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5 Common Causes Of Household Fires

4/19/2021 (Permalink)

Fires are extremely dangerous and can spread very quickly. Household fires are especially deadly because they can endanger everybody living in that home, especially young children, or the elderly living inside. It can also result in a lot of monetary damage. When such fires occur, it is important to call for professionals to help with fire damage restoration. While your insurance can help to mitigate some of the losses resulting from the fire, it is a much better idea to prevent these fires from happening. Read on to find out some of the most common causes of household fires.

Cooking-Related Fires

Fires related to cooking make up about 50% of household fires. These fires usually come as a result of the stove or oven overheating grease. When it hits a certain temperature, grease becomes extremely flammable and can combust even without coming into contact with flames. Fire that results from grease is also difficult to smother. To prevent such a fire, ensure that you never leave the kitchen unattended when cooking oily, fatty foods are when oil is used in your food.

Fires Resulting from Heating Appliances

Some heating appliances are prone to causing fires, including home space heaters and baseboard heaters. Fires occur if combustibles are left near these heaters. Cooling and heating appliances have also caused a considerable number of household fires. If your heater requires fuel like kerosene, you have to make sure you keep an eye on it as the heater can explode or ignite if homeowners are negligent. Furthermore, electrical heaters can also cause fires if there are problems with the electrical wiring.

Fires from Electrical Faults

Electrical faults in the wiring of the home can also result in fires. These fires usually occur due to short circuits which ignite the surrounding materials. If the circuit is overloaded, the wires will overheat, resulting in a higher chance of a household fire. Ensure that these circuits are checked and maintained regularly to lower the chances of such a fire.

Smoking

Smoking is not only hazardous to health, but it can also even potentially cause household fires. When cigarette butts are not properly disposed of, they can catch fire. The most dangerous thing to avoid is smoking in bed. One single stray ash has the power to ignite the carpet, the blanket, the mattress and more, making the home prone to household fires. If needed, smoke outside or smoke over the basin.

Candles

Candles are also one of the common causes of household fires. Combustible materials are fabrics near the candle can catch fire if there are strong winds, or if left unattended. Furthermore, lighters or matchsticks used to light these candles up are also highly flammable. If you have a candle at home, you should keep it at least 12 inches away from materials that have a risk of igniting.

In the case that a household fire has broken out, after you have contacted the fire department, you should also contact professionals for fire damage repair and restoration. SERVPRO has a team of experts that can help to quickly assess the situation and carry out the necessary repair works. We respond quickly to calls for help, and also provide a 24-hour emergency service. Feel free to contact us to find out more about our fire damage repair and restoration!

How To Protect Your Home From Hurricane Damage

4/16/2021 (Permalink)

What Are The Main Causes Of Hurricane Damage?

Although hurricanes are necessary to sustain our ecosystem, they are life-threatening and destructive. Better understand more about the different types of hurricane damage and how you can better protect your home against hurricanes in future.

What Are Hurricanes?

The characteristics of a hurricane are storms that rotate rapidly with strong winds, a spiral arrangement thunderstorm with heavy rain, closed low-level atmospheric circulation with a low-pressure center. They are part of Mother Nature’s way to sustain our ecosystem but can prove to be highly destructive.

Hurricane damages can result in physical, economic, or emotional hardships. Some of the most destructive and well-known hurricanes are called Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Harvey. Both hurricanes caused property damage worth a total of $125 billion.

Types of Damage Caused by Hurricanes

  • While windy days are highly welcomed, especially on hot summer days, strong hurricane winds have enough power to uproot trees and other types of debris. When picked up by the hurricane wind, it can send them hurling through the air at dangerously high-speed.
  • Storm surges are known as one of the deadliest damages by hurricanes. In an analysis of tropical cyclones which have occurred between 1963 to 2012. Storm surges are caused by strong wind which causes the sea levels to rise rapidly, pummeling and engulfing anything in its path.
  • Flooding is a result of the prolonged rainfall that often comes with hurricanes. The most significant floods were caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. They hold a record of cause floods that go up to 50 inches high. This is extremely damaging to vehicles, vegetation, and lower-level buildings.
  • With the speed of hurricane winds, multiple small tornado paths may be created. Again, this causes trees or even homes to be uprooted, creating even more windborne debris.

How to Protect Your Home from Hurricane Damages

It is important to proactively protect your home from potential hurricane damages. If there is an impending hurricane, board up your windows and be sure to stock up on items such as generator fuel and emergency supplies. If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, look out for hurricane prep lists to check what you are missing. Other ways of protecting your home includes installing impact windows and doors.

What Can SERVPRO Do for You?

SERVPRO of West Somerset County is always prepared for the likelihood of responding to flooding incidents resulting from severe storm events. We have acquired the industry’s leading tools and equipment to properly address flood damages that may span up to thousands of square feet.

Our water restoration teams have also traveled to coastline townships to assist in drying and repairing homes after Hurricanes Sandy and Irene. If your home has been hit by a hurricane or a flood, you can depend on SERVPRO to respond immediately. Our highly trained specialists are available 24 hours, seven days a week to assist you.

Time is of the essence when it comes to water damages

Understanding Fire Damage Restoration Processes

4/16/2021 (Permalink)

Meta: As a homeowner, it is important to be prepared. Find out more about fire damage restoration processes to understand and react swiftly if a fire occurs in your property.

Understanding Fire Damage Restoration Processes

You should never try to attempt fire damage restoration after a fire has occurred. To ensure that your home is safe again, it is important to reach out to a professional fire damage restoration professional to carry out the proper fire restoration process required. As a homeowner, it is important to understand how these processes are carried out.

Confirmation That Property Has Stabilized

The first step to a professional remediation process is to check if the property has stabilized enough for safe entry. A professional will check for signs of damage to the home’s structure and inspect the property carefully from the outside before opening the door. It would be advisable to wait for an inspector to consider the property safe to enter before you do so.

Damage Control

Be cautious of soot stains, rust, corrosion, mold, mildew, and the air quality in the home. Even after the fire has been extinguished, smoke and soot can cause further damage to your home.

  • Soot stains are caused by soot which adheres to the surface and discoloration occurs. Depending on material and time elapsed, soot stains may be removable while soot stains may be permanent for other materials.
  • Mold and mildew form quickly after a fire has occurred due to the fire extinguishing process. If there has been signs of water damage, proper damage restoration processes should be implemented as soon as possible to minimize further damage.
  • Rust and corrosion refer to the risk of any metals that become oxidized after interacting with water. This is important to take note of small electronics with metal. If components in the electronics corrode, please notify your restoration specialist.
  • Air quality is one of the areas which professionals focus on, especially when lingering odors are detected. Smoke damage cleanup is often done with the use of an air scrubber and air mover.

Removal of Items Damaged Beyond Repair

For personal possessions that have been damaged beyond repair, they should be removed with extra caution by a professional. This is especially important for electrical appliances or machines. Conversely, items that have not been damaged by the fire should be removed as well to prevent further contamination.

Cleanup Excess Water and Wet Surfaces

Standing water needs to be cleaned up as soon as possible because water may damage your walls or flooring.

Deodorizing, Deep Cleaning, and Stain Removal Begins

Once the damage has been assessed, professionals will begin the appropriate damage restoration process for the property. Taking into consideration the level of damage, they should consult with you to work out the level of priority to work with and you should receive regular updates from them.

Why Work With SERVPRO?

Immediate action is crucial when dealing with fire damage. If you have experienced fire damage to your home in West Somerset County, reach out to us immediately. Our highly trained fire restoration specialists will be dispatched as soon as possible to assist you. Time saved in getting a response team on site equates to lesser damage caused to your property. If you would like to find out more, contact us today!

Clearing Dust In Ducts Can Aid Mold Prevention

4/1/2021 (Permalink)

Are you dealing with mold in your home? In this article, we will explain how clearing dust in vents and ducts can aid mold prevention. Read on to find out more.

It is common for homeowners to deal with mold in their vents and ducts. Having a mold problem in the home is not only unsightly and annoying, but it can also cause reduce the quality of life for those who are living there. However, it is not easy to get rid of a mold infestation. This is why it is crucial to prevent mold from growing in the first place. In this article, we will explain how clearing dust in vents and ducts can aid mold prevention. Read on to find out more.

Importance of Cleaning Vents and Ducts

If you own an HVAC system, you might be familiar with how easily mold colonies can form in the vents and ducts. An HVAC system that is not cleaned regularly and has humidity issues provides mold with the ideal environment to thrive. When mold starts growing in the vents and ducts, it is possible that the mold growth can spread an unpleasant odor to the adjacent rooms. As time passes, the mold may be able to spread across the entire ductwork in the home. This will greatly affect the indoor air quality which will reduce the level of comfort in your home.

Causes of Mold in Vents and Ducts

Mold grows well in moist conditions. Vents and ducts are especially prone to moisture accumulation when cold air travels through them. Due to the area being enclosed, the water in the vents and ducts starts collecting instead of evaporating. With dead skin cells, dust, and other dirt, the vents and ducts become very suitable for mold to grow.

Identifying Mold in Vents

In some cases, you can see mold growth in the form of black streaks in the vents and around ducts. However, mold growth can also be hidden from plain sight. If you smell a musty odor, it is a sign that there is mold growing in your home. In addition, as the air quality becomes poorer, an even bigger problem may just be waiting to form. You may eventually realize that the comfort level in your home is slowly deteriorating.

How to Keep Vents and Ducts Clear

To keep the vents and ducts clear, condensation must be reduced in the ductwork. You can do so by insulating the air ducts. To increase the rate of evaporation and prevent water from pooling, try placing dehumidifiers near vents and ducts. For a greater peace of mind, consider getting a professional mold prevention and removal company to conduct a check on your ductwork annually.

Professional Mold Prevention and Removal

SERVPRO provides professional mold prevention and removal services. Our team is highly trained and experienced in dealing with mold using specialized mold remediation equipment. With our commitment, you can trust us to restore your home if there is a suspected a mold problem. Contact us today to let us know how we can help you.

Top Tips To Remove Offensive Odors in Your Home

4/1/2021 (Permalink)

Sometimes, offensive odors may pop up in your home. As long as you live in your house and use the amenities within it, it is normal for odors to occur time to time. To prevent such odors from happening, you can consider engaging cleaning services to ensure that your home is always kept spick and span, reducing the chances of odor. However, if they do occur, here are some tips to remove them.

Hacks for Odors in Your House

Sometimes, odors are stubborn and will reach every corner of your home. Here are some hacks you can try to get rid of it.

  • Opening the windows: if the weather is good, open the windows to facilitate cross-ventilation and to get the fresh air blowing into your home. This can help to air out the room and remove odors.
  • Cut lemons up and place them in inconspicuous spots: Lemons are a natural deodorizer and gets rid of bad odors. They also leave a fragrant, fruity aroma.
  • Dab vanilla or essential oil on a light bulb: This creates a mini diffuser that is effective for hours. This works great to soothe and to keep bad odors out.
  • Sprinkle some baking soda on your carpets: After you sprinkle them, leave it there for at least two hours. Baking soda can help to absorb bad smells and is easy to clean up with vacuum cleaners. This is also a good idea for other types of textiles and upholstery.
  • Soak a hand towel in white vinegar and wring it: Bring the towel along as you walk through your home, and wave the towel about. Although it seems silly, vinegar is effective in getting rid of bad odors, and can even eliminate the smell of cigarette smoke.

Laundry Room Odors

Odors can also come from specific rooms in your home. One possible place could be the laundry room, where the dirty clothes could emanate a stench. In order to get rid of the stench in the laundry room and to ensure that it is kept fresh, you can clean your washer by running a hot wash. Do this when the machine is empty. Then, fill up the fabric softener dispenser with white vinegar. This is effective in keeping the musty smell at bay. When the washer is not in use, the washer lid should be kept open to prevent odors from developing. This can also help keep your clothes smelling fresh.

Kitchen Odors

Kitchen odors can come from several places like your refrigerator, the trash, or the oven. If your refrigerator has not been cleaned in a long time, it is time to give it a good cleanse. Throw out food that has gone bad and wipe down your fridge every once in a while to get rid of any food spills that may have happened in the fridge. You should also aim to clean the oven every time you use it, and this can be done with a cloth and mildly soapy water after the oven has cooled.

Are you finding ways to remove odors from your home? Odors can happen anywhere inside your house, and it may be difficult to completely eliminate it if you do not know how. In order to prevent these odors, you can look into engaging cleaning services to ensure that every corner of your home is clean, reducing the chances of these offensive odors. SERVPRO has a team of cleaning pros that use the right equipment and techniques to ensure that your house is always clean. Feel free to contact us to find out more about our cleaning services today!

Did Storm Damage Destroy Your Roof?

3/10/2021 (Permalink)

Did Storm Damage Destroy Your Roof?

Your home’s roof is constantly exposed to the elements and bears the brunt of seasonal changes and harsh weather conditions. To ensure that your roof stays in good condition, it is vital to check on it, especially in the aftermath of weather events like storms. A strong storm can inflict various kinds of storm damage on the roof. Signs of such damage include wet walls, water spots on the ceiling, faulty or missing roof shingles and damaged roof flashing. If left unchecked, even something as small as a leak can cause more serious damage to the roof and your home’s interior, i.e. water damage. Here are some types of roof damage to look out for after a storm has occurred.

Damage by Wind

Strong windstorms can cause damage to your shingles, puncturing them, removing them, or even just lifting them off a little. When this happens, spots are left open in your roof and leaks can occur through them when it rains. Additionally, flashing can go missing along the edges of the roof, skylights, chimneys, and vents. Windstorms can also cause debris to fall onto your roof and damage it. It is important to conduct a complete assessment of your roof after a strong windstorm occurs, as damage caused by such storms are usually not always apparent.

Damage by Hail

Come spring and fall, hail tends to be the most common reason behind roof damage. Hailstorms can create holes and dings in your roof, especially in asphalt shingles. These can give rise to more serious problems immediately. However, hail is also capable of causing less obvious damage that may go undiscovered until it becomes severe enough to give rise to more damage.

Damage by Rain

Damage caused by rainstorms is the most common and obvious type of storm damage that can happen to your roof. The integrity of your roof is challenged when the internal layers of your roof get exposed to moisture. This gives way to a host of other problems such as decay, mold, leaks, and structural damage, all of which are indicators of damage caused by rain. Such problems may mean that you need to replace your roof soon.

It is imperative that you inspect your roof for damages after a storm has occurred. However, it can sometimes be hard to spot signs of damage because they are not always obvious. Professional roofing experts can help you spot these signs of damage and fix them promptly. In fact, the National Roofing Contractors Association recommends that homeowners enlist the services of professional roofing experts at least twice a year to inspect their roof. It is hence imperative that you act on it as fast as you can after a storm occurs. At SERVPRO of Lower Manhattan, our storm damage specialists understand how to look out for damage on your roof and can help you fix issues before it is too late. Contact our team of professionals, who can advise you on how best to protect your roof and your home from future storms.

Top Tips For Storm Damage Recovery

3/10/2021 (Permalink)

It is easy to be overwhelmed by what is left to tackle after the storm has hit you hard. Do not despair as help is on its way. First and foremost, prepare yourself for what is about to come up next to be able to handle the storm damage aftermath with grace and great knowledge.

Educating Yourself

Be sure to know your rights and what you are entitled to as a homeowner. Since you first moved into your current house, have you ever had a need to replace the roof and how many occasions have you ever followed up with an insurance claim?

Always know how and when to file a claim. After the disaster situation has settled, contact your insurer to find out what your options are. Notify them of your current state and what are the subsequent steps to be taken before a claim can be made. Do not hesitate to get into details by inquiring regarding every aspect of your insurance coverage including any reports, cash value, deductibles, depreciation, and more.

Selecting a Contractor

This is not the time to be naïve especially when there are plenty of people out there waiting to take advantage of your vulnerable situation. Just about anyone can claim that they are a contractor. Thus, adequate research is necessary to ensure you get ahold of a licensed contractor who is certified to work within your city with necessary permits on hand.

Assessing the Damage

Look around every nook and cranny of your property to roughly estimate the scale of the losses as an entirety. Inspect your front and back yards as well for damages incurred on any structures or furniture pieces. If your vehicle had been parked outside, consider that as a separate section out of your total damages as its insurance claim will fall under a different category.

Filing the Claim

Once you are confident that the situation is well under control, go ahead and file the loss claim. This warrants an adjuster to pay a visit to the damaged property to assess the losses thoroughly. An evaluation report will be generated to be submitted to your insurer for a reimbursement. Once the settlement amount is well underway, it is time to launch the restoration project. The earlier you get the contractor starting work on your property, the faster you can settle down and allow things to fall back into place like before.

Remember that you are not alone! Never let yourself fall into an even bigger predicament by allowing the problem to drag on and cause your property condition to deteriorate further. Take control and take matters into your own hands! Nothing is impossible with professional help around.

Here at SERVPRO, our experts understand that time is of the essence when dealing with storm damage. Work with our team of professionals to formulate a plan to get your storm damage problems well under control to get you back on track! 

What Are Crime Scene Cleaners Trained To Do?

3/10/2021 (Permalink)

Oftentimes, accident and crime scenes have biohazard and blood contaminants that pose a serious health risk. For this reason, it is necessary to ensure that the affected area is kept clean and restored to a safe and clean state. Crime scene cleanup involves so much more than just cleaning body tissues and fluids that are left behind after a violent assault or homicide. As a matter of fact, there have been many terms used to describe this industry. One such term is “biohazard remediation”- a term used to show that crime scene cleanup involves cleaning a wide range of contamination issues. Discussed below are some of the many projects that fall under the job scope of crime scene cleaners.

Biohazard Cars

When a car is referred to as a biohazard, it may mean residues of blood and other body fluids have been found inside. Such residues reduce the car’s resale value since nobody wants to buy a pathogen-carrying car and put themselves at risk. Regardless of the amount of air freshener you use, the bottom line is you will need professional biohazard cleaners to help with thorough cleaning and deodorization.

Industrial Accidents

Workplace deaths and injuries can happen anytime and to anyone. Most employees lack the knowhow on how to manage such complex cleanup procedures. Various residues and blood spills can spray into inventory containers, ventilation systems and machinery parts. Due to this, ensure you look for certified cleanup and restoration technicians that are compliant with OSHA regarding the cleanup of biohazard worksites.

Mold Cleanup

Any property with a water source can rapidly become infested with mold and pose health effects to the occupants. If you suspect your home or property is infested with mold, act immediately and contact certified mold remediation specialists to get your property restored thoroughly and quickly.

Unattended Death

An unattended death refers to an occurrence where a person unexpectedly passes on outside a doctor’s supervision. This could be due to various reasons. When this happens and the body is not discovered for a long time, it starts decomposing releasing unpleasant tissue and fluids that need to be cleaned up. In this case, cleaning might require removal of drywall, subflooring, or carpet to reach leaks embedded within the structure. SERVPRO of West Somerset County technicians will properly and thoroughly sanitize your property to prevent pest and mold infestations.

Contact SERVPRO of West Somerset County for Professional Crime Scene Cleaners!

All our technicians observe IICRC standards for cleaning and restoration. We use advanced techniques and technology to restore your property back to preloss state more effectively and quickly. We offer faster 24-hour emergency service to most disasters, hence you do not have to worry about us being available only during business hours.

What Should You Discard After Fire Damage?

3/10/2021 (Permalink)

What Should You Discard After Fire Damage?

One of the hardest things to do after you have had a fire in your home is deciding what to salvage and what to discard. Generally speaking, most homeowners will want to save as much as they can for both financial and sentimental reasons. Items such as furniture and other household items can often be salvaged and repaired. However, there are some items that can pose a serious risk to your health if you attempted to salvage them. Here are some of the items that you should discard after fire damage in your home.

Medicine and Cosmetics

Medicine and cosmetics are made from various chemicals that can be affected by heat. In most cases, the heat from the fire will alter the chemical composition of these items and change the way they react with your body. For this reason, it is critical to inspect your medicine cabinet for any sign that it was affected by the fire. If you notice that some of the cosmetic or drug containers are burnt or seared, make sure that you discard them immediately. It is also important to remember that the heat from the fire could cause changes to the chemical composition of your medicine even if the storage area was not directly affected by the fire. For this reason, it might be wise to simply err on the side of caution and discard the medicine anyway.  

Non-Perishable Food Items

Just like with the chemicals, heat from the fire could cause changes in the food items that could affect non-perishable food items. If the food items are in containers that are not sealed (or in thin containers such as paper cartons), it makes sense to discard them. This is also because such food items might have been exposed to fire fighting chemicals that could make them unfit for human consumption. If the food items are in containers that are sturdy and sealed, they might have a better chance of surviving the fire intact. However, carefully inspect such food containers for even the slightest sign of charring or warping. If any is detected, discard the food items immediately. As with medicine, it is safer to discard the food than run the risk of exposing your family to food poisoning.

Perishable Food Items

If you have non-refrigerated perishable products that have been left exposed for too long, it is safer to dispose of them than to try to save them. Perishables such as chicken or fish are particularly dangerous and eating contaminated meat can have life-threatening consequences. If your fridge was not affected by the fire and never went off, it is probably safe to keep the food items inside. Even if the fridge was off for a while, this should not be a major problem.

Most refrigerators can still keep food fresh for a couple of hours even when switched off. However, you need to carry out a careful assessment of the food to ensure that it is still fresh. If the food items are smelly or have acquired an unusual color, it is best to dispose of them as soon as possible. If fire or smoke had penetrated the fridge, then there is a chance that the temperature of the fridge was significantly raised. This means that any food product that was in the refrigerator has probably gone bad and should be disposed of immediately.     

Careful assessment of various items after fire damage will help you determine what can be saved and what is to be disposed of. With the items listed above, however, it might be safer to replace them rather than risk health complications. If you are feeling confused after a fire incident at your Hoboken home, reach out to SERVPRO of Hoboken/Union City. We have the expertise and experience to get your home up and functional again.

Home Fire Detector Safety Tips to Know

1/27/2021 (Permalink)

Home Fire Detector Safety Tips To Know

Installing home fire detectors helps you feel safe from a possible fire. However, do not only rely on the original detectors that came together with your house. Research has shown that with modern furnishings today, fires can spread much quicker than in the past when mainly natural materials were used. Hence, it is important to have adequate fire alarms that are located properly so as to maximize the escape time during a fire. 

Although the old rule was placing one detector on each level, homes built to former standards do not usually meet that minimum requirement. Fire detection needs have evolved over time and it is essential to take certain steps to ensure that all homes have a sufficient complement of fire alarms.

Where to Place Fire Detectors

A majority of fatal fires happen in the early morning or late at night when everyone is asleep. Therefore, it is recommended to place the smoke detectors on every level and in every bedroom that is occupied. You should also add one detector to the laundry room. However, do consider how you use your home and where higher risks lie. If your basement is refinished, do place interconnected detectors downstairs too. 

In the kitchen, install the fire detector further away from the stove so as to avoid false alarms. It is recommended to place them on the ceiling. If you have to mount the smoke detector on the wall, make sure it is installed less than 12 inches away from the ceiling to ensure that fires will be accurately detected. It is also advised to not rely too much on detectors in dusty places such as garages and attics.  

Current Technology 

A dual sensor is a combination of both photoelectric and ionization smoke detectors. Photoelectric ones are more effective at picking up smoldering and slow-building fires, such as those that are caused by a lit cigarette. On the other hand, ionization detectors are more efficient in picking up sudden combustible fires with large flames. 

To achieve the most ideal safety and protection, it is recommended to go with the dual sensor. Since you may not know what kind of fire will spark, having both detectors will give you an early warning and allow you to have sufficient time to react and take action.  

Heed Those Chirps

Home fire detectors can be very effective, but the most effective detectors in the best locations will only protect you if they are maintained properly. In cases of home fires where the fire alarms were present but not operating, many of the alarms had disconnected or missing batteries. 

As a fire detector is constantly filtering the air in your home, maintenance is extremely important. Many detectors come with a “chirping” alert to notify you when the battery is running low, so do pay attention to that. It is also recommended to change the batteries every year, test the fire detectors minimally once a month, and replace old detectors every ten years. 

Whenever your property suffers from fire damage, you can contact SERVPRO of West Somerset County for assistance and advice. Our SERVPRO team has the accreditation, training, and expertise to safely restore both your property and valuables while safeguarding the health of your family. We understand the importance of a swift response for mitigation, reconstruction, and recovery, and are committed to ensuring that your home will be restored in the best way possible after a fire incident.