Monday, February 27, 2012

The Fire Is Only the First Step: Restoring Your Home After Fire and Smoke Damage

A home fire is one of the most frightening and stressful events a family may experience. And the trauma doesn't end with the fire - post-fire you must deal with what to do with a salvageable home. How will you clean it? How do you know what is safe to keep and what must go? How do you eliminate the smoke smell?
According to the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), "You may be anxious to clean your home after a fire, but unless you take time to get professional advice, you may be wasting your efforts or creating further damage."
There is more to cleaning up the damage and residue from a fire than piling things in a dumpster and wiping down the walls with soap and water. A fire and smoke damage restoration professional can assist you in determining what kind of smoke has damaged the home; inspect and evaluate the condition of damaged and undamaged items; and pretest damaged areas to determine which cleaning method(s) will produce the best results.
While smoke may seem like smoke, there are actually several kinds and each brings its own special cleaning needs. Smoke may penetrate the hidden cavities of the home (between walls and flooring), causing hidden damage and odor. Additionally, a restoration professional can determine the extent to which fire, smoke, heat and moisture have damaged your home's structure.
Types of smoke residue include:
  • Wet smoke - This is caused by a smoldering, low heat fire. The residue is sticky, "smeary," and has a pungent odor.
  • Dry smoke - This is caused by a hot, fast-burning fire. The residue is dry, powdery and small.
  • Protein - This residue is very pungent and nearly invisible. It discolors paint and varnish.
  • Fuel Oil Soot - This dark, oily residue is difficult to clean.
  • Other - Items like tear gas, finger print powder, and fire extinguisher residue also require cleaning.
Once the type of smoke residue has been determined, a restoration professional can help you inspect and inventory your belongings. This may be a difficult process for the homeowner, but an experienced professional can help you determine:
  • What is the full extent of the damage?
  • What can be restored?
  • What must be replaced?
  • What is the best method for protecting undamaged areas and belongings?
After these questions are addressed, your restoration professional can apply his or her extensive knowledge of cleaning and remediation to your home and belongings, provide regular updates, thoroughly explain the process, and answer your questions.
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Friday, February 24, 2012

The Basics of Fire Damage Restoration

Many people have questions about fire damage restoration, but the most important thing you should know is that it involves a series of steps. Each of these steps responds to a specific aspect of the damage, regardless whether the damage is structural or simply the removal of the smoke odor. Fire damage restoration should begin as soon as the structure has been cleaned out and cleared for re-entry.

The clean up process, as a result of fire damage, is both time consuming and labor intensive, thus contributing to why homeowners reach out and hire a professional restoration company to do the job. This assures the job is done properly and correctly.

How much time does fire damage restoration take?

What may appear to be an easy project for some homeowners is anything but easy. Fire damage restoration is definitely not a weekend project. It requires a strong team of men and women to focus on the task until completion.

Even a small fire with minimal damage benefits from the expertise and skill of trained professionals.

Should the restoration company be licensed?

Yes! Anyone doing any type of work or repair on your home should be licensed and insured. This is not only for your safety and protection, but theirs. According to laws within the industry, it is best to seek a restoration company that has a license, and it is best to get at least three quotes from three different companies in order to set a budget.

Should my home be inspected?

Yes! The repair process often begins with an inspection of the property. This will allow trained professionals to evaluate the situation and determine what parts of the house have been most affected.

Most areas of the structure that tend to become damaged show signs of warping or charring, and must be removed from the structure and replaced. A trained professional will also inspect the home for damage to the wiring, water, and other utility systems. These areas affected must be examined and repaired to ensure the safety of those who live there.

How do you remove smoke from a home?

Cleaning the smoke odor from your home is usually done with a combination of methods including fogging and ozone deodorization. These methods should only be used by a trained professional. If the proper work isn't implemented, it could pose a danger for both the homeowner and the property.

Should I carry fire damage insurance?

In one word, yes! Believe it or not, some people do not carry fire insurance on their home. Fire damage insurance varies from company to company, and state to state. Fire insurance includes replacement funds for personal items and belongings directly damaged by flames, heat, or smoke. In addition, it expands to secondary water damage from efforts to extinguish the fire.

Those not carrying fire insurance on their home may be putting their family at risk. In the event a fire should occur, they could lose all their personal belongings, not to mention their most value asset, your home.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

SERVPRO Ready Plan - Mobile App

Minimize the time it takes to mitigate the damage from a Fire or Water damage by using the SERVPRO Ready Plan app. The SERVPRO Ready Plan is a tool for property managers and owners, both residential and commercial. It allows for the creation of an Emergency READY Profile containing critical facility information to help speed up response time after fire or water damage.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Toxic Black Mold Symptoms

Every mold is not toxic, some are beneficial to society. But if you've found mold in your home, it may be toxic. There are several molds commonly found in homes, one in particular, Stachybotrys Chartarum, known as black mold can cause respiratory difficulties in humans. This type of fungus damages homes, is harmful to your health, and often leads to costly home repairs and unexpected medical bills. Its appearance is most often blackish-green and feels wet or slimy.
Black Mold Symptoms
If you've observed, or even suspect mold is living as an uninvited house-guest, there may be signals of mold allergy reaction. Mold often hides in places unseen. Any signs of regular respiratory health issues and mold presence should give credit to black mold poisoning. Sometimes health problems are mistaken for normal sinus congestion, the flu, or colds. However, any respiratory illness that is increasing in cycles or non-stop should be investigated. Toxic mold may be the reason for these problems experienced.
People have difficulty believing mold could be contributing to sustained flu-like symptoms. Invisible to the eye, toxic spores are released intermittently into air. They drift into food, are inhaled while sleeping and even cling to clothes. This constant onslaught causes sickness unknowingly to many people each day. Black mold particles are known as mycotoxins. They cause headaches, sinus problems, breathing difficulties and can lead to more serious complications, such as asthma or lung disease. Children and older people living in an infested home are most at risk for developing multiple or life-threatening complications from toxic mold exposure.
Mold Spores Need Water, Oxygen, Humidity
Without water and oxygen mold cannot develop. Humidity is the third rule and the most easily managed. Black Mold needs a consistent leaking of water in the first place, so if you have a leak or have had one, be on guard, mold isn't always seen.
Finding if you have a toxic mold problem can be difficult, but there are signals to look for; Increased allergies within a short period of time could indicate a mold problem. If you are able to see black mold it is certainly a problem. Though not always smelled, black mold is found growing with other molds consistently and most do carry a moldy or mildewy odor.
Please do not ignore mold growing in your home. It is ignored by many, catches up eventually and sickness happens at your families expense. If you think toxic black mold is in your home, find the leak first. Leaking pipes, toilets, and shower stalls are perfectly suited for harboring something much more dangerous than germs.
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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Smoke And Fire Damage In Your Home - Use The Services Of A Fire Restoration Company

Fire damage and smoke damage can leave a homeowner in a pretty distressed emotional state. However, one should try to overcome their unfortunate loss by thinking about ways to restore their home as soon as possible as quick action will often help a person save a lot of money when it comes to fire damage. This is because fire damage and smoke damage can continue to affect your property even after the fire has been put out.

For example, the smoke left behind from the fire can be absorbed by various materials in the house, especially if they are porous in nature. Carpets, walls and even ceilings will continue to absorb the smoke left behind and it will remain even after several months. Unless you know what chemicals and deodorizers to use, it will be very difficult to restore your home to the old self. A professional fire restoration company will use their expertise in dealing with smoke damage they may even move out furniture and other belongings to an offsite facility for cleaning and restoration this eliminates the risk of further contamination by smoke and water. Once they have been moved out, they will use various EPA approved chemicals along with ozone cleaners to rid the furniture and other belongings of the smoke odor. Fire damage experts will also be able to restore slightly damaged furniture if they are scorched or singed in the heat. However, materials that have been partially burnt or charred will be very difficult to restore.

One would also have to consider the method in which the fire was put out. If it was a huge fire, it would probably mean that an excessive amount of water was used to put out the fire. This water will need to be cleaned up as well as water can very easily damage construction materials and also aid in the growth of mold which can present several health risks. A professional fire damage restoration company will use dehumidifiers, blowers and water extraction units to quickly get rid of the water that was used to put out the fire. In some cases, a foam extinguisher might have been used to out the fire. This will need a different cleaning process which can easily be carried out by a fire damage restoration company.

Most insurance companies will advise you to hire a professional fire restoration company. They might even recommend one on their own. A fire restoration company will also be able to help you with the complicated insurance forms that will be required to claim damages and expenses related to your fire accident.

Many homeowners think very hard before they hire a fire restoration company as the expenses that will be required to hire them will often be fairly high. However, one will have to understand that a fire restoration company will actually help the home owner save a lot of money. A homeowner who tries to restore his house on his own might make some progress on his or her own although the lack of expert knowledge combined with the lack of commercial equipment will quickly hamper their restoration progress.

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

SERVPRO® Warehouse Fire Commercial

A commercial building fire burning out of control is handled as SERVPRO's cleanup is on the way. When things that matter most are on the line, make sure SERVPRO® is too. SERVPRO® is faster to any size disaster.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

SERVPRO® House Flood

A pipe burst can flood a home and appear to ruin everything. You can be ruined or you can be ready. When things that matter most are on the line, make sure SERVPRO® is too. SERVPRO® will help make it "Like it never even happened."

Monday, February 6, 2012

SERVPRO® House Fire

A house fire can bring with it a feeling of loss of control. You can be ruined or you can be ready. When things that matter most are on the line, make sure SERVPRO® is too. SERVPRO® will help make it "Like it never even happened."

Friday, February 3, 2012

Frequently Asked Questions: Water Damage Remediation

You come home and you find your floor is full of water. You identify the source and stop the leak. Then you grab your wet/dry vacuum cleaner and suck up all the excess water. There are still a few damp area and it smells kind of musty so you open the window and will nature take its course. In your mind your Do-it-Yourself attitude just saved you a ton of money. Case closed.
The Do-it-Yourself attitude is admirable and the laudable hallmark of American culture but such attitude can prove to be, as in this case, misguided and have potential long term health and financial consequences.
Issue 1: Using a wet/dry vacuum cleaner to extract the water
Problem 1: This extraction usually does not extract all the moisture from the affected area
Why this matters to you1: The remaining water can promote structural decay and be a catalyst for mold.
Issue 2: Opening widow to dry naturally
Problem 2: In hot, humid regions, such as FL, the sweltering heat can actually prevent evaporation
Why this matters to you2: This prevents drying and is an IDEAL condition for accelerated mold growth.
Issue 3: Employing Do-it-Yourself to save money
Problem 3: In many cases, the honorable and honest Do-it-Yourself attempt ends up costing more money
Why this matters to you3: Losing money is bad no matter how you look at it. The potential savings can be offset by having to redo the work and the need for special equipment that is used one time.
Why should I care about Mold?
It is well established that exposure to certain types of mold are well known to have serious health effects in humans. It is certainly not in the interest of anyone to be exposed to mold.
OK, so I'll hire a carpet cleaning company to get rid of my water.
This is a logical step as the typical carpet cleaner will have access to better commercial vacuum equipment than the homeowner but this logic fails in two main areas, cost and ability. Trying to save money by hiring a carpet cleaner can have negative budgetary impact depending on the company used and time involved. While many carpet cleaners are exceptional at their trade and are, usually, worth every penny, carpet cleaners do not know how to remove water from walls, monitor and control ambient moisture, and other such concerns of a professional water damage remediation company.
So how can I get rid of this water and save money?
The best way of getting rid of water damage, preventing or eliminating exposure to mold, and saving money is by hiring a professional water damage restoration company. An independent, professional water damage restoration company is professionally trained and intra-industry certified to thoroughly and professionally handle all aspects of structural drying, odor control, mold handling and removal, and other relevant water damage restoration considerations. More importantly, in many cases, such services can be done at NO or little cost to the property owner using methods including direct insurance billing.
So why pay out of pocket and do the work yourself when the professionals can do the work for you at little to no cost? It's a no brainer.
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