Deciding What Is Salvageable After a House Fire
When dealing with the emotional aftermath of a fire, let our professionals assist you with what can be kept and what needs to be discarded.
Dealing with the devastation of a residential fire is never easy. Once you have experienced the heat, flames, and destruction, you are likely to be an emotional wreck. You need a quick assessment of the damage done to your home’s structure, followed by an immediate implementation of a recovery plan by a qualified team of experts.
Who Knows Which Items to Discard and Which to Save?
Although it might seem as though our managers and technicians are focused primarily on the fire damage to your house’s structure, we also have the training and familiarity with the evaluation and appropriate restoration of compromised household goods and furnishings. Sometimes homeowners discard items they could have saved, wasting time and expense to replace. Rely on our professionals for expert evaluation and guidance when you wonder and worry about contents cleaning and recovery after fire damage.
Are Some Household and Personal Items Hazardous to Keep After a Fire?
There are categories of household contents that can pose concerns if kept for use after a fire. Items for consumption that are likely to be in close contact with your family must be evaluated and discarded if no restoration can stop their damaged condition from putting your or your family’s health at risk.
Can You Keep Food After a Fire?
Even if the food looks normal and seems unburned by the flames, there can be many crucial reasons why our crew members recommend that disposal of it should occur.
- Food in opened packages or on counters or tables needs discarding. Smoke, soot, and firefighting chemicals or water contaminate the food, rendering it unfit or even dangerous, for consumption.
- Food still sealed in bags, bottles, jars, and cans might seem safe, but if they had exposure to heat during the fire, the temperature change could activate bacteria inside containers. Food spoilage and poisoning can occur, demanding that you err on the side of caution and throw out any questionable food.
- Toxic fumes and soot can pass through the cardboard and plastic of boxed foods like crackers, cereals, and baking supplies. Particles have been found in jars, climbing the ridges on a screw top. Throw out any foodstuff in this category.
A refrigerator or freezer can provide adequate protection for the foods kept within during a fire under certain circumstances. If all the following is true, the contents are likely to be safe:
- The appliance sustained no fire or heat damage and remained sealed the entire time.
- The power was not cut or four or fewer hours passed without electrical operation.
Regardless of a “passing grade” received by meeting the above criteria, if any of the following is accurate, do not eat frozen or chilled food:
- A smoke smell pervades the interior of the appliance
- Soot is visible inside the appliance
- The temperature of the interior of a refrigerator exceeds 40 degrees
- Items in a freezer are softening and have no visible ice crystals
- Foods have any unusual odor or texture
What Are the Rules About Using Medications, Cosmetics, and Other Personal Care Items After a Fire?
If heat or flames were near over the counter or prescription drugs or treatments, chemical changes may occur, especially if bottles, jars, tubes, or packaging shows melting or warping, then you need to discard.
Anything used on the body, face, or hair also can undergo chemical changes through heat or burning, and soot can pass through packaging. Shampoos, lotions, creams, soaps, body washes, and other items are all of concern. Soot particles are toxic and abrasive, so even tissues, toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, and similar products, like diapers, cotton balls or swabs, hair or face brushes, sponges, and more can be harmful to use on skin or hair.
Is It Safe to Reuse Linens and Clothing?
Restoration for textiles and fabrics is possible with proper cleaning, disinfection, and deodorization. SERVPRO technicians at our production facility can examine and review the fire damage to these items to make sure you and your family can enjoy them again safely.
What Are the Recommendations for Furniture, Household Goods, and Personal Possessions?
We often suggest a partial pack-out of a wide range of the removal of fire damaged items in your home. We use a detailed Contents Claim Inventory Service (CCIS) to track the articles, employing traditional lists, barcoding, and digital images. Our specially trained content technicians have a wide range of resources and interventions to assess and plan for the restoration of the items. The documentation provided by CCIS helps us keep your insurance carrier apprised and can support claims for our services or replacement when necessary.
Years of highly skilled and well-equipped responses to residential fire damage poises SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West to assist you and your family with taking care of all the aspects of fire loss devastation. Call us 24/7 at (352) 374-6589 for compassionate professional restoration and reconstruction services for your home and its contents.
COVID-19 - Is Your Business Taking The Right Steps?
If you have a suspect or confirmed COVID-19 scenario, please contact us to help keep your employees safe.
Call our office to schedule your COVID-19 services today at 352-374-6589
Responsibilities of Businesses
As a business owner or manager, it is your responsibility to ensure the safety and health of your employees. To fight the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are urged to take steps to prevent the spread. Additionally, it is imperative to create a response plan, should your employees encounter an exposure in the workplace.
How SERVPRO is helping businesses
SERVPRO technicians everywhere are working seven days a week to clean, disinfect, and sanitize businesses all over the North Central Florida area. Our technicians can come in after hours to disinfect prior to the next shift or we can disinfect while you are part of the mandatory closure. There are many different types of services that we are currently providing to both businesses and residents.
As a precaution, cleaning and disinfecting can be done. This means that there had been no confirmed or suspected case in the building. Technicians are trained in pathogen safety and maintain all CDC recommendations. The use of fogging of EPA registered hospital grade disinfecting of touchable surfaces below eight feet.
When there is a suspected case of exposure in your building, a higher standard of disinfecting is recommended. To mention, disinfecting and cleaning of the area 10 feet and below using a mixture of fogging and spray/wiping using hospital grade disinfectants.
If the event that your business is exposed to a confirmed case, it is important to create a plan of action. Our team will create an appropriate plan for your business to protect all your employees. It is important to call our specialist immediately to begin the planning process if you experience a confirmation of COVID-19 in your business.
Feel free to visit our SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West website for more information on the cleaning that we can provide for your business. And call us with any questions at 352-374-6589.
Cleaning Up After A Flood
When storms and flooding hit, call SERVPRO to make it "Like it never even happened."
Whether a flood is caused by heavy rain, creek overflows or a sewer blockage, it can leave your business or residence in North Central Florida crippled. During time of high waters, you may have to abandon your property until the proper authorities have deemed it safe to return. And after the flood, grey or black water has receded, you’ll be left with lots of cleanup. You can either do this yourself or work in tandem with a professional restoration company to help you figure out which contents of yours can be saved and how to go about content cleaning.
Take Time to Assess
After the water has been removed, you will have to assess each piece of content on its own. Some items may be too waterlogged or mold ridden to save because of the porous material used to create it. If this is the case, your only option may be to throw away the content and possibly replace it at a later date.
Other contents may only need a little love and care to be brought back to former glory. Pieces made of non-porous material are more likely to be saved. However, even some of these items could be beyond repair, depending on how long they were sitting in the water.
Start Content Cleaning
Once you have figured out what is worth saving, you need to start your journey of cleaning your possessions. The following steps may help you through this process:
- Use proper personal protective equipment, including gloves, goggles, and masks.
- Rinse off black water by using a fresh water source
- Give the items time to dry by hanging them in the sun or using a dryer
- Hand or machine wash items based on their cleaning instructions
These four steps can help you start the process of cleaning. However, more complex items could require more preparation before the actual cleaning stage is able to take place.
Removing water and mold from your premises can be a long and grueling process. When you turn to the help of a professional restoration service like SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West, you take advantage of expert knowledge and top-notch equipment that may speed up your recovery. Call us today at 352-374-6589 if you need our assistance or have any questions.
Every Business Needs a Disaster Plan
It's better to be prepared than not have an emergency plan in place when disaster strikes.
Many business owners are caught off guard when disaster strikes. Thinking that it would never happen to them or never even considering the possibility of a disaster, they fail to have a plan in place for their business.
Unfortunately, many times, once disaster strikes, it’s too late. Many businesses are forced to close permanently after disaster because they were not prepared. With hurricane season upon us once more, please take the time to protect your business with a few ideas from below.
According to foxbusiness.com, there are 7 steps you can take if you are a small business owner to help protect your business from disaster.
1. Risk Assessment: Determine what types of emergencies are most likely to affect your company and then evaluate your level of preparedness. Check in with your insurance company, make sure employees are trained for emergencies, have data backed up and stored at a safe location.
2. Review Your Insurance Coverage: Talk with your insurance agent to make sure your business is covered if hit by disaster. After determining what types of emergencies your business is most prone to, make sure your policy covers those particular types of situations. Ask about business interruption insurance which helps business owners continue to pay on-going bills while operations are shut down during disaster recovery.
3. Create a Contingency Plan: Review your business operations and determine which are most important for the survival of your business. Form a process to manage these functions in the event of a disaster. Determine an alternate business location where business operations can continue during the recovery process.
4. Create a Communications Plan: Disasters create chaos and having a communications plan in place in advance will help minimize panic.
5. Back Up Your Data: Making sure all your data is backed up and stored in a safe place is critical. Cloud-based data solutions are best as they stay safe during disasters and can be accessed from any location.
6. Build an Emergency Kit: Have an emergency kit available on site including items like water, flashlights, fire extinguishers, etc.
7. Review and Rehearse You Plan: Once your plan is in place, make sure your employees know the plan and have practiced implementing it.
While disasters can be devastating to a business, preparation can definitely help in the recovery process. By taking action before disaster strikes and getting a plan in place, business owners can help protect their business in times of emergencies.
If you need help with either water, fire, or mold scenarios, or you just need advice on how to better prepare your business to limit or avoid disasters with our Emergency Ready Profile, feel free to contact SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West today at 352-374-6589.
What do you do after the smoke clears?
Our GFR crews doing what they do best.
Having a fire in your home can be devastating. Besides the whirlwind of the fire department, fire inspectors, and any other emergency responders, not knowing the initial extent of damage to your home and personal belongings in the days to come can be overwhelming. Heck, just figuring out where you are going to sleep that night can be overwhelming!
First of all, firefighters are going to be the first people you come into contact with. They will battle the fire, which depending on the cause and severity of the fire, can also cause lots of secondary damage to your home and belongings. It is important that you do not try to go back into your home, and that you stay well out of the way of emergency responders for your safety and theirs. Once the fire department has finished putting out the fire, the fire inspector will show up to assess damages, cause, and structural and electrical issues. Once they have completed your inspection, you may or may not be able to gain access to your home depending on their findings. At this time, the fire department will help you contact and advocate or the red cross to help you with lodging and essentials for a few days.
With everything going on, what should you be doing? The sooner you can contact your insurance the better. Getting a claim started and finding out your coverage is essential in getting the ball rolling. What is also important to know is if that you are the customer and in charge of your claim. Many insurance companies may have preferred vendors for many aspects of your claim. YOU are in charge and you should be very wary of any restoration company that is not recognizable as well as not even from your general area. One call to SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West can not only take care of every part of your claim from the water mitigation, fire restoration, and re-construction, we also will communicate directly with your insurance company to get your claim handled in the most timely manner possible. As a part of your community, our goal is to not only assist our customers with their restoration needs, but also to treat our customers with the respect and empathy they deserve as one of our neighbors.
The best way to prevent or prepare for water damage is to understand the statistics.
How does water damage happen?
According to insurance claim statics from 2017 water damage is the second highest reason people file a claim with their insurance, taking a whole 19% of all claims categories just under wind damage which was highest at 25%. Florida itself is second of all states for water damage claims in the U.S.
A Leaking roof is the highest cause of water damage in your home. Simply put, how many people inspect or have their roofs inspected on a regular basis? Storms are pretty common here in Florida, and many times it isn’t until one of these storm events or even days of rainy weather that people realize they have an issue.
The second most common reason for water damage is appliance and equipment leaks or failure. Some of the most common water damage calls we get are caused by Ice maker lines, water heaters, washing machines, and dishwashers. Anything that has tubes, gaskets, pipes, or filters that have water running through them are susceptible to failure causing water damage.
Pipe and fixture failures and weather-related events are the other most common reasons for water damage. Ageing pipes are definitely a problem and a slow leak over time that is not seen can really cause much bigger issues like mold. Weather related issues especially from flooding which is black water can also be very devastating and costly.
The best way to prevent water damage in your home is to be knowledgeable and aware of the causes of it which can help you in being proactive at preventing it. Inspect your roof, appliances and fixtures on a regular basis as well as maintaining them per manufacturer specification. Unfortunately, in many cases even with the know how not all water damage can or will be prevented. In this case the best defense is knowing who to call when it happens. SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County west should be the first person on your list of who to call in the case of an emergency. Not only is our technology, equipment, and knowledge the best in the industry, but our technician’s customer service and industry know-how are well above our competition.
The devastation of storms is not always a huge event such as a hurricane. Which is why we always are SERVPRO ready.
The Santa Fe River basin is prone to flooding caused by above average rain fall.
Floridians are no stranger to the devastating flooding caused in coastal and low-lying areas caused my tropical storms and hurricanes. With our forecasting systems in place, we had ample warning to get out of harm’s way before landfall in most cases. Unfortunately, there is a silent creeping storm that many in North Central Florida have experienced in the past, flooding from above average rainfall and thunderstorms in South Georgia and North Florida.
According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac’s long-range forecast, Northern Florida and Southern Georgia can expect a much wetter April and May extending into the summer. As many long-time residents along the local rivers such as the Santa Fe, Suwannee, and Ichetucknee have experienced in the past, this can be the precursor for long term flooding of low-lying inland areas especially along the rivers themselves. This type of flooding can be devastating as it can take the rivers weeks to crest and fall again as your home sits soaking in the black water.
Once the flooding subsides it is important to call SERVPRO who is always storm ready! We will send our technicians in to remove flood affected material and stick around to put it all back “Like it never even happened.” We know what it takes to not only clean up the mess left by receding flood waters, but to do it correctly so that your home is safe once again for your family.
Five critical things when your business needs an Emergency clean-up.
A microscopic image of the Coronavirus
The times that we are living in are unprecedented, which can make it very hard to choose the correct restoration company to service your business when your employees can finally come back to work. With the COVID-19 risk high on everyone’s minds, give yourself and your employees the piece of mind that if a problem arises in your essential business, or if you just want to make sure that your business is safe for returning employees, that your building is properly sanitized. Here are 5 things to look for and 5 reasons that SERVPRO is the answer to your sanitization needs.
- Hire a reputable company with experience and certification in biohazard cleanup and remediation.
With the current pandemic at hand there are many companies who have switched gears so to speak and started ramping up for pathogen clean-up. No only has SERVPRO of Alachua County West been performing bio-hazard and pathogen clean up way before COVID-19, we are also a licensed transporter and generator with the state of Florida to make sure all contaminated materials are properly disposed of after clean-up takes place.
- The company is trained and has access to proper protective equipment.
SERVPRO is not new to pathogen clean-up, and we always have a ready supply of the proper PPE to protect you and your employees. Not only that, SERVPRO has the largest network in the industry for obtaining supplies and manpower for large emergency responses.
- Utilizes an EPA recognized hospital-grade disinfectant.
SERVPRO has their own chemists on staff who not only create many of our one of a kind cleaners, and disinfectants, but they have also spent years studying the guidelines of the CDC and EPA to make sure that our customers and employees are safe and well versed on what chemicals to use.
- Comfortable giving upfront work protocols and pricing.
SERVPRO prides themselves in their honesty, integrity, and up-front pricing or estimates for our customers. Our pricing is not set by us, but rather it is the same estimating software used by most insurance companies and is considered the industry standard which is based upon the customer’s zip code.
- Successful track record of meeting client’s needs.
SERVPRO of Alachua County West takes pride in not only our work, and work ethic, but also strives to offer the best customer service in the industry to our customers. We are not just a business located in your area, we are a part of your community and view our customers as part of our extended family.
Water Damage at Commercial Properties
Having to close down your business due to water damage is very costly.
Flooding and water damage events at commercial properties are often complicated with various issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup situation or a large-scale event, SERVPRO of Gainesville West-Alachua County West’s technicians work quickly to assess each scenario and locate the affected areas. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.
Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges
Our crews are trained to be aware 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 production. So, when an emergency arises in your business, call SERVPRO of Gainesville West-Alachua County West at (352) 374-6589 and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.
How To Keep Your Pets Safe In Case Of Fire
Does your family fire plan include rescuing your pets?
Approximately 500,000 pets are affected by house fires each year and, unfortunately, 40,000 die due to fires. Many house fires are caused by pets, especially when left home alone. The following lists are tips to help prevent any accidental blaze started by your pets and for keeping your pets safe in the event there is a fire in your home.
Prevent Pets From Starting A Fire
- Beware of candles and other open flames. Dogs and cats are curious creatures and may take interest in a flickering flame. If you do have any open flames in your home at any time, be sure to never leave them unattended and to keep an eye on your pets. If you're using a fireplace, consider getting a fireplace screen to protect pets when sleeping in front of the fire. Also make sure the fire is completely out before heading out or going to bed. Small sparks and coals can get through a screen.
- Secure wires and cords. Pets are often tempted to chew on loose wires and cords. Exposed wires can be a fire hazard, so consider securing any electrical objects so that their cords are out of reach.
- Don't use glass bowls for your pets' water. When filtered and heated through glass, the sun's rays can ignite the wood beneath the bowl and set a deck in flames. Use a stainless steel or ceramic bowl instead.
How To Keep Your Pets Safe During And After A Fire
- Place a pet fire sticker on the door or window. In the event of a fire when you're away, having a pet sticker will help rescuers know how many pets to look for, saving valuable time and hopefully your pets.
- Use monitored smoke detectors. Pets left home alone can't escape on their own when there's a fire. Monitored smoke detectors contact emergency responders when you're not home and add an extra layer of protection beyond that of battery-operated smoke alarms.
- Keep pets near entrances when you're away from home. Always keep collars (with ID tags) on your pets and leave leashes by the entrance or somewhere easy to find in an emergency. This will help firefighters to find and rescue your pets when they arrive.
- Know where your pets' hiding spots are. It's important that you can find your pets quickly if there's a fire. Know where your pets like to sleep and especially where they like to go when they are scared or anxious (under the bed or hidden in a quiet corner of the house somewhere)
- Have an emergency plan in place and make sure everyone in the house knows what to do in the event of a fire. Know who will oversee getting your pets outside safely. Have someone in charge of leashes and pet carriers so that they can be safely secured once you're outside. If you can't find your pet when exiting, leave doors and windows open on your way out and call to them so that they come out on their own.
- Practice fire drills with your pets. It is important to include your pets in the family fire drills. Practice finding them and getting out of the house. Also practice the "open access" scenario where you leave an exit open (preferably the one they're most comfortable with) and call to them to come out of the home. The more you practice, the more likely they are to come out in the event of an actual fire.
If you have any questions or require restoration services due to fire damage in your home, call SERVPRO of Gainesville West-Alachua County West at (352) 374-6589. We are available 24/7 for services.