3 Types of Storm Damage
Several months ago, a tornado ripped through the area and caused substantial wind damage!
Since spring has arrived, thunderstorm season has kicked into gear. While these types of storms are generally mild, especially in North Carolina, they have the potential to cause significant damage to your property. So you can prepare for the event of a thunderstorm, we’ve identified 3 kinds of damage you should look out for.
- Fire Damage. It might not be common to be struck by lightning, but these electric bolts are incredibly hot. Your home, grass, and even surrounding trees are susceptible to igniting if they are struck by lightning. If a lightning bolt strikes near your powerline, it could lead to a massive power surge that will potentially damage your connected devices (unless you have a surge protector). In some cases, this surge can start electrical fires.
- Flooding. Heavy rain can cause serious problems for property owners who don’t have a sound structure. Leaks and flooding can damage property and create financial stress. On top of that, standing water and high humidity can create an optimal environment for mold growth!
- Wind Damage. Thunderstorms can bring heavy winds, which can knock trees and other debris into your home. In the event that your home or building is damaged by debris, you’re at risk for other damage, particularly water.
We often take thunderstorms for granted other than the occasional power outage or heavy rains, but these natural phenomena can cause serious damage to your property. If your property is struck by disaster, call SERVPRO of Burke County immediately!
4 Common Sources of Water Damage
When a burst pipe damaged soaked large parts of this hospital, our team set up equipment to dry it out!
We get calls to mitigate water damage nearly every single day. In many cases, the damage is minor and we’re able to complete our work very quickly; in other cases, the damage is significant and can cause structural and/or mold damage. While it’s difficult to prevent damage from ever happening, you can lower the risk by being aware of common sources of water damage!
Burst Pipes. During the winter months, when temperatures drop below freezing, water in your pipes will freeze and expand. When they thaw, your pipes are likely to burst and flood the inside of your property. To prevent frozen pipes from bursting, apply a heating pad or blow dryer to the frozen areas.
Water Heater. Water heaters—naturally—store a lot of water. Over time, these appliances will wear down and can leak or burst. The best way to prevent this kind of water damage is to have regular maintenance and inspection.
Appliance Incidents. In general, we use a lot of different appliances each day that have the potential to cause water damage. In fact, we often get calls about damage caused by dishwashers, ice makers, washing machines, and more! Each appliance is different, but it’s best to regularly inspect them to ensure there aren’t any cracks or leaks.
Structural Leaks. We expect our homes to protect us from the elements, but weaknesses in the structure can lead to water damage. Routinely inspect the structure of your home and identify places where water can (or possibly already is) enter your space.
Water damage can happen to anyone at any time, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t actively try to prevent it. If you are vigilant and conduct regular inspections of the four sources mentioned above, you’ll lower the odds of future water damage. But if your home ever is affected, you can call SERVPRO of Burke County to make it “Like it never even happened.”
The Truth About Black Mold
"Black mold" might sound scary, but it's no more dangerous than any other mold!
Toxic, black mold.
If there’s one thing that scares people, it’s the fear that they have black mold growing on their property. After all, numerous TV ads and internet articles will have you believe that simply touching or breathing in the spores will poison you or lead to birth defects. But the truth is that black mold is actually nothing like the monster it’s portrayed to be.
First, black mold is no more dangerous than any other type of mold. There are thousands of types of mold and many of them just happen to be black. You might be allergic to some types of mold and not others, but there is no need to be any more concerned with black mold than you would with white, green, or any other color of mold. In fact, some species of mold are different colors simply based on the environment and conditions.
Second, mold is not toxic. Some can certainly produce byproducts called “mycotoxins” that they naturally release as they grow, but no species of mold is actually toxic or poisonous (this is all backed by the CDC and other experts). Even the species that can produce mycotoxins should be treated with no more alarm than any other type of mold.
So why are people scared of black mold? Unfortunately, it’s a result of media hype and the spread of false information. If you see or hear anyone advertising the dangers of “toxic, black mold,” they’re likely trying to sell something or have fallen victim to a scare campaign.
If you discover black mold in your home or building, remain calm and call SERVPRO of Burke County to take care of it quickly and efficiently.
3 Ways an ERP Can Benefit Your Business
An Emergency Ready Plan will make sure you and your employees are ready to respond so your business can reopen as soon as possible.
According to FEMA, around 40 - 60% of small businesses never reopen their doors after facing a disaster. Even knowing that, most small businesses haven’t put in the time to create an emergency response plan so that they can minimize the impact of a disaster. SERVPRO will create a free Emergency Ready Profile for any business that wants one, but do you know how it can benefit your business?
- You’ll know where to find the utility shutoffs. Depending on the size and nature of a disaster, it might be imperative that somebody immediately shuts off the gas, water, and/or electricity. Even if you personally know where the shutoffs are located, if you aren’t around at the time of a disaster, the role would fall on an available employee. SERVPRO’s Emergency Ready Profile marks all of the shutoff locations (and shows pictures), so your team can quickly do what’s needed.
- You’ll have an immediate plan of action. The longer your business is inactive, the less likely you’ll recover. With our Emergency Ready Profile, you’ll not only have a guide for you and your employees, but you’ll also have instant access to your local SERVPRO professionals. The faster we’re there to clean up the damage, the quicker you’re able to reopen your doors.
- You’ll have an incredible asset at no cost. In most cases, you would have to dedicate precious time and resources to create a quality emergency readiness plan, which is often a reason they’re never made. But SERVPRO’s franchises have the tools and skills to assemble an Emergency Ready Profile in a short amount of time. The only thing they need from you is a few minutes to go over some basic questions to get them started. If you’re wondering what the catch is, it’s just that if you ever do have a disaster, SERVPRO hopes you’ll call them for help!
If you’ve never thought about creating an emergency plan for your business, it’s time to start considering it. Because disaster rarely offers a warning, you don’t want to be caught off-guard when it strikes. Call SERVPRO of Burke County today and get your own personalized Emergency Ready Profile.
3 Things to Do if Your Home Suffers from Water Damage
If water damages your home, SERVPRO of Burke County will bring in its team of experts to dry affected areas and mitigate damage.
No matter who you are or how cautious you are, water damage can disrupt your life and set your home up for further damage. Because disaster often happens when you least expect it, most homeowners are unprepared to respond quickly and appropriately to water damage. While most cases will require a professional disaster restoration company to come to the rescue, there are some things a homeowner can do to reduce the scope of the damage.
- Shut off the water. If your water damage stems from burst pipes, leaks, or similar problems, shut off your home’s water valve immediately. This will prevent further damage and let you focus on mitigation. You will want to call a plumber if there is any damage to your plumbing system.
- Remove excess water immediately. A disaster restoration company will make sure to dry everything, but the longer your possessions sit in water, the more likely problems such as mold will occur. While you wait for help, start removing water and drying damp objects. (Remember not to use a vacuum to suck up water; this will damage it and potentially lead to more problems.)
- Keep humidity low. If you opt not to use a disaster restoration company for any reason, then it’s important that you keep your humidity relatively low. Because mold thrives in humid environments, it’s vital that you keep it low enough to prevent it from growing. Dehumidifiers are a great tool for this, but allowing air to circulate is also important. If you’re uncertain how to proceed (or if mold starts growing), it’s strongly advised that you call a disaster restoration company immediately.
It can be stressful when your home suffers from water damage, but you’re not as helpless as you might think. If you act quickly and call the appropriate professionals, your home and belongings can be saved from devastating damage.
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.
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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.”