Did You Know...Generator Safety
If you have a generator on hand for power outages during severe weather, follow the safety tips below from the American Red Cross:
- Never use a generator, grill, camp stove, or other gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawl space, or any partially enclosed area.
- To avoid electrocution, keep the generator dry and do not use in rain or wet conditions. Operate it on a dry surface under an open canopy-like structure, such as under a tarp held up on poles. Do not touch the generator with wet hands.
- Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent carbon monoxide (CO) buildup in the home. Although CO can’t be seen or smelled, it can rapidly lead to full incapacitation and death. Even if you cannot smell exhaust fumes, you may still be exposed to CO. If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air immediately.
- Install CO alarms in central locations on every level of your home or property and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.
Commercial Water Damage
Floods, sewage backups, and other contaminated water can cause some of the worst damage to your commercial property. Contaminated water is often filled with deadly substances including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. This can be compounded by the composition of your commercial building. Organic materials such as drywall, wood, and debris found in carpet are prime breeding ground for pathogens and other bacteria and parasites to grow. The health risk to you and your employees is greatly increased when exposure to flood waters, sewage, and other types of contaminated water.
SERVPRO of Hammond will dry the commercial building quickly and apply antimicrobial agents to all surfaces that had contact with the water to help make sure that they can eliminate any lingering contaminants. This can help ensure you and your employees that they can return to a safe working environment. If your commercial building is in need of water damage cleanup and repair, contact the professionals at SERVPRO of Hammond at 985-542-7388. We are available 24/7 to help you get your business back “Like it never even happened.”
Smoke Alarms: Life Savers For Your Business
Smoke alarm safety
Smoke alarms save lives when properly installed and maintained, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
In businesses, smoke alarms should be on each level of your business and in high fire risk areas, i.e. kitchens, break rooms with appliances, rooms with fireplaces, lanterns, space heaters, etc.*
Test smoke alarms monthly using the test button. Smoke alarms with non-replaceable batteries need the entire smoke alarm unit replaced every ten years. Other alarms need batteries replaced every year, and the unit replaced every ten years. If the alarm chirps signaling low battery, take the proper steps to replace the unit or the batteries immediately. Never disable or remove the battery from an alarm. Almost half of the fires where smoke alarms were present but did not activate had missing or disconnected batteries (NFPA).
If you need help installing, testing or changing batteries in your smoke alarms, contact your local fire department, an electrician or the American Red Cross.
Be sure your business has a fire emergency plan in place and conduct regular fire drills with your employees. For more information on Emergency Preparedness, contact your SERVPRO® of Hammond at 985-542-7388.
Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 15, Iss 2
Faster to Any Size Disaster: Flooding
Flooded commercial district
According to the National Weather Service (NOAA), "Approximately seventy-five percent of all Presidential disaster declarations are associated with flooding." NOAA lists the most common flood hazards in the United States as :
- Flash Flooding
- River Flooding
- Storm Surge and Coastal Inundation from Tropical and Non-Tropical Systems
- Burn Scars/Debris Flows (Caused by Wildfires)
- Ice/Debris Jams
- Dry Wash (caused by heavy rainfall in dry areas)
- Dam Breaks/Levee Failures
Just because you haven't experienced a flood doesn't mean you will not in the future. In fact, 20% of all claims paid by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) were for policies in low-risk communities. On average, floods cost $3.5 billion in annual losses in the United States.
When catastrophic water damage happens to you, SERVPRO of Hammond can help. They can help you prepare ahead of time with an Emergency Ready Profile (ERP), or respond to any size disaster to begin cleanup and restoration to get you back in your home as soon as possible.
SERVPRO of Hammond is ready to help make it "Like it never even happened."
*Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 15, Iss 3
Understanding the Fire Restoration Process
The fire restoration process should be started as quickly as possible following a fire damage. The longer you wait to contact a certified restoration company, the more likely it is for damage from water and smoke to intensify. It’s bad enough there was a fire, but the water and chemicals used to extinguish it can cause secondary damage. The remnants will continue to do damage long after the flames are extinguished.
The average person will attempt conventional cleaning methods like renting a steam cleaner and using common cleaning agents available at the store. Unfortunately, this will barely make an impact on the problem and could cause bigger issues. Chemical agents could react with the residue and cause permanent damage, and in some cases, they may cause toxic fumes. Fire damage cleanup is one of the most difficult jobs out there, and it should be left to a professional for the best results.
Let SERVPRO of Hammond be your certified professional when facing your own fire damage. We will walk you through the process step by step to ensure that your home is properly restored. Our team of professionals is available 24/7 to help you put your life back together and restore your normal as much as possible.
Call us today at 985-542-7388.
Smoke Damage Cleaning
Fire damage restoration
Smoke damage cleaning is, perhaps, the most complicated form of treatment for a homeowner to accomplish themselves. Not only does it take a thorough approach and deep remediation of nearly every surface in the building, it can only be done effectively if the areas behind the building’s walls receive treatment as well. This is a massive challenge to anyone but certified professionals, as these experts have the know-how, manpower, and equipment to complete the task properly. SERVPRO of Hammond is your local expert in smoke damage cleaning and restoration.
Once the fire dies out, the problem is only beginning. Soot and smoke have a tendency to get everywhere, and these particles are so small that they can pass through walls effortlessly. They will also cake onto furniture, countertops, floors, and walls if not dealt with right away, causing discoloration and overpowering odors. Smoke damage cleaning has to address both issues to be completely effective.
The professionals at SERVPRO of Hammond are certified through the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) and have the expertise and materials needed to do the job right. With powerful treatment solutions, the soot and smoke can be removed during a deep scrubbing of the building. Professionals have access to thermal fogging technology to take care of the odors emanating from behind walls. The thermal fogging produces a cloud of odor neutralizing particles that can go where the smoke does.
Fire Damage Dos and Don'ts
Let these Dos and Don'ts guide you to help reduce damage and increase the chance of a successful restoration in the event of a fire.
- Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into the carpet and avoid tracking.
- Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls, and woodwork.
- If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator completely and prop doors open to help prevent odor.
- Wipe soot from the metal kitchen and bathroom faucets, trip, and appliances.
- If heat is off during winter, poor RV antifreeze in sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks, and tubs to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures.
- Remove soot particles from plants with a damp cloth.
- Change HVAC filter, but leave the system off until a trained professional can check the system.
- Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system.
- Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting SERVPRO of Hammond.
- Don't attempt to shampoo carpet, rugs, or upholstered furniture without first consulting SERVPRO of Hammond.
- Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances (TV sets, radios, etc.) that may have been close to fire, heat, or water without first consulting an authorized repair service.
- Don't consume any food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat, or water. They may be contaminated.
- Don't turn on ceiling fixtures in the ceiling is wet. Wiring may be wet or damage and cause electrical shock, and air movement may create secondary damage.
- Don't send garments to the dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set in smoke odor.
When fire and water damage take control of your life, let SERVPRO of Hammond help you take it back.
Smoke & Soot Cleanup
Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to developing a comprehensive plan of action.
Smoke and soot facts:
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
- The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
Different Types of Smoke
There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Hammond will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:
Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber
- Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood
- Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises, therefore, smoke rises.
Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire
- Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
Our Fire Damage Restoration Services
Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.
While there is no way to completely eliminate all of the molds and mold spores in your home, there are some steps you can take to control the amount of moisture and subsequent mold growth. While this isn’t an exhaustive list, the following are several ways to accomplish moisture control.
One way is to stop any water that could creep into your home. Fixing any leaks from appliances, pipes, or supply lines; using waterproof or water-resistant materials such as tiles, deep-sealed concrete, galvanized/stainless steel hardware, etc.; using moisture barriers over exposed dirt and having proper ventilation in crawl spaces to prevent water from the ground; and making sure gutters are properly cleaned and maintained are ways to prevent unwanted water from invading your home. Keeping this water out is key to preventing microbial growth.
Another is to keep it clean. Fabrics that are not cleaned regularly and kept in well-ventilated places will breed mildew. Mold and mildew thrive in soiled, damp places. Dirty ductwork can cause mold spores to circulate throughout your home without you really noticing.
The next thing to remember is to keep it dry. Using dehumidifiers, fans, and opening windows, especially during hot weather, to regulate the humidity levels in your home help inhibit the ability of mold to grow. It is ideal to keep humidity levels below 40% and reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces by insulating around them.
Disinfecting surfaces regularly can prevent microbial growth from occurring or returning. A 10% bleach solution – 1 ¼ - 1 ½ cup bleach to a gallon of water – or a commercial disinfectant is recommended by FEMA to be most effective in removing/preventing microbial growth.
If you do find yourself with mold in your home, trust a certified professional, like SERVPRO of Hammond, to remove it properly.
The Mold Remediation Process
Every mold damage scenario is different and requires a unique solution, but the general mold remediation process stays the same. The steps listed below illustrate our “typical” process:
- Emergency Contact - (985) 542-7388
The mold cleanup and restoration process begins when you call us. Our representative will ask a series of questions to help us determine the necessary equipment, resources, and personnel.
- Inspection and Mold Damage Assessment
We carefully inspect your property for visible signs of mold. Mold feeds on cellulose and water and can be hidden from plain view. We use various technologies to detect mold and hidden water sources.
- Mold Containment
Our professionals use various containment procedures to prevent the spread of mold. We may use advanced containment procedures like negative air chambers to isolate the contaminated area with physical barriers and negative air pressure to keep the mold spores from spreading during the cleanup process. All fans and heating and cooling systems will be turned off to prevent the spread of mold.
- Air Filtration
Our specialized filtration equipment allows our Professionals to capture microscopic mold spores out of the air. We utilize powerful “air scrubbers” and HEPA vacuums to prevent the spread of these mold spores while the mold remediation is in process.
- Removing Mold and Mold-Infested Materials
The mold remediation process depends on the amount of mold growth and the types of surfaces on which the mold appears. We’ll use antifungal and antimicrobial treatments to eliminate mold colonies and to help prevent new colonies from forming. It may be necessary to remove and dispose of mold-infested porous materials, like drywall and carpeting, to remediate heavy mold growth.
- Cleaning Contents and Belongings
We clean your furniture, decorative items, curtains, clothing, and other restorable items affected by mold. We use a variety of cleaning techniques to clean and disinfect your belongings. We’re also trained to remove odors and deodorization using fogging equipment.
Depending on the level of mold damage, drywall, subfloors, and other building materials may have been removed. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new carpet; or it may entail major repairs such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business. The restoration step gets your home or business back to normal.