What To Do After a Fire at Your Business
Commercial fire damage in Factoria, WA.
What Should You Do If Your Business Is Burned Down?
The aftermath of a fire can be chaotic and emotionally devastating. You may be concerned with the damage done to your property and the business you’re likely to lose as a result of it. Although it can be difficult, it’s important to keep calm during this hectic time. Your fire insurance is likely to cover the costs of fire restoration services in Factoria, WA, but you need to follow these steps to ensure your claim is accepted.
1. Contact Your Insurance Provider
It’s important to contact your insurance provider first so that you can begin the process of filing a claim. Your provider will want to send a claims adjuster to assess the damage and the sooner this can be scheduled the sooner you will receive payment to pay for restoration services.
2. Secure Your Property
Fire can leave your building with large holes in the walls and ceilings, leaving the contents exposed to further damage. Your insurance will cover damages from the fire but it won’t cover damage from rain and snow entering the building after the fire or theft resulting from the building being easily accessible. A fire restoration company should also offer boarding up services to protect your assets from looting and the elements.
3. Document the Damage
Your insurance company will require evidence of your losses. Take photographs or videos of as much damage as you can without putting yourself in danger. It’s also good to compile a list of everything lost in the fire. If you have receipts or other documentation, start pulling these together.
4. Resist the Temptation To Clean Up
Although you may feel tempted to begin throwing things away or making repairs, don’t. It’s important that the claims adjuster has a chance to assess the original damage. It’s also better to let a fire restoration specialist in Factoria, WA, assess your property before throwing it out. Items you believe to be destroyed by smoke damage may actually be salvageable through smoke cleaning.
The 6 Steps of Fire Cleanup
House fire in Eastgate, WA.
Fire Cleanup Proocess
Home fires can be devastating, but you don’t have to face the cleanup process alone. Hiring a fire damage professional in Eastgate, WA, can help return your home to its pre-fire state quickly and efficiently. In addition to restoring the areas most directly affected by the fire, the professionals can also handle smoke damage and soot damage throughout your house. Here is what to expect when you bring in a professional service to restore your home after a fire.
Before anything happens, experienced fire restoration specialists need to inspect your home. This allows them to determine the best way to proceed. Once they’ve assessed the situation, they should share their cleanup plan with you.
2. Boarding and Tarping
Fire can burn holes in your roof and walls, blow out windows and compromise the structural integrity of your home. To protect your home from further damage by the elements, openings can be covered with waterproof tarps. Boarding over doors and windows protects your home from intruders and prevents entry into unsafe areas.
3. Water Removal
If the fire was put out by the fire department, chances are good your home’s interior has been doused with water. The water is removed using powerful wet vacs or submersible pumps in extreme cases. The affected areas are dried completely with industrial-grade air movers and dehumidifiers. This prevents further water damage and inhibits the growth of mold.
4. Soot Removal
Smoke damage often means a layer of oily, black soot staining walls, furniture and carpets. This can be removed using powerful, specialized vacuums and other techniques.
5. Cleaning and Deodorizing
To eliminate the odor left behind by smoke, surfaces need to be cleaned and deodorized. Smoke cleaning is even carried out on the air inside your home using air scrubbers and foggers.
While smoke damage can usually be dealt with by cleaning, if floors, walls or cabinets have been destroyed by the fire, they need to be repaired or replaced. A comprehensive fire damage service in Eastgate, WA, should be able to handle everything from the assessment to the restoration.
Tips for Ridding Plants of Mildew
Mildew is a type of mold that primarily grows on living plants.
Mildew Removal Techniques for Plants
Mildew is a form of mold that grows primarily on living plants. Your Bellevue, WA, shrubs, indoor plants or crops may be susceptible to plant mildew. While this form of mold usually does not spread to your home, you may still want to work with a mold remediation team to address the issue as soon as possible. Mildew can actually act as a parasite and kill the plants it is on. To save your greenery, keep these tips in mind.
• Determine the mildew type. Mildew growth usually falls into one of two categories. It is either powdery or downy. Downy growth usually only affects a particular type of plant, such as grape or tomato, but powdery can affect any type of plant. Determining the type of mildew you're dealing with can help you figure out how you need to get rid of the growth.
• Avoid mildew cleaners. While you may be tempted to spray your plants with cleaners advertised for getting rid of mildew, this can actually do more harm to your vegetation than good. Before you spray any cleaners, make sure they are designed for use on plants.
• Use natural elements. Sunshine, water and outdoor air can help your potted flower survive the plant mildew. Direct sunlight allows your vegetation to dry out. Mildew, like mold, needs excess moisture to thrive. You can use water to remove the mildew from the surface of the leaves. Use moderate amounts of water to ensure you don't make the moisture problem worse. Outdoor air is another great way to get your greenery to self-adjust to normal moisture levels.
• Be careful when watering your plants. One common cause of mildew growth is trapped water on leaves. While you need to water your vegetation, you should try to put the appropriate amount of water near the roots rather than on the leaves.
Getting rid of plant mildew can help you keep your indoor and outdoor greens healthy and thriving. Removing the growth and controlling moisture is a great place to start.
Top 3 Benefits of a SERVPRO Emergency Profile
If you want your business to quickly recover after a disaster, advanced preparation and quick response are often essential.
Storm, fire, and flood damage can happen to any business in Bellevue, WA. Fortunately, any business can prepare for a potential disaster by developing evacuation and continuity plans. Another emergency preparedness strategy that you may not have considered is a SERVPRO emergency profile. This initiative can benefit your business in several important ways.
1. Timely Response
Floods and fires can be extremely costly to any business in terms of both required repairs and business downtime. Completing an emergency profile in advance ensures that you have a professional cleanup and restoration team readily available to render their services and help you resume normal business operations as soon as possible. Otherwise, you may waste valuable time trying to secure assistance, which may result in additional damage to your property and finances.
2. Advance Knowledge
As you build your profile, you may be asked to provide important information, such as the following:
• Established chain of command to verify essential personnel
• Critical site details, such as the location of water main valves and circuit breakers
• A list of priority work zones
These details ensure that the response team is knowledgeable about your business from the onset, which may expedite their work.
Registering your business and creating your emergency plan is relatively easy. You can visit SERVPRO’s website to get started. You may wish to use a smartphone or tablet, which enables you to take photographs of your building and add them to your profile.
Once you complete the registration process, you can download the ERP app. This useful tool enables you to easily update your emergency plan and share it with interested parties. The app also allows you to request your local team’s assistance at the touch of a button.
Advanced Preparation Is Key
If you want your business to quickly recover after a disaster, advanced preparation and quick response are often essential. Your emergency profile enhances coordination between your business and the restoration team, allowing them to efficiently initiate and complete the process.
Basics of the Flood Cleanup Process
Cleanup is not always a quick process, but you want to make sure it is a thorough one.
When your home is flooded, you may not know where to start the flood clean process. The EPA has several cleaning requirements for ensuring that your home in Bellevue, WA, returns to a habitable state after a flood. When flood mitigation experts have removed excess water, they start the sanitation process. Your home is not clean until all the parts of this process are complete.
Technicians may need to remove items from your home that have been damaged or destroyed by the flood. Anything in your house is subject to removal:
The professionals will assess the items and decide if they can be set aside for cleaning or if they just need to be thrown away. All items that can be salvaged must be clean before they are placed back in your home.
If the flooding was extensive, cleaning requirements may dictate that part of the structure of your home be removed. Ceilings that have flood damage may be taken out, especially if they cover damp insulation. Even part of your walls or floors may have to be replaced. Those doing the repairs are likely to remove these materials before they attempt to disinfect anything.
To combat the germs that are undoubtedly present in floodwater, everything that remains has to be sanitized. Every surface that is damaged by the flood must be cleaned with flood disinfectant. The appropriate protective equipment, such as goggles, face masks, respirators, and gloves, should be worn. Try to avoid mixing different cleaners, as they may contain chemicals that release toxic fumes when combined. Sanitation is not complete until every surface has been cleaned and dried.
Cleanup is not always a quick process, but you want to make sure it is a thorough one. Following these cleaning requirements ensures that your home is safe once restoration is complete.
A Brief Overview of the Mold Remediation Process
Your swift action can prevent costly damage.
If you discover black mold in your home, you may want to know what the mold cleanup process will entail. While it is beneficial for you to understand the process, know that the best way to remediate the fungus is with the help of a professional. The Bellevue mold remediation expert that you hire will likely perform the following six steps to rid your home of mold and restore it to like-new condition:
1. Contain spores
2. Remove the mold
3. Prevent the growth from coming back
4. Clean up your belongings
5. Use a HEPA vacuum
6. Dispose of the mold in a safe manner
Contain Mold Spores
First and foremost, black mold spores need to be contained. If large amounts are present, your remediation team may seal off the affected area from the rest of the home. This is done to keep spores from spreading and further contaminating your home.
Remove the Mold
Once the affected area is contained, the next step is typically removal. To do this safely, the team may dampen the mold and then use bleach, borax, ammonia or vinegar to kill and wipe it away.
Prevent Future Growth
Next, your team may clean all the surfaces in and near the affected area. Mold spores can survive just about anywhere, so this is a crucial step to prevent future issues.
Clean Your Belongings
Any surfaces that cannot be easily wiped down will need to be thoroughly cleaned by a professional. Clothes, curtains, and rugs should be brought to a dry cleaner, while couches and other furniture made of porous materials may have to be disposed of.
Once everything has been cleaned and dried, your mold remediation team may use a HEPA vacuum to suck out any stray spores. This also helps to prevent future growth.
Finally, the team may seal the HEPA vacuum bag and any unsalvageable materials in an airtight bag. The team will then dispose of these in a safe manner.
If you discover black mold in your home, contact your Bellevue, WA, mold cleanup experts right away. Your swift action can prevent costly damage.
Has Your Home Been Exposed to Black Water?
An overflowing toilet is considered Category 2 water damage.
Have You Ever Been In a House That Has Been Flooded With Black Water?
In the aftermath of a storm, homeowners in Eastgate, WA, can be overwhelmed by the prospect of the restoration process. If the house experienced a flood during the storm, owners might wonder when it is safe to return to their homes to begin cleanup and repair. How does a property owner know if the home has been exposed to black water contamination? Below is a quick overview of the different categories of water damage to help answer questions.
1. Category 1 – Clean Water
Category 1 involves water that is considered clean or uncontaminated. For example, if your sink or bathtub overflows onto your floor and causes damage, it is not typically a considered a health risk.
2. Category 2 – Gray Water
Gray water poses an elevated health risk due to biological contaminants. Examples include urine (but not feces) in water that has overflowed from a toilet or water that has leaked from a malfunctioning washing machine or dishwasher. Water damage from gray water should be treated with caution.
3. Category 3 – Black Water
Category 3 contamination exists any time your home has been exposed to water that originated from an outside source. In other words, if your home has been flooded due to a storm, it will need to be assessed and treated by professionals to remove the serious health risks of this type of water exposure. This category of damage is assigned any time the water has been heavily contaminated with toxic or dangerous materials, ranging from pesticides to sewage.
Regardless of the color of the floodwaters, if water has breached your home from the exterior during a storm, the water damage is categorized as black water exposure. Even if the floodwaters have receded, it is important to know that the risk of exposure to contaminants left by category 3 water still remains.
If your home was damaged by a flood, call in the experts for help. Professional antimicrobial treatment and disinfection need to be a part of the cleanup plan so you will be able to return your home to a healthy state as soon as possible.
A Mold Smell Spells Trouble for Your Business
Black mold damage to a wall.
How To Locate Mold In Your Business
If you notice a musty smell at your Bellevue, WA, business, you probably have mold lurking around somewhere. If you cannot locate the origin of the mold smell, it’s likely hidden away where you cannot find it on the surface. Understanding its scents and how to locate mold will help you protect your business.
Know Mold’s Various Scents
There is no universal smell for mold. The organism gains a scent as it grows and releases chemicals. These chemicals become a gas that we can smell. There are a variety of chemicals released depending on the compound, so the fungus smell can be of several varieties:
- Green like a mowed lawn
- Earthy and musty
- Oily or greasy
- Acetonic like nail polish remover
Any strange odor is worth inspecting after known water damage or wet weather leaking inside. Sometimes mold will give off no odor, so it is advisable to always remain watchful for potential water-damaged areas of your property.
Locate the Mold When It Is Seemingly Invisible
While you may be a superhero at running your business, you likely cannot see through the walls of your commercial property. That’s why infrared cameras are there to help to find the source of an unseen mold smell.
Infrared cameras use heat to identify any walls that may have moisture hidden within. By identifying any anomalies in the temperature of the area, the tool can locate any potential source of mold regardless of its giving off any mildew smell. With this information gained, an attack plan can be made to remove the mold and protect your property from deterioration.
Clean Out the Fungus
For the safety of your building’s structure, the water that sustains the mold should be dealt with. Contacting professional water damage and mold remediation specialty team is highly advised to ensure the mold and water are fully removed by experts. Without the mold or moisture in your walls, you can push business forward without further damage or any unpleasant mold smell.
Avoiding Space Heater Fires
If the space heater has a filter, inspect it regularly and clean or replace it as necessary.
Experts estimate that one third of all house fires that occur in the winter months are caused by a burned space heater. Following a few simple tips can keep folks living in Eastgate,WA and the rest of the country safe when using space heaters. In the event of a fire from a portable heater, professionals can help with smoke clean up and restoration.
Space Heater Fire Prevention Tips
A well-placed space heater on a cold winter day or evening can offer welcome comfort and coziness. Reduce the risk of a burned space heater by remembering some simple rules.
- Make sure the space heater has a high safety rating.
- The heater should have a shut off feature for tip-overs or overheating.
- Do not use a space heater around water.
- Do not use a space heater with an extension cord.
- Use a heater on the floor on a hard, level, nonflammable surface.
- Do not use a space heater in a child’s bedroom or play area.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the heater.
- Do not use a heater near flammable materials such as solvents, paints or gasoline.
- Keep the heater at least three feet away from combustibles like curtains and bedding.
- Do not share the outlet the heater is plugged into with another appliance.
- Turn off the space heater when you leave the area.
- If the space heater has a filter, inspect it regularly and clean or replace it as necessary.
These pointers should prevent the inconvenience of a burned space heater. An easy way to remember to keep children, pets and combustible materials at least three feet away is to reframe the word “space.” Think of the word not only to describe the confined area that is in need of warmth, but also as a reminder to give the portable heater its “space.”
How Water Affects Common Building Materials
Drying hardwood floor in an Eastgate, WA home.
How Water Destroys Various Building Materials
Large volumes of water can destroy your home’s internal structures. To minimize swelling wood and other forms of destruction, you need to quickly and efficiently remove standing water and eliminate moisture. Understanding how water destroys various building materials can also help you assess the salvageability of water-damaged items inside your home.
Eliminating water and moisture is one of the first steps of the cleanup process and is essential for damage control. You can utilize a variety of methods to expedite drying:
- Open windows
- Use fans and a dehumidifier
- Employ a shop vac to soak up pooled water
A common indication of water damage is swelling wood. Wooden structures inside your home that may be influenced by excessive water exposure include:
- Baseboards and door frames
When exposed to water, plywood may warp and delaminate. Particleboard can also bloat and distort. As a result, you may need to replace saturated subfloors. However, your ability to salvage wooden items will largely depend on the extent of water exposure.
Both drywall and insulation absorb water. When saturated, drywall becomes soft and weak while insulation loses its R-value, thus reducing its effectiveness. Wet drywall and insulation can also become breeding grounds for mold and mildew. For this reason, saturated drywall and insulation should be promptly removed and replaced once the damaged area is dry.
Like drywall and insulation, carpets and padding absorb water. Because wet carpets can also harbor mold and mildew, drying them quickly is essential. If the floor is extremely saturated, you may need to replace both items.
Every home in Eastgate, WA is potentially susceptible to water damage. Removing standing water and quick-drying the area is crucial to minimizing destruction, including swelling wood. If your property suffers significant damage, you may want to hire a professional cleanup and restoration team. A licensed plumber can also inspect the water supply line, complete a water pipe repair to the damage and offer suggestions to minimize bursting pipes.