Can't I Do This Myself?
Once your home has been damaged by fire, your top priority is getting your property cleaned and repaired. In many cases, this desire leads people to pursue DIY cleanup projects. If this were your planned method, you should reconsider this course of action. If the fire damage is of any consequence, many concerns need to be addressed. Can you do all of this yourself?
1. Water Removal: Standing water left behind the fire extinguishing efforts of the local fire department have several important ramifications. The resulting water damage can be furniture, electronics, clothing, drywall, ceilings, flooring, and more. Water removal must be done quickly. SERVPRO of Douglas County utilizes water pumps, wet-vacs, high-velocity fans and dehumidifiers to extract the water and moisture quickly thereby mitigating the damage. Fire damage unfortunately, has collateral damage.
2. Smoke Damage: The smoke damage that results from a fire can be quite substantive. In fact, the smoke left behind can become embedded in your furniture, flooring, carpets, and walls. If left unaddressed, this smoke damage can remain in your property for years. Soot, another by-product of specific fires, needs special attention for proper clean up to avoid staining of walls and furniture. Effectively removing smoke necessitates the use of professional procedures and products that fire restoration specialists from SERVPRO of Douglas County has in its arsenal.
3. Salvageable Goods: In many cases, homeowners who seek to complete the remediation process on their own will throw away items that are salvageable. Don't make this mistake. Instead, allow SERVPRO of Douglas County to assist you with this aspect of the restoration process. We will assess, inspect and issue you a Contents Claim Inventory Service form--CCIS. This inventories affected household items and classifies them into non-salvageable, salvageable or questionable lists. Items can be containerized and cleaned at our facility by our trained professionals.
4. Time Efficiency: If you attempt to complete the fire restoration process without professional assistance, the project will take a lot of time and probably lack positive results. However, hiring SERVPRO of Douglas County to put your home back in a healthy condition after fire damage enables you to feel confident of the restoration. Consider the effort, equipment, and training involved in successfully restoring your home to its pre-fire condition.
Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any organic substance, as long as moisture and oxygen are present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods, and insulation. When excessive moisture accumulates in buildings or on building materials, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed. It is impossible to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment. However, mold growth can be controlled indoors by controlling moisture indoors.
Molds reproduce by making spores that usually cannot be seen without magnification. Mold spores waft through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When mold spores land on a damp spot indoors, they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive. Molds gradually destroy the things they grow on.
Many types of molds exist. All molds have the potential to cause health effects. Molds can produce allergens that can trigger allergic reactions or even asthma attacks in people allergic to mold. Others are known to produce potent toxins and/or irritants. Potential health concerns are an important reason to prevent mold growth and to remediate/clean up any existing indoor mold growth.
Since mold requires water to grow, it is important to prevent moisture problems in buildings. Moisture problems can have many causes, including uncontrolled humidity. Some moisture problems in buildings have been linked to changes in building construction practices during the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s. Some of these changes have resulted in buildings that are tightly sealed, but may lack adequate ventilation, potentially leading to moisture buildup. Building materials, such as drywall, may not allow moisture to escape easily. Moisture problems may include roof leaks, landscaping or gutters that direct water into or under the building, and unvented combustion appliances. Delayed maintenance or insufficient maintenance are also associated with moisture problems in schools and large buildings. Moisture problems in portable classrooms and other temporary structures have frequently been associated with mold problems.
When mold growth occurs in buildings, adverse health problems may be reported by some building occupants, particularly those with allergies or respiratory problems.
If you suspect that your home or office has mold, call SERVPRO of Douglas County to schedule a scope. 541-459-3987
Water Damage AFTER a Fire
In some fires, damage from the actual flames ends up being the least of your concerns. Fires often trigger damage in a way homeowners do not expect: significant water damage. Whether during the efforts to put the fire out or leaks caused by the heat, fire can directly or indirectly cause your home to take on large amounts of water unexpectedly. If the fire started during a storm, rain or flood water might also deal some damage. Listed are some common ways we encounter water damage after a fire.
Water Damage from Hoses and Extinguishers:
After a fire, severe water damage can happen as a result of fire hoses and extinguishers used to smother the flames. These devices, while sometimes using foam to smother the fire, often use pure or mixed water to stop the fire in its tracks. Care is not often taken to controlling the water flow, with as much being used as necessary to stop the flames. This can lead to a heavy dousing of any surface in your home, and some mild flooding. Excess water is common after a fire, and perhaps more often than not, you'll be dealing with this type of damage. Typically, a small isolated fire in a kitchen would not inflict such heavy secondary water damage.
SERVPRO of Douglas County is a locally owned and operated business which has experience with all types of water and fire damage.
What to do until SERVPRO arrives
A fire can leave behind soot, smoke damage and a host of other problems. Ceilings, walls, woodwork, carpeting, and floors will often need a thorough professional cleaning. If your home or business suffers a fire, it is important to take the appropriate steps to prevent further damage until your SERVPRO of Douglas County professionals arrive. The following tips may help reduce damage and increase chances of a successful restoration.
Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpet.
Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
If electricity is off, empty freezer/refrigerator completely and prop doors open to help prevent odor.
Wipe soot from chrome kitchen/bathroom faucets, trim and appliances, then protect these surfaces with a light coating of lubricant.
If heat is off during winter, pour RV antifreeze in sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks and tubs to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures.
Change HVAC filters; leave system off until a trained professional can check the system.
Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system.
Don’t attempt to wash any walls or painted
surfaces without first contacting your SERVPRO of Douglas County Professional.
Don’t attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture without first consulting your SERVPRO of Douglas County Professional.
Do not attempt to clean any electrical appliances (TV sets, radios, etc.) that may have been close to fire, heat or water without first consulting an authorized repair service.
Do not consume any food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water, as they may be contaminated.
If ceiling is wet, do not turn on ceiling fans. Wiring may be wet or damaged and cause electrical shock, and air movement may create secondary damage.
Don’t send garments to the dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set in smoke odor.
Commercial Fire Preparedness
Commercial business owners everywhere know they must keep their fire protection systems up to code, but what happens when they don't?
A fire can break out at any time. Faulty equipment or a careless employee, you must be prepared. Maintaining your fire suppression system, as well as planning ahead, can save your business from extended closure following a fire.
There are many cases every year in which a lack of properly installed fire safety equipment leads to extensive damage from fires. If your business isn't up-to-code on all of your sprinklers, suppression systems and alarms, your business could face disastrous consequences.
You also need to address the issue that businesses don't always prepare for - employee fire safety training. An employee who has been trained can avoid the fire hazard, and possibly even fight the fire, using an extinguisher the right way.
Next, you must prepare for the aftermath. By having a FREE Emergency Ready Profile conducted by your local SERVPRO of Douglas County team, you are way ahead of the game. This profile will expedite the cleanup and restoration services provided by SERVPRO of Douglas County. Contact our local office at 541-459-3987 to schedule yours today.
Mold Remediation vs. Mold Removal
Since microscopic mold spores exist naturally almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors, removing all mold from a home or business is impossible. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold. This is a fallacy.
SERVPRO of Douglas County understands the science behind mold and mold growth. Our SERVPRO of Douglas County Professionals have the training and expertise to remediate the mold in your home or business. Mold remediation focuses on getting mold levels back to normal, natural levels.
Every mold damage scenario is different and requires a unique solution, but the general mold remediation process stays the same.
- Step 1: Emergency Contact SERVPRO of Douglas County 541-459-3987
- 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
Signs of Mold? Call SERVPRO of Douglas County 541-459-3987
When water intrudes into your property, mold growth can start in as little as 48 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.
Emergency Planning before the Storm
How quickly your company can get back to business after a tornado, fire, or flood often depends on the emergency planning done today. The regular occurrence of natural disasters demonstrates the importance of being prepared for any emergency. While each situation is unique, your organization can be better prepared if you plan carefully, put emergency procedures in place, and practice for all kinds of emergencies.
The following are basic measures business owners and managers can take to begin preparing. A commitment to begin planning today will help support your employees, customers, the community, local economy, and even the country. It also protects your business investment and gives your company a better chance for survival.
Develop a Business Continuity Plan.
Your organization’s risk needs will vary depending on the specific industry, size, scope and location. Begin by reviewing your business process flowchart, if one exists, to identify operations critical to survival and recovery. Carefully assess your internal and external functions to determine which staff, materials, procedures and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating. You should also establish procedures for succession of management.
Review Insurance Coverage.
Inadequate insurance coverage can lead to major financial loss if your business is damaged, destroyed or simply interrupted for a period of time. Insurance policies vary; check with your agent or provider about things such as physical losses, flood coverage and business interruption. Understand what your policy does and does not cover.
Prepare your Emergency Plan.
Your employees and co-workers are your business’ most valuable asset. Communication is central before, during and after a disaster. Include emergency information in newsletters, on your company intranet, in periodic employee e-mails and/or other communication tools.
Practice the Emergency Plan.
Some disasters will require employees to leave the workplace quickly. The ability to evacuate workers, customers and visitors effectively can save lives. If your business operates out of more than one location, establish evacuation procedures for each individual building. If your company is in a high-rise building, an industrial park, or even a small strip mall, it is important to coordinate and practice with other tenants or businesses to avoid confusion and potential gridlock.
Secure Your Facility and Equipment.
Install fire extinguishers, smoke alarms and detectors in appropriate places. Secure all entry and exit points and plan for mail safety. Plan what you will do if your building, plant or store is not usable. Secure valuable equipment.
Improve Cyber Security.
Protecting your data and information systems may require specialized expertise, but even the smallest business can be better prepared. Use anti-virus software and keep it up-to-date. Don’t open e-mails from unknown sources. Use hard-to-guess passwords. Protect your computer from intruders by using firewalls. Back up your computer data and download security protection updates known as patches regularly.
Lightning Storm Safety
Lightning is one of the leading causes of weather-related fatalities.
Though the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are only around 1 in 500,000, some factors can put you at greater risk for being struck. Here are a few lightning safety tips.
Check the forecast before participating in outdoor activities. If it calls for thunderstorms, postpone your trip or activity, or make sure adequate safe shelter is available.
Remember the phrase, “When thunder roars, go indoors.” Find a safe, enclosed shelter when you hear thunder. Safe shelters include homes, offices, shopping centers, and hard-top vehicles with the windows rolled up. Avoid windows, doors, porches, and concrete. Do not lie on concrete floors and avoid leaning on concrete walls. Lightning can travel through any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring.
Do not bathe, shower, wash dishes, or have any other contact with water during a thunderstorm because lightning can travel through a building’s plumbing.
Avoid electronic equipment.
Do not use computers, laptops, game systems, washers, dryers, stoves, or anything connected to an electrical outlet. Lightning can travel through electrical systems, radio and television reception systems, and any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring. Equip homes and offices with whole-house surge protectors to protect appliances.
Always a Good Time to Check your Batteries
Fire Prevention Month is coming up in October, but it's ALWAYS a good time to examine emergency preparedness plans for your home and business, including your fire escape plan.
Do you have a fire escape plan? Have you changed your smoke alarm batteries within the last year?
The NFPA recommends installing smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of your home, including the basement. Did you know that roughly half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., when most people are asleep? Smoke alarms save lives. In fact, having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire in half!
Stay safe and prepare now to ensure you are ready for any disaster.
Commercial Water Damage
When your employees, along with their families, and the community you do business in depends on your company, the thought of commercial water damage caused by extreme weather is very frightening. With a little planning, we can help keep your business operating after catastrophic water damage.
The free SERVPRO of Douglas County Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) will help you in keeping your business downtime to a minimum. It will include information on key water shut off points, as well as information on your building and the key contacts. It also has the information on the best routes to enter your business to begin work. These steps, as well as may others, will help expedite the response time to your emergency.
By planning ahead, you are taking that step to minimize downtime of your business. Your employees, along with their families, and the community will all thank you!
Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail!