A Salute to First Responders
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” This famous Mr. Rogers quote comes to mind when we celebrate first responders: those who arrive first on the scene of any disaster or emergency.
In the event of a disaster or emergency, there are many different agencies and people in your community who are ready to respond. Whether it’s a house fire or a hurricane, we are thankful every day for these first responders.
Firefighters, EMTs, and Police
Local fire and police departments, as well as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), are often first on the scene of an emergency. In the U.S., there are more than 29,700 fire departments with 1,160,450 total firefighters, according to the National Fire Protection Association’s 2015 U.S. Fire Department Profile.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are almost 245,000 EMTs and paramedics in the U.S. In the U.S. there are about 18,000 federal, state, county, and local law enforcement agencies, employing more than 750,000 fulltime sworn officers, according to the Uniformed Crime Reporting Program collected by the FBI.
When events such as natural disasters strike, different branches of the military are often a first line of response. The Army National Guard and Air National Guard, with over 342,000 soldiers, respond domestically when deployed by their state Governor, often during states of emergency from weather-related events. They can also be called upon during terrorist attacks or civil unrest, or called overseas by the President of the United States.
Active duty soldiers can also be called upon for certain domestic events as well.
FEMA Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
As a part of FEMA’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), these volunteers are trained to be prepared for any disasters that may affect your local area in an effort to support professional responders. CERT volunteers are trained in “basic disaster response skills such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations,” according to FEMA.
With more than 2,700 CERT programs, over 600,000 individuals have been trained nationwide. Teams are managed locally, but supported nationally by FEMA.
SERVPRO® of Douglasville recognizes these and the countless other first responders in our communities for keeping our communities safe.
*Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 29, Iss 4
Hoarding: A Serious Situation
According to The Mayo Clinic, “Hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. A person with hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items. Excessive accumulation of items, regardless of actual value, occurs.” Many people with hoarding disorder do not find their habits to be a problem.
Hoarded items are often things others would throw away or look at as junk or garbage such as old newspapers, junk mail or packaging.
Hoarding can lead to homes filled with extreme clutter to full capacity from years of accumulation, making living conditions unsanitary and crowded. Bugs, fleas, rats and other vermin may be present, at which point an exterminator would need to be called. At times, hoarding may spread to outside the home as well, to storage facilities, or even the garage or yard.
SERVPRO® of Douglasville encounters hoarding situations several different ways. Often, SERVPRO® of Douglasville is called for a fire or water loss and find the hoarding situation when they arrive on-site. One of our trained professionals will communicate with the insurance company regarding their contents coverage, and after approval, contents can be packed out and possibly cleaned, dried, and stored by SERVPRO® of Douglasville, or relocated to a storage facility so work on the fire or water loss can begin.
Another way SERVPRO® of Douglasville encounters hoarding jobs is through calls from landlords, case workers, real estate agents, or family members, often after the death of a loved one. In these situations, the crew will see if they should look for any items of importance while they clean the job. Sometimes, family members will come and try to help the hoarder sort through their contents as well.
Each case is very different, and hoarding jobs are often sensitive situations, but SERVPRO® of Douglasville is here to help make it “Like it never even happened.” If you encounter a hoarding situation at one of your properties, or with your insureds, call SERVPRO® of Douglasville today at 770-489-5659.
Severe Weather Safety
Severe weather can happen any time, anywhere. Each year, Americans cope with an average of the following intense storms*:
- 10,000 severe thunderstorms
- 5,000 floods or flash floods
- 1,300 tornadoes
- 2 land-falling deadly hurricanes
Approximately 98 percent of all presidentially declared disasters are weather-related, leading to around 650 deaths per year and nearly $15 billion in damage.* Knowing your risk of severe weather, taking action, and being an example are just a few steps you can take to be better prepared to save your life and assist in saving the lives of others.
Know Your Risk.
The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you, your business, and your family. Check the weather forecast regularly, obtain a NOAA Weather Radio, and learn about Wireless Emergency Alerts. Severe weather comes in many forms, and your shelter plan should include all types of local hazards.
Take the next step in severe weather preparedness by creating a communications plan for your home and business. Put together or purchase an emergency kit. Keep important papers and valuables in a safe place.
Be an Example.
Once you have taken action to prepare for severe weather, share your story with co-workers and family and friends on Facebook or Twitter. Your preparedness story will inspire others to do the same.
Contact SERVPRO® of Douglasville for more readiness tips and tools, including SERVPRO’s Emergency READY Profile® (ERP). Having an ERP in place for your facility can help minimize business interruption in the event of a disaster.
SERVPRO® of Douglasville can help you be “Ready for whatever happens!”
*Facts and figures provided by noaa.gov
**Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 29, Iss 3
Did You Know...Generator Safety
If you have a generator on hand for power outages during severe weather, follow the safety tips below from the American Red Cross:
- Never use a generator, grill, camp stove, or other gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawl space, or any partially enclosed area.
- To avoid electrocution, keep the generator dry and do not use in rain or wet conditions. Operate it on a dry surface under an open canopy-like structure, such as under a tarp held up on poles. Do not touch the generator with wet hands.
- Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent carbon monoxide (CO) buildup in the home. Although CO can’t be seen or smelled, it can rapidly lead to full incapacitation and death. Even if you cannot smell exhaust fumes, you may still be exposed to CO. If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air immediately.
- Install CO alarms in central locations on every level of your home or property and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.
Do You Know What To Do When a Flood Happens?
Floods are one of the most common and widespread natural disasters in the United States. Whether your home or business is near a coastline, along city streets, in the mountains, near a river, or even in the desert—there is always potential for flood damage. Fema.gov reports in the last 5 years, all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods. Just because you haven’t experienced a flood in the past does not mean you won’t in the future. In fact, nearly 20% of all flood insurance claims come from moderate-to-low risk areas, and even just one inch of flood damage in an average home can cost you up to $27,000.*
According to the American Red Cross, floods cause more damage in the U.S. every year than any other weather related disaster. The American Red Cross offers the following flood safety tips.
- Stay away from floodwaters. If you come up on a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around, and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.
- If you approach a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
- Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.
If a flood does strike your home or business, contact SERVPRO® of Douglasville at 770-489-5659. Even minor floods have the potential to cause major damage to a structure when not treated quickly and properly, and the cleanup is often an overwhelming task. The SERVPRO® System is prepared to handle any sized disaster. When fire and water take control of your life, SERVPRO® of Douglasville will help you take it back.
*Facts and figures provided by fema.gov
**Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 29, Iss 3
When Water Damage Strikes
The first 24 hours following a water loss are the most important in preventing secondary or permanent damage. Within four hours of loss notification, SERVPRO® of Douglasville will be on-site to help ensure a water damage is handled by completing the following steps.
SERVPRO® of Douglasville will inspect affected areas to determine the extent of water damage and will review the inspection with you to answer any questions before beginning any work.
SERVPRO® of Douglasville will take steps to help protect your home or business, as well as personal belongings and other contents, from further damage by extracting the excess water and preparing the area for drying. They will explain the needed emergency services to you step-by-step.
To help ensure your home or business and belongings are dried to appropriate industry standards, SERVPRO® of Douglasville will monitor the drying process. The updates will be consistently communicated to you.
SERVPRO® of Douglasville's team of professionals will repair structural materials, reinstall carpets, and clean affected areas of your property and belongings. A final walk-through of the job-site will be conducted with you to help ensure the property was returned to preloss condition.
EMERGENCY WATER DAMAGE TIPS
- Shut off the water source if possible or contact a qualified party to stop the water source.
- Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building when access to the power distribution panel is safe from electrical shock.
- Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting.
- Place aluminium foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
- Move any paintings, art objects, computers, documents, and other sensitive valuables to a dry place.
- Don’t enter affected areas if electrical outlets, switches, circuit breakers, or electrical equipment are exposed to water. Always avoid electrical shock hazards.
- Don’t use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water; this could cause electrical shock or damage to the vacuum cleaner.
- Don’t turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet or enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.
For more information on recovering from water damage, contact SERVPRO® of Douglasville today - 770-489-5659.
*Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 29, Iss 3
While there is no way to completely eliminate all of the molds and mold spores in your home, there are some steps you can take to control the amount of moisture and subsequent mold growth. While this isn’t an exhaustive list, the following are several ways to accomplish moisture control.
One way is to stop any water that could creep into your home. Fixing any leaks from appliances, pipes, or supply lines; using waterproof or water-resistant materials such as tiles, deep-sealed concrete, galvanized/stainless steel hardware, etc.; using moisture barriers over exposed dirt and having proper ventilation in crawl spaces to prevent water from the ground; and making sure gutters are properly cleaned and maintained are ways to prevent unwanted water from invading your home. Keeping this water out is key to preventing microbial growth.
Another is to keep it clean. Fabrics that are not cleaned regularly and kept in well ventilated places will breed mildew. Mold and mildew thrives in soiled, damp places. Dirty duct work can cause mold spores to circulate throughout your home without you really noticing.
The next thing to remember is to keep it dry. Using dehumidifiers, fans, and opening windows, especially during hot weather, to regulate the humidity levels in your home help inhibit the ability of mold to grow. It is ideal to keep humidity levels below 40% and reduce potential for condensation on cold surfaces by insulating around them.
Disinfecting surfaces regularly can prevent microbial growth from occurring or returning. A 10% bleach solution – 1 ¼ - 1 ½ cup bleach to a gallon of water – or a commercial disinfectant is recommended by FEMA to be most effective in removing/preventing microbial growth.
If you do find yourself with mold in your home, trust a certified professional, like SERVPRO of Douglasville, to remove it properly.
*information courtesy of FEMA Mold & Mildew Guide
The Mold Remediation Process
Every mold damage scenario is different and requires a unique solution, but the general mold remediation process stays the same. The steps listed below illustrate our “typical” process:
- Emergency Contact - (770) 489-5659
The mold cleanup and restoration process begins when you call us. Our representative will ask a series of questions to help us determine the necessary equipment, resources, and personnel.
- Inspection and Mold Damage Assessment
We carefully inspect your property for visible signs of mold. Mold feeds on cellulose and water and can be hidden from plain view. We use various technologies to detect mold and hidden water sources.
- Mold Containment
Our professionals use various containment procedures to prevent the spread of mold. We may use advanced containment procedures like negative air chambers to isolate the contaminated area with physical barriers and negative air pressure to keep the mold spores from spreading during the cleanup process. All fans and heating and cooling systems will be turned off to prevent the spread of mold.
- Air Filtration
Our specialized filtration equipment allows our Professionals to capture microscopic mold spores out of the air. We utilize powerful “air scrubbers” and HEPA vacuums to prevent the spread of these mold spores while the mold remediation is in process.
- Removing Mold and Mold-Infested Materials
The mold remediation process depends on the amount of mold growth and the types of surfaces on which the mold appears. We’ll use antifungal and antimicrobial treatments to eliminate mold colonies and to help prevent new colonies from forming. It may be necessary to remove and dispose of mold-infested porous materials, like drywall and carpeting, to remediate heavy mold growth.
- Cleaning Contents and Belongings
We clean your furniture, decorative items, curtains, clothing, and other restorable items affected by mold. We use a variety of cleaning techniques to clean and disinfect your belongings. We’re also trained to remove odors and deodorization using fogging equipment.
Depending on the level of mold damage, drywall, subfloors, and other building materials may have been removed. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new carpet; or it may entail major repairs such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business. The restoration step gets your home or business back to normal.
Trust the professionals at SERVPRO of Douglasville to help with any mold remediation needs.
Understanding the Fire Restoration Process
The fire restoration process should be started as quickly as possible following a fire damage. The longer you wait to contact a certified restoration company, the more likely it is for damage from water and smoke to intensify. It’s bad enough there was a fire, but the water and chemicals used to extinguish it can cause secondary damage. The remnants will continue to do damage long after the flames are extinguished.
The average person will attempt conventional cleaning methods like renting a steam cleaner and using common cleaning agents available at the store. Unfortunately, this will barely make an impact on the problem and could cause bigger issues. Chemical agents could react with the residue and cause permanent damage, and in some cases, they may cause toxic fumes. Fire damage cleanup is one of the most difficult jobs out there, and it should be left to a professional for the best results.
Let SERVPRO of Douglasville be your certified professional when facing your own fire damage. We will walk you through the process step by step to ensure that your home is properly restored. Our team of professionals is available 24/7 to help you put your life back together and restore your normal as much as possible.
Call us today at 770-489-5659.
Smoke Damage Cleaning
Smoke damage cleaning is, perhaps, the most complicated form of treatment for a homeowner to accomplish themselves. Not only does it take a thorough approach and deep remediation of nearly every surface in the building, it can only be done effectively if the areas behind the building’s walls receive treatment as well. This is a massive challenge to anyone but certified professionals, as these experts have the know-how, manpower and equipment to complete the task properly. SERVPRO of Douglasville is your local expert in smoke damage cleaning and restoration.
Once the fire dies out, the problem is only beginning. Soot and smoke have a tendency to get everywhere, and these particles are so small that they can pass through walls effortlessly. They will also cake onto furniture, countertops, floors and walls if not dealt with right away, causing discoloration and overpowering odors. Smoke damage cleaning has to address both issues to be completely effective.
The professionals at SERVPRO of Douglasville are certified through the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) and have the expertise and materials needed to do the job right. With powerful treatment solutions, the soot and smoke can be removed during a deep scrubbing of the building. Professionals have access to thermal fogging technology to take care of the odors emanating from behind walls. The thermal fogging produces a cloud of odor neutralizing particles that can go where the smoke does.
*Information courtesy of https://www.IICRC.org/blog/tag/smoke-damage-restoration