Food Safety Tips
Even though we live in the North Georgia mountains, there is the potential for flooding. Anywhere it can rain, it can flood. The most dangerous type of flood, a flash flood, happens quickly with little or no warning. Just ask the people who live in Ellijay who experienced flooding in early August, or the people in Blairsville who experienced flooding in early July.
Here are some tips provided by ready.gov to keep you safe during floods:
- Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall.
- Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be swept away quickly.
- Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage.
- If your property suffers flood damage, clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwaters can contain sewage and chemicals.
National Preparedness Month
SERVPRO Industries, Inc. is once again proud to be a member of the National Preparedness Month Coalition and is committed to helping the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in their efforts to promote the importance of preparedness planning.
What does it mean to be prepared?
For FAMILIES, it means households have an emergency supply kit so they can be self-reliant for at least three days in case of emergency, and they have a plan for how they will respond and reconnect after an emergency.
For BUSINESSES, it means employers have planned for how they will survive a disaster; they've backed up critical information, developed a plan for assisting employees on site, established a call tree to account for employees, and identified back-up sources of power and supplies.
For SCHOOLS, it means schools and districts have developed, implemented, and communicated crisis plans.
Being prepared means staying informed, knowing how to get information and alerts from local ememrgency management agencies, and understanding the specific risks in your community and preparing against them.
Is Your Business Prepared for a Fire?
How prepared are you? Do you have a fire escape plan for your business? A fire can spread quickly, leaving only mnutes to escape. Having a plan in place prior to an emergency will allow you and your employees to exit quickly in the event of a fire. We at SERVPRO can help you plan for a fire or other emergency by creating an Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) for your facility. The ERP is a comprehensive document containing critical information about your business, including: emergency contact information, shut-off valve locations and priority areas. The ERP is a no-cost assessment. All it requires is a little time, making it a great value that could save a lot of time in the future. Call us at 706-896-1880 or 706-273-7776 to schedule an appointment to begin your ERP.
When the Pipes Crack: Tips to Prevent Water Damage
When extreme temperatures strike, homeowners across the U.S. are crippled with millions of dollars in water damage to homes and buildings.
Leaving a home alone can become an expensive implication if things go astray while you are gone. And unfortunately more often than not, things do go wrong. Opportunely, there are certain things homeowners can do to protect their home and the interior possessions.
Water is the homeowners’ biggest enemy. If a pipe were to burst thousands of gallons of water can begin to flood the home. The IICRC responds as an authority on pulling the pieces back together for home and business owners. When water damage results from cracked pipes, IICRC offers these tips for clean-up.
To Prevent Frozen Pipes:
• Wrap electrical heating tape on exterior pipes. Remove garden hoses from faucets.
• Cover pipes with foam rubber or fiberglass insulation and secure it with tape.
• Let cold and hot water faucets drip. Running water helps prevent freezing pipes and reduces pressure build up in them.
• Inside the home, open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to promote warm air circulation around plumbing.
• Leave the thermostat at the same temperature both day and night, at least 55°F.
To Thaw Frozen Pipes:
• Locate the problem pipe, if possible, and open a faucet. As the pipe thaws, running water aids the melting process.
• Apply heat to the frozen section using a hand-held hair dryer or portable electric space heater. Do not use a blow torch as it could cause the pipe to explode. Do not use a propane or kerosene heater as these are hazardous for indoor use.
• If you are unable to locate or access the frozen pipe area, call a licensed plumber.
• If all else fails and you experience a burst pipe that results in water damage, shut off the main water valve and contact a professional water damage restoration company with trained technicians and extraction, drying and dehumidifying equipment.
If Water Damage Occurs, Tips for Clean-Up:
• Shut off the main water valve, if practical, and call a plumber to fix the leak.
• Call an IICRC-certified professional water restoration firm immediately for mitigation services, as required by your insurance policy. Certified Firms have the knowledge, experience and equipment to locate water wherever it goes, remove the excess, and dry your structure to industry standards.
• Mop up standing water on flooring surfaces to prevent slip/fall hazards. If the burst pipe is overhead, drain ceiling cavities by punching “weep” holes.
• Prevent mold growth. Although it takes a few days to appear, mold thrives on wood, paper, particle board or even household soil, when stagnant air, moisture, and temperatures between 68 and 86 degrees are present.
• Wet clothing usually is salvageable. A 10-minute wash cycle in detergent and hot water should sanitize washable clothing and many household fabrics.
• Dry out before you rebuild. Professional water restorers have a variety of instruments to determine when a building is dry, to prevent on-going microbial growth. Drying should not stop until wood or drywall moisture content (MC) falls below 16% MC. Normal MC is around 10% in most areas of the country.
Flooded Home Results in Mold
An unrecognized water loss resulted in this home being over-run with large amounts of mold. The home was a second home in Blairsville, GA and was not frequently visited. This photo shows what moisture left unattended can lead to.
If you see visible mold, do not disturb it. You can inadvertently spread the mold infestation throughout your home. When mold is disturbed, the mold can release microscopic mold spores which become airborne and can circulate inside your home.
What to Do:
- Stay out of affected areas.
- Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
- Contact SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties for mold remediation services.
What Not to Do:
- Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
- Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
- Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
- Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.
SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties was called in to handle the damage to this home. The owners of this property were overjoyed with the results.
Fire And Water Restoration Needs Immediate Attention
Houses can suffer a great deal of damage from a natural catastrophe, making fire and water restoration jobs two of the most common emergency services. It is even more common for these damages to arise from within the home itself, be it from faulty pipes or improper construction. Families shouldn’t suffer beyond the physical damage of their houses, so it becomes imperative to seek out only certified technicians in order to properly repair a home. Since these disasters can quickly get out of hand and will get worse as time goes on, one must move to expediently address the damages.
Depending on where the source is, rain and storm damage will begin to erode the bare surfaces surrounding it. Drywall for instance is one of the first victims, as it will quickly become saturated and discolored, eventually losing its structural integrity and collapsing. Fire and water restoration typically involves a thorough inspection of the premises, as the underlying source must be identified and treated in order to properly prevent the building from future damages. Carpet, furniture and electronics can all be damaged or destroyed if the problem is not dealt with in a reasonable time frame and by certified technicians.
The process for resolving this type of damage involves removing any saturated drywall and replacing it with new material. In order to maintain the appearance throughout the home, technicians will affix the new drywall with the proper fasteners and it is then sanded down to match the surrounding wall. Further complications, either from waiting too long to treat, or from improper drying, involve the growth of mold throughout the home. To avoid this, technicians will use air mover fans and dehumidifiers to accelerate the natural drying process and fully remove the threat.
As destructive as floods and pipe breakages can be, damages from a blaze can be just as disastrous. IICRC-certified fire and water restoration crews use only the most recent and effective means in treating these types of disasters. While the worst-case scenarios involve the destruction of the entire building, blazes can affect many different things in a building, even if they were very small. For instance, soot is notorious for spreading into every nook and cranny. While it can be nearly impossible to remove it by one’s self, trained technicians utilize large HEPA certified vacuums and thermal fogging machines to remove all traces completely.
On top of the immediate damage, fire and water restoration crews are necessary for removing the residual damage that can linger from old disasters. Only trained technicians can properly inspect a building or home in order to uncover problem areas such as damp materials and ash. Damp materials can foster mold growth, while ash can corrode metal, scratch glass, and when left untreated for long enough time, it can cause a strong, unpleasant odor.
Hiring Rug Cleaning Services Instead Of Attempting DIY
Choosing to hire certified rug cleaning services rather than opting to tackle a more DIY approach is the best option for any homeowner. While the process may seem as simple as a good vacuum and spot removal job, those alone will not help in prolonging the life of the rug. Many are instead leaving it up to a technician that has been highly educated and trained through the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) will ensure the job is done properly. They have the latest tools and skills to carry out the job with the utmost care and detail.
An increasing number of homeowners are finding themselves with area rugs in one or more rooms of their living space. Typically, they take quite a bit of abuse due to the day-to-day wear and tear done by family, pets, and guests. That heavy foot traffic leaves dirt, dust, odors and stains behind. What started out as a useful, yet decorative piece in a room ends up looking worn, dingy, and full of bothersome allergens. Routine upkeep such as vacuuming and minor stain removal can be done, yet it is imperative to have the piece removed and professionally cleaned on a regular basis. The frequency of this process truly depends on the extent of use the piece has.
Technicians that are IICRC-certified have had the coursework and training necessary to provide superior rug cleaning services. From start to finish they will work tirelessly to restore the piece to its original, vibrant appearance. This attention to detail starts with an initial inspection to establish the type of material that will be dealt with, what debris and allergens are present, and if there is any damage to be addressed. At this time they will be able to give the homeowner an idea of the extent of treatment and time frame required. Typically the piece is removed from the home and brought to the business location, which is fully equipped to complete the job. The technician starts with a careful vacuuming to remove loose debris, which is followed by any needed stain and damage treatment, and a good rinse. Once completely dampened a gentle but effective cleansing solution is applied and a soft agitating brush is used on the surface. A hot water extraction technique may be utilized at this time for a deeper clean or it may go through a total immersion process. The rug is then meticulously rinsed.. Depending on the equipment in place, it may be placed in a rotating centrifuge to draw out a majority of the water or other another extraction method may be utilized. It is hung for complete drying before being transported and delivered back to the home. Prior to final delivery it will be groomed via a finishing brush and a combing of the fringe to complete its pristine appearance.
While the do-it-yourself approach may seem doable to some, a true comprehensive treatment can only be done by those certified to perform these specialized rug cleaning services. It is important for homeowners to do a little investigating prior to choosing the firm to entrust with the job. Personal and online recommendations are a great starting point, as is the IICRC's own website. They provide a database of certified firms that are current on their training and continue to follow the industry standards. Additionally, viewing their website, contacting the business directly, and even visiting their facility will offer insight into the service and result to be expected.
For most, this type of floor covering was an investment in the home's warmth and overall decor. While it is there to be walked upon, it is also important to protect and maintain it regularly.
Home Carpet Cleaning Should Always Involve Professionals
Frequent home carpet cleaning is the only sure way to keep carpeting in good shape, but too many people still neglect to perform it often enough. Carpeting sustains a lot of wear and tear, picking up pet dander, soils, food particles, water, chemical residues, and a number of other contaminants. If these contaminants are allowed to sit for too long, they can damage the fibers, discolor them, or even attract pests or mold. It’s a situation no homeowner wants to get into, and professional treatment is the only way to ensure it doesn’t become a reality.
Why should professionals be brought in to perform home carpet cleaning?
It’s often impossible to know just how soiled the carpeting is, so it’s best to ensure treatment is thorough. And when it comes to thorough treatment, certified technicians are a homeowner’s best bet. Store bought or rented machines are limited in their effectiveness, and don’t provide the same level of performance that a commercial machine offers. Rented machines can’t agitate the fibers as vigorously, they can’t penetrate as deeply as a commercial machines, and they aren’t as precise. This leads to inferior treatment and rapid resoiling of the carpeting.
While operating rental machinery may seem simple, there’s more to the process than one might realize. The biggest problems untrained people have when cleaning their carpets is using too much or too little water. With too little water, it will be impossible to effectively remove soils, and detergent residue will be left behind to dry and adhere to the flooring. Too much water, and the floor will remain damp for too long, allowing mold and pests to take root, and making it easy for people to dirty the flooring again. A lack of training is not the only issue, either, as rented machinery isn’t as precise at dispensing water, nor is it powerful enough to reliably extract it.
Professional home carpet cleaning firms do not have these issues, as they are certified in the best industry practices and have the commercial quality equipment to match their expertise. For example, certified crews have received training from the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), and are armed with the IICRC’s sophisticated treatment practices. This includes comprehensive procedures in removing dry soil, suspending matted-in soils, and removing them as well. Soil suspension and removal is not something a homeowner is equipped to handle, and that’s a problem because most of the worst soils are matted into the flooring.
Certified home carpet cleaning professionals have powerful technology, including water extraction machines that agitate the fibers down to the backing. Professionals can also treat the carpeting to protect it from additional soiling and extend the carpeting’s longevity. It’s much more affordable than replacing the carpet, and much less of a headache, so professional treatment should be considered an investment, and not just a service.
The Damage Water Causes Can Be Permanent If Not Treated Properly
The kind of damage water can create in the home is staggering, and if not dealt with promptly, it may result in permanent issues for the homeowner. Excess moisture is a constant enemy in buildings, seeping in around windows, through the HVAC system, from the plumbing, and even through the air every time a door is opened. As long as the home is maintained well, this isn’t a problem, but a flood or burst pipe can quickly change the situation.
What damage can water cause in the home?
Excess moisture is unique in its destructive capabilities. Not only can it create significant and immediate physical devastation, it can make the home a hotspot for bacteria, viruses and molds. Floods are particularly troublesome, as they can fill the home with contaminated water.
When a flood slams into a building, it gathers in the lowest rooms, soaking everything in its wake. The flood brings in many hazards with it, sometimes including wildlife, chemical runoff, and various pathogens. For this reason, untrained people are strongly cautioned not to enter a building that has been wracked by a flood, as they may be bit or stung by dangerous wildlife. Chemical runoff includes fertilizers, road oils, and precipitants sitting on rooftops. This can make the fluid highly toxic and leave stains and odors.
But perhaps the most concerning damage water creates is pathological. Floods pick up fluid from rivers, lakes and ditches, and this fluid may contain cholera, hepatitis, dysentery and salmonella. It can wash in molds as well, turning the home into a biological hazard. What makes microbes especially dangerous in the home is that most houses are filled with organic materials, and these provide ideal conditions for microbes to grow. Drywall, carpets, upholstery, and wood are among the organic materials microbes may latch onto, and within 48 hours, any material that has been soaked through with contaminated fluid will usually be beyond salvaging. And even if the fluid is mostly benign, the withering exposure to moisture can yellow drywall and erode its integrity, and cause wood to warp.
There is no getting around it, the kind of damage water can produce is staggering, and it’s capable of leaving a building in a condemnable condition.
That’s why restoration firms are equipped to respond to disasters day and night, and are ready to treat floods and plumbing mishaps right away. Certified restoration firms, like those trained through the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), have the skills and tools needed to deal with all kinds of moisture related disasters. Within a few days, restoration firms can remove all signs of excess moisture, saving sensitive materials, drying out the home, and destroying any signs of mold and microbes.
Floods and plumbing disasters cannot be ignored, and when they do emerge, the only way to deal with them safely is with a certified professional’s help.
The Next Step After Having Fire And Water Damage
Fire and water damage are nightmares for any home or business owner because they typically force expensive repairs. This is particularly true when the building is flooded or a pipe bursts. Such disasters can destroy entire floors of a building, and make it uninhabitable until it is cleaned out. But cleaning it out is something that only professionals should be allowed to handle, especially if there is contaminated fluid or a lot of ash residue present. Certified technicians will have the tools and expertise needed to restore the building to normal and allow people to work or live in it without fear of health issues.
How do professionals perform fire and water damage restoration?
The only way to deal with a flame’s aftermath is to clean the area up thoroughly. Even a small fire can leave behind a good deal of ash and soot, and it will become more than just an annoyance if it is allowed to spread through the building. Smoke is another concern, as it will create noxious odors that penetrate through walls and seemingly last forever. Technicians are prepared to work through the building, scrubbing down all affected surfaces, and surveying the property to find areas where the residue has settled. This includes the ventilation system as well, as ash is readily picked up by the building’s climate control system. In places where the residue has formed a thick, almost lacquer-like substance, technicians have special detergents that can eat through the muck and make it easy to wipe away. As for smoke odors, professionals typically use a device known as a thermal fogger. This device will fill the building with particles designed to neutralize smoke odors, and these particles are small enough to reach through walls, so they can go where the smoke is.
Floods, sewage backflows and plumbing disasters offer their own challenges, and take a lot of equipment that only fire and water damage restoration professionals have access to. For example, if the building is harboring several inches of water, industrial strength pumps will be needed to pull it out, and these pumps are often mounted to a truck. Once this is done, trained professionals will be able to identify what materials can be rescued and what materials are completely compromised. It is essential to get this part right because destroyed materials that are left behind can ferment mold and bacterial growth.
Technicians will then work to dry the building, a process that requires several heavy duty air mover fans and dehumidifiers. This normally takes several days to see through, and technicians will monitor drying progress with moisture meters and regular inspections. Also, if there are any areas infested with mold or other microbes, fire and water damage restoration professionals can eliminate the threat with fungicides or other cleaning solutions.
Certified fire and water damage restoration professionals are the people to call when disaster strikes. They can operate in any environment and ensure a building is as good as new, giving people the peace of mind they need when returning home or to work.