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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

Steps to Take After Water Damage In Your Home

5/19/2021 (Permalink)

1. Call Your Insurance Company

Your homeowners’ insurance will vary depending on what policies you have. The insurance company will send an adjuster to look at and assess the damage and determine if it is a covered loss. Document the value of each and every item you can think of, and take as many photos as possible before, during, and after cleanup. This will help the adjuster when he or she is able to come assess the damage.

2. Stay Safe When Looking Over Your Home

The most important step in any major home disaster like flooding and water damage, is to make sure yourself and your family are safe. There are several things you can do to stay safe in your home.

Turn off the power

Water and electricity obviously do not mix. But, if turning off the power requires you to enter or stand in wet areas it is best to leave it alone and call an electrician. Do not reenter a flooded home before turning the electricity off.

Wear Protective Gear

Be sure to wear protective clothing–such as rubber boots and gloves–when you re-enter your home. This will protect you from injuries that can get bacteria filled water in them.

Protect Your Valuables

You can lift wood furniture off the wet carpet areas and insert tin foil under the feet to prevent staining of the carpet. Likewise, remove any rugs that may be on wet flooring.

You may be forced to leave your home if the flooding is bad enough. Make sure it is also safe when you return to your home to begin dealing with the aftermath. Don’t drive through any flooded areas!

3. Start Water Damage Repair Immediately

If possible, water damage restoration should start 24-48 hours after you’ve been cleared to re-enter your home. In many situations, the damage is too extensive for one person or family. Get help from a restoration service to stay safe and ensure all damage is removed.

If you decide to begin the drying process yourself, make sure you wear protective gear. Determine what is salvageable and throw away anything that is too damaged or no longer safe to use.

Be aware that you may need to remove flooring, drywall, and insulation to prevent mold and mildew from spreading in your home. Furniture may also need to be dried out, cleaned or thrown away depending on the level of water damage.

4. Dry Out Your Home

Once all standing water is removed from your home, you will still have to tend to damp belongings, particularly if you live in a very humid area. If you are able to get your electricity back on, use central air conditioning to remove humidity. Floor fans such as Air Movers and dehumidifiers can help dry damp areas of your home as well.

Avoid mildew, molds, and other lingering issues that could result if you rush back in. You may need the assistance of a professional restoration contractor.

Time is of the essence and studies show that starting the drying a home within the first 24 hours and completely drying a home within 3-4 days will almost completely remove the risk of mold and mildew.

Preparing Your commercial roof for a Hurricane

5/18/2021 (Permalink)

There are a number of measures you should take to make sure your roof is in good shape to withstand a hurricane, both year-round and when a storm is approaching.

PERFORM REGULAR ROOF MAINTENANCE

Keeping a routine maintenance schedule for your roof is a good idea under any circumstances, but it can save a lot of time and energy, and prevent serious damage, in the event that a hurricane hits your area. Check your roof regularly for wear and disrepair, especially around seams, joints, and flashing, and remove loose items and debris. 

It’s a good idea to have your roof professionally inspected each year before June 1, and to address any issues of damage or wear. If your roof has multiple repair issues, you may consider a full roof restoration to bring it back into shape. While inspecting your roof, and after any repairs or restoration, be sure to document its condition with photos. This could be crucial if you have to file an insurance claim after the storm.

REMOVE OVER-HANDING TREE BRANCHES

Have a tree service remove any limbs or weakened trees that could damage your roof in a high-wind storm.

CLEAR GUTTERS

Regularly clean gutters and remove blockage or clutter. It’s also important to keep your roof clean, so potential obstructions like leaves and dirt can’t make it into your drainage system. Water pooling from blocked drains can be severely damaging. Also, confirm that gutters and drainpipes are properly anchored, and replace any rusted components.

Flood Safety

5/18/2021 (Permalink)

Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters. Flooding often occurs following a hurricane, thawing snow, or several days of sustained rain. Flash floods occur suddenly, due to rapidly rising water along a stream or low-lying area.

Learn the Difference between a warning and a Watch. 

  • A flood/flash flood WATCH means a flood or flash flood is possible.
  • A flood/flash flood WARNING means flooding or flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon. TAKE IMMEDIATE PRECAUTIONS!

Protecting Your Home

Protecting Your Home

  • If you live in a floodplain, elevate and reinforce your home to make damage less likely during a flood.
  • Check with a professional to:
    • Raise your furnace, water heater, and electric panel to floors that are less likely to be flooded. An undamaged water heater may be your best source of fresh water after a flood.
    • Install check valves in plumbing to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home. (As a last resort, when floods threaten, use large corks or stoppers to plug showers, tubs, or basins.)
    • Construct barriers such as levees, berms, and flood walls to stop floodwater from entering the building (if permitted by local building codes).
    • Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage through cracks.
  • Use sand bags when flooding is expected:
    • It takes two people about one hour to fill and place 100 sandbags, creating a wall one foot high and 20 feet long.
    • Make sure you have enough sand, burlap or plastic bags, shovels, strong helpers, and time to place them properly.
    • If a flood is expected, some communities will offer free sandbags to residents. Be sure to watch or listen to the news so you can access these resources.

Smoke Detector Tips & Safety

5/18/2021 (Permalink)

Smoke Detector Tips

Smoke alarms save precious minutes -- alerting families to danger before smoke and gases can overcome them. In a home fire, smoke detectors are your best protection.

Placement of smoke detectors:

  • Location. Consider which parts of the house need protecting, where a fire would be most dangerous and how many units are needed. Plan one for each floor or level.
  • Sleeping areas. Put a detector within 10 feet of each bedroom door, preferably in the hallway. In a hallway longer than 30 feet, install one at each end. A unit in each room provides maximum protection.
  • Living room. Keep the detector away from a fireplace or wood stove to avoid false alarms.
  • Hall and stairwell. Place a detector at the top of each stairwell and at each end of a long hall.
  • Kitchen (eating/dining area) - Keep detector away from cooking fumes.
  • Basement. Mount a detector on the ceiling/beam at the bottom of the stairs, away from the exhaust of a heating unit.

Installation:

  • Read the installation instructions that come with the detector.
  • Keep units 6 inches away from the dead air space near walls and corners.
  • If mounted on a wall, place unit 6-12 inches below the ceiling and away from a corner.
  • Do not place a detector closer than 3 feet from an air register that might re-circulate smoke.
  • Do not place a unit on an un-insulated exterior wall or ceiling.
  • Place smoke detectors at least 3 feet from ceiling fans.

Maintenance:

  • Check the alarm every 30 days. Push test button.
  • Replace batteries twice a year.
  • Clean the detector's face and grill to remove dust or grease.
  • Keep spare batteries on hand.
  • Follow manufacturer's instructions.
  • Replace expired smoke detectors with "10-year sealed" units.

Remember, from the time a fire starts, family members have less than 4 minutes to escape. Do not attempt to extinguish a fire unless it can be put out in a few seconds.

Top 10 Fire Safety Tips

5/18/2021 (Permalink)

A fire can start in an instant and continue to rage until its fuel source is depleted, destroying homes and property, causing injuries. Here are your top 10 Fire Safety tips. 

  1. Install fire protection
    Smoke alarms are your best early warning system in the event of fire. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement, and outside each sleeping area. If you sleep with the door closed, install one inside your sleeping area as well.

    Test alarms every month and replace batteries once a year, or whenever an alarm "chirps" to signal low battery power. Never "borrow" a smoke alarm's battery for another use - a disabled alarm can't save your life. Replace all alarms that are more than 10 years old. For complete home protection, consider installing an automatic fire sprinkler system.
  2. Plan your escape from fire
    If a fire occurs in your home, you have to get out fast. Sit down with your family and work out an escape plan in advance. Be sure that everyone knows at least two unobstructed exits - including windows - from every room. (If you live in an apartment building, use the stairs, not the elevator to escape from fire.) Decide on a meeting place outside. Have your entire household practice you escape plan at least twice a year.
  3. Keep an eye on smokers
    Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths in North America. Smoking in bed or when you are drowsy could be fatal. Provide smokers with large, deep, non-tip ashtrays, and soak butts with water before discarding them. Before going to sleep or leaving home after someone has been smoking, check under cushions and around upholstered furniture for smoldering cigarettes.
  4. Remember:matches and lighters are tools, for adults only! Use only child-resistant lighters and store all matches and lighters up high, where kids can't see or reach them, preferably in locked cabinet. Teach children that matches and lighters are tools, for grown-ups only. Teach young children to tell a grown-up if they find matches or lighters; older children should bring matches and lighters to an adult immediately.
  5. Kitchen safety
    Always stay near cooking to monitor it closely. Keep cooking areas clear of combustibles, and wear clothes with short, rolled-up, or tight-fitting sleeves when you cook. Turn pot handles inward on the stove where you can't bump them and children can't grab them. Enforce a "kid-free" zone three feet (one meter) around your kitchen range. If grease catches fire in a pan, slide a lid over the pan to smother the flames and turn off the heat source. Leave the lid on until the pan is completely cool.
  6. Give space heaters space
    Keep portable heaters and space heaters at least three feet (one meter) away from anything that can burn. Keep children and pets away from heaters, and turn them off when you leave home or go to sleep.
  7. Use electricity safely
    If an electric appliance smokes or has an unusual smell, unplug it immediately, then have it serviced before using it again. Replace any electrical cord that is cracked or frayed. Plug only one electrical cord into each receptacle. Avoid running any cords under rugs. Don't tamper with your fuse box or use improper-size fuses.
  8. Cool a burn
    Run cool water over a burn for 10 to 15 minutes. Never apply ice. Never put butter or any other grease on a burn. If the burned skin blisters or is charred, see a doctor immediately.
  9. Crawl low under smoke
    If you encounter smoke while you are escaping from a fire, use an alternative escape route. If you must escape through smoke, crawl on your hands and knees, keeping your head 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 centimeters) above the floor, where the air will be cleaner.
  10. Stop, drop, and roll
    If your clothes catch fire, don't run. Stop where you are, drop to the ground, cover your face with your hands, and roll over and over to smother the flames. Cool the burn with water and call for help.

11 Common Causes of House Fires

2/11/2021 (Permalink)

Fire is one of the most fearsome and deadly calamities that can strike a home. According to the National Fire Protection Association, about 365,500 home fires occurred in America in 2015, causing 2,650 civilian deaths and more than $7 billion in property damages.

Here are 11 common causes of house fires.

Cooking 

Most kitchens contain several potential fire hazards, including appliances with faulty or frayed wiring, unattended pots and pans, and too-hot cooking oil to name just a few. According to the National fire protection Association, cooking equipment was the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries between 2010 and 2014, so it's worth paying special attention to this high-risk space. Always stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen—even for a brief period of time—turn off the stove. Wear short, close-fitting, or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking, and don't prepare food if you are sleepy, have been drinking alcohol, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy. Finally, always keep children away from active cooking areas.

Smoking 

According to the National Fire Protection Association, smoking is the leading cause of home fire deaths in America. Most smoking-related fires start inside the home, often originating from upholstered furniture, bedding, or mattresses. Always smoke outside, thoroughly extinguishing cigarettes in an ashtray when finished. Soak cigarette butts in water before tossing them never just toss a butt into a trash can! Also, smoking should never be allowed in any home where medical oxygen is in use, because of its explosive properties.

Fireplace and Wood Stoves

Fireplaces and wood stoves are another leading cause of home fires. To prevent an accident, install a spark screen or glass door in front of the firebox to protect the surrounding area from stray sparks and rolled logs. Check chimneys annually to ensure that creosote hasn't built up, and never leave a fire unattended. Periodically move cooled ashes to a covered metal container.

Appliance Cord 

Because frayed or faulty wires can trigger a fire, it’s important to follow safe practices with your appliance cords. Replace all worn or damaged cords right away, never overload extension cords or wall sockets, and don’t position cords under furniture or rugs. Also, don’t try forcing a three-slot plug to fit into a two-slot outlet. If a light switch or electrical outlet is hot to the touch or discolored, shut off the power to the switch or socket and replace it.

Heating

Not surprisingly, December, January, and February are the peak months for fires caused by home heating equipment. The main culprit? Portable space heaters, which cause more fires annually than central heating. Use space heaters only in well-ventilated spaces, and keep them at least three feet away from furniture, fabrics, draperies, and other combustible objects. Be sure that heaters have a properly working thermostat control, and look for models with an automatic shut-off feature. Although central heating isn't as big a contributor to home fires, it's still smart to have your system checked and maintained on an annual basis to ensure proper operation.Not surprisingly, December, January, and February are the peak months for fires caused by home heating equipment. The main culprit? Portable space heaters, which cause more fires annually than central heating. Use space heaters only in well-ventilated spaces, and keep them at least three feet away from furniture, fabrics, draperies, and other combustible objects. Be sure that heaters have a properly working thermostat control, and look for models with an automatic shut-off feature. Although central heating isn't as big a contributor to home fires, it's still smart to have your system checked and maintained on an annual basis to ensure proper operation.

Candles

Candles bring ambiance and fragrance to your home, but they’re also a major source of house fires. Prevent catastrophe by monitoring lit candles and blowing out the flame whenever you leave the immediate area. Never position a lit candle near flammable items like bed sheets and books, which may become engulfed in flame if they come in contact with the tiny fire. As a safer alternative, homeowners can purchase flame-less, battery-powered candles with LED's.

Flammable Liquids

Flammable liquids, such as gasoline, kerosene, and propane, should be safely stored outside in their original containers. When packing away lawn equipment for the season, empty the gasoline tank and properly dispose of the fuel. Kerosene and propane heaters, which have a constant open flame, should be kept in an isolated, well-ventilated area and used only with the proper type of fuel. Never overfill a heater, and clean up any spills right away.

Faulty Wiring

Older homes often have inadequate electrical wiring, making them prone to electrical fires. Your home's wiring may be faulty if you're constantly blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers, your lights dim when using an appliance, or you have to disconnect one appliance to get another to function. If these symptoms sound familiar, hire a licensed electrician to inspect your home and make any necessary repairs.

Grills and Fire Pits

Nothing beats a backyard barbecue, but if you don't follow the proper safety protocols, you may find yourself facing a backyard fire instead. When cooking outside, position your grill or fire pit several feet from your house, making sure that it's safely away from trees, deck railings, and other structures. Also, routinely clean the grill with soapy water, investigate signs of rust and corrosion, and check the gas connections. Always have a fire extinguisher nearby whenever you're dealing with open flames outdoors.

Lamps and Lighting 

Many electrical fires stem from poorly installed light fixtures and lamps. Make sure that hanging lights are insulated from wood paneling or ceiling joists and that portable lamps are positioned on a sturdy base that can't easily be knocked over. Use bulbs with the correct wattage (never over the maximum limit), and opt for well-fitting lampshades. For added safety, consider switching to LED bulbs, which produce less heat than incandescent or halogen varieties.

Inquisitive Children

Give a curious child a match and disaster is bound to happen. To stop children from playing with flame and unintentionally starting a fire, lock away matches and lighters. Teach kids that fire isn’t a toy, and never leave any young person unattended with stoves, candles, fireplaces, or other flame-producing objects.

Mold’s Favorite Hiding Spots

2/11/2021 (Permalink)

Mold can grow almost anywhere, and there are lots of places in your home that it can thrive. Although mold most commonly develops in the bathroom and basement, it can also hide in many unexpected areas. Since mold can cause various health effects, keeping your house mold-free is essential to a healthy home environment. Check out these areas that could be harboring mold in your house.

Refrigerator Drip Pans

The drip pan under your fridge collects moisture, dirt, and bacteria, making it a perfect place for mold to grow. To clean your drip pan, spray a mixture of 1 teaspoon hydrogen peroxide in 1 cup water over the pan. Then, use a rag soaked in vinegar to wipe the pan. To prevent mold from growing in the drip pan, keep it clean and wipe off the moisture frequently.

Washing Machines Gaskets

If you have a front-loading washing machine, chances are that there is mold in the machine’s door gasket. The moisture and lint in the gasket provide a perfect habitat for mold. Prevent mold in the washing machine gasket by wiping moisture off the gasket after every wash. Leaving the door open after each wash twill help allow moisture to evaporate.

Air Conditioning Units

AC units collect dust, pollen, and moisture from the air, allowing mold to grow on the drain pans, coils, and ducts. To get rid of the mold in your AC unit, you may need to hire a professional restoration company. They can detect and remove mold from the unit using specialized equipment and techniques.

Window Sashes and Seals

Windows are common areas where condensation forms and dirt gathers. This combination results in mold growth if you don’t remove the moisture and keep surfaces clean. Scrub the mold off with a toothbrush and a mixture of half vinegar, half water. To prevent condensation in the first place, you may have to repair the seals and/or replace the sashes.

Dishes

Mold can even grow on dishes that have been stacked wet and haven’t been used for several days. Wipe out the mold from dishes by running them through a hot cycle in your dishwasher. Then, dry the dishes completely using a towel. Make sure to wipe cabinets with a cloth soaked in vinegar prior to storing the dishes.

Inside Chimneys

Rainwater and snow may enter the chimney if its caps are rusted or the flashing is damaged. Mold can grow inside chimneys due to the water, dirt, and other organic debris that collects in brick crevices. Before removing the mold, fix or replace the caps and flashing. To remove mold from a chimney, it’s best to hire a chimney sweep that can give it a thorough cleaning. Hiring a chimney sweep once a year is essential to preventing mold in your chimney.

How to Prevent Duct Contamination

2/11/2021 (Permalink)

Whether or not you decide to have the air ducts in your home cleaned, committing to a good preventive maintenance program is essential to minimize duct contamination.

To prevent dirt from entering the system:

 Use the highest efficiency air filter recommended by the manufacturer of your heating and cooling system. 

Change filters regularly.

 If your filters become clogged, change them more frequently. 

Be sure you do not have any missing filters and that air cannot bypass filters through gaps around the filter holder.

 

When having your heating and cooling system maintained or checked for other reasons, be sure to ask the service provider to clean cooling coils and drain pans.

 

During construction or renovation work that produces dust in your home, seal off supply and return registers and do not operate the heating and cooling system until after cleaning up the dust.

 

Remove dust and vacuum your home regularly. (Use a high efficiency vacuum (HEPA) cleaner or the highest efficiency filter bags your vacuum cleaner can take. Vacuuming can increase the amount of dust in the air during and after vacuuming as well as in your ducts).

 

If your heating system includes in-duct humidification equipment, be sure to operate and maintain the humidifier strictly as recommended by the manufacturer.

Drywall and Water

2/11/2021 (Permalink)

It is always an unfortunate circumstance when you are faced with water damage in your home. In many situations, you have no idea how it happened or where the water is even coming from. More often than not the water that comes pouring through your rooms, ruining the carpet or wood floors. And just as common seeping beneath the walls, getting into the interior drywall. 

When this happens you may ask yourself, “Does water damaged drywall need to be replaced?” But more often than not, the water damaged drywall is going to have to be replaced. Wet drywall will lose its structural integrity and if left alone for long enough will develop mold spores, between the insulation and the drywall.  It’s easy to think it’s not a problem because out of sight out of mind, but it does need to be handled. Cleaning the flood water in your home that caused the flood damage of the drywall, then having to replace the drywall can be an arduous task to do on your own. But with a little effort and a little know-how, yours can be a successful job. 

Saving Your Contents From Fire Damage

2/11/2021 (Permalink)

Home fires are extremely dangerous both before and after the flames are put out. If items are not properly cleaned, smoke odors, soot, and ash never leave.

Attempting to scrub and remove soot only spreads stains deeper into the fabric. A simple “dust and wash off” method is not enough to deodorize small, hidden particles in your furniture, antiques, or clothes. That is why professional fire damage cleaning is necessary.

To prevent further damage to your belongings, call the professionals before trusting a DIY tutorial. They use high-tech equipment, techniques, and special chemicals—only used by certified technicians— to deodorize and sanitize your contents. All processes safely clean, protect, and maintain any item.

How to Remove Other Smells in your Home

2/11/2021 (Permalink)

Bad odors also linger in places like the kitchen, basement, and bathroom. They permeate areas such as carpets, fabrics, and your pets’ favorite spots. Here are budget-friendly tips for eliminating bad odors from various areas in your home:

  • Remove the source of the smell. To truly fix the odor issue, identify the problem and fix it. For instance, fixing the plumbing could stop the bad smells from permeating your home.
  • Wash hard surfaces, such as countertops, tables, hard floors, and walls. Use either your favorite cleaner or a mixture of half water, half white vinegar.
  • Clean carpets and fabrics:
    • For carpets, a simple way to eliminate odor is to use baking soda, a natural deodorizer. After the carpet is dry, sprinkle baking soda on it, then allow the baking soda to sit overnight. The next day, remove the baking soda with a vacuum cleaner.
    • On upholstery, use white vinegar to absorb the odor. Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar and spritz it on the upholstery. Wait until the vinegar air-dries. The strong smell of vinegar, along with the musty odors, will be gone once it has dried.
  • Fight kitchen smells:
    • Fridge — keep an open box of baking soda in the fridge to absorb smells. For more efficiency, wipe down shelves using hydrogen peroxide and a piece of cloth.
    • Garbage disposal — grind some ice, then sprinkle Borax down the disposal and rinse it with water.
    • Fish and other food smells – boil a cup of vinegar on the stove to release vapors that absorb smells quickly. Wipe down the cabinets with soap and warm water.
    • Garbage can — if the can itself smells, wash it with water and white vinegar. If the garbage smells, but the can isn’t full yet, remove the odors by dropping some coffee grounds in it.
  • Remove bathroom odors:
    • Toilet — add 1 cup of white vinegar into the bowl, wait 5 minutes, then scrub and flush.
    • Sink drain — mix ½ cup of bleach and ½ cup of water and pour it down the drain. Let it stand for 1 hour and then rinse with water.

Top Extension Cord Safety Tips

2/11/2021 (Permalink)

Does your home have too many electrical devices and too few outlets to plug them all? Chances are you’re using extension cords to power up your electrical devices. However, electrical cords can become fire hazards when used improperly. Follow these tips to use extension cords safely:

  • Purchase only cords that are approved by an independent testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
  • Fully insert the plug of an extension cord (or any plug for that matter) into an outlet.
  • Check the maximum capacity of the extension cord and appliance or tool you’re using, and make sure you don’t exceed it.
  • Unplug extension cords when you’re not using them. To safely unplug an extension cord, pull on the plug, NOT on the cord.
  • Use extension cords only temporarily. Don’t substitute extension cords for permanent wiring.
  • Don’t run extension cords through water or snow to avoid the high risk of electric shock. Keep water away from extension cords.
  • Don’t run cords through ceilings, walls, doorways, or floors. Never place cords under carpets, either. Covered cords allow little heat to escape and pose a fire hazard.
  • Keep cords out of the path of foot traffic to prevent tripping. Don’t leave cords dangling anywhere where they can be pulled down and tripped over.
  • If you use too many extension cords, there may be too few outlets in your home. Have a qualified electrician install additional outlets to avoid using excess extension cords.
  • Avoid chaining multiple extension cords – plug extension cords directly into mounted electrical receptacles. Use extension cords that are long enough for your needs.
  • Inspect extension cords before using them. If a cord heats up or is damaged in any way, discard it.
  • Always use extension cords with polarized and/or three-prong plugs. Don’t force a three-prong plug into two-prong outlets. Don’t remove or bend the ground pin to force a fit.
  • Never use staples or nails to attach cords to a surface like a wall to prevent puncturing the cord’s insulation.
  • Don’t overload extension cords with too many appliances. The cord can overheat and possibly cause a fire. Plug only one minor appliance into an extension cord.
  • Plug major appliances, such as refrigerators, dryers, and washers, directly into a wall receptacle outlet.
  • Never use indoor extension cords outdoors. For outside use, only use extension cords marked for outdoor use.
  • When using cord-bundling devices, such as spiral wire wrap, avoid cramming cords together to prevent damaging the cord’s insulation.

What Is Mold?

2/25/2020 (Permalink)

Most people are aware that mold is a common problem in damp buildings. Whether it comes as a result of flood-related water damage or excess condensation, mold can very quickly take a hold of a building and bring a whole host of problems with it. But what is mold and the difference? 

For everything we hear about mold, you’re probably left wondering "why is mold bad" and, more importantly, "is mold dangerous?" Here’s some important information to make sure you know about how to identify mold and the dangers posed by mold growth.

Is Mold Bad?

Mold is a type of fungi that grows in multicellular structures called hyphae. These hyphae produce the mold spores that are found indoors and outdoors. Although mold spores are found everywhere, in order to grow, mold requires moisture. Therefore, mold can be particularly prevalent in refrigerators and shower rooms, after a water pipe leak, or in the aftermath of flooding. There are thousands of different species of mold; some are used to produce common things like medicine (namely penicillin) and foods. However, when mold grows in your home or business, it can be detrimental, causing property damage.

So, why is mold bad? Mold growth in or around your property is dangerous for two reasons.

 When mold starts to grow, it feeds on the materials it is growing on, resulting in irreversible damage.

How to Remove Mold Stains from Clothes

2/25/2020 (Permalink)

Damp clothes or fabrics can easily be infested with mold if they’re not dried in time. If you’re in this situation, there’s hope! You can still save your moldy garments if the mold has only left a few spots. Here are a few general tips for how to remove mold from clothes and fabric.

Read the label

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions about the suggested water temperature for washing and how the clothing items should be dried.

Scrub off the mold stain

Apply a mold stain remover, such as household soap, white vinegar or bleach, and use a toothbrush to brush off the surface mold. Be gentle and try not to damage the fabric in the process.

Pre-soak the fabric

Since mold stains are hard to remove, you should also pre-soak your stained garment before washing it. Saturate it for one hour in a commercial pre-soak product or in a bucket of water with one cup of white vinegar.

Wash your clothes in hot water

Besides being effective at removing bacteria and allergens, hot water also kills mold spores better. Of course, don’t surpass the maximum recommended water temperature to wash your clothing. If you have materials that can’t be washed, take them to the dry cleaner.

Use a mold killing solution in the washer:

Vinegar – Add one or two cups of vinegar per cycle along with normal detergent to kill any moldy smells and brighten your white fabrics.

Borax – You can also use borax in a regular washing cycle, but only with organic fabrics like cotton and linen. Dissolve half a cup of borax in hot water and add it into the machine once it has filled with water.

Bleach – This substance can kill mold in fabrics but it can fade colors. So make sure to spot-test first and read the label. Some labels say “no chlorine bleach”. Once you know your clothes won’t be damaged, wash them with normal detergent and one cup of bleach.

After washing your clothes, hang-dry them in the sun

Sunlight has a natural bleaching effect and also helps to kill mold spores in the fabric. Avoid using the clothes dryer as heat from this machine can make spots visible and difficult to remove.

What Causes Stachybotrys (Black Mold) To Grow?

2/25/2020 (Permalink)

Stachybotrys Stachybotrys (Black Mold) in a room from water loss

Black mold typically refers to Stachybotrys Chartarum, which is one of several species of mold that produces a toxic byproduct called mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are created as the mold breaks down the building materials feeding its growth. Certain mycotoxins can cause health effects if they’re inhaled by humans or pets, particularly infants or those with pre-existing health conditions, which is why people sometimes refer to black mold as “toxic mold.”

Just like any type of mold, black mold requires constant moisture in order to grow. This means that mold could thrive in the aftermath of water damage from a flood or a burst water pipe. Similarly, issues with roof leaks, clogged gutters, or landscaping can lead to major moisture and mold problems. For black mold to survive, it needs the following:

  • A nutrient source on a surface to grow on (e.g. drywall, carpet, wood, and ceiling tiles)
  • Darkness
  • Warmth
  • At least 24 to 48 hours

Provided these conditions are met, mold can grow virtually anywhere. Ultimately, however, moisture is the most important factor. If your home or business has a problem with moisture, whether it’s condensation or water damage, mold can grow and begin damaging the materials on which it’s growing.

Stachybotrys chartarum is a greenish-black mold. It can grow on material with a high cellulose content, such as fiberboard, gypsum board, and paper. Growth occurs when there is moisture from water damage, water leaks, condensation, water infiltration, or flooding. Constant moisture is required for its growth.

When Do I Need Air Duct Cleaning Services?

2/25/2020 (Permalink)

Air duct cleaning services are vital if your vents contain a build-up of contaminants. This can happen due to the growth of mold in ducting, or simply by the accumulation of airborne contaminants which can settle and multiply. Air duct cleaning is also an important recovery and restoration service after incidents such as a fire, when smoke and soot particles are absorbed into the building's ductwork. If not treated and removed properly, these contaminants filter through into the building’s breathing air through HVAC systems.

Your air ducts should be cleaned if:

  • There are any signs of vermin present in the ducts or building—for example, insects or rodents.
  • There is mold growth in any part of your HVAC system. Mold in air ducts causes harmful particles to be circulated around the building, which is detrimental to the health of occupants.
  • There is a visible build-up of dirt, dust, or debris within the vents.
  • There has been a fire in the building.
  • There has been a flood in the building.
  • There has been extensive renovation or construction work which has caused excessive dust or dirt in the air.

Air duct cleaning also works as a proactive solution to indoor air quality issues, helping to improve airflow through ducts, as well as the quality of the air distributed. Regular cleaning of your air ducts also ensures that your system is running efficiently, improving energy usage in your home or business.

Contents Restoration

2/24/2020 (Permalink)

When your personal property is damaged it is always a very traumatic experience. Knowing that, our team of dedicated contents restoration professionals promises to take every measure to get your personal items back to the condition they were in before they sustained damage.

From electronics damaged by fire and smoke, to historical documents with water damage, SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton. 

Personal property, or contents as they are often referred to in homeowner’s policies, can take many forms. In the restoration industry we like to separate them into the following distinctions:

  • Soft items (upholstered items, cloths & fabrics)
  • Hard items: (wood, furnishings and/or solid surfaces)
  • Electronic items

A specialist in contents restoration will deal with many different forms of content damage. The following perils affecting contents are the most common:

  • Clean Water
  • Sewage
  • Fire and smoke

If contents are affected by clean water they can many times be restored. The key is that the sooner a contents restoration specialist can get on site and stop the absorption of water into contents, the better chance the contents have to be fully restored to the customer’s satisfaction.

Mold Damage

2/24/2020 (Permalink)

Any building that has suffered from water damage or problems with excess moisture is at risk of mold growth. There are thousands of different types of mold found outdoors and indoors. All present potential risks and become problematic when they start actively growing. If you find that your home or business has begun to show signs of mold damage, it’s important to act as quickly as possible to have it treated and remediated to reduce long-term risks to your property and improve air quality.

When mold damage is discovered in your property, there are many questions that may spring to mind. For example:

  • Is mold dangerous?
  • What can breathing in mold do?
  • What kills black mold?
  • How much does mold removal cost?

Without the correct assessment and remediation, mold can become dangerous and affect the structural integrity and air quality of your property. As mold specialists, we’ve put together some useful guides on mold damage to help you understand and identify the risks before acting to remove mold.

8 Facts About Drywall Water Damage

2/18/2020 (Permalink)

It’s no surprise that water damage to drywall is common.  Lightweight, durable, non-combustible and quickly installed, drywall, also known as gypsum board, is the most prevalent building material in American homes today. However, drywall and water don’t always get along. While the material readily withstands random splashes and drips, drywall is often one of the first casualties of serious home water damage.  

  • The first priority must be identifying the source of water and eliminating it. In addition to obvious scenarios such as flooding, damage may occur from hidden sources such as leaky plumbing pipes routed through wall cavities and above ceilings—both areas typically enclosed by drywall.  
  • To reduce the likelihood of mold growth occurring in wet drywall, effective drying techniques must be initiated within 24 to 48 hours following the water damage incident.
  • Proper ventilation, continuous indoor dehumidification and adequate air circulation with fans are essential elements in drying out wet drywall.
  • Drywall is very absorbent. If the source of water damage is toxic such as raw sewage, affected drywall must be replaced to ensure toxins are fully removed from the indoor environment.  
  • Physical damage due to water exposure is also an indicator of replacement. Drywall that has lost structural integrity and is bulging or sagging cannot be restored and must be replaced.
  • Other signs of deterioration due to drywall water damage include rust on fasteners used to secure drywall as well as delamination of the outer layers of paper    
  • Moisture meter readings must be taken to verify that the internal gypsum material is fully dried. If meter readings are not consistent, laboratory testing of samples is recommended to ensure that the drying process is complete.
  • Deciding to replace drywall may depend on some or all of the above factors.  

Has Fire Damaged Your Home?

2/17/2020 (Permalink)

Fire damage always occurs when you least expect it. The experience of an unexpected and violent outbreak such as a fire within your home is overwhelming. At SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton, we definitely understand how traumatic these occurrences are.  We at SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton have specially trained fire damage repair experts standing by to help you through each aspect of your fire restoration project. 

Our goal, from beginning to end, is to make sure that your home or business is fully restored to its original state as if the fire never happened.  We fix your fire damaged property and we aim to make the entire restoration experience as easy and worry free as possible for you.  If your home suffers fire damage it is most important that you call your homeowner’s insurance company and document the damage, they will then institute a claim for the damages that are suffered.

SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesaville & Vinton will then inspect your home or property after a fire and provide a free estimate to determine your insurance claim loss.  We work hand-in-hand with your insurance adjuster so as to minimize any problems or delays in the processing of your insurance claim.  Our fire restoration experts will restore and get your property back to its original state and help you get back on the road to normalcy as fast as possible.

Preventing House Fires

2/6/2020 (Permalink)

We all know fires can be very dangerous and can start very easily. Don’t forget to take precautions and learn about where and how a fire can simply start in your home. If you do need fire restoration, call the professionals at SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton. 

Cooking

Cooking is always the number one cause of house fires in the United States. These cooking fires always increase during the major holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Take these precautions to prevent cooking fires of any sort!

  • Always stay near your grill, oven, or stovetop when in use, never leave these unattended.
  • Make sure you have functional smoke detectors in or near your kitchen.
  • Thoroughly clean cooking surfaces before and after food preparation.

Turn off your grill, oven, or stove as soon as you are done using it.

Dryers

A very typical fire is started by something we all have in our homes. A clothes dryer. You wouldn’t think that this would be something to cause a hazardous fire in your home, but the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates more than 15,000 fires are caused by dryers. Lint is created by cycling loads upon loads of wet clothes and fabrics into the dryer. After so many loads, the lint will start filling up the dryer’s lint trap. The dryer doesn’t stop when the lint trap is full and keeps working like it should. Then, the temperature of the heat keeps rising and since the dryer’s lint trap hasn’t been changed, the lint automatically becomes the perfect fuel to start a dryer fire. Some of these fires have led to serious injury and even death. Don’t forget to remove all lint from the dryer’s lint trap before and after each load you put into the dryer to prevent any type of dryer fire. Never leave the dryer unattended. It’s best if you remove debris from the dryer’s hose that connects the dryer to the vent at least a couple times each year.

Electric Fires

As frayed wires and overloaded circuits are hazardous, this is what makes electric fires very common. These types of fires can be very easily prevented if you follow these helpful tips:

  • Inspect all cords and wires to make sure they are not frayed or worn out.
  • Do not daisy chain power strips.
  • Do not overload a single outlet with too many plugs.
  • Do not use extension cords as a permanent solution.
  • Hire an electrician to inspect your outlets and electrical system.
  • Use surge protectors to help prevent power surges.

In the unfortunate event of a fire contact your local restoration professionals, SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton. We have the expertise and tools necessary to help prevent additional smoke and fire damage, safely cleanup the aftermath, and restore your property.

Fire Damage Cleanup

2/6/2020 (Permalink)

We all hope that we never have to experience a fire at our home or business, but in the unfortunate event that a fire does happen, do you know what do do? Do you know how fire and smoke damage can affect your Indianapolis property and your belongings? 

Fires are incredibly destructive on their own, and are often coupled with smoke damage and damage caused by firefighting efforts including broken windows and water damage. But this doesn’t mean that you are better off tearing everything down and starting over. SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton can effectively return your home to preloss condition, but cleanup needs to begin as soon as possible to ensure the best results.

How Does a Fire Damage My Property?

When many people think of fires, they think of the physical damage caused by the heat and flames of the fire itself. In most cases, these things need to be replaced after a fire. But there are also several other things to consider including soot and smoke damage. Walls and ceilings are likely covered with soot and smoke damage, and smoke odors may have permeated throughout the house, being absorbed by various materials.

SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton addresses all of these concerns. Different types of materials will react differently with the acidic soot and smoke buildup, so it’s important that fire damage cleanup begin quickly to prevent permanent damage to these items.

Should I Hire a Fire Damage Cleanup Professional?

In most cases, fire damage cleanup is a complex process and is best performed by a professional. There are some things homeowners can do themselves, but working with a fire damage cleanup professionals ensures that the fire damage is addressed quickly and that nothing is overlooked, leading to additional damage.

When the worst happens, call SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton to handle fire damage cleanup from start to finish. Our qualified team of fire damage restoration professionals will work hard to clean and restore your property so you can move on with your life.

Three Myths About Contents Restoration

2/6/2020 (Permalink)

After a fire or water loss, common misconceptions homeowners and carriers often have is that damaged contents cannot be restored so they should be automatically replaced, or even cashed out. These, as well as other myths related to contents restoration, lead to higher claim costs, customer service issues and customer retention issues.

Here are three misconceptions, or myths, to avoid this customer service minefield. 

Myth #1: Homeowners would rather buy new contents than restore “old” contents.

While homeowners are happy to shop and add new items to what they already own, they don’t necessarily want to replace everything because that takes a lot of time and effort. Imagine the task of replacing all of the furniture, clothing, dishes, decorations; literally every item in your home. Just thinking about it is exhausting. In fact, studies show that customer service plummets when homeowners are inconvenienced.

Soft contents tend to hold more sentimental value than any other content category because they are often seasonal, purchased for a special occasion, gifted or hold a special meaning. A homeowner may have an outfit worn to a daughter’s wedding or other memorable event, a flag symbolizing military service, or a quilt that grandma hand-stitched. These sentimental items are often irreplaceable.

Myth #2: Even if there is no attempt to restore an item, it can still be replaced.

That’s simply not true. A homeowner can’t replace an item because, in their opinion, it can’t be restored; restoration must be attempted first. The only exceptions are contents that are structurally damaged or a restoration expert evaluates and designates items as non-salvage at the loss site.

Most homeowners and some carriers don’t realize that, for the vast majority of restoration companies out there, if there is an attempt to clean an item and it is not fully restored, there’s no charge for the attempted cleaning. There’s virtually nothing to lose by attempting restoration.

Yet, there is a lot to gain! When items are restored, the cost of restoration is always a better option than replacement. That’s because restoration costs, on average, are only 15 to 25 percent of an item’s value.Top of Form

Cost savings aren’t the only benefit of restoration. For a variety of reasons, many people are underinsured when it comes to contents coverage. They may have had their policy for years and haven’t increased the limits as they accumulated new things. They may have opted for less coverage in exchange for lower monthly policy payments. After a loss, this leads to policy limitation issues; so, their money goes a lot further when items can be restored versus replaced.

Myth #3: Cashing out a contents claim is a good idea.

Rather than wait for items to be restored, a homeowner may accept an offer from a carrier to “cash out” a claim. We already know that replacing items costs more than restoring items; so, by doing the math, we know that a “cash out” will not enable a homeowner to replace all their items, but does the homeowner realize that, or are they tempted by a quick payout? The carrier, too, may see the option as a way to quickly close a claim and move on to the next one.

The policyholder can replace what they use on a regular basis, but, because a homeowner rarely considers seasonal items, bedding, drapery, rugs, shoes, hats, holiday decorations and dishes, etc., they inevitably become frustrated when the amount received isn’t enough to replace all their damaged items.

The end result, either with an underinsured policyholder, or one that accepted a “cash out” settlement that quickly ran out, is “buyer’s remorse.” Rather than blame themselves for not purchasing adequate insurance coverage, or for taking the “quick and easy” payout, they usually blame their agent and carrier.

Avoiding this myth minefield by anticipating the consequences of cashing out or replacing lost contents versus less costly restoration, is the key to better customer service and reduced claim costs when dealing with contents after a loss.

Interesting Facts About Water Damage

1/8/2020 (Permalink)

Every homeowner’s worst nightmare is having to deal with the aftermath of a flood. Initially, homeowners are generally concerned about questions like how much their homeowner’s insurance will cover and what possessions can be salvaged. When disaster strikes, life is placed on hold until everything is dried out and returned to normal, which isn’t always an easy task. Here are facts about water restoration that will help you secure your home and return to normal life.

Knowing the Type of Water

In most cases, there are three types of water that will enter a home: rainwater, fresh water, and sewage water. The type of water you are dealing with will determine the cleanup process. If you are dealing with sewage water, you’ll need to contact a professional clean up company, who will have the necessary tools to handle the problem safely. One sure way to know that you are dealing with a sewage water mess is that it will smell as terrible as you would expect it to. Bacteria that are commonly found within sewage water can be harmful, leaving you or your family members violently ill.

Trouble Doesn’t End When the Water is Gone

Don’t be deceived thinking that as soon as the water is removed from your home you can breathe a deep sigh of relief. Just because the obvious signs of water are gone, doesn’t mean there isn’t moisture, mold, or other issues lying just beneath the surface. Moisture can be hiding in walls, crawlspaces, under floorboards, etc., leading to mold growth. Not only is mold harmful to your health, but it can cause serious damage to the structural elements of your home. As part of your water cleanup process, be sure to have a mold prevention expert fully inspect your home, to ensure you don’t have any potential issues hiding where you can’t see them.

At SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton, we have water restoration specialists who can not only remove the water from your home but fully inspect to ensure that you don’t have any hidden problems you may not know about. Don’t attempt to clean up the water mess by yourself, call the professionals at SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton and let us do the work for you.

When Disaster Strikes, Call SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton

12/16/2019 (Permalink)

Whether at your home or at your business, fire, flooding or a mold outbreak can be one of the most disruptive events imaginable. At the forefront of your mind is likely a desire to get things back to normal as quickly as possible.

We’re on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, because we are all too aware that a loss can strike at any time and on any day. Our fast-responding technicians have the training and equipment to start making a difference right away, and we always hit the ground running.

We’re proud to be certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), the world’s leading restoration Standards Developing Organization (SDO)

Preparing For A Hurricane

12/6/2019 (Permalink)

Step 1: Plan

The first thing you need to do when preparing for a hurricane is make a plan outlining the information you will need and the procedures to be followed in case a hurricane hits. Your plan should include:

  • Contact details – family, friends, schools, work places, and emergency services
  • Insurance details – policy, ‘before’ photographs of your property, and claim process information
  • Maps with at least two evacuation routes marked – in high-risk states, hurricane evacuation routes are signposted
  • An inventory of your possessions - use as a reference in case anything is damaged
  • Details of nearby shelters

Discuss your plan with family and friends to ensure everyone knows what to do when a hurricane occurs.


Step 2: Create A Disaster Kit

You should gather supplies into a disaster kit to help you stay safe during a hurricane. Your disaster kit may have to last for several days, so ensure it’s well stocked. Key items are:

  • Food and water to last at least three days for each person and animal
  • Medicines and first aid supplies
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Portable radio and mobile phone
  • Toiletries
  • Maps of the local area
  • Money (cash)
  • Portable generator (if in an area prone to power outages and hurricanes)

If you’re going to be at home when the hurricane hits, fill up all available containers with water beforehand, including sinks and bathtubs. Stock your refrigerator and freezer with water and ice. If the hurricane is severe (Category 3 or higher), water supplies are likely to be down or contaminated for multiple days after the storm.

NOTE: Water stored in sinks and bathtubs is safe for flushing toilets, washing dishes, and doing laundry. If you intend to use it for drinking, cooking, or brushing teeth, make sure you boil it for 3-5 minutes first.

To save room in your refrigerator, purchase non-perishables and canned foods.

Have one disaster kit prepared for your house and one to take with you should you need to evacuate. If hurricane watches and warnings are frequent in your area, consider storing a kit in your car at all times, so you are able to evacuate the area quickly. Remember to fill up the gas tank of your car if a storm is likely.

Step 3: Establish A Safe Room In Your House

Even if your first choice would be to evacuate the area during a hurricane, bear in mind that this may not always be possible. It is best to identify the room in your house that would offer the most protection if you have to stay.

The ideal safe room should have no windows or external doors and be on a low floor of the building. Store your in-house disaster kit and hurricane plan in this room so it is accessible at all times. If a hurricane approaches, move water and food into this room as well.

Unlike with tornadoes, hurricane safe rooms should not be located in a basement. Hurricanes are frequently accompanied by flooding, so subterranean shelters should be avoided. If possible, have an option in your plan to move to higher floors in case flooding occurs.

Knowing Hurricane Categories

12/6/2019 (Permalink)

Hurricane news can be difficult to understand if you do not know the terminology used to describe them. Hurricanes are rated using categories defined by the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale, which was developed by the National Hurricane Center.

Five hurricane categories exist, and each one is defined by the wind speeds measured in the storm. The categories are divided based on the levels of destruction a storm will cause.

The categories as explained by the National Hurricane Center are:

Category 1 hurricane (74 to 95 mph): Very dangerous winds will produce some damage:Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding, and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days.

Category 2 hurricane (96 to 110 mph): Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage:Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.

Category 3 hurricane (111 to 129 mph): Devastating damage will occur:Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.

Category 4 hurricane (130 to 156 mph): Catastrophic damage will occur:Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

Category 5 hurricane (157 mph and above): Catastrophic damage will occur:A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

You might hear newscasters reference a storm as a Category 6 hurricane. This is not a rating recognized by the Saffir-Simpson scale – it is an informal way of denoting a storm with winds upwards of 185 mph. The increased wind speed for a ‘Category 6’ hurricane does not correspond with an increase in destructiveness, as Category 5 hurricanes already indicate a storm capable of complete destruction.

Hurricane Recovery

12/6/2019 (Permalink)

Hurricane recovery after severe storms (Category 3 and above) can take months or even years.

If you have evacuated your property, do not return to the area until you have been advised to do so by emergency services and/or local authorities.

If you remained in your home during the hurricane, proceed with extreme caution when going outside. Wait for at least three hours before leaving to ensure the storm has passed entirely and the area has had time to settle. Keep up to date with National Hurricane Center alerts and local news to know when your area is safe.

Conduct an extensive visual check from your doors and windows to see if there are any hazards in your vicinity. Do not go outside if you can see high flood water or downed powerlines. Instead, alert emergency services that you are trapped and wait.

Once you are safely able to assess the condition of your property, contact your insurers. Describe the damage caused and ask them about next steps for the claiming process, including the timeframe for when an estimator will be able to make it to your property. Have your inventory and ‘before’ photographs from your hurricane plan on hand when they arrive.

Restoring Your Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event

7/16/2019 (Permalink)

Flooding and water damage events in 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 DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton

SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton 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.

Inspect Your Commercial Building for Waterproofing and Damages

7/15/2019 (Permalink)

Is your business in a building that is comfortable, dry and weatherproof? If so, thank the contractors responsible for exterior maintenance. It is their job to keep your building maintained. Proper maintenance ensures that the weather stays outside where it belongs. 

Damage to the exterior lets in the weather. Some, like broken windows, is obvious and demands immediate attention. Other damage starts tiny and grows into serious maintenance problems.

Examples of minor damage are:

  • Small holes in siding
  • Loose or cracked windows
  • Gaps around vents, pipes and other exterior features like windows 
  • Damaged masonry

Routine Inspections Are the Key to Preventive Maintenance

Every building has problems that are easy to overlook. They don’t interfere with the business operation, so they go unreported. The first step in fixing them is finding them. The best way to identify them is through a complete building inspection. Think of this as a close inspection of the building with the help of a checklist. Here are some of the tasks that an exterior maintenance inspection might include:

1. Inspect the roof. Look for areas where the roofing material needs repair. Check the vents, air conditioner and other features attached to the roof to make sure they won’t leak. Check the gutters and downspouts. Make sure that rain water will flow down and away from the building. 
2. Inspect the walls. Look for openings that might let water in. A structural engineer can help you determine if there is water damages.
3. Inspect the masonry. Areas that are failing might provide a path for water to get inside. Bring in a professional to check the situation.
4. Inspect the doors and windows. Make sure that they stop the flow of air and water.
Some exterior maintenance problems can’t wait.

One of these is water damage. There are local water damage restoration specialists ready to come to your aid. They are just a phone call away. 337-462-6500

How to Save Your Business’s Flood Damaged Electronics

7/9/2019 (Permalink)

Technology is the lifeblood of business. A huge number of companies rely on in-house technology departments to deliver the computing power their businesses need to operate. Human Resource departments depend on technology for payroll purposes and to streamline employee on-boarding. Artificial intelligence is increasingly being utilized in various sectors, including banking, retail and healthcare.

The importance of technology is evident, and electronics are especially at risk when natural or man-made disasters strike. Floods are an inevitable aspect of nature. Whether it is a flash flood, overbank flood, coastal flood or ice jam flood, nature can heavily impact business operations. Similarly, floods caused by human error, such as burst plumbing pipes or flooding caused by dysfunctional sump pumps, are equally catastrophic to businesses.

Humidity levels, for instance, spike when water floods indoors. The average recommended humidity level is 30 to 40 percent. When a flood occurs, the humidity levels become dangerously high for an office or floor housing numerous computers or printers. The surplus moisture settles onto the electronics and causes component failure. Corrosion also results from the excess moisture in the air.It’s a given—floods in the US cause $6 billion in damages annually. Any place rain falls is vulnerable to floods. When a business is literally under water, the first thing business owners should do after taking care of employees is save their flood damaged electronic devices.

Take a Look: Unplugged or Plugged In?

Safety should be the first thing on your mind, no matter what.

Thoroughly extracting all traces of water in flood damaged electronics can spark life into the units. Recover the wet device by first turning it off and removing the cords or any batteries. Without electricity, there is no chance for a shorted circuit. Recovery is possible at this point.

If the electronic device is small enough, gently shake it to dislodge all traces of water. You may take apart a few panels to thoroughly dry a larger device.

Apply rubbing alcohol to the wet areas inside the device. The alcohol content serves to hasten the evaporation process. A Q tip is handy if the device if small. Alternately, as mentioned, a clean cloth will work for larger units. Allow the cloth to gently absorb the water; do not attempt to use swiping motions with the cloth, as the water will disperse to different locations inside the device.

Set the device out in a well-ventilated area to dry. Set up fans nearby to speed up the drying process. At least one to two days are required for complete air drying. 

Test the Electronics

Allow the flood damaged electronics to dry at least 24 hours, using the steps mentioned, before turning them on. If the devices function once powered on, consider the units to be in good working condition. If the electronics operate but not at 100 percent, traces of water are still likely to be inside the unit. Repeat the drying processes to dislodge all the remaining droplets of water.

If the electronics fail to work at this point, replace the devices or have a technical specialist attempt to salvage the devices. A data recovery lab is optimal if your computers contain invaluable data. Data recovery specialists, while expensive, utilize sophisticated equipment to retrieve data from almost any device, despite the condition.

Prevention is the best route to avoid the necessity of replacing or restoring water damaged electronics. Always regularly back up important data often to avoid losing it in the event of an unforeseeable flood. Elevate electronics, whenever possible, rather than placing them directly on the floor. When an unanticipated flood wreaks havoc in your business, take swift action by contacting

Professional Water Damage Restoration

Use fans to help dry areas affected by mold and water damage

SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton provides emergency extraction and dehumidification when your water damaged company requires urgent attention. Our specialists will also move affected items into our temporary storage for drying and cleaning. Business owners can be certain their environment is free from dampness with the moisture monitoring services we provide. Since floodwaters teem with bacteria, your business receives a thorough sanitation and an anti-microbial application to ensure a safe work space.

A valued benefit SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton provides is its 24/7 accessibility, 365 days a year. When water damage strikes, timing is critical. Our certified technicians at SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton are available to immediately respond to your emergency call. 

How to Prepare Your Business for A Hurricane

7/9/2019 (Permalink)

Safety and survival are always your number one priority when facing a hurricane, but if time and conditions allow, you want to prepare your business to weather the storm, too. Check out these tips from the restoration professionals at SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton to secure your business and minimize the damages from Hurricane Irma and future natural disasters.

1. Communicate with Employees

If you have a business emergency plan already in place, review it immediately with your employees to ensure the safety of both your property and people. Go over or create a plan to communicate with staff and keep the lines of communication open before, during and after the storm, even if cell towers or phone lines become unavailable.

If the hurricane is far enough from land and there's enough time, you can discuss each person's role in preparing the business and property to survive hurricane damage. Always remember, however, that keeping people safe is the most important priority in any emergency situation.

2. Protect Your Property and Possessions

If it's safe to remain in your area, you can take several actions to increase your preparedness and minimize property damage:

  • Stock up on emergency supplies. See our general hurricane survival supply list and tweak it to meet your business needs.
  • Secure windows and doors. Board up openings with plywood to help keep wind, water and debris out.
  • Lay sand bags around the building's perimeter to help block or slow water penetration.
  • Bolt large furniture pieces and storage shelves to wall studs.
  • Unplug all electronic devices and shut off all utilities.
  • Move expensive equipment to high ground, if possible. If floodwaters do make it inside, your possessions have a better chance of surviving on higher floors or shelves.
  • Keep records of your business's possessions and take pre-hurricane pictures of the property for insurance purposes.
  • Back up electronic documents and data to offsite storage, like electronic cloud storage or similar service, such as Google Docs.
  • Stash important paper documents in waterproof containers and store them as high as possible, or move them offsite if time allows.

3. Monitor Storm Updates

Listen to local, state and national radio stations for the most recent hurricane updates. Prepare an exit strategy in case evacuation is necessary. Don't postpone leaving to tend to your property. Keep in contact with your employees to make sure you're all updated on road closures and the latest storm information. You want make sure your family, friends and employees all make it out of the danger zone safely so you can all return to rebuild after the storm.

Once the storm passes and it's safe to return to your property, assess damages and take the first steps toward recovery. Call your insurance providers if you need to file a claim, and then contact experienced water damage and restoration experts to help you rebuild your business

What To Do After a Flood.

7/8/2019 (Permalink)

With this post we’d like to delve into how you can help yourself after a flood. Dealing with the aftermath of a catastrophe such as a flood leaves you with water damage and dangerous mold, not to mention emotional trauma! So what steps should you take after a flood?

  • Keep any eye on the news or listen to the radio to find out when it’s safe to return to your home.
  • As we mentioned before, try your best to avoid stepping in moving water.
  • Don’t give in to the temptation to enter unsafe areas unless you’ve been specifically recruited for help from the police or flood relief organizations. You don’t want to be alone in an area that’s unsafe.
  • When relief workers are attempting to help others affected by the flood do your best to stay out of the way. This is sometimes the best help we can be.
  • Remember that there could be more water to come so stay tuned into your local weather channel so you’re not caught off guard.
  • If you absolutely must walk through an area that’s been flooded the be sure to stay on ground that is firm. Water weakens foundations. Just because it looks safe does not mean it will not collapse.
  • Do not under any circumstance enter a building that is surrounded by flood water.
  • Hopefully you were prepared ahead of time and you stocked up with potable water. If you didn’t, be sure you check with the news to see if your local water source was contaminated or if it is safe to go ahead and drink.
  • Stay out of standing flood waters. Many times this water is contaminated with sewage and can make you very sick or cause infections.
  • As soon as you are able to get into your home again, open every window and get the air circulating. The sooner you get your home drying out the better.
  • Anything that was touched by the water will need to be cleaned and disinfected.
  • If you find that there is real water damage, contents damage, or mold in your home, you may want to open a claim with your insurance company and call the professionals in to handle the dirty work. We at SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton are experts when it comes to water damage, contents recovery, and mold cleanup. We’d be happy to help alleviate the burden and help you get back on your feet!

What To Do Before a Flood.

7/8/2019 (Permalink)

When the weather is getting bad and you’re watching the news do you know how to differentiate between the different terminologies the news channels and radio stations use? Many do not. Here is a handy guide:

Flood Watch - It’s possible that there may be a flood.

Flash Flood Watch - Keep a close eye on the weather channel. Flash flooding is a real possibility and you may need to quickly get to higher ground.

Flood Warning - A flood is going to occur and you will need to stay ready to evacuate if asked to do so.

Flash Flood Warning - This means a flash flood is definitely coming and you need to get to higher ground.

What if a flood is going to affect your area and maybe even your home? Here are some helpful tips we hope you keep in mind to be prepared before a flood affects you.

  • Make sure you have flood insurance. You may think your homeowner’s policy covers floods.
  • Build your flood preparedness kit. You’ll need potable water, food that will last such as canned items, blankets, flashlights, a first aid kit and a radio. Try to have enough supplies in the kit to last you, your family, and your pets for 72 hours.
  • Get your home in order. Do you have a sump pump? If you do, it’s a good idea to make sure that it’s in good working order. Make sure everything you want kept safe is put up in an area that won’t be affected by the rising waters. Pick up your electrical cords from off the floor and unplug everything before you leave. The last thing you want to step into is electrically charged standing water when you come back to your home.
  • Stay alert to the news. If there’s any talk of flooding you’ll want your family to be safe and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Be sure to listen for any road closures so you can take an alternate route if need be.

What Happens If You Don't Clean Water Damage Right Away.

7/3/2019 (Permalink)

Water is essential to human lives, but when water damage occurs, it is a serious concern. Water damage can originate from groundwater, falling water, or home water system malfunction. It is wrong to think that water just dries up and goes away.  If the damage is not treated promptly, it can cause serious damage. Let’s look at what will happen if water damage is not cleaned right away.

It can be toxic to your health
Flood water brings with it some hazardous contaminants like bacteria or fungi, toxic waste, chemical pollutants, and sewage. Unlike faulty plumbing leakages, flood water is nasty and dirty. Even after the water has evaporated, all these waste are left behind and can cause health risks.

Depreciates the value of your home
A real estate appraisal can be able to smell and see a sign of untreated water damage since the home already has the telltale signs. This means your home will be placed on a lower price value and fewer people will be willing to buy it.

The electrical system will be affected
Fuse boxes, electrical wiring or any outlets exposed to water can health risks and can even be fatal.  Always contact a professional to inspect them and repair them properly.

Weak floors and walls
Any wooden structure within your floor or wall will absorb water slowly and become damp therefore creating room for mold to grow. It is not only a health risk to you, but a damp wall can be a structural risk.

A home for insects, bugs, and fungus
Insects love to hatch their eggs on stagnant water; they hatch and spread diseases and bacteria. As the water evaporates, it creates a conducive environment for mold and mildew to spread. The odor attracts more insects which will then spread to other areas in your home.

Fire Damage Clean up and Your Safety

7/3/2019 (Permalink)

Fire damage cleanup is not only dirty, tough work. It’s also dangerous in a number of ways. From collapsing roofs to sharp debris, everything in a fire damaged structure can be a hazard. You need to know that, going in, and protect yourself and others who work to restore your fire damaged home or business. Over the years, we’ve picked up some important lessons helping our southern Colorado neighbors recover from fire. Here are a few more things you need to know.

Fire Damage Cleanup Danger: Toxic Contamination

Think about all the stuff in your home or business. What’s it all made of? Paint. Plastic. Glue. Insecticide. Lead. A long list of chemicals with names few of us can pronounce. Not to mention pet or pest residues and other biological contaminants. It’s all fine where it is, encapsulated and properly contained for safe use in everyday home and business furnishings, objects and building materials. The problem is that fire breaks the chemical and physical bonds and barriers that keep all these substances safe, mixes them and even creates new, highly toxic compounds.

So any fire damage cleanup project involves potential exposure to toxins and biological contaminants that can wreak havoc on your family or business. Make sure you protect yourself with protective outerwear, respirators and other items available at hardware stores. And thoroughly clean all tools used for fire damage cleanup.

Fire Damage Cleanup Danger: Collapsing Structures

Ever burn a match or two? Of course you have. Imagine trying to build a little model house with matches that you burned to a crisp. Your little burnt match house would be pretty crumbly. Unfortunately, such is also the case with many structures that get fire damaged. Support structures can get weakened and pose serious danger of collapse when they get even modest fire damage. Be particularly wary of burnt ceilings, staircases, balconies and walls. If your property has sustained major fire damage, ensure that southern Colorado construction and restoration professionals assess the damage and structural integrity.

Fire Damage Cleanup Danger: Jagged Debris, Threatening Pests

No kidding. Fire can breach your roof and open holes in walls or ceilings. Rodents, potentially venomous insects and other pests can be present in places you would not normally encounter them if your home or business has sustained moderate fire damage. Southern Colorado residents have had run-ins with everything from rattlesnakes to injured squirrels in the wake of destructive fires. Keep your eyes peeled for nasty critters as you dig out the fire damaged debris from your home or business. And while you’re at it, watch out for jagged, broken materials like glass and metal that can shatter in extreme heat.

We hope you never face the aftermath of a destructive fire in your home or business. But if you do, we’re on call day and night, ready to help when you need it most. Call SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton for fast fire damage cleanup help you can count on and trust.

4 Things You Can Do to Help Children Get a Sense of Normalcy Back

7/3/2019 (Permalink)

It’s crucial to remember that children who go through a disaster can feel intense fear that the event will happen again, continue or worsen, that the event will hurt someone they love, and that the disaster will leave them alone.

Caregivers can help children recover from traumatic events and feel less anxiety about future misfortunate events with these techniques:

  • As soon as possible, resume at least some of the children’s daily routine. Something as simple as maintaining their bedtime regimen often signals to them that everything will be ok.
  • Encourage children to talk about their feelings and let them know you listen by paraphrasing back to them: “So is it right to say you’re mad about the fire burning up your toys?”
  • Share your plans for dealing with future crises with them. Assemble a disaster kit and include them in the process.
  • Regularly practice your emergency plan with them.

Take advantage of whatever family and community support networks you have in your area for more insights and support to help children. Remember,  they’re resilient, they’re also little, and the world can look awfully big and scary to them. Make sure they know they’ve got someone big on their side (you).

4 Things to Look for in a Restoration Company

7/3/2019 (Permalink)

When you find yourself dealing with the aftermath of a disaster, finding a qualified restoration company can be intimidating. Your property is likely damaged or destroyed, your family’s often displaced and your life feels like it’s spinning out of control. Whom should you trust? How can you know if they can handle restoring your property and will do the job right?

Reputation

While some online reviews can be questionable, a good place to start is by checking Better Business Bureau listings and other sources of consumer information on restoration companies. If you see a pattern of consistently negative consumer experiences with a company, it’s probably best to look for another comany.

Unfortunately, accreditations, ratings and reviews can fail to provide a complete picture of the company. We’re talking about your property and your family, here, so you need more.

What are some other things to take into account?

Reliability

Disasters don’t work around your schedule. “After hours” is meaningless when your home or business is flooded, damaged from fire or contaminated with hazardous materials. You need a restoration company that’s available and responsive any time of day, any day of the year. You need to know they’ll be there when you need them, whether it’s right after a disaster or even months. You need to know they’re not going anywhere.

In addition, if a company is made up of people who have worked in the industry for decades, chances are they do good work, treat people well and conduct themselves with integrity.

Personal Service

Big, national chains benefit from big buying power, automation and other sorts of mass production strategies to offer low-cost services. But a closer look at what you may be giving up for those savings can make them seem less like savings and more like sacrifices.

Local companies are your neighbors, plain and simple. They’re invested in you and your community because you are their neighbor and your community is their community. They’re in your corner. You’d better believe that makes a difference.

Look for a restoration company in your community, and you’ll find and talk to real people who will be there for you any time, day or night. And they’ll become more than your restoration company. They’ll become your friends. Who better to help you get back to normal than friends?

Capability

Be selfish. It really is about you, your family, your property. So focus on what a restoration company can do for you.

Well-trained, experienced, licensed restoration experts will exhibit a passion for helping people restore their property and lives in the wake of misfortune. They’ll have good relationships with insurance companies, other contractors, vendors, regulatory and permitting agencies, all of which will be directly to your benefit in cost and time savings. When you contact them, they will spring into action, quickly and thoroughly assess your needs and craft a plan to put things right, fast.

You’ll know a highly capable restoration team by the peace of mind you get when you know they are on top of every detail of your restoration project. If you have damage to your home or business, call SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton today and rest assured that you’ll be taken care of.

What To Do During a Flood.

7/3/2019 (Permalink)

We’d like to talk about what you can do during a flood to keep yourself and your family safe. Here are some important tips to keep in mind to stay safe!

  • Stay up to date on the information coming in from the radio or news.
  • If you didn’t prepare and you have time, try to move your indoor furniture inside and get everything important upstairs if possible.
  • Unplug everything. As we mentioned in the previous post, electrical items and water do not mix.
  • Did you know that even in just 6 inches of moving water you can be caused to fall? If you must move through water try to do so only in still water and check the ground underneath you with a cane or a stick to make sure that it is solid before you move forward.
  • Always be prepared for a flash flood. If you see signs that the water is building quickly get yourself to higher ground. Remember, you don’t need to wait for instructions to get to high ground.
  • Many, many people attempt to drive through flooded areas. This can lead to you and your family being trapped in rising water. Sometimes the flooded road can collapse. Be safe and drive around the high water.
  • If you are driving at night you want to be aware of flooded areas that you may not be able to see due to street lights being out. If you can, try to drive during the daylight.
  • If you were unable to escape the flood waters and your vehicle is stuck try and get yourself out of the car and to dry ground as there is the possibility that your vehicle could be swept away with the fast moving water. Remember, only do this if you know it is safe to do so!
  • If you need to leave your car somewhere, make sure it is not near water as this water will likely rise and make your car unusable.
  • And finally, if you see a barricade please respect it. Barricades are put in place for the protection of you and your loved ones. Turn around and try another way.

What To Do Before a Flood

7/3/2019 (Permalink)

When the weather is getting bad and you’re watching the news do you know how to differentiate between the different terminologies the news channels and radio stations use? Many do not. Here is a handy guide:

Flood Watch - It’s possible that there may be a flood.

Flash Flood Watch - Keep a close eye on the weather channel. Flash flooding is a real possibility and you may need to quickly get to higher ground.

Flood Warning - A flood is going to occur and you will need to stay ready to evacuate if asked to do so.

Flash Flood Warning - This means a flash flood is definitely coming and you need to get to higher ground.

What if a flood is going to affect your area and maybe even your home? Here are some helpful tips we hope you keep in mind to be prepared before a flood affects you.

  • Make sure you have flood insurance. You may think your homeowner’s policy covers floods. You’ll want to double check that. Here’s some information you may find useful.
  • Build your flood preparedness kit. You’ll need potable water, food that will last such as canned items, blankets, flashlights, a first aid kit and a radio. Try to have enough supplies in the kit to last you, your family, and your pets for 72 hours.
  • Get your home in order. Do you have a sump pump? If you do, it’s a good idea to make sure that it’s in good working order. Make sure everything you want kept safe is put up in an area that won’t be affected by the rising waters. Pick up your electrical cords from off the floor and unplug everything before you leave. The last thing you want to step into is electrically charged standing water when you come back to your home.
  • Stay alert to the news. If there’s any talk of flooding you’ll want your family to be safe and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Be sure to listen for any road closures so you can take an alternate route if need be.

What To Do After a Flood

7/3/2019 (Permalink)

With this post we’d like to delve into how you can help yourself after a flood. Dealing with the aftermath of a catastrophe such as a flood leaves you with water damage and dangerous mold, not to mention emotional trauma! So what steps should you take after a flood?

  • Keep any eye on the news or listen to the radio to find out when it’s safe to return to your home.
  • As we mentioned before, try your best to avoid stepping in moving water.
  • Don’t give in to the temptation to enter unsafe areas unless you’ve been specifically recruited for help from the police or flood relief organizations. You don’t want to be alone in an area that’s unsafe.
  • When relief workers are attempting to help others affected by the flood do your best to stay out of the way. This is sometimes the best help we can be.
  • Remember that there could be more water to come so stay tuned into your local weather channel so you’re not caught off guard.
  • If you absolutely must walk through an area that’s been flooded the be sure to stay on ground that is firm. Water weakens foundations. Just because it looks safe does not mean it will not collapse.
  • Do not under any circumstance enter a building that is surrounded by flood water.
  • Hopefully you were prepared ahead of time and you stocked up with potable water. If you didn’t, be sure you check with the news to see if your local water source was contaminated or if it is safe to go ahead and drink.
  • Stay out of standing flood waters. Many times this water is contaminated with sewage and can make you very sick or cause infections.
  • As soon as you are able to get into your home again, open every window and get the air circulating. The sooner you get your home drying out the better.
  • Anything that was touched by the water will need to be cleaned and disinfected.
  • If you find that there is real water damage, contents damage, or mold in your home, you may want to open a claim with your insurance company and call the professionals in to handle the dirty work. We at Delta Disaster Services of Southern Colorado are experts when it comes to water damage, contents recovery, and mold cleanup. We’d be happy to help alleviate the burden and help you get back on your feet!

Steps to Take After a Fire Damages Your Home

7/3/2019 (Permalink)

Experiencing a house fire is a scary situation. After the feeling of unbelief, people are wondering what they can do to start the cleanup process from the damage. It’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure you and your family are safe.

Get Permission Before Entering Your Property

Depending on how extensive the fire damage is, make sure the Fire Marshall tells you that the structure is safe to enter. There are possible dangers in your home such as hot spots and unsupported beams that could cause harm.  You also want to be careful no one in the household uses the electricity without permission from the authorities. Although you are anxious to find out if your favorite things survived the fire, waiting until it is safe prevents you from dealing with an injury that could delay cleaning up the fire damage.

Document the Damage

It is also a good idea to take pictures that can be used for insurance purposes and to give potential companies an idea of the damage when you are seeking quotes. It’s important to note that some damage may not be visible, such as getting that smoke smell out of clothes and furniture. Remember, it’s important to keep in mind that fire creates two types of smoke damage; visible soot and an invisible odor.

Call A Professional Fire Damage Restoration Company

Although there are some things you can do on your own, such as removing items like clothing and linens that can be washed or taken to the dry cleaners. But, you should not attempt to handle items that have severe damage from the fire, smoke or water. Contacting a restoration company is the best way to handle fire damages. These companies specialize in restoring and repairing what has been damaged.

Protect Your Business From Commercial Water Damage

7/3/2019 (Permalink)

Your family depends on your business. So do your employees, as well as your customers and community. So the thought of commercial water damage caused by extreme weather or plumbing failure is scary. But you don’t have to be scared. A little planning and a few precautions will help you breathe a little easier, knowing you’re ready for any commercial water damage contingency,

Commercial Water Damage Tip: Think it Through

Start by asking yourself, “What if?”

That’s a powerful question when it comes to reducing commercial water damage risk. For instance, what if a water main bursts and floods your office? This always leads to more questions, such as how will you ensure the safety of your employees and customers? Or how will you prevent or eliminate business disruptions that might result in cash flow problems? How will you communicate with employees during emergencies or periods of disruption (say, when a pipe bursts and requires the main power to be shut off during repairs)? Make notes of your answers to all your questions, because organizing this information is the basis for the next key step in preventing and minimizing commercial water damage: making a plan.

Commercial Water Damage Tip: Make a Plan

While thinking through possible commercial water damage scenarios for your business, you made notes of the solutions you came up with for your “what if?” questions. Now put your thinking into action to craft an emergency plan for your business. A good emergency plan should provide for the safety of all people who could enter your business, as well as set forth processes and procedures for carrying on with business during a variety of challenges.

It should include, at the very least:

  • an emergency contact list (accessible from off-site)
  • emergency procedures
  • emergency staffing instructions
  • vendor lists and contact info
  • data backup plans and other resources to support business operations in case you have to temporarily or permanently relocate your business operations.

You should note that this plan is never finished. You should always be updating and improving it with lessons you learn during any business disruption.

5 Ways to Find a Water Leak in Your House

7/3/2019 (Permalink)

Water damage is a lot more serious than many people think and, if not remedied immediately can cause home owners much damage. Here are five ways to find out if you have a water leak.

The water supply line - This type of leak can go undetected because the supply pipe is under the ground. If the meter contains water and the water is not caused by rain than there may definitely be a leak. In most cases the homeowner is liable for this kind of leak and should contact a professional plumber to repair the line.

Faucet leaks - This is the most common kind of leak but the easiest to repair. Facet leaks are so moderate the amount of money lost from water wastage is minimal. Make routine checks of all valves to see if there is leakage or not with faucets. If you are handy with tools you should easily be able to make the repairs yourself.

Toilet leaks - These are barely detectable because they make no sound. Research proves that one fifth to one third of all residential toilets are prone to leaks. Start by removing the lid off the tank and making sure the water level is not above the overflow tube. This is the most common form of leak.

Humidifier leaks - Humidifiers are connected to the furnace and level with the water supply line. All the components are equipped with refill valves. When the valve won’t close the water goes to the sewer which creates a leak that can go undetected for months or years. Be sure to turn humidifiers off when the season for it is over.

Evaporator cooler leaks - Evaporator coolers cool the air sent in homes. Leaks are caused in these the same as with humidifiers and is remedied the same by shutting it off when not in use.

When it comes to saving money, every little detail counts. If your property is experiencing some leaks and you are looking for a trusted property restoration company, trust SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton.

How to Spot Water Damage

7/1/2019 (Permalink)

In general, a house is one of the biggest investments you will make in your lifetime. In order to protect that investment, you should vigilantly look out for household problems and address them before they worsen. 

1. Check the Floors
No matter what kind of flooring you have, it will manifest signs of water damage. For tile and wood, look for cracked, buckling or warped flooring. When it comes to carpet, be wary of damp spots, gradual rises, soft spots or the smell of mold and dampness.

2. Look for Stains
Water stains on the floor around the bathtub, toilet or sink, as well as stains on ceilings and walls, are some of the most obvious signs of water damage. Unusual stains could indicate there is a leaky pipe or drain inside the wall. Cracks in the drywall or areas that appear swollen and are soft to touch also may signify trouble. Peeling paint is another sign of loose water within wall spaces. As the drywall gets saturated, paint can lose adhesion.

3. Inspect Outside
Observe the exterior of your house. What you want to look for are pools of standing water that can indicate poor drainage in the yard, gutter spouts that aren’t transporting water far enough from the house or leaky rain gutters. Any of those issues could threaten the foundation of your house. Additionally, common signs of water damage on the roof may include pools of water; cracked, curled or missing shingles; or broken flashing.

4. Watch for Rust and Mold
Inspect your water heater and check for rust on the tank or damp spots on the floor. A rusted tank could indicate a slow leak. Additionally, corrosion around pipe connections could be caused by water seepage. Visual signs of active mold growth mean moisture is contacting microscopic mold spores, often in the nooks and crannies of your home. Finally, don’t rely solely on sight. When water stagnates, mold and bacteria can grow, producing a musty, unpleasant smell.

If you are looking for water damage restoration call SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton.

The Dangers of Standing Flood Water from a Storm

7/1/2019 (Permalink)

Storms and hurricanes devastate different regions every year. Unfortunately, some of the biggest dangers caused by storms can occur after the storm has already passed. In addition to a lack of supplies and road closures, the standing flood water resulting from storms can cause serious health risks. Here are some of the most severe problems floods can bring.

Health Dangers

Standing flood water is teeming with health risks. The CDC has a section detailing all of the possible diseases that become more likely in the event of a storm disaster, including Norovirus and the West Nile Virus. Bacterial infections and diseases become a greater possibility because flood water can infect everything it touches. This can include anything from articles of clothing to the toys that children play with. For this reason, it is incredibly important not to drink or eat anything that has been contaminated by standing flood water, and to always wash hands as often as possible- especially before meals. In addition, open wounds pose a far greater risk of becoming infected as a result of storm waters. If at all possible, keep open wounds out of the water or cover with waterproof bandages. 

Physical Hazards

Disease isn't the only invisible hazard that can exist within standing water. Murky water can conceal dangerous insects or even threatening animals beneath the surface. Much of this depends on the location of the storm, but it's not unheard of for alligators to make use of a new habitat resulting from a storm. In addition, much of the physical damage caused by a storm is still present in the water. This can include broken glass or sharp metal which might be impossible to see before it causes injury. On top of that, storms frequently cause damage to power lines. These can lead to a risk of electrocution in standing water. Flood water itself poses the possibility of causing drowning, whether people are in their cars or trying to swim across.

Steps to Take After Fire Damages Your Home

7/1/2019 (Permalink)

Experiencing a house fire is a scary situation. After the feeling of unbelief, people are wondering what they can do to start the cleanup process from the damage. It’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure you and your family are safe.

Get Permission Before Entering Your Property

Depending on how extensive the fire damage is, make sure the Fire Marshall tells you that the structure is safe to enter. There are possible dangers in your home such as hot spots and unsupported beams that could cause harm.  You also want to be careful no one in the household uses the electricity without permission from the authorities. Although you are anxious to find out if your favorite things survived the fire, waiting until it is safe prevents you from dealing with an injury that could delay cleaning up the fire damage.

Document the Damage

It is also a good idea to take pictures that can be used for insurance purposes and to give potential companies an idea of the damage when you are seeking quotes. It’s important to note that some damage may not be visible, such as getting that smoke smell out of clothes and furniture. Remember, it’s important to keep in mind that fire creates two types of smoke damage; visible soot and an invisible odor.

Call A Professional Fire Damage Restoration Company

Although there are some things you can do on your own, such as removing items like clothing and linens that can be washed or taken to the dry cleaners. But, you should not attempt to handle items that have severe damage from the fire, smoke or water. Contacting a restoration company is the best way to handle fire damages. These SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton specialize in restoring and repairing what has been damaged.

Water Damage: Common Misconceptions

6/25/2019 (Permalink)

When water damage happens, don't fall for these myths!

If you experience water damage due to leaking or flooding, SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton is available to help. Experts in the industry, we want you to feel informed should you experience this type of situation. One way we can make that happen is by identifying common misinformation:

  1. "Bleach kills mold." - A common misunderstanding is that bleach will kill mold. Although bleach will get rid of stains, it won't get rid of the mold's origin.

  2. "I can do it myself." - Some property owners might think that they can save money by fixing water damage themselves. In reality, they may actually end up spending more money than they've budgeted for. SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton uses specialized equipment and highly trained professionals to identify the best remediation method.

  3. "Water will dry on its own." Just because you don't see water doesn't mean it isn't there. Water has a way of hiding in your walls and flooring and may appear to look dry. Waiting too long to contact a specialist may result in mold growth, costing you more down the road.

  4. "It's a long process." - Our crew is trained to act promptly in case of an emergency. We'll do an initial inspection, remove/extract water, start the drying process, and monitor your home until drying goals are met. The faster our crew is contacted, the faster you can get back to normal.

  5. "Mold takes a long time to appear." If your home has experienced leaking or flooding, mold can show up as fast as 24-48 hours. Mold doesn't have to be visible on the surface to be present. The best way to know for sure is contact our team of specialists. 

If you have experienced water damage or believe you may have mold in your home, call us at 337-462-6500 to see how we can help.

Biohazard

6/25/2019 (Permalink)

A biohazard, also known as a biological hazard, is a biological substance that poses a threat to human and animal health. 

Examples of biohazards include:

  • Human or animal blood
  • Human or animal waste and body fluids
  • Deceased animals
  • Human remains
  • Used drug needles
  • Medical waste (used syringes and bandages)
  • Rotting food

All of these substances can harbor bacteria (like E. Coli) and viruses (like Hepatitis and HIV) that can cause disease in humans and animals.
Biohazards may enter the body and cause damage if they are inhaled through breathing, ingested through swallowing, or absorbed through breaks in the skin. It is critically important to exercise proper safty precautions when removing biohazards. Additionally, complete removal of biohazards and the odors they create requires the use of advanced sanitizing equipment beyond typical cleaning tools average individuals possess. SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton has the equipment and expertise necessary to to safely and completely remove biohazards from your home, office, or vehicle. We are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton for any type of biohazard clean today 337-462-6500. 

Alternative Sources of Water Damage/Mold Growth

6/22/2019 (Permalink)

Water damage in the home can come from multiple places - maintenance is key.

When the phrase “water damage" is used, flooding caused by massive storms, burst pipes, or a leaky roof are usually what first come to mind. Water damage isn’t always caused by drastic, dramatic events, though.

Some other sources of water damage in a residential property are:

  1. Bathrooms - Toilet, sink, and tub overflow - can flood the bathroom and seep into the flooring. To prevent this from causing future damage, be sure to fix any noticeable plumbing problems in the bathroom, especially since this area is highly susceptible to mold growth.
  2. HVAC Systems - Condensation line leaks can welcome mold growth into these dark spaces. Perform a condensation line inspection and cleaning every 3 to 6 months, along with the air filter replacements.

  3. Dishwasher - A dishwasher that isn’t properly sealed will cause a leak on your kitchen floor. While using too much water for one load can also cause a leak, consistent leaking should be inspected and repaired to prevent additional damage or mold.

  4. Garbage disposal - Proper garbage disposal usage not only prevents leaks and potential water damage, it also improves its life span and functionality. One tip is to avoid pouring grease or oil down the garbage disposal, as this can cause drain clogging. 

It's a good habit to frequently inspect water sources to ensure that there are no issues that would cause future water damage or mold growth.

Should you notice water damage in your home, or if you discover mold on your property, give SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton a call and let us assess the damage and help make it "Like it never even happened."

Storm Preparation Tips

6/22/2019 (Permalink)

When storms come, be prepared.

Disruptive and damaging storms have been pummeling various parts of the country for the last several months, and Central Louisiana has had its fair share.

However, now, while the skies are clear and the sun is shining, consider the following tips to prepare so that you and your home are not caught unawares in the event of additional storms:

  1. Be aware of weather forecasts and listen to emergency warnings.

  2. Get surge protectors to keep electronics in your home from being ruined by lightning.

  3. Trim trees, and remove dead or broken branches. These can be dangerous projectiles during a severe storm.

  4. Secure outdoor objects such as chairs and tables.

  5. Have an emergency kit ready - with ready-to-eat food, water, flashlight, batteries, etc.

  6. Learn first aid and have a first aid kit on hand.

  7. Pick a safe place in the house that's away from windows.

  8. Prepare your family and make sure everyone is on the same page.

Should storms strike and disrupt your home, and you require restoration services, please call SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton to help put it back to pre-storm condition.

SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton

6/22/2019 (Permalink)

Let us help your business prepare in the event of a storm event or extreme damage.

SERVPRO of Deridder, Leesville & Vinton offers an Emergency Ready Profile to help businesses establish a plan for how to respond in the event of an emergency. While we cannot predict when disaster will strike, we can protect our customers' businesses by helping them be prepared.

Here are reasons why you should have an Emergency Ready Profile (ERP):

  1. This document consolidates information you will need in case of an emergency. Instead of having multiple documents, the ERP will put together this information for you in an organized manner.

  2. The ERP contains all emergency contact information, as well as contact information of maintenance companies.

  3. The ERP will map out your building so you’ll easily be able to find information such as shut-off valves.

  4. You will have a point-of-contact at SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton who you can call in case of an emergency.

  5. Our team will already have a layout of your building, helping us prepare and arrive more quickly to any disaster.

  6. Last but not least, the assessment is completely free!

Call SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton at 337-462-6500 to see how we can help you set up your Emergency Ready Profile!

Mold and Your Pets Tips

1/29/2019 (Permalink)

Molds are neither plants nor animals — they're fungi that play a vital role in the ecosystem by biodegrading organic matter. However, certain molds can cause health effects in pets who inhale or ingest them. In addition, mold is ubiquitous. It can grow in any moist, warm environment, both indoors and out. Mold can grow in everything from wet towels to sheet-rock, and around windows and floors. Outdoors it can be found in food thrown in the garbage, rotting tree stumps and in soil.

Mold can easily be licked or the spores inhaled wherever it grows. There are five species of mold that can cause health effects: Cladosporium, Penicillium, Fusarium, Aspergillus and Stachybotrys.

Treatment for Mold Exposure

If the mold was ingested, natural detoxifying agents such as glutathione, NAC, artichoke extract, milk thistle and SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine) can be very beneficial.

Preventing further exposure is the key to keeping your pet healthy going forward, so it's important to identify and eliminate or avoid all sources of potential mold.

Tips for Keeping Your Pet Safe From Mold

A good rule of thumb is to develop the habit of keeping anything your pet comes in contact with clean and dry:

  • Keep pet food in a sealed container in a cold, dry area (freezer)
  • Wash food and water bowls at least once a day and throw out plastic dishes
  • Launder your pet's bedding frequently, and immediately if it becomes damp
  • Wash pet toys once a week

Fire Damage Caused by Lightning

1/23/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Caused by Lighting Home that caught on fire after a lightning strike.

The National Weather Service reports that lightning starts about 4,400 house fires each year, causing around $300 million in damages. About 16 deaths are attributed to lightning-caused fires each year, most of the victims being occupants of houses ignited by a bolt.

Although every lightning strike could start a fire, some are more likely than others to do so. Some flashes contain a continuous flow of electricity, known as a continuing current or "hot lightning." In such cases, the charge flows continuously over a sustained period of time rather than in intermittent surges. This longer period of charge flow causes the stricken object to heat up and possibly ignite.

The chances of a specific building being hit by lightning are based upon the location and the topography. Because of this, Louisiana ranks second behind Florida in the list of most lightning-prone states in the U.S., according to The Weather Channel. Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas round out the top five. The ranking is based on the average number of cloud-to-ground lightning flashes per square mile each year.

In terms of individual structures, the Empire State Building in New York City is struck on average about 75 times per year.

Experts say that while lightning strikes randomly choose their victims, there are preventative steps that residents may take. They include:

Staying away from windows

Getting off land-line telephones

Use a home lightning protection system

Unplug electronics and appliances

Install transient voltage surge suppressors

Check your homeowners and renters insurance coverage

Donating to CASA

1/22/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville, & Vinton is very happy to have been able to donate several Sonic gift cards to the teenagers at the local CASA for Christmas this year!!

SERVPRO First Responder Bowl

1/22/2019 (Permalink)

The SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton's Marketing Rep was very excited about being able to get out for this special marketing adventure! She was able to meet with so many local First Responders, which included, Military Police, Military Fire Fighters, along with other members of the Military, all local Police Officers, all local Fire Fighters (including the volunteer stations), Emergency Medical Technicians, and local Hospital staff, to give out gifts and information about how they could get free tickets to the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl!! This was such an amazing experience to have had the opportunity to gift so many wonderful and brave men and women who put their lives on the line everyday by doing what they can to keep everyone else safe. 

Fire Safety for Small Businesses

1/11/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Safty Fire Extinguisher How-To

According to OSHA, the most common emergency small businesses must plan for is a fire. Fire extinguishers can be invaluable tools to help fight smaller fires in the workplace or to protect evacuation routes in the event of a larger one.

OSHA requires employers to thoroughly train workers not only how to use an extinguisher properly, but also how to accurately assess a situation and determine when evacuation is the safest course of action. OSHA requires employees to be trained in fire extinguisher use on an annual basis.

A simple fire extinguisher training technique to use with employees is the PASS method:

  • Pull the pin on the extinguisher.
  • Aim the hose nozzle low toward the base of the fire.
  • Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.
  • Sweep the nozzle from side to side at the base of the flames until extinguished.

Knowing how to operate the extinguisher is not the end of training. Employees responding to a fire should also be trained to adhere to the following protocol:

  • If appropriate, sound the fire alarm or call the fire department immediately.
  • Before approaching the fire, determine an evacuation route safe from flames, excessive heat and smoke. Do not allow this evacuation route to become blocked.
  • Use the PASS technique for discharging an extinguisher and back away from the area if the fire flares up again.
  • If the extinguisher is empty and the fire is not out, evacuate immediately.
  • If the fire grows beyond what can be safely handled, evacuate immediately.

Fire extinguishers are meant to handle only small fires. If a fire becomes too large or the environment becomes too dangerous, employees should know when and how to evacuate the area. If any of the following conditions are present, workers should follow evacuation procedures immediately and should not attempt to fight the fire with an extinguisher.

The fire is too large. The fire involves flammable solvents, is partially hidden behind a wall or ceiling, cannot be reached from a standing position, or covers more than 55 square feet in area.

The air is unsafe to breathe. Levels of smoke make the fire impossible to fight without some form of respiratory protection.

The environment is too hot or smoky. Radiated heat is easily felt, making it hard to approach a fire within adequate range of using the extinguisher (about 10-15 feet). It is necessary to crawl on the floor to avoid heat or smoke. Visibility is poor.

Evacuation paths are impaired. The fire is not contained and heat, smoke or flames block potential evacuation routes.

Prayers during devastating Florida hurricane

11/19/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Technician praying with a local homeless man.

Let's be thankful this holiday season for all we have and let's help those who have so much less than we do. When choosing a company to help you and your family after a devastating event, you want to go with a company that will show care to your situation, as well as to your property. That is what we strive for with our employees.  This is one of our Technicians, who is currently in Florida helping with the cleanup from the disastrous hurricane Michael, kneeling down to pray with a local homeless man. Neither one of the men knew the picture was being taken, but it is things like this that make us proud of our employees at SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville, & Vinton. 

National Safety Month Spotlight: Summer Safety

6/19/2018 (Permalink)

With summer just around the corner, this National Safety Month blog is dedicated to... you guessed it...summer safety! As school is out for the summer, many families head out to the beach or pool. Here are a few quick tips on how to keep you and your family safe this summer:

1. Wear sunscreen. Apply at least an SPF 15 about 30 minutes before leaving the house. Re-apply every 2 hours or each time you towel off.

2. Teach your kids how to swim. Sadly, drowning remains one of the leading causes of death among children. Consider enrolling your children in swim lessons as early as age 4.

3. Avoid wearing perfumes and scented soaps to prevent attracting mosquitoes.

4. Use sunglasses. Not only does this accessory look cool, it protects your eyes from UV radiation.

5. Stay hydrated. Drink some water every 20 minutes if you're going to be out for more than 1 hour to prevent heat exhaustion, or worse, heat stroke.

6. Always keep a first aid kit stocked and handy. You never know when you or someone around you will need it.

National Safety Month Spotlight: Forklift Safety

6/17/2018 (Permalink)

Part 3 of the National Safety Month blog is dedicated to forklift safety in the workplace. Forklifts are used to transport heavy objects within short distances. As these big machines deal with heavy objects, safety measures have to be practiced in order to avoid injuries and deaths. Here are some safety tips you can share with the rest of your team:

1. Forklift operators MUST be qualified. Only individuals who have had sufficient training in forklift operation should be allowed to use the equipment.

2. Wear the right clothes. Loose fitting clothes can get caught in the machinery.

3. Check the equipment. Plan for regular maintenance checks to make sure the forklift is in good, working condition.

4. Look at your surroundings. Only drive the forklift through clear pathways.

5. Don't speed. Drive at a reasonable speed to avoid mistakes.

6. Avoid hazards. Avoid slips and cracks that may make you lose control of the machinery.

7. Make sure the load is stable. Stabilize and secure the load before you move.

8. Check for even loads. Always lift with both forks.

9. Make sure you can see. Use a designated lookout person if you need one.

10.  Keep clear.  Inform your employees that the forklift is being used and advise everyone to keep clear of the area.

National Safety Month Spotlight: Preventing Electrical Fires

6/14/2018 (Permalink)

Electrical fires are one of the top leading causes of house fires in the U.S.  Most of these fires could have been avoided by following certain safety tips for protecting your home. Some easy things you can do in your home are:

1. Discarding cords that are worn or frayed. When live wires are exposed, they are susceptible to starting house fires.

2. Never breaking the third prong to fit a plug into an outlet. The third prong creates an alternate pathway for electricity in the event of an error.

3. When unplugging a device, hold the plug securely and don't yank the cord. This motion may cause a short circuit.

4. Avoid water and heat sources with cords.

5. Do not overload outlets. HowStuffWorks recommends using this formula: p/e=i (wattage divided by volts equals amps to know if you're overloading your outlet.

6. Do an electrical inspection. The standard rule is that homes with copper wire need an inspection every 20 years and 5 years for aluminum wire. You should also do an inspection if you're buying a century home, a resale home or if you're doing a home renovation.

National Safety Month Spotlight: PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)

6/12/2018 (Permalink)

June is National Safety Month, and this time is used to promote safety awareness and minimize injuries and deaths. PPE or Personal Protective Equipment prevents injuries and illnesses that may be acquired through hazardous environments such as chemical, electrical or mechanical settings. A PPE may include gloves, eyewear, hearing protecting, clothing, etc. 

This National Safety Month, employers can utilize this time reinforce the importance of wearing PPE at a job site. The goal is to instill the mindset of putting safety first before any job or customer. Employers can set time aside to do a refresher course for PPE and provide a "lunch and learn" type event. When on-site, production managers can praise employees when they're wearing PPE correctly as a positive reinforcement. Over time, employees will correctly wear their PPE at all times without needing positive reinforcement.

PPE is only effective when it is fitted properly. It won't inhibit movement, allowing the employee to move freely. When it fits, it's more comfortable for the employee and they'll be more likely to wear it. During this month, employers can set up fitting stations and size employees for gloves, eyewear, apparel, hearing protection, etc. 

Safety training doesn't always have to be done through a PowerPoint presentation. The goal is to get employees involved as much as possible by encouraging participation. If you have veteran workers, ask them to demonstrate proper PPE use and share stories if any. If you plan to administer quizzes, make it interesting by making it a contest among employees.

PPE is essential to SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton's team as it is used to protect our crew from potentially hazardous situations. At times, PPE may only be a pair of latex gloves and at other times, it'll be the whole PPE suit. We take time to train our technicians which PPE is needed for every type situation. We remind our team that our safety always comes first before anything.

How to Turn Off Water at Commercial Properties

6/8/2018 (Permalink)

Knowing where your water shut off valve is located is critical when faced with a plumbing emergency. During an emergency, every second counts in the prevention of additional water damage. Being able to locate and teach your employees where to find the water shut off valve will instill more confidence in your team and give you more control over the situation. 

What is a water shut-off valve?

A water shut off valve helps stop the flow of water to your home or place of business. While homes usually have local shut off valves for plumbing fixtures, you would want to look for a main shut off valve for a commercial property. Main shut off valves are usually located by the entrance of water into the commercial property. You'll usually find a water meter box close to the street. If you cannot find your shut off valve, consider reaching out to your local water department and they should be able to further assist you. 

How SERVPRO of DeRidder Leesville & Vinton can help...

We provide a no-cost service to create an Emergency Ready Profile for our commercial clients.  The ERP puts together all information needed in case an emergency were to occur at your place of business. The documents lists out key contact information as well as all shut off valve information. In addition to this, it lets our team know specific information such as preferred parking locations, where to enter the building, also the size of the building. 

What does the ERP do in the event of a plumbing emergency?

  • The ERP has information ready for you and your team on how to find your water shut off valve.
  • Our SERVPRO team will have a copy, so that we can instruct your team on how to find the shut off valve.
  • The ERP will have preferred plumber contact information.
  • Our SERVPRO team will have an idea of how big your property is, so we will know how many pieces of equipment to bring. 
  • You will have a point of contact SERVPRO team member.

Call 337-462-6500 to schedule your consultation today.

National Chocolate Chip Day!

5/16/2018 (Permalink)

National Chocolate Chip Day

Here at SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton, we realize the importance of balancing work and fun. While we provide 24-hour, immediate restoration & cleaning services to our community, we also like to give back in other ways. We love our community & try to show appreciation whenever we can. Sometimes, chocolate is a great way to show that you care.

May 15th was National Chocolate Chip Day this year, so we decided to bring a box of cookies to local businesses in the area. On the cookie box, we attached cards saying "You're the Chip to our Cookie! From SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville and Vinton". The local businesses were excited to receive the surprise chocolate treats from us.  After all, who wouldn't be excited to receive surprise cookies? (Not me.)

No Dirty Dishes Day -- May 18th

5/16/2018 (Permalink)

"No Dirty Dishes Day" falls on May 18 every year and encourages you to take a break from the daily chore. Although SERVPRO of DeRidder is a cleaning company, on this day, we advise you to not do your dishes. Please be advised that this is also not a suggestion to let all your dirty dishes pile up. Instead, this is a list of ways to creatively avoid using dishes today.

Here they are:

1. Use disposable plates, utensils and cups. Step it up a notch and head over to the park for a picnic.

2. Visit that new restaurant you've been wanting to try and dine-in with the family.

3. Order pizza! If you're not in the mood to leave the house for numbers 1 & 2, there will always be pizza.

Preparing for a Hurricane Watch vs. a Hurricane Warning

5/10/2018 (Permalink)

Hurricane Safety Week

Knowing the difference between a hurricane watch and warning can help you and your family better prepare for what’s to come.  A hurricane watch is an indicator to “be prepared” because there’s a possibility that severe weather conditions are coming. This would be a good time to take inventory of your supplies, get important documents organized and ready, have cash on hand, and fill up your cars with gas. Make sure to stay tuned to the weather updates in case a “watch” turns into a “warning”. A hurricane warning tells you to “take action”.  Secure and protect your home, and if you are evacuating, make sure to leave as soon as you can to give yourself time. For more tips on how to prepare for a hurricane, go to the “hurricane section” on our blog page.

Foods to Stock up on in Case of an Emergency

5/10/2018 (Permalink)

A big part of preparing for an emergency is making sure that you have enough food in case of a disaster. The key to having a good emergency stockpile is not about doubling up on your groceries for the week, but instead buying the right kind of food. While the Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends keeping a 2-week food supply, other sources would advise keeping a 2-3 month supply.  At the very least, you should have a basic food supply enough for 3 days. Focusing on foods with a long storage life and buying in bulk can help you get the most out of your food supply. Here’s a list of foods you should add to your list:

  1. Canned meat
  2. Canned vegetables
  3. Canned soups
  4. Nuts
  5. Granola Bars
  6. Peanut Butter
  7. Multivitamins
  8. Beef Jerky
  9. Powdered Milk
  10. Dry pasta
  11. Instant Coffee and Tea
  12. Water – 1 gallon per person per day

Mold Prevention with your HVAC System

3/19/2018 (Permalink)

HVAC vents and ducts are popular places for mold growth within our homes and places of business. HVAC systems provide a very humid environment, attracting mold growth. One thing to remember is that once mold builds up in an HVAC unit, these spores circulate throughout the rest of the home when being used. The best way to prevent this from happening is to properly care for our HVAC systems. Here are some guidelines to follow to make sure these are properly maintained.

1. Routine Cleaning & Inspection. Make it a habit to inspect and clean drains and drain pans monthly. Check and clean coils on a yearly basis. For best results, hire a professional to help you clean.

2. Replace your air filters every 3-6 months. Air filters help prevent particles in the air from clogging up the system. In doing so, air filters also provide a great place for mold colonies to grow.

3. Repair any leaks in the ducts. Not only is it an energy-waster, but breaks in ducts can cause condensation to drip, causing mold to grow.

4. Invest in a dehumidifier. Humidity levels in your home should be under 40%. Some A/C systems already come with one built-in so make sure to check before you buy a new one. 

At the end of the day, calling a professional is better than embarking on a new DIY project. As much as we like to take care of our own homes, specialists have the right training & tools to help you. For air ducts & HVAC system cleanings, give us a call at 337-462-6500 to see how we can help.

Preventing Garbage Disposal Leaks

3/19/2018 (Permalink)

Repairing a garbage disposal leak can sometimes be an easy DIY fix. Other times, it can result in replacing the garbage disposal completely. The longer the leak isn't fixed, the more likely it is to cause water damage in your kitchen cabinets and floor. The best way to make sure you don't have to pay for all these expenses is to follow these DO's and DON'Ts of proper garbage disposal usage:

1. DON'T pour bleach down the drain. There are cleaning solutions specifically made for cleaning your garbage disposal. 

2. DON'T overload your garbage disposal. Just like people, they can be overworked too.

3. DON'T put "hard foods" down the drain. Foods like apple cores and bones risk clogging and can lead to motor damage.

4. DO run cold water so fats don't turn into gunk that can lead to clogging. 

5. DO perform routine checks at least 2 times a year or more.

6. DO take it a step further and consider using homemade cleaning solutions with natural ingredients.

Following these tips will not only prevent leaks but also improve your garbage disposal's longevity. If you are already experiencing a leak, there are plenty of articles that can let you know how to fix a leak depending on where the leak is coming from. However, contacting a plumbing pro is always the best solution so they can troubleshoot the issue properly. 

If you have recently experienced a flood or leak, give us a call at 337-462-6500 to see how we can help.

6 Common Mistakes Before a Severe Storm

3/16/2018 (Permalink)

There are several guides available on how to protect your property from storms, including the "Storm" section on our blog page. Some things to consider as well are the common mistakes to avoid during a severe storm. Just as we like to practice an "always be prepared" mentality at SERVPRO, we hope to inform our clients on how to stay safe for times such as these. Here are some of the common mistakes to avoid:

  1. Underestimating a storm warning/watch. There's a reason why there's a National Weather Service, and these should not be taken lightly. Make sure to keep up with updates as these constantly change.
  2. Not evacuating or not evacuating in time. If you are able to evacuate, do so. Make sure to give yourself enough time before the storm hits.
  3. Not protecting your home. This includes securing any outdoor furniture, trimming trees, and any other objects that can potentially fly into your home in strong winds. For a full list of home safety tips, go here.
  4. Not having enough food and supplies. FEMA recommends preparing 2 weeks worth of food and supplies just to be on the safe side.
  5. Not preparing documents and medical needs. In case you’ll need to evacuate, make sure to gather all your important documents. It can be a headache trying to scamable and look for paperwork during a storm. Make sure to stock up on prescriptions, and plan for battery backup for medical equipment if applicable.
  6. Not having an Emergency Ready Profile ready. Do you know where your shut off valves are? Do you have a list of contacts in case of an emergency? Do you have a point-of-contact water/fire damage restoration person? Sometimes having this information beforehand makes all the difference in a severe storm.  

George Allen, Sr. once said, “Winning is the science of being totally prepared.” Preparing for a severe storm isn’t any different.  Give SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton a call today to see how we can help you create an Emergency Ready Profile.

5 Myths About Water Damage Restoration

3/14/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton is ready to help you 24/7 when you experience water damage due to leaking or flooding. As water damage experts, we aim to inform our customers about what to expect if they find themselves in this situation. Here are some water damage restoration myths that we want to debunk:

  1. "Bleach kills mold." - A common DIY misconception is that bleach will kill mold. Although bleach will get rid of stains, it won't get rid of the mold's roots.
  2. "It's a DIY job." - Many homeowners may believe that they'll save money by fixing water damage on their own. In reality, many homeowners may actually end up spending more money than they've budgeted for. SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton uses specialized equipment for the water removal and drying process. We also have highly trained professionals to identify the best remediation method.
  3. "Water will dry on its own." Just because you don't see water doesn't mean it's not there. Water has a way of hiding in your walls and flooring and may appear to look dry. Waiting too long to contact a specialist may result in mold growth, costing you more down the road.
  4. "It's a long process." - The SERVPRO crew is trained to act promptly in case of an emergency. We'll do an initial inspection, remove/extract water, start the drying process, and monitor your home until drying goals are met. The faster our crew is contacted, the faster we can get your home to pre-water damage condition.
  5. "Mold takes a long time to appear." If your home has experienced leaking or flooding, mold can show up as fast as 24-48 hours. Just like water, mold doesn't have to be visible on the surface to be present. The best way to know for sure is contact a specialist. 

If you have experienced water damage or believe you may have mold in your home, call us at 337-462-6500 to see how we can help.

Office Safety Tips

3/14/2018 (Permalink)

Slips, trips and falls make up most of all workplace injuries. By establishing and following office safety rules, most accidents can be avoided. Here are some tips that businesses can follow to keep their workplace safe:

1. Replace light bulbs that are out, and make sure each room has enough lighting.

2. Make sure that electrical cords do not pose a tripping hazard. 

3. Flooring issues such as cracks or breaks should immediately be repaired.

4. If there are any items on the floor, these should be picked up and put away. Trash on the floor should immediately be disposed.

5. Inspect places of storage, and make sure stacks of boxes are never piled too high that they may fall on individuals. 

6. Report spills in the restroom, kitchen, and any other applicable area.

7. Keep a first aid kit in the office and let employees know where they can access it.

8. Do not block fire sprinklers. Items should not be within 18 inches of the sprinkler heads. 

9. Do not block fire escape routes. Make sure there is a clear path in case of an emergency.

10. Do a regular walk-through of the office to make sure employees are practicing good safety habits.

The Most Common Types of Mold in Your Home

3/14/2018 (Permalink)

Mold can grow just about anywhere - in our home, our workplace, our backyard, etc. While there are over 100,000 types and species of mold, not all of them are harmful. In this post, we'll go over some of the most common types of mold that are found in the home:

  1. Aspergillus - This type is usually found in food & A/C systems. Since there are over 185 species, it can appear in different colors. It can cause allergy like symptoms, and respiratory issues in more severe situations.
  2. Cladosporium - This type can be black or green in color. Usually found outdoors, it can also be found or carried indoors. Indoors, this can grow on wood or in the back of toilets. This mold is non-toxic, however, may cause allergy symptoms, hay fever or asthma.
  3. Penicillium - Green or blue in color, it can also have a fuzzy texture with a musty odor. It can grow on wallpaper or carpet that has water damage. Exposure to this mold can cause allergic reactions or sinus infections.
  4. Alternaria - This black and fuzzy type can be found outdoors but can pretty much grow in any damp area. Common places for growth are under the sink, showers or windows. It can also start to appear after a home has experienced a flood. This mold can cause allergic reactions and asthma attacks if left untreated.
  5.  Stachybotrys (black mold) - Greenish or black in color, this mold is found in damp areas with high humidity levels. Also referred to as "toxic mold", this mold releases mycotoxins that can cause severe health issues to those exposed. This can cause allergies, asthma attacks, breathing issues, headaches, fatigue and also depression.

Remember, just because mold isn't easily spotted in the home doesn't mean it's not there. If you've had leaking or flooding in the past, mold would usually appear within 24-48 or these events. Give us a call at 337-462-6500 to see how we can help or if you have general questions about mold and its effects.

Storm Safety

3/13/2018 (Permalink)

It's March again in Central Louisiana, and the sun is finally out. If you've lived in Louisiana long enough, then you'd notice that the weather changes all the time. As pictured on the side, we're expecting a little bit of sunshine in the beginning of the week but may encounter thunderstorms toward the weekend. With that being said, it's always good to be prepared from stormy weather. Here are some tips that Louisianians and non-Louisianians can follow to stay safe from severe storms:

  1. Be aware of weather forecasts and listen to emergency warnings.
  2. Unplug electronics in your home to keep lightning from ruining them.
  3. Trim trees and remove dead or broken branches. These can be dangerous projectiles during a severe storm.
  4. Secure outdoor objects such as chairs and tables.
  5. Bring any outdoor pets inside. 
  6. Have an emergency kit ready - ready-to-eat food, water, flashlight, batteries, etc.
  7. Learn first aid and have a first aid kit on hand.
  8. Pick a safe place in the house that's away from windows.
  9. Prepare your family and make sure everyone is on the same page.

Creating an Emergency Ready Plan

3/7/2018 (Permalink)

About 50% of businesses do not recover after a disaster. Of the ones that did survive, majority of those businesses had an emergency plan in place. We cannot predict when disaster will strike, but we can protect our businesses be being prepared. SERVPRO of Deridder, Leesville & Vinton offers an Emergency Ready Profile to help you at times like this. Here are reasons why you should have an Emergency Ready Profile (ERP):

  1. This document consolidates information you will need in case of an emergency. Instead of having multiple documents, the ERP will put together this information for you in an organized manner.
  2. The ERP contains all emergency contact information, as well as contact information of maintenance companies.
  3. The ERP will map out your building so you’ll easily be able to find information such as shut-off valves.
  4. You will have a SERVPRO point-of-contact nearby who you can call in case of an emergency.
  5. Our team will already have a layout of your building, helping us prepare and arrive more quickly to any disaster.
  6. Last but not least, the assessment is completely free!

Call today at 337-462-6500 to see how we can help you! Please view our home page for a list of cities that we service.

4 Signs of Water Damage in Your Home

3/7/2018 (Permalink)

When your home experiences a flood, broken pipes, leaking or excess moisture, this can lead to water damage.  Just like mold, water damage isn’t always easily noticeable. A few things that you can take into consideration when looking for water damage are: change in odor, discoloration, peeling, and change in texture.

  1. Change in odor - Hidden water that goes untreated will give off a strong, musty smell. Possible areas you can check are the basement, ceiling, walls, floors, etc.
  2. Discoloration - Water that has seeped into walls and ceilings will create water spots and stains. These can be yellowish in color, sometimes brown or copper.
  3. Peeling - Water that's been absorbed into drywall can cause paint to lose adhesion.  This then causes bubbling, cracking and/or peeling.
  4. Change in texture - There are four different types of changes in texture - buckling, warping, sagging, and expansion. In buckling, the moisture causes deformation in the drywall which eventually leads to it cracking. Warping occurs when there are gaps present in between the boards, and the changes in temperature or humidity might cause “curling”.  When drywall and ceilings absorb extra water weight, sagging may occur as it becomes too heavy to support. Expansion occurs when boards swell up from absorbing too much water.

Regularly inspecting your home not only gives you peace of mind, it can also save you a lot of money in the long run. Treat your home right, and it will be good to you for years to come.

If you notice signs of mold in your home, please give us a call today to see how we can help.

Other Sources of Water Damage

3/5/2018 (Permalink)

When we think of “water damage”, flooding or pipe bursts are usually what first come to mind. Water damage isn’t always caused by drastic events. Other several factors that happen in our homes can lead to water damage, such as:

  1. Toilet, Sink and Tub Overflow - Overflowing water will flood the bathroom floor and seep into the flooring. Make sure to fix any noticeable plumbing problems in the bathroom, especially since this area is highly susceptible to mold growth.
  2. HVAC Systems - Condensation line leaks can welcome mold growth into these dark spaces. Perform a condensation line inspection and cleaning every 3 to 6 months, along with the air filter replacements.
  3. Dishwasher - A dishwasher that isn’t properly sealed will cause a leak on your kitchen floor. While using too much water for one load can also cause a leak, consistent leaking should be inspected and repaired.
  4. Garbage disposal - Proper garbage disposal usage not only prevents leaks and potential water damage, it also improves its life span. One tip is to avoid pouring grease or oil down the garbage disposal as this can cause drain clogging. 
  5. Basement - When warm air hits a cool surface such as your basement, condensation is created. By reducing the humidity, you are reducing basement condensation. One way to do so is by using a dehumidifier to absorb excess moisture.

One good rule of thumb is to immediately fix issues with plumbing and kitchen appliances.  HVAC systems, basements and crawl spaces should also be monitored regularly as these areas can invite mold growth.

Signs of Mold in Your Home

3/2/2018 (Permalink)

Air Vent

While mold is present everywhere, it might not be so easily spotted in your home. Here are a few key signs to look for when checking for mold:

1. If you've recently experienced flooding or a water leak, that could have led to mold growth. Mold can appear as fast as 24 hours after areas are exposed to water. 

2. Visual signs such as wall discoloration, black spots, peeling, and bubbling may indicate mold growth behind the walls. 

3. Mold usually gives off a musty odor. The smell is usually one of the first signs of mold. Remember, just because you don't see mold doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

4. Mold allergies can also affect certain individuals. Those affected will usually experience congestion, a runny nose, coughing and sneezing. Take note of when your allergies flare up. If your symptoms seem to get worse when you're at home, this may be a sign to get your home checked.

5. Some types of mold are more harmful than others. Toxic mold may have a more serious affect on people - causing headaches, memory loss or trouble focusing.

In summary, it's common for homes to be affected by mold. However, it is also our responsibility to keep our families safe and protected from all the dangers of mold. The only way for us to truly be on the safe side is to seek help from mold specialists. 

If you have questions about mold, please give us a call at (337) 462-6500 to see how we can help.

Leesville Mardi Gras 2018

2/21/2018 (Permalink)

Mardi Gras Scot

SERVPRO of Deridder, Leesville & Vinton loves to have fun and we really enjoy Mardi Gras, we were very excited to be able to participate in the Leesville Mardi Gras parade earlier this month. Our General Manager, Scot Culton, and one of our Technicians represented our team, riding in our vibrant green SERVPRO golf cart. The City of Leesville received heavy rainfall all week, leading some to expect that the parade would be cancelled. Lucky for us, the rain stopped just an hour before the parade was scheduled to start. Scot and our Technician were then able to toss beads and lots of candy to the crowd as part of the Mardi Gras tradition. Needless to say, we are already looking forward to being a part of next year's festivities.

Laissez les bons temps rouler (Let the good times roll)!

Photo Credit: Rickie Smith 

After-party Cleaning Tips

2/12/2018 (Permalink)

This time of year has many Louisianians throwing parties to celebrate Mardi Gras.  Unfortunately, for the hosts, big celebrations such as Mardi Gras also means a “big mess”. We’ve put together some post-party cleaning tips to help you survive the day after.

  1. For plates and pans that are harder to clean (probably from the King Cake), let it soak in soapy water first. Throw in a dryer sheet and notice the crumbs clinging on to the sheet.
  2. when cleaning up broken glass, wear a rubber glove to get the bigger pieces and pick up the smaller pieces with bread.
  3. For unwanted stains in the toilet, pour a can of Coke in the toilet bowl and allow it to sit for about an hour. Use a brush for an easier way to remove the stains.
  4. Ground coffee is helpful for cleaning up vomit. Spreading dry coffee grounds on vomit will help absorb liquids and mask the smell.
  5. To clean your grill, let the grill warm up to burn down any remaining food particles. Use a fork to clean the grill with half of an onion.
  6. Heat a mug of water in the microwave for a few minutes. This will loosen up grease and other microwave stains, making it easier to clean.
  7. Use soap and water to clean your blender. Pour the mixture into your blender and blend for 15 seconds.

For carpet, tile, and furniture cleaning, call

(337) 462-6500 to see how SERVPRO of Deridder, Leesville & Vinton can help.

Rainy February

2/7/2018 (Permalink)

February can be a very rainy month in Louisiana and with this stormy weather, it is important that we take the right steps to keep us, our families, and our homes safe.

Here are some ways you can prepare for the rainy weather and potential storms:

  1. Stock up on non-perishable food and beverage items in case the power goes out.
  2. Any outdoor pets should be inside.
  3. Keep flashlights, batteries, matches, and candles handy (always keep an eye on burning candles to avoid possible fires).
  4. Clean and fix gutters, as these can easily get backed up and cause roof damage.
  5. Inspect your roof for potential areas of leaks.
  6. Check for gaps in your doors and windows. Fill in these gaps to prevent leaks.
  7. Clear out any dead branches that could potentially strike and damage your home.
  8. If there is a chance of flooding, move any furniture upstairs and keep electronics off the floor.
  9. Be aware of cracks in your ceiling that can indicate a roof leak.
  10. Apply a waterproof sealer to your deck to fight heavy rainfall.

10 Ways to Prevent Home Fires

2/6/2018 (Permalink)

A fire in your home does not only damage your property, it also hurts you and your family. U.S. fire departments responded to 365,500 house fires in 2015.The most common causes of house fires are heating systems, cooking, tobacco smoking, dryers, and electrical issues.

Here are 10 ways you can help prevent a fire from starting in your home:

  • Dryers - The lint should be cleaned out from dryers after each use. Dryer vents should also be inspected and cleaned at least once a year, more depending on how often you use the dryer.
  • Heaters - Heating systems are in high-use during the winter months. These should be inspected annually to make sure that they’re in good, operating condition.
  • Alternative Heat Sources - Alternative heat sources such as space heaters should not have items near it that may easily catch fire.
  • Watch What You Cook - Do not leave your stove or oven unattended when you are cooking. Make sure to keep the stove area clean of grease so that this doesn’t ignite a fire.
  • Electrical - Check electrical cords for signs of fraying. Never overload an electrical outlet or plug.
  • Lighters and Matches - Keep lighters and matches out of the reach of children.
  • Candles - If you use scented candles at night, make sure to blow them out before going to bed.
  • Chimneys - These should be inspected annually by a chimney professional.  
  • Smoke Alarm - Check your smoke alarms to make sure they’re working and replace batteries as needed.
  • Escape Plan - Establish a fire escape plan for you and your family members (try to have one that is easy for children to understand). Make sure that nothing blocks the escape routes.

New Year and new records

1/15/2018 (Permalink)

Snowy Days

Hello friends; so what do you think about the winter that we are experiencing? 

This winter is making records all across the country. Even residents up north are seeing some amazing snow amounts and wind gusts that are shutting down airports. To them it is just another winter but "not so" down in the south where it is normally mild with an occasional cold day. Not only are we seeing below freezing temperatures, but the wind is blowing those temperatures into the single digits. The Technicians at SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville and Vinton are seeing a record number of frozen pipes. If the temperature is going to get down to freezing during then night, remember to leave your water dripping in the faucets. They've also seen house fires, so please pay attention to those space heaters and if you are not sure that it is safe to use Don't use it

Holiday Travel

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

The numbers are in:

According to the latest estimate there will be 110 million ( 110,000,000 ) people traveling this holiday season. This is a new all time high so to say "you may be delayed" is a no brainer. Airports will be over crowded, roads will be over crowded and oh yes, the weather may cause you a delay. So friends, don't let your delay be caused by a lack of planning on your part. If you are flying, they say you need to be there 2 hours early (heed this advice). If you are driving, take the extra time to make sure the car is ready for the trip. Remember, "cold country" needs special windshield washer fluid and have the coolant system checked. The water to anti-freeze ratio needs to with stand sub freezing temperatures.   Leave Santa some cookies and milk or hot chocolate. He will definetly appreciate it I am sure ;)

Holiday travel

12/15/2017 (Permalink)

  • Christmas and New Year travel.              The Christmas Holiday is one of the busiest travel times of the year. With this in mind you need to  plan for extra traffic and people being in a hurry to get to their destination (to grandma's house we will go). Because of the "big rush" people tend not to be patient therefore they take unnecessary risk such as passing on the yellow line. I know you want to get to your family as quick as possible but you need to watch the "other guy". Also if you live in the south and you are headed north check tire pressure and your coolant level and don't forget to bring extra clothes. Be safe and Merry Christmas and to all a good night ;)

Christmas Trees and Lights

12/13/2017 (Permalink)

Christmas trees and lights are part of what makes the season bright but we all must take safety precautions in our homes and places of business.

                                                                        Does it matter where I put the tree?            Yes; if a tree is put too close to a space heater it could catch on fire. Don’t forget to water the tree daily (if it is artificial you can skip this step:).

Extension cords are handy                            We all use extension cords especially during the holiday season but they can cause a fire if you overload their ability to carry current (electrical) Don't put too many strands of lights on one extension cord . Also, check them to be sure they are not old and frayed. The grounding prong (the round one) is there to prevent electrical shocks so make sure yours has one.

One last thing                                                If your tree or cords start sparking immediately pull the cord out of the outlet but if it is already on fire immediately get everyone out of the house and call 911.

The Dangerous Effects of Fire and Smoke

10/30/2017 (Permalink)

If you experience fire damage or have questions about our remediation process, contact us (337) 462-6500.

When a fire breaks out, inhaling smoke is one of the most dangerous factors that can incapacitate people. This smoke creates a very harmful residue in the material of our clothing, furniture, and various other household items. As house fires spread, they create very toxic fumes and eliminate the amount of breathable air in the home.

A house fire can be substantially damaging to its structure, but it can very easily harm the people inside. The smoke contains toxins, in the form of vapors, that are easily inhaled or seep in through the pores in our skin. These tiny particles invade our digestive and respiratory systems, poisoning the body. They can even include minute burning property that can become trapped in our eyes, causing very hurtful irritation.

The gases spreading through the house in the midst of the smoke are some of the most dangerous and damaging toxins. When some materials are burned, such as vinyl, they can produce carbon monoxide, hydrogen, cyanide, and phosgene, which are very dangerous off-gasses.

In order to prevent inhaling smoke, placing smoke detectors in every room in your home or office is a very efficient measure to protect you and your loved ones. Carbon monoxide detectors are also a great safety measure to limit the amount of harmful exposure in case of a gas leak in your home.

Fire damage is always a very devastating and stressful experience for your home and your family. It is easy to place yourself in the hands of uncaring professionals, just looking to make money cleaning up your loss. Here at SERVPRO, we strive for a very respectful, empathetic attitude to make sure you, your family, and your precious belongings are in caring hands.

SERVPRO of Deridder, Leesville, and Vinton is a team of highly trained experts in water, mold, and fire remediation. We are locally owned and operated, so when you call us, we can guarantee fast, friendly, and effective service for all of your remediation needs.

Understanding the Different Types of Smoke and their Effects

10/30/2017 (Permalink)

The unique behavior of smoke can leave damage on your belongings that is complicated to repair. There are two different types of smoke, wet and dry. SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville, and Vinton professionals are excellently trained in fire/smoke clean up and restoration. They are experts in the different types of smoke and their behavior patterns. This information is vital to properly remediate the damage left behind. The SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville, and Vinton team will begin by surveying the severity of the damages from moisture, fire, smoke, and heat on the building materials and its contents. The soot is then tested to determine the type of smoke damage left behind. The results of this test helps our professionals determine the proper cleaning method, in order to focus on saving your precious belongings.

The professionals at SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville, and Vinton know smoke can seep into the various holes and cracks within the structure, causing unseen damage and a lingering odor. Their knowledge of building ventilation and structural systems helps them investigate just how far smoke damage may have spread within the structure. The following are some lesser known facts about smoke you may not be aware of:

  • Hot smoke generally moves to cooler areas and the higher levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, penetrating each floor using the holes made for the pipes.
  • The type of smoke can greatly affect the remediation process.

Different types of Smoke

  • Fuel Oil Soot (Furnace Puff Backs)—While “puff backs” can potentially create havoc for homeowners, our franchise professionals can, in most cases, restore the contents and structure quickly.
  • Wet Smoke (Rubber and Plastic)—Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs can be more difficult to clean.
  • Dry smoke (Paper and Wood)—Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises before smoke.
  • Protein fire residue (Evaporation of material rather than from a fire)—Essentially invisible, damages colors and varnishes, extreme lingering odors.
  • Other types (Tear gas, fingerprint powder, and fire extinguisher residue)—Special damage situations require special treatment.

Here at SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville, and Vinton, our professionals are excellently trained to tackle even the most challenging damages.

Facts on Toxic Mold

10/30/2017 (Permalink)

Call SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville, and Vinton at (337) 462-6500 for all your mold remediation needs!

There is no way to completely eradicate mold, there will always traces of it in the air you breathe. There are risks associated with mold, especially with things like food and wood. While these are damaging, there’s also a type of mold that contains mycotoxins that can cause some health effects. Good knowledge and routine cleaning are usually the best ways to prevent mold from growing and to help with any problems when dealing with existing mold. Below are some common mold questions, showing what the proper course of action is for each case.

Structure Mold

Structure mold grows anywhere if there is moisture, so it is especially common for a home or business to have some form of growth.

How Do Molds Begin to Grow?

In just about any indoor environment, mold is generally a natural problem. It usually enters the premises through windows, doors, or even ventilation systems. Mold spores that grow outside can easily be transported into your home or business by riding air currents. 

Understanding Stachybotrys Chartarum

Stachybotrys Chartarum is a dark green or sometimes even black colored mold that usually grows on things like gypsum or fiber board, paper, dust, or even lint because of its preference for materials high in cellulose and low in nitrogen. It requires regular moisture, generally from leaks or high humidity.


The effects of Mold                                                                                                                  Mold can cause health effects, so you may want to consider vacating the building until proper remediation procedures have been completed.

Am I at Risk?

Anyone can be affected by inhaling mold, but it generally affects people with severe allergies.

How to Check for Mold

Mold is usually identified by simply being seen or smelled. If you suspect mold you can contact a local Environmental company to inspect it.

The Potential Risk to Health

Just because you’ve been exposed to growths of mold, it does not mean you may be at risk for health problems. There are some people that are more sensitive to everyday mold, and some strains of mold that can be harmful.

SERVPRO's New Warehouse Facility in DeRidder

6/1/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton's new warehouse facility.

Newly constructed warehouse facility close to home!

SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton is pleased to announce the opening of its new facility located at 2819 Hwy. 171 in DeRidder.

With approximately 5,000 sf of climate controlled warehouse, SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton is ready to handle any size disaster.  Our SERVPRO professionals are knowledgeable and highly trained to assist in any number of disaster scenarios.  

Our new facility allows us to store your contents on property, making SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville, & Vinton your one stop shop for any restoration/remediation need.  With contents remaining on property until the conclusion of reconstruction, this allows us to offer our customers a better product in a shorter time frame.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton today at 337-462-6500

SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton Adds New Truck to its Fleet

6/1/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO's 2016 Ford F-250 fleet truck.

SERVPRO's always here to help!

To better assist our customers, and to answer a growing need for restoration efforts in the DeRidder area, SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton has added an additional vehicle to its fleet.

Soon this truck will transform from stock white, to SERVPRO green, and is capable of assisting in any number of loss situations.  Whether your home or business was struck with water damage, a fire or soot loss, or is in need of mold remediation, this truck will be on location to assist.  Able to pull one of our covered cargo trailers, or a utility debris trailer, this truck makes us faster to any sized loss.

Continue to visit our webpage for additional pictures once the SERVPRO graphics have been installed.

For additional information, or to schedule an appointment, please call SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton today at 337-462-6500.

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