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Tips for Disaster First Responders

8/1/2020 (Permalink)

Team of happy firefighters looking away by firetruck at station Being a first responder is important work

A natural disaster can wreak widespread havoc throughout a region. When a disaster strikes Folly Beach, SC, residents in the area depend not only on their insurance providers and flood remediation experts but also on the emergency response teams that work to keep people safe. If you are new at being a first responder, here are some tips on how to protect yourself and work effectively after a flood.

Wear Personal Protective Equipment

Flood water is teeming with bacteria. Before you enter any structure that has been flooded, you need to put on the appropriate protective gear:

  • Chemical-resistant coveralls
  • Rubber gloves
  • Heavy duty rubber boots
  • Goggles

If you need to enter a small enclosed area such as a crawl space, it's also advisable to wear an N-95 mask. In addition to filtering out bacteria, it also keeps you from inhaling the mold spores that tend to multiple anywhere there's excess water. You can get these masks at most hardware stores, so it's easy to stock up before you head to the flood response site.

Protect Yourself With Medical Intervention
As a first responder, you run the risk of coming into contact with contaminated water and surfaces, so it's important to make sure your immunizations are up to date. If it's been over 10 years since you've had a tetanus shot, you should get a Td or Tdap booster. If you are working directly with infected persons, it is advisable to get a Hepatitis B shot. If you notice any symptoms such as headache, nausea, vomiting, rashes, fever, dizziness, or fatigue while working, stop immediately, and seek medical attention. By taking care of yourself, you are making room for others better equipped to take over the work and get it done more quickly.
Being a first responder is important work. Taking the necessary precautions to protect yourself and those around you helps you be more effective.

Comparing and Contrasting Mold and Mildew

7/31/2020 (Permalink)

Black mold growth on basement wall Mold damage in Hollywood, SC

Have you recently noticed the unsightly appearance of what you think is mold in your bathroom, kitchen or other areas of your Hollywood, SC, home? This is enough to stress you out and frustrate you. However, what you may be seeing could actually be mildew. Though this isn't a welcome sight either, mildew is not as concerning as mold damage. Learn about what makes these two invaders similar and different from one another.

What Is Mold?

Mold is a tiny fungus that grows and thrives under moist, humid conditions. Mold growth may occur in places such as the bathroom, kitchen, attic or basement. Mold can be black, green, brown, orange or purple. It has a fuzzy, velvety appearance and texture. It will usually grow when the following issues take place:

  • Flooding from a pipe burst or leak
  • Poor airflow and ventilation in the home
  • A supply line break into the home

What Is Mildew?
Mildew is similar to mold. It is also a fungus and grows in areas where there is water. Shower walls are common places to find mildew growth. Mildew, however, usually covers smaller areas. It comes in gray or white patches. 

Getting Rid of the Two 
Cleaning up after mold damage can be challenging. You can attempt removal yourself by using bleach and scrubbing the surface. However, it's best to call a professional mold remediation technician to handle this task. Mildew doesn't usually require professional cleanup. Instead, you can purchase a store-bought cleaner and wipe the mildew away from the surface. Mildew also poses few concerns to your home and family members. It is less invasive than mold and will spread much less quickly. 
It's important to understand the differences between mold and mildew. If you have mold damage, you'll want to immediately call a professional company. On the other hand, you can tackle mildew issues and quickly get rid of this fungus.

3 Elements of Fire Restoration

7/13/2020 (Permalink)

Warehouse Fire Inside Fire damage in James Island, SC

3 Elements of Fire Restoration

After arriving at a workplace fire, firefighters usually do everything necessary to ensure that personnel are evacuated and the fire is extinguished. Often, this involves seemingly destructive behaviors such as breaking windows and inundating surfaces with water. To make things worse, the sprinkler systems present in many offices may automatically respond to a relatively local fire by spraying water across a whole area, requiring extensive water cleanup. If you have had a fire, there are three kinds of restoration your space will need now that the flames have been put out.

1. Fire Damage
Flames are the most immediately destructive force present in any fire. Because of the extreme temperatures that they can reach, unchecked fires can destroy almost anything in their path. Often, buildings that have been burned are no longer structurally sound and must be inspected by a structural engineer. Many items or surfaces may be salvageable during fire cleanup, but this will depend on the extent of both the external and internal damage.

2. Smoke and Soot
Because smoke easily permeates mechanical and electronic devices, removing evidence of smoke damage can be complicated. Soot created by smoke sticks to surfaces, resulting in a distinct odor that tends to linger. Starting smoke cleanup quickly is essential because soot becomes more destructive and difficult to remove over time.

3. Water Cleanup
Sprinkler systems, burst pipes, and firefighting equipment can all cause extensive water damage. While some items may be undamaged by water, you should always understand that flowing water may have mixed with toxic or corrosive substances present in your workspace.
There is a lot to think about after sustaining a fire in James Island, SC. Some aspects of fire restoration involve skill-intensive labor. It is always recommended that you check whether your insurance policy covers fire restoration. By contacting a professional that specializes in fire, smoke, and water cleanup, you can prevent further damage to your valuable property.

How a Multi-Specialization Company Simplifies Disaster Recovery Efforts

6/17/2020 (Permalink)

Truck load of drying equipment We have the right equipment to get your business back to normal

How a Multi-Specialization Company Simplifies Disaster Recovery Efforts

When large storms strike in Johns Island, SC, they bring chaos with them that lingers in the days and weeks after the storm passes. In the face of disaster, insurance adjusters and business owners alike can benefit from a reliable disaster response team that eases the multifaceted burden of disaster recovery. Here's why SERVPRO is an excellent solution in the wake of a storm.

1. More Resources
With over 40 years of experience remedying storm damage, SERVPRO is found in many local communities across the United States. Their ties to a larger corporate network mean that they have more resources easily at their disposal when it's most crucial. In a disaster situation, if there's a sudden overwhelming need for quick storm response, SERVPRO can partner with local vendors to get the necessary equipment quickly.

2. Comprehensive Services
SERVPRO handles everything from fire to mold and water issues. Because a storm can affect myriad aspects of a building's integrity, with potential for burst pipes, compromised electrical structures and standing water, having a multi-specialization disaster recovery team can streamline cleanup efforts. There's no need to call in multiple companies for different tasks, having jobs left half-done due to a knowledge of water damage but not of handling lightning-related fire damages. SERVPRO has a comprehensive know-how in multiple areas to manage everything a storm can hurl at a community.

3. Efficient Claims
Given SERVPRO's extensive resources and thorough service offerings, a partnership with them simplifies the claims process. If they're involved in storm cleanup, you only have to deal with a single team of professionals analyzing the situation and filing a report. This cuts down on the administrative chaos and cost of multiple professionals and multiple streams of data amid the already demanding times of storm aftermath.
Disaster recovery after an intense storm can be overwhelming for everyone involved. SERVPRO boasts extensive experience and specializations, access to resources, and a simplified documentation process. Working with them can make storm cleanup simpler and more efficient, allowing local businesses to quickly bounce back to normal.

3 Steps to Take After a Pipe Bursts

6/7/2020 (Permalink)

Close-up water burst leaking from broken pipeline in house Pipe burst in Charleston, NC

Steps To Take After a Pipe Burst

As a homeowner, you try to stay on top of maintenance chores around the house. Fixing caulk, repairing leaky faucets, updating paint, and taking care of pests are some of the common items that need to be done. While it may seem like a long list of endless chores, staying on top of home maintenance items prevents major issues. Avoiding unwelcome water is the main goal in many home-repair projects because of the potential for water damage. Here are three steps to take after a pipe bursts.

1. Get Rid of the Water
Bursting pipes are not as uncommon as you may think. Any time pressure builds up inside a pipe, a weak joint allows the pipe to burst. If this situation happens in your Charleston, SC, home, the most important thing to do is get the water out of your house. As quickly as possible, grab a mop and bucket or a wet-dry vacuum to get rid of the water. Lift rugs and other items off the floor, remove any belongings that are wet and place them propped up in a dry area. Acting quickly is necessary to prevent any secondary damage.

2. Call the Professionals
If you’ve temporarily fixed the bursting pipes, it’s now time to call a professional plumber. Most people don’t feel comfortable trying to fix a broken pipe. A plumber has the tools and skills to correct the problem and prevent any future issues. If the water damage was extensive, it’s a good idea to call a water restoration company because they can check your home for any signs of mold.

3. Restore Your Home
A water restoration company can also help clean and sanitize your home. Water is invasive and it’s hard to know how much damage has been done. By working with a professional company, you’ll have peace of mind that your home is properly restored.
Bursting pipes are something you hope to never experience in your home. Fortunately, you’ll be able to prevent secondary damage by acting quickly and working with professionals to restore your home.

Treating Smoke Smell With Ozone: Tips for Deodorizing Your Home

6/7/2020 (Permalink)

Ozone generator Ozone treatments can be a big undertaking, but they are truly effective for home deodorization

Treating Smoke Smell With Ozone

Cigarette smoke can linger in a home for years after the smoker has gone. In most cases, the smoke often buries itself into a given part of the home, then seeps back out over time. Smoke could be collecting in many places. Common surfaces harboring cigarette smells include:

  • Walls
  • Vents
  • Fabrics
  • Flooring

You need to identify the problem area before you can solve the smoke issue. If you're having trouble finding the source of the smoke smell, trained smoke removal specialists in West Ashley, SC, can help you determine and eradicate the source. For eliminating smoke, professionals often turn to ozone treatments.
Ozone is among the most effective home deodorization treatments available. In almost every case, ozone is able to kill residual cigarette smell. This is due to the ozone's unstable structure; it's able to neutralize stinky particles at the molecular level. It's not quite as simple as running an ozone machine and calling it good, though.

Before the Ozone Treatment
First, expose the affected area. What that means is, if the smoke is in the flooring, you have to remove the flooring and potentially the subfloor until you've reached the layer harboring the smoke smell. Then, clean the area thoroughly. The home deodorization treatment won't be as effective if there's stuff in the way.

During the Ozone Treatment
The ozone machine may need to run for a couple of days. Ozone is not effective when it's only run at safe levels for people and animals; it has to be stronger for it to work. This means your family and pets can't be home while the machine is running. You may have to seek different accommodations while the ozone is going. After the treatment, the area needs to be aired out to lessen the ozone concentration.
Ozone treatments can be a big undertaking, but they are truly effective for home deodorization. With the help of ozone, you can enjoy your home again without the pervasive smell of smoke.

The Benefits of a SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile

5/28/2020 (Permalink)

emergency plan Emergency Ready Profiles

Did you know that half of all businesses may never reopen following a disaster? Preparation is the key to being on the right side of that statistic. You need to make sure your company is ready for the worst. You can do this by setting up an emergency profile with SERVPRO.

The Setup

To get an emergency ready profile, you first must download the Ready Plan app. It is available for Android, BlackBerry and iPhone. Then, just do the following:

  • Create a free account.
  • Click the Emergency Ready Profile button.
  • Walk through your building and document the requested information.
  • Take photos of the facility using your mobile device.

The Process

If your business faces a disaster, you can use your emergency ready profile to get help quickly. Simply launch the ERP app on your mobile device or tablet. You can then click the listed phone number to contact a SERVPRO representative in Charleston, SC.

The app also has an option for reporting your business loss. Start by clicking the icon that represents the type of damage you incurred. If you already set up an emergency profile for the property in question, you just have to fill in the cause, time and date of the incident.

The app also lists damage mitigation strategies that you can perform while you wait for the cleanup and restoration specialists to arrive.

The Advantages

There are many benefits of an emergency ready profile. You have direct access to a leading cleanup expert near your property. Your profile also allows you and your employees to easily look up key information such as the location of shut-off valves.

An ERP additionally includes the chain of command for approving work to the building. It even has a guide for when you can return to the property. This makes the restoration process more efficient.

Don’t get caught unprepared during a disaster. By setting up an emergency profile on the Ready Plan app, you can ensure help gets to your building right away.

Crawl Space Full of Water? Here Are a Couple Tricks to Quickly Clean It Out

5/27/2020 (Permalink)

flooded homes Flooding from the last storm here in Charleston, SC

Under many homes in Charleston, SC is the crawl space, an area reserved for access to plumbing, wiring, flooring and other essential equipment for a home. Generally, if your home doesn’t have a basement, it should have a crawl space. The difference between the two is that you can stand in a basement but not in the crawl space. Also, many basements will have a sump pump, but few crawl spaces will.

This area typically has a reduced humidity level. Once the humidity passes 70%, mold growth can be explosive. Ideally, try to keep the level no greater than 50%. Of course, the greatest risk to the area comes from flooding.

What Causes Flooding in a Crawl Space?

The three most common causes of excess water under your home are:

  • Storm runoff
  • Pipe leak
  • Sewer leak

All three present different challenges.

A small pipe leak, if unnoticed, can eventually cause significant flooding. Storm runoff tends to be sudden and ferocious, and a sewer leak can cause biological contamination. How you deal with each will differ based on the cause, amount of water, how much solid material is in it and what equipment you have.

Can You Clear Out a Flooded Crawl Space Yourself? Quite possibly!

If you catch a flood quickly, you can virtually eliminate potential damage. If the amount of water is small, you can even use a shop vacuum to remove it. Larger clean water floods will require you to rent a pump.

However, if the water is from the sewer or has objects picked up by the flood floating in it, you may need a trash pump. They are designed to handle solids up to a certain size, so make sure you choose the right one when you rent it.

For major flooding – or standing water that’s been there awhile – you’ll probably need to hire experts. They have special truck mounted pumps and other equipment that can suck out the worst flooding and can remedy any black mold that’s started to form. They can also perform an inspection to find any hidden structural damage before it becomes a problem.

4 Ways to Prevent Storm Damage From Affecting Your Business

5/22/2020 (Permalink)

commercial building A local commercial building in South & West Charleston, SC

During a storm in South & West Charleston, water can have a significant impact on your building. Whether it is in the form of storm or flood damage, water can ruin building materials, damage belongings and contribute to the growth of mold. In order to keep this to a minimum, the following steps can be taken.

1. Seal Doors and Windows

If the area around your doors and windows is not sealing properly, then it will be easier for water to enter the building. Make sure that these are closing as they should be. You may also want to use sandbags at these openings. This can help keep flood water on the outside.

2. Move Objects to a Higher Floor

Because the water involved is highly contaminated, flood damage can be more severe than other types of damage. It can be difficult to clean furniture and other items that have absorbed this water. To prevent objects from being affected, you can move them to a higher floor that is less likely to experience flooding.

3. Back Up Important Files

Most businesses keep important information stored on their computers and other electronic devices. These can be damaged by water or electrical surges during a storm which can lead to loss of data. Use cloud storage or an external drive to make backups of files and keep your information safe.

4. Repair Present Damage

If your building has existing damage, it is more likely to be affected by storm damage. Perform a thorough inspection of the interior and exterior to locate any leaky or deteriorated areas. These should be repaired as soon as possible before any severe weather occurs.

Preparing your business for bad weather can help to reduce the amount of storm and flood damage that occurs. However, your building may still be affected. In this case, it is best to hire a professional cleanup and restoration service. Because they have training and access to necessary equipment, they will be able to make repairs quickly and safely.

Three Ways To Remove Smoke Odor

5/20/2020 (Permalink)

Smoke can linger long after a fire has been extinguished. If the particles remain too long, they can cause smoke damage, such as discoloration and corrosion. Even after the visible residue has been removed, the odor may persist. Fortunately, there are a variety of smoke cleaning products available. Three common methods of odor removal include the following: 

Air Filters

Air filtration devices circulate the air in the home. Then the filters, frequently HEPA or carbon, trap smoke odor particles as they pass through. This keeps the smell from continuing to float through the home. 

Ozone Machines

Ozone machines work by emitting ozone particles into the air. The ozone then chemically combines with the smoke particle in a process known as oxidation. This creates an entirely new particle that does not have a smoky smell. If you choose to use this method of smoke cleaning, it is important to hire professionals who can make sure the task is completed properly and that it is safe for you and your family to return home. 

Thermal Foggers

When a fire burns inside a house, it heats up everything, causing cracks, crevices and other openings to expand. This allows smoke particles to get trapped inside porous surfaces. Other odor-removal techniques cannot reach those areas. Thermal foggers heat up the area and allow a deodorizer to circulate through the house. Because the area has been heated up, the deodorizer can reach all of the smoke particles.
After a fire, it is important to actually remove the smoke particles to keep the smell from returning. Products like air fresheners and scented candles may temporarily cover up the smell, but it will keep coming back until the source of the odor has been eliminated. If you feel overwhelmed by the smoke cleaning process, you may wish to hire a certified restoration company. They can help you get your South & West Charleston, SC area home back to normal.