How to Safely Operate Your Fireplace During the Winter
During the colder months, nothing beats cozying up next to a warm fire. But remember that fireplaces can also be extremely dangerous. Here are a few precautions from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to take to keep you safe before you light that fire.
First things first, check that chimney. It is important to check for animal nests or any other blockages that would prevent smoke from escaping.
Prior to starting the fire, make sure the damper of flue is open. Keeping the damper or flue open until the fire is out will draw smoke out of the house. The damper can be checked by looking up into the chimney with a flashlight or mirror. Do not close the damper until the embers have completely stopped burning.
Be sure to use dry and well-aged wood. Wet or green wood causes more smoke and contributes to soot buildup in the chimney. Dried wood burns with less smoke and burns more evenly.
Also, if possible, keep a window cracked open while the fire is going.
Make sure the area around the fireplace is clear of anything that is potentially flammable, such as furniture, drapes, newspapers, books, etc. If these items get too close to the fireplace, they could catch fire.
Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Make sure it is completely out before going to bed or leaving the house.
Make sure to clean up after yourself after the fire is over. Clean it to ensure the levels of ash at the base of the fireplace should be kept to 1 inch or less.
If you home doesn’t already have them, install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Test them monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.
And just in case, keep a fire extinguisher on hand.
In the event your house does catch on fire, SERVPRO is here to help. We are available 24/7 to help you during this difficult time. Our professionals are highly trained, with the experience, tools and knowledge to clean up fire and smoke damage. In keeping with our goal to restore your home and cherished possessions to their pre-fire condition, we use appropriate personal protective measures to safely clean, deodorize and restore your property. Contact your local SERVPRO at (352) 374-6589.
Spooky Season is Upon Us, Do Your Due Diligence to Stay Safe
Halloween is this Sunday and a fun and spookytime. Be sure to follow fire safety tips to ensure your little trick-or-treaters stay safe this year.
For costumes for our littles, be sure to choose one does not have long, trailing fabric. We do not want them to trip or get it caught on something. Also, if your child is wearing a mask, make sure the holes are large enough for them to see out. A good idea is to also give children flashlights or carry glow sticks to ensure they can see and be seen.
When decorating this Halloween, remember that dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper catch fire very easily. Ensure these type of decorations and any type are kept away from open flames and other heat sources like light bulbs and heaters.
And instead of using lit candles for your jack-o-lanterns, use battery-operated candles instead. If you choose to use a candle, make sure you are aware of its surrounding and use caution.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, decorations are the first thing to ignite in roughly 800 reported home fires each year. More than one-third of these fires were started by a candle.
When lighting candles inside jack-o-lanterns, use long, fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. Be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and far enough out of the way of trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways and yards.
If you choose to have candles, make sure to tell children to stay away from the open flames. Teach them how to stop, drop and roll in case they do catch on fire.
Remember to also keep all exits clear. Do not block your escape routes.
As always, make sure all smoke alarms in your home are working. Make sure all smoke alarms in the home are working.
In the unfortunate event that you do have a fire at your home, remember, SERVPRO is here to help. SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West specialized in fire damage restoration and are available 24/7. Give us a call at (352) 374-6589.
Mold Facts and Why SERVPRO is Your Best Option
If you smell mildew or see what appears to be mold, don't hesitate to call SERVPRO to help fix your problem.
You have most likely heard about mold damage in homes, or even noticed signs of fungal growth in your own home. It is a fact that at some point most householders find themselves facing a dark green or black patch of growth which they need to remediate.
We are all familiar with the unpleasant musty smell of mold. SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West is your local remediation expert and we are also passionate about providing education to homeowners.
Here are 5 facts we think you should know.
- Mold is already in your home whether you can see it or not. Many people do not realize that mold is everywhere. The fungus is a naturally occurring organism throughout nature. Because the spores are impossible to see with the naked eye, you do not always see mold’s presence, but it is there.
- Moisture is the leading cause of fungal problems in the home. Mold requires water to grow, which is why it is common in basements, bathrooms, water heater areas, and laundry rooms. SERVPRO remediation experts have moisture probes and meters on hand to measure the dampness and pinpoint potential underlying problems.
- Bleach does not kill mold. It is a popular myth that bleach is the best way to kill the fungus. However, bleach should not be your go-to remedy. The moisture content of bleach can make growth worse, and bleach only clears away the surface evidence but does not treat the underlying problem.
- Mold can be useful. It was mold which helped Alexander Fleming develop Penicillin, which is one of the most trusted and commonly used antibiotics on the market today. There is even some evidence that ancient cultures such as the Egyptians used mold as a health remedy. Of course, even though mold can be useful, you do not want colonies growing in your home and that is why it is essential to call SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West at the first sign of mold outbreak.
- Dehumidification and proper ventilation are the best way to prevent mold. Investing in a dehumidifier and keeping the humidity in your home below 60 percent, if possible. We also suggest keeping your home well ventilated.
And if you encounter a potential mold scenario, feel free to contact SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West today and we can give you the step-by-step process on what needs to take place at 352-374-6589.
Precautions In Returning Home After A Flood
A quick response after a flood is important in the restoration process.
If you have experienced a flood that has impacted your home, it is common to feel anxious returning when the water recedes and the restoration process begins.
While recovering from a flood as quickly is advised, it is important to keep safety in mind. Working safely to restore your home will help the recovery process smoother and prevent any injuries or further damage from occurring.
Tips for Returning to Your Household After a Flood
Avoid further safety hazards. While you may be ready to get home, you should never do so without first getting the go-ahead from local officials. Between contaminated floodwaters, electrical issues and other various dangers, you should always listen to authorities regarding what is and is not safe to do.
Air out the home. If there is no upcoming inclement weather, opening doors and windows up will help rid the home of stale and hazardous air. Mold growth will have likely already started if surfaces are wet, but increasing air circulation can prevent it from getting out of hand. If it has been a few days since you have been able to enter the house, entering to begin the airing out process and then leaving to let the toxic air escape is advised.
Document the damages. Taking action right away is a natural reaction to discovering the flood damage to your home, but documenting the damages with photographic evidence first is advised. Though not all instances of flooding are covered by insurance, if you have a flood policy in place or the incident is covered, having these photographs can help you maximize your claim.
Contact your restoration and insurance companies immediately. Keeping your insurance company in the loop regarding flood damages is a top priority so you can make any claims you are eligible for. After contacting them, get in touch with SERVPRO so you can get a quick response and begin the recovery. The longer water damage is allowed to sit, the more detrimental it can be, so starting restoration is always advised.
Preparing Your Home Fire Evacuation Plan
Always have an emergency escape plan ready for everyone in your household.
If a fire spreads through your home you need to ensure that everyone evacuates as quickly as possible. To keep the evacuation fast and seamless, it’s crucial to create a home fire escape plan. Designing and practicing the plan with your family members helps everyone be prepared in case of a real fire. Here are the most essential components of a home evacuation plan.
- Escape Routes
To prevent any confusion, it’s important to designate several escape routes in your home. Take note of all the exits in your house, including doors and windows. It’s preferable to indicate two escape routes for each room so that everyone has more options to get out safely in the event of a home fire.
- Smoke Alarms
Next, you should make sure that all of the smoke alarms in your home are functioning properly. There should be one installed in each bedroom as well as outside of each sleeping area. Smoke alarms must also be present on each level of the house, including the basement. Having the right number of functioning alarms in your home is a vital aspect of basic fire preparation.
- Meeting Area
Once you’ve planned the fire escape routes and checked your alarms, you need to designate a meeting place outdoors where your family can converge. Examples of a meeting area include:
- Street sign
- Light post
- Another house far away from yours
Be sure that the meeting place is a sufficient distance away from your home and all of your family members know the location.
The most effective way to ensure that everyone follows the plan in a real emergency is to practice it repeatedly. Make sure to conduct drills in your home and familiarize your kids with the evacuation plan. When everyone is prepared, they can react calmly and stay safe in case of a real fire.
Creating a reliable fire escape plan is only the first step towards recovering from a fire. To have your home returned to a condition "Like it never even happened," contact SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West as soon as possible
Beware of Florida Thunderstorms
Don't let storms sweep you into despair, contact us to help restore your property today!
Florida leads the nation in lightning strikes annually and the frequency that thunderstorms occur during the warmer months of the year, it is easy to discount them as just another weather event that can be disregarded. This is quite dangerous, however, as every thunderstorm poses the potential for serious threats due to high winds, possible flooding, and more.
Any time a thunderstorm is in the forecast, it is important to take it seriously
All storms must contain thunder and lightning to be classified as thunderstorms, and every thunderstorm will always contain both. A thunderstorm can evolve into a severe thunderstorm if it becomes volatile enough to produce winds greater than 58 miles per hour. As the name implies, severe thunderstorms are even more dangerous.
Damage and injury from lightning strikes
Because every thunderstorm contains lightning, the damage that a lightning strike can cause is a threat every single time a thunderstorm impacts the area. Over 300 injuries occur every single year as a result of lightning striking people, and it can also cause damage due to fallen trees or building fires as well. It is vital to remember that you do not have to see lightning for it to be a threat.
Harm from flash flooding
Though there are many misconceptions about where flooding can occur, it is really best to assume that it could happen anywhere, as flash flooding often does. Flash flooding can occur due to backed-up ditches, overwhelmed drains and overfull retention ponds that can quickly lead to hazards. It only takes a few inches of water to carry cars away or knock an adult off their feet, making driving or crossing floodwaters a major hazard.
If you have a tree fall on your roof, a lightening bolt compromises your home, or a flood wash in, contact SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West for immediate assistance in making your disaster, "Like it never even happened."
What To Do When Discovering Mold
If something doesn't smell or look right, contact us today!
You walk into your business and something smells like mildew. Can you see something on a wall or ceiling that just doesn't look right? If so, you may have mold.
If you see visible mold, the best thing is do not disturb it. You can accidentally spread the mold infestation throughout your office, store, or warehouse when you touch it. When mold is disrupted, it can release microscopic mold spores which become airborne and can circulate inside your building.
Here is what you should do:
- Stay out of the affected areas.
- Turn off the air conditioning or heating system and all fans as they circulate the spores through the duct system to other areas.
- Contact SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West on how to proceed with mold remediation services.
Here is what you should not do:
- Do not touch or disturb the mold.
- Do not attempt to dry the area yourself, especially with fans or blowers.
- Do not spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.
About Our Mold Remediation Services
SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West specializes in mold cleanup and restoration! We have highly-trained technicians and specialized equipment and techniques to remediate your mold problem quickly and safely from cleaning the area to reconstruction, if needed.
So if something smells bad or you spot actual mold spores blossoming in your workplace, don't hesitate to contact us for the health safety of your employees and customers. In Florida, the humid climate is ripe for mold, especially if you have a slow leak from a water pipe, roof or building damage that has allowed water to seep in.
Choosing Restoration Experts Is Important
SERVPRO has relationships with most insurance agencies nationwide. Ask you agent today if they do business with us.
No home or business owner likes to experience a flood or fire scenario where they need our services, but the reality is that disaster occurs more frequently that you might think. And at those times, it is critical to find support and help from restoration experts like SERVPRO.
What we do is different from picking up a mop and bucket and cleaning. Our technicians work on projects that require expertise and precision. We work on restoration projects intended to get a residence or commercial business back to its original state. That means we must understand how problems like fire and water damage work and then use that information to build individualized plans that can be completed with our advanced technology.
Insurance Claims Are Common
Experts explain that homeowner’s insurance claims are common. According to the Insurance Information Institute, about one in 20 homeowners will file home damage this year. The statistic includes all causes of damage and doesn’t separate the claims based on whether they need restoration services.
Other statistics about individual types of disasters and issues state that one in 50 homeowners will file a water damage claim, and about one out of every 350 American homeowners must file a claim for fire damage. Fire damage claims can include everything from lightning strikes to appliance fires.
When you think about the United States’ entire population, that statistic translates to millions of families. Some of these people will need to get help from a professional team. That’s when choosing a quality restoration company will make all the difference for you.
Training Is Crucial
SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West provides a high level of service in various ways. They include our local availability, our 24/7 staffing, and the quality of technicians and equipment we offer. Our highly trained technicians set us apart.
Our technicians receive certifications through the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC). This non-profit group provides various certifications to ensure restoration and cleaning technicians can use the latest proven techniques when restoring your home.
And when you choose your local SERVPRO, these restoration experts will take the knowledge they’ve gained through our intensive training programs and use it to restore your home.
So if your home or business gets struck by water, fire, or mold damage, help is just a phone call away. Contact SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West at 352-374-6589 to make your tragedy “Like it never even happened.”
Benefits of Our Water Damage Restoration Process
SERVPRO's 6-step process is key to restoring your property.
When a pipe breaks or storms flood your home or business, acting promptly is critical. That is why we are on hand 24/7 for you to call and we can start or proven restoration process and have our residence or commercial building back to its pre-damaged state fast.
1. Initial Emergency Contact
Our 24-hour emergency line means that you can get in touch with us regardless of what hour you discover the damage. We will ask for key information to learn more about the damage and make the call on what resources and staffing numbers your job will require.
2. Inspection and Damage Assessment
After your call, we will rush to you in order to assess the full extent of the damage and review a detailed restoration plan before we begin the work. This is also where we will check for any safety hazards like contaminated water and halt the source of the water, if necessary.
3. Moisture Extraction
Extracting the water quickly is the best chance you have at reducing the overall damage, which is why we bring in industrial-grade vacuums and pumps to do just that.
4. Dehumidifying and Drying
After the bulk of the water is removed, we bring in our advanced dryers to use on all the porous substances on your home (basically anything that is not metal or plastic). This will dry everything thoroughly and reduce the likelihood that mold and mildew will develop.
5. Cleaning and Repair
Once they are fully dry, structures and objects that have been water-damaged will generally need a thorough cleaning as well. This ensures that they are not contaminated and also prevents them from developing a harsh odor that is common for water-damaged things.
When you work with us, we guarantee a complete restoration—which also includes making structural repairs to drywall, floors and other elements of your home, as well as painting and refinishing to ensure it is fully restored to its pre-damaged condition.
Don't hesitate to contact us when water bursts into your life. Call SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West at 352-374-6589 so we can make your disaster, "Like it never even happened."
Importance of Dryer Vent Cleaning
A clogged dryer vent will not only cost you more to dry your clothes but could lead to a fire disaster.
Dryer lint buildup in your laundry vents is a disaster waiting to happen. It's something that you never even think about, but can be a ticking time bomb ready to set your house ablaze.
Making sure your dryer vents are clean and free from obstruction will help keep your property safe from the possibility of a fire. It's also an excellent precaution to take to keep the air from getting choked up with dust, lint and other health hazards that can accumulate in a dryer vent. And it will save you money in the long run because a clean vent leads to shorter drying times.
Get Help from a Local Cleanup and Restoration Service
It's up to you to contact an expert local cleaning and fire restoration service to ensure that your vents get cleaned in a correct and timely fashion. When you are in doubt as to whether the vents or other areas in your home are functioning correctly, a good, thorough cleaning is never a bad idea.
Even if it turns out that your property is not quite yet due for a full cleaning, a reputable local cleanup service can help such as removing any excess pollen or debris that has accumulated in the vents. This way, you can save a great deal of time, money and worry by taking timely preventative measures. Keeping the proper level of air quality in your home or commercial building will go a long way toward keeping the structure safe for your family or employees to inhabit. An expert local service will ultimately save you a great deal of time and stress.
Expert Help for Dryer Vent Cleaning Is Available
At SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West, we know that dryer vent cleaning prevents fire. This is only one of the many services that we can provide for you to make sure that your home or commercial property will be safe against the event of an unforeseen mishap or emergency. If an emergency should befall your property, you'll want to call a service that can get to you in a prompt and timely manner.
Locally Owned Company with National Resources
If you are in need of quick and efficient dryer vent cleaning, we're here to assist you. Call or email us today!