The Dangers of a Storm Surge
Hurricanes can cause damage in a number of different ways. Perhaps the most damaging and dangerous of which is the storm surge, but what is a storm surge? These events are when there is a large rise of water due to a storm that is above what was predicted for high tide. These surges push water inland where it normally wouldn’t be flooding homes and businesses and causing a vast amount of damage. Often these surges of water linger and take days to subside after the storm, leaving behind mud, sewage, and other harmful contaminants wherever they touched. In addition to the extensive water damage caused by days of exposure. Millions of homes are at risk of damage from storm surges each hurricane season in almost 20 states. One of the most notable storm surge events was in hurricane Katrina. Some affected areas were left under more than 25 feet of water, which is enough to completely submerge an average sized two-story home. It’s important to recognize the dangers that these storm events pose and to make sure that you follow your local government’s instructions during them in order to keep you and your family safe.
If your home sustains water damage from a storm surge or any other storm related event, SERVPRO of Richmond and SERVPRO of Henrico is here to help. As leaders in the industry and as part of the SERVPRO Disaster Response Team we know first hand the destructive forces of large storms and work diligently to help get your lives back to normal.
How Water Can Affect Your Home
When you experience water or flood damage in your Richmond home there are many different ways that the water can cause damage. SERVPRO of Richmond and SERVPRO of Henrico knows that dealing with these losses can be incredibly stressful and we waned to share with you some common water or flood damages to look out for in your home and how the water can affect the different aspects of your home.
Appliances – Electrical appliances can short out when they get wet and gas appliances could be compromised/damaged and leak gas into your home. Be sure to have all appliances cleaned and inspected by a professional before using them again.
Flood Coverings – After severe water damage like a flood, most things like carpet, laminate, or vinyl will need to be removed and replaced. This is particularly true with any backings made of absorbent materials like foam. Small or valuable rugs and are possibly salvageable if treated immediately by a professional.
HVAC – There are multiple aspects to your HVAC. First, the actual units can be flooded with water and electrical components can be damaged. If the flooding is severe enough dirt and mud can be left behind and clog up the system. These should be looked at and thoroughly cleaned by a professional to ensure that they are properly functioning and don’t need repairs. Second, the vents and ducting in your home should be inspected. Contaminants can get into the vents and ducts, and they will need to be cleaned before these harmful materials are blown throughout the home.
Drywall – This kind of material is incredibly porous and absorbs a lot of water. Any affected areas should be removed as even if fully dry, because of how porous they are they can remain contaminated.
Insulation – Fiberglass and cellulose insulation that has gotten wet is considered to be contaminated and should be completely removed and replaced. Foam sheets may be able to get cleaned and put back.
Wood – There are many different kinds of wood in your home and their ability to be repaired or need to be replaced depends on what kind. Hard wood: Furniture and other materials made of solid wood and warp and crack when they absorb water but otherwise have the potential to be saved if dried out quickly and properly. Particleboard & Laminated Wood: Water or flood damage in particleboard and laminate can lead to separation of the pieces and weakening of the structure and will likely need replaced.
Framing and Structural Materials - These materials are made of solid wood and if dried out properly and disinfected should likely not need to be replaced as long as these issues are addressed quickly.
Pipes and Wires – Flood waters can shift pipes and break them or damage electrical sockets and disconnect wires. If these items are damaged in your home, repairs should always be left to a knowledgeable professional to avoid injury or further damage to your home.
As you can see, there are quite a few ways that water can damage your home. While you may feel like it is possible to address these issues yourself, without the proper knowledge it is easy to cause more damage and you could potentially harm yourself. If you’ve experienced water damage in your Richmond area home, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Our SERVPRO team is here to help 24/7, 365 days a year.
What To Do If Your Toilet Overflows
One of the more common sources of water damage in your home is from an overflowing toilet. They can get clogged, a septic system can stop draining, a sewer line back up could occur, and other causes too. Regardless of the cause it is important to address these issues immediately.
Addressing the source – As soon as you notice that the toilet is overflowing you should shut off the water. If you know the cause of the overflow is a clogged toilet you can try to unclog it yourself with a plunger, but otherwise you should call a plumber to get the source of the unwanted water fixed. Do not try and flush your toilet again until you’re positive that the overflow is fixed.
Water Cleanup – Toilet overflows are a more difficult type of water damage to clean up as the water is often either grey or black water. This is because toilet water often contains sewage and other contaminants that can make you sick.
Special equipment and materials should be used to clean and sanitize the areas affected. These cleanups should always be handled by professionals with the proper gear to make sure that there is no additional contamination and that the cleanup efforts are done in a safe manor. Regular household cleaning materials are inadequate to fully sanitize an area that has been affected by sewage.
Damage Assessment – When it comes to figuring out the extent of the water damage that has occurred there are a lot of factors.
One of the main factors is the materials that were used to build out your bathroom. Different types of flooring are more susceptible to damage. While some floors are able to be dried out if the damage is not significant, it’s possible that the flooring will need to be completely removed and replaced. The location of the bathroom can also affect the damage caused. If the bathroom is on an upper level of the house, there could be damage in between the floors or even in the ceiling of the level below. Additionally, if the source of the damage was grey or black water, much of the items that have absorbed any of the water should be disposed of.
Dealing with water damage from a toilet can be particularly difficult. You should never try and deal wit these kinds of water damages on your own as it can pose a risk to your health. Call SERVPRO of Richmond and SERVPRO of Henrico and let our team of highly trained water damage mitigation professionals handle it.
What Happens if Water is Not Cleaned Up Properly?
When you experience water damage in your home or business it can be tempting to want to try and address it yourself to avoid the costs of paying a restoration company or dealing with your insurance, but it’s important to understand the risks in trying to DIY your water damage.
Water gets everywhere. When your refrigerator water line leaks or a bathroom tub overflows, the damage isn’t limited to just what you see. Water seeps into cracks, gets absorbed into the flooring and behind walls, belongings get wet, and essentially anything that the water touches is affected. Depending on the extent of the leak it can be nearly impossible to ensure that everything is properly dried out just from a visual inspection.
The biggest issue with this is that water will continue to damage your property until it is dried out. Left unchecked, these hidden moisture pockets can cause:
- Discoloring of your walls or floors
- Musty odors or mold issues
- Warped flooring or carpet separation
- Structural Deterioration
SERVPRO of Richmond and SERVPRO of Henrico is a leader in the restoration industry. Our team is IICRC certified in water damage mitigation and restoration services and uses the latest technology and techniques to ensure that your property is thoroughly dried out and there are no hidden areas left behind. If your home or business suffers from water damage don’t leave it up to chance, give us a call and let us know how we can help!
Portable Outdoor Heater Safety
Everyone loves to spend time outside but during the winter months as the temperatures drop it can be difficult to do. Many people will enlist the help of portable heaters and fires to keep them warm. These activities are perfectly safe to do as long as you understand that they are also fire hazards. Luckily, as long as you take the proper safety precautions these hazards can be reduced greatly:
- Follow all manufacturer’s instructions for usage of fuel and fire starters.
- Portable heaters should only be filled with the recommended fuel types
- Never use gasoline or other flammable liquids in fire pits or campfires
- Propane for heaters should always be stored properly
- Always be present
- Never leave a portable heater running unattended, if you have to step away even for a moment turn it off and turn it back on when you return
- If you have a fire, you should keep a bucket of water or a hose within reach while the fire is lit
- When you put a fire out, stir the ashes around and make sure that all of the embers are extinguished and there aren’t any buried that are still smoldering
- Be mindful of placement
- Portable heaters need to be placed on a level surface in a spot where they won’t be bumped or knocked over
- Fire pits should be at least 10 feet away from your house
- Watch children and pets and make sure they stay a safe distance from any heat sources
- If you’re having a campfire the fire should be at least 25 feet from structures or anything that can burn, and always check for overhanging branches
Following these tips will allow you and your family to enjoy being outdoors, even when it gets cold, while still remaining safe.
Why Choose IICRC Restoration Professionals
Here at SERVPRO of Richmond and SERVPRO of Henrico we know that when it comes to your home or business there’s nothing more important than the quality of work you receive. Our team studies hard to ensure that they’re up to date on the latest industry standards and techniques and are constantly working to further their restoration knowledge.
Some of our team recently took part in a weeklong IICRC training on Fire and Water restoration before taking their tests to get officially IICRC certified. When you need restoration work done on your property, you can count on SERVPRO to be there with the tools to make it happen. Our team of professionals is ready for your call 24/7, 365 days a year. Please let us know how we can help you make it “Like it never even happened.”
Christmas Tree Safety
Christmas time is just around the corner and there’s nothing more exciting than setting up the Christmas tree. Did you know that almost one third of all Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems? How about that while uncommon, when Christmas tree fires do happen, they are more likely to be serious?
Follow our list of tips to keep your family safe and help keep your home from suffering any fire damage this holiday season.
- Picking the tree – Make sure that when you’re looking for a tree that it is fresh and that green needles do not fall off when you touch them
- Placing the tree – Cut off the end of the base of the trunk before you place it in the stand. Make sure that wherever the tree is located is at least three feet from any heat sources. Don’t forget to water the tree daily to make sure it does not prematurely dry out.
- Lights – Make sure to check that your lights are meant for indoor use before putting them on your tree. Replace any strings of lights with worn out cords or broken bulbs. Do not forget to turn the lights off when you leave the house or go to bed
Fire damage to your home is always an incredibly unfortunate event, but even more so during the holiday season. Your neighborhood SERVPRO of Richmond and SERVPRO of Henrico is here to help with any fire damage restoration and clean up that you may need following an accident to help get your holiday season back on track.
SERVPRO's Veteran Employee Shares Her Experience
SERVPRO of Richmond and SERVPRO of Henrico is proud to honor and support our veteran employees and we hope that you can be a part of our family too! We’ve asked one of our service members to share their experiences with SERVPRO and how SERVPRO could be the right place for you.
Amy Wingfield is one of our Job File Coordinators and served in both the Army and the Army National Guard.
SERVPRO: “Do the skills you learned during your service transfer to your current position here at SERVPRO?
Amy: “My Recruiting and Administrative Assistant roles provided me with the necessary skills needed to fulfill the expectations and requirements of my current position at SERVPRO of Chesterfield. Attention to detail, problem solving, training, time management, and the ability to adapt to many scenarios are some of the skills that have helped me be successful in my position as a Job File Coordinator.”
SERVPRO: “What do you like most about working for SERVPRO?”
Amy: “SERVPRO is fast paced, never the same, and you are learning every day. You can move up in some of the positions by working hard, dedication, attention to detail, and your willingness to go above and beyond expectations. Personally, I like the challenges I face daily in my position as a JFC and I have been supported by management and owners throughout some difficult times. The caring, appreciative environment is wonderful, and they do their best to ensure we know that we are important to the success of the franchises. “
SERVPRO: “What would you tell another veteran who is interested in working for SERVPRO?”
Amy: “If you are driven, want to grow with a company, and are open to learning something new, then your skill set will fit in nicely here. They honor us, show us appreciation for the time we served, and have the old “work hard play hard” thought process. This job can be physically and mentally challenging at times, however being a military member has taught us to push through and complete the mission. I say come join us and carve your path here!”
Our team is dedicated to being a workplace where veterans can feel comfortable and take advantage of the vast set of skills they have acquired throughout their service. If you think SERVPRO would be a good fit for you, we would love to hear from you.
SERVPRO of Richmond is IICRC Certified
We at SERVPRO of Richmond and SERVPRO of Henrico strive to provide the best possible service that we can to our customers, and that’s why our employees are IICRC certified! But what does IICRC certification mean and why is it important for you?
IICRC is The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification. This sets the standard for the cleaning and restoration industries. There are many different courses our technicians study:
- Applied Structural Drying Technician (ASD) – This course teaches technicians how to dry out water damaged structures as efficiently and effectively as possible using state of the art monitoring, extraction, and drying equipment.
- Carpet Cleaning Technician (CCT) – This course covers fabric identification, cleaning chemicals, pre-inspection, and the proper cleaning techniques for both residential and commercial applications
- Applied Microbial Remediation Technician (AMRT) – Technicians learn how to perform mold and sewage remediation techniques while making sure the health and safety of workers and occupants is protected
- Fire and Smoke Restoration Technician (FSRT) – In this class technicians learn about the different types of smoke and fire damage, cleaning procedures and odor/deodorization.
- Odor Control Technician (OCT) – Here technicians learn techniques to mitigate and remediate odors caused by sources like mold, smoke, urine, decomposition and more.
- Upholstery and Fabric Cleaning Technician (UFT) – This class covers fiber identification and cleaning methods as well as how to identify issues such as shrinking, bleeding, crowning, or distorting before they occur
- Water Damage Restoration Technician (WRT) – Technicians learn to deal with sewer backflows, water losses, and contamination such as mold, as well as how water damage can affect the structures of both residential and commercial buildings
These classes and certifications mean that SERVPRO has the knowledge to make your commercial or residential loss “Like it never even happened.”
Are You Ready for This Upcoming Winter Storms?
Incoming winter storms can be an exciting time for everyone, with so much fun to be had playing in the snow, however winter storms can also bring a lot of problems if you aren’t prepared.
One of the biggest issues in winter storms is power loss. With ice on the trees and the snow getting heavy, branches inevitably fall and can take out power lines leaving you without electricity and potentially also no heat!
- Make sure that you and your family have plenty of flashlights and fresh batteries for them in case of a power outage, and most importantly make sure that everyone knows where they are in the house so that they’re easier to find when the lights go out and you need them most.
- If you know a storm is on the way, charge your devices (phones, computers, radios, etc.) before the storm hits, and consider purchasing a power bank for the extra boost in case you need it.
- Blankets and candles are important to keep around for warmth, just be sure to blow out your candles before you leave the room.
- Stock up on water and non-perishable foods as you may not be able to travel on the roads if the storm creates difficult driving conditions. It’s helpful to also have some food on hand that does not need to be cooked in case the power is out and you can no longer use your appliances.
- Always try to avoid traveling during a winter storm, but if you do have to travel during the storm always carry a blanket, water, some extra layers, and a fully charged cell phone in case you get stuck and need help.
Getting snowed in can sometimes be scary but as long as you’re prepared you can spend the time having fun with your family and not be concerned about your safety.