September is National Preparedness Month
Hurricane Harvey has ripped through Texas leaving massive flooding and destruction in it's path. Now more than ever it is important to be prepared before a storm hits.
September is recognized as National Preparedness Month to remind everyone that “we must all take action, now and throughout the year, for the types of emergencies that could affect us where we live, work, and also where we visit,” (ready.gov).
With the recent flooding in Louisiana in mind, the last thing you want to worry about is how to communicate and what to do during a disaster like this horrific event that killed hundreds and left many families without homes.
What you can do:
- Make A Family Plan – you may not be together with your family during a disaster.
- Set up emergency alerts from local officials
- Discuss family plans for disasters and plan where to go for safety.
- Collect information on paper including, phone numbers, emails, social media, medical facilities, doctors, service providers, school
- Decide on safe, familiar places where your family can go for protection and if you have pets think about animal-friendly locations
- Take Action – ensure you can go for at least 3 days without electricity, water service, access to supermarket, or other local services
- Prepare a disaster supply kit (water, food, battery-powered radio, flashlight, first aid kit, whistle, local maps)
- Bookmark weather.gov to stay informed on severe weather
- Learn about wireless emergency alerts, messages that will be sent to your phone during an emergency
Consider the following disasters that can occur at any time: Learn more about hazards which can affect your community and ways you can take action to prepare.
- Earthquakes – can occur suddenly and be deadly. Most earthquake-related casualties result from collapsing walls, flying glass, and falling objects.
- Floods - Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States and can happen anywhere.
- Hurricanes - have the power to cause widespread devastation, and can affect both coastal and inland areas.
- Tornadoes - are one of nature’s most violent storms, and can cause death, injury, and destruction within seconds.
- Wildfires - can occur anywhere and can destroy homes, businesses, infrastructure, natural resources, and agriculture.
The Truth is, It's Everywhere
Let’s face it, mold is everywhere. It can be found indoors and outdoors. It can enter your home or business through windows, vents and HVAC systems. Mold from outdoors can attach to clothing, shoes, pets and can be carried indoors. It grows anywhere, especially where there is moisture. And the worst part is, it can cause a variety of health effects. Children, the elderly, and anyone with respiratory problems are more likely to suffer the effects mold can have.
Mold’s Best Friend:
Water. Any home or business can quickly become infested with mold with the introduction of a water source, like a roof or plumbing leak. Mold can spread throughout a property in as little as 48-72 hours
Consider the following mold facts:
- Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
- Mold spores are microscopic, float along in the air, and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
- Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants and have the potential to cause other health effects.
- Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
- Mold often produces a strong, musty odor, and that odor can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
- Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.
“Mold Removal” vs. Remediation
Because mold is everywhere, removing all mold from your home or business is impossible. A qualified restoration company understand the science behind mold and mold growth and knows how to remediate the problem area. So what do you do when you find mold growth in your home or business?
- Step 1: Emergency Contact SERVPRO of Chesterfield 804.378.2323
- Step 2: Inspection and Mold Damage Assessment
- Step 3: Mold Containment
- Step 4: Air Filtration
- Step 5: Removing Mold and Mold-Infested Materials
- Step 6: Cleaning Contents and Belongings
- Step 7: Restoration
Top 5 Most Common Causes of House Fires
Here are top 5 most common causes of house fires as identified by the National Fire Protection Association.
From 2007-2011, the NFPA says there were an average of 10,630 fires in the U.S. that were started by candles, causing 115 deaths, 903 injuries and approximately $418 million in property damage. That is an average of 29 candle fires per day.
- Never leave a candle burning near flammable items.
- Never leave a candle burning in a child’s room or an unoccupied room.
- Make sure candles fit securing into candle holders so they won’t tip over.
- Blow out any candles before leaving a room or going to sleep
While the number of fires caused by smoking is trending downward, the NFPA found that there were still an average of 17,600 related fires per year resulting in 490 deaths and more than $516 million in property damage.
- If you smoke, consider smoking outside.
- Use wide, sturdy ashtrays to catch butts and ashes.
- Look for cigarette butts under furniture and between seat cushions to make sure no lit butts have fallen someplace where they can’t be seen.
- Don’t smoke in bed, when you’re tired or around medical oxygen.
- Electrical & Lighting
According to the NFPA, in 2011 approximately 47,700 home structure fires were caused by some sort of electrical failure or malfunction. These resulted in 418 deaths, 1,570 injuries and $1.4 billion in property damage.
- Don’t overload outlets or electrical cords.
- Make sure you have the right cord for the job – inside cords for inside, heavy duty/outside cords for outdoor use.
- Don’t leave Christmas lights, Christmas trees, or halogen lights on overnight or when not at home.
- Consider having an electrician perform an annual checkup of your home’s wiring.
- Dryers & Washing Machines
Clothes dryer fires happen more often than one might think, accounting for 16,800 home structure fires in 2010 and doing more than $236 million in property damage.
- Clean the lint screen frequently and don’t run the dryer without it.
- For gas and propane dryers, make sure there aren’t any leaks in the lines.
- Vent the dryer to the outside of the house and ensure nothing blocks the vent pipe.
- Clean the vent pipe and the area where the screen is housed.
- Keep the area around the dryer free of combustible materials.
From 2007-2011, NFPA says there were an average of 22,600 fires per year caused by lightning strikes.
- Stay away from doors and windows during an electrical storm.
- Do not use corded phones, computers, TVs or other electrical equipment during storms.
- Unplug major electronics – TVs, stereo equipment, computers and microwaves to minimize damage if there is a lightning strike close by.
- Avoid plumbing such as sinks, baths and faucets during a thunderstorm.
You experience a fire in your home, don't hesitate to call SERVPRO of Chesterfield at 804.378.2323.
Molds are found in every environment, and mold spores reproduce rapidly when moisture is present. An institute of Medicine study found excessive dampness indoors encourages the growth of molds and other organisms potentially causing a public health problem. The EPA advised that the potential health concerns from molds are important reason to prevent moisture problems leading to mold growth. Possible health effects include runny nose, sneezing, coughing, aggravation of asthma, sore throat, or inflammation of the sinuses.
SERVPRO of Chesterfield professionals handle water damages every day and know prompt action is required to prevent mold growth, if there is an ongoing moisture problem in the building, be alert for:
- The presence of visible mold
- Strong, musty odors, which may indicate mold is present
- Any evidence of past moisture problems that might have caused undetected mold growth
- Excessive humidity.
These conditions may require the expertise of a qualified Indoor Air Quality/Environmental Professional to inspect the building for mold growth and water damage problems.
SERVPRO of Chesterfield cares about proper restoration of your structure and, in most water damage situations, can safely restore your building to preloss condition.
Understanding the Mold Remediation Process
At SERVPRO of Chesterfield, we understand mold. We understand what causes mold, what necessary steps to take, the right equipment to use, and of course, the prevention of future mold growth.
These steps listed below describe our process and the best practices when it comes to mold remediation.
- Contact SERVPRO of Chesterfield Immediately
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.
Commercial Cleaning Services
If you are a business owner, or run a particular business that receives a lot of visitors and foot-traffic, you know how important it is to keep your business looking clean and in good shape. A lot of times, you don't have the time to worry about the common wear and tear that gradually soils your office.
When grime, odor, and moisture challenges go beyond the scope of your regular janitorial staff, you should call SERVPRO of Chesterfield for prompt service. Whether it’s removing an odor problem or deep cleaning flooring or carpets, you can rely on us to make your workspace look its very best.
SERVPRO of Chesterfield offer cleaning services ranging from cleaning restaurant hoods to removing biohazard contaminants. We have the specialized training and products to get your property back to business. Our cleaning services include the following:
The Right Equipment for Water Damages
SERVPRO of Chesterfield understands the utilizing the proper equipment makes a measurable difference in reducing claims loss expense. When it comes to a water damage, time matters. SERVPRO of Chesterfield will answer your call with fast action, exceptional equipment, and trained, uniformed personnel. The right tools for the job is vital to timely mitigation. Here's how we break it down:
Psychrometry is the study of the air and its properties. The properties of temperature, humidity, vapor pressure and dew point are measured to evaluate air conditions in the structure, enabling a SERVPRO of Chesterfield professional to create the proper atmosphere for more efficient drying.
Moisture Sensors - used to detect moisture in carpets, baseboards and walls.
- Moisture Meters - used to determine the actual moisture content of various materials. The moisture tester provides accurate moisture readings that enable the professional crew member to monitor the drying process.
- Thermohygrometers - measure both temperature and relative humidity. Capturing these two readings, a professional using a psychrometric chart can calculate specific humidity, dew point and vapor pressure.
The Right Equipment for Fire Damages
We believe at SERVPRO of Chesterfield that the right tools for the job is vital to timely mitigation and restoration, but perhaps more important, SERVPRO of Chesterfield fire damage professionals are thoroughly trained in fire cleanup and restoration. For instance, knowing the different types of smoke and their behavior patterns are vital to proper restoration.
- Wet Smoke – Plastics and Synthetics; Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary.
- Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood; Fast burning, high temperatures, dry, powdery, nonsmeary residues.
- Protein – Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
- Fuel Oil Soot – Furnace Puff Backs.
- Other Types – Tear gas, fingerprint powder and fire extinguisher residue.
Ultra Low Volume (ULV) Foggers will atomize liquid deodorizing agents, producing a fine mist that easily penetrates sites where odor-causing residues accumulate. The device can also be used to apply fungicides and disinfectants.
Thermal Foggers dispense solvent-based products in large volume, dense fogs suitable for confined areas. The fog consists of tiny particles of deodorant solution that pair with and neutralize odor-causing particles.
How to Prevent Water Damage from Rain
Everyone loves the occasional summer thunderstorm - but it could cause major problems if rain water seeps into your home. One of the most common sources of water damage in a home is from rain water. It can enter through leaks in your roof, seeping in from the foundation, or even flooding into your basement. It is important to take the necessary steps to prevent water damage in your home such as:
Checking for proper drainage:
- inspect your roof thoroughly for structural damage or holes
- clear your gutters from leaves and other debris that could block the flow of water from draining into the yard
Install or Check Sump Pumps:
- sump pump are very effective for keeping rainwater out of your house
- have a professional check your sump pump to insure it is working properly once a year
Check sealant inside and outside foundation
- make sure the tar sealant covering the inner and outer sides of the foundation are intact
Inspect the slope of your lawn
- grading is the slope of your lawn and it should always slope away from your home to redirect the rainwater from flooding around the foundations
When you are dealing with storm, flood, and water damage, immediate action is crucial. You should choose the company with storm damage experience and expertise that has the resources and equipment to handle the job. SERVPRO of Chesterfield can respond immediately to storm and flooding conditions.
Commercial Sewage Cleanup and Restoration
Sewage back-ups and toilet overflows are some of the most common issues home and business owners can experience. Water from sewer system backups should be considered very dangerous. The water is grossly unsanitary and may contain bacteria and viruses that could cause serious illness.
Special training and equipment is necessary to safely clean this type of contamination. That’s why it is important to call the professionals who have over 30 years of experience cleaning up these types of issues. SERVPRO of Chesterfield understands that there are three major types of contaminated water and the necessary steps to handle each scenario. SERVPRO of Chesterfield will inspect that contaminated water to determine the type of water and then plan the appropriate response to safely restore your home or business.
The Three Types of Water
Category 1: Clean Water
- Water from a clean source like a broken water line
- If left untreated, can degrade into category 2 or 3
Category 2: Gray Water
- May contain bacteria and viruses - may include washing machine overflow; toilet overflow with some urine, but no feces; or dishwasher overflow.
- Can quickly degrade into category 3 if left untreated.
Category 3: Black Water
- May contain untreated sewage, harsh chemicals, and microbes
- Water from flooding rivers or sewer backup
If your home or business experiences a sewage issue, it should be treated as quickly as possible. Call SERVPRO of Chesterfield at 804.378.2323 and our professionals will respond 24 hours a day for emergency services.