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Why You Should Hire Professionals to Clean Your Home After a Fire

7/23/2021 (Permalink)

Hidden damage and strong odors left behind by a house fire

Even after a small grease fire in your kitchen, you are going to wind up with plenty of damage afterward. You also must deal with a heavy smoky odor throughout your home, black soot on your ceiling and cabinets, burnt grease, and even melted appliances.

Many people attempt to clean up after a small fire in their home themselves. However, it is best to leave the inspection and cleanup of the fire damage to the expertise of our technicians at SERVPRO. We are trained and certified to deal with situations like this and have the proper tools as well to restore your home back to its proper state thoroughly.

Kitchen fires produce a mixture of residues which must be cleaned properly. A big challenge of kitchen fires is you will most likely have more than one kind of material which burns and leaves residues. It is not an easy task for the average homeowner to understand how to clean these residues. The different kinds include natural substances such as wood, paper, or natural fabrics, protein substances like grease and burnt food, plus synthetic substances like plastics. It is best that each kind of substance is cleaned with the right method unique to that substance.

Smoke smells are tough to combat. You can keep cleaning, but the smell of smoke can linger still. Smoke particles are tiny, and each of them has an odor. These microscopic particles make their way inside your walls through air ducts, behind the wood trim, into cabinets, under carpeting, and more. Even if you are the best cleaner in the world, there are such a vast number of places you could miss, and it can take weeks for the smell to dissipate.

The fire could have also done more damage than you realize. If flames shot up an air duct, for instance, you may not know about some of the damage done. When you allow SERVPRO staff to inspect your home, we can find all the hidden damage so that your home is completely cleaned and restored, giving you a peace of mind.

SERVPRO of Livingston, Demopolis & Butler has the proper training to handle fire damage of all kinds. Call us at 334-287-1144!

Smoke Alarm Safety Tips

7/23/2021 (Permalink)

Smoke alarms play a vital role in saving lives and, when properly installed, can reduce the risk of fire injury in half.*

The National Fire Protection Association recommends smoke alarms be installed in every bedroom, outside all sleeping quarters and on every level of the house. Business owners should consult the local Fire Marshall to ensure specific building fire codes and smoke detector requirements are met.

Smoke alarms work best when paired with a fire escape plan. A plan allows your family, employees, or clients to escape quickly and safely in an emergency situation.

Review the following tips regarding smoke detector installation and maintenance. For more on emergency preparedness, contact SERVPRO of Livingston, Demopolis & Butler.

- Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, including the basement.

- Smoke alarms should be installed away from the kitchen to prevent false alarms. Generally, they should be at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance.

- Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.

- Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm "chirps," the battery is low and should be replaced right away.

- Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.

JUST THE FACTS: Smoke Alarms

- Three out of five fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or when the alarms are not working.

- Smoke alarm failures usually result from missing, disconnected, or dead batteries.

- More than one-third (37 percent) of home fire deaths result from fires in which no smoke alarms are present.

- The risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms.

*Statistics and tips provided by National Fire Protection Association

Electrical Fires Can Cause Extensive Damage

7/20/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Offers Electrical Fire Damage Restoration Services

Statistics from the U.S. Fire Administration indicate that electrical fires account for about 7 percent of all residential fires in the country. This figure becomes much more significant when scaled down to a specific location. In most cases, the fire occurs from increased use of lights and heating appliances and usually starts in the bedroom. However, the highest number of fatalities (i.e., injuries and even deaths) come from fires happening in the family room, living room, and den.

When it comes to electrical fires, you cannot afford to be tolerant. You need to contact a locally based fire damage restoration company, such as SERVPRO, to start the mitigation process as fast as possible. Some electrical fires happen due to appliance failure or problems in house wiring, but many are a result of simple mistakes such as overloading extension cords or electrical outlets. Whatever the case, our IICRC-certified technicians have the tools and expertise to reverse the damage as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Research on fire damage events has shown that faulty wiring is the leading cause of electrical fires in most homes. If your house is at least two decades old, it is highly likely to have faulty wiring behind the walls. Rodents such as rats, mice, and squirrels can find their way into these spaces and chew on electrical cords, increasing the risk of a fire disaster.

At SERVPRO, we also deal with many instances of electrical fire damage resulting from shoddy installation. Home building trades are flooding with professionals who cut corners to save time or money, including electricians. On the other hand, overloading an older electrical system with modern electrical devices can prove to be too overwhelming, leading to damages on your wiring, appliances, and even breaker box.

Holiday seasons are associated with the most house fires resulting from misusing extension cords. Generally, an extension cord should only serve as a temporary solution, especially when it comes to plugging several things in at once. Apart from overloading extension cords, using a frayed power cord can also lead to serious fire damage. Indeed, electricity can escape through the holes in the cord and set the surrounding materials ablaze.

In the event of an electrical fire, make sure that everyone is safe and then contact SERVPRO of Livingston, Demopolis & Butler as quickly as possible to deal with the fire damage. Electrical fires come with many hidden safety hazards, so it is important to allow trained restoration experts to come in and assess the extent of the damage. For any assistance, you can reach us 24/7, every day of the week at (334) 287-1144.  

Avoid Fire Hazards in the Kitchen

7/19/2021 (Permalink)

Who knew that the kitchen would become that wonderfully versatile place where family and friends gather to spend quality time while delicious meals are being cooked up? Unfortunately, however, the kitchen is also a space where many home fires occur.

Fires caused by cooking are listed as the No. 1 contributor of home fires and injuries. And the leading cause of these kitchen fires is unattended cooking.

In 2017, State Farm paid out over $130 million in homeowners insurance claims related to grease and other cooking fires. According to the insurance company, these are the worst states for kitchen fires:

  • North Carolina
  • Texas
  • Pennsylvania
  • California
  • Ohio
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • New York
  • Alabama
  • Georgia

Important Kitchen Safety Tips

Staying in the kitchen to supervise your cooking is not the only fire safety tip you should be following. Here are some other helpful tips to observe while cooking:

  1. Clothing is flammable! Does your outfit have long, flowing sleeves or is it big and baggy? It could catch on fire if you aren’t careful while cooking over the stove. It’s best to wear short or close-fitted sleeve shirts and make sure any baggy shirts are tucked in or tied back.
  2. Be observant as to what you have around the stovetop. Make sure you don’t have kitchen towels, oven mitts, appliance cords or even curtains too close to the stovetop when cooking. Ideally, anything that is flammable needs to be kept a safe distance from it.
  3. Have a fire extinguisher available in/near the kitchen. It is important that you have at least one fire extinguisher available in your home and, ideally, one that is near your kitchen. Make sure you know how to properly use the extinguisher, just in case it is ever needed.
  4. Hot grease in the garbage can be dangerous. While the grease may not actually be on fire, it might be hot enough to cause something in the trash to burn. You should let the grease cool a bit and then dispose of it in an old coffee can. Also, know the smoke points of the oils you cook with. Be sure to never subject a low-smoke point oil to high heat when cooking, as it could catch fire.
  5. Make an emergency escape plan and practice it! It’s never fun when it comes to thinking about the worst that could happen, but it’s better to be prepared than to be caught by surprise if an emergency were to occur. Go over exit routes and designated meeting points with your family, making sure that everyone knows what to do.

Fire safety in the kitchen is an absolute necessity, as it can help prevent dangerous and destructive cooking fires. If your home has experienced damage from a cooking fire, know that SERVPRO® of Livingston, Demopolis & Butler is here to make it “Like it never even happened.”

What is Water Damage Restoration?

6/28/2021 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO of Livingston, Demopolis & Butler, our goal is to restore instead of replace whenever possible. Following are the steps we undertake in order to restore your property after a water damage incident.

Water damage restoration entails:

  • It is putting someone’s home or business back together after a water damage incident. 
  • It is the extra things, like re-laying the carpet, repairing the subfloors, and re-setting the contents. 
  • It is restoring items to a preloss (normal) condition, whenever possible. 

Once the structure and contents are dry, our technicians can perform the restoration services. Restoration services are all of the tasks needed to return the site to its normal, preloss condition. During restoration:

  • All repairs to structure and contents are completed. 
  • Final cleaning is performed. 
  • Final inspections are made. 
  • All equipment is removed from the job site. 
  • All of the customer’s contents are put back in place. 

Restoration may include:

  • Cleaning, repairing, or reinstalling floors and floor coverings, such as carpets, carpet pads, hardwood floors, resilient, and non-resilient floors. 
  • Removing and resetting contents to install or repair floor coverings. 
  • Installing tack strips. 
  • Seaming carpet. 
  • Repairing or replacing subfloors. 
  • Cleaning, replacing, or refinishing structural materials, including walls, plates behind baseboards, ceilings, insulation, framing, and vapor barriers. 
  • Cleaning or repairing items in non living areas, including basements, crawl spaces, attics, and storage areas. 
  • Cleaning, repairing, or replacing ductwork or other portions of the HVAC system. 
  • Inspecting, cleaning, or replacing components of the electrical system, including outlets, switches, light fixtures, and ceiling fans. 
  • Cleaning, deodorizing, or replacing window coverings, including blinds and draperies. 
  • Cleaning and deodorizing contents. 

If you are in need of water restoration at your home or business, call SERVPRO of Livingston, Demopolis & Butler at 334-287-1144!

Choose SERVPRO for Mold Remediation

6/19/2021 (Permalink)

For most homeowners, mold is not even on the list of dangers to their residences. Fire and especially flooding are what occupies most people’s concerns over their home and checkbook. What many forget is that mold can grow unnoticed for years to become just as expansive and expensive a threat.

So why use SERVPRO for cleaning and removing mold damage to your home? Our restoration teams train to the latest industry standards for cleaning and remediation. Our office maintains an extensive inventory of cleaners and equipment for a rapid response. If we do need additional, specialized tools, our access to a national support network ensures we can get everything we need in usually only a day.

The first step our technicians take is to isolate the mold infested areas from the rest of your home. They turn off the HVAC system and, if the ducts are clear of mold, cover the vents with plastic to prevent contaminating them while cleaning. As they do this, other team members seal off the affected area with heavy, plastic sheets and set up a combination of air movers and fans to create negative air pressure and direct loose spores out of your home.

Now, our restoration team removes mold from surfaces in the affected area. The type of surface determines what tools we use. If a surface is metal, glass or plastic, it is non-porous, which means the mold rarely penetrates the surface. Our technicians can wipe these surfaces free of the mold using clothes or sponges. For thicker layers, they may need to use water or a mild cleaning agent to break them up for removal.

For items like carpets, wood, or building materials like drywall, mold often grows or settles into the surface. These are porous surfaces and are harder to clean. SERVPRO technicians have to use stronger cleaning agents and a brush to agitate the mold to draw it out. In many cases, especially with drywall, we recommend disposal since it is cheaper to replace the items than expend the labor hours to restore them.

Afterward, we wait for any spores disturbed by our efforts to settle on surfaces. Our teams use vacuums with special, HEPA filters designed to draw out even a single mold spore from a table or chair. They finish by wiping down the surfaces and then repeat these last actions until the air mold content tests at a safe level.

SERVPRO Can Handle Biohazard Cleanup

6/18/2021 (Permalink)

Blood, bodily fluids, and other biohazards can endanger anyone who comes in contact with them. Even trace amounts so small that they cannot be seen with the naked eye can pose serious health risks. When a site in your home or business has been contaminated, how do you make it safe again? Rely on the professionals at SERVPRO for top-notch biohazard cleanup and restoration services.

Avoiding Health Risks 

Is it necessary to seek professional assistance in cleaning up a location impacted by crime, trauma or death? With the risks posed by blood-borne pathogens and dangerous communicable diseases, cleaning a scene contaminated with biohazards like blood is a perilous undertaking for anyone who lacks the proper training and equipment. It is unpleasant to think about, but blood and bodily fluids are prone to splattering so that minute amounts can affect a wide area. The air at these scenes can be hazardous since small particles can become airborne if dried material is disturbed. Anything removed from the scene must also be disposed of properly to avoid spreading the contamination. Besides, you cannot assume the area is safe again just because the visible traces have been removed. If a space contaminated with blood or other biohazards is not appropriately cleaned, sanitized and restored, these unseen hazards can linger, posing a threat to anyone who enters it. Ultimately, the best way to make sure that a place is once again safe is to use a professional organization like SERVPRO that is experienced in biohazard restoration.

Preventing Legal Repercussions 

As if the health risks created by biohazards are not dire enough, failure to have a contaminated space properly cleaned can also have serious legal consequences. The responsibility for cleaning up after a crime, trauma or death falls on the property owner, and there are regulations and laws regarding how biohazards are handled that must be followed. These rules are designed to safeguard everyone, and ignorance is not considered an acceptable excuse for disregarding them. Individuals and businesses that do not follow these rules may find themselves facing hefty fines. They might even be held liable if someone else is injured by their actions. Using a professional team that understands what is required to comply with the various rules and regulations governing biohazards in your area can shield you from both health risks and legal issues.

Focusing on Your Safety At SERVPRO, we are committed to the well-being of our customers. Offering emergency services 24 hours a day, we will rapidly respond whenever you request our assistance. Our technicians follow the protocols established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), so you can be confident that they have the expertise and training to remove all biohazards and dispose of them properly. We use specialized equipment that allows us to detect the presence of even a minute trace of a biohazard, and we do not stop until your scene is thoroughly sanitized. As biohazard restoration professionals, we can often salvage items that others might have to discard, and we ensure that any material that does need to be removed from your location is disposed of appropriately. Dealing with a crime, trauma or death is undoubtedly difficult, but you can depend on SERVPRO for courtesy, empathy, and the quality biohazard cleanup and restoration services that you need. Safety-minded, we are ready to do our part in restoring your space and your peace of mind.

Training is the Key at SERVPRO

6/17/2021 (Permalink)

Training is vital in our industry. Things are constantly changing. Our team needs to stay up on the newest technology as well as the newest information and requirements from insurance companies. 

We trained on the use of our proprietary software program that we utilize in the field to collect and record data in regards to clients losses. This information forms the story of the loss for insurance companies and the client for documentation. It is vital to record the information in regards to affected materials and the process of restoring the affected materials. 

Our team has weekly Monday production meetings to go over any thing of importance but we also do more in depth trainings like these as needed to keep us up to date on information and well informed to make sure we are always ready to help our clients with the most up to date information.

Water Migration Detection is Why SERVPRO Delivers Success

6/16/2021 (Permalink)

When a homeowner tries to determine the extent of a water loss, both instincts and common sense can fall short. When water gets loose inside your home, it can migrate far from the original plumbing break, roof leak, or appliance breakdown. Without the tools to detect the path the water followed, significant damage can go unnoticed. Our investments in education and innovative moisture identification tools help avoid additional expense and secondary damage, why we offer our help. 

Water Detection is a Science and an Art

The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) courses our managers and production technicians master covers the expected and unexpected behavior of water damage inside a bungalow. The lathe and plaster and stucco construction of signature Arts and Crafts structures are both charming and capable of hiding water damage when it is minor and manageable. Our training and experience in tracing water meanderings behind walls and built-in fixtures explains why we are skilled in finding and solving water problems before the integrity of your historic home is compromised.

Aging Heating and Plumbing Plus Temperature Extremes Equal Water Damage Challenges

When your dining room oak floor develops cupping and crowning the search for a water source can be daunting. Bungalows often retain their 100-year-old gravity heating, with old radiators filled with hot water from the boiler in the basement warming spaces. Rusted pipes and failing valves can slowly saturate the floor, unnoticed at first as the issue begins and then spreads from behind the radiator at the wall. Mold development on a main level wall or ceiling can trace to ice dam development the previous winter, moisture seeping in the attic from clogged gutters eventually traveling downwards. Our familiarity with this type of insidious damage is why SERVPRO can respond quickly and reliably to your water damage challenges.

Sensitive Moisture Meters and Infrared Cameras

The availability of and skill in using water detection tools are why SERVPRO crews can outline water damage with accuracy and confidence. Infrared technology indicates the presence of water through temperature variations. Moisture meters establish relative levels of absorbed water in building materials. Periodic use of these tools throughout a water damage remediation project ensures we find and release liquids. Then our Applied Structural Drying (ASD)-certified technicians create an effective drying plan using the data, moving water out of structural components with temperature adjustments and air movement. Dehumidifiers capture the vaporized water for disposal. Moisture measurements continue until we reach designated levels, avoiding over or under drying.

Training and innovative equipment are two reasons why SERVPRO efficiently mitigates and remediates hidden water damage.

SERVPRO's Trained Restoration Specialists

6/15/2021 (Permalink)

We have always put a high priority into educating our team. That need is more important than ever today. SERVPRO is an IICRC certified firm with certified technicians. That means you can expect the very highest in standards and protocol to be used in your home or business.

IICRC Training and Certification

The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) certifies and sets the standards for the cleaning and restoration industries. Our Professionals study IICRC standards and best practices in water restoration, fire restoration, mold remediation, carpet and upholstery cleaning, and other cleaning and restoration courses.

Employee Certification Training

The Employee Certification Training is a voluntary, self-paced program designed for SERVPRO Franchise employees. Certification is awarded after successful completion of course materials and an examination. Modules include:

  • Crew Training
  • Fire Restoration
  • Water Restoration
  • Advanced Structural Drying