Biohazard, Crime Scene, and Vandalism Cleanup
Recognized as a leading fire and water cleanup and restoration provider by hundreds of insurance companies, SERVPRO® of Douglasville also offers fast, reliable biohazard and crime scene cleanup* and restoration services to residential and commercial property owners.
Exposure to biological and chemical contaminants can pose serious health consequences for building occupants, employees, customers, and owners. A failure to properly handle and safely remove such hazardous substances can contribute to unhealthy and even dangerous environments.
SERVPRO® of Douglasville professionals are trained to safely and effectively remove biohazardous substances and prepare waste for proper disposal according to OSHA, EPA, and state and local health regulations.
Equipped with the necessary safety equipment and cleaning products, SERVPRO® of Douglasville helps turn unsafe environments into clean, safe homes and offices.
SERVPRO® of Douglasville can help with the following issues:
- Bloodborne Pathogens
- Methamphetamine Labs
- Crime Scene Residues
- Sewage Backups
- Black Water Intrusions
- Mold Mitigation and Remediation
State and local regulations vary. Contact SERVPRO® of Douglasville today at 770-489-5659 for 24-hour emergency service.
*Services vary by location
**Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 29, Iss 6
Is your business ready for winter?
It’s official, winter is upon us and it’s exactly the time of year where you should be thinking about how you’re going to protect your business against burst pipes and leaks during the colder months of the year.
Burst pipes are not only expensive to repair, but it could close your business if it causes a lot of damage and you’re not able to stay open. It’s especially important to make sure all your exposed pipes are lagged if you close over the Christmas period so you don’t come back to a flooded business in the New Year.
Here are 8 simple top tips to protect your business this winter.
1. Understand your water system and lag your pipes
Take the time to understand the water system in your business, this will enable you to highlight any risks. At the very least, understand where the main stop tap is into your business so you can quickly shut off the water if needed. This could save your business thousands of pounds in flood damage and lost sales if you have a burst pipe and have to close for repairs. Make sure all your pipework is lagged – especially in exposed, cold or draughty places as lagging can prevent pipes from freezing and bursting when the temperature drops.
2. Keep your heating on low, especially if you close during the Christmas period
Keeping the heating on low can prevent your pipes freezing and bursting. If you close over the Christmas period, keeping the heating on low could prevent the hassle and expense of returning to a flooded business in the New Year.
3. Make sure you have a contingency plan
Do you know what to do if you have a frozen pipe? If you have a burst? How would your business cope and could you continue to trade if you had a flood? Make sure you’ve considered all the options and have a plan in place to deal with all eventualities.
4. Communication is key
Ask your employees to flag to you if they see any issues with your water pipework and make sure they understand what to do in a water emergency.
5. Check your cover
Make sure your business is covered for any damage caused by a burst pipe. Remember, you are responsible for the maintenance of all the pipework within the boundary of your business – this includes all you internal plumbing and the underground pipe transporting water into your business from our water main - so check to make sure all this is covered on your insurance.
6. Get real time weather updates
Stay one step ahead so you can plan accordingly. Look into setting up weather alerts which inform you of any local or regional flooding and cold weather warnings.
7. Check your business for leaks
You’re paying for all the water that is recorded on your water meter so it makes good financial sense not to let any of this go to waste. Leaking taps, urinals, wash areas, hosepipes, pressure washers – over the year the cost of leaks really does add up and could be costing your business hundreds of pounds more than you need to pay. Have you experienced an increase in your bill or a drop in water pressure? Both could be early signs of a leak in your water pipework and should be investigated. It pays to make sure your pipework is in good condition before any cold snap arrives.
8. Know who to contact in an emergency
Make sure you have details to hand of who you need to contact if you have a burst so you can get this repaired as soon as possible. Your retailer may also be able to help with this, check their website to see if they offer any repair services or recommend any plumbing services.
**Courtesy of https://www.unitedutilities.com/help-and-support/Cold-weather-advice/is-your-business-ready-for-winter/
8 Things to Do After a House Fire
Moving on after a house fire can seem daunting—in fact, sometimes it can feel downright impossible. But it doesn’t have to. Knowing where to begin and who can help you is a crucial first step in putting your life back together.
If you’ve just suffered a house fire, follow these eight steps to help you and your family through this difficult time.
Find a Place to Stay
House fires are a terrifying experience, especially for children and pets. Finding a safe and comfortable place to relocate—even if it’s only for one night—will help you plan your next steps and give your family time to rest.
If staying at a hotel or with friends or family isn’t available, reach out to your local disaster relief agency like the American Red Cross or Salvation Army. Many times, these organizations can provide temporary shelter for free.
Contact Your Insurance Agent
File your claim immediately. The sooner you alert your insurance carrier, the sooner you can begin repairs or searching for a new home. Many carriers also provide help for daily expenses known as loss of use funds. These are especially useful if you lost your credit or debit cards in the fire.
Your agent can also help you find cleaning or abatement services.
Contact the Police
Empty homes—even those with fire damage—can be attractive locations for squatters and looters. Alerting local police to your fire will ensure your property remains safe during your absence. Boarding up windows and doors will provide an additional layer of security. You can tackle this job yourself or hire a pro.
The cost to board your windows will range from between $20 and $100 per window. Prices will vary based on the number and size of windows, and whether you hire a pro or not. Be sure to check with your fire department to ensure the home is safe to enter before beginning this job.
Plan Your Finances
Financial responsibilities will continue regardless of your fire. Many insurance policies cover mortgages, but it’s important to check on other recurring costs like car payments as well. Additionally, consider canceling cable and internet services if you won’t be in your home for several months. If you’re planning to front the costs of abatement, you can expect to pay between $800 and $25,300+.
It’s common to lose possessions like cooking equipment and clothing in the fire, too. Keep your receipts when replacing these items to ensure you’re quickly reimbursed. These can be pricey purchases if made at once for several family members.
Create a List of Damaged Items
Making a list of items—both big and small—that were lost or damaged in the fire will ensure you’re reimbursed. Many carriers will require detailed information like make and model, serial numbers, and receipts. This can be difficult if your home was completely destroyed or you don’t yet have access to it. If you have a computer, searching online bank statements can help you present proof of purchase and exact costs.
It’s also critical to make a list of important documents that were lost in the fire. Items like drivers’ licenses, birth certificates, passports, titles and deeds, medical records, tax information, etc., will need to be replaced immediately. Your agent will let you know which items are necessary for your claim. Replace those first.
Check on the Safety of Your Home
House fires can weaken the structural integrity of your home and leave behind noxious fumes from burned materials. If you need to return home to recover items, wait until a fire marshal has deemed the area safe. Aside from being dangerous, re-entering your home too soon can also void parts of your insurance policy—which can cause major problems when it comes to getting reimbursed later. Only enter your home once it’s deemed safe by the fire department and your insurance carrier.
Save Undamaged Possessions
If your home was partially damaged and deemed safe to re-enter, go back and remove anything that wasn’t affected by the fire. It’s also recommended to clean items after they’re removed from the house. Professional cleaning services have the experience and tools necessary to restore fire-affected items.
Many homeowners rent a storage unit to house salvageable items. Leaving possessions in your home can cause further damage and make it difficult for your abatement and repair crews to work. Most homeowners pay between $40 and $225 a month for storage units. Size and extras like climate control will affect pricing.
Wait to Turn on Utilities
In some cases, firefighters will turn off utilities to prevent further damage. If your utilities are disconnected, contact your fire department and utility provider before turning them on again. Connecting unsafe utilities can cause additional fires, gas leaks, and severe water damage. Have a professional inspect your home before attempting to turn on your utilities.
*Courtesy of https://www.thespruce.com/what-to-do-after-a-house-fire-4166008
Find mold before it becomes a major mold problem
Mold is dangerous. It reproduces quickly, and once mold spores get into the air, they can be difficult to remove. Knowing this makes it quite disheartening when a homeowner finds a mold problem in the home they live in.
Discovering that you have mold within your home can cause you to feel a strange gamut of emotions. You might initially feel disgusted, frustrated or you may even feel a sense of being overwhelmed. Placing your home up for sale might be the first thing that pops into your mind, but that should be a last resort. Having a mold problem does not mean that you cannot get your house back.
However, it does mean that you must take immediate action. Many people actually live in a home with mold and never realize it is there. They ignore the warning signs until the problem reaches a point where the mold is taking over and affecting their health.
If you can find mold BEFORE it becomes a major problem, the remediation process will be substantially cheaper and easier to complete. SERVPRO of Douglasville County has a team of trained professionals certified to help you perform any remediation services needed. There are warning signs that can alert homeowners to a potential problem. If you notice any of these warning signs, take the necessary actions to inspect and remediate by calling SERVPRO of Douglasville.
Warning Signs of a Mold Problem:
It is so important to be aware of what the signs are that you may be sharing your home with more than just your family. Signs that you may have mold include (but are not limited to):
A strange odor
Mold has a pungent smell. When it is confined to one area of your home, you may notice an unpleasant odor when you are in that area. Mold can sometimes live within the walls or behind wallpaper, and so you might not immediately associate the smell with a mold problem. If you do notice an unusual persistent odor in your home, the culprit may be mold. The best way to determine if the smell is coming from a mold is to hire a certified mold inspector to come by and check it out. He will be able to run tests to determine if you have a mold problem in your home.
The appearance of mold
In your shower stall or bathtub, it is easy to distinguish normal soap scum from mold. However, in the basement or cellar, you may have to investigate a little further to find the mold. Mold will take hold of damp areas, so if you have a wall or floor where dampness collects, mold could very well be there as well. It can hide in corners or dark areas all over your home. Virtually no area is immune.
While not all mold can be easily seen, a quick inspection of your home may alert you to visible signs that you have a mold problem. Schedule periodic visual inspections of your house – especially in susceptible areas and during susceptible times of the year. The quicker a mold problem can be identified, the better for everyone involved.
A known moisture source
If your house recently flooded, your roof recently developed a leak or you know you have a source of water ingress into your home, then you know you have a potential for a future mold problem. Even if you aren’t sure what the source of moisture is, once you discover that you have moisture, you should take this as a warning sign of a future potential mold problem. Identifying and fixing the moisture source is key to preventing or stopping the growth of mold in your home.
Because mold is not always visible, it can be difficult realizing that you do indeed have a mold problem. If you feel listless, congested and experience watering eyes while in your home, these can all be signs of the presence of mold. It is not uncommon for a person who lives in a home that has mold to feel better while at work or out shopping. Their health problems begin the moment they step through their front door. Mold can often be the cause of this.
Be cognizant of your symptoms. What do you feel? When do the symptoms get worse? Are others around you feeling something similar? Can you narrow it down?
SERVPRO of Douglasville coordinates with local industrial hygienists to perform air quality tests and provide clearance letters when necessary. Let us help you and your family get back to life without fear of microbes invading your space.
What to consider when buying a home with mold.
Everyone responds to mold differently. There is a spectrum between those people who are very sensitive to mold vs. others who are not and those in between. The highest risk populations to mold exposure include infants and children, pregnant women, the elderly, people who are already sick or have existing health conditions and those who have respirator conditions like asthma. If a mold problem is fixed properly, you can rest easy. It is not going to suddenly come back without warning in 5 years … Unless: the water problem is not fixed. In other words, the cause of all mold problems is: WATER! The presence of mold indicates a water problem. If the mold is properly removed, but the water problem remains unfixed, it is likely that the mold problem will return.
Mold Is Discovered During a Home Inspection. What Is Going To Cost To Fix?
If mold is uncovered during a real estate transaction, how much is it going to cost to fix it? The answer depends on several factors discussed below. But in some cases, believe it or not, you or someone else might be able to remove the mold yourself without seeking professional help.
Whether or not you can fix the mold problem yourself is based on several factors:
- Size of contamination area. According to the EPA, if the mold area is less than about 10 square feet it may be manageable without professional help. This is not a hard and fast rule but just a general guideline and other factors such as the extent of the water damage overall need to be considered.
- How handy the individual is. You should be comfortable and experienced with doing house hold repairs because even many minor mold jobs (less than 10 sq feet), usually involve using tools, taking down drywall, etc.
- Susceptibility to mold health effects. People who are sensitive to mold or who fall into the high risk group above (Pregnant women, the elderly, etc) should not be around mold and should leave the removal to professionals.
- Location of the mold. Confined spaces like crawl spaces and atticsoften have mold. Due to the tight space, reduced ventilation and higher risk of injury it is recommended to seek professional services for mold removal in these areas.
Buyers and Sellers, take note: Attics and crawlspaces are without a doubt the two most likely places that a home inspector is going to find mold. This discovery often catches buyers and sellers by surprise because neither probably looked in these spaces beforehand. Our advice to sellers is for you or someone else to take a quick look at your attic or crawlspace before you put your home in the market to check for mold. If mold is discovered, much better to fix it before you list your property.
If mold is discovered during a real estate transaction and the parties decide to hire a professional to fix it, how much is it going to cost? The answer: anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand or more. It just depends on the extent of the mold problem and how much work is going to be needed. But based on our experience, most mold problems in real estate transactions are usually on the smaller size and cost far less than most sellers and buyers would assume.
* Courtesy of https://moldmanusa.com/buying-selling-home-mold/
How to Buy a House With Water Damage
When planning to buy a house with water damage, it is important for you to be able to determine the extremity of the damage before closing the deal. This is especially true if the house is likely to experience future problems as a result of the water damage. To buy a house with water damage, you should first work with an inspector to have the water damage assessed, then work with a contractor to determine the costs for the water damage repairs. You can then submit a bid to the seller that considers the repair costs for correcting the water damage. Ask the right questions. When considering buying a house with water damage, there are some questions you should ask going in. Ask the following questions when talking to the seller about the home:
- Is the water damage from flooding?
- How long was the water been sitting in the home? How much damage was done, what kind, and how was it fixed?
- Was the home stripped down or were walls simply washed or bleached?
- Has the wiring been checked for salt infiltration? Have the wires been examined for rot?
Have the home inspected. Once you've asked preliminary questions, it's important to have the home inspected. Even if repairs were attempted, there may be underlying damage that went unnoticed.
- Hire a reputable home inspector in the area. Have the home carefully inspected for any existing damage.
- As water damaged homes may have a lot of issues, it might not be a bad idea to conduct more than one inspection just to be sure you've gotten the full sense of the damage.
Determine how to handle mold. While a good house inspector can assess for a lot of damage, mold is not easily detectable. You will need to have a second inspector come in and specifically check for mold.
- Mold is a scary problem as it can be toxic to breathe. You do not want to be living in a water mold damaged home as it can seriously affect your health. Have a mold inspection conducted before making any offers on the house.
- Go for an industrial hygienist over a run-of-the-mill mold inspector. A more thorough examination will be conducted.
After purchasing the home.
Obtain flood insurance. As the home was water damaged once, it's likely in a region where it's susceptible to water damage. It's vital to get flood insurance if you’re planning on buying a water damaged home.
- Ask the agent you're working with for a list of insurance agencies that provide flood insurance. Look at their reviews online and reach out to past clients. You can also ask for recommendations from other homeowners in the area who likely have flood insurance.
- Determine about how much insurance companies cover in the event of a flood. If coverage is minimal, the house may not be a wise investment.
Call SERVPRO of Douglasville and get an estimated cost of repairs. You need to determine how much repairs will cost. This is a major factor of whether or not you can afford a flood damaged home.
- SERVPRO will assess the damages on the home and provide several reports. These reports will overview the various types of necessary repairs and include an estimated cost.
* Courtesy of https://www.wikihow.com/Buy-a-House-With-Water-Damage
Do You Have Dirty Ducts?
Did you know your ventilation system is often the biggest culprit in poor indoor air quality? Inspecting the ductwork in your facility or home should be a high priority. In most cases, the HVAC system has been operating for some time without much attention. Dirty ducts can circulate odors, contaminants such as mold and irritating dust throughout your building or home.
A routine part of SERVPRO® of Douglasville's service is inspecting the heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit (HVAC). Keeping the HVAC and ductwork clean can potentially extend the life-span of the equipment by allowing it to operate at peak condition, which may help save you money. Duct cleaning may not always be necessary. SERVPRO® of Douglasville will inspect your HVAC system and ductwork and make recommendations about the best way to address any indoor air quality concerns. This inspection can help save you money and provide peace of mind on the health of your HVAC system and ductwork.
In some circumstances, such as after a fire, smoke or suspected mold growth, duct cleaning becomes an essential part of the cleanup process. In these cases, SERVPRO® of Douglasville can often restore the HVAC system and ductwork to pre-damage condition.
If you have a fuel-burning furnace, stove or fireplace, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends they be inspected for proper functioning and be serviced before each heating season to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning.
The SERVPRO® Duct Cleaning System is proven and cost-efficient. Unlike the majority of duct cleaning services, SERVPRO® of Douglasville uses a portable ventilation and air duct cleaning system to examine ductwork and make a clean sweep, removing years of dust and grime.
- The process begins by using patented equipment, including a roto-scraper, which automatically adapts to the duct’s shape and diameter while traveling through the duct, removing debris and filth before vacuuming begins.
- Next, a powerful push-pull air delivery and collection system transfers the debris from the ducting to a 16-gallon container.
- Air is filtered through a HEPA filtration system, removing 99.97 percent of the particles in the airstream. HEPA filters capture debris and keep the indoor environment clean.
- As an optional process, a sealant or coating product may be sprayed to address odor or microbial concerns.
- Filters will either be cleaned or replaced to remove odor and dirt.
For more information on duct cleaning, or to schedule an appointment, contact SERVPRO® of Douglasville today.
*Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 30, Iss 4
Destroy Odors with Deodorization
Even a small fire can cause odors for years to come if the affected areas are not properly cleaned and deodorized. Fire, smoke and soot damage in your home or business can create unpleasant and potentially permanent problems.
As various materials burn, the smoke produced travels throughout the structure, leaving odorous residues and deposits on surfaces and in hard-to-reach places. Unless fast, professional action is taken, these residues and deposits can cause permanent damage to contents and may result in resurfacing odors.
With technicians certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration (IICRC), SERVPRO® of Douglasville professionals provide specialized services that can rid your home or business of offensive odors left by fire or smoke damage. SERVPRO® of Douglasville professionals do not cover up lingering odors with a fragrance; they seek out and remove the source of the odor. Once the source is found, SERVPRO’s own proprietary line of cleaning products is used to treat and prevent the odor from returning. Any restorable item in affected areas will also be professionally cleaned and deodorized, including furniture, draperies and upholstery, electronics, art, flooring, walls, ceilings, HVAC air ducts and more.
Ask SERVPRO® of Douglasville to explain the various deodorization methods available and which will work best for you.
If you or a customer suffer a fire damage or some other accident and require deodorization services, contact SERVPRO® of Douglasville. Whether it’s fire, water, or mold damage or just a stubborn odor that refuses to go away, we’ll help make it “Like it never even happened.”
*Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 30, Iss 4
The Importance of Cleaning Dryer Vents
According to FEMA, failure to clean home dryers causes 34% of home dryer fires. Home dryer fires cause $35 million in property loss and can even cause injury or death.
To reduce the risk of these fires happening in your or your insured’s home or business, SERVPRO® of Douglasville can help clean dryer vents and ducts that may have lint buildup.
Other tips for keeping your dryer vents clean from the National Fire Protection Agency include cleaning the lint filter before and after each load and making sure the outdoor vent flap will open and is not restricted by snow, a bird’s nest or other potential obstacles.
For more information on proper cleaning dryer vents contact SERVPRO® of Douglasville at (770) 489-5659.
*Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 30, Iss 4