Do's & Don'ts for Fire in Your Home
SERVPRO of Western Essex County are devoted to keeping your family safe in case of an unexpected fire. Please review these tips to better prepare yourself for any future disasters:
-To prevent soot particles from being embedded into carpet, try to limit the movement around your home. This will avoid tracking. Also, keep your hands clean as you can further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
-Empty your freezer and fridge. Keep doors open to prevent odor.
-Wipe soot from metal kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim and appliances.
-Pour RV antifreeze in sinks, toilet bowls, and tubs, to avoid freezing pipes in case heat is off during the winter.
-Change your old HVAC filter, and leave it off until a professional can check the system
-To prevent soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system, tape your air registers with double layers of cheesecloth
-Do not attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces, or shampoo carpets/rugs without contacting SERVPRO of Central Union County
-Do not clean any electrical appliances as it may have been close to fire
-Ceiling fixture wiring may be wet and damaged, so avoid turning them on. It may cause electrical shock
Call SERVPRO of Western Essex County For your residential or commercial needs. 866-361-3400
Understanding Water Types
SERVPRO of Western Essex County are here to help you understand what type of water you are dealing with to ensure proper cleanup when your home or business suffers a water damage.
We classify these waters in three ways. Clean water is water from a broken pipe, or other water source (such as rain). The term gray water is slightly contaminated water. Clean water becomes gray water when it is left untreated allowing bacteria and other contaminants to begin growing. Black water is highly contaminated and filled with fungi, bacteria, chemicals and more. Black water is typically caused by sewage damage, flooding or any type of natural disaster. Black water should only be handled by trained professionals. Consider taking the following precautions to help minimize damage or prevent further damage while waiting for help to arrive.
Damage from Clean Water
- We advise our customer to not enter any rooms with standing water. Electrical hazards may exist and should be avoided. Turn off your circuit breakers for wet areas of the building if access to the power distribution panel is safe from potential electrical shock.
- Shut off water source if possible.
- Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting. Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items.
- Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions to allow more even drying.
- Do not use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water as there is potential for electrical shock or causing damage to the vacuum cleaner.
- Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet; do not enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.
Damage from Contaminated Water
- Avoid all contact with sewage and items contaminated by sewage.
- Do not walk through contaminated areas, as you could spread damage to unaffected areas.
- Do not turn on the HVAC system if there is a possibility of spreading contaminated air.
- Do not use household fans to dry the structure; air flow could spread contaminants.
- Discard any food and/or products for personal hygiene and cleanliness if exposed to the contaminated areas.
When you have a water damage, don’t leave your property to chance. Call your SERVPRO of Western Essex County. 866-361-3400
Prepare for a Flood
SERVPRO of Western Essex County proudly service our community, bringing the best solutions for water damage in your residential home. Flooding can happen fast in many environments. The American Red Cross recommends having the following list of items packed and ready to go in the event of an evacuation due to flooding.
- Stock up on water! - You should have 3 days’ worth (or more) of water, and about one gallon per person per day.
- Keep a supply of nonperishable, easy-to-prepare food. You should have enough for 3 days (or more)
- Keep a couple of flashlights in your possession
- Battery-powered or çhand-crank radio
- Extra batteries for your flashlights, tools, or radio
- Have a First Aid kit
- Medications – Here’s one that doesn’t get spoken of… Medication! (7-day supply) and medical items
- Bring a Multi-purpose tool
- Stock up on Sanitation/personal hygiene items for the family
- Save Copies of personal documents
- Don’t forget a Cell phone with chargers
- Have Family and emergency contact information
- Bring Extra cash for expenses
- Emergency blankets
- Make sure to have map(s) of the area
- Pack Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
- Remember your four-legged friends! Pet supplies such as food, treats, toys, medication, etc.
- Tools/supplies for securing your home
- Extra set of car keys and house keys
- Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
- Rain gear (water- resistant coat, rainboots, umbrellas, hats)
- Insect repellent and sunscreen
- Camera for photos of damage
Call SERVPRO of Western Essex County today for your residential or commercial needs. We are a 24-Hour emergency response service with highly trained restoration technicians. 866-361-3400
Gearing Up for Unpredictable Spring Weather
We’ve made it through winter and welcome spring with open arms! Now we can better enjoy the weather…but also buckle up for whatever Mother Nature may choose to send our way.Mother Nature Can Be Tricky
With the arrival of spring comes longer days and more sunshine; however, the season also brings the threat of severe weather throughout the country. It’s dealer’s choice this time of year, which means the weather may change at moment’s notice.
Changing, unpredictable weather is caused by the unstable temperatures we get with spring, going from warm to cold even in the same day. That temperature change can result in extreme weather changes as well.
Thunderstorms are increasingly common throughout the spring and are the main cause of severe weather. A thunderstorm can occur whenever warm, moist air collides with cool, dry air, which is most common in the spring and summer.
When looking at losses caused by natural catastrophes in the U.S. for 2017, severe thunderstorms were the most common and produced some of the costliest results. Out of 50 events, there were 85 fatalities and an estimated total of $25.4 billion in overall losses.
The threat of floods, high winds and even tornadoes, given the right conditions, go along with these storms. It has been found that in modern history, 10% of all violent tornadoes have occurred in March, with April, May and June taking the top spots at 30%, 24% and 15% respectively.Be Prepared
Weather is fickle, and we are not be able to predict the weather with 100% accuracy, but fortunately, forecasters have the tools available to at least give warnings that severe weather may be on the horizon. Advanced warnings, along with the right preparation, can greatly improve overall safety for your family.
Here are some things you can do to your home to prepare for the chance of severe weather:
- Clear out your home’s gutters, drains and downspouts.
- Trim trees of precarious limbs or branches that could break off in a storm.
- Secure or store outdoor belongings if severe weather is in the forecast.
Having an emergency kit on hand is always advised. These kits should include the following:
- Battery-operated flashlight and NOAA weather radio, with extra batteries for both
- Emergency evacuation or shelter plans
- Important personal info, like telephone numbers of neighbors, family and friends, insurance and property info, numbers for the utility companies, and medical info
- A first-aid kit with things like non-latex gloves, adhesive bandages, tweezers, sterile gauze pads, aspirin packets, adhesive cloth tape and scissors
- 3–5 day supply of bottled water and nonperishable food
- Personal hygiene items
- Blankets or sleeping bag
Despite its unpredictability, there is one thing that always remains true of the spring weather season: It always happens. If your home or business is damaged in a storm, you can depend on SERVPRO® of Western Essex County to get the cleanup and restoration process started fast.
What to Do Before Fire Restoration Help Arrives
Learning that you’ve been affected by a home fire is devastating. While it’s stressful regardless of the extent of the damages, the good news is that if you hire a professional, many of the damages can be mitigated through restoration.
Working with a professional has several benefits—they work with your homeowner’s insurance company on your behalf, and they will also be able to salvage more items in the cleanup. However, as you’re waiting for help to arrive, it’s natural to want to do what you can to get started.
While some things should always be left to the professionals, a few things are safe for most people to do while they wait. If you decide you’d like to start on fire restoration ASAP, here are three things you can safely do:
Getting started on laundry right away is the best way to help the cleanup process. Most things will have to be washed several times, so washing any clothing, bedding or other machine-washable materials with an alkaline cleaner or vinegar solution is a great place to start. Delicate fabrics, upholstery and curtains should be left to professional care.
If weather allows, opening windows and doors will help reduce the smoky smell—be sure to let them remain open as long as possible. While the restoration team will bring industrial-grade equipment to aid this process once they arrive, this is a small step you can take toward helping the process along.
Non-porous surfaces such as tile and countertops can benefit from a scrub with soap and water to cut through the initial layers of grime. Using a mild dish soap or alkaline cleaner is safe, but let the professionals handle the usage of anything more heavy-duty. Cleaning improperly can result in more severe and possibly permanent damage to your surfaces, so anything you’re unsure about should be left to the pros.
SERVPRO's a team of trained professionals can help your life get back to normal and get the cleanup done quickly in the event of a home fire.
Time Is of the Essence in Cleanup and Restoration
Time become a precious commodity when disaster strikes your home or business. There is no benefit of waiting for help when it is your home or livelihood on the line, because you need help right away.
Nobody understands how important a fast response is like we do, which is why a fast response to any size disaster is more than just a slogan for us.Why a Fast Response to Disasters Matters
When it’s your belongings or business on the line, time is not a luxury you have regarding disaster cleanup. This is especially true when 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.
It only takes mere minutes for water to spread throughout your property, where it will saturate everything in its path. The walls, the floors, upholstery and your belongings are fast casualties of water.
The effects of water damage within the first 24 hours include:
- Drywall beginning to swell and break down
- Metal surfaces beginning to tarnish
- Furniture beginning to swell and crack
- Dyes and inks from cloth and paper items spreading and staining
- The beginning of a musty odor
The damage continues to worsen as time goes on. Between 48 hours and a week later, you could begin to see:
- The growth and spreading of mold and mildew
- Swelling and warping of doors, windows and studs
- Metal beginning to rust and corrode
- Paint beginning to blister
- Wood flooring swelling and warping
- The possibilities of serious biohazard contamination
Water damage that is left unchecked for over a week can lead to a dramatically increased restoration time and costs and can also impact structural safety.We’re Here to Help
We can provide an immediate response to any size disaster, which can help minimize the damage and help keep the cleaning and restoration costs manageable.
Our trained cleanup and restoration specialists can be dispatched to your property or business at any time, no matter what day or time it is.
Being a locally owned and operated franchise helps us be close by and ready to respond whenever the call comes in. A major perk of being part of a national network of over 1,700 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.
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.
We are Mold Damage Specialists
When water damage occurs in a home or commercial property, mold growth will likely follow. It’s a proven fact that mold can begin to grow within 48 hours of exposure to moisture.
If you are faced with a mold issue, it is very important to know what you need to do, which is why we’re providing an overview of what mold remediation is in this blog.
Mold Remediation, Not Removal
There are ads out there for mold remediation and you’ve also seen those that promise mold removal, but mold removal is a fallacy. Removing all mold from a home or business simply cannot be done. Instead, a qualified restoration company will focus on mold remediation and the goal of bringing mold levels back into a normal and natural range.
It is a natural occurrence for mold spores to occur almost everywhere, both indoors and outdoors. They are not an issue until a minor problem is not treated and it then turns into a major infestation.
During a mold remediation process, technicians will isolate the contaminated areas and either close off all doors and windows or effectively sealing off all doorways and openings with a polyethylene sheeting. Dust in the contaminated areas is then suppressed through misting.
Wet and mold-damaged materials are removed and discarded using plastic bags, and then all areas exposed to and affected by the mold will be thoroughly cleaned and completely dried. A HEPA vacuum can be used during some remediation cases to help remove contamination and debris.
The mold-affected area is treated with a biocide and left to cure overnight allowing the biocide to kill the mold spores. The following day, the mold remediation crew will return and encapsulate the mold-affected and surrounding areas.
<h4to-call-the-professionals">When to Call the Professionals
So, if you believe your home or business may have a mold problem, it is important to act quickly. If you find that the mold-affected area is larger than 10 square feet upon evaluation, that is when you need to contact professionals to take care of the situation.
The professionals you contact need to be well-versed and highly trained and certified in areas like:
- Applied microbial remediation
- Water damage restoration
- Applied structural drying
While some minor mold issues have been successfully resolved by home and business owners on their own, the surest and safest way to handle mold remediation to bring in the professionals for a quick resolution to the problem.
At SERVPRO® of Western Essex County, our mold damage specialists are trained and certified experts in mold remediation. If your home or business is experiencing a mold issue, contact us to begin the mold remediation process.
SERVPRO is There for You & Your Business | Disaster Plan
Have you ever stopped to think about how Mother Nature can prove to be quite a formidable foe, throwing everything from floods, hurricanes and tornadoes to wildfires and earthquakes at us? The key to being able to roll with the punches as a business, so to speak, is to be prepared for a multitude of worst-case scenarios.
Being prepared for those scenarios involves creating a natural disaster plan for your business. Some aspects to consider when designing that plan are laid out in this blog.What to Consider in Your Disaster Plan
There are many things you will need to consider when creating a disaster plan for your business. Included in those considerations should be:
- Protecting your employees
- Securing your assets
- Getting your business up and running again
Many checklists are available from different agencies like the Red Cross, FEMA and Ready.gov that will assist in identifying areas that need to be included in your natural disaster preparedness plan. These sources can also help let you know how prepared you truly are.The Importance of Protecting Employees
Because disasters strike without warning, your primary concern must be having a plan in place that lays out procedures and safety measures for the protection of employees and visitors.
Evacuation routes and all exits from your facility need to be clearly marked. You need to provide a place where people can take shelter, look into installing emergency lights, and have a designated staff of “safety wardens” properly trained and ready to help with all emergency efforts.
A basement is the ideal location when looking for a space to provide shelter in tornadoes or high-wind situations. However, if this is not possible, find a small interior room, closet or interior hallway on the lowest level of the building.How to Protect Assets
Brick and mortar locations don’t always mean your business is not at risk. You’ll need to make careful choices about protecting your assets on the inside. Thousands of dollars in equipment and/or merchandise are at risk when a natural disaster strikes.
Be sure to have a comprehensive and up-to-date inventory of these items, and yes, having photographs prior to a disaster whenever possible is always helpful if insurance claims will have to be made. If your assets are based on a computer server, take the steps necessary to ensure that the backup system is working and the storage system cannot be damaged.
As a building owner, take the time to work with a contractor and uncover any areas that could need structural integrity improvement. The contractor can also show you possible safety upgrades and advise on any areas that are not up to code for certain weather situations.Starting Back in Business
When a natural disaster does occur, it is possible that your business will have to be closed due to damage, and every day you remain closed is another day of lost profits. It is a good idea to set aside an “emergency” fund to cover any additional costs incurred that are not covered by your insurance.
Have a list of contractors who would be available for construction concerns, and know which cleanup and restoration service will be available to quickly respond to your emergency situation.
With SERVPRO® of Western Essex 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.
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.
SERVPRO of Western Essex County Cares About Your Family
Have you ever stopped to think about whether your family is prepared for severe weather that can take us by surprise? While we may have advanced warning for some types of severe weather, that is not always the case.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take and safety tips to follow that will ensure your family is prepared.Severe Weather Planning for Your Family
Creating and establishing a family emergency plan is one of the best ways to be ready for the unexpected.
Kudos to you if your family does have an emergency plan in place, but be sure that it is practiced and reviewed on a regular basis.
If you’ve not yet completed this process, take some time to do so. Take a look at some things to take into consideration when putting together your family emergency plan:
1. Getting Emergency Alerts
Technology today is a marvel. Thanks to today’s smartphone technology, it is easy to receive emergency alerts and warnings on your smartphone equipped with a weather app or Google on your smartphone. This allows you to act quickly and efficiently when you receive emergency alerts, and you can then tune in to your local radio and television stations for further information.
2. Knowing Your Storm Shelters
In areas where tornadoes are common, you’ll want to take shelter in a basement if you have one. If there is no basement, find an interior room (away from building corners and outside walls) on the lowest level that is away from windows and doors. Be aware, however, that tornadoes aren’t the only weather circumstance that requires a form of storm shelter, and you can learn more about those situations by visiting ready.gov.
3. Having Evacuation Routes
Be sure you have multiple routes mapped out that can serve as an evacuation route as hurricanes, flooding and fires can force you from your home in a hurry. It’s wise to have multiple routes in case one becomes impassable. Make sure to make preparations for your furry family members and find places to stay with your pets that have evacuated with you.
4. Staying in Touch
It is easy to rely on cell phones to keep in touch with your family, but in some circumstances, that will not be a viable option. Cell phone towers can sustain severe damage, phones could be lost or left behind, and if there is no power, you will not be able to recharge their batteries.
You should complete an emergency communication plan for your family and decide on a place to safely meet in the event you are separated during the emergency.
If a storm does cause damage to your home or business, don’t hesitate to call your friends at SERVPRO® of Western Essex County to get the cleanup and restoration process started.
We Are The Experts & We Are Here To Help | Identifying Floodwaters
When you understand the differences in the types of water that are involved with water damage, you will be better able to deal with the cleanup. It is easy to think that all water causing damage is the same, but there are three separate classifications for it: clean water, gray water and black water.
Whatever the type of water that has caused the water damage, there will most assuredly be a cleanup and restoration process to follow. To begin the process, the most important thing to do is remove all of the moisture and damp items quickly, so that mold will not begin to flourish in its ideal environment.Info on Clean Water
The name says it all—this water is free from contaminants and is considered “clean” and not the type to pose an immediate threat to your health. Sources of clean water are:
- Broken water lines
- Malfunctioning appliances
- Toilet holding tanks
- Snow melt and rainwater
This will be the easiest type of water damage to work with since there are fewer microbes living in the water, but after 48 hours and building surface contact, clean water can move up to category two, “gray” water.Info on Gray Water
“Gray” water is where water damage cleanup and restoration can become a bit more complicated. It may pose a health risk due to chemical or biological contamination. That slight contamination in gray water means that it will have to be properly and thoroughly treated before safe consumption.
Gray water can come from dishwashers, aquariums, showers, etc. The 48-hour exposure time applies here as well, with gray water turning into black water if not treated.Info on Black Water
Black water is the most serious of the three classifications and it is considered highly contaminated by harmful chemicals and biological matter. This makes cleanup risky and includes floodwaters containing soil and all sewage waters.
Sewage contains microbe contamination, including bacteria, protozoans, molds, fungi and more, which are hazardous to humans.
Some of the diseases that can be transmitted by black water are:
- Gastroenteritis-type illnesses
You should remember that where floodwaters are concerned, it should be assumed that all water involved is black water since it will be picking up contaminants along the path it travels.
All floodwater classifications are recognized by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Remediation Certification (IICRC), which is an organization that certifies and sets the standards for the cleaning and restoration industries. Our technicians all study IICRC 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!