What to Do if Your Home Catches Fire
In most cases, you only have about 2 minutes to escape from a burning home. If you know what to do, you have a better chance of escaping!
If you’re reading this, chances are that you aren’t currently inside a burning structure (though if you are, evacuate the building immediately). Instead, you’ve either stumbled across this page by accident or you’re trying to prepare yourself and/or your family for a future potential disaster. Regardless of your reason, you should be aware of what you should do if your home catches fire.
- Alert others. Assuming the fire is too large and aggressive to put it out yourself, you’ll want to let everyone else know they need to escape. The most direct method is to shout “Fire” several times to make sure you get everyone’s attention.
- Evacuate immediately. Don’t wait for help to arrive; leave your home and your belongings behind. If there are others who need assistance—and it is safe to do so—help them. If your exits are blocked by fire or smoke, use a secondary exit.
- Stay low to the ground. If you see smoke, stay low to the ground because gasses and smoke rise to the ceiling. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire-related deaths.
- If you or your clothes catch fire, STOP, DROP, and ROLL. You’ve probably heard this since childhood, but if you find yourself on fire, you should stop moving, drop down with your hands over your face, and roll back and forth until the fire is extinguished. If you attempt to run, the flames will spread faster.
- If you’re trapped, stay in the room. If you don’t have an escape route, keep the doors closed and place a wet towel under the door. Call 911 and follow their instructions.
- Go to your meeting place and call 911. If you can escape, go to your pre-established meeting spot outside of the home (if you don’t have one, be sure to choose one and discuss it with your family). If nobody else in your family has done so, call 911 immediately. Do not re-enter the home under any circumstances unless your local fire department has given you the OK to do so.
In reality, you only have approximately 2 minutes to escape from a burning home. Knowing ahead of time what to do and expect is the best way to prepare. In addition to discussing this information with your family, you should also host fire drills with these 2-minute limitations. Don’t wait until it’s too late to find out you aren't prepared!
If you want to prepare for the actions you’ll need to take after a fire, we wrote a thorough guide just for that!
3 Businesses that Recovered from Disaster
Many businesses fail to reopen after a disaster, but with preparation and a positive attitude, your business has a strong chance of recovery.
Disaster comes in many forms, often when we least expect it. That’s why experts strongly encourage businesses to form a disaster readiness plan. In fact, according to FEMA, 40-60% of businesses that face disaster never reopen. Fortunately, planning and quick action can save you when you need it most. To underline the importance of emergency planning, we’re sharing three examples of businesses that successfully recovered from disaster.
NAPA Auto Parts – Westerly, RI; 2010
In 2010, a flooded river destroyed the basement and first floor of a local NAPA Auto Parts franchise in Westerly, Rhode Island. It took 3 days before they were even able to access the store, but instead of closing, they decided to move forward.
The owner, Jamie Silvestri, found a new location and relied on his retirement funds, an SBA loan, and friends and family for financial support. He also had support from his franchise’s corporate office. He was back in business within 12 days.
Takeaway: Don’t feel ashamed to rely on your support network when you are recovering from disaster!
National Hardware Flooring and Molding – Los Angeles, CA; 2015
(Source: Wood Floor Business)
In 2015, Omer Katzir received a call from his wife while he was visiting his dying mother in Israel; his wife told him that his wood flooring wholesale and supply warehouse was lost to a fire along with all of his inventory.
After touching base with his employees, he immediately called all of his customers and vendors and told them what had happened. Because he had such a great relationship with all of them, none of his customers canceled their orders and his vendors expedited their shipping.
When it came to insurance, Katzir was able to present all the necessary documents because he had organized and digitized his data every day. Pictures of the warehouse had been taken twice a year, all inventory had been tracked, and every receipt and invoice had been saved, which helped them give all the necessary information over to their insurance.
The warehouse reopens this year.
Takeaways: Keep an open dialogue with your employees, customers, and your vendors. Also, make sure to keep a consistent and digital log of all your documents.
Ember Industries, Inc. – San Marcos, Texas; 2015
(Source: PR Newswire)
In mid-2015, the flooded Blanco River destroyed about one-third of the inventory at Ember Industries, Inc., which builds, tests, and calibrates electronic devices and related things. President Rob Leonardis was forced to shut down his business, but his employees (even those who had lost their homes) immediately showed up and began cleaning the debris.
Leonardis encouraged his staff and helped them visualize an achievable goal. After 6 weeks and a $2 million SBA loan, they were back in business with almost all of the original staff.
Takeaways: Be your team’s cheerleader and encourage them to keep fighting. They need a strong leader to pull them back from disaster.
Preserving Your Business
It’s impossible to know when—or if—disaster will affect your business. But if you are prepared and have the ability to corral your team, your business has a chance of rising back from the ashes. If you don’t know where to start, consider consulting your local SERVPRO franchise and asking them about their Emergency READY Profile service. At no charge, they will create a customized document that covers all the critical information you and your employees need in the event of an emergency. Armed with this profile, you’ll be “Ready for whatever happens.”
What to Do After a House Fire
Don't let a house fire throw your life off-balance. If you take the necessary steps, your home can be restored to its pre-fire condition!
(Note: This guide assumes you and everyone else in the home have already safely evacuated and called 911. If you have not, please do so now).
There are few things more stressful than having a fire damage your home and belongings. It disrupts your life, dissolves your peace of mind, and destroys precious mementos. Unfortunately, people are often unprepared for these situations and aren’t sure what steps to take to begin returning their lives to normal.
That’s why we’ve provided a helpful guide with instructions on how to recover from a house fire.
Making Important Phone Calls
After any natural disaster, it’s instinct to call the people close to you for support. After a house fire, there are plenty of people you’ll want to contact, but there are some that will be extraordinarily helpful in giving you back your peace of mind:
- Your Insurance Company or Agent. If there’s anyone who’s going to help you reclaim your life, it’s your insurance representative. Call them as soon as possible because they will be able to advise you on any necessary actions to take regarding safety and recovery. If you have an agent, they will be able to help you with filing a claim. Depending on your policy, you may be entitled to financial support while you get back on your feet.
- Disaster Restoration Company. Your insurance representative is going to walk you through the process, but your local disaster restoration company is the one who will actually do the work to restore your home and belongings. Your insurance will generally recommend their preferred restoration company, but you are legally entitled to choose your own. Be sure you choose one with a solid reputation and a wide range of services to make sure they can handle all of your needs. Your restoration provider will also have experience working with insurance during moments of crisis, so they will be able to help you take care of any necessary steps.
- Family and Friends. Once you’ve contacted your insurance and a reputable disaster restoration company, call your loved ones and update them on the situation. If you do not have a safe place until you can occupy your home, consider asking somebody if you can temporarily stay with them. (If you do stay with friends or family, consider talking to your insurance about reimbursing them for putting you up.)
- Disaster Relief Programs. If you need the help, consider contacting your local disaster relief program, such as the Red Cross or the Salvation Army. They might be able to provide necessities like food, shelter, and other resources.
- Your Physician. Particularly if you evacuated without essential medications or devices, call your physician as soon as possible to review your options. Medications left in the home should not be consumed because they will likely have been contaminated by smoke and gasses.
- Call any lending institutions you deal with (such as your mortgage, credit cards, utilities, etc.) as soon as possible. While you might not have to make any payments in the immediate future, most companies will work with you during moments of crisis. It’s possible they will reduce or defer payments.
Re-entering Your Home
After the fire’s been extinguished, you’ll probably want to run in and check on your belongings. Before you do, there are a few warnings:
- Do not re-enter your home until the fire department has given you an explicit OK. Structural damage and reigniting flames are highly probable immediately after a house fire, so do not enter without that permission.
- Do not consume anything that has been near flames, smoke, soot, or the water used to put the fire out. Even if food or water has been sealed in a jar or bottle, most consumables will be spoiled or contaminated due to extended exposure to heat or toxic fumes. This includes food in the refrigerator and freezer, which do not have airtight seals.
- Do not turn on any utilities if you’ve been instructed not to do so. Your local fire department will have advised you whether or not it is safe to use your utilities. If you’ve been told they are unsafe, do not turn them back on.
Once you do re-enter and assess your damage, follow any instructions your insurance representative gave you. If your chosen disaster restoration company is there, they will likely be able to assist you in that process.
Restoring Your Home and Belongings
Depending on the size of the damage, you might feel that your home will never be the same again. But by working with your insurance and a disaster restoration team, your home and your belongings can be restored to their pre-disaster state.
Here are some things you can expect a quality disaster restoration company to do to restore your home after a house fire:
- Assess your home for damage. To make sure the team can perform the appropriate services to make your home as good as new, your house will be given a comprehensive assessment. This information will be especially useful to your insurance representative.
- Store your belongings. Instead of worrying about where you should store your non-vital belongings until your home is restored, some restoration companies will pack and store your items until you are equipped to take them back.
- Board up all holes. The fire likely caused window, wall, and roof damage, which leaves your house exposed. A good restoration team will board up affected areas to prevent any further damage.
- Remove and dry water damage. If your home is wet from the firefighters’ efforts, this will be addressed immediately. A drying process will remove visible and hidden moisture to ensure you don’t get mold growth or additional structural damage.
- Remove soot and smoke from surfaces. Your disaster restoration company will use an array of tools to remove the fire’s residue from your walls, floors, ceilings, and any other affected surface.
- Clean and sanitize your home and belongings. You don’t want to return to your home just to be reminded of what happened. A good company will thoroughly clean, disinfect, and deodorize your structures and belongings to get them back to their pre-fire condition. In addition, they will use equipment to eliminate any lingering odors. Depending on the company, they may be able to restore and preserve damaged photos, documents, and other sensitive belongings.
- Restore your home. After everything else is complete, the team will make any necessary cosmetic or structural repairs. In the end, it should be “Like it never even happened.”
Finally, after working diligently with your insurance and your local disaster restoration company, your home and belongings will be back in pristine condition. Make sure you continue to work with both parties to complete any necessary paperwork and payments, if applicable. Once you move and settle back into your home, you can resume your life as normal.
Tools For Cleaning Flood Damage In Your Valdese Home
Heavy rains can occur throughout the year in Valdese, putting your property at risk.
Tools For Cleaning Flood Damage
Heavy rains can occur throughout the year in Valdese, putting your property at risk. Storm drains that are backed-up, cresting rivers, and saturated ground all can create significant flooding when there is excessive rainfall. Mudflows and flash floods are dangers which can happen after these storms, creating a threat to your home and family.
If your home in Valdese does become flooded, you need help fast to clean up the flood damage and to prevent even more damage from occurring, like mold and mildew growth. To do so, you need experienced professionals who have the right training and equipment, such as SERVPRO. We are ready to help you anytime you need.
To do the job correctly, we use various detection and monitoring devices, which let us track moisture within a structure. Moisture sensors are used to find moisture in soft materials. It has sharp probes which penetrate through carpeting and padding to show how far the water has migrated. It is an excellent tool for us to use during our initial inspection since it is easy to use and lets us know how far the water is.
Moisture meters are used by SERVPRO technicians to find the actual moisture content in different materials and to help us know if the structure is dry. These meters test underneath wood flooring and inside wall cavities with special probes. They can also check individual layers and give out readings with sensors when the meter is put on the material surfaces.
Thermo-hygrometers measure both the relative humidity and the temperature in your home. These readings are used to help us determine the specific humidity in the affected area. We compare the regions affected by moisture to unaffected areas to get appropriate readings. We also measure outside your home.
As you can see, SERVPRO of Burke County is equipped with various professional tools and knowledge to help us dry your home out thoroughly and efficiently. Anyone residing in the areas of Glen Alpine, Hildebran, or Connelly Springs, can put their trust in us to get the job done right when they call us at (828) 874-0966.
Click here for more about Valdese.
How to Prevent Mold Growth in Your Home
Mold is an unwelcome guest in many homes, but you can take steps to make sure it doesn't grow in yours!
Nobody wants mold to grow in their home. Yet nearly every day, we visit homes in Burke County where mold has taken residence. So what exactly causes mold growth, and how can you prevent it from happening in your home? We cover that below.
What Causes Mold Growth?
The truth is that mold is already in your home; in fact, it’s everywhere. Spores are in the air around you (indoors and outdoors), so it’s impossible to eliminate them. Fortunately for you, it isn’t much of a problem until it actually begins growing in your home.
Most homes present two of the three necessary components for mold growth: food (any organic material) and warm temperatures. The only reason mold isn’t growing in every home from Valdese to Morganton is because many homes lack the final ingredient: moisture. One of the most common reasons mold growth even begins is because of water damage caused by flooding, leaks, or a similar incident.
Preventing Mold Growth
Now that you know how mold growth begins, it’s important to understand how prevent it. While it’s easy to say “Don’t get your stuff wet,” it doesn’t help when disaster unexpectedly hits your home. Here are three things you can do to prevent mold growth:
- Dry wet areas immediately. Mold growth can occur within as soon as 24 hours once moisture is present. The longer you let areas stay damp, the higher your chances that mold will take hold.
- Let air circulate. Cold air is not very good at holding moisture, which means mold is less likely to grow in cooler areas. Make sure that air is circulating well in your home; you might even want to open your windows if the weather’s nice enough.
- Call a cleanup and restoration company immediately after water damage. You might have dried up the water from burst pipe, but don’t assume you’re in the clear. Floors and drywalls tend to absorb the water, which leads to mold growth that you can’t see until it becomes a serious problem.
If you follow the tips above and mold still grows in your home, call us at (828) 874-0966 and we’ll help make it “Like it never even happened.”
Mold Damage Remediation Services Available For Your Morganton Area Home
When you find mold lurking behind things or in plain sight in your home, it is time to contact SERVPRO and speak to one of our experts.
Our Technicians are Properly Certified to Deal With a Mold Infestation in Your Home
If you are not already aware, household-mold is a type of fungi that can reproduce using spores that travel through the air. There are various facts about mold that occurs in your Morganton area home that you should be aware of and take seriously, combating this issue in your home is far from a joke.
Finding mold damage in your Morganton home is serious business. A majority of the time it takes a highly-trained professional to control mold growth in your home, and the process can be quite extensive, depending on the amount of exposure that exists. The longer you dismiss the problem, or ignore the issue altogether, the harder it becomes to return your living environment to normal.
- Mold is a fungus, commonly referred to as Mildew.
- Molds can live both indoors and outdoors, often thriving in warm, moist, oxygenated environments.
- Mold can grow anywhere in your home that contains all three conditions. However, there are more frequent locations than others.
- Regardless of the species or amount of mold found in your home, it can cause health effects.
- The best way to control mold in your home is to maintain possible water sources properly.
At SERVPRO we find that helping to inform our customers helps garner more lasting relationships and prevents significant damage events that might otherwise cost you your home. We want to be there for you when you need us the most. However, we also want to help you avoid these situations altogether if at all possible.
SERVPRO technicians inform our customers by sharing information and helping them make quality decisions that help protect their health and home. When you understand the situation you face, you are more likely to seek the help you need to get things under control and avoid hesitation that makes things worse.
SERVPRO’s IICRC certified mold remediation specialists are available 24/7, all year long and give you access to the personnel, equipment, and resources needed to keep your home environment as healthy and clean as possible. All you have to do is contact SERVPRO of Burke County for access to quality services you can trust. Call today. (828) 874-0966
For more information regarding the city of Morganton, click here.
The Significance of a Proactive Approach in Mitigating Water Damage to Your Bridgewater Home
SERVPRO technicians have the training and equipment to quickly and efficiently mitigate water damage and prevent future damage from occurring.
Call on SERVPRO Immediately to Minimize the Effects of Water Damage to Your Home
You may choose to wait for disaster to happen first and respond later. You may choose though to anticipate a disaster’s likelihood of happening and prevent it. The choice is all yours. However, all factors considered, you are better off adopting a proactive approach to mitigate water to your Bridgewater homes and property.
By having been operational in the area for far too long, we at SERVPRO are by all means familiar with the significance of such kind of approach. We have a team of experienced and IICRC-certified technicians who have identified some of the attendant core benefits. We are all the more glad to share them with you.
Chief among these benefits is the fact that you stand to incur less water damage if water damage does actually happen. That is because this approach enables you to seal all the various loopholes that may result in adverse damages later. You do not want to forfeit this benefit at all, owing to the sensitivity of most of the possessions that may be negatively impacted.
Next in line, as SERVPRO has consistently noted, is your expenditure of greatly-reduced costs of repairs later. This stems from the fact that you incur reduced damages as pointed out and explained above. Any sane property owner may naturally want to spend as little amount of money as possible. This makes your adoption of this approach non-negotiable.
The third major benefit you stand to accrue is timely intervention and mitigation of any possible future damages. Our technicians have helped untold scores of homeowners identify and deal with any leaks that may let in much water later. Most of the affected persons have later on sent their feedbacks telling us just how our interventions saved their property from further intense damage.
Dealing with the effects of water damage is no joke. That is why it is in your best interest to forestall the phenomenon by all means. The last major benefit of this proactive approach, we at SERVPRO has identified, is less time wastage on your part in your attempts to mitigate these side effects. That is because the approach shields you from too much damage which requires too much time to restore.
Count on us, SERVPRO of Burke County to handle all your inspections and proactive maintenance. Call us right away at (828) 874-0966. We will be all the more glad to assist you, just like we have already assisted scores of homeowners like you!
Click here for more information about Bridgewater.
4 Facts About Fire Damage In Valdese And Beyond
It is no exaggeration to say that fire damage is a risk for every homeowner.
4 Facts About Fire Damage
It is no exaggeration to say that fire damage is a risk for every homeowner. It is also understandable that people, in general, do not like to talk about house fires. After all, a blaze in the home and the risk of injury or even loss of life is frightening. However, at SERVPRO we believe that talking about fire and understanding more about it is useful because the more you know, the more you can plan to prevent a blaze starting, and determine what to do in the event of a fire in your Valdese home.
The National Fire Protection Association is a rich source of facts and guidance about home fire damage, electrical risks and related hazards in Valdese and beyond. The NFPA is a trade association which publishes standards and guidelines for use by local governments in the hope of preventing fires and educating the public about them. Here are 4 facts about home fires courtesy of the NFPA.
1. An average of seven people dies in home fires in the US every day, which is a very sobering thought. It is clear that home fire safety is of paramount importance across the country.
2. Three out of five home fire deaths (for the years 2010 – 2014) occurred in homes without working smoke alarms. SERVPRO recommends installing at least one fire alarm on every floor of your home and carrying out regular tests to be sure the units are operational.
3. Cooking equipment is the leading cause of injuries after a home blaze. The kitchen is a risky area when it comes to home fires, and it is a good idea to be vigilant at all times when cooking. It is especially important to you keep an eye on cooking pans at all times.
4. The second most frequent cause of home fire injuries is heating equipment, and the most common cause of heating equipment blazes is a failure to clean things properly. The leading cleaning problem when it comes to home heating is creosote build up in chimneys which is why you should inspect and clean your stove and chimney each year.
It is not always possible to prevent a fire but being vigilant and taking sensible precautions does help. In the event of a home blaze, SERVPRO is on hand to help with cleanup and deodorization afterward to restore your home “Like it never even happened.”
For help with fire cleanup in Hildebran, Rutherford College, Valdese, Glen Alpine and surrounding areas, call SERVPRO of Burke County at (828) 874-0966 today.
Click here for more about the city of Valdese, North Carolina.
Remediating Commercial Water Damage in Hildebran
After commercial water damage, SERPVRO understands the importance of not only reopening your doors, but having inventory for your customers as well.
SERVPRO’s Process to Save Inventory in a Print Shop After Water Damage
The primary source of water damage to Hildebran businesses is a plumbing issue like a split intake hose or a rusted out pipe connection. It normally results in a flooded floor which shuts down the facility until a restoration company can repair the leak and remove the water.
In most cases, the focus after commercial water damage in Hildebran is to preserve the building structure and contents. What SERVPRO usually does is remove standing water and then draw moisture out of carpets. If the disaster happened in a business like a print shop, our priority changes, as do our initial actions, to preserve completed work and in-stock paper inventory.
In this situation, we remove all paper to an unaffected area. It may not be possible depending on how much moisture the paper has already absorbed. If our crew members cannot remove the inventory, then our priority is to lower the humidity level and increase air circulation as quickly as possible. We can dry damp paper by starting both of these tasks within 24-48 hours after exposure.
We increase circulation with a combination of fans and air movers. The fans we set-up at an entrance and exit point to bring in dry air from outside the building while pulling the damp air from inside. To increase the efficiency of this process, we use the air movers to blow heated air across surfaces and the inventory to dry them. SERVPRO technicians carefully adjust the temperature of the air to heat the room quickly without causing the paper and cardstock to curl at the edges or otherwise react poorly to the increased warmth.
As the devices begin to work, we turn over the inventory to expose more surfaces and increase the amount of property we can recover. Preserving every sheet of paper, cardstock, or other item is unlikely, but we save most of it using this drying method.
For some businesses, simply reopening the doors is not enough. Print shops and other retail operations need to have a product ready to sell to customers. SERVPRO of Burke County has served our neighbors and fellow business owners for almost thirty years and is ready to help you today. Call us at (828) 874-0966 for more information or to schedule an inspection.
Click here for more information about Hildebran.
Stopping Mold Damage in Bridgewater
Removing mold growth is not simple, but with SERVPRO's experience and knowledge, we are able to make your home "Like it never even happened."
SERVPRO Has Years of Experience Remediating Mold Damage
Mold spores are everywhere in Bridgewater; that means every home and business except for hospital operating rooms. Mold growth does not happen only in dirty homes on an episode of ‘Hoarders.' It is a common misconception, but the reality is just as simple.
Stopping and cleaning mold damage to a Bridgewater home means understanding how it forms in the first place. SERVPRO has almost thirty years of experience in restoration and how mold causes as much damage as a fire or flood by the time anyone notices a problem every year. Since mold thrives in a range from 68 to 86 degrees, it is also a problem in homes covering the entire calendar.
A mold spore is smaller than a mustard seed, and a mass of hundreds is no bigger than the period at the end of a sentence. Each spore is inert and no threat unless there is a source of moisture. Even just a few drops of water can cause mold to expand and begin seeking out a food source. Often, SERVPRO technicians find the source comes from a leaky pipe or when a tiny amount of rainwater finds its way under a roof and down an inside wall.
They do this by extending hyphae which quickly grow across surfaces. When they find a preferred source like drywall, the hyphae begin burrowing into it. Building materials are a favorite food source and why every home in North Carolina is at risk for mold.
Over the years, we learned that the most efficient way to halt mold and reverse the growth is to remove the water source. Once we dry the puddle in the attic or repair the pipe in the wall, spores quickly return to their dormant state. In this condition, it is easier for us to clean surfaces and remove any spore-infested material.
The task of removing mold growth is not a simple one, but the goal of SERVPRO of Burke County is to return our neighborhood homes to a clean, safe condition. If you have a mold problem or suspect there may be one, call us today at (828) 874-0966. We are here for you.
For more information about Burke County, visit http://www.burkenc.org/.