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.
Dangers of Extreme Cold
While your home can get damaged due to winter weather and extreme cold, your personal health is also at risk.
Fifty-three people died and three were injured due to extreme cold in 2015.
It is important to be aware of the effect extremely cold temperatures can have on you. The two main conditions to be aware of are frostbite and hypothermia.
Frostbite is caused when your skin is exposed to extremely cold temperatures. Physical symptoms are white or grayish-yellow skin, skin that feels unusually firm, or waxy numbness.
Hypothermia is when your body temperature falls to an abnormally low temperature, caused from long exposure to cold weather. Signs of hypothermia include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, and drowsiness. If someone’s body temperature is below 95°F, seek medical attention immediately.
To avoid these conditions, stay indoors if possible. If not, dress warm in layers and try to keep dry.
An Overview of Applying for a Disaster Loan as a Small Business Owner
Disasters are something that no one ever wants to experience, especially if they own their own business. The damage done from disasters can completely change your business’ plans for the future, and often, business owners are never able to recover.
While there is no way to predict when or how a disaster will occur, the best thing you can do is ensure you have a plan in place.
You will often be able to rely on your insurance for at least some coverage related to the disaster, but these funds are often not enough or available fast enough to be as helpful as they could be. Fortunately, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has developed a robust loan program to help small businesses in the aftermath so they can receive the funds they need.
Utilizing the Disaster Loan Program After a Disaster Impacts Your Business
What can I use the loans for? While many damages that a disaster causes can be claimed on your insurance, this can be a long process and often does not cover every expense your business may face. The SBA loans can be utilized for costs to repair damage as well as to cover a loss in revenue so you can have the funds you need to cover bills, payroll and other expenses that do not halt just because a disaster occurs.
When can I apply for a disaster loan? In order for the disaster loan funds to be made available, a disaster must be declared by the SBA in your area. From there, you can apply for a loan and work with the SBA to see what you are eligible for and when you will receive it.
How can I go about getting repairs done to my business? Starting on the process of having restoration done to your commercial property can be daunting, but it is important to begin as quickly as possible to prevent any secondary damages. Having a commercial restoration company you can trust is important, as is calling them as quickly as possible after you discover damage to your business.
If you need commercial restoration, we are here to help. You can get in touch with us at any time to report your damages and get a quick response. Contact us to learn more.
Things Often Forgotten When Business Owners Prepare for a Disaster
If you are increasing your disaster preparedness efforts at your business, it may feel like there are many things to consider—and there are. While the work of preparing your business for a disaster may feel overwhelming, it is a very important project to undertake.
Being prepared not only helps you and employees stay safer, but it also increases your chances of being able to reopen in the disaster’s aftermath.
Because there are so many moving parts to consider for disaster recovery, staying organized is key. Having a master disaster plan is recommended so you have an easy reference for any possible scenario, including evacuation procedures, communication plans and opportunities for financial assistance that can help your business recover.
However, even for the most organized person, it can be easy to have things accidentally slip through the cracks, which is why we have compiled some key things that business owners often forget when planning for disasters.
The Things Business Owners Often Forget About Disaster Planning
Check your insurance in advance. You are likely aware of how to get in touch with your insurance and begin filling a claim, but it is also smart to know what is covered well before you need assistance with something. It is wise to get in touch with your insurance provider in advance to see what exactly your policy will take care of and to purchase additional coverage if needed.
Keep an inventory of your emergency kit. An office emergency kit is a great thing to have, but often, they can become a go-to for everything from an anti-inflammatory to a bandaid for staff with minor ailments. This is part of what a first aid kit is intended for, but it is wise to routinely take an inventory and replenish your supplies in case a real emergency were to occur.
Know how to keep in touch with everyone. If you primarily use a business phone, you may not have people’s numbers saved in a way where you can access them away from the office. Make sure you have a way to keep in touch with staff, vendors and any other relevant parties who may need to know about closures and operations after a disaster.
If your business is hit by a disaster, we are here to help with commercial restoration. You can contact us at any hour to see how we can help your business recover or to report damage to your building.
Why Preparing for a Disaster Makes Good Business Sense
There are many things that business owners must think about throughout their day-to-day operations, and for many of them, adding something extra onto this task list may seem impossible.
While this is understandable, when it comes to preparing for a disaster, it is imperative that business owners make the time to consider it. Many businesses do not get the chance to recover from a disaster, and while you can’t plan for everything, it is important to prepare for what you can.
Not only will disaster planning help you and your employees stay safer in advance of and during a disaster, but it also makes good businesses sense. Disaster recovery can be too difficult for businesses who have not prepared, rendering them unable to reopen. However, by thinking ahead and utilizing your resources, you can reduce the likelihood that this scenario will happen to you.
How Disaster Preparedness Helps a Business’ Bottom Line
You can quickly pursue restoration to prevent further damage. When you know which commercial restoration company you will work with, you are at an advantage, as you can immediately place the call to them once you discover damage at your business. This gets you in the queue faster, so you can receive a rapid response and prevent more damage from occurring in the meantime.
You can utilize your resources efficiently. After a disaster is declared, the Small Business Administration provides loans for business owners to help with the cost of recovery. If you know about these options in advance, you can apply right away when the time comes to receive these funds as quickly as possible.
You can lessen the time of closure. It is to be expected that you will have to close your doors for at least a bit while you have the damage restored and prepare to resume operations again, but by planning ahead, you can significantly reduce this time. By making your recovery as efficient as possible, you can get your doors reopened quickly so you can continue to do what you love.
If your business is damaged in a disaster, we are here to help you. Contact us about commercial restoration 24⁄7 to learn more or to report damages to your business after a disaster.
Why We Approach All Damages With a Restoration-First Mindset
If you sustain damage to your home, whether it be due to a fire, a flood or some other type of scenario, it can be difficult to know what comes next. Many people who have never had serious damages before might assume that a damaged area must be completely rebuilt and that all items must be liquidated and replaced—but when you work with us, that is not necessarily the case.
When we approach household damages, we do so with a restoration-first mindset. After helping countless families in the area recover from various damages, we understand how helpful it is to have your items restored instead of replaced.
Not only are many things irreplaceable due to sentimental value, but being able to keep your belongings also saves you time and money as your family works on recovering emotionally from the event.
The Benefits of Our Restoration-Focused Approach
We can salvage many irreplaceable items. While an insurance adjuster can easily come in and provide you with a dollar value for everything in your home, we understand that it is not always that simple. Objects such as family heirlooms and photographs could never be replaced for any amount of money, which is why we will do everything we are able to restore them instead.
We are able to work with your insurance. If you are able to claim damages on your insurance, such as in the event of water damage, you certainly should—however, this can lead to a higher premium as a result. We will work directly with your insurance to lower the costs with restoration instead of liquidation to save you money.
We can make your items safe for use again. There are many things to consider when an object is damaged by fire and water, such as lingering smoke and soot odors or the possibility of mold beginning to grow. However, we have the technology to make sure your items are totally safe to use once more. We can clean, deodorize and sanitize your items so you can be certain they are safe for your family to use.
If you have sustained damage and are not sure what comes next, you can depend on us. Contact us at any hour to see how we can help you with every aspect of the restoration process.
Why It Makes Sense to Work With a Professional Restoration Company
There are few things more disruptive to your life than damages to your home. Not only can they be difficult to deal with from a logistical level, but the emotions associated with damage that is due to a disaster can understandably lead to long-lasting issues for everyone who experienced it.
During the aftermath, there are many difficulties that can arise—but if you work with a professional restoration company, the entire process can be made much easier to handle. Not only will a restoration company ensure that your damage is handled, but they can also work with your insurance on your behalf and make sure that any items that could possibly be saved will be.
Why to Consider Working With a Restoration Company After Damages
We can work with your insurance. Paperwork and documentation are often some of the most difficult things to deal with after damage occurs to your home, but when you work with us for restoration, we can work with your insurance on your behalf. Insurance claims can be expensive to file, which can cost you money in the long run, but we will work with your insurance to keep your claim amount as low as possible and reduce your stress.
We take a restore-first mentality. If you have to suddenly leave your home due to an emergency or damages, you will likely only have time to grab the essentials—leaving many items of sentiment behind. That is why we take a restore-first mentality, instead of simply recommending replacement. We do our best to save your items with our highly technical restoration equipment and only recommend full replacement as a last resort.
We handle all aspects of the restoration. There are many small touches that make a house a home, and we believe the cosmetic details are one of them. We will handle all the little things at the end of your restoration to make sure your home looks exactly as it did pre-damage, from paint colors to doorknobs and everything in between.
If you have damage due to your home, we hope you will consider using us for restoration. We are here 24⁄7 to take your call and begin the restoration process. Contact us today to learn more or get started.
How Our Restoration-First Mentality Works for You
If you have sustained damage to your home for the first time, you are likely to learn quite a bit about how the recovery process works. Not only are there logistical considerations to handle, but there is also the emotional impact of going through an event that damages your home, which can be significant.
Fortunately, working with the right restoration company can help you throughout the entire process. Not only can restoration save you money on costly insurance claims that can increase your premium, but it can also help your family heal more easily from the trauma. Read on to learn more about our restoration-first philosophy.
The Importance of a Restoration-First Philosophy
We are determined to save your belongings. While many people assume that everything they own will need to be liquidated after damages, when you work with us that is not necessarily the case. We have all the equipment necessary to clean, sanitize and deodorize objects after damage, allowing us to restore items that normally could not be salvaged. This is a cost-effective process compared to replacement and ensures that you will be able to hang onto the objects you already own and love if it is possible to do so.
We are determined to handle all the damage. The small touches make your house feel like a home, and when we handle restoration, we understand the importance of these little things. We handle all aspects of your damage, from the big, structural issues to small things like painting and refinishing floors. That way, you recognize your home as soon as you walk through the door.
We are determined to help you heal. The time after you sustain household damage can be tumultuous, especially if you have to leave the home for the restoration to take place. We understand this, which is why we work as quickly as possible to get your damages taken care of so you can return home.
If you have damage to your home, we are here to help. You can get in touch at any time to report damage with our 24⁄7 emergency line. Contact us today to learn more.
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.
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