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Getting to Know the 3 Water Classifications | SERVPRO of Western Essex County

11/19/2020 (Permalink)

mopping up after water damage We are available for cleanup and restoration services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you think all water that causes water damage is the same, think again! There are three classifications for it: clean, gray and black.

By gaining a better understanding of the differences in these types of water, it will help you understand how to better handle a water damage situation.

Whenever there is a water damage situation, it doesn’t matter what type of water has caused damage because a cleanup and restoration process will always follow. First, and most important, is removing all moisture and damp items as quickly as possible to hinder the growth of mold, which begins to flourish in this ideal environment.

Clean Water

The name says it all; clean water is considered “clean” and not likely to be the type that would pose an immediate threat to your health. This water contains no contaminants and is the result of:

  • Broken water lines
  • Malfunctioning appliances
  • Toilet holding tanks
  • Snow melt and rainwater

Clean water is the easiest type of water damage to work with because there are fewer microbes living in the water. But remember, it only takes 48 hours and contact with the surfaces of a building for clean water to become a category two, becoming gray water.

Gray Water

Damage from gray water makes water damage cleanup and restoration a bit more serious. This is water that may pose a health risk because it will most likely contain chemical or biological contamination. This slight contamination means that gray water would need to be thoroughly treated before it is safe for consumption.

Water that comes from dishwashers, aquariums, showers, etc. is considered gray water, and the 48-hour exposure time applies here as well, as it will become black water if it is not quickly and properly treated.

Black Water

A black water damage situation is considered the most serious of the three classifications as this water is highly contaminated by harmful chemicals and biological matter. This would include floodwaters containing soil and all sewage waters.

Sewage is contaminated with microbes, which include bacteria, protozoans, molds, fungi and more—many of these can be harmful to humans.

Some of the diseases that can be transmitted by black water are:

  • Cholera
  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis
  • Gastroenteritis-type illnesses

Any water involved in a flooding situation should be considered dangerous and assumed to be black water since it will pick up contaminants along its path.

The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Remediation Certification (IICRC), an organization that certifies and sets the standards for the cleaning and restoration industry, recognizes these three classifications of floodwater. Our highly trained technicians have all studied IICRC’s standards and best practices in water restoration and are available to help determine the steps to take to get your home back to normal.

It doesn’t matter what type of water has caused damage to your home or business, SERVPRO of Western Essex County is here to help get the situation under control and make it "Like it never even happened." Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need emergency cleanup and restoration services!

Avoiding Fire Hazards While Cooking | SERVPRO of Western Essex County

11/19/2020 (Permalink)

man putting out kitchen fire A quick response time with an alertful team will ensure that your restoration needs are professionally completed.

Even though the kitchen can be a wonderfully versatile place for family and friends to gather to enjoy a fresh-cooked meal or to spend quality time together, danger can lurk. Unfortunately, home fires can often begin in the kitchen.

Fires resulting from cooking are the No. 1 cause of home fires and injuries and, often, the leading cause of these kitchen fires is unattended cooking.

Over $130 million in homeowners insurance claims that were related to grease and other cooking fires were paid out in 2017 by State Farm Insurance. According to the insurance company, these are the worst states for kitchen fires:

  • North Carolina
  • Texas
  • Pennsylvania
  • California
  • Ohio
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • New York
  • Alabama
  • Georgia

Staying Safe in the Kitchen

There are other safety tips to look into, as well as the well-known tip of remaining in the kitchen while cooking. Here are some other helpful tips to observe while cooking:

1. Be careful of your clothing. If you are wearing long, flowing sleeves or loose fitting clothing, it is best to change into a short or close-fitting sleeved shirt or make sure any loose shirts are tucked in or tied back away from the stove. Loose clothing could catch fire if you aren’t careful and get too close while cooking over the stove.

2. Be aware of what you are placing on or near the stovetop. Make sure there are no kitchen towels, oven mitts, appliance cords or even curtains too close to the stovetop when cooking. Ideally, it is best to move anything flammable away from the stove.

3. Place a fire extinguisher in or close to the kitchen. It is best to have at least one fire extinguisher located in your home and, ideally, one that is near your kitchen. Make sure you know how to properly use the extinguisher, just in case it is ever needed.

4. Wait before throwing hot grease in the garbage can. Even if the grease may not be on fire, it could still be hot enough to cause something in the trash to burn. Letting the grease cool a bit and then disposing of it in an old coffee can is safest. Also, know the smoke points of the oils you cook with. Be sure to never subject a low-smoke point oil to high heat when cooking, as it could catch fire.

5. Be sure there is a fire escape plan established. Thinking about the worst that can happen is not fun, but it’s better if you are over-prepared rather than unprepared if an emergency were to occur. Go over exit routes and designated meeting points with your family, making sure that everyone knows what to do.

Fire safety in the kitchen is an absolute necessity, as it can help prevent dangerous and destructive cooking fires. If your home has experienced damage from a cooking fire, know that SERVPRO of Western Essex County is here to make it “Like it never even happened.”

A Look at Common Causes of Water Damage in Your Home | SERVPRO of Western Essex County

11/18/2020 (Permalink)

water damage all over the floor If your home has experienced any water damage, our team is always available to help with cleanup and restoration.

Severe weather is usually one of the first things that comes to mind for many when thinking of water damage. It’s true that storms and flooding can cause catastrophic water damage, but they are often not the main culprits. Various items in your home can be the culprits responsible for many water damage situations.

Understanding Water Damage

Many homeowners will face water damage. Water damage was the third most common reason for homeowners insurance claims between 2011 and 2015, with an average payout per claim of $8,861.

Insurance claims are impacted by the type of water damage. Gradual damage, for example, is often not covered by insurance. Gradual damage is something that has been happening over time, such as plumbing issues in the walls causing damage to the walls, ceilings or floors, or water damage caused by cracks in the foundation. Unfortunately, many aspects of gradual water damage are not covered by homeowners insurance, while storm-related water damage usually is.

Common Water Damage Culprits

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), lists the leading causes of water damage as outlined below:

  • Plumbing drain system failures. These can occur when a sewer drain backs up and overflows into a home or from material performance issues. In their study, IBHS determined that 52% of drain system failures were caused by sewer backups and 37% were related to material performance issues. It was also discovered that the average costs incurred due to drain system failure were higher in southern states than in other areas of the country.

  • Plumbing supply system failures. Frozen pipes can burst due to water pressure buildup caused by freezing water or when the supply system material fails and results in a leaking or burst pipe. Per IBHS, plumbing supply system failures are the leading source of residential water losses, costing an average of $5,092 per claim after the deductible. Homes with ages of 16 to 40 years made up a larger group of supply system material failure claims.

  • Toilet failures. Toilets are the second highest cause of residential water damage loss after plumbing supply system failures and result from faulty fill valves to clogged drain lines. Surprisingly, according to IBHS, toilet failures on the first floor of a home resulted in more extensive claims than those in basements or upper floors.

  • Water heater failures. If your water heater has reached its life expectancy, expect that the tank will begin to rust and corrode, resulting in leaking or bursting issues. IBHS found that 69% of all water heater failures were a result of a slow leak or sudden burst and, on average, cost $4,444 per incident after the deductible has been paid.

  • Washing machine failures. Typically washing machine failures are caused by supply hose failures, machine overflows and drain line failures. Washing machines are one of the top 10 sources of residential water damage losses. Per IBHS, supply hose failures accounted for over half of all washing machine-related

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

11/18/2020 (Permalink)

emergency sign Knowing what to do when disaster strikes your business is of the utmost importance. When it comes to the cleanup & restoration aspects, depend on us.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 Central Union County, 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.

Business Owners Should Practice Flood Preparedness | SERVPRO of Western Essex County

11/17/2020 (Permalink)

flooding in large room with staircase partially submerged in water A flood can happen when you least expect it. If your business experiences water damage, contact SERVPRO of Western Essex County.

t is not uncommon for home and business owners to underestimate their flood preparedness, especially if they are not in an area historically known for flooding. However, it was recently reported that natural disasters involve flooding in 90% of instances and affect areas that are not typically known for flooding quite often.

Planning is a smart idea for business owners not only to increase safety within the workplace, but it can also serve to allow businesses to reopen more quickly after the flood passes. By planning ahead, business owners can have the peace of mind to know that they are ready should a flood occur.

How to Practice Flood Preparedness

Some key ways business owners can practice flood preparedness are:

  • Make use of the Flood Map provided by FEMA to get an overview of flooding rates in your geographical location.
  • Copy business documents and keep them in a secure location such as a waterproof safe or safety deposit box.
  • Develop an official training guide for emergencies so employees can be educated and know what to do.
  • Designate evacuation routes and mark them clearly.
  • Consider adding flood insurance to your business policy, which does not typically include it.
  • Create a personal emergency kit for your desk and an office-wide one in case someone is stranded.
  • Find creative ways to raise electronics if necessary.

How to Prepare Documents for a Flood

As you begin the process of reopening the business after a disaster, having helpful documents will make the process much easier. Consider preparing and storing copies of the following:

  • The continuity plan for after floodwaters recede
  • Contact information for all employees, vendors, suppliers and any other parties that might need to be contacted right away
  • Your insurance policy records and agent contact information
  • Digital file backups and recovery instructions
  • Financial documentation that may come in handy

If your business has experienced a flood, we are always here to help. Call us 247 to get our team of professionals to your business quickly so you can get back on track.

Where Water Damage May Hide in a Home | SERVPRO of Western Essex County

11/17/2020 (Permalink)

water damage all over a kitchen floor We are available for emergency cleanup and restoration services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Though water damage to a home is often associated with bad weather, there are many other ways water damage can sneak up on a homeowner. There are many causes of water damage, and many places for it to hide.

Because hidden water damage often takes a long time to be discovered, it can be a costly endeavor. For water damage insurance claims, the typical amount is over $6,500, and often insurance companies do not cover water damage at all. Being aware of where water damage may hide in a home is a great way to be on guard and prevent this costly disaster.

Where Water Damage May Hide in a Home
  • Beneath a window. The seal between the window and wall can often become compromised, allowing water to come between them and rot the wood over time.

  • Underneath siding. Where siding panels come together or at corners are especially vulnerable spots that water can enter.

  • Thresholds of exterior doors. Under the metal plate that serves as the door threshold, the wood can become swollen with water damage as it is gradually exposed.

  • Within painted windowsills. If there are many layers of paint on a windowsill, water can seep between them innocuously.

  • Beneath the dishwasher. The hoses of a dishwasher can get worn or leak, causing expensive damage to the subfloor underneath.

  • Under a tub. The pipes that carry water to a tub can become leaky or weak with time and can leak under the tub without notice.

  • Beneath a wobbly toilet. The seal at the base of the toilet can become weak and soak the wood underneath, which is often not noticeable until the toilet begins to wobble on the unsteady flooring.

If your home has suffered water damage (even in a hidden place like one of these), we are happy to help! Give us a call right away, and we’ll get there quickly.

The Right Restoration Company Makes a Difference | SERVPRO of Central Union County | SERVPRO of Roselle

11/11/2020 (Permalink)

black smoke coming out of windows from a burning house Having a team on your side after a disaster can help relieve stress. We are here to help when a fire strikes.

Winter has many positive associations, including increased time with family and exciting holidays. However, the Red Cross notes that winter has the highest volume of house fires as well, urging families to be prepared.

While planning ahead for house fires might seem dismal, it is a wise choice for homeowners. You should create a fire evacuation plan for your household, and also consider the restoration company you will work with to restore your home if it’s ever needed. Picking a company that can respond quickly and restores thoroughly is highly recommended.

Restoring Your Home and Belongings After a Fire

Fire damages are multifaceted—not only can they affect the structure of your home, but they can also damage your things and be detrimental to air quality. Finding a company that can handle all these aspects is vital to having the proper restoration completed. Here is how we restore after a fire:

Structural Cleaning

It is important that the structure of your home is prepared quickly and well following a house fire because these are the elements that support your home. We will start with tests to get an overview of the damage severity so we know what repairs should be completed. By using industry-grade equipment, we will then begin to remove soot and damage from surfaces.

Content Cleaning

Because we know how important your belongings are, we make sure our technicians are able to restore most items as well. Wood and upholstered furniture can be cleaned and deodorized thoroughly. Oftentimes, we are also able to restore paintings, photos and electronics as well by utilizing appropriate tools and methods to protect them.

Deodorization Services

The smoke smell after a fire can linger for ages, but that is not the only concern. Fires can leave soot particles behind that cause serious health concerns with exposure as well. That is why instead of trying to mask the scent, we use air scrubbers to fully purify and deodorize the air. Our technicians will work with you to develop the best deodorization method for your needs in order to provide your family with healthy air once more.

If you’ve been affected by a fire, reach out to us right away! We are here 247 to help you recover.

The Dangers of Lightning During Storms | SERVPRO of Central Union County | SERVPRO of Roselle

11/11/2020 (Permalink)

lightning strikes in dark stormy sky Storm & lighting damage require specialized restoration techniques and equipment. When a storm hits your home, you need the company with experience.

There are many ways in which a thunderstorm can cause damage. Flooding or wind damage are what often come to mind, but it is also important to consider the risks associated with lightning when discussing thunderstorms.

While some storms bring rain and water, every storm is made up of electricity, creating the possibility for lightning even in the absence of precipitation. Lightning bolts can be up to 500,000 degrees, causing damage and even fatalities when they strike. An understanding of what lightning is and how it can be dangerous is extremely helpful in helping homeowners prevent these risks.

How Thunderstorms and Lightning Coexist

All thunderstorms contain the electricity that makes a lightning strike possible. What we know as a lightning strike is actually a rapid burst of electricity that occurs when this charge becomes agitated.

The atmosphere is not an ideal conductor, which is why lightning tends to strike objects—this creates a less resistant route in getting to the ground. When a home is the object that has been struck, lightning will usually forge this path through water pipes and wiring.

How Lightning Is Dangerous to Homes

While there are many dangers surrounding thunderstorms, there are [three main ones involved with lightning striking a house]:

The risk of fire. One of the biggest dangers of a lightning strike to a house is the fire hazard it causes. Lightning is hot enough to ignite building materials, causing a fire to break out at the point of impact. Additionally, lightning traveling through wires can cause them to fray, creating fire hazards all throughout the home.

The risk of power surges. Because of the electrical charge at play with lightning, it can easily transfer that to the wiring in the home. This is what we call a power surge, which can affect any electronic device plugged in that is not routed through a surge protector.

The risk of shock waves. Shock waves are typically manifested in thunder, but they can also occur at the site of a lightning strike. Shock waves have been known to crack chimneys, break windows and explode cinder blocks, making them extremely hazardous to a home’s structure.

If your home has been affected by storm damages or lightning-related fires, give us a call today! We are experts in damage cleanup and can restore your damage quickly.

Storm Damage: What are the Causes? SERVPRO® of Western Essex County

11/6/2020 (Permalink)

four streetlights swinging in the stormy rain at night We are available for emergency cleanup and restoration services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In the past few months, New Jersey has been experiencing a high level of heavy rainfall. Did you know heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding is one of the common types of damage from storms? There are ten common types of storms and being familiar with them aids in storm preparation and damage prevention.

SERVPRO® of Central Union County knows how important it is to homeowners to keep homes safe from storm damage.

The 5 most common storms are:

  • Hurricanes
  • Tornadoes
  • Thunderstorms
  • Snow storm
  • Hail storms

Since Union County is so far north and so close to the coast, it’s very possible that you may experience each of these kinds of events.

The fact that hurricanes cause damage far past the coast is obvious, but the kinds of damage they cause and how is not always known.

Since hurricanes have long-term effects (Hurricane Sandy impacted 24 states), it’s very important to be educated on that type of storm in particular.

Hurricane damage is caused by three distinct but related storm elements: storm surge, floods, and wind.

Storm surge is when water rises far past the predicted tide level. This rise occurs because the wind from the hurricane pushes the water toward the shore, giving it nowhere to go, except up and in. The force of storm surge can be so strong as to destroy buildings and roads.

Storm surge is a direct cause of floods. The extra water from storm surge can reach far inland, causing widespread floods as it goes. Hurricanes can also cause rainfall as far as 100 miles past where the hurricane actually hits. Even tropical storms that don’t reach hurricane level can cause excess rainfall and thus floods.

Wind from hurricanes can reach speeds of 74 mph up to 155 mph. Winds of this speed cause widespread destruction by uprooting trees, downing power lines, and carrying debris and tossing it against other structures, even causing roofs to lift. It’s not unheard of for hurricane winds to form tornadoes.

Storm surge, floods, and winds can cause damage that is far-reaching, unexpected, and overwhelming. You can take precautions by packing an emergency preparedness kit, installing weather-resistant features to your house, and always following official safety orders or directives.

Storm damage clean up can be exhausting and dangerous. Don’t do it alone. Call SERVPRO® of Western Essex County for expert storm damage restoration services.

Fire Safety Basics to Help Protect Your Family | SERVPRO® of Western Essex County

11/6/2020 (Permalink)

fire escape on a brick apartment building We are available for emergency restoration services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Every year in the United States, more than 350,000 house fires happen, adding up to more than $5.5 billion in property damage. Beyond the financial loss, these fires also lead to nearly 3,000 deaths and another 10,000 injuries.

The best defense for your family against a fire is to prepare in advance. That’s why it’s important for every person to know how to prevent fires and how to respond if one occurs.

Start teaching your kids basic fire safety guidelines when they’re young. Let’s also take a look at three other fire safety practices you can practice as a family:

Watch Out for Fire Hazards

Go through your home. You might be surprised how many fire hazards you spot! Take some time and go through every room and your outdoor space to uncover any hazards.

  • Ensure your appliances are in good shape.
  • Check that electrical cords are in workable condition.
  • Do not overload outlets and/or extension cords.
  • Check to make sure you are using the correct wattage of lightbulbs.
  • Double-check that electrical wiring is not covered up by rugs or carpet.

Creating Your Fire Plan

In the event of a fire, every person in the family needs to know what to do—including how to get out of the house and where to go once they’re out.

But don’t just create a plan and not have practice drills. After all, as the saying goes, “practice makes perfect.” Regular practice of what to do makes you more likely to remember the steps if an actual fire occurs.

Practice Kitchen Fire Safety

Cooking is the biggest single cause of home fires. That’s why it’s important to be especially careful in the kitchen.

Anyone who’s cooking needs to familiarize themselves with basic cooking safety:

  • Never cook when tired or unable to pay attention.
  • Do not leave kids and teens alone when they cook.
  • Always keep a lid at hand when cooking on the stove in case of a grease fire. If a small grease fire occurs, use the lid to smother the fire.
  • If a fire occurs in the oven, turn it off and keep the door closed.
  • Leave the room and close the door if a kitchen fire occurs and begins to spread.

If your family has experienced a fire and needs help restoring your home, we can help! Give us a call to learn about our fire restoration services and what we can do for you.