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The Deception of Water Damage

6/3/2022 (Permalink)

Water Damage. A house destroyed by a hurricane.

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 (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) 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 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.

Every technician in SERVPRO of Western Essex is Certified through the IICRC, and experienced in their craft.

Make Sure Your Business Is Ready for Potential Disasters | SERVPRO® of Western Essex County

3/28/2022 (Permalink)

man holding an umbrella looking at a city burning A quick response time with an alertful team will ensure that your restoration needs are professionally completed by SERVPRO of Western Essex County.

When you are a business owner, one of the most important factors to think about is emergency preparedness.

Disaster are going to happen, and while having a plan in place cannot stop all disasters, it can still offer a certain sense of security and at least ensure that your employees are aware of what to do if a disaster or emergency situation should occur.

What’s Your Plan?

Please take the time and make it a priority to sit down and work out an emergency preparedness plan for various disaster situations that could affect your business!

There are numerous emergencies your business should have a preparedness plan in place for, including:

  • Fire
  • Severe weather, including thunderstorms and winter storms
  • Other natural hazards like floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes
  • Human-caused hazards, including accidents or acts of violence
  • Technology-related issues like power outages and equipment failure

When disaster strikes, it doesn’t matter if it’s a man-made incident or natural, if no emergency plan is in place for your business, things could get even more stressful quickly.

You should make sure that safety training and familiarization of emergency preparedness plans are included in the company onboarding process, team-building activities and continuing education opportunities. By encouraging your employees to familiarize themselves with proper safety protocol and emergency procedures, you’re not only giving them the tools to protect themselves, but you are also setting them up to help protect guests/visitors and the business itself.

Where to Begin

In beginning to set up an emergency plan for your business, start by evaluating which scenarios are most likely to occur—and go as far as considering the longshots that could still happen. After all, it’s better to prepare for all the worst-case scenarios and not be caught off guard.

There are plenty of online resources to help guide you through this process, including Ready.gov, the American Red Cross, FEMA and the CDC.

If you have a business impact analysis (BIA) done, it will help predict potential effects a disaster may have on your business. This would include lost or delayed sales and income, increased expenses from repairs, and delayed implementation of business plans. Don’t forget to make sure a crisis communications plan is in place, too.

Once you have come up with an emergency preparedness plan, be sure to review it and practice it with employees. Reviewing and rehearsing various scenarios can help ensure the process remains fresh in their minds and can help employees feel more empowered.

Disaster can strike when you least expect it, but by being prepared and having a plan in place, your business will be better suited to handle whatever Mother Nature has in store. If the worst should happen and your business is damaged, know that SERVPRO® of Western Essex County is here to help make it “Like it never even happened.”

Does Your Business Have a Natural Disaster Plan? | SERVPRO® of Western Essex County

3/28/2022 (Permalink)

Green exit sign A quick response time with an alertful team will ensure that your restoration needs are professionally completed by SERVPRO of Western Essex County.

Would your business be prepared to face all that Mother Nature can throw at it through floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires and earthquakes? The most important key to surviving these natural disasters is to be prepared for these situations.

Being prepared for these situations involves creating a natural disaster plan for your business. This blog will lay out some aspects to consider when designing that very important disaster plan.

<h4to-start-with-your-disaster-plan">Where to Start With Your Disaster Plan

There are many things you will need to consider, including your employees, your material assets and equipment, when developing a disaster plan for your business.

Some of those considerations should be:

  1. How to protect your employees
  2. How to secure your assets
  3. How to get business up and running again

Many checklists have been made available through sources like the Red Cross, FEMA and Ready.gov that can offer information that will help you identify areas that need to be included in your natural disaster preparedness plan. These sources will also help you see just how prepared you truly are.

<h4t-neglect-employee-safety">Don’t Neglect Employee Safety

If a disaster should strike without warning, your plan must lay out clear and concise procedures and safety measures for the protection of your employees and visitors. Your evacuation routes and exits from your facility should all be properly and clearly marked, have an area designated that will serve as a shelter space, consider emergency light installation, and ask for volunteers to serve as designated “safety wardens” properly trained and ready to guide and assist with all emergency efforts.

When choosing a place for shelter, ideally this space would be a basement or storm cellar in the event of tornadoes or other high-wind situations. If there is no basement available, select a small interior room on the lowest level of the building, such as a closet or interior hallway.

<h4to-protect-the-assets">How to Protect the Assets

In a brick and mortar location, you’ll still need to make careful decisions when it comes to protecting the assets inside the building. You have thousands of dollars tied up in equipment and/or merchandise that will be at risk should a natural disaster strike.

Be sure to have a complete and up-to-date inventory of all equipment and assets. Having photographs prior to a disaster whenever possible is also always helpful if insurance claims need to be made. If your assets are computer data-based and kept on a server, take the steps necessary to ensure that the backup system is making regular backups and that the storage system cannot be damaged, such as a cloud storage option.

If you own the building that you conduct your business in, get with a contractor to uncover areas that could be structurally strengthened. This contractor should be able to suggest possible safety upgrades and advise on any areas that may not make the grade in certain weather situations.

<h4back-to-business">Getting Back to Business

When—and if—a natural disaster does occur, it may be entirely possible that your business will have to be closed for days or months due to the damage incurred. And every day you remain closed is another day of lost profits. It is wise to set up a disaster fund to help cover any additional costs that are not covered by your insurance.

Keep a list of contractors handy who will make themselves available for repairs, and know which cleanup and restoration service will be available to quickly respond to your emergency situation.

With SERVPRO® of Western Essex, you can count on us to get to the disaster faster and make it "Like it never even happened." Our training and expertise have prepared us to help with water damage, storm damage, fire damage and mold remediation quickly and effectively.

Knowing what to do when disaster strikes your business is of the utmost importance. When it comes to the cleanup and restoration aspects, depend on SERVPRO® of Western Essex County to be there for you.

Taking Water Damage Into Consideration | SERVPRO® of Western Essex County

3/28/2022 (Permalink)

guy checking the thermostat A quick response time with an alertful team will ensure that your restoration needs are professionally completed by SERVPRO of Western Essex County.

Water. Let’s face it—we need it to live—everything needs it! But what we don’t need is for it to be causing damage to our property and our homes.

When it comes to damage caused by water, there are many reasons it happens. How many of those reasons are you aware of?

Common Causes

For the period covering 2009 to 2015, The Travelers Companies Inc. discovered the most prevalent reasons for a filed homeowners insurance claim were:

  • Wind damage
  • Water damage from sources other than weather
  • Hail
  • Weather-related water damage
  • Burglary

Water damage is so common that it appears on this list twice, in two different categories. To make it simple, remember that it can be classified as non-weather-related and weather-related.

Water damage that is not caused by weather occurs most often in the home and is the result of plumbing and appliance malfunction issues. Water damage caused by weather can cause just as big of headache but does not occur as often. Weather-related water damage is caused by events such as rain, snow or melting ice.

The top five reasons for water damage in the home are plumbing, appliance leaks, water pipe issues, older water heaters and weather.

Water Damage Prevention

While water damage can be pricey, it could be even more pricey if a homeowner is not covered by homeowners insurance. Check your homeowner policy for your coverages. In most cases, damages that are covered in a standard policy are:

  • Damages caused by winter weather
  • The expulsion of water, even if it is accidental
  • Damaged or broken down hot water heating system
  • Plumbing that freezes

Fortunately, there are ways to keep water damage from occurring, thereby saving yourself some headaches in the future.

Here are some ideas for preventive maintenance to help you protect your home as much as possible from the damage caused by water:

  • Hire a plumber to install back flow valves and standpipes in basement drains.
  • Raise your appliances and personal items up off the basement floor.
  • Clean all gutters and downspouts.
  • Never place grease down the kitchen drain.

When you follow these suggested tips, you just might reduce the probability for any water damage incidents in your home.

Water damage can be a nightmare to deal with but fortunately, you will always have SERVPRO® of Western Essex County on your side to help with the cleanup and restoration process.

Can You Identify Common Fire Hazards in Your Home? | SERVPRO® of Western Essex County

3/14/2022 (Permalink)

tea light candles A quick response from SERVPRO of Western Essex County ensures your Damage Restoration needs are professionally completed.

Nobody wants to think about the possibility of their home being damaged by fire, but it’s an unfortunate, harsh reality for a multitude of Americans.

One way you can help protect your home is to understand fire hazards and know how to identify them. In this blog, let’s dive into two of the most common causes of household fires.

Candles are a common fire hazard.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, over a five-year period from 2011 to 2015, fire departments across the United States answered an estimated 8,700 house fires a year that were caused by candles.

In total, these fires caused 82 deaths, 800 injuries and $295 million in property damage. Candles were the cause of 2 percent of reported house fires, of which 3 percent resulted in death and 7 percent resulted in injuries.

An average of 24 home candle fires per day were reported during those five years, with December having the highest month of incidents. Out of all the candle fires during this time period, 37 percent started in the bedroom and were responsible for 36 percent of the associated deaths and 51 percent were associated with injuries.

When using a candle, be sure it’s kept at least one foot away from anything that could possibly ignite and that it is in a sturdy holder that will not easily tip over. It is never wise to use a candle where oxygen is in use in a home. And you always want to ensure that all candles are properly extinguished before leaving a room or going to sleep.

House fires from smoking can be lethal.

While cooking is the leading cause of house fires, smoking is the main cause of home fire deaths. Approximately 17,200 house fires were reported in 2014 due to smoking, which includes cigarettes, pipes and cigars. Those fires resulted in 570 deaths, 1,140 injuries and $426 million in property damage, according to the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes.

If you’re a smoker, it is smart to smoke outside, as most deaths result from fires that started in living rooms, family rooms or bedrooms. Fire-safe cigarettes are the best option, and using a deep, sturdy ashtray is advised.

Drop all lit cigarettes and ashes in water or sand prior to throwing them out—and remember that one out of four fatal victims of smoking fires is not the smoker whose cigarette started the fire.

Dust bunnies as fire hazards?

While candles and smoking are well-known causes of home structure fires, were you aware that some glassware in your home could be a fire risk? When sunlight passes through them, the concentrated ray may ignite flammable materials. It’s best to keep glass accessories away from windows and out of direct sunlight.

Dust bunnies can also pose a fire risk when they collect near electrical sockets and floor heaters. Regular sweeping or vacuuming regularly and cleaning hard-to-reach areas like behind entertainment systems can help prevent buildup.

Also, look for loose outlets in your home. The movement of these outlets loosens the wires connected to the outlet and could create dangerous arcing.

Fire and smoke damage can be devastating to homes, and in many circumstances, can be accompanied by water damage from firefighting efforts. If your home is damaged by fire or smoke, SERVPRO® of Western Essex County is here to help restore your home to pre-fire condition.

Stopping Ice Dams | SERVPRO of Western Essex County

3/14/2022 (Permalink)

ice on roofs A quick response time with an alertful team will ensure that your restoration needs are professionally completed by SERVPRO of Western Essex County.

Seems a little late in the season to be talking about Ice Dams, but now is the time to correct some issues which may have caused them.

Ice Dams are thick ridges of solid ice that build up on the lower part of your roofline, preventing melting snow from reaching your gutters.

First, we need to understand how an Ice Dam forms:

  1. Heavy snowfall and sustained cold weather prevents roof-bound snow from gradually melting away.  This leaves an enormous amount of snow on your roof.
  2. Heat then collects in your attic and warms the roof, except the eaves.
  3. Snow then melts on the warm roof and then freezes as the melted water approaches the cold eaves.
  4. This water then re-freezes.  Ice accumulates along the eaves, forming a dam.  Once this ice dam forms, it blocks ongoing melting snow from escaping into your gutters.
  5. Melted snow water has nowhere to go except back up the roofline, under the shingles, and finally into your home.

Preventing Ice Dams

Following are some steps you can take now to prevent Ice Dams in the future.  Speak with a contractor for each, if you're not handy.

  1. Use Heated Cables: heated cables, placed along your roof edge, will help keep snow melting before it freezes
  2. Ventilate Eaves And Ridge: Place baffles at the eaves to maintain a clear path for the airflow from the soffit vents.
  3. Cap the Hatch: Cover unsealed attic hatches with weather-stripped caps made from foil-faced foam board held together with aluminum tape.
  4. Exhaust to the Outside: Make sure that the ducts connected to the kitchen, bathroom, and dryer vents all lead outdoors through either the roof or walls.
  5. Add Insulation: Make sure attic insulation is not missing in any area.  This will keep heat from entering the attic space from your home.  The attic should not be a heated space.
  6. Flash Around Chimneys
  7. Seal and Insulate Ducts
  8. Caulk All Penetrations

If you do experience an Ice Dam situation, here are some quick fixes to prevent further damage until the ice and snow can be removed from the roof.

  1. Rake the Snow before it can accumulate and freeze.  There are long handle snow rakes you can purchase.
  2. Blow Cold Air at the source.  This will help to re-freeze the ice dam and prevent water from entering the home until the roof can be cleared.
  3. De-ice the problem area by filling an old pantyhose with calcium chloride and placing it where the ice dam has occurred.  This will cause a gradual melting of the ice.

Finally, DON'T:

  • Throw rock salt on the problem.  This could damage the roof shingles and shrubs.
  • Hack away at the ice.  You could damage your roof and this is a dangerous fall hazard.

Contact us at 908.650.8611 if you have a service need or visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Western Essex County's services.

How To Protect Your Home From A Fire When Your Electricity Comes Back On | SERVPRO Western Essex County

3/11/2022 (Permalink)

house on fire A quick response time with an alertful team will ensure that your restoration needs are professionally completed by SERVPRO of Western Essex County.

Did you know that when your power comes back on, the initial surge can cause damages to your appliances or possibly a fire if they are still plugged in.

In the United States, it is reported that a home fire is put on record every 24 seconds according the NFPA. That works out to be nearly 8,600 house fires a day.

Though the vast majority of house fires are cooking related, surges, malfunctioning appliances and frayed wires or cords are also often to blame. Because fire can spread rapidly and can quickly consume an entire house, it is essential to be vigilant in prevention for the safety of your household (even during a disaster).

Prevention Tips When The Power Goes Out

  • Walk around an unplug bigger power users, television, computers, appliances, and turn off smaller ones like lamps and radios.
  • Turn off the main supply of power to the house or remove the fuses.
  • During summer months, turn the air conditioner off.

By following these tips, you can mitigate the risk of frying your electronics or overloading your house’s circuits.

When The Power Comes Back On

Once the power returns, wait a few minutes before turning on the main supply switch.To give the electrical system a chance to stabilize, turn on essential appliances first, then gradually turn on other electronics.

Restarting appliances all at once can almost double the amount of electricity that they use when running normally. When the main switches are re-energized, this demand can cause breakers to trip. It helps if you don't have all your appliances waiting to draw power the instant it is restored.

Fire and smoke damage can be devastating to your home, and in many circumstances, can be accompanied by water damage. If your home is damaged by fire or smoke, we are here to help restore your home to pre-fire condition. Contact us at 908.650.8611.

We are available for cleanup and restoration services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

You Can Count on Us to Be There Fast | SERVPRO® of Western Essex County

3/11/2022 (Permalink)

floor coming up after water damage A quick response from SERVPRO of Western Essex County ensures your Damage Restoration needs are professionally completed.

When disaster strikes, time can become an even more precious commodity—especially when it’s your home or livelihood on the line.

We know how crucial a fast response is following a disaster at your home or business, which is why responding faster to any size disaster is more than just a slogan in our world.

Why a Fast Response Is Key

Time is not a luxury you have when disaster strikes, especially when it’s your belongings or business on the line. This is especially true where water damage has come into play, which can be through various means such as flooding, appliance and/or plumbing failures, storm damage and fire damage, as water is used to put out the fires.

Water can spread throughout your property in mere minutes, saturating everything in its path. Items like the walls, floors, upholstery and your belongings can all be casualties of water.

The effects of water damage within the first 24 hours include:

  • Furniture begins to swell and crack
  • Drywall begins to swell and break down
  • The arrival of a musty odor
  • Dyes and inks from cloth and paper items spread and stain
  • Metal surfaces begin to tarnish

The damage will worsen as time goes on. Between 48 hours and a week later, you could begin to see:

  • Paint beginning to blister
  • Swelling and warping of doors, windows and studs
  • The growth and spreading of mold and mildew
  • The possibilities of serious biohazard contamination
  • Wood flooring swelling and warping
  • Metal beginning to rust and corrode

The damage done can dramatically increase the restoration time and costs and can also impact structural safety if left unchecked for over a week.

How We Can Respond So Quickly

It doesn’t matter what day or time it is, our trained restoration specialists will quickly be dispatched to your property or business.

Providing an immediate response to any size disaster is what we are here for! Our fast response times can help minimize the damage and keep the cleaning and restoration costs manageable.

A major perk of being part of a national network of over 1,800 franchises is that we have access to more resources for the cleanup and restoration projects that may be larger or stem from major storm situations. Being a locally owned and operated franchise helps us be close by and ready to respond whenever the call comes in.

Remember, if you need us, we’ll be there—no matter the time or day. The team of highly trained restoration experts at SERVPRO® of Western Essex County is available for emergency cleanup and restoration services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Why Business Owners Choose Us for Restoration | SERVPRO® of Western Essex County

2/25/2022 (Permalink)

Green SERVPRO van driving down the road A quick response time with an alertful team will ensure that your restoration needs are professionally completed by SERVPRO of Western Essex County.

For many business owners, sustaining damage to their business can damage more than just their property—it can also damage their entire venture. In a recent FEMA study, they determined 40 to 60% of businesses will not reopen following a natural disaster. That is why if your business has sustained fire, water or mold damage, either due to a disaster or any other cause, it is important to choose a company that is well-versed in commercial restoration.

We know how important your business is to your livelihood, which is why we make it our mission to be experts in commercial restoration. Having a team you trust on your side will help you focus on other crucial business aspects and help get your doors open again faster. These are just a few of the reasons why business owners have chosen us for commercial restoration:

1. We’re Proud of Our Response Time

You may be aware that our slogan is “faster to any size disaster,” but that’s more than just something we say. Our emergency line is open 247, 365 days a year to ensure our restoration experts are alerted right away when a business owner calls to report the damage.

A quick response time not only gives business owners peace of mind, but it also makes the restoration process more efficient. By getting to the scene quickly, our technicians can stop further damage from occurring, saving both time and money on the project. This makes for one less thing business owners have to worry about as they get their business on track to reopen.

2. We’re Proud of Our Technicians

Our technicians are leaders in the restoration field because of the education and training they receive. They study the guidelines set forth by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) to learn about best practices, restoration techniques and other insider tips in the field.

Technicians also have the opportunity to further their education through certification programs, online courses and other industry knowledge throughout their employment. This allows them to be prepared for any damage scenario your business might face.

3. We’re Proud of Our Equipment

The materials and procedures we use on commercial restoration projects comply with the IICRC’s guidelines, ensuring we are tackling the job with the most advanced tools in the industry.

From water extraction machines following flooding or odor removal equipment to remove smoke after a fire, we’ve got the tools to make your commercial remediation a success.

If you’re in need of commercial restoration, do not hesitate to make the call so you can get your business back faster. Our trained experts are here to help 24/7—contact us today.

How to Prevent House Fires | SERVPRO® of Western Essex County

2/16/2022 (Permalink)

fire in a village A quick response time with an alertful team will ensure that your restoration needs are professionally completed by SERVPRO of Western Essex County.

Smoke alarms are a great tool for house fire prevention, but they are not the only way to lessen your risk.

The causality of house fires is varied, but one thing that is consistent is how frequently they occur. By learning about the statistics and proven prevention methods, homeowners can keep their families safe.

The Numbers Behind House Fires

In the United States, it is reported that a home fire is put on record every 24 seconds according to the NFPA. That works out to nearly 8,600 house fires a day.

Though the vast majority of house fires are cooking-related, malfunctioning appliances, frayed wiring or cords, and carelessness with open flames are also often to blame. Because fires spread rapidly and can quickly consume an entire home, it is essential to be vigilant in prevention for the safety of your household.

House Fires Prevention Tips

Being proactive is the best defense against house fires. By keeping these fire prevention tips in mind, you can minimize your risk and keep your home safer:

Maintain smoke detectors. Maintain your smoke detectors by testing them each month and replacing them every 10 years.

Clean the dryer. After each load of laundry is dried, make a point to clear lint from the tray. Lint can build up and become a fire hazard when the dryer gets warm.

Keep an eye on open flames. Fires can start and spread faster than you think, which is why it is never wise to leave the room when there is an open flame. Whether it is a candle, cooking flame or fireplace, always keep an eye on them.

Maintain electrical cords. Cords and electrical wires should be checked often for frayed spots and immediately replaced if they are present. Never run electrical cords under rugs or behind furniture, as they can produce heat.

Read product labels. Chemicals in household products can be highly flammable, and so can products that come in aerosol cans. Keep these away from sunlight or heat sources.

If your home has suffered damage from a house fire, give us a call. We are certified in fire and soot remediation, and here to help 247.