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What To Do After You Suffer A House Fire

1/22/2020 (Permalink)

Fire damage to a roof When a fire occurs in your home, it’s important to immediately call the professionals at SERVPRO to restore the building.

Suffering a fire in your Deer Park, FL home is one of the most traumatic events for a homeowner. You can potentially lose not only your home, but also your treasured possessions. To ensure that as many of your possessions can be saved as possible, you need to immediately contact the professionals at SERVPRO to restore the home.

The first step in restoring any home that has suffered from fire damage will be an inspection and fire assessment. This assessment is done often by both the restoration company and insurance company. The restoration company will determine what materials and equipment they will need to begin the restoration process. They do an inspection to determine how severe the damage is and whether or not it is safe to reenter the home. There are three steps that take place during the fire assessment process; an inspection of outdoor damage, an inspection of indoor damage, then the restoration of the home.

Inspecting Outside Damage

The first step during the fire assessment process that will be taken is an inspection of the outside of the home. During this inspection, the professional inspectors will be looking for any melted objects, missing roof shingles, damaged chimneys, or any other damage that has occurred to the outside of the home. Depending on the severity of the fire, they may also take a look around any surrounding yards, take a closer look at the roof, and look at any other exterior surfaces that might have incurred damage during the fire. The purpose of this inspection is to see whether or not there is any damage from the outside that is in need of repair.

Inspecting Inside Damage

Once the inspector has surveyed outside for any exterior damage, they will move inside to see what damage has been incurred inside the home, likely where the fire occurred. During this part of the inspection, the inspector will walk through the building looking for any visible damage. The main areas that are inspected are the walls, roof, , ceiling, floors, ducts, vents, bathtubs, sinks, and windows. Every room of the building must be inspected to make sure that all damage has been identified before the restoration process begins.

The main point of inspecting the inside of the house is to see what parts of the house are still intact and which parts of the house are falling apart due to the damage. During the inspection, the foundation, ceiling, and walls will be focused on as these are the parts of the home that can require the most significant restoration. This is because these parts of the house are largely responsible for the structural stability of the building.

Restoring the Home

Once the fire assessment has finished, the SERVPRO team will know the extent of the damage and what materials and equipment they need to complete the restoration process. The quicker the restoration of the building starts, the more of your possessions and the more of the building will be able to be restored.

One of the issues regarding fire damage restoration is water damage. When water is used to put out the fire, this creates water damage around the house. If the water is not properly cleaned up by professionals, mold and mildew are just a few of the problems that can arise. By immediately performing fire and water restoration, the professionals from SERVPRO will be able to salvage most of what could be lost if much more time is wasted. In the end, the goal of the process is to minimize the possibility of there being further damage.

When a fire occurs in your Poinciana, FL home, it’s important to immediately call the professionals at SERVPRO to restore the building. With the damage caused by the fire and the water damage caused by the water that puts out the fire, time is of the essence to avoid even worse damage being caused. The first step in the fire restoration process is a fire assessment, where the team will examine the inside and outside of the home to see how much damage has been caused and what materials and equipment will be needed in order to fully restore the home. So if you suffer from a fire in your home, call the professionals at SERVPRO for a full restoration.

How to Avoid a House Fire

1/9/2020 (Permalink)

House on fire and a fire truck going to put it out A house fire can be a traumatizing event but there are ways to prevent them.

A house fire can be a devastating event for your home in Celebration, FL. You could potentially lose many of your possessions in addition to your home. While it may seem that some of these fires are unavoidable, there are ways that you can prevent these events from occurring. These are six of the most common causes of house fires and how you can prevent them.

Candles

A NFPA study found that between 2007-2011, an average of 10,630 fires were started by candles causing 115 deaths and 903 injuries. About $418 million worth of property damage was caused by these fires. One-third of these fires were started in the bedroom which were 39 percent of associated deaths and 45 percent of associated injuries.

There are several causes of candle-related house fires. More than half of the fires that were started in the bedroom were because open flames were left too close to flammable items. Other causes of these fires include leaving the room unattended, someone playing with the candles, and the candle knocking over when someone or a pet bumps the table.

To avoid candle related house fires, keep any candles 12 inches away from any flammable items, never leave a candle lit in a child’s room or an unoccupied room, make sure the candle fits securely into the candle holder so it won’t tip over, and blow out any candles before leaving a room or going to sleep.

Smoking

According the NFPA, 17,600 house fires are a result of smoking. That’s resulted in 490 deaths and more than $516 million in property damage. In 2013, the NFPA found that there had been a 73 percent drop in smoking-related house fires from 2008-2011 mostly due to a decrease in the number of smokers. Also helping the drop in smoking-related house fires were new regulations creating non-flammable mattresses, clothing, and furnishings.

The causes of these types of fires are usually ashes or cigarette butts not being completely put out, smoking near a medical oxygen tank, or lacking attention to the cigarette due to falling asleep, drinking, or taking medication while the cigarette is lit.

To avoid causing a smoking-related house fire, smoke outside, use wide and sturdy ashtrays to catch all butts and ashes, and be aware of any cigarettes that may have fallen under furniture or between seat cushions. Also make sure that there are no lit butts that have fallen where they can’t be seen.

Electrical and Lighting

The NFPA reports that in 2011, approximately 47,700 house fires were caused by an electrical failure or malfunction of some sort. These types of fires resulted in 418 deaths, 1,570 injuries, and caused $1.4 billion worth of property damage.

Causes of electrical and lighting fires include equipment malfunction, an overloaded circuit or extension cord, an overheated light bulb, a space heater, a washer, and a dryer. Of all the fires caused by electrical and lighting between 2007-2011, 63 percent were due to wiring problems.

Ways that you can avoid starting an electrical or lighting fire include not overloading outlets or electrical cords, ensuring you’re using the right cords (inside cord for inside and heavy duty or outside cord for outside), not leaving Christmas equipment (lights and trees) on overnight or when you’re not home, and having an electrician perform an annual checkup on the home’s wiring.

Dryer and Washing Machines

The NFPA found that 16,800 house fires in 2010 were caused by dryers and washing machines resulting in more than $236 million worth of property damage. Of the fires started by dryers, 29 percent were caused by lint or dust and 28 percent were caused by clothing. For washer-related fires, 26 percent were caused by wire or cable insulation, 21 percent caused by appliance housing, and 15 percent were caused by the drive belt.

Tips to avoiding these types of fires include cleaning the lint screen frequently, ensure there are no leaks in the lines in gas or propane dryers, ensuring the dryer is vented to the outside of the house so that nothing blocks the vent pipe, clean the vent pipe and area where the screen is housed, and keep the area around the dryer free of combustible materials.

Lightning

The NFPA says that from 2007-2011, an average of 22,600 house fires were started annually from lightning. These fires are different than the others on this list as they were primarily started during the summer months of June, July, and August rather than December and January.

To avoid lightning-related fires, stay away from doors or windows during an electrical storm, don’t use corded electrical equipment during storms, unplug major electronics when lightning is close by, and avoid plumbing fixtures like sinks or baths during a thunderstorm.

Cooking

Nearly 40 percent of all house fires are started from cooking. That 156,000 house fires per year and they have caused $853 million worth of property damage. Two-thirds of these fires start due to food or other materials catching fire with 57 percent of these fires starting on a range and 16 percent of these fires being caused by an oven. These fires are typically started either when grease is left unattended or when frying something.

To prevent the possibility of a house fire in your Reunion, FL home when cooking, don’t leave your food unattended, don’t attempt to put out a grease fire with water instead putting a lid on the pan to smother it, keep items away from the heat source, and make sure your smoke detectors work and there is a fire extinguisher nearby. If a fire occurs in the oven, shut the door and wait for it to extinguish itself.

A house fire can be a traumatizing event but there are ways to prevent them. By knowing what causes these fires and understanding safety measures, you can ensure you won’t suffer this fate. If you do suffer a house fire, call SERVPRO to remediate the problem.

3 Types of Water Damage

12/18/2019 (Permalink)

Bathroom and hallway flooded with water due to a toilet Water damage due to a clogged toilet in a Kissimmee,FL home

Water damage is divided into three categories for the sake of insurance and restoration purposes. Learn about the difference between Category One, Category Two, and Category Three water. More extensive sanitation procedures are necessary when dealing with contaminated water resulting from a leak or flood.

Category One Water Damage

Category One water is not actually contaminated, though it can still cause primary water damage and elevate the risk of secondary damage, such as mold growth. This type of water is:

  • Clean
  • Treated
  • From a supply line

Category One water can degrade into Category Two or Category Three water if left standing for more than a few days. It is important to remove all standing water and completely dry the affected area to prevent damage from worsening.

Category Two Water Damage

Category Two is used to describe contaminated water that does not contain solid waste. This type of water is called gray water and may:

  • Contain chemicals or microbes
  • Originate from a shower
  • Leak out of appliances

If a dishwasher or washing machine spills water that has been used, this leak would be considered Category Two. Cleaning and disinfection are necessary for this category of water damage.

Category 3 Water Damage

Category Three water is highly contaminated and likely to contain solid waste. This category of water is also called black water, and may originate from a sewer backup or flooding. Category Three water may also contain:

  • Chemicals
  • Heavy metals
  • Pathogens

It is necessary to thoroughly clean and disinfect areas exposed to Category Three water. Porous building materials or contents that absorb this water must be torn out and replaced.

These are the three categories used by insurers and cleanup professionals to describe water damage. If clean or contaminated water causes damage at a residence in Kissimmee, FL, a homeowner should contact a mitigation and restoration service as soon as possible.

Tips for Drying Out a Flooded Building

12/11/2019 (Permalink)

ServPro employees with drying equipment If you’re home has been flooded, call the professionals at SERVPRO to ensure everything that can be saved is saved.

Any building that has experienced flooding has to be dried out before it can be repaired. If you have any flooding, you should contact the professionals at SERVPRO rather than attempting to make repairs yourself. Otherwise you can make mistakes that could permanently damage your home.

However, if you’re interested in how the drying process takes place or would like to know some of the steps taken in drying out a flooded building, here are some tips.

Natural Ventilation

Natural ventilation or evaporation is much better for drying out buildings than heated forced-air or an air conditioning system. This is especially the case for historic buildings. Rapid drying can cause irreparable harm to the significant features of these structures.

Turn Off Power

Before any drying occurs, it’s important to turn off the power. Always assume all power lines are live. Even if the power appears to be off around the neighborhood, you should turn off the power in your building.

Health

Make sure to check for any odor that may be detectable from liquefied petroleum or natural gases and turn off those services. If the water damage is due to flood water rather than rainwater, it may be contaminated with sewage or animal waste and could present a health hazard.

Cleaning Up

Before you begin cleaning up, take photographic evidence of the damage. This will help when you’re negotiating with the insurance adjuster. When cleaning up, make sure to protect your eyes, mouth, and hands. Also use disinfectants to wash your hands before you eat. If you feel uncomfortable entering the house, don’t do so.

How Water Saturation Affects a Building

There are three ways that water saturation can affect a building. The first is that the water directly causes damage to the building’s materials. This includes wallboard disintegration, wood swelling, warping, and rot. Electrical parts also have the ability to short out or malfunction, which can cause a fire. The second effect is that mud, silt, or other contaminants can get into the water and can- contaminate everything making the water unhealthy. This is more of a problem with floodwater than rainwater. The third effect is that the dampness caused by the flooding can cause the growth of moisture-related mold, mildew, and fungus, which can lead to dry rot.

Drying Should Start in the Attic

Whether you’re attempting natural drying or controlled drying, it should start in the attic. If the insulation gets wet, it should be removed and disposed of properly. After it gets wet, most insulation becomes ineffective. However, it can still hold moisture for a long period of time and will create high moisture conditions that can damage metal, masonry, or wood.

Any items in the attic that have been soaked by water should be removed for treatment. The weight of water soaked boxes can cause the plaster ceilings to crack onto the floor below. You should open all windows and vents to allow fresh air to circulate around the attic and building. If you determine that the electrical system is fine and you have an attic fan, you should turn that on as well.

Inspect Ceilings

Before you enter any rooms in the building, you should inspect the ceiling of that room first. Wet plaster and wet sheetrock are very heavy and could potentially fall through to the floor below. Any bulging in the ceiling could be holding trapped water and it will find a route to the floor below. Poking holes at the edge of the bulges will allow water to slowly release so you can catch it in buckets.

Plaster Dries Better

Plaster dries out much better than sheetrock. However, its durability depends on its plaster mix, the original application, the degree of water saturation, its placement, and the type of lath used. Plaster that has been placed over metal lath is likely to need replacing. If it’s over wood lath, the lath may expand if it gets saturated and that could cause the plaster keys to break.

If the plaster has been saved by clean rainwater, it can most likely be saved. If sheetrock has been exposed to water for less than two hours or more, it will probably need to be repaired. If it’s been saturated by contaminated water, replacement will be required.

Wash Down Wood Features

Wood features such as trim, doors, mantels, or stairs should be washed down with fresh water to remove mud and silt. To clean off mold and mildew, you can use a weak solution of Clorox and water.

Don’t Pump Out Basements

If the basement has been flooded, it shouldn’t be pumped out. Draining the basement while the surrounding ground is saturated could cause uneven pressure on the basement walls and the floor and could result in cracking and eventual collapse.

The flooding of a building can cause significant damage but many things can be saved if it’s handled properly. These tips are a starting point for drying out a flooded building but if you’re home has been flooded, call the professionals at SERVPRO to ensure everything that can be saved is saved.

Does Your Office Have A Fire Plan

12/7/2019 (Permalink)

Words saying "Does Your Office Have a Fire Plan" and an exit sign and other emergency items Business Emergency Evacuation Plan for fires are essential to keep your staff safe.

With holiday’s right around the corner, our minds are not always focused on safety, especially at the office. Now-a-days emergency escape plans are not a requirement for all businesses. If your office had a fire, would you know what to do? Every second counts during a fire. Experts say people have as little as two minutes to escape before it may be too late. Let’s plan ahead this season to help ensure your office and staff is safe and fire-free.

Organize an Emergency Plan

Gather all employees and review the company’s Emergency Plan and procedures. Make sure everyone knows and understands the escape route, and if anyone has any questions be sure to go over them.

Post Evacuation Procedures

In the office building post the evacuation produces somewhere where the entire staff has access to see it. Be sure to clearing mark all routes and exits in the building and ensure all are well lit and unobstructed at all times.

Exercises and Drills

Set aside a time to actually conduct an office evacuation exercise. Before starting, discuss a designated safe spot outside the building for all staff members to meet after the evacuation. Once the drill is over, evaluate how well the exercise went and how the plan worked.

According to SERVPRO, these are recommendations on what to do before a storm approaches

12/6/2019 (Permalink)

Hurricane over Florida Storm and flood damage require specialized restoration techniques and equipment.

The experts at SERVPRO have issued the following guidelines on what homeowners and property managers can do to protect themselves BEFORE Kissimmee Storm Damage occurs:

  • Use wooden beams to reinforce garage doors.
  • In a clean bathtub, open the cold water spigot and fill until the maximum possible level. This can provide you vital drinking water for days in an emergency.
  • Take the car to the nearest station and fill up the tank with fuel.
  • Rehearse your storm evacuation plan with your family, and make sure that every family member knows multiple alternate routes to safety in case you get split up.
  • Head towards the nearest shelter in case you need to leave your home quickly.
  • Board up your windows and doors with 5/8-inch plywood or use tailored hurricane shutters.
  • Scour the outside of your property and pick up any items that could be lifted by the wind and hurled through windows or cause other Kissimmee storm damage.
  • Get your axe and take it to the attic. In case of severe flooding, you may need to break your way out through the roof.
  • Locate important personal documents such as wills, passports, birth certificates and Social Security cards, and store all of them in a secure, sealed, watertight container.
  • Obtain your pre-written inventory of all valuable household appliances, electronics, items, jewelry and property.
  • Evacuate your home immediately, if ordered to do so, and follow all commands.
  • If you are forced to flee your home, be sure to leave a note that says where you are planning to go.

We proudly serve:

Kissimmee, FL

Saint Cloud, FL

Celebration, FL

What should you have on hand during a storm?

12/6/2019 (Permalink)

The experts at SERVPRO recommend having the following supplies on hand to successfully avoid storm damages:

  • At least a three-day supply of clean drinking water, being sure to store enough to provide at least one gallon, per person, per day.
  • At least a three-day supply of food. Durable, non-perishable items are ideal, such as: canned meat and meat products, canned vegetables, canned juice, and canned fruits. Other high-calorie foods such as peanut butter, jelly and crackers are also recommended. Other excellent choices are: trail mix, nuts, granola, energy bars, cookies, cereal and other comfort foods.
  • A functioning can opener.
  • One or more flashlights, particularly the kind that do not require batteries.
  • A battery-powered radio, ideally one that can receive urgent broadcasts on the weather band.

Locally Owned Company with National Storm Resources

We live and work in this community too; we might even be neighbors. As a locally owned and operated business, SERVPRO of Osceola County is close by and ready to respond to storm and disaster events. We are proud to be an active member of the Kissimmee community and want to do our part to make our community the best it can be.

Have A Professional Clean Smoke Damage After A Fire

12/6/2019 (Permalink)

Fire It only takes a few seconds for a fire to wreak havoc on a commercial property or home.

It only takes a few seconds for a fire to wreak havoc on a commercial property or home. The first thing that one will want to do if there is a fire is call the fire department to extinguish the fire. Many people believe that they can re-enter the property and begin restoring it after a fire. However, there are still threats that linger for the property. That is it is best to hire a professional Osceola fire restoration company.

The Aftermath Of A Fire

Many people believe that once the fire has been put out, the danger is no longer present. However, fire leaves behind remnants that can cause serious damage to the property. The smoke and ash that is left behind cause discoloration, etching and a very unpleasant odor. The building will be less likely to suffer those problems if you SERVPRO.

The Sooner You Call, The Better

It is best to contact a fire restoration company, like SERVPRO, as soon as possible in order to restore the Osceola fire damages. Ash is one of the major concerns. It can discolor just about anything that it comes in contact with. Discoloration can begin just a few hours after the fire. Fiberglass, plastic and other finishes can turn yellowish. Metals will start to tarnish. You will have to replace or refinish certain items in your home after a few days because the damage will be permanent.

Hiring A Fire Restoration Contractor

If you have hired a certified and trained professional from SERVPRO, then they will be at your home in a short amount of time. They will assess the home in order to see the type of damage that is done. They will also perform a thorough cleaning in order to remove the ash, smoke and Osceola fire damage. Items that are beyond repair will be removed, and specialized cleaning supplies will be used to neutralize odors.

Do-it-yourself techniques typically do not remove the smoke and ash that is left behind by a fire. You may cause further damage and contamination to your home if the correct techniques are not used. That is it is best to contact SERVPRO so that they can perform fire damage restoration.

Locally Owned Company with National Resources

SERVPRO of Osceola County is locally owned and operated and we are proud to be part of this community. We are also part of a national network of over 1,650 Franchises with special Disaster Recovery Teams placed strategically throughout the country to respond to large-scale fire, water, and storm disasters.

We proudly serve:

Fire Damage Kissimmee, FL

Osceola Fire Damage, FL

and surrounding areas.

How to Handle Water Leaks and Floods in Your Kissimmee Home

12/6/2019 (Permalink)

Row of homes in Kissimmee, FL Water can easily destroy the walls, floors and structure of your house.

Osceola water damage can be a real problem if there is a leak or flood in your home. Water can easily destroy the walls, floors and structure of your house. It can cause dangerous mold to grow. It can ruin personal possessions and appliances. You should know what to do when faced with a water leak or flood.

Try To Stop the Leak

The first step is to try to stop the leak. Find the source of the water. If there are shutoff valves nearby, then turn them off to stop the flow of water. Alternately, you could turn off the water mains to the entire house. If neither of these steps is an option, then you might be able to seal off the source of the leak with duct tape, rags or other materials. Attempt to do this only if you can walk safely through the water.

Stop the Water from Spreading

If your home is flooding, then try to stop the water from spreading. You can use sandbags, towels or other items to create a barrier that the water cannot pass through. This will help even if you can just slow the water down a little from flowing freely into your home. You could also attempt to put down towels if the water is very shallow. This will help to limit the amount of Osceola water damage.

Get Your Possessions off The Ground

If you have possessions on the ground where the water is leaking, then pick them up. Pick up rugs, furniture and anything else. You do not want the water to destroy those items. Additionally, porous items like paper, fabrics or wood can become sources of mold after the water stops leaking. Put your items somewhere high up so that they are not in danger. Hang up any wet or soaked items to dry if possible.

Contact a Restoration Service

You should contact a restoration service like SERVPRO as soon as you realize that there is a leak and have stabilized the situation. These professionals will come into your home, remove the water and start dealing with the damage. They can dry out you floors, walls, and some personal possessions. They can also remove damaged parts of the home that are not salvageable. Restoration services are critical for recovering from water leaks or floods.

Take Preventative Action

You want to take some preventative action after the restoration company has finished. You want to inspect your plumbing regularly. Check and maintain your appliances. Have your roof checked for damage on an annual basis. Keep the number for the restoration company handy just in case. These steps will reduce the chance that you will have to deal with serious Kissimmee water damage again in the future.

Locally Owned Company with National Resources

SERVPRO of Osceola County is locally owned and operated, so we are part of this community too. When you have a flooding or water emergency, we’re already nearby and ready to help. We take pride in being a part of the Kissimmee community and want to do our part in making it the best it can be.

We proudly serve:

Water Damage Kissimmee, FL

and surrounding areas.

How to Tell if Your Kissimmee Home Has Mold Damage

12/6/2019 (Permalink)

Mold growing in a circular formation If you see mold or smell it anywhere within the home, this means that you may have a mold problem that needs to be taken care of right away.

There are a variety of ways for you to tell if your home is experiencing mold growth. Make sure to look for these signs so that you know when it's time to get the professionals of SERVPRO to take care of the issue for you.

One of the first signs of Kissimmee mold growth would be seeing the mold growing in one or more areas of the home. If the area in question is always damp, like a basement or bathroom, chances are pretty good that you'll eventually see some mold growth. If you do not see the mold, you may also smell it because of its tell-tale musty odor that it tends to leave in the air. If you see mold or smell it anywhere within the home, this means that you may have a mold problem that needs to be taken care of right away.

It might also be a good idea to consider why and where mold can grow so that you can tell if you may have a problem without even having to look around for it. For example, you might have a basement that is always damp or you have an area that tends to be warm and humid no matter what time of the year it is. These types of environments are vital for mold to grow, so you may have a mold problem even if you cannot see or smell the mold right within the room. Mold can also grow underneath flooring beams and behind walls, so only a professional company can tell if it is there.

If you discover that your home does have a mold problem, it might be a good idea to consider hiring the professionals at SERVPRO. SERVPRO is there to assist with mold restoration to get rid of the mold damage. They are trained and experienced with Kissimmee mold damage, so they can do the job that you cannot and make sure to leave your home looking great and in a completely healthy state so that you and your loved ones do not have to worry about it all.

Locally Owned Company with National Resources

We live and work in this community too; we might even be neighbors. As a locally owned and operated business, SERVPRO of Osceola County is close by and ready to help with your mold-damaged property. We are proud to be an active member of the Kissimmee community and want to pitch in and help make our community the best it can be.

When a major storm or event occurs, we can call upon our national network of 1,650 SERVPRO Franchises and special Disaster Recovery Teams if we need additional resources or personnel.