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Cleaning Requirements After a Home Flood

11/13/2019 (Permalink)

A man in white personal protective gear shuffling through trash Before you start cleaning a flood you need to use proper safety gear

Cleaning Requirements After a Home Flood

There are certain cleaning requirements you need to follow when sanitizing your home after a flood. You need the right flood disinfectant, and you must take steps to prevent the buildup of mold.
A flood clean is lengthy and complicated. It can also be dangerous if you are not properly protected. Before you start washing and drying everything, you need the proper safety gear. This includes:

  • Boots
  • Pants
  • Long sleeves
  • Elastic gloves
  • Face masks
  • Goggles

You also need to know how to clean the various rooms of your home. Different items need to be cared for in different ways. Below are the basic cleaning requirements and techniques for restoring your flood-damaged house.

Applying Disinfectant

To prevent the spread of bacteria throughout your home, you need to disinfect any surfaces. Start by scrubbing these surfaces with hot water and a powerful cleaner. Then apply a disinfectant. You can create your own by combining a gallon of water with a quarter-cup of chlorine bleach.

Cleaning the Kitchen

Metal items such as pots, utensils and pans should not be cleaned with bleach. Instead, disinfect them by boiling them in water for 10 minutes. A bleach solution can be used on china, glass, porcelain and enamel items, however. Be sure to disinfect your counters and cupboards before putting dishes away.

Saving Your Valuables

Some items, such as mattresses, stuffed animals and toys, may have to be thrown away after a flood. However, you may be able to freeze books and photographs after wiping off excess mud. You can then thaw them and take them to an expert for cleaning.
Most floods cause complex damage that one person cannot handle by himself. If you do start the process alone, be sure to follow the above cleaning requirements. However, your best bet is to contact a company that provides emergency restoration services in Orlando, FL. Professionals can safely clean up your home and dry your belongings.

Methods for Removing Smoke Odor After a Fire

10/28/2019 (Permalink)

Firefighters at a house fire House fire

When you have a house fire in Orlando, FL, it may seem like the smell of the smoke will never go away. Smoke particles can infiltrate every nook and cranny in your home. They can even imbed themselves into furniture, flooring and walls. Professional restoration experts, however, have methods for extracting smoke odor from your home as part of the restoration process. Here are some smoke cleaning processes that may prove effective in removing the stench from your home.

Air Filtration Devices

One of the first methods the experts are likely to try is an air filtration device. This air scrubber sucks in the air in your home and returns it clean and refreshed. The filters in this system are specially constructed to reduce smoke odor. Some common features of filtration devices that remove smoke odor include

• HEPA filters
• Activated carbon filters
• Treated filters that specifically target smoke

Ozone Machines

Another method of smoke cleaning involves the use of ozone machines. Rather than taking air in, these machines create and expel ozone, the same compound chemical created by a rainstorm that gives the outdoor air its fresh scent. The ozone flows throughout your home, oxidizing smoke residue and neutralizing its odor.

Thermal Foggers

Thermal foggers create deodorizing droplets that permeate the air as well as porous materials in your home to get rid of smoke odor. Using heat and pressurization, the fogger creates tiny particles that can go wherever the smoke damage has gone. Your home is deodorized and cleansed of the stench of the fire.

One of the many advantages of hiring smoke cleaning professionals to remove odors from your home after a fire is that they are equipped with industrial machines that can be used to eliminate the smells. A process that would take weeks or even months with any device you could buy retail can be completed in a matter of hours or days with the advanced methods used by professionals.

Immediate Steps to Take if You Suffer From Water Damage

10/28/2019 (Permalink)

water over-flooding a living room with furniture Follow these tips so you can be prepared.

Let’s face it, water damage is threatening to your property’s value and can cause some serious, well damage. Whether you’re facing a storm; a flood; leaks from a weakened roof, HVAC or busted pipes; or experience overflowing appliances, water damage can wreak havoc in an array of emergency situations. To prevent further damage and to increase chances of salvation, it is critical to act quickly within the first 24 hours. Considering you have safely evacuated the premises and safety officials have declared it safe, follow these steps to immediately rectify your business from water damage.

Avoid Additional Risks

Upon returning to your property, survey the premises and document any visible structural damage that may further endanger you and your property. Look for signs of warping, loosened or cracked foundation elements, and holes. If safety officials haven’t done so already, contact utility companies to cease all water and electrical sources. Even if the power is still out upon your return, physically turn off the main power line and individual fuses to avoid risk of electrocution should the power be reactivated.

Document Everything

While surveying your property, take photos and document all damages. Digital photos will allow you to properly store, back-up and transfer files quickly and conveniently. Be sure to document all damages prior to removing any water or starting on any repairs; otherwise, you risk decreasing the extent of your insurance coverage.

Contact your Insurance Provider

Contacting your insurance provider is critical immediately following water damage and your return to the property. Your insurance provider will be able to assess the situation, file a claim, determine whether or not the damage is severe enough to send an adjuster, and provide invaluable next steps. They will also ask for the documentation you’ve collected so it’s important to have that readily available. Pro Tip: if government authorities have declared your region a ‘disaster area’, property owners may have access to increased resources, services and financial assistance.

Secure the Property

Place board over broken windows, fasten tarps, and carryout other measures to avoid further leaks and water damage.  Be sure to document all of your efforts to secure your property from further damage.  If these precautionary steps are not taken and something else happens, additional damages may not be covered by your insurance provider.

Mitigate Mold Damage

It only takes 24-48 hours for mold to develop following a flood or water damage. If items have been wet for less than 48 hours, they may be salvageable. Remove wet contents such as carpeting and furniture as soon as possible. If an item has been exposed longer than 48 hours, it may be harder and more expensive to salvage. If possible, you can start the drying out process within 24 hours and eliminate mold and mildew growth by: 

  • Removing wet furniture or lifting it off of carpet
  • Place aluminum foil or other carpet separators on furniture to prevent carpet stains
  • Remove and hang area rugs to dry
  • Use fans and dehumidifiers to dry out wet areas
  • Turn air conditioning on to help remove humidity and speed the drying process

Contact A Professional Restoration Service

If any amounts of water need more than a mop and you’ve followed the immediate steps to secure your business, water removal may require professional attention. SERVPRO of SW Orlando has the expertise, training and equipment to quickly remedy water damages and help your business get back to working order faster. Give SERVPRO of SW Orlando a call at 407-704-0327.

What Not To Do After a Flood

10/24/2019 (Permalink)

Flooded house with water half way up it's walls SERVPRO of SW Orlando is here to help.

Water damage is typically extensive in a flooded home, leaving many items destroyed. Flood water contaminates everything it touches, making surviving the aftermath almost as dangerous as the storm. Staying safe after a flood doesn’t have to be challenging, but there are a few things that you should not do.

1. Don’t Go Out in Regular Clothing

As flooding water is contaminated and it is likely hiding additional dangers, like downed power lines and submerged electrical outlets, it is essential to wear protective clothing such as rubber boots and rubber gloves. Additionally, you should avoid wearing anything that will allow your skin to come into direct contact with the water.

2. Don’t Touch the Water

You should avoid direct contact with any standing flood water because most of this water will be considered category three black water. Black water is a mix of sewage and other contaminants that are highly toxic to humans and animals, and this water does not need to be ingested to inflict harm.

3. Don’t Let Your Cell Phone Die

Try to maintain a full battery on your cell phone, if at all possible. As many areas will still be covered in water, a cell phone may be your only way of contacting friends and family or emergency services.

4. Don’t Buy New Furniture

While it is tempting to purchase replacement furniture for your home, buying new furniture so soon after flooding can be a bad decision. The cleanup process takes a lot longer than most homeowners expect, and you don’t want to bring new furniture into a contaminated space because you risk further contamination.

5. Don’t Go it Alone

Call your local SERVPRO, SERVPRO of Southwest Orlando, to help you through this tough time. 407-704-0327

Keeping Your Business Above Water After Water Damage

10/24/2019 (Permalink)

Flooded hallway of a building Flooding and water damage events are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response.

Flooding and water damage events at Orlando commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.

Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges

Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

About SERVPRO of SW Orlando

SERVPRO of SW Orlando specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Preparing for a Storm as a Property Manager

10/24/2019 (Permalink)

A warehouse with water and mud all over the floor after a storm Storm damage in an Orlando, FL warehouse

Here Are Some Tips to Prepare During all Stages of a Storm

One major responsibility for property owners along coastal areas is storm preparedness. You have a duty to ensure that both your property and tenants are prepared for a natural disaster. Here are some helpful tips to prepare during all stages of a storm.

Before the Storm

Proper preparation before the storm hits is critical to help minimize storm damage. You should work with key individuals who can help create a detailed property management action plan. These individuals could be managers and emergency personnel. Your pre-storm hurricane action plan should include the following:

  • Evacuation routes
  • Emergency response numbers
  • Shelter information
  • Disaster-relief information
  • Contracts and policies
  • Emergency contact list
  • Designated liaison during a storm

Good property management skills demand that you have both physical and intellectual assets secure. Make sure that your files are backed up on a hard drive or in the cloud. Proper storm preparedness should also include annual training for staff and tenants to help minimize flood damage. Additionally, it’s a good idea to take pictures of your property and equipment before a storm. This documentation will be helpful during insurance claims.

During the Storm

Once it’s determined that a hurricane is about to happen in Orlando, FL, and winds have reached speeds of 45 mph, it’s necessary that all staff and tenants evacuate. Property management personnel should shut off all possible equipment according to emergency evacuation guidelines. Before all staff and tenants leave, be sure to give clear instructions that no one should return until hearing from the designated liaison.

After the Storm

Once it’s safe to return to your property, a thorough investigation should be conducted. Provide both written and photographed documentation of your property and possessions. Inform all employees and tenants that it’s safe to return. You should also contact a commercial storm specialist to assist in your flood cleanup efforts.

Proper storm preparedness includes planning for all storm phases. Storm cleanup will go much easier if all individuals know what to do before, during and after the hurricane.

The 5 Most Common Causes of House Fires

10/22/2019 (Permalink)

Hand holding a clothes dryer lint filter that is covered with lint. If you experience a fire in your home, don't hesitate to call SERVPRO of SW Orlando at 407-704-0327.

Here are top 5 most common causes of house fires as identified by the National Fire Protection Association.

  1. Candles

From 2007-2011, the NFPA says there were an average of 10,630 fires in the U.S. that were started by candles, causing 115 deaths, 903 injuries and approximately $418 million in property damage. That is an average of 29 candle fires per day.

Safety tips:

  • Never leave a candle burning near flammable items.
  • Never leave a candle burning in a child’s room or an unoccupied room.
  • Make sure candles fit securing into candle holders so they won’t tip over.
  • Blow out any candles before leaving a room or going to sleep
  1. Smoking

While the number of fires caused by smoking is trending downward, the NFPA found that there were still an average of 17,600 related fires per year resulting in 490 deaths and more than $516 million in property damage.

Safety tips:

  • If you smoke, consider smoking outside.
  • Use wide, sturdy ashtrays to catch butts and ashes.
  • Look for cigarette butts under furniture and between seat cushions to make sure no lit butts have fallen someplace where they can’t be seen.
  • Don’t smoke in bed, when you’re tired or around medical oxygen.
  1. Electrical & Lighting

According to the NFPA, in 2011 approximately 47,700 home structure fires were caused by some sort of electrical failure or malfunction. These resulted in 418 deaths, 1,570 injuries and $1.4 billion in property damage.

Safety tips:

  • Don’t overload outlets or electrical cords.
  • Make sure you have the right cord for the job – inside cords for inside, heavy duty/outside cords for outdoor use.
  • Don’t leave Christmas lights, Christmas trees, or halogen lights on overnight or when not at home.
  • Consider having an electrician perform an annual checkup of your home’s wiring.
  1. Dryers & Washing Machines

Clothes dryer fires happen more often than one might think, accounting for 16,800 home structure fires in 2010 and doing more than $236 million in property damage. 

Safety tips:

  • Clean the lint screen frequently and don’t run the dryer without it.
  • For gas and propane dryers, make sure there aren’t any leaks in the lines.
  • Vent the dryer to the outside of the house and ensure nothing blocks the vent pipe.
  • Clean the vent pipe and the area where the screen is housed.
  • Keep the area around the dryer free of combustible materials.
  1. Lightning

From 2007-2011, NFPA says there were an average of 22,600 fires per year caused by lightning strikes.

Safety tips:

  • Stay away from doors and windows during an electrical storm.
  • Do not use corded phones, computers, TVs or other electrical equipment during storms.
  • Unplug major electronics – TVs, stereo equipment, computers and microwaves to minimize damage if there is a lightning strike close by.
  • Avoid plumbing such as sinks, baths and faucets during a thunderstorm.

Different Causes of Commercial Water Damage

10/22/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO green drying equipment Speciality drying equipment for large commercial water damages.

When business owners visualize water damage, they often picture a massive storm wiping out power lines, flooding offices, and shutting down businesses for days at a time. It is true that commercial water damage is often the result of floods and water that stems from weather events and storms.
However, many entrepreneurs and business space renters forget that storms and severe weather aren't the only causes of floods and water damage. Here are some of the typical causes of water damage to commercial buildings.
1. Malfunctioning sprinkler systems
Some older office and retail buildings still have outdated sprinkler systems that work in conjunction with fire protection systems. While such sprinklers can come in handy during a fire emergency, they can also cause commercial flood damage if they are faulty or in need of replacement. This could easily damage inventory and business assets.

2. Damaged appliances and equipment
This cause of commercial flood damage is more common in restaurants and catering facilities, as well as any business that has appliances and equipment that make use of water. If the appliance fails and sends water across your building, especially during late hours when no one is around, you may come back to work and face a water emergency.
3. Broken pipes and plumbing
Just like in a residence, if the plumbing system in your workplace fails water damage could be the result. 
4. Backed up sewer lines
This is another cause of commercial water damage that often catches business owners by surprise. Should the sewer line to your building back up or become damaged, realize the potential dangers of contaminated Black Water which can cause health effects and ruin products and office furnishings.

Preventing Water Damage in Your Home

10/16/2019 (Permalink)

Close-up of a professional toilet reparation Repair leaking toilet tanks as soon as possible to prevent water damage in your home

Learning the different ways that you can protect your house in Orlando, FL, from the ravages of water in home situations can spare you a good deal of inconvenience. A broken pipe can spew hundreds of gallons of water in a short time, and depending on its location, it can saturate not only your carpet and flooring but also your home’s structural materials. The good news is that leaks can often be prevented.

Water Damage Prevention Tips

The best option for avoiding the need for pipe cleanup is to prevent water from entering in the first place. The following list may offer you some guidelines in this matter:

  • Check fittings and faucets and tighten or replace where needed
  • Keep rooms warm during periods of extreme cold to prevent a broken pipe
  • Use heat tape in unheated areas
  • Repair leaking toilets as soon as possible
  • Fix gaps in floors by tubs and showers where water may seep through

Why It Is Important To Avoid Leaks

A small leak can, over time, wreak havoc on the inside of cabinets, walls and flooring. A pipe burst, especially if it occurs when no one is at home, can produce great amounts of water, ruining flooring, sheetrock and other building materials. When the water in home damage comes from a toilet, contamination may also occur. A broken pipe will produce clean water but should not be left to sit, or mold and other bacteria may still occur.

Get Help If Needed

Using a professional water remediation service in Orlando, FL, is a good idea in either situation to ensure that water is extracted thoroughly and mold and bacteria are sufficiently cleaned up. They can help assess which items can be saved and which may need to be removed or replaced.
Leaking water in home pipe systems can cause a good deal of damage, but that does not need to be the case. If you inspect your plumbing regularly, keep pipes warm to prevent freezing and repair small leaks at the first sign of trouble, you may just prevent a catastrophe.

Keeping Kids Safe: 4 Techniques to Teach Your Children About Fire Safety

10/14/2019 (Permalink)

Young woman in white dress crawls on ground by trees destroyed by wildfire while covered in ashes One technique to ensure kids safety is to crawl, don't walk.

Sit Down And Teach Your Kids Safety Procedures

When smoke floods the house, and the smoke detectors are blaring, do your loved ones know what to do? Are they prepared to navigate through a home full of flames? If not, sit down and teach your kids safety procedures. Taking the time to practice these tips now could give them the pivotal knowledge to survive an unexpected disaster.

1. Know the Exits

The first priority must be to leave the house, so establish a plan. Make the children think quickly about which way they should turn. Teach them which windows and doors are good access points for the outside. Do you have a second level? This could be trickier. Kids should know where fire escape ladders are located, how to open the window for escape and what to do to install and use the ladders. Finally, designate a specific location to reunite.

2. Crawl, Don't Walk

Because breathing in the smoke is dangerous, explain that everyone should keep heads low to the ground. One technique to ensure kids safety is to walk like a dog on all fours, keeping that nose to the ground. If the heat is intense, they could slither like a snake with noses down low.

3. Check Doors

Doors act as barriers, keeping flames out. When opened, they can be a powerful igniter as oxygen reaches the home fire. Have kids learn to touch the door with their palm. If it's hot, tell them they should not open it. Instead, they will need to find an alternate path. If it's cool, they should slowly crack it open, inching their way out and always closing the door behind them.

4. Scream for Help

If they cannot reach an exit point, have them open a window and scream for help as long as possible. Tell them to grab a sheet and hang it outside, signaling for help.
Giving your kids safety techniques empowers them. They are, after all, irreplaceable. While the physical loss of your home is hard, it can be rebuilt with the help of fire restoration crews in Orlando, FL. Protect those that matter.