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Understanding Smoke Damage After a Commercial Property Fire

12/29/2019 (Permalink)

Man wearing white helmet, inspecting building after fire damage Fire damage inspection in a Hingham, MA building

Understanding Smoke Damage After a Commercial Property Fire

Almost any fire restoration company will tell you that fire damage is not often as bad as smoke damage. Smoke and soot damage create unique obstacles for cleaning experts, especially when it comes to odor removal. However, to clean commercial spaces, there are several line items that a professional must consider when working with smoke odor.

  • Safety
  • Type of Fire
  • Timeline
  • Removal

Safety

Smoke can be a highly corrosive substance. While most people believe that smoke and soot are only the remnants of burnt wood, they would be mistaken, especially in commercial fires. Fires in commercial buildings produce fumes from melting plastics, chemicals, fabrics, etc., which means air quality in a building can be toxic. Therefore, if you are going to enter your property after a fire, consider wearing an appropriate mask and gloves. Beyond wearing the proper safety equipment, it is a good idea to ventilate the property, which a restoration crew will do for you in most scenarios.

Type of Fire

While many people do not realize it, there are different types of fire. Granted, you may have heard of chemical or electrical fires, but there are also high and low oxygen fires, which play a vital role in the difficulty of removing smoke damage. For example, high oxygen fires tend to produce a drier smoke, which is easier to remove. However, low oxygen fires produce are more dense and damp smoke residue, which presents a challenge for remediation. Beyond the fire type, the use of excessive amounts of water creates incredibly humid environments, resulting in the pores of wood structures opening and accepting smoke and soot residue deep within.

Timely Removal

The longer you wait to begin the restoration process of your property, the more damage your facility is likely to sustain. Therefore, it is vital to hire smoke cleaning and restoration experts in Hingham, MA, as soon as possible after the initial disaster to reduce and mitigate further property loss.
Smoke damage and odor are challenging to remove. Therefore, it is worth hiring a capable remediation company to perform the task.

Effective Flood Prevention for Your Business

12/19/2019 (Permalink)

Two roofers inspecting a damaged roof Have a professional inspect your roof

Flood Prevention Plans for Your Business

If you are a business leader, you understand the importance of preparation. This doesn't just apply to your daily work but to emergency management and safety as well. If your company is located in an area in Weymouth, MA, where floods are common, it's imperative that you adopt flood prevention plans to reduce the risk of water damage to your building. Don't take chances by neglecting your well-being. There are some steps you need to follow to keep the water away.

Look Outside
Flooding often comes from Mother Nature. Large storms can bring heavy rains or even cause nearby rivers or canals to overflow. If your building is vulnerable to flood damage, you could be in trouble. Make sure you look at the following areas on your business property:

  • Clear debris from rain gutters and downspouts; make sure they are diverting water away from the building.
  • Inspect the roof for leaks or damage.
  • Have a professional inspect the foundation for cracks or weaknesses.

Maintain the Plumbing
A broken pipe is one of the most common reasons people need to call a professional water removal team for flood cleaning. At least once a year, you should work with a plumber to look at the plumbing system in the building. If you detect leaks, or if the pipes are failing, replace them immediately.

Take Defensive Action
if you see that rough weather is on the way, you may have to take flood prevention measures right away. If a hurricane is on its way, cover your building's windows with plywood or shutters. Purchase a sump pump system and have additional pumps on hand in case of flooding. Have a plan in place to evacuate your building and move equipment to safe ground.
Flood prevention should begin today. If you are ready to combat water damage, you can reduce the chances of your building suffering terrible damage.

Should I Worry About Water in my Crawl Space?

12/11/2019 (Permalink)

Leaking pipe Anytime you have a leaking pipe on the floor or ceiling, you should check your crawl space for water

Reasons Why Water May Invade a Crawl Space

A wet crawl space can cause problems for homeowners. Most people do not go under their homes unless there is a need, but it is a good idea to check them periodically for mold and standing water. If you find a problem, it is important to remedy the situation quickly so that mold does not spread throughout your home. There are several common reasons why water may invade a crawl space in South Weymouth, MA.

1. Over-Watering

When a hose that is up against the house is left running, the excess water can flow down under the house and cause flooding. To avoid this, ensure the right amount of water is used and that flowerbeds have proper base layers installed to keep water away from the foundation.

2. Poor Ground Sloping

The ground around your home should be sloped so that water runs away from it. Water that runs toward your home or pools near the foundation is likely to create a wet crawl space. Although builders usually build with this in mind, the dirt can erode over time, changing the path of the water. To protect your home, the ground should be sloped for at least 6-8 feet from your home and have a slope of at least 6-8 inches.

3. Leaking Pipes

A water leak from inside your house can work its way down and flood your crawl space. Anytime you have a leaking pipe or notice a water spot on the floor or ceiling, you should check your crawl space for water. If any is found, it should be addressed as quickly as possible to avoid mold growth. If left untreated, mold spores could begin spreading throughout your home in as little as 24-48 hours.
If you find you have a flooded or wet crawl space, a professional water remediation company can help identify the source of the moisture. Using specialized drying equipment, they can remove the water and repair any damage.

Some Items Must Be Discarded After a Fire Even if They Appear Undamaged

11/24/2019 (Permalink)

Colorful pills and medicines in the hand You should throw away any medicines left in a fire-damaged home

Some Items Must Be Discarded After a Fire Even if They Appear Undamaged

If you are the unfortunate victim of a fire in East Weymouth, MA, you’ll have a handful of things to do once the flames are out. Unless your home has been completely destroyed by fire damage, at some point you will want to sort out what can be saved from what must be discarded. The temptation is to not throw away anything that seems to be untouched by fire, but it may not be that simple.

High Heat Can Play Havoc With Sensitive Items

Many food items subjected to heat just a little higher than room temperature will have to be thrown away. Objects may include edible items stored in

  • Plastic
  • Paper
  • Cardboard

All can be spoiled by a combination of soot, toxic chemicals and heat. Plastic may not seem permeable, but when it’s even slightly heated, microscopic pores can open.
You may be surprised to find out that well-sealed items should be considered spoiled and dangerous when exposed to high heat. Properly sealed containers, such as factory or home canning, will spoil when exposed to as little as 100 degrees for about an hour or even 75 degrees for a prolonged period.

Medicines Are Destroyed by Default

You should throw away any medicines left in a fire-damaged home. The plastic won’t keep the smoke damage out, and the heat degrades pharmaceuticals rapidly.

Clothing Can Take a Little More Damage

Any clothing or textiles should be considered on a case-by-case basis unless there are significant toxic chemicals involved. If you have any doubt, throw it away. If it wasn’t directly heat damaged, you could try to clean the item using water mixed with trisodium phosphate. However, follow the directions on the TSP container precisely, since the chemical can be very hard on skin if used improperly.
If you’ve had a fire, contact a professional bonded fire cleanup company in East Weymouth, MA, who can help you from tarp up all the way through the restoration. They can also provide advice on what you can keep and what you should throw away.

How To Tell if You Have Toxic Mold in Your Home

11/24/2019 (Permalink)

Mold on a wall in a house Mold damage on wall house

Is there a strange brownish-orange stain slowly creeping its way across your bathroom wall? It could be household mold. When mold takes hold in your home, it can be a mild annoyance or a serious problem requiring professional remediation. This discussion about mold toxicity and black mold may help you decide how to address the problem.

Household Mold Facts

Mold consists of tiny, microscopic fungi that can be found nearly anywhere, inside dwellings and out. Most species are brown, orange, green, pink or black and may appear in patches on walls and other porous materials.

Where Mold Is Found

Mold becomes a problem when high-humidity environments allow it to flourish and multiply on porous, interior surfaces. Certain areas of your home are more conducive than others to mold growth:

  • bathrooms
  • crawl spaces
  • carpets
  • drywall
  • books
  • refrigerators
  • water-damaged areas

If you see signs of mold in your South Weymouth, MA, home, it’s important you discern whether it is potentially hazardous. Black mold has become associated with toxicity because one of the most toxic species has a greenish-black appearance. It’s important you don’t try to diagnose the problem yourself as any color of mold can be hazardous under certain conditions.

What To Do if You Suspect Mold in Your Home

If you think you may have a mold infestation, it’s recommended that you have your home tested before attempting any mold cleanup. Certain species can be hazardous to your property and your health, and your local mold remediation service can assess for toxic mold and make recommendations for safely removing it.
If your test shows toxic mold, you will generally want a professional team to safely remove the problem. If your mold test is non-toxic, the experts can advise you about cleaning up and addressing the root of the problem.
If you have suspicious splotches or musty smells in your home, the culprit is probably a non-toxic mold species. Even a black mold patch can be non-toxic, but it’s important to find out for sure. Your best strategy is to call a mold specialist for an evaluation, so you can have your home to normal as soon as possible.

Can I Clean Up Black Water Myself?

11/13/2019 (Permalink)

Toilet with black water on tank and brown water on toilet bowl Sewage back up water on toilet

Your sewer backed up, leaving a smelly, water damage mess. Can you clean it up yourself? It’s natural to want to tackle something as seemingly minor as a sewage leak yourself. But it’s a bad idea. That’s because sewage is a top source of black water - a dangerous type of wastewater that can have serious effects on your health. Keep reading to learn more about this dangerous substance and the right way to handle a sewage leak in your Weymouth Landing, MA, home or business.

What is Toxic Water?

If you’ve ever driven by a sewage facility, you’re familiar with the unpleasant smells that surround the area. There’s a reason for that - toxins. From urine and feces to myriad bacteria, sewage water contains countless contaminants. When those contaminants encounter water, the result is black water. It can have numerous sources, but the key ones are:

  • Toilets - for instance from a broken pipe or other toilet component
  • Flood water - from rivers, streams and the ground which may have contacted human or animal waste.

If ingested, such water can cause stomach pain, diarrhea, eye infections and even more serious side effects.

Cleaning It All Up

So black water is dangerous - but bleach can fix it, right? Not quite. Bleach and other household cleaners can remove stains, but they can’t address the contaminants and germs that remain. Instead, when toxic water is suspected, you should isolate the area of contamination and contact professionals. A professional water damage and remediation company will use equipment designed to remove the water and properly decontaminate and dry materials to eliminate the risks.
A smelly sewage leak is an inconvenience that nobody wants to face. But cutting corners when it comes to toxic water is not a chance worth taking. Contact a professional water removal company to address water damage in your business and rest assured that you’re safe.

FAQs About First Aid Kits in Businesses

10/24/2019 (Permalink)

First aid kit on wooden background, top view Supplies of a first aid kit

FAQs About First Aid Kits in Businesses

Preparing your business in North Weymouth,MA, for disaster is often an ongoing process. However, while many business owners prepare their buildings for storms and other disasters, it can be easy to forget about keeping a first aid kit available. There are several helpful things every business owner should know about emergency aid kits.

What Should You Have in Your Kit?

Though you can often purchase a general aid kit, there may be some items that you want to add. The following items are often useful to have in every kit:

  • Bandages of varying size
  • Gauze pads of varying size
  • Scissors
  • A pocket mask
  • Tweezers
  • A minimum of one blanket
  • Splints
  • Tape
  • Latex gloves
  • Pre-moistened, sealed towelettes


Where Should Kits Be Located?

During a disaster, it's helpful to have quick access to a first aid kit. Though every building has a different layout, there are various locations that should have a kit nearby in case of an emergency. Placing a kit in areas where a person could receive an injury, such as in kitchens and garages, is often wise. Additionally, it can also be useful to place an emergency kit on every level of your business.

What Else Can You Do To Prepare?

In order for your kit to be of any use, it's often important to know how to use the items in the kit before an emergency arises. Many items in an emergency kit will come with directions. However, it can be helpful to go over the items in your kits with your staff to ensure that everyone knows how the purpose of each item. If an emergency occurs, it's often best to prioritize safety rather than trying to protect your property in an unsafe situation. If your business sustains damage during a disaster, emergency restoration services can help to restore your property.

Having a first aid kit in your business can help to ensure that everyone in your business remains safe. Having the right items in your kits, keeping your kits in the right locations and making sure your staff knows how to use items in the kit can offer you peace of mind.

How To Make an Insurance Claim for Water Damage

10/16/2019 (Permalink)

Wet ceiling Wet ceiling due to pipe break in a Hingham,MA home

How To Make an Insurance Claim for Water Damage

When disaster strikes in Hingham, MA, you're going to need all the help you can get. Often, that assistance comes from your insurance company and a home adjuster. So, how can they help you get back on your feet after experiencing water damage?

Before an Incident

Before you need it, you want to clarify your policy with the insurance company. Water damage is sometimes covered under an all perils policy. Flooding is usually a separate policy. If your damage is the result of negligence, like an old roof or a rusted pipe, they probably won't cover you. These are examples of situations that are usually covered:

  • Storm damage that allows rains to enter the home
  • Sewage backup and overflow
  • Sudden or accidental pipe damage

During an Incident

To make a thorough insurance claim, you'll be expected to document everything you can, especially using pictures or video. Next, you should attempt to prevent more damage from occurring by shutting off the water source and drying out what you can. If part of your home is exposed to the outdoors, cover it with tarp or plywood.
You should also keep records on your interactions with the water damage remediation service, so that you can potentially be compensated. If you need to temporarily relocate, keep those receipts as well.

After an Incident

A home adjuster will most likely come visit you to assess the extent of damage and value of the compensation. Gather all proof you have of the value of your contents and property and create an inventory. Show the pictures and video you took to document the incident. Additionally, show reports of how it occurred and the estimates of the damage and repair costs.
A home adjuster from your insurance company is like a liaison. To receive the most help possible, do everything you can to make life easy for the adjuster and have everything prepared in advance. That way you are more likely to get compensated.

Understanding Cooking Fires

10/12/2019 (Permalink)

Cleaning a gas stove with kitchen utensils Regularly clean the stove in your Weymouth, MA kitchen

It Is Important To Always Follow Fire Safety Tips Every Time You Cook

Cooking poses a number of potential dangers to yourself and your home. Gas stoves are often the most dangerous since they utilize an open flame. Ovens and even microwaves can be equally dangerous if they are misused, since certain materials can easily ignite if they are used by mistake. It is important to understand the dangers in the kitchen and to follow important fire safety tips every time you cook.

Avoiding Fires in the Kitchen

It is important to remember that fire cannot always be contained and will spread quickly should something go wrong. As such, following a few simple tips can help you prevent a dangerous situation:

Be aware of your surroundings – Fires often occur when something is sitting too close to the burner or you are wearing lose fitting clothing, so always ensure there is nothing flammable that could interact with the stove burner
Regularly clean the stove and oven – A grease fire can happen when residue from past meals ignite, so avoid this with regular cleanings
Do not multitask – Cooking that is left in the kitchen unattended can cause a fire that would have been avoidable had you been present to see it begin, so stay in the kitchen and focus on your cooking rather than tasks in other parts of the house
Know what to do if a fire starts – Our instinct is to throw water on a fire, but cooking fires are often caused by grease which needs to be suffocated with a frying pan lid, as water will cause it to spread very quickly

What to do After a Fire

Despite your best efforts, sometimes cooking fires are unavoidable. Remember that even seemingly small incidences can result in hidden fire damage, so it is important to consult fire safety inspectors and, if necessary, a cleanup and restoration company in Weymouth, MA, to ensure there is no lasting damage. Many home fires are avoidable if you follow a few simple tips and tricks when cooking.

Frozen Pipes: Prevention and Treatment 

10/3/2019 (Permalink)

A frozen and broken pipe Frozen pipe

How To Avoid Frozen Pipes

With the colder weather officially upon us, now is an excellent time to learn more about how to avoid frozen pipes, and the subsequent water damage that can occur if those pipes expand and burst. Though frozen pipes are a common occurrence, they are highly preventable.  

SERVPRO offers the following tips for preventing frozen pipes and mitigating potential damage that they can cause.  

  • Insulate all the exposed pipes in your home. Especially where they may be unheated, such as the basement, attic, garage, crawl space, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. 
  • Keep the temperature the same during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower temperatures in the evening, you can prevent a costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst. 
  • Close any inside values that supply water outdoors and open the outside value to properly drain excess water that may be in the pipes. 
  • In drastically cold temperatures, let your faucet trickle. While you may be concerned about wasting water, running water is less likely to freeze. 
  • Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Keep outside valves open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing it to break. 
  • If you plan to be away from home for an extended period of time, leave the heat on and set to a temperature no lower than 55° F. 

Found a Frozen Pipe? Thaw It Out: 

  • If you turn on a faucet and only a few drips come out, suspect a frozen pipe. Typically, frozen pipes are found along exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation. 
  • Make sure the faucet remains on while treating the pipes, as the flowing water will help to melt the ice within the pipe. 
  • Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad, an electric hair dryer, or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, or other open flame device. 
  • Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze too.  

Should you experience a loss resulting from water damage, turn off the water supply as soon as possible, and call SERVPRO of Weymouth immediately. The longer you wait to call, the greater the chance of mold growth and unrecoverable property. SERVPRO of Weymouth professionals have the expertise to prevent or mitigate the devastating effects that water damage can have.