What To Do After Your Home Or Business Experiences Fire Damage
After any fire damage situation, your primary focus should be on the safety of yourself and your loved ones. Once you contact a professional for help, there are some steps you can take yourself to make sure everyone is safe while you wait. Here are some tips on what to do after fire damage occurs in your home or business:
- Determine if it is safe to remain in the building
- Identify any electrical and "slip and fall" hazards immediately, and ensure that people stay away from these hazards
- Only perform activities that are safe for you to complete
- Wet materials can be extremely heavy, so use caution when moving any items
You will want to:
- Limit all movement in the building 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 your freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open to allow smoke-tainted air to escape.
- Clean and protect chrome with a light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.
- Wash houseplants on both sides of their leaves.
- Change the HVAC filter.
- Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.
- Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces, and don’t shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting a 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, such as overhead fans, if your ceiling is wet; wiring could have been damaged during the fire.
- Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner, since improper cleaning may set the smoke odor in your clothing permanently, making them unwearable.
We are here to help you in any emergency, no matter the size. If you have experienced a disaster event, call SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties for assistance. We will be there right away.
Add Value With A Commercial Restoration
Our business restoration projects will require expertise that is necessary to deal with machinery and other specialized business equipment, so you will have to work with professionals—preferably professionals of a company that has a reputation for responding quickly if you experience flood, fire, or heavy weather-related issues. Every hour spent cleaning up your commercial property after a disaster is an hour lost when it comes to revenue and productivity, and it’s just good business to work with the best and the fastest in the restoration field.
A commercial renovation done well will add value to your enterprise, as well. Using quality materials and highly skilled labor will give you premium results that translate into financial gain on more than one level. Your clients will appreciate attractive and well-done upgrades, and your workforce will be proud to work in premises that are safer, more user-friendly, and make their job easier to complete.
Nationwide, SERVPRO handles large commercial loss for many types of clients, which include:
- Hospitality Industry
- Property Managers
- The Pentagon
We are proud to handle smaller situations, too. Our neighbors can always count on us! Whether you own a manufacturing business, an apartment complex, or a sales warehouse and showroom, we can be onsite to assist you with any restoration project quickly and get the job done correctly.
When it comes to your business, you may face restoration projects at times that will include:
- Flood Damage
- Fire Damage
- Inclement Weather Damage
- Damage from Equipment Failure
- Damage from Vandalism
- Damage from Accidents
- Damage due to Aging of Property
These types of restoration projects are ones that we see often in the commercial business world, but we are trained and ready to help, 24/7. You will be happy with the results and the added value to your business.
Here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties. we are experts in restoration for businesses that experience a fire event, flooding or violent weather, and industry experts in mold prevention and remediation, as well. Call us today for assistance with your commercial restoration projects.
Preparing For Fall Flash Floods
Flooding occurs in known floodplains when rain falls over several days or there is intense rainfall over a short period of time. Severe thunderstorms during the fall can bring heavy rain as well. Flash floods occur within six hours of a rain event or after a dam or levee failure, and they often can catch you unprepared. You will not always have a warning that these deadly, sudden fall floods are coming, so if you live in an area prone to flash floods, plan now to protect your family and property.
Learn more about flooding and flash flooding in your area by contacting your local emergency management office, the National Weather Service (NWS) office, or your local planning and zoning department office. If you are at risk, take steps to reduce damage and the risk of injury or loss to your family.
Know the difference between a WATCH and a WARNING.
- A National Weather Service WATCH is a message letting you know that conditions favor the occurrence of a certain type of hazardous weather. For example, a severe thunderstorm watch means that a severe thunderstorm is expected in the next six hours or so within an area approximately 120 to 150 miles wide and 300 to 400 miles long (36,000 to 60,000 square miles).
- A WARNING indicates that a hazardous event is occurring or is imminent in about 30 minutes to an hour. Local NWS forecast offices issue warnings on a county-by-county basis.
- Many more WATCHES are issued than WARNINGS. A WATCH is the first sign a flood may occur, and when one is issued, you should be aware of potential fall flood hazards. Floods can roll boulders, tear out trees, destroy buildings and bridges, and scour out new channels, reaching heights of 10 to 20 feet. They also often carry a deadly cargo of debris and can trigger catastrophic debris slides.
- Be prepared for fall flash floods and head for higher ground, staying away from flood waters. Even a shallow level of fast-moving flood water produces a lot of force, and the most dangerous thing you can do is to try walking, swimming, or driving through flood waters, since as little as two feet of water will carry away most automobiles.
Plan Ahead for a Fall Flash Flood
- Develop a Family Disaster Plan, and learn about your area's flood risk and elevation above flood stage.
- Contact your local Red Cross chapter, emergency management office, local National Weather Service office, or planning and zoning department to find out more about your area's flood risk.
- Knowing the elevation of your property in relation to nearby streams and dams will let you know if forecasted flood levels will affect your home.
Handling Flash Flood Risk:
- Talk to your insurance agent. Homeowners' policies do not cover flooding, so make sure you take steps to get covered.
- Use a NOAA Weather Radio with a tone-alert feature or a portable, battery-powered radio or TV for updated emergency information.
- Everyone in your family should know where to go if they have to leave. Trying to make plans at the last minute can be upsetting and create confusion.
- Discuss flash floods with your family. Everyone should know what to do in case all family members are not together. Discussing floods ahead of time helps reduce fear and anxiety and lets everyone know how to respond.
Protect Your Property
- Keep insurance policies, documents, and other valuables in a safe-deposit box. You may need quick, easy access to these documents. Keep them in a safe place less likely to be damaged during a flood.
- Avoid building in a floodplain unless you elevate and reinforce your home. Some communities do not permit building in known floodplains. If there are no restrictions and you are building in a floodplain, take precautions.
- Raise your furnace, water heater, and electric panel to higher floors or the attic if they are in areas of your home that may be flooded. Raising this equipment will prevent damage.
- Install check valves in building sewer traps to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home. As a last resort, when floods threaten, use large corks or stoppers to plug showers, tubs, or basins.
- Build barriers, such as levees, berms, and flood walls, to stop flood water from entering the building. Permission to construct such barriers may be required by local building codes, so check local building codes and ordinances for safety requirements.
- Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage through any cracks.
Consult with a construction professional for further assistance. Here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties, we can help you with any issues you may experience both before and after a fall flash flood.
How To Manage Storm Damage Before Professional Help Arrives
Dealing with damages to your home after a heavy storm, hurricane, or tornado can be difficult if you have to tackle them by yourself. Today we are sharing some tips that will help keep you and your family safe while you manage storm damages before the professionals arrive.
- Listen to your radio or local news station to hear all the updates and advisories that will be aired for your area. Don’t go outside until it’s safe to do so, and when you do venture out, make sure you stay away from downed power lines and any metal objects nearby.
- Standing water isn’t safe either, so don’t wade or swim in these areas. Damaged trees with dangling or broken limbs also need to be avoided.
- Once you know that your own family members and loved ones are okay, be sure to check on your neighbors, especially the elderly or disabled. If you smell gas, turn your gas off, and avoid using candles or any other open flames indoors.
- Before using toilets, make sure your sewer system is working, and be careful when consuming any perishable foods. If they have been warmed up over 40 degrees, discard. Keep your pets indoors, and use leashes if they must go out.
- Keep an eye out for snakes and other wild creatures. They will be disturbed due to the weather and may be more aggressive than normal.
- Don’t attempt to drive unless you absolutely have to, and watch out for damaged bridges and undermined roadways.
- When climbing ladders, working on your damaged roof or using machinery like chainsaws to cut away tree branches, etc., use extreme caution.
- If your roof is damaged to the point of allowing more water indoors, cover it before more rain comes into your area. Open windows and run fans if your interior has suffered water damage.
- Make sure you document all the damage to your home by video or photographs and build a list of all damaged items before you clean up.
- Your homeowner’s insurance policy should be read thoroughly so that you know what is and what is not covered before you ever contact the company. If you have trouble getting in touch with them, use any means available, such as phone, email, fax, and even letters.
Hiring a Professional Contractor.
- With the exception of emergency repairs, check with your insurance representative before hiring a contractor, and avoid those companies that go door-to-door after a storm to drum up business.
- Check your local homebuilder’s association to obtain recommendations for reputable contractors.
- Get more than one written bid, and make sure you understand what each bid includes. Be patient with reputable contractors after a storm, as they may be overwhelmed with projects. They will get to you as soon as possible!
If your home and property have suffered damage from storms or other extreme weather, the team here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties is here to help!
Eliminating Odors from Your Home
Everyday scents are an inevitable part of life. No matter how often we mop or scrub, they are always with us. As long as we cook, play, and just plain live, we will be dealing with odors. Using your favorite products or natural remedies can help to make your home more comfortable and fresh-smelling.
- Sometimes it’s not the trash that smells so bad, it’s the actual trash can. You can clean the can by sprinkling it with baking soda or by using a deodorizing pack or pod under the liner or inside the lid. Spraying it with a disinfecting spray will also kill odor-causing bacteria.
- If the smells of last night’s dinner are still lingering in the fridge, store open boxes of baking soda both there and in the freezer. Be sure to double-wrap more pungent items and store your leftovers in containers with lids that fit properly.
- We often forget to clean the dishwasher, and that can cause some unpleasantness. Once a month, just use a dishwasher cleaning tablet, and always rinse your dirty dishes before placing them in the dishwasher to avoid dealing with food that sticks to the interior.
- Microwaves often have lingering smells as well. Boil one quart of water with lemon slices for a few minutes in your microwave, and leave the door open afterwards to air it out.
- Cleaning your toilets before they start to look dirty will help to combat odors and stains. Adding ½ cup of bleach into the water after cleansing for extra assistance.
- After some time, your mattress may start to smell musty. Use baking soda to refresh it; sprinkle it on and let it sit, and then vacuum it up. A simple fix, but very effective.
- Keeping your closet door open allows fresh air to circulate, discouraging unpleasant odors.
- Carpeting absorbs odors like no other floor covering. Baking soda can help here, too. Sprinkle it over all your carpeting and let it sit for a while. Vacuum it up, and odors will have vanished. You can use the same tactic for pet beds, as well—a common place for odors to linger.
Here at SERVPRO of East Huron & Seneca Counties, we can help with all your household or business needs. If you are dealing with unhealthy or unpleasant odors, give us a call. We can investigate and take care of any issues you may have.
Summer Fire Prevention Tips
Keep fires at bay during the hottest months of the year!
Almost 5,000 fires happen every day during the summer season. Between all the cookouts and the extra loads on HVAC systems and landscaping machinery, commercial buildings and homes are both at risk for damage from fires.
Here are a few tips that can help lower the likelihood of a summertime fire in your home or business.
- HVAC Care. Dust can settle on electrical components of these units, which causes tracking faults that lead to fire. Running multiple units at the same time consistently over time can result in both overload and overheating, which are also opportunities for fires to start. Keeping your HVAC clean from dusty conditions is one way to prevent fire.
- Exhaust Fans. Clean out exhaust fans regularly, too, and take all debris out of the vents. Try to avoid running these fans for long periods of time on a consistent basis.
- Lawn Mower. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance and care schedule on your mowing equipment, and remember to remove debris and grass clippings from the cutting units, mufflers, and engines on a routine basis. Remember to never refuel your mower when it is overheated.
- Gas storage. The risk from fire is heightened by high ambient temperatures and relief valves that open at pressures that are too low. Always store gas cylinders upright and always out of doors.
- Safety While Grilling. If you keep a grill onsite at your business for company cookouts, make sure it is stored away from your buildings and away from overhanging branches. Always maintain a safe zone of at least three feet around the grill, and regularly remove any grease or gas buildup from the grills and trays. Never leave your grill unattended under any circumstances.
- Alarm Audits. Fire prevention should always include fire alarm tests. Be sure to replace any old or burned out batteries regularly.
Here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties, we care about your safety. If you have experienced damages from a fire, or from water or flooding, call us today. We are experts in cleanups from all kinds of disasters, both large and small, and we are also mold remediation specialists. We’re here to help!
Preparing Your Home for Summer Storms
Don't let summer storms wreak havoc on your home!
It seems like winter storms just stopped, and now we have to think about the storms of the summer! While rough summer weather is known to have a negative effect on Huron & East Seneca homes, a little preparation can save you a lot of time and money. We have a few helpful tips to get you ready for whatever happens.
Homeowners Insurance Updates. Many insurance policies will only pay you for what your home was worth before the storm, while replacement cost value insurance will pay you for the current market value of your property loss. We don’t usually consider our insurance until we need it, so taking the time to learn exactly what is covered and what isn’t will help you know if you need to update your policy. No homeowner wants to have a 300-year old tree crashing into their home to be the reason why they ultimately learn what type of insurance they have.
Tree Inspections. Sometimes, trees may not show any types of damage before a summer storm, but something unseen like a root problem can eventually make the tree fall over, and a severe summer storm can rapidly increase the likelihood of that. If your top branches are bare, there could also be issues with the health of your tree. Big hollows and dead wood on a tree is another indication that your tree may not be very healthy or stable. Taking the time to inspect the health of your trees is a great way to prevent damage to your home and vehicles. If you aren’t sure exactly what you should be looking for, it will be worth your time to consult with an arborist to find out if you have any issues. If it turns out that you don’t, you will have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you, your family, and your home are protected. If you do, you will be glad to know that it is being taken care of before the summer storms!
Clean Rain Gutters. If you don’t clean out your gutters, you risk damage to your basement during a summer storm due to water overflow into walls, attics, and other areas.
When it comes to getting your home ready for severe weather, the team at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties is here to help. We are experts in the field of water damage remediation, and we handle mold issues and fire damage, too. Call us today to schedule a consultation or cleanup at (419) 443-1790.
Three Tips to Avoid Summer Water Damage
Be on the lookout for water damage before it causes serious harm!
As we are in the middle of summer and the temperatures rise, the experts at SERVPRO of Huron and East Seneca Counties want to make sure your home stays dry the whole summer long. With vacations, landscaping, and outdoor use at its height right now, it’s important to be aware of the many ways your home is vulnerable to water and flood damage. We’ve put together three tips to help you avoid summer water damage:
- Maintain rain gutters and downspouts. Cleaning the gutters is one of those seasonal chores that’s always on the list, and it’s important not to put it off. Gutters need to be clean and clear of any debris and in good condition. Be sure to also maintain all your downspouts within ten feet of the foundation of your home. Clogged gutters can cause water to overflow into various spaces of your home, causing significant damage. Also, be sure to hire a professional if your gutters are too high to safely reach yourself.
- Roof inspections are important. Spot check your roof for any missing or damaged shingles, and keep an eye on any water stains along the bottom of the roof at the sheathing, truss, and rafters. You also want to make sure all insulation is in good shape by looking for any holes in the attic. Any of these issues could leave the roof of your house vulnerable to a leak, and a strong summer thunderstorm can really create problems at that point.
- Smart landscape locations. Be aware of the location of some of your landscaping. Stay away from any designs that require bedding material or mound soil to be set up against your home, and ensure that piles of leaves or compost don’t end up stacked in a place that is touching the foundation of your home. You also want to avoid vines that climb up the walls of the house because many times that type of vegetation can actually create cracks on exterior walls later on.
When you experience fire or water damage, SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties is here to help; you can call us at (419) 443-1790 to schedule a cleanup. Our team will quickly dry your property using state-of-the-art water removal equipment and advanced drying techniques, documenting the drying process to make sure your property is dry and the job is done right. And remember, we’re also mold remediation specialists!
Summer Cleaning Tips for your Business
Keeping your business clean is never underrated!
Keeping your work environment pleasant and healthy during the summer is a big, and important, job. The heat, dust, and insects can cause your workplace to look a bit less professional than it usually does, and with employees out on vacation more often, the normal maintenance might be overlooked. Here are some tips for you to use to keep your place of business looking great during the summer months:
- Dust surfaces daily.
- Clean and disinfect all bathrooms, to include: mirror, countertop, sinks, and both the inside AND outside of toilets.
- Clean and disinfect doors, door handles, and light switches.
- Sweep and mop floors, using a disinfectant liquid. Make sure the mop head gets cleaned and/or replaced regularly.
- Clean cigarette trash from provided receptacles.
- Clean and polish drinking fountain.
- Clean and disinfect kitchen area to include sinks and countertops.
- Clean all glass, especially entrance doors.
- Install insect traps in places where they hide, and use fly strips near entrances.
- Wipe down and disinfect work desks and machinery such as phones, keyboards, printers, and filing cabinets.
- Sweep and vacuum all offices.
- Dust accessible window sills and baseboards.
- Dust artwork, framed certifications, and news articles, etc.
- Clean out the refrigerator and wash/disinfect microwave.
- Sweep exterior entrances, both front and back.
- Make sure break areas are clean and presentable.
- Remove trash and debris from parking areas.
- Ensure there is no standing water on the property that could attract mosquitoes.
End of Month
- Inspect the roofing, exterior doors and windows, and parking areas for potential problems and maintenance needs, especially if there have been some heavy storms in the past few weeks.
- Trim back large bushes and tree limbs on your property ahead of wet summer weather. This is a great time to remove leaves and branches from the area, as well, and get rid of weeds.
- Do a quick inspection of fencing and entrance gates.
- Schedule periodic maintenance of HVAC and ductwork regularly during this season of heavy use.
Here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties, we are ready to help you handle all your cleaning and maintenance projects, both large and small, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Call us at (419) 442 1790 to schedule an inspection, or for cleanup assistance after water or fire damage. We are also experienced in mold remediation!
Cleaning and Maintenance Tips for your HVAC System
Proper HVAC maintenance is essential.
Dirty coils and clogged filters in your HVAC system could be costing you an extra $1,000 or more each season. We know you don’t want to spend that much extra money on your energy bills, so let’s talk about properly cleaning and maintaining your HVAC system.
Whether the seasonal changes are dramatic or mild, these systems require regular care, and it is vital to prepare your energy equipment for both colder and warmer weather in order to avoid breakdowns and those high costs. Today, we are going to share some tips with you for both cleaning and maintaining your HVAC system as well as some energy-saving tips:
- Change Filters. Your air conditioning filters will need to be changed once a month. This enables your unit to run efficiently, causing less wear and tear.
- Inspections. Take a close look at your ductwork to make sure it is not leaking.
- Weather Stripping. Replace weather stripping around exterior doors and windows and install this wherever it is lacking. Cracked and worn weather stripping allows cool air to escape, and when you keep this from happening, you could save up to 15 percent of your energy costs every month.
- Insulation. Make sure your home is properly insulated, using insulation with an R factor between 30 and 49 for the best savings.
- Temperature Regulation. Keep the temperature in your home cool at night and warm during the day while everyone is gone. You can use a programmable thermostat to regulate your temperatures for optimal comfort and efficiency. Keep doors and windows closed when the air conditioning is on, and use ceiling fans to circulate cool air.
Mold, mildew, pollutants, and toxins (such as formaldehyde, pesticides, and cigarette smoke) can become issues if your HVAC system isn’t kept clean, causing health problems. When cleaning and maintaining your HVAC system proves to be too big of a job for just you, you can call our team here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties. We have the experience and equipment necessary to take care of a job like this easily and quickly.