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Mold Facts: A Coffee Break Primer

11/26/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Mold Facts: A Coffee Break Primer Air mover used for water loss and mold damage in a Missions,KS building

There are very few locations on the planet where mold is not a problem. You can pretty much count on mold spores being present in your building in Mission, KS. Mold may be everywhere, but mold growth is still problematic. In the time it takes to drink your morning coffee, you can learn what you need to know to help prevent mold problems in your building.

Here Are Some Fast Facts on Mold

Mold is everywhere and cannot be completely “removed.”

  • Airborne mold spores get inside your building through windows, doors, ventilation, clothing and pets.
  • Colonies need food and moisture to survive and multiply.
  • Mold has an aggravating, musty odor.
  • Indoor humidity should be below 45 percent to prevent mold colonies from forming.

Moisture and Humidity Control

The remediation process begins with containing mold populations that are out of control, but cleanup and prevention both rely on monitoring moisture. Mold spores are airborne and abundant, so the key to prevent mold growth is not complete elimination of mold spores but the elimination of high humidity and moisture. Here's how to seek out problems in your building:

  • Indoor humidity levels should be under 45 percent.
  • Look for old water damaged areas, such as from a natural flood, rain from a breach in the roof or indoor burst pipe.
  • Look for small leaks around all plumbing areas.
  • Keep your HVAC system clean and replace filters often.
  • Keep gutters clean.
  • Check the break room fridge for spills and humidity levels.

The most critical step in mold remediation or prevention is to stop water damage and thoroughly dry affected areas.

Remediation Is Not a DIY Action

When you find mold, remediation can be effectively executed with the help of a mold recovery professional. This is not a DIY job that should be done by an untrained individual. A specialist has training and access to multiple resources to find mold and moisture that may not be easily seen, as well as the ability to contain spores during cleanup. He or she will also have access to moisture monitoring devices that will help ensure the environment is unfriendly for future mold growth.

3 Important Elements of an Office Fire Evacuation Plan

11/23/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO 3 Important Elements of an Office Fire Evacuation Plan Fire escape plan in a Merriam,KS commercial building

Create Your Own Evacuation Plan

Do you have a fire escape plan in place for your Merriam, KS, commercial building? Preparing your employees for a worst-case scenario can help ensure everyone stays safe even during a fire. Keep these tips in mind as you create your own evacuation plan.

1. Chain of Command

Who is in charge during an emergency if you are not present? Establishing a chain of command ensures someone will take charge if a fire breaks out. You can also assign people with important tasks, such as the following:

  • Calling emergency responders.
  • Getting in touch with the fire restoration professionals.
  • Starting the evacuation procedures.
  • Handing out protective equipment.

When everyone knows their role during a fire, it is more likely the whole group will make it out safely.

2. Meeting Spot

Your entire staff may not make it out of the building at the same time. Because you need to know who is out to determine who may still be in the flames, you need to create a meeting spot outside of the building as part of your emergency escape plan. Make sure your spot is a safe distance from the commercial space. An ideal meeting spot would be easy for everyone to get to, well-lit and safe.

3. Evacuation Routes

The people who use your commercial building on a regular basis need to know how to leave it during a fire. You can achieve this goal by training your employees on a fire escape plan. You should also mark emergency exits with lights and signs that would be visible even during a fire. You can even post evacuation signs to make sure those unfamiliar with the building know where the nearest emergency exit is.

You can never know when or if your commercial building is going to be engulfed in flames. Creating a fire escape plan before an emergency can help ensure anyone inside the space is able to make it out safely.

3 Steps To Take After Storm Damage

11/17/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO 3 Steps To Take After Storm Damage Drying equipment after storm damage

Three Storm Tips For Constructing Your Recovery Plan

If a storm leaves your home in a state of disaster, researching what steps you need to take before restoration specialists arrive will probably not be an option. Having a structured strategy for cleanup in place beforehand will help take the pressure off of your overworked brain at the time of the event. Here are three storm tips for constructing your recovery plan.

1. Get Working on Cleanup

Once you are completely out of harm’s way, start patching up whatever damage you can, making sure to take photos of storm damage and record any property losses you encounter. These records will be important when cleanup crews and insurance adjusters evaluate the destruction to your home. Again, knowing that you can safely explore the premises is highly important to protect your well-being.

2. Contact Your Insurance Company

You will want to contact your insurance agent as soon as possible so he or she can help you figure out what coverage you have. The agent can also offer his or her own storm tips, such as how to hire a reputable Montecello, KS, repair company. Some even have a list on file of preferred specialists for such jobs.

3. Save Vital Documents

Receipts, insurance documents and other important papers need to be saved throughout the cleanup and repair processes. Financial documents in particular will help you with claims-related reimbursement matters down the road. Keeping important papers in a waterproof container, such as a fireproof box, is a wise idea.

Being prepared will help you restore as much of your precious Montecello, KS, home as you can after a storm. Knowing what actions you should take and from whom you should seek help after such a disaster puts you in a better place to take control of the situation with minimal stress. Remember the storm tips above and you'll be on your way to handling any damage that comes your way.

6 Leading Causes of Home Fires

10/22/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage 6 Leading Causes of Home Fires Overloaded outlets can increase the risk of a fire to your Mission,KS home

A home fire can be an extremely devastating experience for any homeowner in Mission,KS. Understanding common fire causes can help you evaluate and safeguard your home.

1. Faulty Wiring

Faulty wiring inside your walls or appliances can be a significant fire hazard. Symptoms of damaged home wiring include frequently blown fuses or lights spontaneously dimming when appliances are in use.

If you have concerns about your home’s electrical wiring, promptly contact a licensed electrician. You should also avoid using any appliances that have frayed or damaged cords.

2. Overloaded Outlets and Extension Cords

Most outlets are designed to accommodate two electrical plugs. Attempting to plug additional items into a single outlet can overload it, increasing the risk of a home fire. As an added precaution, you should also limit the use of extension cords and avoid placing them under rugs where they may overheat.

3. Cooking Accidents

To reduce the risk of a damaging kitchen fire and the need for extensive fire cleaning, you should never leave your stove unattended while cooking. Remaining attentive can prevent pots and pans from overheating and grease or other flammable liquids from igniting.

4. Portable Heaters

Portable heaters are another leading cause of fires. To operate your heater safely, refrain from placing it near curtains, blankets, paper or upholstered furniture.

5. Cigarettes

Improperly disposed cigarette butts can also ignite a fire. Smoking outside helps minimize this risk. If you choose to smoke inside your home, refrain from doing so while in bed and ensure you carefully extinguish butts inside an ash tray.

6. Matches and Candles

Matches and candles can also be dangerous. Never leave a burning candle unattended and ensure that children in the home understand that candles and matches are not toys. These items should be used only with adult supervision.

A home fire can result in significant damage necessitating extensive fire cleaning and restoration. Although no homeowner can completely eliminate their home’s fire risk, remaining vigilant in the kitchen and taking precautions with heaters, cigarettes, candles and extension cords can help prevent a potentially destructive fire.

10 First Aid Kit Essentials

10/16/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial 10 First Aid Kit Essentials Every business in Merriam,KS should have a complete first aid kit

Every building should have at least one complete first aid kit in case of emergency. Here are 10 must-haves for any kit.

1. Adhesive Bandages

Provide a variety of sizes and styles of adhesive bandages for minor injuries. Make sure to include butterfly closures and waterproof bandages.

2. Adhesive Medical Tape

Medical tape is stickier and more flexible than standard adhesive tape. Use this tape to secure gauze bandages or pads or maintain pressure on a wound.

3. Antibacterial Ointment

Use antibacterial ointment to prevent infection when cleaning and dressing wounds. You may want to select small tubes or sealed wipes to guarantee effectiveness.

4. Blankets

Include at least one blanket in a first aid kit. Blankets are useful for staying warm or creating a soft surface.

5. Elastic Wraps

Elastic wraps are handy for stabilizing sprains or other injuries. Include several wraps in an emergency kit.

6. Gauze Pads and Roller Bandages

Use gauze for wounds that are too delicate or large for adhesive bandages. You should also include a few metal closures.

7. Gloves

Latex or nitrile gloves are important sanitary supplies. Provide more than one pair, just in case.

8. Scissors and Tweezers

Scissors are helpful for trimming bandages. Use tweezers to extract splinters or other foreign objects.

9. Splint

A splint is an essential short-term solution for broken bones. You may want to provide more than one in a kit.

10. Resuscitation Supplies

A resuscitation airway, bag, or pocket mask can be vital in the event of an emergency. Be sure to include instructions on how to use this life-saving equipment.

Protect the safety of occupants and visitors in a building by keeping at least one fully-stocked first aid kit on the premises. If a property sustains damage from a storm or disaster, contact your insurance provider and a commercial damage restoration company in Merriam,KS.

How To Minimize Your Risk of Water Damage

10/9/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage How To Minimize Your Risk of Water Damage Professional maintenance of your water heater every six months can help you prevent leaks

When you think of potential sources of water damage to your home in Shawnee, KS, you likely think of flooding from a storm or a broken pipe. There are other ways, however, that water in the home can cause problems such as mold if they go unresolved for very long. A vigilant inspection and maintenance schedule can help you avoid issues that arise from water being where it's not supposed to be. Here are some of the places you should look for it.

Appliances

Some appliances that are hooked up to your plumbing system can become the culprits of flooding. There are four main appliances that commonly cause water damage:

  • Dishwasher
  • Washer
  • Refrigerator
  • Water Heater

Professional maintenance of your water heater every six months can help you prevent leaks. With the dishwasher, washer and refrigerator, you want to make sure they are at least three inches between the appliances and the wall where they're attached. This helps keep hoses from getting crimped and broken.

HVAC Unit

Inspection is also the key to ensuring your HVAC unit is not releasing water in the home. If it's not working properly, you may notice drips or leaks. Any time that happens, you should call a maintenance professional right away. If your indoor coil freezes, that could damage the unit and lead to water issues later.

Plumbing

Many things can go wrong with your home's plumbing. A sudden spike in your water bill is a sign that you have an undetected leak somewhere and may need pipe cleanup from water restoration experts. You can check for leaks with your plumbing fixtures without waiting for the bill to arrive, though. If, for example, your toilet runs even when it hasn't been flushed, you may want to replace the flapper to get a good seal in the tank. Taking care of supply line, pipe and other plumbing leaks in a timely manner can help prevent damage.

Inspection and maintenance are important. Identify water in the home quickly so that it can be remedied before it causes too much damage.

How To Prevent the Most Common Business Losses From Water Damage

9/18/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial How To Prevent the Most Common Business Losses From Water Damage It’s important for any business owner to be aware that seemingly small problems such as damaged pipes can result in major water damage to businesses.

When managing a business in Shawnee, KS, it’s essential to be aware of the damage that can be created from water. Damaged pipes, flooding and other forms of water damage can be incredibly detrimental to any business. Though every form of water damage cannot necessarily be prevented, you can better protect your business by being aware of the common causes of water damage.

Maintain Pipes

Over time, a business’s pipes can become more susceptible to damage. Changes in water pressure can cause damaged pipes to burst, which can cause structural damage to your building and can destroy products inside the building. Frequently inspecting your business’s pipes can help decrease the likelihood of your pipes becoming damaged.

Observe Invoices

Leaking pipes are often less noticeable because leaks can happen slowly over time, but leaking water can create unsafe environments as well, creating mold. By the time many people realize their business has leaking pipes, damage has been done. However, if you know the average cost of your water bill and notice the cost creeping up, you are more likely to catch leaks when they begin.

Identify Environment

As you manage your business, be aware of areas that are susceptible to flooding. Different environments are more likely to have floods, and if you know your business is located in an area that has experienced flooding before, take preventative measurements to keep your business safe. Certain plants and types of grass can help to absorb excess water. Additionally, using sealants that don’t absorb water can mitigate the effects of flooding.

It’s important for any business owner to be aware that seemingly small problems such as damaged pipes can result in major water damage to businesses. Knowing common causes of water damage and working with a qualified company to fix issues when they occur can help your business stay afloat. For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROgreatershawneemerriam.com/.

Picking up the Pieces: Steps To Take Right After the Storm

9/14/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Picking up the Pieces: Steps To Take Right After the Storm While these storm tips are broad and do not cover the extent of the restoration process, they are meant as a starting off point.

Storms are unpredictable, and they can leave you vulnerable in the one place that you’re meant to feel the safest, your home. Between heavy rains, high winds, and lightning, your home is susceptible to various levels of structural damage, and when the weather breaks the aftermath can be just as disheartening. Follow the three simple storm tips below to help ensure your safety and to get your restoration started on the right foot.

1. Ensure Your Safety

After a storm, it is most important to make sure that you and your family are safe. Storms can leave behind downed power lines, broken glass, and worse. The first thing you should do when a storm ends is to evaluate your surroundings and to get yourself to a safe location.

2. Call for Help

Depending on the damage to your home, you may want to seek assistance from restoration specialists in the Shawnee, KS, area. Also, reaching out to your insurance company and asking about any storm tips or required steps they have for you is a good idea. Beyond the basics, if your area has been significantly damaged, you should find out if the government has declared it a disaster area. Designated disaster areas are eligible for disaster relief, meaning that you may be able to get assistance to restore your property.

3. Get Out Your Camera

Regardless of the level of storm damage, most insurance companies require proof of loss. While most insurers will send out a qualified adjuster to document your home, it may take weeks before an adjuster can get to you, especially after a significant storm. Taking pictures ensures that you have evidence of the immediate damage as well as allows you the opportunity to begin cleanup.

While these storm tips are broad and do not cover the extent of the restoration process, they are meant as a starting off point. These three tips, while simple, are easy to remember even after the disarray and shock of severe weather. For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROgreatershawneemerriam.com/.

Home Insurance Coverage Regarding Mold Damage

9/9/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Home Insurance Coverage Regarding Mold Damage You don’t have to let the fungus growth claim your home because of the claims process.

If your home becomes infested with fungus growth, you are likely to wonder what your insurance will cover. The answer varies depending on a number of circumstances. By understanding how insurance policies handle mold coverage, you can have an idea of the next action to take for your Shawnee, KS, residence.

Mold Coverage From Other Issues

While policies differ, most will not cover mold unless explicitly stated. Insurance policies will, however, often pay for mold treatment if it is the result of any related covered perils:

• Fire unrelated to arson
• Lightning damage
• Unpreventable water damage
• Snow or ice damage
• Frozen pipes

If the insurance adjuster determines that any of the covered perils were due to negligence on the part of the homeowner, mold coverage will often be denied. This can be due to leaving fungus growth or water damage untreated for an unreasonable length of time. There is a base expectation of home maintenance, and the insurance company will deny on that basis if they can prove noncompliance.

Even With Coverage, There’s Likely a Mold Cap

Even if your policy covers mold, many companies adopt a hard limit called a mold cap. This is a stated amount in the policy of the maximum amount of costs covered when dealing with mold insurance. This varying number is available by consulting your policy.

Treating Mold Damage Regardless

The costs of removal continue to add up if there’s more to treat. Mold may continue to devalue your property if it becomes more widespread. It is wise to act quickly so costs do not end up having to come out of your pocket. An insurance adjuster or expert mold treatment company can offer an estimate of the costs. Regardless of insurance coverage, you can work out a treatment to stop the mold from causing lasting damage to your home.

You don’t have to let the fungus growth claim your home because of the claims process. You can act to stop the mold and save yourself money by paying upfront to stop its spread. For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROgreatershawneemerriam.com/.

How to Cleanup Your Office After a Fire

8/27/2018 (Permalink)

Addressing smoke damage is part of the fire cleanup process. While smoke cleaning procedures may seem daunting, approaching the project in an organized manner can help expedite your work. The following seven steps can help any business owner in Shawnee, KS efficiently complete their office cleanup endeavors.
1. Ventilate Space
If possible, open windows to increase airflow into the office space. To expediate the drying out process, you may wish to use fans and a dehumidifier.
2. Wear Protective Gear
To protect your skin, you should wear rubber gloves, pants and a long-sleeved shirt. You should also wear safety googles and a dust mask to protect your eyes and lungs from soot particles.
3. Remove Saturated Materials
The next step is to remove debris and soaked carpets. Inspect your office’s walls and remove saturated drywall and insulation.
4. Clean Surfaces
To address soot damage, use a dry chemical sponge or a mild detergent to clean walls and other surfaces. You can use a vacuum cleaner to remove soot from upholstery. Once an area is clean, place a drop cloth or plastic sheet over it to prevent re-contaminating it as you clean other affected areas.
5. Clear Away Odor
A lingering smoky scent is another unfortunate aspect of smoke damage. To combat this unpleasant odor, you may wish to add tri-sodium phosphate to your cleanup arsenal. This chemical can be effective in removing odors from both solid surfaces and upholstered office furnishings but must be used carefully due to its caustic nature.
6. Prevent Mold Growth
A moist environment is a potential breeding ground for both mold and mildew. To prevent growth and kill existing spores, you should wipe clean surfaces with a water and bleach mixture.
7. Allow Area to Dry
Once your office space is clean, you may be eager to quickly complete repairs and return to work. However, if you replace flooring and drywall before the space is completely dry, you may unintentionally negate your efforts to eliminate mold and mildew.
Following these steps will help you safely and efficiently clear smoke damage from your office, allowing your business to reopen. Should you find the damage too overwhelming to clean yourself, don’t hesitate to contact a local cleanup and restoration crew for assistance. Visit http://www.SERVPROgreatershawneemerriam.com/ for more information on fire damage.