Smoke Damage to Your Contents
A fire can destroy your property and cause serious, irreversible damage. The flames move from one item to another, burning everything into ash. The heat created by the flames radiate, causing the surrounding items to crack, melt, and in some cases shatter. After the flames are put out, you have to deal with smoke damage.
If smoke damage is not addressed, it can devastate your home along with everything inside it. Smoke damage can even occur in rooms the fire never reached. For example, during wildfires, businesses and homes have been totally ruined just from the smoke while the building stayed untouched by the flames.
Even a small fire that is put out quickly may still cause smoke damage to the items inside. Also, smoke can impact your home’s structure. That is why cleaning up soot and smoke right away after a fire is so crucial. Smoke acts like an acid and can start to corrode many different materials if left too long.
If fire strikes a structure or home, or if you live near areas that are prone to wildfires, you must act fast to reduce the damage that occurs. Professional smoke damage restoration specialists can quickly assess the damage and create a customized mitigation plan to make sure your home is clear of all fire related damages.
What Can You Salvage?
The answer to this question depends on the extent of the damage and what something is made of. You also need to consider the cost of salvaging some items. You can work with a smoke damage specialist to figure out what items you should clean and which ones you should replace or discard.
How Will Smoke Impact Your Home?
Smoke affects materials in unique ways. Also, the type and temperature of the fire will result in different types of smoke damage through your home. One of the worst ways smoke can cause damage is if it gets into small crevices and cracks, since the particles are so small.
In fact, these issues often go undetected for a long time, leaving that lingering smell of smoke that may last for several months. The best way to remove the smell from your home is by removing or cleaning the affected items and to clean the building materials in the home with agents that are designed to remove the smell. Having this handled as quickly as possible will reduce the potential of cross-contamination.
How Quickly Do You Need to Act?
Time is something that is of the essence when you are talking about smoke damage. The sooner that you act, the more likely you will be to prevent serious damage. For example, there are some materials like porous items and synthetic fires that need intervention within hours of exposure to be saved.
Prepare in Advance for Severe Weather
It is difficult to know if a storm that is forecasted to move through an area will be severe enough to cause damage before it arrives. Storms—as well as the damage they cause—can vary wildly, which is why we always recommend taking an approach grounded in advanced preparation to remain as safe as possible.
By taking steps to protect your home, you can be certain that no matter what type of storm moves through your area, you are as protected as possible.
Be as Protected as Possible From Storms
Prepare your home as much as possible. Though the nature of storm damage might seem erratic, by doing some preparation work in advance to protect your property, you can ensure you are taking the right steps to mitigate any possible damages. Trimming back any dead or overhanging trees is a great start, as is securing any objects that could possibly become loose during a storm. Many homeowners also have whole-home generators installed, allowing for utility usage if your power is out.
Create a family communications plan. When your family is all at home when severe weather is forecasted to come through the area, you can move as a group to your designated sheltering area and be certain you are all safe. However, if a storm catches one or more of your family members while they are out and about, it is important to have a communications plan so you can check in and be certain that everyone is safe.
Make sure your emergency kit is stocked. The best thing you can do to be prepared for any emergency is to have an emergency kit in your home, and storms are no exception. Your emergency kit can house everything your family might need, both during the storm and after the fact. Items like flashlights, batteries, first aid supplies, food and water are all good to keep on-hand just in case.
Consider getting a weather radio. Having cell phones has made it much easier to receive emergency weather alerts no matter where you are, but in case of severe weather, it is always good to have a backup such as a weather radio. Storms can cause power outages and even knock out cell towers, so having a weather radio that is either powered by replaceable batteries or a manual system is smart.
Storm Damage Tips
Storm Damage Tips
- Listen to the radio for advisories
- Do not venture outside until it’s declared safe
- Stay away from downed power lines, standing water, and metal objects near downed wires
- Watch out for snakes and wild animals
- If you smell gas, turn gas off at the meter
- Avoid using candles or open flames indoors
- Operate generators outside
- Be careful when entering or leaving buildings with structural damage. It is best to avoid entering until the damage has been assessed
- Once things have been properly assessed, make sure you have plenty of pictures of storm damage to your property
- Contact SERVPRO of Danville to come out for board up and get started on water mitigation.
Large Scale Commercial Cleanup
While many cleanup and restoration companies can handle small fire and water damages, like a flooded small business or a house fire, very few can large scale disasters. The disasters like major hurricanes, massive tornadoes, and catastrophic fires can grind businesses to a halt, displace hundreds of people from their homes, and even shut down entire city blocks.
We understand when businesses are completely shut down due to natural or man-made disasters, that every second that they are closed affects their bottom line, their employees’ lives, and their customers’ lives. We pride ourselves on our commitment to working with our clients to ensure their business and/or home is cleaned and restored as quickly as possible.
Large Loss Recovery Services
We have the technology, the equipment, and the expertise to handle any size disaster, anytime, and anywhere. Our team is ready to mobilize and start the cleanup and restoration process 24/7. Our large loss services are much like our small scale restoration services, just larger and more capable. Large loss recovery services include:
- Water Damage Restoration - Whether from a natural flood or broken water pipes, we can extract the water, dry the damaged area, clean up the mess, and restore your water damaged property quickly and efficiently.
- Fire Damage Restoration - We have the equipment and resources to handle even the largest of fires. We have the expertise to clean up the fire and smoke and restore any damage to the property. SERVPRO has decades of experience removing smoke odor and fire damage.
- Commercial Mold Remediation - Mold can happen slowly over time or quickly after a devastating flood or sewer backup. Our team has the knowledge and training in mold remediation to ensure mold spores are removed safely and effectively.
- Commercial Cleanup - Our team can deep clean facilities that have suffered a viral outbreak, like the recent Coronavirus outbreak. We can also clean up after sewer backups, vandalism, or just from normal wear and tear.
- Storm Damage Restoration - Major storms like tornadoes and hurricanes can bring substantial damage to businesses and homes through flooding, fires, wind damage and more. Our commercial restoration team is prepared and ready to be on the scene should a major disaster strike.
Coronavirus COVID-19 Cleaning & Disinfecting of Facilities
With the rise of people contracting the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), facilities, where people with the virus have been present, are now faced with cleaning and disinfecting of their properties.
Why Is Cleaning & Disinfecting Important?
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), COVID-19 is thought to spread from person-to-person. This can be through personal contact or through inhaling droplets in the air from someone who sneezes or coughs. It is also thought that it can spread by touching a surface or item that has the virus on it, which is why cleaning and disinfecting are so important. The CDC has stated that since this is a new (novel) version of the virus, there is more to learn about it and how it spreads. For the latest updates on the virus, you can visit the CDC website for updated info and guidance.
To prevent the spread of infection, it is important to have any areas that a person who has tested positive has been, professionally cleaned and disinfected. Clean up guidelines may be superseded by state and local law enforcement. It is important to contact your local law enforcement and health department if a person with the virus has visited your business or facility. Due to how easily this virus can spread, it is important that all businesses be pro-active in isolating the contaminated area and seeking immediate cleanup and disinfection.
The Cleaning Process for COVID-19
There are three levels of cleaning that can be done. The three levels of cleaning are general surface cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting. It is important to note though, that not all surfaces can be cleaned to all three levels. While every surface can be surface cleaned, not all can be sanitized or disinfected.
With general surface cleaning, dirt, bacteria, fungi, and viruses are scrubbed and removed from the surface. The goal is to physically remove the virus microbes. As noted above, all surfaces can be cleaned. By cleaning the surface, not only are you removing the possible virus microbes but you are also removing the nutrients and moisture that helps the virus survive and multiply.
The next level of cleaning is sanitizing. Sanitizing a surface helps reduce the amount of bacteria on a surface. Though, sanitizers do not claim to clean or remove fungi or viruses. In order to be classified as a sanitizer, the product must kill 99.9% of all bacteria tested on non-food contact surfaces. Examples of these types of non-food sanitizers are air sanitizers, carpet sanitizers, toilet sanitizers, and laundry sanitizers.
The last level of cleaning is disinfecting. Disinfecting works by using chemicals to neutralize germs on surfaces. Disinfectants will not remove dirt or germs, but it will inactivate the germs. The number of microbes inactivated is determined by the disinfecting chemical and how it is used.
What Is Cleaned After COVID-19 Contamination
According to the CDC, all high touch surfaces are encouraged to be cleaned. These surfaces include doors, countertops, tables, desks, toilets, sinks, phones, elevator buttons, keyboards, and railings at a minimum. As every facility and property is different, each location will most likely have added areas that need to be cleaned.
For the area where a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, enhanced cleaning is required. Enhanced cleaning includes cleaning and disinfecting of all non-porous surfaces in the area and cleaning and sanitizing of all porous surfaces in the area. This includes, as an example for office spaces, the walls, carpeting, cubicles, chairs, shared office equipment, and more. Obviously, the scope of work can change depending on the space. In a commercial kitchen, cleaning and disinfecting could be a simpler process compared to a retail clothing shop, where you are dealing with a lot of porous materials that could be contaminated.
What Can You Do To Reduce Infection and the Spread?
As you can see, the novel coronavirus can easily be spread from person to person. To reduce the risk of infection and the spread of the coronavirus, it is important that you and your staff are diligent in handwashing and cleaning. Clean your hands often and thoroughly, avoid touching your nose, mouth, and face. Avoid close contact with people. Try to stay at least 3-feet apart and avoid handshakes. It is also a good idea to increase the cleaning routine of your facilities to reduce the chance of the infection spreading from high touch surfaces.
4 Factors That Affect the Cost of Water Damage Repairs
Finding the underlying cause of water damage and addressing the problem is just half the battle.
The other half of this is mitigating the damages that have occurred. Sometimes, the extent of the water damage is misleading when looking at the outside surface but, in some cases, the water will seep into the deeper materials in your home or building. Because of the unique nature of water, the damage that occurs can result in costs that range from high to low. Some of the top factors that affect the price of water damage mitigation can be found here.
Understanding the factors that impact water damage will help you know what to expect when it comes to restoring your property.
1. The Size of the Area Affected
Just as you may expect, the bigger the damaged area is, the more costly it will be to fully repair. It will take more time, manpower, and materials to fix a whole room that is flooded compared to just a few square feet of damage. However, this is not the only factor that impacts the cost of the process. Some of the other factors found here will begin to add up. This may result in even a small area coming with varying costs.
2. If Water is Still Present in the Area
If water is still present, it should be removed right away to prevent additional home deterioration. This can be achieved by using both truck-mounted and portable extraction units, sump pumps and once all of the standing water is removed air movers and dehumidification equipment will help complete the drying process. Removing the excess water reduces the time needed to complete the drying process as there is less moisture to evaporate. Once the bound moisture within the building materials is dry, reconstruction can begin. can begin.
3. Damaged Materials
Depending on what was affected by the water, the mitigation costs will vary. For example, sometimes porting holes behind the baseboard vs. removing the affected drywall can save time and money to get you back into that area of your home and business. Removing drywall unnecessarily can be more costly as it requires additional services to be performed and a longer time to reoccupy the space. Another important factor to consider that will impact the mitigation cost is the materials that must be repaired or replaced.
4. The Type of Water Present
The water that caused the damage also comes into play. The varying classifications of the category of the water are always important to understand as with some types of water such as a sewer back up many materials have to be replaced for health and safety reasons. This also results in a higher cost. The worst case would be black water, which is sewage water that has come in contact with human waste. Grey water is water that has been used for dishes or showering, but not sewage. Mitigating issues related to black and grey water than a clean water source is usually more expensive because the area must be treated for contaminants.
Signs of Damaged Pipes in Your Kitchen
Winter can be a risky time for pipes, so keep an eye out for the signs of frozen or damaged plumbing in your kitchen:
- Temperature. The most significant factor that determines whether pipes can freeze is whether the weather is at or below freezing temperatures. Have your plumbing inspected for potential vulnerabilities as soon as possible, ideally before the first frost or the next dip in temperatures.
- Frost. Check exposed pipes for frost accumulation on the outside of the pipe, especially under the kitchen sink. This is a common warning sign that the pipe is frozen.
- Water. If water is not coming out of the faucet and there is either no water or only a slight trickle, the pipe supplying the water to that faucet might be frozen.
- Odors. One of the biggest giveaways of a blocked or frozen pipe comes in the form of strange smells. Because blockage prevents the travel of water through the pipe, the only way for odors to move is up through drains.
How SERVPRO Can Help
The most crucial step technicians take before establishing drying goals and extracting water from your home is measuring moisture with a variety of advanced tools. If you have a pipe leak behind an exterior kitchen wall, for example, technicians can use infrared cameras to detect moisture behind visible surfaces that might be affecting structural materials such as studs, insulation, and drywall.
Other measurement tools, including penetrating and non-penetrating sensors and meters, are consistently used throughout the cleaning and drying process and compared with the ideal relative humidity for various materials.
Why We Focus on Restoration Instead of Replacement
If you have damage done to your home, it is a difficult thing to process and recover from. Dealing with the emotional impact of the actual emergency in addition to the recovery process can be a long and uphill battle, but the sooner you can get back into your home, the sooner you can begin to rebuild your life.
Though it can always be difficult to begin the recovery process, working with a good restoration company can make a tremendous difference. We will focus on restoring your home and belongings, instead of simply recommending a replacement, so you can save time and money and get back home more quickly. This can help you feel more at home when you return to your household, helping your family heal.
How Restoration Can Lead to Saving Time and Money
We can help you save money on your insurance. Thankfully, homeowners insurance will often cover major losses from emergencies or disasters, but an expensive claim can raise your premium as well. By restoring what we are able to instead of fully liquidating your home and belongings, we can keep the claim costs low, saving you money over time.
We can protect your sentimental items. When you have to quickly leave the home in the event of an emergency, there are likely many precious, irreplaceable items that are left behind. With our fleet of restoration equipment, however, we can restore many of these items to look exactly as they did before the damage. We have restored photographs, art, heirlooms and many other irreplaceable items over the years.
We make sure your home feels like home again. Going home after a disaster is quite an emotional experience, but by restoring your items when possible, we can ensure it truly feels like home when you walk in the door. From furniture to cosmetic touches, we can handle all the elements of restoration that make a difference in the way your home feels.
We are Cleaning Experts
SERVPRO is Here to Help during this time of need
During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards.
We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform on a daily basis.
The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:
- Kitchen/Food Areas
- Retail Spaces
- Water Fountains
- Sales Counters
- Carpets and Rugs
- Stair Handrails
- Elevator Cars
- Playground Equipment
- Fitness Equipment
The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities.
5 Steps to Prepare Your Home for a Fire
- Test Your Alarms
Though your smoke alarms should inform you when they’re low on batteries, it doesn’t hurt to check them periodically. Test them once a month, and to err on the side of caution, replace their batteries at least once a year.
- Plan an Evacuation Route
This should be at the top of your fire preparation list. Identify all possible exits for each room in the home and make sure that each family member is aware of where those exits are. Designate a family meeting spot outside.
- Teach Your Children
If you have young children, show them what the fire alarm sounds like and advise them on what to do if they hear one. Inform them of evacuation routes as well.
- Plan a Way to Communicate
Put together an emergency contact list and make sure that all family members know who to contact if they cannot find one another. Have your young children memorize important phone numbers, beginning with 911.
The best way to ensure that all family members know what to do in the event of an emergency is to practice. Host a fire drill every couple of months and devise different scenarios. In doing so, you can increase the odds that everyone knows what to do and how to escape in a real life emergency.
SERVPRO of Danville is here to help with any fire damage you may be dealing with! We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 925-856-8180.