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What To Do After A Home Fire

12/12/2017 (Permalink)

Recovering from a fire is not easy by any means. It is an emotionally draining process that turns your life upside down. The hardest part comes at the beginning when you feel helpless and are completely unsure as to how to proceed. With that in mind, our goal is to present to you the fundamental steps you need to take immediately after the fire is extinguished.

Deal With Insurance

You should already be on the phone with your insurance agent before the firefighters even get done putting out the fire. Mind you, this is just the beginning. After a few days, you’ll need to get a copy of the official “fire report” from your local fire department. The insurance agency will likely send an adjustor out to survey the damage and help you get in touch with a restoration agency, such as the professionals at SERVPRO of South Palm Beach.

If you are renting, then you’ll obviously need to contact the owner of the home. If you own home but don’t have insurance, on the other hand, then you’ll want to speak with the Internal Revenue Service. You might be eligible for something known as a casualty loss.

Settle in Somewhere

Most likely, your home is currently in an unlivable state, meaning you’re going to have to find somewhere else to stay. Your best bet is to stay with friends or family. However, if that’s not an option, check with your insurance company to see if your policy covers temporary living expenses. Otherwise, contact the American Red Cross.

Before you leave, try to rummage through your home for some essential items like the following: Identification Cards, Medications, Eye Glasses / Hearing Aids, Wallets, Credit Cards / Checkbooks, Money. **Only do this AFTER you get permission from the firefighters to re-enter your home.**

Turn Off Utilities

Make certain you get all of your primary utilities turned off.  Why waste money for services when you are not even living in your home? Plus, restoration cannot be performed on your home if there’s still electricity and such running through it. The risks of electrocution would be far too high.

Contact a Restoration Company

This is perhaps the most important step. You’ll need to contact a professional, full-service restoration company, such as SERVPRO. Our company is trained specifically to deal with the post-tragedy damage. Below is a list of some of the things you can expect us to do:

  • The company will start by removing all the water from your home. During a fire, a lot of water from the firefighters' hoses usually collects all over the place. Plus, fires sometimes cause pipes to burst, thus leading to even more severe flooding. The point is that restoration cannot begin until the water is first removed.
  • The company will then start with water restoration. Carpets, walls, ducts must be dried. The mold must be removed. Just this step itself can take a few days.
  • Next is the actual fire restoration. First and foremost, the company will inspect the structural foundation of your home and fix any major problems. Obviously, if a ceiling is about to crash, then it must be attended to before any other restoration efforts can be completed.
  • Once the structural foundation is secure, the specialists will start cleaning up soot/smoke damage, deodorizing everything (carpets, walls, furniture, etc.) and basically returning the home back to normal. If anything is so damaged that it cannot be repaired, it’ll be removed and thrown away. It’s your responsibility to let your insurance company know what items you lost. 
  • Last, but not least, the company will clean up the remaining mess (dust, debris, etc.) and rearrange everything back into place.

Move Back In

Finally, you get to move back into your home and resume life. Unfortunately, it can take quite a bit of time before you even get to this final step. We’re talking about several weeks. The truth is that restoring a home from a fire takes a lot of time, a lot of resources and a lot of money.

Just remember to keep in close contact with your insurance company through the whole process. If all goes well, you’ll get your home back in one piece, and you’ll get your lost possessions replaced.

When you have a fire, water, and mold restoration service needs, give the experienced professionals at SERVPRO of South Palm Beach a call.

How to Perform a Monthly Fire Extinguisher Inspection

12/12/2017 (Permalink)

Home Safety: How to Inspect a Fire Extinguisher

When was the last time you took time to check the fire extinguisher that sits under your kitchen sink? Or the one hanging from a dusty hook in your garage? If you’re struggling to remember, it’s time to check it. Like any other piece of safety equipment, a home fire extinguisher should be inspected regularly to ensure it’s in proper working condition. A fire extinguisher in good working condition is your first line of defense when a home fire erupts.

Ideally, you should inspect your portable home fire extinguishers every month.

Tips for Performing a Monthly Fire Extinguisher Check

Check the label or tag.

Every fire extinguisher, whether disposable or rechargeable, has a manufacturer’s label or tag. Read the tag and follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance suggestions.

Check the tamper seal.

If the tamper seal has been broken or is cracked, a disposable fire extinguisher needs to be replaced. If it’s rechargeable, it needs to be serviced professionally. Check the locking or pull pin as well to make sure it’s in the correct position. If the pin missing, the fire extinguisher needs to be inspected or serviced by a professional.

Inspect for physical damage.

Physically inspect the fire extinguisher for obvious damage. This may include but is not limited to dents, corrosion, cracks and obvious leakage. If a fire extinguisher has leakage, it’s no longer under full pressure and may not work properly when you need it most. Check the fire extinguisher nozzle as well, to ensure it’s not clogged by grime, dust, bugs or leakage from the unit itself.

Check the pressure gauge.

Check that the pressure gauge needle indicates the fire extinguisher pressure is in the optimum operating range. Often the correct pressure range will be designated by green on the gauge.

Is the fire extinguisher full?

During your monthly check, lift the fire extinguisher and determine if it still feels full. If there has been a leak, it will feel light, and it won’t have the right amount of pressure to work correctly.

Shake it.

If you have a dry chemical fire extinguisher, it should be shaken once a month during your inspection. This helps prevent the chemical dousing agent from solidifying at the bottom of the unit.

Write inspection date on tag.

Keep track of every inspection date by writing it on the fire extinguisher tag.

Ensure easy access to your fire extinguisher.

Fire extinguishers should always be easy to access if there is an emergency. You don’t want to have to search for it once a fire breaks out. Don’t block fire extinguishers with furniture, boxes or any other items. Everyone who lives in the household should know where the closest fire extinguisher is located and how to use it in case of an emergency.

In the event of a fire emergency, first make sure to get people safely away, then call 911. A home fire extinguisher can be used to put out or control small fires, but it’s still safest to call professional fire fighters before you attempt to control a fire on your own. If you need professional fire, smoke and water damage cleanup and remediation after a fire, call the experts at SERVPRO of South Palm Beach.

The Process of Fire Damage Restoration 

12/11/2017 (Permalink)

Once the fire trucks are gone, your journey is just beginning. That’s because your home almost certainly suffered smoke and fire damage as well as possible water damage. But the professionals at SERVPRO have the skills and equipment necessary to restore your house to the way it was before the fire.

Each fire is different and every home requires its own specific approach, but the following is the general process we follow in a typical fire damage restoration situation:

Emergency response. When you make your call to us, the restoration process begins. Our customer service representative will ask the right questions so that we can respond quickly and bring along the right resources and equipment.

Inspection and assessment. We inspect the impacted area and adjoining rooms to find out the extent of the soot, smoke and other fire damage, then we can develop our plan of action.

Securing the structure. Preventing further damage is essential, so we take immediate action to board up broken windows, shore up damaged walls and put tarps over damaged sections of the roof.

Water removal. When water damage is present, we immediately start water removal. Dehumidifiers and air movers are used to get all the water from your home and complete the drying process.

Surface soot and smoke removal. Using special equipment and time-tested techniques, we get rid of soot and smoke from the ceiling, all walls and other hard surfaces.

Cleaning and disinfecting. Restorable items require cleaning and sanitizing. A variety of cleaning products and techniques are used to accomplish this as appropriate. This process includes odor removal using foggers and industrial-strength air scrubbers.

Restoration. Getting things back to normal is the final step in the process. This can involve small repairs, drywall replacement, new carpet installation, painting and more. Major construction may sometimes also be required.

For an easy and hassle-free experience, trust SERVPRO to help manage everything for you, including the insurance claims process.

Causes of Mold in Homes

12/2/2016 (Permalink)

Mold is a vital piece of nature, assisting with the disintegration of natural matter and the recycling of supplements in biological systems. While outdoor mold is fundamental, mold developing inside present’s health risks and can bring about property damage. Molds recreate by a method of minor airborne spores that travel essentially anyplace, even in our homes.

Despite the fact that there are hints of mold spores indoors, they require the right "ingredients" to produce mold. Unfortunately, the conditions for mold development are found in many homes: a nourishment source, (for example, drywall, rugs, and wood), warmth, lack of light, enough time to develop, and above all, dampness. Since dampness is a fundamental factor in mold development, here are the most common culprits that cause heightened dampness in homes:

  • Flooding can cause a measurable amount of water into your home, bringing on serious water damage and conceivably cause mold development inside 24-48 hours. Calling an expert restoration professional such as SERVPRO promptly is your best defense with regards to mitigating water damage and preventing mold development.
  • Increased humidity can happen in homes from multiple sources — muggy climate, persistent rain, cooking, showering, and so on. To help prevent the development of mold growth in your home, ensure your home is all around ventilated and keep the humidity below 55 percent.
  • Deficient ventilation leads to increased humidity, and due to this, mold development and different issues like indoor contamination. Try to open entryways as well as windows when viable and to utilize fans as needed.
  • Leaking pipes are a typical issue in homes and should be settled promptly. In many cases, leaks are hidden from view, such as inside walls or above the ceiling, so make a point to investigate wall and ceiling stains routinely.
  • Roof leaks are additionally a way for water to saturate your home and cause mold. In the event that you see water stains on the ceiling, check for water damage in the attic and have your roof assessed and repaired at the earliest opportunity.
  • Condensation happens when warm dampness loaded air interacts with chilly surfaces. Condensation can be seen on walls, windows, solid floors or metal pipes. Reduce condensation by adjusting the humidity in your home.
  • Basements give astounding conditions for mold development because of poor ventilation, cooler temperatures (that advance condensation), and incessant water leaks and flooding.

Mold can also grow in various unexpected areas in the home, which can make mold remediation more difficult. For professional mold removal, as well as fire and water restoration services, contact the professional experts at SERVPRO today.

The Aftermath of a Home Fire

12/2/2016 (Permalink)

Recovering from a fire is not easy by any means. It is an emotionally draining process that turns your life upset down. The hardest part comes at the beginning, when you feel helpless and are completely unsure as to how to proceed. With that in mind, our goal is to present to you the fundamental steps you need to take immediately after the fire is extinguished.

 

Deal With Insurance

You should already be on the phone with your insurance agent before the firefighters even get done putting out the fire. Mind you, this is just the beginning. After a few days, you’ll need to get a copy of the official “fire report” from your local fire department. The insurance agency will likely send an adjustor out to survey the damage and help you get in touch with a restoration agency, such as the professionals at SERVPRO.

If you are renting, then you’ll obviously need to contact the owner of the home. If you own home but don’t have insurance, on the other hand, then you’ll want to speak with the Internal Revenue Service. You might be eligible for something known as casualty loss.

 

Settle in Somewhere

Most likely, your home is currently in an unlivable state, meaning you’re going to have to find somewhere else to stay. Your best bet is to stay with friends or family. However, if that’s not an option, check with your insurance company to see if your policy covers temporary living expenses. Otherwise, contact the American Red Cross.

Before you leave, try to rummage through your home for some essential items like the following: Identification Cards, Medications, Eye Glasses / Hearing Aids, Wallets, Credit Cards / Checkbooks, Money. **Only do this AFTER you get permission from the firefighters to reenter your home.**

 

Turn Off Utilities

Make certain you get all of your primary utilities turned off.  Why waste money for services when you are not even living in your home? Plus, restoration cannot be performed on your home if there’s still electricity and such running through it. The risks of electrocution would be far too high.

 

Contact a Restoration Company

This is perhaps the most important step. You’ll need to contact a professional, full-service restoration company, such as SERVPRO. Our company is trained specifically to deal with post-tragedy damage. Below is a list of some of the things you can expect us to do:

  • The company will start by removing all the water from your home. During a fire, a lot of water from the firefighters hoses usually collects all over the place. Plus, fires sometimes cause pipes to burst, thus leading to even more severe flooding. The point is that restoration cannot begin until the water is first removed.

 

  • The company will then start with water restoration. Carpets, walls, ducts must be dried. Mold must be removed. Just this step itself can take a few days.

 

 

  • Next is the actual fire restoration. First and foremost, the company will inspect the structural foundation of your home and fix any major problems. Obviously, if a ceiling is about to crash, then it must be attended to before any other restoration efforts can be completed.

 

  • Once the structural foundation is secure, the specialists will start cleaning up soot/smoke damage, deodorizing everything (carpets, walls, furniture, etc.) and basically returning the home back to normal. If anything is so damaged that it cannot be repaired, it’ll be removed and thrown away. It’s your responsibility to let your insurance company know what items you lost.

 

 

  • Last, but not least, the company will clean up the remaining mess (dust, debris, etc.) and rearrange everything back into place.

 

Move Back In

Finally, you get to move back into your home and resume life. Unfortunately, it can take quite a bit of time before you even get to this final step. We’re talking about several weeks. The truth is that restoring a home from a fire takes a lot of time, a lot of resources and a lot of money.

Just remember to keep in close contact with your insurance company through the whole process. If all goes well, you’ll get your home back in one piece, and you’ll get your lost possessions replaced.

 

When you have fire, water and mold restoration service needs, give the experienced professionals at SERVPRO a call.

Effective Yet Simple Water Cleanup Tips

12/2/2016 (Permalink)

A broken pipe is by far one of the greatest nightmares homeowners face. Even just a small broken kitchen pipe can quickly cause a considerable quantity of damage to your home. It is for this reason that you need to take care of water damage immediately.

Dealing with water damage requires seeking the help of a trained professional water restoration expert, such as the experts of SERVPRO. Before they get there, there are a few things you can do to assist in keeping the damages to a minimum. Here are a few tips:

 

Turn Off the Water

You might be tempted to seek out the source of the leak as your first step. This can be problematic, however, depending on the type of leak or damage. If, for instance is simply an overflowed sink, then you would just turn off the sink. However, what if a pipe that you can’t see has burst?

It’s because of reasons like these that you need to turn off the water supply as soon as possible. It is also recommended that you temporarily turn off electrical power as well. The last thing you want is for the water to mix with electrical wires!

 

Accelerate the Drying Process

The next step entails doing everything in your power to get your home to dry. Start by opening windows and turning on fans. This will get air flowing through your home, which will help to start drying it and also reduce the buildup of disgusting odors.

If you have a dehumidifier, turn it on immediately. It will extract moisture from the air, thus helping accelerate the drying process. Run it for as long as possible. If you stop early, it could lead to the growing of mold and mildew.

If you don’t have a dehumidifier, then don’t worry, because the water restoration experts will bring one with them. As we said earlier, however, just make sure you contact them right away. They need to get to your home as soon as possible!

Make sure you also remove rugs and other portable carpeting and place them outside to dry. Try to wipe down furniture and personal items (books, chairs, toys) as much as possible.

 

Pull Out a Wet/Dry Vacuum

Another step that we recommend taking is pulling out a wet/dry vacuum cleaner. We understand that you might not have one. If you do, use it to remove as much water as possible from carpets, upholstered furniture and/or tile and wood floors.

This process can take quite a while, but it’s important to remove as much water as possible. Also, make sure you focus more on wood surfaces than carpeted areas. Due to wood’s porous nature, it’s apt to soak up all the water, which in turn will cause it to become warped and delaminated.

Again, if you don’t have a wet/dry vacuum, don’t worry. The restoration professionals will take care of this for you. Just make sure you contact them immediately!

 

Things Not To Do

There are some things you should definitely NOT do after your home suffers from water damage:

  • Never leave web fabrics and clothing items in place. Try to hang them.
  • Also avoid leaving books, magazines and other such items on wet floors.
  • Please refrain from trying to use a regular vacuum cleaner to clean up water.
  • Avoid using electrical equipment and appliances a like television.
  • Stay out of rooms that have a wet ceiling.

These might seem obvious, but it’s good to know. Be especially careful with wet ceilings. They could be much weaker than you think, and the last thing we want is for a roof to collapse on you!

 

Final Steps

The real work won’t start until the restoration company gets there. Professionals, such as SERVPRO, possess the equipment needed to do real water extraction and repair. Part of this process will involve installing certain equipment, be it professional-grade dehumidifiers and whatnot.

When this occurs, make sure you follow the directions given to you. Usually, the professionals will ask you to keep their equipment running for a while. Make sure you stick to their schedule and do not arbitrarily turn off their equipment. This could negatively affect the drying process and make things worse.

The last thing the professionals will do is give you preventative maintenance tips. It is recommended that you follow through on these steps to insure that your home and belongings return to their former state. It can make the difference between whether or not your home ever suffers unneeded water damage again!

 

For all of your water, fire and mold restoration needs, give the professionals at SERVPRO a call today!

Saving Personal Belongings from Water Damage

12/2/2016 (Permalink)

One of the most common topics after a client suffers water damage, is how and what they can save from water damage.  Unfortunately, there is no clear cut answer to this question. Every water damage is unique in some sense, so what can be saved is really on a case by case basis. However, here are some guidelines that you can use to make the best decision possible.

What Type of Water Damage

Determining whether the water that damaged your personal belongings is clean or contaminated will be a big factor in whether or not it can be salvaged. Obviously, if you are dealing with clean water, the chances of you being able to save some of your belongings is higher.  Even though it may be possible to restore something that is damaged by contaminated water, it is more than likely not worth the health risk that it may bring.

Porous vs Non Porous Materials

Porous materials such as fabrics, wood, and paper are very good at retaining water. This also means it increases the chance of other dangers like mold growth, and damage beyond repair. This is not always the case and if handled quickly and properly, many times these items can be saved as well. On the other hand, porous materials like marble, metal, and porcelain - among others - usually have no problem being restored. Since there is really nothing for bacteria and mold to root itself in, a simple cleaning is usually no problem.

The Amount of Time the Water Saturated

Another factor that will come into the equation of determining what can and cannot be saved is how long the materials have been wet for. The longer an item sits in water, the deeper it can penetrate. As you can imagine, this makes it increasingly more difficult to bring it back to its normal state. The perfect example of this is wooden furniture. It takes quite a bit of time for it to really absorb and become completely water logged. If you get personal belongings out of the standing water and begin the drying process right away, you have a good chance of being able to save them.

Factor in the Replacement Cost

Water damage restoration of personal belongings is no different than any other type of repair. You will always want to evaluate how much it is going to cost to repair something versus simply replacing it. Is the item you want to save really worth paying a professional to do work on it? Sometimes it is, sometimes it is not.

You should also take into account that paying for restoration does not guarantee your item will be returned to its original state. If that’s the case, you’ll have to replace the item anyways.

If you are unsure about whether or not one of your items could be salvaged, it is best that you get it analyzed by a professional. If you hire a water damage restoration company to handle a dry out of your property, they will be able to assist you in assessing damage to your personal belongings as well. To speak to a professional water restoration representative at SERVPRO, contact them today.  They are always there to help.

Do You Need Help With Water, Mold, or Fire Restoration? Call Us Today!

MOLD DETECTION AND REMEDIATION

11/30/2016 (Permalink)

SERVPRO is an expert at mold detection, remediation and removal.

The SERVPRO mold remediation team is trained and certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification. This means we know mold, and know how to effectively eradicate it so it ceases to be an issue.

The professionals at SERVPRO are also your neighbors, and are familiar with the climate around your home, which- let’s face it - is one mold just loves.

If you think you have mold, give us a call and we will come take a look. And if you do have a mold problem, we will solve it.

 

WHERE DOES MOLD COME FROM?

Mold can creep up from a variety of sources. Often, mold is a by-product of a flood or other water damage. Improper or incomplete drying is usually the culprit. That is why the experts at SERVPRO take extra care of thoroughly drying a job to ensure that mold does not creep up later. But you need not always have “water damage” – for example, over the years, a simple thing like a pipe condensation can cause mold (again thanks to that humid South Florida weather), or a leaking roof, trapped moisture, a damp basement, or a hundred other reasons.

The key is to find it and remove it. Then, make sure it doesn’t come back. The trained professionals at SERVPRO will handle all phases of mold detection and removal, so you can be assured of your family’s health and well-being.

 

If you suspect you have mold, give the experts of SERVPRO a call today!

Emergency Water Damage Cleanup

11/30/2016 (Permalink)

Where would we be without water? It’s a crucial resource that we can’t live without. But sometimes, this valuable resource can turn against us if weather or faulty appliances strike. From leaky roofs and busted appliances to heavy rains and cresting rivers, water damage can strike for many different reasons. Depending on what caused the issue, water damage can range from being a little problem located in one room to a large flood-damage disaster throughout your entire house. Whatever the trouble happens to be, you must work with a reliable restoration service like SERVPRO to handle the cleanup for you. SERVPRO, a top notch nationwide emergency service company, offers emergency response company services that can mitigate the flood damage to your home.

 

SERVPRO provides several professional water and flood damage cleanup services in South Palm Beach, Florida as well as around the country. SERVPRO helps people put their lives back together after an experience with flooding, leaking, or other sources of water damage. A few of the services that SERVPRO offers include removal of affected property, cleaning of personal possessions, mold remediation, water restorations services, storm cleanup, fire restoration, guidance with insurance claims, and airing out wet areas. SERVPRO is there to help you get your life back in order after devastating damage occurs in your home.

 

The trained professionals of SERVPRO will quickly assess your home’s problems with the most effective restoration tools around. Call a local SERVPRO professional today to help you restore your home back to full working order.

Storm Damage Emergency Cleanup in Your Home

11/30/2016 (Permalink)

Your South Palm Beach, Florida home can fall victim to unexpected storm devastation. As soon as your home is disturbed by wind, water and debris, its effects can be devastating. Our top priority is to improve direct hazards as quickly as possible, whether it is exterior or interior damage.

 

What You Can Expect from Storm Damage

Even though people experience damaging storms throughout the country, it can be specifically brutal in Florida. Whatever storms are thrown at you, there is a likelihood that your home will have damage. Damage can be very destructive or not as serious.

Storms throughout the country can cause hazardous damage that will need to be fixed – from tornadoes to severe thunderstorms. With these kinds of storms comes strong wind bursts, torrential rain, and electrical disturbances that affect your property.

Being unable to repair damage inflicted on the outside of your home can be unnerving, which is why rainstorms and high winds are equally as damaging. Heavy rain and intense wind are strong enough to break trees and utility poles, jeopardizing your roof and home exterior.

 

Emergency Repairs

We at SERVPRO offer 24/7 emergency services to South Palm Beach, Florida because we realize that hazardous weather can appear at any moment. When you’re looking for urgent service, we will work with you anytime, day or night.

We are able to perform any needed emergency board up services after you’ve experienced storm damage. Broken windows, exposed siding and other sections of your property with direct outside access can be boarded up to keep out excess water. Tarps are an option to temporarily protect your roof to prevent additional water leakage if dangerous stormy conditions continue.

Your South Palm Beach, Florida home needs to be safe again. In addition to these emergency services, the professionals of SERVPRO can do a damage assessment and give you recommendations for all of the recovery services that we have available.