Facts about Smoke and Soot Damage
Smoke and Soot Damage can cause a long-lasting odor in your home
Smoke and soot can cause hidden damage and odor. Our Production Technicians are experts when it comes to smoke damage who can accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a plan of action.
Facts about Smoke and Soot
- 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 Did you know there are actually different types of smoke? There is what is called wet smoke and dry smoke! Check out the two types below in more detail.
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.
Fire Safety for Pets
Pets can be considered family, too!
At any given moment, a fire emergency can take place in the Houston area or abroad, and though unexpected; it can be beneficial to already have a plan in place for everyone in your home to evacuate and meet in a safe location. While you should always be most focused on keeping yourself and your family safe, you can also spend some time on pet preparation so that you can have a better chance of getting your pets out of danger as well. You can be better prepared to keep your pets safe during a fire emergency by following these safety tips:
In the confusion caused by a fire, it can be hard to think of everything you need to do right away. If you have a plan in place and practice it a few times, you can be better prepared to handle a fire emergency. This can not only be helpful for pet safety, but also for the safety of everyone in your household.
Notice Where Your Pets Are
An important part of the planning process can be noticing where your pets usually spend their time. It can be especially helpful to note where they hide when frightened. You don’t want to put yourself at risk by spending too much time searching for your dog or cat during a fire emergency, but you can be better prepared to get yourself and your pets out as soon as possible by having a checklist of areas you can look.
Keep Collars and Leashes Handy
Fires can be especially frightening to pets. By keeping their collars and leashes handy, you can more easily guide them out of the house. If you are unable to find them, it can be easier for the fire department to get them out if they are wearing collars. It can be a good idea to hang leashes by the door you are planning to evacuate through.
Taking On Storms With Technology
These days, it is important to be ready for a storm and disaster can strike at a moment’s notice! Technology works hard to help us become aware of danger with more time to prepare before it hits! Technology can also be a vital tool in preparing for emergencies or disasters, as well as during or after to stay informed of the situation and in communication with others. From common technology you already use on a day-to-day basis to taking a few extra steps to prepare. Below are a few things that will help you be ready in the event of an emergency or disaster.
Store Information Online
There are many places to store important information securely online. Services like Google Drive and Dropbox offer a free way to store different types of files, from a Word document to images of important documents. Ready.gov suggests saving an electronic version of insurance policies, identification documents, medical records, and information on your pets, if necessary.
Follow the News
Stay informed by following agencies such as FEMA, local news channels, and local government on Twitter for the most up-to-date information in a disaster situation. You can also alert first responders if a rescue is needed through Twitter.
Mark Yourself Safe
The American Red Cross offers a Safe & Well check-in site to list yourself as safe or find family and friends in situations where communication is difficult to establish. Facebook also has a feature called Safety Check that is activated after natural disasters or a crisis. You will receive a notification from Facebook if you’re located in the affected area at that time.
Get in Touch
Make sure your contact information is up to date in your phone and e-mail for communication with family, friends, business contacts, and others whom you may need to get in contact with before, during, or after a disaster.
Keep a portable charger in your car and home in case of an emergency. You may need to recharge this from time to time, but you can also buy solar-powered chargers as well. Get an Emergency READY Profile® SERVPRO® of Bear Creek is proud to offer Emergency READY Profiles® (ERP) for free at ready.SERVPRO.com to help prepares you, your property, or your business for an emergency. By developing a SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile® for your property or business, you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your property or business. Put help in the palm of your hand with the Ready Plan App. Get in touch with SERVPRO® of Bear Creek today for more information on developing an ERP for your property or business!
Call us, SERVPRO of Bear Creek at (281) 463-9800.
Why Mold Loves Your Home
Indoors and outdoors, mold isn’t too picky. These common fungi only need a few ingredients to turn your home in Houston, TX into its own. Even if you begin to see signs of mold damage or mildew growth, it doesn’t mean it is time to panic. Mold cleanup and prevention are easier to deal with than most people imagine, especially when you have a trusted professional by your side.
Why Is It Growing?
Surprisingly, mold spores can often be dormant, just waiting for the right conditions to begin spawning and spreading. The environment it prefers is one with just the right amount of humidity and temperature, moisture and food. In a home, any organic material that is porous can provide the sustenance these fungi need to grow. This can include:
- Ceiling Tiles
Where Is the Musty Smell Coming From?
Unfortunately, not all mold damage makes its presence visibly known. It can often be hidden behind the walls where condensation can get trapped and this creates ideal conditions for it to grow. High levels of humidity or leaking pipes behind the walls are in the ceiling are typically main culprits. Before it gets to the point of having to perform black mold cleanup, inspecting your home at the first signs of a musty odor can help avoid extensive mold remediation.
When faced with that distinctive smell, the following are key areas of the home prone to mold growth:
- Basements – Leaks, flooding condensation and lack of ventilation
- Kitchens – Appliances that use water, exhaust fans and sinks
- Bathrooms – Malfunctioning exhaust fans, leaks, seal damage around showers and tubs
Attics – Insufficient ventilation and circulation and roof damage that allow excess moisture in
- Crawlspaces – Poor ventilation, flooding, soil erosion and leaks
Although the right conditions can create mold damage in any home, understanding how common its presence is can make handling it easier. While prevention is key, be rest assured that with the right help, your mold problem can be eradicated.
If you have questions or concerns regarding mold or mold remediation contact
SERVPRO of Bear Creek (281) 463-9800 today!
How Can Homeowners Assess Mold Damage?
How To Assess Mold Damage?
A complete mold assessment involves determining the type of mold and extent of growth. Accurate analysis can be difficult and risky for non-professionals. Here are a few measures homeowners can take in preparation for an expert assessment.
Look for Visible Mold
Homeowners can look for signs of visible mold. Do not attempt to find mold hidden in places where colonies may be disturbed by a search:
- Behind wallpaper
- In wall cavities
- Under carpet
A musty odor may indicate the presence of hidden mold. This odor originates with microbial volatile organic compounds, which are off-gases released during the fungal growth cycle.
An environmental hygienist or mold specialist can contribute to an accurate mold assessment. Experts may take air or spore samples for lab analysis to determine which types of mold are present, such as black mold or more than 100,000 other species.
Identify the Cause
Mold and mildew thrive where moisture is present. A homeowner can try to identify the source, which may involve one or more of the following factors:
- Leaky pipes
- Roof leak
- Other water damage
Mold is a common type of secondary damage that results when water damage is not properly mitigated. It is important to remove standing water and residual moisture to prevent fungi from starting to grow.
Determine the Extent
Mold remediation experts can determine the extent of an infestation. A minor mold problem covers less than 10 square feet and is accessible without opening large sections of closed surfaces. Major problems affect larger areas and may involve hidden mold or black mold.
Minor mold growth can cost over $1,000 to remediate, while major damage can range up to tens of thousands of dollars. A mold assessment may impact a homeowner's ability to file an insurance claim or pay for remediation that will resolve a mold problem at a residence in Houston, TX.
Is Your Business Prepared for a Fire Emergency?
The best time to plan your evacuation plan is now
A fire is one of the most unpredictable forces in nature, so knowing how to escape one if it should break out at your Houston, TX business can be key for reducing injuries to your employees and customers. Even if you have fire safety measures in place, such as ceiling sprinklers and fire extinguisher stations, a contingency plan can be as equally important when a blaze gets too big for you to handle alone. Asking yourself a few questions about your building’s layout and workforce can help you create an effective and viable escape plan.
Where Is Your Company Located?
The location of your business within a building can affect your evacuation plan, so this is a factor you will probably want to consider. Take a quick tour of your office space and note the specifics that might affect your planned route:
- The number of exits
- The floor your company occupies
- The condition of accessible stairwells
If you rent a building, ask your landlord to assist with creating the plan and whether you can modify any exits to make them safer during an evacuation.
Does the Plan Include Handicapped Routes?
Handicapped employees and customers can have difficulty reaching safety during an evacuation, so it is important to include special considerations for them in your contingency plan. Assign handicapped workers an evacuation partner to assist them in case of an emergency and create at least one route that is wheelchair accessible.
Are All Shifts Aware of the Plan?
If you have more than one shift working at your business, it is important that each understands the details of the evacuation strategy. Call in a fire damage and cleanup service to help you organize a company-wide information meeting on safety so you can perform drills and ensure all of your employees are prepared in case of fire.
Fires can break out without warning, even if your Houston, TX, business is normally at low risk for such an event. Having an effective contingency plan in place helps to protect your employees and customers while offering you peace of mind as a business owner.
How Can You Minimize the Risk of Space Heater Fires at Home?
If you stop and consider the ways in which your Houston, TX, home may be at risk for fire, you could come up with a startlingly lengthy list. Near the top of the list of these potential causes is the dreaded space heater. A burned space heater can be a nasty culprit for disastrous fires. Understand how these heaters can cause fires and what you can do to eliminate the risks.
While it’s true that space heaters are common causes for fires and needed for smoke cleanup, reducing fire risks doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, with a few simple steps, you should be able to avoid a burned space heater in most circumstances.
• Turn off your space heater if you leave the area for an extended period.
• Clean the filters regularly.
• Leave plenty of space around the heater.
Turn it Off
A space heater can be your best friend on a cold day if your furnace isn’t working well or if you don’t have one. You may be thinking leaving it on all day will help warm up your home faster and more effectively. However, this will only increase the likelihood of it having problems or starting fires. When you leave your home, or if you don’t plan on being in a certain part of your house for a while, always remember to turn off your space heaters when you leave the house.
Clean the Filter
Don’t put off this important step. Keep extra filters handy and replace them as they become dirty. When in doubt, consult your owner’s manual. It’s better to change it out unnecessarily than to leave it in too long.
Situate it properly
Don’t put your space heater in a cramped space or near blankets. Also, don’t plug in multiple space heaters in a single outlet.
If your space heater does cause a fire, get in touch with a professional smoke cleanup crew right away. However, if you follow these guidelines, you shouldn’t have to worry about fire or smoke concerns from a burned space heater.
Contact SERVPRO of Bear Creek today if you have questions about fire prevention.
Commercial Fires and Water Damage
Commercial Fires and Water Damage
After a fire at your The Woodlands, TX, business, there's liable to be a significant amount of water damage in addition to the fire damage. It's likely that automatic sprinklers have gone off, and that at least one fire hose was used to extinguish the flames. There may be saturated drywall and carpeting, which can lead to a mold problem if not addressed promptly.
This situation requires the skills of a professional restoration company. They can take care of the damage by:
- Making a thorough inspection
- Extracting the water
- Drying and dehumidifying
- Disinfecting and cleaning
- Repairing damage and completing restoration
Damage Inspection and Assessment
The restoration company first makes a careful inspection, assessing the water and fire damage and looking for any possible hidden problems, such as water behind walls. From their assessment they can determine which specialized equipment and techniques are best suited to the task.
As quickly as possible, the technicians begin the process of water extraction. This minimizes the chance of more damage from secondary sources such as mold. Any excess water is removed, using heavy-duty pumps and vacuums.
Drying and Dehumidification
At this point, the restoration team focuses on removing any moisture or humidity that remains. This is done through the use of professional-strength dehumidifiers and air movers.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
After everything is thoroughly dried, the remaining items and surfaces are treated to remove any threat from microbes or mold, using a variety of specialized methods. Any lingering odors are dealt with by using air scrubbers and foggers.
Damage Repair and Restoration
As soon as all moisture has been completely extracted and any threat from pathogens has been eliminated, the repair and restoration work can start. Depending on the extent of the damage, this might involve simple tasks like replacing carpets and painting, or more complex work like rebuilding entire rooms.
If you've had fire damage at your business, you're most likely going to have to deal with water damage as well. Hiring a restoration company can ensure that both problems are dealt with quickly, safely and efficiently.
What To Do After A Fire
Reducing the risk of electrical fires in one’s home is relatively simple, but the safety benefits are worth a great deal of peace-of-mind.
What To Do After A Fire
- Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
- Keep hands clean so as not to further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
- Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
- If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open.
- Clean and protect chrome with light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.
- Wash houseplants on both sides of leaves.
- Change HVAC filter.
- Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.
What NOT To Do After A Fire
- Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting us.
- Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat or water without consulting an authorized repair service.
- Don't use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat or water.
- Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.
- Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.
How To Prevent A Fire In Your Home
It's important to know what to do in case of a fire. The best fire preparation you can do, however, is to prevent a fire from happening in the first place. There are several ways you can keep your home in Houston,TX, safe from a fire.
Stay in the Room
If you are using something that has the potential to cause a home fire, you need to keep a watch over it. There are several instances where this may be the case:
- Lighting candles
- Using the fireplace
- Cooking a meal
- Smoking a cigarette
Nothing that produces a flame should ever be left unattended. Stay in the kitchen when you cook and extinguish candles and the fireplace before you leave the room. Smoke outside and use an appropriate receptacle to discard cigarette butts.
Avoid Fire Hazards
Certain appliances and areas of your home are more prone to fire outbreak than others. A regular maintenance schedule should help to minimize your risk. Fire cleanup experts often find dryers to be the source of a home fire, but this is easily preventable. Have the machine and the ducts cleaned at least once a year to remove lint buildup. Store any flammable products in your home responsibly. Keep them away from heat sources and out of the reach of children.
Have a Plan
No fire safety preparation is complete without an escape plan. Test all of your smoke detectors regularly to make sure they're working. Practice escape routes so that everyone in the family knows the quickest way to get out of the house and where to meet up in the event of a fire.
With vigilant safety precautions, you should be able to prevent a home fire. Keep a close eye on open flames and keep up with your regular maintenance schedule. If a fire does break out, follow your evacuation plan to get you and your family to safety.