Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, Stop, Turn around, and go another way.
If you approach a flooded road while driving, the same holds true. If you are in your car and waters are rising rapidly, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground.
Keep children out of the water. Children may not recognize contaminated water and lack judgment.
If your home or business is affected by a flood, SERVPRO of Suffolk/Smithfield/Franklin is your water damage restoration company. Even minor floods have the potential to cause major damage to a structure if not treated properly and quickly.

Cleanup can be overwhelming and that’s why the “SERVPRO® System is prepared to handle any size disaster. When fire and water take control of your life, let your local SERVPRO of Suffolk/Smithfield/Franklin help you take it back.

Call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 757-934-8404.

Moisture Control is Key to Mold Control

4/9/2018 (Permalink)

  • Keep humidity levels as low as you can—no higher than 50%--all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. Humidity levels change throughout the day as changes occur in the moisture in the air and the air temperature, so check the humidity levels more than once a day.
  • If you see condensation or moisture collecting on windows, walls or pipes ACT QUICKLY to dry the wet surface and reduce the moisture/water source.  Condensation can be a sign of high humidity.
  • Be sure your home has enough ventilation. Use exhaust fans, which vent outside your home in the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home.
  • Fix any leaks in your home’s roof, walls, or plumbing so mold does not have moisture to grow.
  • Clean up and dry out your home thoroughly and quickly (within 24–48 hours) after flooding.
  • Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried promptly. Consider not using carpet in rooms or areas like bathrooms or basements that may have a lot of moisture. 

Call SERVPRO of Suffolk/Smithfield/Franklin to remediate your mold growth. 757-934-8404

Moisture Control is Key to Mold Control

4/9/2018 (Permalink)

  • Keep humidity levels as low as you can—no higher than 50%--all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. Humidity levels change throughout the day as changes occur in the moisture in the air and the air temperature, so check the humidity levels more than once a day.
  • If you see condensation or moisture collecting on windows, walls or pipes ACT QUICKLY to dry the wet surface and reduce the moisture/water source.  Condensation can be a sign of high humidity.
  • Be sure your home has enough ventilation. Use exhaust fans, which vent outside your home in the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home.
  • Fix any leaks in your home’s roof, walls, or plumbing so mold does not have moisture to grow.
  • Clean up and dry out your home thoroughly and quickly (within 24–48 hours) after flooding.
  • Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried promptly. Consider not using carpet in rooms or areas like bathrooms or basements that may have a lot of moisture. 

Call SERVPRO of Suffolk/Smithfield/Franklin to remediate your mold growth. 757-934-8404