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Helping People Rebuild After a Natural Disaster

1/20/2020 (Permalink)

Building flooded Flooding from storm

When Mother Nature unleashes her fury in North Atlanta, GA, a catastrophic loss is an unimaginable situation no one wants to find themselves in. Unfortunately, flooding or storm damage can devastate an entire community. While at first it may seem that recovery is impossible, SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Teams are ready to mobilize to help people rebuild and get back to normal life.

Safety First

Safety before, during and after the storm is vital. Once it subsides and everyone is safe, a first inclination may be to access the damage while waiting for help to arrive. Before doing so, consider the following to ensure everyone’s safety:

  • Stay up to date on the latest news. Some areas may not be safe to travel through. Tap water may also be contaminated.
  • Structural damage or gas leaks are likely outcomes when there is a catastrophic loss.
  • Do not enter any structures until it has been verified safe to enter.
  • Electrical hazards should be a top concern. Along with downed power lines, if water has entered the home, it may have affected electrical circuits and equipment. If safe to do so, turn the power off at the main source.
  • Any kind of flooding can result in black water. It is best to avoid any standing waters. Wear protective clothing, goggles, boots and gloves if you decide to enter the water.

Rebuilding

After the professionals arrive and a property has been deemed safe to enter, cleanup and rebuilding can happen. In large loss situations, the process can take time. SERVPRO’s disaster teams are elite, highly trained and experienced professionals who will make the process go as smooth as possible. They will provide the assessment, cleanup and restoration services needed in the fastest amount of time possible to make the disaster a distant memory.
As its name implies, a catastrophic loss can suddenly turn your world upside down. No matter the type of disaster, remember that you aren’t alone. Disaster specialists will quickly arrive to help you through the process.

3 Tips for Preventing Mold After Flooding

1/11/2020 (Permalink)

Dehumidifier with the words DID YOU KNOW? A dehumidifier can be set up to pull any remaining water out of the air

3 Tips for Preventing Mold After Flooding

If flooding has been an issue at your Brookhaven, GA, business, then you may be concerned about the possibility of black mold, growth on the property. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help prevent this positional problem for your business. Here’s what you may want to know.

1. Act Quickly

It’s important to act quickly if there is flooding at your place of business. The faster water removal can begin the less likely subsequent mold problems are to occur. For this reason, it’s highly recommended that a local water damage restoration service be contacted to help with repairs. These professionals can also perform a mold cleanup if necessary.

2. Remove the Water

The first step you may see the restoration service do is remove the water from the affected area. Doing so can help prevent the conditions that could lead to black mold growth. This process will often involve the use of a pump for large amounts of water, but professionals may also use squeegees or sponges to pull water out of difficult to reach areas.

3. Dry the Area

Because mold most often appears whenever there is a moisture problem, it’s important to thoroughly dry the area. After the water has been removed equipment such as a dehumidifier can be set up to pull any remaining water out of the air. Your restoration service should have access to these tools and be able to set them up where they will be most effective.
Preventing black mold on the business property can involve several steps. If flooding has occurred it’s best to act quickly and contact a professional as soon as you can. Remove the water from the affected area, and then use a dehumidifier or similar tools to make sure everything has been thoroughly dried. Doing so can help prevent the conditions mold prefers to grow in.

Understanding How Fire Sprinkler Systems Work

12/30/2019 (Permalink)

Factory roof structure and automatic fire protection in building system. Fire sprinkler system in a Dekalb, GA building

A fire in your Dekalb, GA, business can cause serious damage. Fortunately, a fire sprinkler can help minimize the fire damage.

How the Sprinkler System Works

Sprinkler systems are very effective, in part, because they are so simple. Here's how they work:

  • Heat activates the sprinkler.
  • The sprinkler releases water to control the fire.
  • The fire department turns off the sprinkler after the fire is fully extinguished.

Sprinkler systems may have slight variations, but most work in essentially the same way. Heat, usually between 135 and 165 degrees Fahrenheit, causes a special material in the sprinkler head to expand. When this happens, the bulb, inside the sprinkler, breaks and the sprinkler releases water. Only the bulbs exposed to the high temperatures break. The water comes through a pipe that is connected to an outside water source. Due to the rapid response of modern sprinkler systems, they have excellent fire-suppression capabilities. However, it is still important to contact your local fire department. They will ensure that the fire has been fully extinguished and the building is safe to enter. They will also turn off the fire sprinkler system once it is safe to do so.

How To Clean Up Afterwards

Unfortunately, all fire-suppression techniques result in at least some water damage. With a sprinkler system, though, the water damage is usually less severe than if fire hoses had been used. Fire sprinkler cleanup follows the same basic steps as any other water damage cleanup scenario:

  • Remove standing water using specialized pumps or vacuums.
  • Remove all items that cannot be salvaged.
  • Dry out remaining moisture using dehumidifiers or fans.
  • Restore and replace damaged items.

Although a fire sprinkler can prevent a business fire from doing maximum damage, there will still be some fire damage and water damage from the sprinkler itself. A professional restoration company can get your business back to normal quickly and safely.

Smoke From a Fire Can Cause More Damage Than the Flames

12/23/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke with a sign that says SMOKE DAMAGE STINKS Smoke damage is nastier than fire damage. Call SERVPRO

Smoke From a Fire Can Cause More Damage Than the Flames

Fire damage is easy to spot. Fires burn, char, melt and destroy everything they touch. Remediating fire damage is simply a matter of restoring damaged items to their former condition. Once restoration is complete, everything will look fine, but it won’t smell fine.

Smoke damage is nastier than fire damage in many respects. Particulates created by the fire spread throughout the home, leaving the telltale smell of the fire everywhere. There is nothing simple about smoke cleaning. Complete the following steps, and your home will smell fresh and clean.

  1. Begin air filtration immediately after the fire. Don’t give the smoke odor the chance to permeate everything. It will settle in fabrics, carpets, flat surfaces and every crack and crevasse. The best way to avoid that is to capture particulates out of the air before they have a chance to settle.

  2. Clean everything while air filtration is still in process. Clean carpets, fabrics, ceilings, walls and floors. Some of the particulates will be captured in cleaning while others may go back into the air. Air filtration will capture them.

  3. Ozone removes odors that you cannot reach. You’ve done as much smoke cleaning as you can. Close up your home, load your family and pets in the car, and disappear for a few days. Local smoke and fire remediation specialists in Chamblee, GA, will bring in their ozone generators and do the rest. They will let you know when it is safe to return.

  4. Thermal fogging is the final step. Any odor that survives the above three steps is in your home to stay. Masking that odor is the only remaining option. Thermal fogging is the process of heating a special deodorizer and spreading it as dry smoke, permeating your entire home.

As you can see, effective smoke cleaning requires special equipment and odor removal specialists with the skills to use it. If you have a problem with odors caused by a fire, it’s time to get some help.

Writing Off Commercial Losses From Storm Damage

12/21/2019 (Permalink)

Outside of a building flooded Flooded building in Chamblee, GA

Writing Off Commercial Losses From Storm Damage

Commercial taxes are always a sticky subject, and what's true today may not be true tomorrow. However, when it comes to business losses due to storm damage, the law seems surprisingly simple. Your ability to write off losses depends on the steps you followed in processing the loss. It is the result of a multi-step process with intermediate results of each step along the way.

1. File an Insurance Claim

If you have insurance, whether, flood, commercial or both, you need to file a claim on time. Failing to do so may cause the insurer to reject the claim. If the denial is due to something you did or failed to do, this may affect your ability to write off the loss.

2. Calculate Your Net Loss

The Total Loss is the amount of money that you need to return your business to its pre-storm condition. You will have submitted some portion of this amount to the relevant insurance companies for reimbursement. When you receive a payment from those insurance companies, subtract that amount from your Total Loss; this figure is your Net Loss.

3. Write Off the Net Loss

Your Net Loss is not tax deductible; it’s better than that. For your company, a loss is the same as an electric bill, property taxes and other business expenses, and your company can write it off. If your business had a Net Income of $100,000 also had a Net Loss of $40,000 due to storm damage, the Net Income subject to taxes would be $60,000.

4. Get the Business Up and Running Again

You can always leave the financial aspects of storm damage to your financial professionals. Getting your Chamblee, GA, business back on its feet is your job. There are local disaster recovery specialists who have the equipment and experience to get the job done quickly.

What to Check On if Your Toilet is Leaking

12/9/2019 (Permalink)

Leakage of water from a toilet due to blockage of the pipe Leaking toilet in Dunwoody, GA

A leaking toilet can be a big problem, especially if it is allowed to continue. Damage to the flooring, subfloor and even the joists below can occur if allowed to stay wet. You may also develop issues with black mold growth.

How To Find a Leak in Your Toilet

There are many solutions to a bathroom leak that you can fix yourself, rather than calling a plumber in Dunwoody,GA to take care of it, but first you must discern where the problem is coming from. The following guidelines can help you discover what type of a leak you are dealing with.

Water that pools at the toilet’s base may lead you to suspect the wax ring. Check to see if it has dried out and shrunk with age – it may need to be replaced
You may need to tighten the tank flange or it may be broken or cracked. Check to make sure it is seated properly and fastened properly.
The toilet bowl may have a crack or hairline fracture and you may need a new toilet.
A loose supply line could cause dripping whenever water is drawn into the toilet. Tie a dry rag around it and watch to see if it becomes saturated over time. Replace any faulty parts.

Make the Repairs Immediately

Try not to panic if it is the first time you have seen water, unless it is a lot. Even condensation from the bowl can run down and puddle on the floor, imitating a leaking toilet. If it happens repeatedly and you are able to discern the source of the problem, fix it right away. If you are unable to do it yourself, do not hesitate to call a plumber, as letting it go could result in water damage or even black mold growth.
If your leaking toilet does cause water or mold damage, call the water damage restoration professionals in Dunwoody,GA to clean and dry things out completely. Although no toilet is exempt from developing problems, keeping an eye on your plumbing can help you catch symptoms of a leak early on.

What To Do About Wet Wood Flooring After a Pipe Burst

12/4/2019 (Permalink)

Water falling on wooden floor Water falling on wooden floor

Tips for Taking Proper Care of Wet Wood Flooring

A pipe burst can lead to many serious forms of damage. If you’ve noticed that the wood flooring in your Mount Vernon, GA, business is wet as a result of a burst pipe, make sure you call a professional immediately. In the meantime, it’s important to do what you can to mitigate as much water damage as possible. Here are some tips for taking proper care of wet wood flooring.

Clear the Floor

Before you start cleaning up the excess water, be sure to remove any items that are still on the floor. Leaving objects on your wet floor can cause them to become severely damaged. Some examples of objects that you should remove are

  • Furniture
  • Rugs
  • Upholstery
  • Cushions

Items that are already soaked will continue to allow water to seep into the wood floor. Remove loose objects right away to prevent further damage from taking place.

Remove Excess Water

While you’re waiting for professional services to arrive, it’s a good idea to remove any excess water from your floors before it continues to spread. You can use a clean rag, mop or towel to clean up small puddles. If the pipe burst caused more widespread damage, use a wet vacuum to remove larger areas of excess water. By taking this step, you can stop additional damage from taking place.

Use a Dehumidifier

A dehumidifier can help to dry any excess water that is left on your wood floor. Simply run the dehumidifier at its highest setting and keep it running for at least 24 hours to safely remove all traces of moisture. If you still notice signs of water after running the unit, turn on some fans and point them towards the wet areas to dry them completely.
Mitigating further water damage after a pipe burst is only the first step in the process of restoring your business. To safely bring it back to its original state, call a professional restoration company as soon as you can.

3 Important Differences Between Mold and Mildew

12/1/2019 (Permalink)

Hand pointing at mold growth on the wall Mold can cause serious health issues

If you have experienced water damage or high levels of humidity in your Dunwoody, GA, home, then it is possible you may also have some mold damage. This is a common problem that occurs in many buildings with too much moisture. There are two types of fungal growth that often develop in this case: mold and mildew. It is important to determine which you have, and there are a few key differences that can help you do this.
1. Where It Grows
Mold damage can occur in a variety of environments, so if you have a fungal growth in the building, this is most likely the culprit. It can grow inside walls, furniture, clothing and many other locations. Mildew, on the other hand, is more common on plants. It can sometimes be found on other organic materials, however, such as paper, leather and wood.
2. What It Looks Like
Mildew and mold growth will develop distinct appearances, which can make it easier to tell them apart. Mold can come in a variety of colors, from black to green, and often has a fuzzy appearance. It can grow in a large infestation and cover significant areas of the home. The appearance of mildew is more powdery and is limited to a gray or white color. It usually grows in smaller patches.
3. How Difficult It Is to Remove
Another big difference between these two types of fungus is how difficult it is to remove them from your home. Mold is invasive and will often spread beneath the surface of the material it is growing on. Mildew growth remains on the surface which makes it much easier to get rid of. Scrubbing it with an antibacterial cleaner is often enough.
If you have a fungal growth in your home, particularly if it involves mold damage, you will need a professional to remove it. A mold remediation company can inspect your home to find all areas of growth before removing it safely and thoroughly.

3 Ways To Prepare Your Children for a House Fire

11/26/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke surrounding a smoke alarm that's going off Protect yourself with fire alarms.

Unfortunately, fires are a common cause of devastation to homes in Dunwoody, GA. However, many parents are unsure of how to teach their children to escape a fire. There are several ways you can focus on your kids' safety and prepare your children for a home fire.

1. Show Your Children Know How To Get Out of Bed
During a fire, your children's first instinct may be to sit or stand upright. However, it's frequently more difficult to see when standing and can also make escaping more difficult. Instead of sitting or standing, it's often safer to roll out of bed if a fire occurs. You can practice this maneuver with your children to ensure they know how to safely roll out of their bed and onto the floor in the event of a fire.

2. Practice Crawling with Your Kids
Often, an important part of a fire escape is safely crawling to a doorway. Crawling is considered safer than standing, as temperatures can be drastically higher closer to the ceiling. When you focus on kids' safety while preparing your children for a fire, show them and practice how to crawl low to the floor. It's often also helpful to tell your children not to bring anything with them when escaping. Emergency restoration services can often assist in restoring damaged homes, and their safety is most important.

3. Teach Your Children How To Check the Doors
Another important element of fire preparation involves teaching your children how to check whether or not they can safely leave their rooms during a fire. Show your children how to check whether or not it is safe to leave their rooms by touching the door while still crawling. If the door is hot, then it's generally unsafe to open the door. However, if the door is cool to the touch, then it's usually safe to open the door.

Preparing your children for a fire is often an important part of kids' safety. Teaching your children how to roll out of bed, how to crawl and how to check doors can help them keep safe if a fire does occur.

Protect Roofs from Wind, Storm Damage

11/14/2019 (Permalink)

Missing roof shingles If shingles are damaged or missing, repair as soon as possible

Homeowners in Briarcliff,GA, know how strong storms can be. Protecting your home means taking preemptive measures to mitigate against roof damage. While having a proper inspection done regularly can keep the small problems from turning big, taking your own measures before a storm may result in only needing storm damage cleanup instead of a roof replacement.

The Power of Water

While not all roof damage may be avoidable during a storm, a few extra steps before the next one hits can provide some peace of mind.

Keep trees near the home trimmed and remove any limbs touching or hanging over the home.
Regularly clean gutters and spouts to ensure proper water flow. When inspecting a downspout, check for shingle granules.
If shingles are damaged or missing, repair as soon as possible. If the storm is coming before it can be properly repaired, use boards or a tarp as a temporary solution.

Extra Protection

Depending on the location of your home and the direction your roof faces, wind damage can easily become an ongoing problem. If it is time to get a new roof and extreme wind is an ongoing issue, it might be worth considering some additional wind and water mitigation. Some of the techniques available include:

Roof Coverings – In some cases, asphalt shingles may not be able to handle extreme winds. Other alternatives include metal, clay or tiles. It’s important to do your research before making a change.
Roof Connection – Metal clips or wraps are used to securely attach the roof to the walls.
Roof Deck Attachment – Typically a plywood structure, this method ensures the roof deck is secured to the main roof structure.
Water Barriers – Additional layers of protection are installed in the attic and on the roof deck to further keep water from infiltrating if shingles are missing.
Opening Protection Devices – These are wind- and impact-resistant coverings that reinforce doors, garage doors, windows, skylights and other openings.

Your roof is vital to protecting you and your home. Take the extra time to avoid roof damage and avoid expensive headaches down the road.