6 ways to prepare now for hurricanes
Hurricane Season 2017
The worst thing that people who live along coastlines can do is not to prepare for tropical storms and hurricanes.
According to the National Hurricane Center, the two key factors contributing to weather safety during hurricanes are preparing in advance for the risks and to act on those preparations when alerted by emergency officials.
The director of the National Hurricane Center, Rick Knabb, and AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski, outlined certain precautionary steps that people in areas impacted by hurricanes and tropical storms should take.
1. Evacuation planning
The main reason people have to evacuate during hurricanes is from a storm surge, which is an abnormal rise of water generated by a storm’s winds that can reach heights well over 20 feet and can span hundreds of miles of coastlines, according to the National Hurricane Center.
"Evacuation planning is number one on the list,” Knabb said.
Knabb urged that people find out today if they live in a hurricane evacuation area, which is an area in which residents must leave their homes in the event of a hurricane.
Local governments provide the public with information about evacuation areas and the evacuation plans, and Knabb recommended that people review this information in advance.
“Some people will actually test the evacuation route in good weather,” Kottlowski said. “Waiting until the day of the hurricane isn’t a smart idea since everyone will be in a heightened state of anxiety.”
While people who live in storm surge areas fall within areas that are urged to evacuate during a hurricane, people who live outside of these zones should still look into safety precautions during a hurricane.
While evacuation shelters do provide supplies, Kottlowski said, “Shelters can get overrun and may not have enough supplies."
These kits should include water, food, blankets and clothing.
Dimitri Pinckney installs hurricane shutters in advance of Hurricane Matthew on the Isle of Palms, S.C., Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Car owners should also contact auto insurance companies and move their cars into an off-site location or secured building.
“You won’t be able to take every vehicle you own to the shelter, but if you leave the vehicle outside, it could be seriously damaged,” Kottlowski said.
4. Make copies of important documents
Those living in or near hurricane areas should make copies of proof of ownership documents of any property not limited to their homes, cars and boats.
These documents can be stored in the hurricane kit or in any safe location that does not risk being damaged during the hurricane.
“If a hurricane levels your house, you have to prove that it is your house,” Kottlowski said.
5. Protect your home
Residents and tenants should inspect their homes to confirm that there is no damage that a hurricane could increase.
Any issues with the overall structure should be repaired, including loose shingles or damaged roofs.
“Any possible compromises to the roof or house will become an open avenue for strong and gusty winds,” Kottlowski said.
Residences with yards should also make a list of anything laying on the ground outside that could get tossed into the air and become debris during high winds.
Kottlowski also said residents should purchase supplies, including plywood to cover windows and extra security to keep doors from blowing open, in advance, to secure their homes from damaging winds.
6. Back up your electronics
Aside from keeping extra batteries and chargers around during a hurricane, people are also encouraged to backup any electronic devices.
Knabb said data should be stored at an off-site location so that data can be recovered if something were to happen to the physical computer or device during a hurricane.
Make SERVPRO of Oceana/Dam Neck your first call to help you and your local insurance agent assess the damage. We will work for you to restore your property and your life to make it "Like it never even happened." 757-431-1400
Oceana/Dam Neck Smoke and Soot Clean Up
Smoke and Soot can cause a pervasive odor in your home.
Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.
Smoke and soot facts:
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
- The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
Different Types of Smoke
There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Virginia Beach will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:
Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber
- Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood
- Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.
Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire
- Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
Our Fire Damage Restoration Services
Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.
Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 757-424-1400
It's the Water That You Don't See
It's The Water You Don't See...
Even small water damages have the potential to cause serious structural and indoor air quality issues over time.
The key to avoiding costly future restoration is to handle every water problem as a real threat to your property. The proper equipment makes a measurable difference in reducing the damage expense during a water loss. When time matters most, technology and equipment must be counted on to perform.
Here are a few tools used by Professional Restoration Contractors to properly mitigate a loss;
Moisture Sensors- used to detect moisture in carpets, baseboards and walls.
Moisture Meters- used to determine the actual moisture content of various materials. The meter provides accurate readings to monitor the drying process.
Thermohygrometers- measures temperature and relative humidity to calculate and create an environment most conducive to drying. When handling a contaminated loss (CAT 2 or 3), it is not only important to dry the structure, but disinfect and often deodorize.
Ultra Low-Volume (ULV) Foggers- used to atomize liquid deodorizing agents, producing a fine mist that can easily penetrate the site where odor-causing residues may accumulate. It can also be use to inject fungicides and disinfectants into wall cavities and other hard-to-reach areas.
Thermal Foggers- dispenses solvent-based products by creating a dense fog that consists of tiny particles of deodorant solution that attach to and neutralize odor causing particles.
The bottom line... ALWAYS treat a water damage seriously. Call a professional contractor that is trained and experienced in property damage restoration.
Mold Prevention Tips
Mold. The very sound of the word is enough to make a person cringe.
Yes, mold can be good-- it's essential in making brie and penicillin, for example, but it can also be very, very bad, especially when it grows undetected in your home.Some Facts About Mold
Mold spores spread easily and cannot be completely eradicated. Mold can grow anywhere: on carpet, clothing, food, paper and even in places you can't see, such as the back of drywall, areas inside walls around leaking or condensing pipes, or above ceiling tiles. Not only is a mold problem difficult and costly to fix, but mold can also produce allergens and irritants (and rarely, toxins) that may compromise your health. So what can you do if you're concerned about mold growing on a property? The best approach is preventing mold before it becomes a problem. And the key to mold prevention is simple: moisture control. Mold Prevention Tips
Click below for nine ways to curb moisture indoors, and the mold that thrives on it.
9 Ways to Curb Indoor Moisture and Prevent Mold:
1. Identify problem areas and correct them. You can't mold-proof a property, but you can make it mold-resistant. Do an audit of the property: where are the problem areas? Does the basement flood? Do you notice frequent condensation on an upstairs window? Is there a water stain on the ceiling from a persistent leak? Preventing mold from growing or spreading might be as simple as ripping up carpet in a damp basement, installing mold-resistant products, or repairing damaged gutters. Or it may be a matter of major excavation and waterproofing. Whatever the case, address the problem now. It might cost some money up front, but it will surely be more costly down the road if mold continues to grow unchecked.
2. Dry wet areas immediately. Mold can't grow without moisture, so tackle wet areas right away. Seepage into the basement after a heavy rainfall, accumulation from a leaky pipe, even a spill on the carpet should be dried within 24 to 48 hours. If you've experienced a flood, remove water-damaged carpets, bedding, and furniture if they can't be completely dried. Even everyday occurrences need attention: don't leave wet items lying around the house, and make sure to dry the floor and walls after a shower. Don't leave wet clothes in the washing machine, where mold can spread quickly. Hang them to dry — preferably outside or in areas with good air circulation.
3. Prevent moisture with proper ventilation. It may be that your routine domestic activities are encouraging the growth of mold in the property. Make sure an activity as simple as cooking dinner, taking a shower, or doing a load of laundry doesn't invite mold by providing proper ventilation in your bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, and any other high-moisture area. Vent appliances that produce moisture — clothes dryers, stoves — to the outside (not the attic). Use AC units and dehumidifiers (especially in humid climates), but make sure they don’t produce moisture themselves by checking them periodically and cleaning them as directed by the manufacturer. Your energy-efficient property may be holding moisture inside, so open a window when cooking or washing dishes or showering, or run an exhaust fan.
4. Equip the property with mold-resistant products. Building a new home or renovating an old one? Use mold-resistant products like mold-resistant drywall or mold-resistant Sheetrock, and mold inhibitors for paints. Traditional drywall is composed of a gypsum plaster core pressed between plies of paper. Mold-resistant drywall is paperless — the gypsum core is covered in fiberglass, making the surface highly water-resistant. Moisture-resistant drywall is especially valuable in areas prone to wetness, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements, and kitchens. Not only is traditional drywall more susceptible to mold than the paperless kind, but it is also difficult to rid of mold, and removal and replacement can be expensive. Mold-resistant gypsum board is also available; the core of the drywall is developed in such a way to prevent moisture absorption, and thus prevent mold growth.
5. Monitor humidity indoors. The EPA recommends keeping indoor humidity between 30 and 60 percent. You can measure humidity with a moisture. You'll also be able to detect high humidity by simply paying attention to potential problem areas of the property. Telltale signs of excessive humidity include condensation on windows, pipes, and walls. If you notice condensation, dry the surface immediately and address the source of moisture. (For example, turn off a humidifier if water appears on the inside of nearby windows.)
6. Direct water away from the property. If the ground around the property isn't sufficiently sloped away from the foundation, water may collect there and seep into your crawlspace or basement.
7. Clean or repair roof gutters. A mold problem might be a simple matter of a roof that is leaking because of full or damaged gutters. Have your roof gutters cleaned regularly and inspected for damage. Repair them as necessary, and keep an eye out for water stains after storms that may indicate a leak.
8. Improve air flow in your home. According to the EPA, as temperatures drop, the air is able to hold less moisture. Without good air flow in a property, that excess moisture may appear on your walls, windows and floors. To increase circulation, open doors between rooms, move furniture away from walls, and open doors to closets that may be colder than the rooms they’re in. Let fresh air in to reduce moisture and keep mold at bay.
9. Keep mold off household plants. They're beautiful and help keep your indoor air clean — and mold loves them. The moist soil in indoor plants is a perfect breeding ground for mold, which may then spread to other areas of your house. Instead of getting rid of your plants, try adding a bit of Taheebo tea to the water you give to your houseplants. The oil of this tree, which withstands fungi even in rain forests, helps hinder mold growth in plant soil and can be found at natural food stores.
Finally, educate yourself on your region's climate — be it the cold and wet Northeast, the hot and wet South, the hot and dry Southwest, or the cold and dry West — and how it responds to moisture. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to mold prevention. Knowing what works for your climate and your home is an important first step.
Got Water Damage? Here's When and Why You Need a Professional
The thing about water damage and repair professionals is that no one seems to have interest in knowing one until they're in desperate need of their help! We interviewed SERVPRO of Oceana/Dam Neck Franchise Owner, Anna Johnson, to find out just what it is that a restoration professional does and when and why someone would need to hire one. Here's what Anna had to say:
What exactly does a water damage and repair professional do?
We arrive onsite within 4 hours (usually 1 hour) to remediate a water damage. The sooner you can stop the water and begin to dry the structure, the less damage you will have, which will reduce repairs that will need to be done.
Why is it important to call a professional?
We can restore vs. replace. We have special drying techniques which will save time and money for the insured and insurance company. You don't want to end up with any type of secondary damage or mold that could be prevented by calling a professional right away.
A professional will know when it is necessary to remove materials such as vinyl or laminate floors in order to dry sub floors. We have tools, such as moisture meters, that can detect exactly what's been affected so that we can properly mitigate the loss.
What are the most common problems water damage professionals see?
We often find pre-existing damage. It is important to properly maintain your home so that dry rot or other slow leaks do not occur. If you have a pipe burst under your sink, but you have dry rot already showing on you sub floor, often the insurance companies will not cover this due to the home not being maintained.
Another problem we see is when a homeowner does not take immediate action. They will wait a few days for the insurance company to come out before they call a mitigation company to come out. Or they try to do the work themselves. This will only prolong the process and possibly cause more damage later on. You need special equipment to properly dry a structure.
When should I call a water damage professional?
Anytime you experience a water damage, you should call a professional. The sooner you call, the more you can minimize damage. Even if the cause of the problem is still not fixed, the faster we can begin extracting water, you can lessen the chance of further damage. Often times an area can feel dry to the touch, but it is important to have a professional use a moisture meter to check for water behind cabinets, walls, etc. Dry wall may feel dry, but the insulation inside the wall could possibly be wet. Carpet could feel dry, but the sub floor and padding could have elevated moisture levels.
How much will it cost?
We use industry standard prices, which are set for each region in the country through a program called Xactimate. Most of the charges are done by square foot, by a labor hour or per piece of equipment. It is pricey to properly mitigate your home, but if you do it right the first time, you won't have mold grow and will save money in the long run. We deal directly with the insurance companies so there will not be any type of paperwork that you will need to file. We take care of it all!
What should I do while waiting?
If possible, turn the source of the water off. Begin mopping up water or blotting with towels. DO NOT use a shop vac to remove water. Shop vacs are not meant to extract a lot of water, only a little bit here and there. Put all furniture up on blocks, or even put foil under the legs of furniture to protect it and to also protect your carpet from getting any staining on it. You should also wipe up any water on wood furniture so it does not ruin it. Do not use electrical devices where the moisture is present. Make sure to not stand under any sagging ceilings.
How do I decide who to hire?
You should always try to hire someone who has a national reputation and a brand that stands behind them. Take advice from your insurance company, they work with these professionals everyday and should have a good recommendation.
Are You Ducts in Order?
Did you know, your ventilation system is often the biggest culprit in poor indoor air quality?? Inspecting the ductwork in your facility or home should be a high priority. In most cases, the HVAC system has been operating for some time without much attention.
Dirty ducts can circulate odors, contaminants such as mold, and irritating dust throughout a building or home.
Keeping the HVAC system and ductwork clean can potentially extend the life span of the equipment by allowing it to operate at peak condition, which may even save money. Duct cleaning may not always be necessary.. calling a professional to inspect your system and ductwork to make recommendations about the best way to address any indoor air quality concerns is a good idea. Regular inspections can save money and provide peace of mind on the health of your HVAC system and ductwork.
In some circumstances, such as after fire, smoke or suspected mold growth, duct cleaning becomes an essential part of the cleanup process.
The professionals at SERVPRO of Oceana/Dam Neck use a portable ventilation and air duct cleaning system to examine ductwork and make a clean sweep, removing dust and grime. The process is as follows;
- The process begins using patented equipment including a roto-scraper, which automatically adapts to the duct's shape and diameter while traveling through the duct, removing debris and filth before vacuuming begins.
- Next, a powerful push-pull air delivery and collection system transfers the debris from the ductwork to a 16-gallon container.
- Air is filtered through a HEPA filtration system, removing 99.97% of the particles in the air stream. HEPA filters capture debris and keep the indoor environment clean.
- As an optional process, a sealant or coating product may be sprayed to address odor or microbial concerns.
- Filters will be either cleaned or replaced to remove odor and dirt.
This Duct Cleaning System is proven and cost efficient.
Contact SERVPRO of Oceana/Dam Neck at (757)424-1400 for more information or to schedule a duct cleaning appointment.
Assured Pack Out
Assured PackOut Express is an easy-to-use iPad app that makes listing contents not only fast but also accurate. Larger claims can be done just as quickly and efficiently as smaller claims, and contents lists can even be previewed with the client onsite using the app.
The Assured PackOut Express iPad app also includes a fast, but very thorough, photo management system. While taking photos with an iPad's built in camera, photos are automatically saved with the item description, notes, barcode, room location and packout technician. Photos can easily be retrieved to verify item condition and reduce replacement fraud.
Because iPads are used to list, reports can be ready much faster than using pen and paper. A Total Loss Report can be provided in Excel format, including information such as make, model and year, to better help calculate settlements. A Presentation Report can also be provided that shows a clients items are property recorded and looked after. By using electronic copies of these reports, both time and paper are saved.
This professional approach gives clients confidence in their claim being settled. With this straightforward inventory management, we can locate and retrieve items for clients fast, and give updates on the cleaning status, which can be a relief at a time of great stress and worry. SERVPRO of Oceana/Dam Neck knows this service will help keep clients satisfied.
For more information on this state of the art contents management program, contact SERVPRO of Oceana/Dam Neck, (757) 424-1400
Poor Indoor Air Quality? -- Dirty Air Ducts are the Culprit!
More often times than not poor air quality in homes and commercial buildings can be attributed to a dirty ventilation system. Your HVAC system should be a high priority and demand your attention regularly. Dirty ducts can circulate odors, contaminants such as mold, and irritating dust throughout your building or home.
A routine service that SERVPRO offers is inspections of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) unit. Keeping the HVAC system and ductwork clean can potentially extend the life span of the equipment by allowing it to operate at peak condition, which may save you money!
SERVPRO Duct Cleaning System is proven and cost efficient. We use a portable ventilation and air duct cleaning system to examine ductwork and make a clean sweep, removing years of dust and grime.
Contact us today for more information or to schedule a duct cleaning appointment!
Avoid Fires! -- Winter Heating Hazards
Winter is the same anywhere you go...lower temperatures & shorter days. Often times we use alternative heat sources like fireplaces, portable space heaters, and wood burning stoves to make our homes cozy. Did you know that heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths?
Keep the following safety tips in mind to help reduce your risk of a heating-related fire:
- Keep anything flammable at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or a portable space heater. Have a three foot "kid-free zone around open fires and space heaters.
- Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
- Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
- Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
- Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
- Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer's instructions.
- Test smoke alarms monthly.
"Prepare" is the Buzz Word of 2017
Resolutions are key to starting the new year, so why not resolve to be READY? No one ever plans on a disaster, but you can prepare for it. The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile (ERP) will help ensure you are "Ready for whatever happens" in 2017.
In the event of an emergency, the ERP can help minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action in place for your facility. The ERP is a comprehensive document containing critical information about your business, including emergency contacts, shut-off valve locations and priority areas. The ERP also establishes your local SERVPRO of Oceana/Dam Neck as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider, giving you access to over 45 years experience and a System more than 1,700 Franchises strong. The ERP is a no-cost assessment; all it requires is a little time, making it a great value that could save you time and money in the future. By downloading the free SERVPRO READY App, this information is stored electronically and can be accessed using your mobile device putting help at your fingertips.
Having a plan in place may help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive and get you back in the building following a disaster. Don't wait until disaster strikes -- resolve to be READY.